Monday 23 September 2019

Blood, thunder, religious extremism and a character returns - 7 things we learned from Game of Thrones episode six

Season six, episode 6

Sam and Gilly in Game of Thrones
Sam and Gilly in Game of Thrones

Ed Thomas

**WARNING: SPOILERS for season 6, episode 6.

Blood, thunder, religious extremism – never let it be said Game of Thrones doesn’t commit whole heartedly. Following the Hodor devastation of the previous week, this was a relatively uneventful hour, setting aside the return of the previously dead Benjen Stark, King Tommen’s conversion to the High Sparrow’s Misery Cult and Daenerys reconnecting with Drogon, the CGI dragon.

Here’s what we learned.


Jaime’s thirst for revenge went unsated

The head of the Kingsguard was itching to take on the High Sparrow but, whoops, King Tommen’s done it again.

Last time, he stood there gawping as his wife and mother (two separate people, in a novel twist in Lannister tradition) were dragged off to the dungeons.

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Nikolaj Coster Landau as Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones

Now he’s gone and joined the zealots who banged his nearest and dearest up in the first place. Which was devastating for Shame Walked mater Cersei but even more so for Jaime, denied the opportunity to engage the Sparrows in a frank ecumenical debate featuring the business end of his sword.

Instead, he’s been exiled to the Riverlands where it seems he will be conscripted into the war to come between Ramsay Bolton and Jon Snow.


The First Ranger Walks Among Us

Benjen Stark was last seen questing north of the Wall in season one. Now he was back, galloping to the rescue of Bran and Meera just as the Walkers and the wights looked certain finish what they had begun in the Three-Eyed Raven’s warren.

benjen stark.jpg

Readers of the George RR Martin novels have long suspected Bran’s undead minder Coldhands is Benjen Stark reborn - a theory tonight’s episode appeared to confirm, as the former First Ranger of the Night’s Watch described being brought back from the abyss using the same dark magic by which the Children of the Forest had created the Night King.


Sam and Gilly are still an item

With all the dead babies and Hodor-slaying, it’s been a tough few weeks on Game of Thrones. But we’ve still got something to believe in: the relationship between Sam and Gilly.

sam gilly.jpg
Sam and Gilly in Game of Thrones

Cruelly rejected by his Wildling-loathing dad, Sam took an executive decision and is bringing Gilly and his adopted child – does the baby have a name, a gender? we have no idea – to Old Town after all. It’s possible this will have terrible consequences for all involved (especially the baby). Still, for now let us cheer the star-crossed lovers on with a tentative hurrah.


Arya is no longer no one

Aryra’s Braavos storyline has had everything - except for a twist we didn’t see coming a mile off.


As expected, she wimped out of her mission to kill the actress playing Cersei Lannister with the local bawdy comedy revue (ironic as Cersei is number one on her kill list). So now she’s out of the House of Black and White and set to tangle with the Waif. A good thing Arya was able to recall the precise random rock under which she had hidden her sword, Needle.


Daenerys and Drogon were reunited

A lot of cash had been splashed on making CGI Drogon looks vaguely realistic and un-rubberlike. If only as much love had been lavished on the script.

En route to Meereen with her Dothraki army, Daenerys literally asked to be excused as she popped around the corner and returned on the back of Drogon.


It was terribly hokey – a call-back to those awful fantasy Eighties fantasy movies Game of Thrones was supposed to erase all memories of. It was almost as if the show was winking towards those of us raised on Krull, Beastmaster etc and saying ‘this one’s for you’.

No Joy at the Tower of Joy

Game of Thrones had left us hanging with Bran’s Tower of Joy flashback. When the name of the actor playing young Ned Stark appeared on this week’s credits, it was assumed there would at last be a resolution.

But no – a pre-beheading Ned merely popped up in one of Bran’s visions (also featuring a cackling Aerys II Targaryen).

A young Ned Stark makes an appearance in Game of Thrones. Photo: HBO

This is a good thing – the mystery of who or what is concealed in that tower is central to Game of Thrones and it would feel a little disrespectful to idly show its hand halfway through the season. This one is worth waiting for.


The Freys are about to rejoin the fray

There was some fan-service for those of us who’ve been merrily hating on the Freys since their stabby-stabby shenanigans at the Red Wedding.

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We were reacquainted with the thoroughly loathsome Walder and learned House Frey was to be sucked into the Bolton v Jon Snow rumble up north. Here’s hoping justice long delayed will be at last served.

Game of Thrones season 6, episode 6 airs tonight on Sky Atlantic at 9pm.

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