No-one died. Some living dead were destroyed, but technically, they were already dead.
Most impressive Death?
No deaths is very impressive looking at the other episodes in Season 6!
And no nudity either? Are we still watching the same show???
Quote of the Week
In one of the most impressive examples of ‘careful what you wish for’ to date on the show, Talla tells Gilly:
“I think our father could learn a thing or two from your father.”
Meet the Parents, Pretty Woman
Marieke: We finally met Sam’s horrible father, who maybe is not as horrible as Gilly’s, but still made her wonder why bad things happen to good people. And she learnt how to use a knife and fork. Either way, she was awesome for sticking up for her man who visibly turned into the old scared-of-his-father Sam, trying to not upset him so he would take Gilly and lil’ Sam in. In the mean time, he’s turning out to be one of the bravest characters. He might not always be capable, but it doesn’t stop him from trying. It is good he has such a lovely mother and sister, it clearly shows he takes after them. And who didn’t cheer when Sam decided that his own family had to stick together, grabbing that handy Valyrian sword on the way out? It was expected, but I fist pumped nonetheless. Another Valyrian sword, check!
Danielle: First of all, Baby Sam is utterly adorable and evidently nearly a toddler now. How cute was it when he met his ‘grandmother’? Anyhow, back to more pressing matters, I got serious Tywin vibes from Randyll, what with his need to put the family name and legacy above everything else, and his utter contempt for the son who he sees as a complete failure. Just with some added racism. Hopefully he’ll die on the toilet as well. Dickon might as well have been a rather bland version of Jaime too, but thankfully with less twincest. (I think there’s an argument to be made that Sam will be Team Ice’s version of Tyrion, i.e. Jon’s advisor, and this scene made the comparison all the more striking.) At least Meleesa, Sam’s mother, was lovely, as was his sister, Talla, who gave Gilly a Pretty Woman-style makeover.
I’m so pleased Sam had the cojones to take his family with him though, as well as his family’s ancestral sword, Heartsbane. I’ve no idea how his plan to become a maester is going to pan out if he has Gilly and his ‘son’ in tow, but it’s obvious the sword is going to be important in the future. Will he be forced to use it against Randyll, or his brother? It’s hard to imagine they won’t chase after him to recover it. Or will it come into play in a much bigger way against the White Walkers?
Letting the Mask Slip
Marieke: You’ve got to love the irony of Arya’s sympathy for the actress playing Cersei makeing her become Arya again. The last act of the play shows once again how the Lannisters’ reputations are portrayed far from realistically (Tyrion’s could not be more wrong!) and how, in abstract, Cersei was not characterised well in Arya’s eyes. She knows her well enough and basically described Cersei’s response at the Purple Wedding to a tee. Arya is as stubborn, but also as righteous as her father and it was clear she would not be able to kill for the sake of killing. She is not a girl, nor is she faceless; she is Arya Stark, youngest daughter of Eddard and Catelyn, reunited with her Needle. Sadly now the incredibly annoying Waif is after Arya, because the Hall needs a face. I hope because the Waif beat Arya every single time the tables will be turned and the Waif’s face will be the latest addition. The Faceless God storyline has been rather tedious and predictable. The character of Jaqen H’ghar had so much promise in season 2, which turned out to be his most fun season. This just shouldn’t have been dragged out this long (I am also currently re-watching past seasons and the House of Black and White scenes are incredibly boring on a second watch). So Arya, use Needle to find the Waif’s heart (she must have one, but I would almost doubt it) and head to the North.
Danielle: Out of all of Arya’s scenes in the last couple of seasons, I thought the exchange with Lady Crane was particularly strong. Not only did the actress’ observation that she has an expressive face ground her in her own identity, but the ‘Do you like pretending to be other people?’ question cemented in the youngest Stark sister’s mind that, no, she doesn’t. She will always be Someone. Like all evil henchmen, of course The Waif just be happened to be hanging around to watch Arya’s decision to save the actress by knocking the rum out of her hand and then point the finger at the younger woman who hired the Faceless Men to off her rival. Then she trundled back to Jaqen to report on their newest recruit’s misdeeds, requesting to be allowed to kill her. His response was interesting as he went calmly about his face-peeling, bidding her to make Arya’s death painless and quick. It’s obvious that’s not what Marsay’s character is planning, but her arch-enemy has Needle back now, so… I am curious as to whether the Faceless Men will come after her if she does manage to thwart The Waif’s plans and kill her, or if one death in the place of another will be enough. It’s all the same to the Many-Faced God.
Frey-ing at the Seams
Marieke: Was that just me, or was it weird to hear Walder Frey to actually refer to big event at his castle as “the Red Wedding”? It might have been called that in the stories told to people in Westeros, but I had not heard it on the show before. Anyway, he lost a castle to the Blackfish, which he isn’t happy with, also because you technically cannot lose a castle. He still has the Blackfish’s nephew as bait, so a stand-off could be interesting. However, it is hard to watch his scenes and not think of ways he could die. Frey is still one of the most hated characters alive and he needs to be dealt with. But with Jaime coming to his aid, how will this turn out then?
Danielle: Yeah, I found the mention of ‘The Red Wedding’ a little bit self-referential too. Strange! Yet again, we had a father taking his son to task for what they failed to do, as Walder got stuck into his namesake for not preventing The Blackfish from taking back Riverrun. As a trend, this kind of intergenerational animosity hasn’t ended well for the older party on the show, even this season, so fingers crossed things are going to go horribly wrong for the perverted, Stark murderer. It was interesting that we got a mention for the Brotherhood Without Banners too. Perhaps we’ll actually do more than just hear about them in the coming weeks. It was also nice to get a glimpse of Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully. After God knows how long in the Frey dungeons it’s no wonder he looks terrible. With the Siege of Riverrun coming up, and him being used as a pawn to influence his Uncle’s actions, I hold out about as much hope for his safety as I do for Rickon, sadly.
Mind Games and Manipulation
Marieke: We all thought it. Jaime thought it. Most likely even Olenna thought it. My god, Mace Tyrell is such a pompous twat. The way he was dressed, sitting on his horse like that. Clearly in it over his head, but so were Jaime and, more surprisingly, Olenna. The High Sparrow has proven over and over again that he is a man to be reckoned with. No one can see through him or his motives. His manipulation is done with subtlety and mind games alone (not money, which is a big Westeros motivator). Margaery not having to atone was obvious, or we would have the a repetition of Cersei’s walk (although people would probably respect Margaery more than Cersei). Tommen stepping out of the Sept, being completely brainwashed by the High Sparrow, I admit I did not see that coming. It is hard to believe Margaery has really turned and seen the error of her ways. She is too smart and most likely saw this step as a way to get out of her cell and to get rid of Cersei. Tommen is just a sweet, gullible boy who is not fit to be king. Still, he has all the characteristics to fulfil Cersei’s prophecy about all 3 of her children dying.
It was tough to see Jaime give up his position to his son, when he claimed before to Cersei that they had lost him. This situation is bringing out a lot of the old Jaime again, I hope he remembers how much he has changed the past few years (i.e. I hope Brienne’s influence stays with him). Cersei prefers Jaime being sent to Walder Frey’s aid above being him being in the dungeons, but this means our favourite incestuous couple will be separated once again. Cersei is confident she will win the trial by combat. She has the Mountain after all. To me, it felt she was just as confident as Oberyn, and we know how that ended…
Danielle: It was the small details that seemed most significant in this stand-off between the Faith and the Lannisters/Tyrells. I couldn’t help but notice the look of relief on Margaery’s face, first, when she saw the cavalry had arrived and then a minute or two later when she realised she wouldn’t be doing the Walk of Atonement. It was subtle, but that alone betrays the fact she hasn’t swallowed what the High Sparrow has been feeding her. At least pretending to be repentant and ingratiating herself with both Tommen and the religious fanatics mean she has one over on both the Faith and the Lannisters. It feels like there’s going to be a huge power play on the way from her, particularly, as Marieke so rightly pointed out, because Cersei seems almost certain to be setting herself up for a fall with her cast-iron belief that The Mountain will successfully defend her in the Trial by Combat. Speaking of subtle reactions, I thought both the High Sparrow and Lancel’s momentary lapses in their demeanour when Jaime threatened violence was telling. I’m not even sure Pryce’s character buys everything he says.
I’m fairly satisfied that we are going to see a resurgence of a more humble Jaime after he finally puts some distance between himself and his twin sister. Seen as a certain lady knight is heading to Riverrun as well, it’s almost inconceivable that their paths won’t cross again. In terms of his conscience, Cersei has always been the Devil on his shoulder and Brienne the angel.
Fly Away Home
Marieke: Dragons grow up fast! Daenerys gave yet another impressive speech, but it is time for some action, girl! It seems they will head to Westeros now, to throw her armies and dragons into the mix. It is impressive she managed to get all the Dothraki soldiers to follow her in a speech echoing her own Khal Drogo. It was a nice touch in what was mostly an aggressive, war-mongering lecture from the back of a gigantic dragon. Daario has a point about Dany being a conqueror, not a ruler. The Meereen storyline has proved being a Queen is not something she does well. Even though she has Varys and Tyrion by her side now, I am starting to wonder if Dany actually is the right woman for Westeros. What will be left of the kingdom once she’s done? She has people who truly believe in her, but maybe that praise will go to her head. She still is the Mad King’s daughter after all, and it would not be surprising if she went down the same route at some point. Targaryens haven’t always proven to be the most stable people…
Danielle: Was it just me or did this whole scene feel tacked on at the end? Yes, it was kind of nice to see Drogon all grown up, but it offered little else other than to repeat the Dothraki allegiance to Dany, and to underline the fact she needs ships before she can sail to Westeros in a rather clumsy opening for the Greyjoys to make their entrance into Team Fire. I do think Daario calling her a conqueror was important, however. So far she’s shown little nous in relation to maintaining peace in the places she’s already taken over. Having said that, I’m not entirely sure if she’s the one who will go the way of Aerys II (there’ll be more on who I think might later), but she does need a massive reality check. Whether or not she’s fit to rule Westeros is up for debate, but perhaps there is something to her seeing ‘Snow’ in the throne room during her vision during Season 1?
Visions, Hybrids and Rabbit Blood
Marieke: It was great to see the episode start where it left us (crying in a corner) after episode 5. Meera is finding all her strength to drag greenseeing Bran through the cold forest, but enough is enough for her and she cannot go on. The wights have found them and it is too late… Until one of the most sorely missed characters from the show turns up to save them. Still alive (well..), Uncle Benjen saves the day. Missing since early Season 1, he must be forgotten by the casual viewers, but the die-hards wondered every week if he finally was going to return again (as a wight or not). This means that the one character everyone will still whine about is Gendry, who’s presumably still rowing his boat. I am sure he must have a world record by now. Or will he turn up this season too? Anyway, Benjen tells Meera and Bran that Bran now truly is the Three-eyed Raven and that he has to control his powers. He is important in the war against the Night King, as we expected. He also speaks about being killed by a spear of ice and saved by the Children of the Forest with dragonglass. What this makes Benjen exactly (living dead alive again?) I don’t know, but it is nice to see a Stark added to the show again since we’ve lost so many already, and with the possibility of losing two more of them (Arya and Rickon are both in danger).
By the far the most meaningful scenes were quick ones, feeding us and Bran small images of larger visions. Somehow the old Three-eyed raven managed to upload all his vision files to poor Bran who’s unable to control them. He sees his parents and brother getting killed, himself falling over and over again, wildfire, plenty of wildfire, but the most striking scenes were the Mad King on the throne and the ‘Kingslayer’ coming for him. There was some truly impressive acting by David Rintoul showing us in only a few seconds what the Mad King was really like. We want more of those scenes. There were birds, a lot of White Walkers, wights and the Dead king. Daenerys and her dragons featured heavily (a sign she will become like her father?). And there was that teeny tiny bit of the Tower of Joy. Will we get a resolution on that in the final episode perhaps? The visions and flashbacks have truly added to the show and leave me wanting more. The question for Bran is now not only how to control his new gift/curse (depends how you see it), but how to stay out of the Night King’s claws especially now he’s been marked by him. Benjen is going to need a lot more fire to help his nephew out. My final thought is for Meera, who has become as protective of Bran as she was of her little brother. Her calling truly is to help the helpless, and there is no shame in that.
Danielle: How exciting was this?! Just as we thought it was curtains for Bran and Meera (was it just me, or did anybody else see a wee bit of ‘chemistry’ between the two in what they thought were their final moments?) out pops a masked rider to save the day, in what is almost certainly a mash-up of the book character, Coldhands, and who we later found out was a resurrected Benjen. (I wrote about why his return might be so important here). Explaining to Bran later that, much like Daenerys and Jon, he’s undergone a rebirth of sorts and taken on the Three-Eyed Raven’s burden of responsibility, he also more or less dropped a spoiler that his nephew is going to have a showdown with the Night’s King at The Wall. BRING. IT. ON. As an aside, I found Benjen giving Bran the rabbit’s blood a little, well, strange. I’m sure there’s an argument that it’s a means of both nourishing and warming the young man, who’s obviously of prime importance in the War for the Dawn, but the way it was prepared was almost ritualistic. Him imbibing it felt almost paganesque, which I guess gels with his oneness with nature that goes with the new role.
Marieke’s completely right about those visions being the best part of a really great pair of scenes. Particularly those that focused on Jaime killing the Mad King, and the glimpse we saw of wildfire billowing under, what we can only presume, is a building somewhere in King’s Landing. Precisely because of the ‘Kingslayer’ incident, Aerys wasn’t able to use the wildfire to commit mass genocide, so that scene has to take place at some point in the future, right? I think it is possible that it’s a warning siren that Dany may emulate her Father, but it could also be signposting another scenario. I’ve long been a fan of the theory that the Lannister twins aren’t Tywin’s children, but rather the Mad King’s. It seems too coincidental that their incest has been highlighted from the very beginning, and that it just so happens to be a Targaryen trait. Also, in an episode called ‘Blood of my Blood’, we briefly witnessed Jaime murder the man he was tasked to protect all those years ago: ‘Kinslayer’ is so, so close to ‘Kingslayer’. To dump more petrol onto the fire, if you’ll pardon the pun, who’s the one who’s constantly threatened ‘to burn the city to the ground’ if her family was threatened? Yup, it’s Cersei! How ironic would it be if Tywin constantly spent his time belittling his only real heir, Tyrion, and if both Joffrey and Tommen actually had legitimate claims to the throne, in spite of their Mother’s infidelity? Time will tell if this is the case.
Our Fezzy Score:
So what did you think to the episode? Let us know in the comments…