Monday, May 30, 2016

Game of Thrones Blood of my Blood

This episode had a lot to live up to after the explosive finish last week. Bran is no longer under the protection of the Three Eyed Raven- indeed he apparently IS the Three eyed Raven now. He and Meera are on the run after the heroic sacrifice by Hodor to let them get away- but Meera's dead on her feet and pursuit is not far behind. Will they make it? How can they make it? Well the answer to that is very interesting. 

Spoilers for both the books and the show. 

So this week for me was all about Bran and Arya. Yeah some other people showed up but those two had big moments. We pick up right after last weeks show and all looks grim for Bran and Meera, but they have a rescuer- Benjen Stark- who we haven't seen since season one and who is still missing in the books. It's a good scene, with him arriving on horseback and using fire to defeat the wights chasing them. He then gets Bran and Meera away and we don't see them again until the end of the episode- I could have used a whole episode in the north frankly- but it's the end where we learn things. 

Benjen didn't look particularly undead to me although his face did have a bluish cast, or was that just me? But I was assuming he was alive. But then in HBO's Inside the Episode segment right after, one of the showrunners called Benjen Coldhands. Well that was a shock- Coldhands in the books is clearly undead, or a wight or something, but he appears to serve the Three Eyed Raven. How does that work? Well here Benjen tells Bran that the walkers caught him and would have turned him, but the Children of the Forest saved him. A shard of dragonglass to the heart, says Bran- and Benjen agrees. Last week I speculated that perhaps dragonglass can make as well as unmake wights- apparently that's true? 

So the huge questions here is- is Benjen really Coldhands? Well on the show apparently so. the interesting part is George RR Martin is on record as saying Benjen is NOT Coldhands in the books- so maybe he's going in a different direction. But from a book spoilers perspective this is a big reveal. On par with the stuff that happened last time. As for the scene itself, I thought it worked. I love the look of the snowy woods and they have the locations down for all this north stuff. 

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Let's talk about Arya a minute. She's the other big news- Arya makes a choice. A big choice. She decides not to kill Lady Crane at the last moment, and the Waif sees it. It's open season on Arya now in the House of Black and White- the Waif gets the go ahead to kill her- but Arya has retrieved Needle. I was hoping we would see the confrontation but apparently that's going to wait. Assuming Arya survives, what happens next? Who knows, we're beyond the books now. Is she headed back to Westeros soon? Frankly I was glad she made that decision, I'm sick of all the Faceless Man crap and I'll take Arya Stark over some soulless assassin any day. 

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 We spent a lot of time at Horn Hill in this episode. Sam and Gilly arrive at his home to meet his family, and Lord Tarly is as uptight as he is in the books. Not a pleasant reunion. I was a little irked that Sam didn't stand up to his father at dinner, but then later takes Heartbane when they flee. If he's willing to do that seems like he would take a stand against his dad. I'm really not sure where this is going- what is Sam planning to do with Heartsbane? 

The worst part of this episode was the Kings Landing situation. The High Sparrow has outmaneuvered the Lannisters and Tyrells by brainwashing/ converting Tommen and Margaery? Seriously? That's not credible to me at all, and I'll be really surprised if the books go this way. Margaery in particular seemed to have seen the light, as it were- is she just playing or is she really under the High Sparrows sway? I guess time will tell. Jaime meanwhile is dismissed to go to the Riverlands and retake Riverrun- so I guess that confirms that the Blackfish has truly captured it. Old man Frey is none too happy about that either- and the interesting thing for me were the name drops of two Houses that support the Tullys and the Starks. 

We're told that the Mallisters and the Blackwoods have allied with the Blackfish- readers of course know that Jason Mallister and Tytos Blackwood are big time supporters of the Tully/ Starks. Very interesting. I for one hope this does happen in the books- I'd love to see the Mallisters and Blackwoods with the Blackfish. Of course in the books Jaime is in the riverlands and has just treated with Blackwood before disappearing, presumably with Brienne- it seems that the show is going in that direction with both Jaime and Brienne headed for the riverlands. 

I just have to say again how disappointing show Jaime is. All he wants to do on the show is kill the High Sparrow and defeat their enemies, blah blah. He has none of the nuance and complexity of the Jaime from the books, who is morally conflicted and trying to reclaim his honor. I don't know why they're doing this to his character but I can barely stand his scenes. And let's see what else happened? Oh yeah there's a dragon- my is Drogon getting big?? Daenerys shows up briefly and is reunited with Drogon- and she is finally ready to sail to Westeros and take what is hers. Finally! Still hasn't happened in the books, but this is a book spoiler that is welcome. We've only been waiting years. 

Final thoughts. A good episode, some more reveals, not sure why we're spending so much on Sam's situation, no Jon/ Sansa this time. 

Some nice quotes. 

"Do you like pretending to be other people?" - Lady Crane to Arya in a nice scene

"It's such a relief to let go of those lies." - Margaery to Tommen, explaining her newfound faith 


  1. I haven't fully been watching the show since series 4 (though I do keep track of what's going on) but I totally agree with you re: Jaime. He is one of my favourite characters in the book because of the nuances and conflicts within his character, and the storyline that he's following now is the total opposite of what goes on with him in the book (it's funny, I was actually thinking about his storyline the other day too). Not to mention I was looking forward to seeing Cersei and Jaime's goals diverge in opposite directions...

  2. I have the same exact question you do: what's next for Arya when/if she gets out of Braavos? What if she wanders into the riverlands just as all the other stuff is happening there? With the show and the books so diverged from each other now, I feel like any farfetched theories and scenarios could eventually happen on the show, lol.

    I had a feeling that the KL showdown wasn't going to turn into a full scale battle and that we'll see the heaviest fighting up in the north, which is OK with me! I want to see Ramsay finally get what he deserves!

    The show runners keep saying that the show won't necessarily spoil future books, and I wonder if Benjen/Coldhands is one instance where the show has gone in one direction and the books will go in another. I liked Benjen's return; it complemented what we learned about the White Walkers' origins last week very well, and I'm definitely not going to complain about another Stark being alive (or semi-alive? LOL.)!