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I’ll say this for season six of Game of Thrones: things are absolutely racing by at a fast clip after a few seasons of dallying. Perhaps it’s a case of the showrunners finally realizing they are running out of time to tell the entire story, or maybe the arcs have simply been pared down to a manageable number (for those complaining that there are still too many characters to keep track of, just think of how many characters we have lost over the years, and imagine how bloated the show would be with their presence as well). “Blood of My Blood” was the perfect episode to highlight this new, fast paced Game of Thrones. Characters are moving from place to place quickly (and with little regard for distance and time, which could become an issue in the future). Storylines are moving forward briskly and with little room for adding in extra exposition. Oh, and the show is also paid off book fans with a massive reveal.
Let’s start with that reveal: Benjen Stark is alive. Well, he’s not dead. But he’s also not technically alive. It’s complicated, as all good Game of Thrones twists are. But he’s back on the playing field, and he can certainly protect Bran and Meera as they continue their journey. Now, I highly doubt the reappearance of Benjen was a true shock to many people, as the show has taken great pains to remind us that he went out ranging beyond the Wall and no one has seen him since. It was news of his return that lured Jon into the ambush last season, and we’ve seen little Benjen in a number of flashbacks this season. So, simply relying on that, Benjen was bound to turn up eventually. But adding another Stark to the series at this point is certainly a positive. And having someone around who can take down wights? Well, that will be invaluable in the coming war against the Night’s King.
The other major bit of spectacle in “Blood of My Blood” was the reappearance of Drogon, and his role in convincing the Dothraki to put their absolute faith and trust in Dany. Yes, it was amazing to see Dany once again on the back of her dragon, but I am starting to get a bit tired of the show trotting out Drogon whenever Dany needs a convenient means to escape or convince people to kowtow to her and her plans. Flying on the back of Drogon will allow her to make it back to Meereen in a jiffy, while her Dothraki army takes the long route (per Daario, a week of marching), allowing her arc to continue. Hopefully, this latest appearance by Drogon means the dragons will be available for use whenever needed (I understand they cannot appear too often, due to the massive CGI costs involved), and we won’t simply spend weeks sitting around waiting for them to return from wherever they may be grazing.
Finally, “Blood of My Blood,” saw the Faith Militant finally have something to do, other than keep the rich and powerful locked in prison. I’m particularly intrigued as to what scheme Margaery thinks she is running in throwing her lot in with the High Sparrow. She gave a masterful performance with Tommen, to convince the king to acquiesce to the High Sparrow’s requests. Perhaps it was as simple as Margaery looking to save herself the same indignity as Cersei. Or perhaps she is sick and tired of waiting for her family and the Lannisters to take action, so she took it herself. Whatever the case may be, I fear she may have bitten off more than she can chew in trying to match wits with the High Sparrow. Either way, it looks like Margaery has officially cut ties with Ser Loras, as I cannot imagine she will have the clout to save her brother from whatever fate awaits him.
— Key plot point people might have missed: Cersei’s own trial will be decided by combat. And Zombie Mountain will be her choice in champion. As for who the Faith Militant will use, well, I have a feeling we will be getting that news sooner rather than later. And it should be a shock for all involved.
— I’m sure there will be a host of book readers crying foul over the reveal that Coldhands is Benjen Stark. But, come on guys, isn’t this what you’ve all wanted from the get go?
— As many anticipated, Arya can’t kill the actress. For a character with as strong of a sense of right and wrong as Arya, having her become a hired assassin was going to be a complete waste of the character. I’m excited for her fight with the Waif though. I hope Arya kicks her ass.
— So Dany needs 1,000 ships. I wonder where she can get those. . . Looks like the Iron Born might serve some purpose yet.
— I’m intrigued to see what happens at Riverrun. And I’m also intrigued to see what happens with Brienne and Jaime fighting on opposite sides.
— At the beginning of the episode, I made a Chekhov joke about the Tarly sword on the wall. And then the episode’s writer Bryan Cogman had Sam take it off the wall by the end of the episode. Well played, Mr. Cogman. Well played.