Game of Thrones: “Blood of My Blood” Season 6 Episode 6 Review

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The most focused episode of the season so far continues to set the pieces for bigger things to come. Season six needed to slow down for a minute and let some of its storylines take a breathe. The only problem with “Blood of My Blood” is that it doesn’t necessarily focus on the most interesting storylines of the season.

You know I’m talking about Sam and Gilly. Even though the placement in the season, right when we as an audience could use a second, is perfect, there’s still just nothing interesting about Sam’s role in whatever conclusion the whole series is building to. That said, this is the most of felt for Sam in seasons. The writers did a great job, as simple as their tactics might have been, showing us exactly how Sam’s personality developed. With his warm, smiley mother, a rarity for this show; a father denying him the Tarly throne; and a hilariously good looking, Disney prince of a brother, Sam’s positivity coupled with his insecurities feels justified. I also appreciate that, in the same episode, he leaves, with his father’s Valyrian sword no less, and we don’t have to revisit this storyline for a good while.

Another of season six’s slower plot threads got a necessary kick between the legs this week. The Tyrells, led by Jaime, march into King’s Landing to get Margaery and Loras out of the hands of the High Sparrow. But when King Tommen pledges unity between church and state, in front of his uncle/father and the whole city, it’s clear that once chapter of this storyline is finally ending. What happens in King’s Landing from here is anyone’s guess. Cersei has her trial by combat and Jaime is off to lead the Lannister army into war with the North.

The latter’s position actually adds a whole lot to the upcoming battle for Winterfell. We learn from Walder Frey that Brynden Tully, whom Sansa sent Brienne to recruit for their army, has taken over Riverrun. This pits Jaime to join forces with Ramsay when it comes time for war. Suddenly, the conflict is less black and white.

But “Blood of My Blood” wasn’t just about slowing down to move the pieces around the board. We thankfully got a follow up to the insanity that ended last week’s episode. Bran and Meera are rescued my a mysterious figure who later reveals himself to be Benjen Stark, not seen since the third episode of the series(!). Remember, Jon looking for the missing Benjen is what brought him over the Wall to begin with. Well, it turns out Benjen had a bad run-in with the White Walkers, but the Children of the Forest saved him from becoming a wight. His half-dead look is striking, but he appears to be the Three-Eyed Raven’s successor in training Bran. What a rewarding successor to have.

Arya, meanwhile, has one of her most rewarding episodes in recent memory. Still tasked with poisoning an actress in a play, Arya questions her role in the House of Black and White when she actually talks to her victim after poisoning her rum. It was great to have her retake her humanity by saving the actress right at the last possible moment. Arya’s destiny isn’t to be a faceless killer, so I’m glad to see the show taking steps to remedy that proposition. Digging up Needle was a nice touch as well. She’ll likely need it when the Waif comes to kill her.

“Blood of My Blood” ended on a somewhat redundant note. While I’ll never complain at the sight of Daenerys riding Drogon, having her rally the Dothraki behind her, stating she expects them to cross the sea with her to conquer Westeros, didn’t feel entirely necessary. After she walked out of the fire a couple weeks ago, there was no doubt in my mind that the Dothraki would be with her when she eventually makes her way to Westeros. It felt like the writers were trying to make up for how much time we spent with Sam this week by giving us an awesome dragon moment. It fell a bit flat, but was a rousing scene nonetheless. Dany being badass will never be a thing to complain about.

So all in all, “Blood of My Blood” ended up being one of the weaker entries to this phenomenal season. Some great stuff for the Arya and Bran storylines, while also getting the one in King’s Landing not only moving but more involved with the rest of what’s going on made for a still excellent episode. But while the Sam material wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t really great either. There’s still fat to be trimmed on Game of Thrones, but at least things are still coming together. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • There were a few moments regarding ordinary citizens in this episode that I found interesting. First, Sam’s brother laughs at the thought of White Walkers, saying they’re a myth. Second, the audience in Braavos is still very much loyal to ruler of the Iron Throne. Finally, the people of King’s Landing have officially all drank the Kool-Aid the High Sparrow has been serving. It’s interesting to see how oblivious commoners are to the intricate happenings we usually get to see. The White Walkers are still nothing to the people below the Wall, while loyalty to the king is still widespread. As our characters have grown immensely even just this season, but also over the last several, the general attitude of the world hasn’t. I hope the show will explore this a little bit more before the White Walkers come down a pull the rug out from underneath everyone.
  • Sam’s brother was played by Freddie Stroma of UnREAL and Harry Potter fame!
  • Arya’s face off with the Waif is set up, but how will she escape Jaqen?
  • A very real possibility in the near future is a Jaime/Brienne reunion at Rivverun. Hopefully it’ll be on good terms.
  • Five episodes and counting without Dorne.
  • No one died this week, which I believe is a first for season six.

By Matt Dougherty

One Response to Game of Thrones: “Blood of My Blood” Season 6 Episode 6 Review

  1. SherryAva says:

    Hi Matt. Thank you for your insightful read on happenings in Game of Thrones. I enjoy following up the show with your blog each week.

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