Monday, May 30, 2016

Game of Thrones: Blood of My Blood

by Melissa Parkin

Old faces return, new alliances are forged, and many people are not particularly happy.

Picking up from last week, Meera drags Bran’s body through forest lands while he’s still trapped in a vision. Bran experiences flashbacks, only to wake up at the last moment when the army of the dead draws near. Exhausted and unable to fend them off, Meera tearfully apologizes to Bran as the reanimated corpses come for them. Swarms descend on all sides. Just as the Wights prepare to strike, a masked man crashes the party and demolishes the creatures with a flaming flail. Following the onslaught, the stranger insists Meera and Bran come with him to escape the dead. With no other alternative, Meera agrees and the rider hauls Bran’s body up onto his horse as the girl climbs on the rear.

Once they’ve gained enough ground, the three stop to regroup. Meera asks the rider why he bothered to come to their aid, in which he says that the Raven sent for him. The stranger also mentions that he hasn’t seen Bran since he was just a boy. He pulls back his hood and mask, revealing himself to be Benjen Stark. And dear old uncle B has seen better days. His face is deathly pale and showing signs of decay. Apparently, he’d been turned into a White Walker, but the Children of the Forest used dragonglass to halt the transformation.  
Gilly escorts Sam back to his home in Horn Hill. Considering his father’s cruelty and the fact that he hates Wildlings, Sam cannot stress enough to Gilly that she not mention her heritage. Also, she must say that he is the father of baby Sam. It’s the only way they’ll receive Randyll Tarly’s hospitality. When the pair arrives at the family estate, Sam’s mother and sister welcome them with open arms. Sadly, dinner doesn’t go so well after his father returns from a hunting trip. Randyll pulls no punches as he expresses his grave disappointment in his son. Gilly interrupts him however, telling the Tarlys all about Sam’s accomplishments, including how he killed a White Walker on their way south to the Wall. 

Sam’s brother laughs, since few believe the Walkers still exist, but Randyll outright explodes as he realizes that Gilly is in fact a Wildling. He points to the Tarly sword above the fireplace, declaring that he will never pass it down to his first born, as Sam is undeserving of the precious Valyrian steel. Randyll tells his son that Gilly can stay at Horn Hill on the condition that she work in the kitchen. As for Sam, this will be the last night he ever stays at the family estate. Sam apologizes to Gilly soon after and says his goodbyes to her, only to return a few minutes later. He tells her that they’re all leaving, since she and little Sam are his family. He takes his father’s sword as a parting gift, saying that if Randyll really wants it that badly, he can "bloody well try" to get it back.
Tommen goes to visit the High Sparrow, wishing to speak with Margaery. The Sparrow assures the king that the common people will be much gentler to the queen than they were to Cersei during her impending Walk of Atonement. He even grants Tommen the chance to visit with Margaery, who supports the Sparrow’s promise. She’s ready to repent for her sins, telling Tommen that the High Sparrow has touched her in ways she never thought possible. It seems the man has affected them both…

Jaimie Lannister and Mace Tyrell join forces to lead their army into King’s Landing, hoping to stop Margaery’s Walk. Upon reaching the Sept, Jaimie orders the Sparrow to return Margaery and her brother. The Sparrow seems amused by the attempt, shooing the Tyrell army away as they don’t have the authority to make such demands. Just when things look like they can’t get any worse, the High Sparrow informs the crowd that Margaery won’t be making her Walk, as she’s already atoned by bringing someone else into the true light of the Seven. The Kingsguard emerges from the Sept . . . with Tommen in the lead.

The Sparrow declares this to be a new age of harmony between faith and the Crown. Tommen returns to the Iron Throne, stripping Jaimie of his title as Lord Commander to the Kingsguard. His father/uncle tries to reason with the boy, but Tommen demands that it’s necessary to restore the Seven Kingdoms to its former glory. As consequence, Jaimie is sent away from King’s Landing.

Arya continues scouting the acting troupe, trying to find a way to get backstage so that she can poison Lady Crane’s rum. She’s more than impressed by Crane as the Lady plays Cersei in a reenactment of Joffrey’s death. Nevertheless, Arya sneaks into the actors’ dressing area and poisons the rum. It’s obvious that Crane’s understudy wants the woman out of the picture. Arya has an attack of conscience and smacks the rum from Crane’s hand before she can drink it, letting the Lady know that her fellow actress wishes her dead. 
The Waif overhears the exchange, returning to the House to inform Jaqen H'ghar of Arya’s failure. He merely tells her to not let Arya suffer. Meanwhile, Stark goes to recover her trusted sword, Needle, before taking refuge in a dark underground crypt.

Grouchy old Walder Frey is beyond outraged after learning that his sons managed to lose Riverrun. He demands that they return and reclaim the land, but the men inform him that it’s impossible due to the fact that Blackfish has gained some powerful allies in the region. Unfazed by the news, Frey reminds his sons of the Red Wedding, telling them to take a special visitor back to Riverrun. An imprisoned Edmure Tully.
As for Daenerys, she and Daario lead the Dothraki back to Meereen when something catches the Khaleesi's eye. She rides off to investigate it, leaving Daario to come after her when she doesn’t return. Just as he sets off, a large shadow casts overhead. Sure enough, Drogon lands in front of the Dothraki—toting Dany on his scaly back. The Mother of Dragons gives a rousing speech, asking the men to follow her to Westeros. After seeing her already walk through fire, was there any real doubt about their response?


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