Game of Thrones: Season 6 Episode 6 Review – Blood of My Blood
After last week’s emotional Hodor epitaph (which we have since found out was indeed appropriated right from George R. R. Martin’s mind), the show deliberately adopted a calmer pace this week, choosing to focus on the such subjects as Sam Tarly returning home and the fate of Margaery Tyrell. Despite this, we also received a great deal of gratifyingA Song of Ice and Fire content this week. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
Undoubtedly the most important part of this episode for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire was its opening. As Bran is being dragged along by Meera, his mind continues to wander in the past and we see quick glimpses of different moments throughout history. Thus, we are again granted a look at the great historical moments of Westeros – those which the books talk about often – which we have been granted sporadic looks at over the past few weeks (for example, with Bran witnessing such moment as the raid on the Tower of Joy).
We have gone back and paused through the rapid succession of moments that flashes before Bran’s eyes. The first crucial flashback is of The Mad King Aerys Targaryen, sitting on the Iron Throne shouting “burn them all!” (Aerys was notorious for using dragon fire as an execution method). We then see a young Ned Stark ask where his sister is (a moment taken directly from the Tower of Joy episode), only this time we see what appears to be Lyanna’s hand, bloodied but still moving and alive. We then see Jaime Lannister plunge his sword into King Aerys, killing him and earning him Jaime his “Kingslayer” title.
All three of these moments are enormously gratifying for fans of the books and we love the show for taking the effort to shoot these scenes and to show them, however briefly. Regarding Lyanna’s bloody hand, we understand the necessity of not showing this entire scene, particularly if the Jon Snow as Lyanna and Rhaeghar’s child theory is going to be utilised later on.
Bran’s visions then run into historical scenes of the white walkers and The Mad King’s “burn them all!” seems all the more prescient here (showing perhaps another instance of a past moment playing into the present). For certainly the way to destroy the white walkers will be to burn them all (cue Daenerys’ dragons, once they cross the seas).
To broach Daenerys and her dragons, this episode also finally made it appear as though she is finally choosing to take the action of crossing the seas, to claim the throne. This has been a moment delayed too long in both the books and the show. We’re tired of seeing Daenerys’ political games in the East and we’d much rather have seen her attempt to reclaim her throne a long time ago.
Another wrong that the show has correcting, in relation to the books, is Jaime finally being sent to the siege of Riverrun, to defeat Brynden Tully (“The Blackfish”). This happened in the books way back in A Feast for Crows (as did all of the Iron Islands content that we are seeing this season), so it’s nice that the writers have chosen to get around to this, adopting a better late than never approach.
On the subject of the Tullys, this episode also saw the return of Edmure Tully (Brynden’s nephew), who we last saw at the Red Wedding massacre. It was evident that Edmure had survived – held imprisoned by the Frey’s – but the show has waited a long time to show him again. He has only been brought back now due to the siege that Jaime is about to undertake (Edmure is used as leverage at the siege, when Ser Ryman Frey threatens to hang him).
In its final legs, this episode opted to execute a reveal that book fans have long expected. This is that Cold Hands (who the show has wrongfully omitted until now) is in fact Benjen Stark. The reveal feels a little underwhelming, due to us all having expected this anyway, but really there’s no other sensible choice for his identity, so we’re fine with them playing out the obvious choice here. And it was still gratifying to see our expectations played out.
Sam returning to his Father was always expected and it played out here pretty much how we anticipated, albeit with a Valyrian steel sword thrown in (for a rare kind of sword, there really are quite a few of these around in Westeros) and with Sam not standing up to his Father as much as we had hoped.
This episode also returned to focusing on the strife between the Lannisters/Tyrells and the Sparrows. Even the smarts and bravado of those two houses combined were defeated easily by the intellect of The High Sparrow here. He’s a character that annoys and frustrates us ever more with each passing episode, and we would love to see Jaime (if we wasn’t leaving for Riverrun) defy his oath and King once more (like he did with Aerys) and take murderous action against the Sparrows.
As has been happening often this season, this episode both satiated book fans by providing crucial and brilliant flashback scenes (however brief) and Cold Hands revelations, yet also kept the “new” content of the show ticking along nicely, appeasing fans of the show. This episode also marks the start of the second half of the season, and we can tell that the show has some further gems in store for us in its final leg.
Image credits: HBO