“Blood of My Blood” continued to propel the plot forward at a rapid pace, but I’m still not sure I’m entirely comfortable with where last week left off.
“Blood of My Blood” picks up where “The Door” left us, with Meera fleeing through the forest with Bran. I said I needed time to think about the whole sequence before knowing how I felt about Hodor’s death. Well, I’ve had a week and I’ve decided I hated it. There’s some debate about whether Bran warged into Hodor and forced him to hold the door. If he did, that makes this whole thing even more awful. But even if Hodor did it of his own free will, it doesn’t change the fact that Bran basically caused his disability and fated him to give his life for him. It’s all terrible.
But here we are a week later and Meera and Bran are still struggling to survive in the woods with a pack of Wights hot on their tail. Out of nowhere we get the arrival of the character us book readers know as “Coldhands,” who is quickly revealed to be Benjen Stark. This isn’t the first time they’ve accelerated a character reveal on the show. Barriston Selmy was known as “Whitebeard” for many many chapters. Theon was also not revealed as “Reek” with any certainty for a long time, though we did have several strong hints that that might be who he was. It’s hard to conceal a character’s identity on the screen when the actors are recognizable, so I can understand this change from a narrative point of view. It’s one of the few changes I can get behind because there’s just no way to make it work. But hey, since we are resurrecting dead Starks, can we get Lady Stoneheart up in here please?
One thing I’ll give the Bran plot credit for is that it’s giving us lots of tidbits of the past that we’d only really be able to get from reading the books. We may have gotten our first glimpse of the Mad King. And damn, that was intense. But I’m still waiting for the Tower of Joy reveal. I’m almost to the point where I think we’ll never get it. We’re being played. Dammit, guys, show us Lyanna in the Tower.
Other major players in this episode were Sam and Gilly, who have finally arrived at Horn Hill. Their relationship is incredibly precious and sweet and I was really thrilled to have them on my screen for so long. Continuing with “Blood of My Blood’s” pattern of rapidly accelerating through plot points, they arrive at Horn Hill, have the most awkward family dinner in history, and then flee in the night. I feel like this would have stretched for half a book if we were reading it, but the whole thing played out in less than 15 minutes on screen. Presumably Sam will be taking Gilly and her son with him to Old Town while he studies to become a Maester. In previous episodes he talked about how difficult this plan is logistically. Where the hell are they going to stay while he studies? But he’s throwing caution to the wind, it seems, and would rather face the potential difficulties than leave Gilly and her son in a hostile environment.
Also, Sam stole his family’s Valyrian sword. I can’t help but think this will come into play later considering the importance of Valyrian steel. It was a nice middle finger to his jerk of a father, too, so all around I’m 100% in favor of Sam’s little act of theft. Good job, Sam.
Unfortunately “Blood of My Blood” needed to return to King’s Landing to flesh out the plot there. If you’ve been following my reviews you know I’m pretty bored by everything happening there. Even Margaery, whom I’ve counted as one of my top five characters on the entire show, hasn’t been able to hold my interest. Even though her twisting Tommen around her finger yet again and getting out of having to do the Walk of Atonement was pretty clever, I still don’t care. If it doesn’t have to do with the impending march of White Walkers and Wights from the north or Daenerys’s eventual journey across the Narrow Sea, I’m struggling to care. All the political games in King’s Landing seem so inconsequential in the grand scheme of things now. Even Sam and Gilly’s journey ties back to the White Walkers. The events at the Iron Islands tie into Daenerys’s journey, too. But King’s Landing? It’s so disconnected now.
And once again, I really don’t want to talk about Jaime. He’s hurting me too much. Next topic please.
I’m glad Arya’s little assassin adventure seems to be coming to a close. Instead of killing the kind actress so that the rude one could take her role, she saved the woman’s life and went and retrieved Needle. Arya has felt stuck in a rut in Braavos, but she’s finally made some tough decisions. I hope she takes her training and uses it to help her sister take back to the North. Or, better yet, maybe she could head east and join Daenerys. She’s got to do something besides sit around Braavos killing people for money. Come on.
Another player in “Blood of my Blood” is Walder Fray, who has been sort of a minor bit of the plot since the Red Wedding. Things don’t seem to be going well for him, which isn’t exactly surprising considering his habit of betraying people. But the most important part of the whole scene was the return of Edmure Tully, whose wedding was ruined by all that bloodshed and betrayal. Total bummer. It seems like several plot points will soon be converging on Riverrun. Lady Stoneheart time? Please? Okay, I give up. It’s clear that won’t be happening.
The final sequence of events in “Blood of my Blood” features Danaerys. She finally gets reunited with Drogon and gives a rather epic speech while mounted on top of him. It seems like every clip we get of Daenerys lately has to be over the top “epic.” She’s either riding a dragon or burning something down. She’s an epic character, surely, but I feel like it’s going to lessen the impact of her eventual war on Westeros. Maybe not, though. Maybe they’ll just keep outdoing each epic scene until she’s riding Drogon through a wall of flaming King’s Landing while in the nude and making an epic speech. Let’s just do all of it. Why not? We’ve come this far.
This week’s episode wasn’t as exciting as last week, but at least it didn’t have the abuse and murder of a beloved disabled character for dramatic effect. That in and of itself gives this episode some points. The continued expansion of the mythology has also given the episode some major points, but I’m still bitter about last week’s death and the circumstances surrounding it. Maybe I need another week to recover.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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