Game of Thrones Recap

Game of Thrones Recap: A Stark Shock

Need to catch up? Check out last week’s Game of Thrones recap here.

Can we have a hand for Game of Thrones Ser Jaime Lannister? (Yes, there’s a day that joke won’t be funny anymore, and no, today is not that day.) Fed up with how the High Sparrow has taken over his family and his city, the Kingslayer rides right up to the church creep’s front door — on horseback! — and demands what he wants.

Does he get it? Nope. But there’s an impressive political play going on in King’s Landing, and I’m not talking about the Sparrow’s seemingly successful bid for power. The Lannisters may always pay their debts, but they also know how to choose their moments. And man, I do not want to be the High Sparrow when Cersei decides it’s time.

On an unrelated but near-hyperventilatingly excited note: Uncle Benjen is back! And Edmure Tully is alive! And Sam grew a mighty pair! Read on for the highlights of “Blood of My Blood.”

HOUSE STARK: WARG-WHAT-IS-IT-GOOD-FOR EDITION | We open on Meera dragging Bran through the cold and snow. He’s still warg’d out, tripping around in time and watching everything from his fall from the tower in the series premiere to the Mad King’s command to “Burn ’em all!” with wildfire. The white walkers and wights are in fast pursuit, which he sleepily informs her as he comes to. “I’m so sorry,” she cries, collapsing on top of him, but just then a hooded figure brandishing weapons made of fire arrives and starts taking out young Stark’s attackers. “Come with me, now. The dead don’t rest,” he says, sweeping both Bran and Meera onto his horse’s back and then galloping away to safety.

After they make camp, Meera questions their hooded savior about why he helped them. He says the Three-Eyed Raven has been born again, and then adds a bunch of stuff that helps longtime fans know who he is even before he uncovers his face: It’s Benjen Stark! (If you’re all, “Eh, I just watch this for the boobs. Who is this guy?”: Benjen is Ned’s brother, a Night’s Watch brother who appeared at the very beginning of Season 1 but has long since been thought dead.) Long story short, The Children stopped him from becoming a full-on white walker years ago. He refers to Bran as the three-eyed raven; the teen says he’s not ready. All good, Uncle Benjen replies: By the time the frozen ish really hits the frozen fan, “You will be.”

HOUSE TARWELL | “It’s so green.” That’s Gilly’s take on the lands near Sam’s family’s home, and I remember once more how little of the world she’d seen before the Night’s Watch showed up at Craster’s Keep — and how many insane things she’s witnessed since. Sam is nervous — he reminds her to say that Little Sam is his baby — and Gilly susses out that he hasn’t told his family that she is a wildling.

Sam’s mom and sister are so happy to see him, and they’re very warm to a very out-of-place Gilly. (Side note: Baby Sam might just be the cutest baby in all seven kingdoms.) Later that night, Gilly emerges from her She’s All That-type makeover in a gown and ringlets, to Sam’s great pleasure. “It’s hard to walk in this,” she says, which may be the truest truism (aside from “I drink and I know things”) ever uttered on this show.

Dinner with the family — including Sam’s brother and father — however, is awkward. But stilted conversation about hunting is preferable to the insults Lord Tarly hurls at Sam, whose desire to be a maester is mocked. “I’d wager you still can’t sit a horse or wield a sword,” Daddy Tarly sniffs. Our girl Gilly jumps in, metaphorically taking off her earrings like the loyal love that she is. “He’s a greater warrior than either of you will ever be,” she boasts, but accidentally outs herself as one of the free folk by mentioning that he killed a white walker while they were on their way “down” to The Wall.

Tarly the Elder points out a sword on the wall and says that it’s supposed to go to Sam, but then decrees that the family will fall apart if Sam is ever in charge. He says a lot of other ugly things about Gilly and Sam, and I fall in love with Lady Tarly a little bit when she takes Gilly and Sam’s sister out of the room and tells Sam’s dad “you dishonor yourself.”

In private, Sam apologizes, and Gilly says she’s not mad at him, “I’m angry that horrible people can treat good people that way and get away with it.” Boy howdy, sister. “You’re not what he thinks you are, Sam. He doesn’t know what you are,” she adds, trying to buck him up, but he takes off — as his father ordered — and it’s quite sad… until Sam marches back in and declares, “We’re leaving… we belong together. All of us.” YES, SAM. YES. And Sam even takes the family sword off the wall on their way out the door! Everyone is feisty this week, and I dig it!

HOUSE STARK: THIS-AIN’T-HAMILTON EDITION | Arya watches another farce — this one about Joffrey’s death — and can you blame the girl for giggling as the fake boy king bites it? But when the fake Cersei really goes for the heartstrings as she acts out the queen’s grief, even our baby assassin is affected. Still, all the Tonys in the world won’t stop Arya from sneaking backstage to poison the diva’s jiggle juice.

Fauxersi calls Arya out after the show, saying that she knows she shouldn’t be back near the dressing rooms, but the actress mistakenly thinks Arya is just a superfan. The girl gives her quite a quotable review — “It would all just be farting, belching and slapping without you”— but then gets freaked when Lady Crane notices her “expressive eyes.” Arya bugs out, but she comes back just in time to slap the poison drink out of the leading lady’s hand. (She pins the attempted murder on the show’s young starlet.) The Waif sees all. Then Arya rescues Needle from its hiding place by the water, and the Waif reports Arya’s failure to kill to J’qen. “You promised me,” The Waif says. “Don’t let her suffer,” a man replies. I think we’re supposed to be worried here, but there’s no way that little jerk is going to take out Arya, right? Right?!

HOUSE LANNISTER | During a visit to the High Sparrow, the holy man allows Tommen to visit Margaery. “We’ll be together again soon and everything will be better than it was before,” she tells him. But how? Oh, just a little thing known as the Walk of Atonement — and she’s on board with it. Saying that the Sparrow is “not quite what we thought he was, is he?,” the queen notes that the pastor has helped her see who she really is… and then starts spouting a lot of cultish talk. “All those stories I told myself about who I was and why I did the things I did. There were so many lies in those stories,” she tells her stymied husband. “It’s such a relief to let go of those lies.”

She adds that Loras “needs to atone” for his sins. “The gods have a plan for us all.” Does she truly mean it? Is this a long con? Or was girlfriend at the point where she’d say anything for a shower and a trial-sized bottle of conditioner? It’s unclear as the combined Lannister/Tyrell forces march into the city just as Margaery is about to start her sashay of shame. When the High Sparrow won’t turn over the queen and her brother, Jaime and his horse canter right up the steep staircase and threaten war… then the High Sparrow yields… because Margaery has already atoned by bringing Tommen “into the true light of the seven,” (!) Ol’ Holier-Than-Thou says. “Together, we announce a new age of harmony. A holy alliance between the Crown and the Faith.”

The people cheer. Grandma Tyrell looks bored. Tommen gives a speech that probably would’ve been more impressive were it not delivered in a mezzo soprano voice. And as the masses rejoice, Jaime and Lady Olenna get a sinking feeling: “He’s won,” the old lady says. (Side note: If Tommen truly is all in, that kid is perhaps the most easily swayed character we’ve met so far.)

“Will I be walking naked in the streets?” Jaime asks when Tommen relieves him as the head of the kingsguard. Sadly, the answer to this question is not “YASSSS”; instead, Jaime’s son banishes him from the city. Later that night, Jaime rails against the High Sparrow’s power move, and Cersei cautions him to do what Tommen says so they can make their move later. “They have no idea how strong we are. What we’re going to do to them,” she says, and they kiss with something approaching Season 1 lust.

HOUSE TULLY | Walder Frey berates his sons for losing Riverrun, then tasks them with taking it back — by using Edmure (who’s been a captive since the Red Wedding) — as a bargaining chip. Or they’ll kill him in front of the Tullys. I’m not 100 percent sure.

HOUSE TARGARYEN | Daenerys’ plan: Ride for Meereen with her khalasar, then head to Westeros. But Daario says she’s a conqueror, not someone made to sit on a throne for all her days. She rides off on her own for a while; when she returns, it’s on the back of one of her dragons. (Even six seasons in, that visual is still damn impressive, no?) She gives a speech that once more exhorts her hordes to conquer and slay in her name. In the words of A. Burr: So, we’re doing this?

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Ian says:

    So proud of Sam. He made this episode. And I can’t wait for Arya to stab The Waif right through her smug mouth. I just wonder how things end with Jaqen and if she gets away with any faces.

    • Ian says:

      Not even a tear from Bran for Hodor, too. Not cool.

      • Ron says:

        In fairness, we could see Bran tearing up in the last episode as he realized what was going on, when young Hodor was having his seizure. And there really wasn’t much time for Bran to mourn in this episode, with the rapid attack from the wights and the realization his uncle Benjen is still alive and all…

        • keeper007jp says:

          Does any one know what happened at Riverrun? who has it? if not Walder Frey, this was not explained properly, help me?? thanks all

          • The Beach says:

            Thanks for asking this. I was confused also. I hope someone can elaborate for us.

          • grass says:

            Riverrun was taken back from Walder Frey by “The Blackfish”, which is the nickname for Brynden Tully, who is Catelyn Stark’s uncle (his older brother Holster Tully, who died a while ago, was Catelyn’s father). Riverrun is the traditional kingdom of House Tully. The Blackfish is so named because their banner is a trout, and he was the black sheep of the family for not having gotten married, therefore called The Blackfish. He was present at the red wedding, but went outside to take a leak right before the murdering started, so he avoided being killed.

          • grass says:

            Also, Holster Tully was the original head of Riverrun before he died. His son, Edmure is the heir to the kingdom, but The Blackfish doesn’t really respect him (if you remember from season 3, Edmure was trying to fire a flaming arrow into his father’s grave that was floating down the river, but kept missing, so The Blackfish did it). Walder Frey is holding Edmure hostage and is planning to use him to get Riverrun back from The Blackfish.

          • The Beach says:

            Thank you!

  2. Kevin K says:

    Daenerys’ speech in Dothraki was my favorite moment from the episode. Did recover from last week’s HOLD THE DOOR moment and we’re down to only four episodes left this season.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Really? I thought her speech was fairly pointless, at least in the moment. Just swoop down on the dragon; that’s impressive enough! Why was the speech necessary at that particular juncture? I’m kind of over Dany’s rally the troops speeches in general; they’re less impactful and less badass the more often they happen.

      • Dr. Mantis Toboggan says:

        I agree, the speech felt a bit needless and forced, and very similar to speeches she has given in the past. This was an oddly slow paced episode in comparison to those that came before it. Just last week I praised the show for it’s lack of ‘filler’ episodes, but this week was the closest we have come to one this season. Not complaining, just observing ;)

        • Mike Q says:

          They don’t quite seem to know what to do with Daenerys until her inclusion in the battle against the dead.

      • KCC says:

        If I’m in that horde and someone swoops down riding a dragon I’d would like to know what her plans are. Dani makes the speech after a victory when her newest followers are at their most manic. It’s a short enough speech and I would bet many there haven’t heard it before. You’re used to seeing dragons and hearing Dani’s speeches. She’s been away from the Dothraki for years.

  3. Walkie says:

    One of the worst episodes in quite some time. The Sam storyline is pointless. They spend far too much time on that. They had Dany on a dragon just so the episode wasn’t without spectacle. Really surprising to lay a turd with so much good stuff to tackle.

    • Ian says:

      He retrieved Heartsbane. Pointless?

      • Mollymoo says:

        Yup! Another Valarian Steel (aka Whitewalker killing-stick) in the hands of the good guys. That made Lord Asshat Tarly worth every minute.

    • the cookie queen says:

      What r u smoking!!! This was a great episode,the return of Uncle Bejen ,Darendrys riding in on Dragon was awesome!!!!!

    • Lala says:

      I completely agree with you…Sam & Gilly are pointless to say the least..I guess it was all for the sword, but that was too much time spend on them.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      I didn’t love the ep either (I’m SO OVER this stupid High Sparrow storyline), but the scenes revolving around Sam were some of my favorite parts. It was interesting to see where he came from and realizing how much he evolved from when he left home. What a horrible father he has! But his mom is pretty awesome. Took a minute for me to recognize Sam’s brother as the “bachelor” from UnReal. Hope we see more of him.

    • KCC says:

      Every storyline is pointless. Until it isn’t. We just can’t see the point yet. The Benjen storyline in season 1 was pointless until this week. The Brothers Without Banners story was pointless until Jon Snow was dead and needed to be reanimated. If this is the last we see of Sam, the sword and his father, then the storyline was pointless. The point of those scenes will become apparent later.

    • The Sam storyline might just be savior to someone down the line. Especially with that valerian steel on his hip.

    • Ron says:

      I wouldn’t call it a bad episode, though there were definitely some filler moments. But pointless Sam storyline? Huh? If you don’t have the foresight to see the importance of Sam leaving with Heartsbane, I’m not really sure what to say…

    • Derrick says:

      I understand after the last few episodes how this one could seem like letdown. It struck me more as like the middle part of a chess game where you are moving the pieces around to set up an endgame.

      Exciting? Nope.

      Critical? Yup.

  4. ninergrl6 says:

    Highlight of the episode: Arya FINALLY retrieving Needle and getting over this “girl with no name” nonsense. I absolutely cheered!
    Honorable mention: Sam’s mom; uncle Benjen; seeing that Black Jack, er, Edmure has been imprisoned all this time.

    Highlight of this recap: “Will I be walking naked in the streets?” Jamie asks when Tommen relieves him as the head of the kingsguard. Sadly, the answer to this question is not “YASSSS”
    I’m still laughing over this! Brava, Ms. Roots.
    Honorable mention: all the Hamilton references. How lucky we are to be alive right now.

    • I certainly hope that Jamie’s horse gets a lot of consideration for “Performer of the Week” after impressively scaling those steps. That was some serious equestrian stuff by horse and rider.

  5. At last! says:

    Uncle Benjen is back! I don’t care how did the Children kept him himself I’m just glad he’s back! And Bran is the Three Eyed Raven now, R’hlor help them all!

  6. Lala says:

    Nothing really happened apart from Benjen returning. Bran’s visions were awesome, can’t wait to see more of them in detail. With so much happening with other storylines why spend so much time on Sam & Gilly.
    Sam & Gilly are so pointless…..I’m guessing all that screen time was wasted on them so it could lead to him getting the sword. Yawn! Sam’s father on the other hand, he was incredible..I would love to see him & his troops in battle.
    I had completely lost interest in Arya’s storyline this season until I saw her retrieve needle, which is a good’s hoping she’ll leave the faceless men and go get her own revenge.
    Then come Daenerys, very tired of her speeches, how any times has she given that speech….and all the while she still fails to enforce peace within the cities she has already conquered. Now she’s going to add the Dothrakis to that unrest already existing in Meereen. Loved the dragon though…he’s just majestic!

    • Mike Q says:

      My guess: the point was to introduce Sam’s mother and sister who will join with Jon Snow’s mini-rebellion. (Thus specifically mentioning Jon at the dinner.)

    • Stacey says:

      I agree wholeheartedly on Arya’s SL, I literally cheered when she grabbed Needle. I would love for her to go out and get her revenge.
      Definitely not my favorite episode this season, really missed Jon and Sansa, that is by far my favorite SL right now.

      • ninergrl6 says:

        100% same. I missed Jon and Sansa a lot. I’d much rather watch them wandering in the north than listen to another “rally the troops” speech from Dany. Kit Harrington said this was his biggest season to date, but he spent two episodes on a slab and wasn’t in the most recent ep at all. There must be A LOT of Jon coming up for that statement to be true.

      • Lala says:

        Me too, I absolutely love Jon and Sansa…and even Ramsay up in Winterfell, he’s quite entertaining too. I wish they would spend more time on those characters.

  7. Mollymoo says:

    While I am happy to see Benjen “Coldhands” Stark, I am also a little disappointed. I thought GRRM has been pretty adamant that Benjen is not Coldhands. maybe I am remembering that wrong. I love the show. I love the books. I do worry about how much they will diverge.

    • Martina says:

      Yeah, maybe GRRM just denied that to make the story less obvious for readers.
      Even if Coldhands isn’t Benjen in the books, he surely has a similar fate in there (since it seems very obvious that he would turn up again at some point) and thus the show is merging them so that they not have to introduce another unknown character. Maybe there is a bunch of other characters like him in the books who help them to fight the White Walkers or something.

      • Mollymoo says:

        Maybe. The denial wasn’t public though. It came out last year as notes in the original manuscript for Dance W/ Dragons. His editor asked in margin notes “Is this Benjen?” (referring to the intro of Coldhands) and he wrote back simply “NO.” But, I also agree that Benjen may have had a similar fate – in text we just don’t know yet. It wouldn’t be the first time D&B merged characters for expediency. (i.e. Jorah’s greyscale (aka Griff’s), Sansa marrying Ramsey (aka ‘fake Arya’), etc and so on.

  8. Mike Q says:

    Seems like there are two ways out with Arya.

    Happy ending: Arya kills girl and the girl’s face is added to the wall.

    Game of Thrones ending: the girl kills Arya and uses Arya’s face on an assignment to kill Jon/Sansa/Bran.

    • Meredith says:

      That’s depressingly plausible…

      • Mike Q says:

        As I think about it, there’s actually a third that’s a little too cute for GoT season 1 but probably acceptable in GoT season 6: J’qen and the girl were talking about the actress who the girl is now going to kill. So the actress dies and Arya’s act has on benefit.

        The girl kills Arya is most fitting for this world though since a character is usually killed when they show compassion, love, or loyalty. Arya had a moment of compassion, bye-bye Arya.

        • Lala says:

          i beg to differ, people seem to die when they’ve killed someone themselves in the name of duty, sort of a foreshadowing.
          Examples – Stannis, Ned, Robb, Jon …they were all responsible for people’s death’s in the name of duty. This is why I’m worried for Brienne

          • Mike Q says:

            But with the possible exception of Stannis (who is decidedly NOT dead in the books, but is fiercely loyal to himself and Melisandre), those also cut my way: Robb loved Talisa, Jon showed loyalty to the wildlings, and Ned ways loyal to the King. All 3 died directly because of those mistakes. Your explanation, though, doesn’t explain: Caitlyn (loved her sons), Shae (loved Tyrion), Myranda (darkly in love with Ramsay), Myrcella (loved her fiance and refused to leave when she had the chance), or Stannis’ family. The real exceptions are Joffrey and Tywin, who both died to advance Tyrion’s story.

            Other than Arya, the one I’m most worried about is Tyrion, for whom Varys is the one person he trusts. That will almost certainly get him killed. Quite possibly as dragon food when Daenerys finds out he’s reinstituted slavery. Also think Dario is in trouble for pure devotion to Daenerys.

          • Lala says:

            Obviously more than 400 characters have been killed in this series so my theory cannot apply all those deaths. I am referring to significant honorable & loyal main characters. Myranda, Shae or even Mycella are not main characters.
            Ned beheaded that deserter in season 1 epi 1, Jon beheaded a Lord who refused to bend a knee..I can’t remember his name; Robb beheaded CaStark and well Stannis with Shireen, he felt it was his duty/destiny. Caitlyn even though she did not kill someone, she did confess towards the end that all this was happening to her& her family because she could not love a motherless in a sense I feel that was her comeuppance. Had Arya killed that actress all in the name of ‘doing what she is ought to do’ then her days would have been numbered. But I think for now she’s safe. Tyrion is probably one of the safest characters on this show but who knows…this is GOT after all.
            And again I mean killing purely out of duty and not out of ill-will or self-defence/revenge like Tyrion killing Shae & his father.

          • ScottJ says:

            Stannis is only alive in the books because the writing hasn’t got up to that point yet.

    • T.M. says:

      Thing to Always Remember: Arya is GRRM’s wife favorite. She is making it at least until the last season.

  9. kingjms010 says:

    That was a nice one…just like any other episodes

  10. Dr. Mantis Toboggan says:

    I find the whole High Sparrow thing a bit boring now. I am keeping the (seven) faith(s), as I hope this storyline ends in a Zombie Mountain v Hound trial by combat for Cersei’s life, please let that happen…

  11. JP says:

    Arya better join Jonsa and take back the north…. That is all..

  12. AngelWasHere says:

    Yay Arya and Needle are reunited! Now her storyline can get more interesting. Can’t wait to see The Waif die. Also I found Sam’s home life interesting. His father especially. Scary dude. It’s the High Sparrow stuff is that bores me.

  13. Concerned says:

    I sincerely think the high sparrow plot is the worst storyline GoT has done. It’s been almost two years of boring, irritating speeches and insulting religious bullsh*t.

    The entirety of the storyline involves the High Sparrow in a poorly lit room having an almost identical conversation to one other person (cersei, Marjory, Jaime, Tommen, Olena etc).

    It feels like you can lift it right out of the show and it won’t have any consequence.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      I’m over it too. Nothing seems to be advancing. I thought we’d finally get some payoff this week with Jaime stopping Margaery’s walk of atonement, but then that fizzled. I sure hope Margaery is up to something; hearing her spew the High Sparrow’s nonsense to Tommen was really pathetic. I would expect naive Tommen to fall for it, but not Margaery.

  14. Jimbo Fauntleroy says:

    Did you purposely switch between Jaime and Jamie every other time he was mentioned?

  15. Azu says:

    Can someone please kill off tommen? He’s disgustingly weak!!

  16. katedfw says:

    Daenerys has to be the most bad a$$ woman on the show! Love her! Arya taking the “Needle” out of it’s hiding place means she is not putting up with the Waif any longer. Interesting to see what she will do since she went through all that training and for what? Can’t wait to see how she uses her skills. Can’t wait for Cersi’s trial by combat and there are only 3 shows left this season!!!

  17. Michael Littlefield says:

    It’s called exposition folks. Sometimes you just need an episode where story moves along and key plot points are explained. Not every episode can be like the last few. There is payoff down the road. Have patience.

  18. Deion says:

    “In the words of A. Burr: So we’re doing this?” I cackled. Loudly.