Game of Thrones: Blood of My Blood

Welcome to the Q&A of Season Six, Episode Six “Blood of My Blood” of GAME of THRONES. As always Earl and David have not read the books, but David has seen all the Blu-Ray extras, and since we have out-paced most of the book story-lines, we have added a third person to the roster, so please welcome Shauna to the Questionnaire! or should we call this our Game of Thrones Roundtable? Shauna has read the books, but promises to keep her fancy book-learnin to a minimum.

1. Blood of my Blood is the title of this week’s episode. How is the title expressed in the episode? Daenerys at-the-Sack-of-Astapor

Earl: This season of Game of Thrones have stressed the bonds of family, and this episode is no different. This week we saw the reunion of Bran and his Uncle Benjen, Sam and his family at Horn Hill, and we saw Margaery and Tommen embracing for the first time since she was imprisoned by the High Sparrow. All three meetings held significant importance.
In Uncle Benjen, Bran not only has his blood protecting him, he has someone who understands what his place is in the World now that he is the successor to the Three-Eyed Raven. Somehow, Benjen survived in the wilderness and he will now educate and keep his nephew safe.
Sam returned to Horn Hill to face his disapproving father. Although Sam has killed a White Walker and a Thenn, he is still a disappointment to his father. His father is a tough man and Sam won’t ever measure up. However, it was great to see Gilly standing up for him, and for Sam to have the boldness to take Heartsbane, a Valyrian sword, with him when they left Horn Hill.
Finally, Margaery and Tommen are reunited. It felt good, it felt weird, but it was the last example of family coming together this past episode.

David: Everyone was family connected here. Everyone. There was not a sequence this entire episode that didn’t involve someone doing something with family. The only thing that didn’t have 2 family members was Arya, and that was her blowing off the Many-Faced God to reclaim her Stark Name.

Shauna: The title of this particular episode is an important one. It is a Dothraki phrase that the Khal says to each of his three blood riders, men who he chooses to guard the khalassar and to protect him. We see it express in many ways this week.

First, Bran’s blood-his uncle Benjen- comes to his aid when the wights attack him and Meera (poor girl, she’s basically a sled dog!) in the forest. Book readers are finally introduced to Cold Hands, the non-verbal guide that helps Bran on his travels. This will, as I surmise, will be an important relationship moving forward. Benjen Stark

Arya chooses to return to her blood. Poor Arya, for as much as we all wanted to see her become a badass member of the Faceless Men of Braavos, she simply cannot shake her blood. Jaqen’s task to kill Lady Crane brings Arya front and center with her own family’s biography and by watching that play over the course of many days, she is reminded of the fact that she is Arya Stark and will always be. She also realizes that in becoming a Faceless Man, she looses all choice; she’s bound forever by the whims of those who hire her. In the end, she abandons her task and recovers Needle, her connection to Jon and her life before. We’ll see next week how she deals with the Waif.

The blood of my blood phrase originates with the Dothraki and we see Dany yet again in full conquerer mode rallying her khalassar (which I think was a little too much, she already has them!) but I digress… Dany hasn’t had family around her since Viserys died a golden death and she’s always, in some fashion, returned to the Dothraki. I think the bond between her and Khal Drogo has made her think of the Dothraki as her family and as a lasting connection to her love. She knows that she needs them to help conquer Westeros.

2. Has Margaery really converted to the Faith of the Seven?High SParrow

Earl: No. I do not think so. Queen Margaery is a smart woman, and she has her own way of getting people to serve her needs. She’s not as blunt as Jamie and Cersei, and in bringing Tommen into the Faith, she’s sidelined Cersei and Jamie. For one, Jamie was relieved of his command of the Kingsguard and sent off to the Riverlands, and with the exception of the Mountain and Qyburn, Cersei is alone in Kings Landing. I’m not completely sure of Margaery’s end result here but she’s someone who likes having the people on her side, and playing into the hands of the Faith to achieve that ends, before turning on them I would assume, plays into her hands.

David: Margaery might be the best player of the game under the age of 30. I think she knows enough to game everyone to get herself out of the High Sparrows grasp. I seriously do think she would drop Loras to not have to walk buck-nekkid through the streets. I also think Tommen might trip over a Moon Door as soon as she has a son if he’s not smart enough to get out her way- is she Catherine the Great? Just throwing that out for you history people.

Shauna: Margaery is so good at playing this game that she almost had me convinced that she had converted. She’s similar to Cersei in that she’ll do anything for the people she loves and this is her way to save Loras. By “converting” and uniting the faith with the crown, she also enjoys a kind of power that Cersei has never been able to tap into: the love of the people coupled with the support of the ruling religious faction. I do wonder how long she’ll keep this going, it would be dangerous to cross the High Sparrow at what seems to be the height of his influence.

3. What do you think Benjen’s role will be moving forward with Bran?Benjen Stark

Earl: I expect David to point this out, but clearly I got it wrong with Benjen. In an earlier Game of Thrones roundtable back in Season One I boldly stated that Benjen was dead and there was no way he was coming back. Well now we are in Season Six, and guess what? Benjen is back. He’s back thanks to the Children of the Forest, but he’s back. He looks half dead, and he probably is, but now Benjen will protect Bran from the Wights and White Walkers while encouraging him in strengthening his powers in order to stop the White Walkers from going beyond the wall and thereby destroying Westeros.

David: Benjen is there to get Bran to the Wall. I’m guessing Benjen was the backup to Ming the Merciless for the Children of the Forest because they knew Bran would screwup and get touched by the Night’s King and get them all killed and then….aaaahhh I stopped caring
Call me when we get the Tower of Joy. Maybe it’s going to be Mormont up there with Ned’s sister.

Shauna: I think Benjen is going to serve as Bran’s teacher and protector as him and Meera make their way to wherever it is that they’re going. Maybe Benjen will also help to decipher some of the visions that Bran is having (ehem bloody woman and man in his vision in this episode)

4. Arya failed at her task from Jaqen H’ghar. Why do you think she changed her mind? What is her plan now?Arya

Earl: Yes she changed her mind and thank goodness. Arya Stark is alive. For now. I don’t think Arya Stark truly committed herself to being a Faceless Man, and watching the play and seeing the jealousy of the young actress in wanting to kill Lady Crane, who was probably the kindest woman she has come across since her own mother, probably pushed Arya back to being Arya.
As far as her plan, she better plan on killing The Waif. The Waif knows about her betrayal, and of course The Waif has held some intense animosity towards Arya so she’s going to have a fight on her hands to escape Braavos.

David: I think Arya has seen enough people die for no good reason, and couldn’t stomach killing innocent people for cash. Arya is fine with killing deserved people, but some nice lady who is simply a better actress than another woman who bought a death? That she cannot do.
Now I’m going to say something that won’t be popular.

Arya has to die.

Period.

Either she dies or the Many-Faced God is a punk. Seriously. He took in Arya, he fed her, clothed her, trained her, and she failed him twice. Now she is throwing up duces and taking off? After swearing she would join the House of Black and White. Now she has to die. The Waif is being sent to kill her, and if the Waif fails then the assasin’s giuld is not only useless, as Arya publicly showed that the House of Black and White can fail. If Arya lives, they are no longer a fearsome place and loses a good bit of standing.

Shauna: Arya is a Stark, she’ll always be one and realized that it’s time she accepts it. She’s been hiding her gender and her true identity since the end of season 1. We’ve seen Sansa embrace her identity wholeheartedly as a Stark and even extending that identity to Jon, even though he is a bastard, by uniting them with clothing blazoned with the Stark sigil.

Reclaiming Needle was such a significant way to say adios to the Faceless Men. She hid the sword in the rock upon her arrival on Braavos while she discarded everything else. Now, where does she go? I really have no clue. She’s not really aware of what’s been happening in the rest of the world and probably had no clue as to where her siblings are. She knows, however, as she waits in the dark, that she must deal with the Waif since a face must be given to the wall. I bet my money on Arya any day. She’s got the advantage of being trained while blind so the dark works to her advantage. I’m intrigued to see what’s next for her.

5.  Favorite character of the week? Least favorite character?Samwell Tarly

Earl: Sam might not be his father’s ideal of a son, but he’s a good person and he has a lot to contribute to the World which is something his mother, sister and Gilly recognizes. Although he has killed a White Walker and a Thenn which should be impressive, it did not impress his father and while he took a brow beating at dinner, he later on had the courage to take Gilly out of what would have been a horrible situation for her and Little Sam, but he also took his father’s Valyrian sword with him. Sam knows he’s going to need Heartsbane in the war to come, and although he knows his father will come for that sword, he doesn’t seem completely frightened by that aspect.
Daenerys is my least favorite character this week and it’s because of her one scene at the end of the episode. I’m growing tired of her pep rally type speeches. We get it, she has dragons, she is the Breaker of Chains, she has the Unsullied, she’s a conqueror, blah blah blah. We get it!! It’s about time we get Dany out of Essos and on to Westeros. She needs a fleet, and who knows where she gets it from, but instead of the speeches we need to hit fast forward on her storyline.

David: Who won the week?
Jamie Lannister. I’m calling it out. He was the one who rode up the steps to confront the High Sparrow, and stared him down so he let the ShameWalk 2.0 not happen, much to Earl’s distress, I’m sure. Jamie got booted from the Kingsguard FINALLY, so he can go after our Lady of the Tarth, unless Tormund gets to her first. The game is not going to end well for Jamie, but I do like the fact that he is going to die in Lannister Armor, not in a gold cloak. Jamie deserves to go out on a battlefield, not snuck from behind in a palace riot.

Who lost?

Samwell Tarly.

Let me explain. He had what he wanted. Gilly was safe, and Baby Sam with the Lannister Hair was going to be raised in the household of a minor Lord. All was good. Then Samwell had to skip out. So he is back where he was. But wait! There’s more.
He stole the family sword. As a member of the Night’s Watch, he’s not entitled to it, having renounced his title and claim to the family lands, so he stole it. As impressive as Sam is, he’s not exactly going to make the Zombie Mountain quake in his golden booties. He’s got his father and his brother, both legitimate badasses and the Tarly warriors after him. Needless to say, Daddy Tarly might just kill all three of them for the insult.

Let’s keep in mind, Sam went to the wall because his father told him that Sam would have an accident, and Sam believed him.

Shauna: Favorite character of the week has got to be Maergery! What an actress! There’s even a slight smirk on her face as she sees the Tyrell army approach the Sept. Up to now, we have no idea what Maergery is really like and that’s probably exactly how she likes it.

Least favorite character I will have to say is Jaime. He’s really done a 360 in terms of attitude, him and Cersei are back to being two sides of one coin. I’m curious to see an encounter with this season 1 Jaime and Brienne at Riverrun. I wonder what she’ll think of the reverted Jaime.

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