In Game of Thrones “Blood of My Blood” we learn that family can be powerful, but it can also fail us during our greatest need. Bran Stark gets unexpected protection from a family member, while attempts by Jaime Lannister and the Tyrells to overthrow the High Sparrow are thwarted by those they would seek to help. Sam Tarly’s return to Horn Hill has mixed results when he and Gilly are welcomed by his mother and sister, but scorned and insulted by his father. Meanwhile Daenerys Targaryen builds a new army rooted in the promises of her late husband.
North of the Wall
Though Hodor didn’t make it out, he did hold the door, because Meera Reed has managed to get Bran Stark away from the attacking wights. Hodor’s death showed us that Bran has unexpected powers to influence the past. Whatever his powers are, it’s not helping Meera drag the sled through the woods. As Meera pulls him Bran is still unconscious, absorbing all the knowledge left to him by the Three-eyed Raven. Bran opens his eyes and tells Meera that the wights have found them. Guess Hodor could only hold the door for so long. Meera cries, apologizing to Bran. As the wights approach she covers Bran with her body, trying to protect him. The Reed siblings are really dedicated to the mission, ready to sacrifice their lives for Bran at any time. Let’s hope he’s worth it. A man approaches on horseback and fights off the wights. He tells them, “Come with me now. The dead don’t rest.” Tell us about it!
After escaping the army of the dead, the mysterious rider stops to bleed out a rabbit for Meera and Bran. Is drinking rabbit blood a thing? At least that’s what we think happened—we had our eyes closed for most of the rabbit scene. The Three-eyed Raven sent this man. When Meera points out the Three-eyed Raven is dead, he looks towards Bran and points out that the Three-eyed Raven lives again. Sounds like this dude knows a thing or two about the Three-eyed Raven as well as how to kill wights.
The man tells Bran he hasn’t seen him since he was a child and removes the cloth covering his face. They’ve been rescued by Bran’s uncle, Benjen Stark. Benjen disappeared in Season 1 while out ranging beyond the Wall. Now we know what finally happened to him, sort of. After Benjen was attacked by the White Walkers, the Children of the Forest found him and used a shard of dragonglass to stop the magic from taking hold. Benjen tells Bran, “One way or another he [the Night King] will find his way to the world of Men. And when he does, you will be there waiting for him. And you will be ready.” Sure, they lost Hodor and the Three-eyed Raven, but maybe things are starting to take a turn for the better.
Samwell Tarly and Gilly are heading towards Horn Hill, the seat of House Tarly. Sam hopes to deposit Gilly and Baby Sam with his family before heading on to Oldtown. Sam’s nervous about heading back to his home to face the father who forced him to take the Black under threat of death. He plans to tell his family that Little Sam is his. Gilly wants to know what Sam has told his family about her. He suggests they avoid the topic of being a wildling since his father isn’t a big fan.
Gilly and Sam arrive at Horn Hill where Sam’s mother, Lady Melessa, and his sister, Talla, provide a warm and loving welcome. When Sam introduces Gilly, his mother says, “Oh my. You are lovely.” She asks to hold Little Sam. We see where Sam gets his nice side.
Sam and Gilly get all gussied up for a pretty tense family dinner at Horn Hill. Sam tries to make conversation with his younger brother Dickon about hunting. Meanwhile, Gilly is trying to figure out how to use silverware by watching the others. Don’t they use utensils at Castle Black? Sam tells his father, Lord Randyll Tarly, that he’ll return to Castle Black after he has his Maester’s chains. Rather than being pleased at the honor, Randyll insults Sam relentlessly. Sam’s father only values hunting and battle skills, and he has little regard for learning. Gilly stands up for Sam, telling Randyll that Sam killed a Thenn and a White Walker. She tells Randyll and Dickon, “He risked his own life to save mine more than once. He’s a greater warrior than either of you will ever be.” Sam’s father figures out that Gilly is a wildling and he begins insulting her too. He’s no Walder Frey, but he’s still a pretty rude host. Randyll says that Sam will never wield the family sword, Heartsbane.
When Randyll calls Little Sam a half-breed bastard, Melessa gets up from the table, calling to Gilly and Talla to go with her. Randyll claims that Sam dishonors them, to which Melessa responds that Randyll is the one dishonors himself. For Melessa’s benefit Randyll will let Gilly work in the kitchen and Little Sam will be raised at Horn Hill.
Sam later apologizes to Gilly for letting his father treat her so badly, but he didn’t want him to turn Gilly and the baby away. She tells Sam, “I’m not angry at you. I’m angry that horrible people can treat good people that way and get away with it.” We can relate, Gilly. That’s how we feel every week watching Game of Thrones. Sam will be leaving in the morning for Old Town. Before he leaves the room, Gilly tells him, “You’re not what he thinks you are, Sam. He doesn’t know what you are.”
Sam suddenly comes back into the room, telling Gilly they’re leaving. He tells her, “We belong together. All of us.” Right on, Sam! Before he leaves, he takes Heartsbane. They can use all the Valyrian steel swords they can get up at Castle Black. Gilly is worried Randyll will come for it, but Sam replies, “He can bloody well try.” Sam and Gilly are clearly the new “it” couple in Westeros. What’s their couple name? Sally? Gam? Gillam? Silly? Yes, we definitely like Silly for this adorable couple.
Arya has returned to the play, where she watches the actress she’s supposed to kill, Lady Crane. The play tells the story of events at King’s Landing. In the play, King Joffrey dies, making Arya smile. Lady Crane, who is playing Queen Cersei, gives a moving monologue and Arya is the first to clap for her. Arya, who never seems to like anyone, is quite taken with Lady Crane.
Arya goes backstage to poison the rum that Lady Crane drinks. Lady Crane sees Arya and takes an interest in the young girl. Lady Crane isn’t loving the play as it’s written and Arya suggests she change it. Arya tells her, “The Queen loves her son more than anything. And he was taken from her before she could say goodbye. She wouldn’t just cry. She would be angry. She would want to kill the person who did this to her.” Is Arya talking about Cersei or herself? It probably applies to both. Regardless, it doesn’t sound like something “No One” would say. Lady Crane compliments Arya, who goes by the name Mercy here, and asks if she likes pretending to be other people. Arya quickly leaves.
Later, Lady Crane is about to take a drink of her poisoned rum when Arya knocks the glass out of her hands. Arya points at the younger actress and says, “Careful, that one. She wants you dead.” As Arya leaves, the waif is there backstage, watching as Arya fails to fulfill her task.
Arya retrieves her sword, Needle, from the spot she hid it when she first came to the House of Black and White. The waif informs Jaqen H’ghar about Arya’s mission sabotage. The waif is such a narc. She implores Jaqen H’ghar about something, saying, “You promised.” We assume he promised the waif she could kill Arya if she failed, but we’re hoping it’s something more interesting than that. The waif heads towards Arya, who waits with Needle in a darkened room. Her previous blindness should give her advantage in the dark.
At the Twins, Walder Frey scolds his sons for losing Riverrun to the Blackfish, a Tully who escaped the Red Wedding. They tell their father that other families have joined the Blackfish and that the Brotherhood without Banners is rallying the common people. Walder tells his sons to use the memory of the Red Wedding. Walder has his men bring out the captive Lord Edmure Tully. Walder tells him, “Cheer up, Lord Edmure. You’re going home.”
King Tommen Baratheon has come to talk to the High Sparrow on Queen Margaery’s behalf, but the High Sparrow is committed to Margaery’s walk of atonement. He reassures Tommen the Queen will be safe because she’s always had a touch with the common people. King Tommen doesn’t seem to have any clue how to free his wife beyond following the High Sparrow’s direction.
The High Sparrow allows Tommen to see Margaery. He’s surprised to find that she’s prepared to make her walk of atonement. She tells Tommen that it was hard to look at what she was, but she finally did with the High Sparrow’s help. Is she for real? She appears prepared to abandon Lauris, telling Tommen that her brother needs to atone for his sins, as they all must sooner or later. She tells Tommen, “The Gods have a plan for us all.” What is Margaery up to? She seems an unlikely candidate for conversion.
Outside the High Sept, Queen Margaery stands before a crowd while The High Sparrow gives one of his preachy speeches. Lord Tyrell approaches the High Sept with his soldiers. Jaime rides alongside him. Jaime tells the High Sparrow to hand over Queen Margaery and Lauris Tyrell, warning, “Every last sparrow will die before Margaery Tyrell walks down that street.” The High Sparrow responds that the faith militant yearns to die in service of the gods, but there’s no need today because there will be no walk of atonement.
The High Sparrow tells Jaime and the crowd, “Queen Margaery has already atoned for her sins by bringing another into the true light of the Seven.” King Tommen walks out from the Sept, telling the crowd, “The crown and the faith are the twin pillars upon which the world rests. Together we will restore the seven kingdoms to glory.” Was getting control of King Tommen always The High Sparrow’s game?
King Tommen punishes his uncle for attacking the faith, stripping him of the title of Lord Commander of the King’s Guard. Jaime tells Cersei that Tommen is sending him to the Riverlands to deal with the Blackfish. Instead, Jaimie wants to take a group of men to kill the High Sparrow. We like that too, because we want to see someone kill this sparrow storyline. Cersei tells him that he needs to head the army in Riverrun to show the soldiers where their loyalties belong and what Lannisters do to their enemies. Jaime is concerned about Cersei’s trial, but she feels confident that the Mountain will defend her in trial by combat. Yet it seems like a lot of things go wrong for Cersei when Jaime isn’t around.
Daenerys Targaryen, along with Daario Naharis, is leading an army full of Dothraki towards Meereen. She stops, looking up towards the mountain. She asks Daario how many ships she will need, and he tells her one thousand, but that right now no one has that many. She looks up again, tells Daario to wait, and rides ahead. She returns on Drogon’s back, landing before the army. She gives a speech that rouses the Dothraki:
“Every khal who has ever lived chose three blood riders to fight beside him and guard his way. But I am not a khal. I will not choose three blood riders. I choose all of you. I will ask more of you than any khal has ever asked of his khalassar! Will you ride the wooden horses across the black salt sea? Will you kill my enemies in their iron suits and tear down their stone houses? Will you give me the Seven Kingdoms, the gift that Khal Drogo promised me before the Mother of Mountains? Are you with me? Now and always?”
Deanerys’ call to arms has the desired effect and the Dothraki are chomping at the bit to serve her. Deanerys can be quite the orator when she wants. And it was a pretty moving speech.
Blood of My Blood
Game of Thrones has thrown us off by giving us a few feel-good moments this year, and “Blood of My Blood” had quite a few of them. Bran ends up being rescued by his Uncle Benjen. Sam stands up to his dad, even though it’s not to his face. Arya decides to be true to herself and her family. Daenerys inspires the masses and reconnects with Drogon. We won’t lie, we kinda love it. But we’re scared that, like in any abusive relationship, the show will cycle back to crushing our souls one more. Sure, there’s still times when the bad guys win, like the High Sparrow. As Game of Thrones begins to move towards the end of this long story, let’s hope we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some more happy moments before the narrative returns to dark despair.
Read our review of “Blood of My Blood” here.