Game of Thrones Recap: A Stark Shock

Game of Thrones Recap

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!

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