“Blood of My Blood”... plot advancer of my plot advancer: at the risk of being placed on some sort of Game of Thrones persona non grata/no-fly dossier for nerds, I must be true and note that Episode 6, somewhat like parts of Episode 5, seemed like a series of rote cogs in the set-up for the rest of the season. (I thought we were promised that the wheel would be broken?) Or, as my viewing companion noted, “That episode made it seem like GoT is just a regular show,” which is to say that, while several truly major twists went down, the pacing and framing of those twists came off as very typical of other, lesser shows, a quickened and slightly less brainy version of the show we know it can be.
Or maybe it’s just that I dislike the work of Jack Bender, who directed both episodes, and is known primarily for his work on Lost—series finale included—a show I wasted six goddamn years of my life watching and a decision I’m clearly not yet at peace with. The framing of each scene in “Blood of My Blood,” no matter how tantamount to the excitement and drama of the season—Benjen Stark, hello!—seemed a bit like going through the motions; I haven’t decided yet if this is also due to the showrunners basically freestyling this shit at this point, or wholly on the shoulders of Bender, a man who has seriously got to chill the hell out, but we’ll find out definitively next week when director Mark Mylod is back. (He directed “High Sparrow” and “Sons of the Harpy” last season.) I am so mad at this dude, though, for shooting Dany’s awesome, dragon-perched speech from below, making her look like she was riding friendly, fluffy Falkor in the goddamn Neverending Story. Was that on purpose? Is he trying to dumb it down?
At any rate, a lot of shit happened!
Most exciting is that Arya is finally breaking free from the stupid and boring Many-Faced fuckboys, buoyed mainly by her abiding moral compass, something we learned last week that this dumb religion does not charter if there’s a small pittance involved. Watching her unbury Needle from the rock pile was intensely satisfying, mainly because I’m quite certain she’ll use it to stab the stupid and boring Many-Faced fuckgirl, whose presence has forced viewers to endure a few too many annoying and mostly pointlessly long stickfights. Honestly, the Many-Faced religion is basic as fuck; what type of tedious garbageman would want to be no one and anyone at the same time?
More importantly, though, her decision fully underscored that Arya is noble and true, too good to kill an innocent in service of some envious young actress’s All About Eve style aspirations; also, because the part of “Cersei” in the traveling farce was poorly written and the elder Lady Crane deserved better—maybe a funny meta-commentary on the show’s own writer’s room arguments. JUST A THEORY.
Do we actually believe that Margaery Tyrell is colluding with Tommen and the King Sparrow to unite the kingdom and the faith? Last we saw her, she was locked up with her brother Loras and seething with hatred for his conservative religion; though her speech to Tommen was about how she was helping out the poor more to look like a cool and generous queen than actually helping the poor, she never specifically named the vanity that might have led her to that. I think she’s too smart to actually let any of this go down on face value, and that she’s using Tommen to get rid of mom and dad Lannister to boot, but then we’ll see.
YO, SAM HAS A MOM! And she’s wild cool, as is his super-oppressed sister, which sort of balances out Sam’s dickish Lord dad who’s prejudiced against Wildlings and spends dinner fatshaming his poor sweet son for being too smart for this world. Despite the fact that the scene allowed us to see Gilly stand up for her man and also fill in a little backstory on Sam’s pre-Watch life, clearly the whole point of it—and here’s where we get the plot-advancer vapors—was to see Sam steal Heartsbane, the family sword made of Valyrian steel, which means he’ll have a viable defense when the Night’s King descends upon humanity (which, given his discovery of Bran, seems sooner than later).
Yeah, so in a very Dat Boi-style sequence, Uncle Benjen Stark bossily rolled through the woods wielding a flaming flail that he used to verily obliterate the Wights trying to lay waste to Bran. From his experience almost being turned into a White Walker by a stab wound from a sword of ice, we learn that the affliction of Walkerdom can be reversed by a similar stab of dragonglass, the same way the Children created the White Walkers in the first place. This, like Sam’s Valyrian steel sword, will be useful later on in the series, though similarly the set-up felt a little convenient. Is it the dialogue that’s feeling too pat here? That’s up in the air, but Benjen seems to allude to the fact that Bran, who spent the beginning of the episode having some sort of warg-seizure, will now assume the title of Three-Eyed Raven. Hokay!
Dany, leading a horde of brand-new Dothraki devotees, figures out that indeed she is a conquerer, and she’s gonna take the Seven Kingdoms, with the assistance of her infinite blood riders and dragon babies. In a rousing speech, she was basically like, “I’m doing this better because I’m not a khal, I’m a khaleesi,” reflecting my general life philosphy.
The episode’s biggest reveal, however, is that Drogon has got some nasty-ass breath. Anatomically speaking, though, now we know from whence the fire comes.
Dead: none, except for some wights smashed to pieces and, sort of, halfsie White Walker Benjen.
Images via screenshot/HBO