Last week’s episode of Game of Thrones was called “Blood of my Blood,” but it wasn’t very bloody. In fact, it seemed really padded; another episode toward the usually climactic 9th episode. There was a decent amount of information and set up, however, even if some of it was lateral movements for the narrative. Let’s run down the major scenes from last week before the new episode tonight! Spoilers are coming….
The episode starts up immediately where The Door left off. Bran being dragged through the cold by Meera while he is stuck in a torrent of visions. He sees extremely important events of the past: The Mad King ordering the burning of King’s Landing; Jamie murdering the Mad King and sitting on the Iron Throne; The creation of the baby White Walker. He also sees things from the future? The shadow of dragons over King’s Landing and store of wildfire beneath the Red Keep exploding. When Bran emerges from the dream, it’s only to tell Meera that the wights have found them.
Just as certain doom approaches in rides Coldhands! It’s revealed later in the episode that Coldhands is Benjen Stark (Bran’s Uncle) who went missing on a scouting trip north of the Wall in season 1. He was brought back from the brink of death, after being stabbed by a White Walker’s blade of ice, by the Children of the Forest who buried a piece of dragonglass in his heart. Wait…WHAT?! There is some kind of connection with the blood of the Starks/The First Men/The White Walkers. Perhaps this is why the Night King was able to touch Bran during his vision of the Weirwood.
The whole section of the episode with Samwell and Gilly felt extremely padded and took up a considerable portion of the episode. We get it, Sam’s dad hates wildlings. This is an instance where telling us once was nearly as effective as showing us for 15 minutes. The most important bit of knowledge imparted by the scene is that Sam leaves his family’s home with their ancestral Valyrian steel sword, Heartsbane; and, Valyrian steel is known to have particularly strong White Walker killing stats.
Margery has made a conversion; whether or not this conversion is real has yet to be seen. It could be a deft, longplay political maneuver but for now it looks like there is an alliance between The Crown and The Faith—and that is very real. Jamie Lannister is removed as the head of the King’s Guard and set to settle a battle in the riverlands between the Frey’s and Tully’s over Riverrun. This is an interesting development because it brings some characters who have not been around in a major way since the Red Wedding. Hopefully we will see Walder Frey, one of the primary architects of Rob Stark’s downfall, get a brutal comeuppance.
Arya ends up speaking with her target and this brief conversation makes Arya decide not to follow through with the task she has been given. It’s hard to say how this decision will effect Arya’s future; certainly, she is now marked for death. Arya could very easily join the acting troupe and get out of Braavos. J’aqen himself has essentially told Arya a simple mummers trick will often work as well as a glamour. It’s hard to imagine Arya becoming No One; she is a Stark of Winterfell. There is a very interesting theory about how the Waif and Arya are actually the same person. What is clear is that her path forward is very dangerous.
The scene with Dany at the end is confusing in a lot of ways because it wasn’t really needed. She has already walked out of the pyre of burning Khals, we didn’t need to see her mount the dragon and rile the Khalasar. It was cool, no doubt. It just seemed like a cheap way to reintroduce Drogon, who went missing again when Dany was captured. It was a bit of a preview of a Daenerys led invasion of Westeros. While Tyrion wasn’t around to maybe temper her attitudes toward the iron-suited men and their stone houses, she has basically promised blood to people that rape and pillage ala the Mongols. Fire and Blood.