This very special post-MDW Monday Morning Thrones is brought to you by the NFN for all your office procrastinating pleasure.
Not to say that episode 6 of season 6 was a slow ep, but I definitely believe the payoff for “Blood Of My Blood” was more monumental for ardent Book readers than strictly Show viewers. We saw several plot lines converging heading into the final 4 episodes of the season, and I gotta say, I am fucking hyped. It appears the show runners are circling back on a lot of source material, and we will all be baring witness to some of the finest aspects of George RR Martin’s A Dance With Dragons. Although they burned through a large amount of source in only an hour, these plot developments should propel the Show into some riveting closing eps. So let’s break it all down: DJ Hodor, spin that shit!
One of those aforementioned plot lines was the reappearance of a character we hadn’t seen since the the third ep of season1. Beyond the Wall, we saw Bran and Meera running for their lives from the layer of the Three Eyed Raven. With nowhere to run to, Meera essentially gives up to some Wights that have sniffed them out. That is until a mysterious figure emerged to save the fucking day. That figure was none other than Bran’s uncle, Benjen Stark, swinging a flaming ball and chain, cracking heads and taking names. We learn that when his Nights Watch Ranger expedition was attacked by Walkers way back in season 1, he was saved from his sustained injuries by the Children of the Forest, who shoved dragon glass into his heart. He was summoned by the Raven when he was going all Morpheus in the Matrix during the White Walker invasion last ep. Clearly, his power has been amplified by the Children’s measures to save his life.
This was a majjjjjjor development for the Show, and especially Book lovers as it appears Benjen has officially been confirmed to be the mysterious figure “Coldhands,” who was a GoT theory hotbed for sometime. The Show burned through those theories in no time, going 0-100 REAL QUICK. But the show runners seemed to nail it.
In Braavos, it appears as though Arya’s storyline with the Faceless Men is finally coming to a head. The only thing standing in her and Needle’s way? That lil’ snitch the Waif, who went running to Jaqen Haggar when Arya decided to not poison the Lady Crane, her assignment as part of the next step in her training for the Faceless Men. So, the Waif snitched her out (the Waif stay snitchin’), and now Arya awaits her destiny, with Needle, in the darkness (because darkness is her ally).
And so, Arya waits for her inevitable showdown as “Arya Stark” and not “a girl who has no name.” Let’s. Fucking. Go.
Is it a coincidence that Walder Frey (a member of Arya’s hit list) made his long awaited return to our screens this week? Maybe. Maybe not. But it does mean that a lot of moving parts will be converging in the Riverlands. Walder was none too pleased to learn that the Blackfish has regained control of Riverrun. So, he has commanded a few of his nephews to retake the castle by any means necessary, and to take the captive Lord Edmure with them for good measure! We haven’t seen Edmure for sometime since the Red Wedding, but he looked pretty damn bent spending the last few years as captive to decrepit Walder Frey.
In Kings Landing, Jamie’s failed plan to take down the High Sparrow has resulted in him being banished from the Kingsguard and being sent along with the Frey caravan to retake Riverrun, by his own son no less! At first Jamie was hesitant and even vengeful to undertake such a task, but he was coaxed by Cersei to play the long game before attempting anything rash. We also got a nice bit of incestuous behavior in this week’s Keeping Up With The Lannisters. This should be a scary development for any Lannister enemies. There’s no doubt that Team Jamie/Cersei is firing on all cylinders when they’re involved in some incestuous activities, and it appears that they’re rounding into peak form again.
FWIW, it seemed quite strange of Margery to do a heel turn right before her supposed walk of atonement. She seemed pretty gung-ho on sticking it to the High Sparrow when she last spoke to Loras, and now she’s turned into a supporter of the Faith? I’m sure there’s more underlying her exterior intentions… But it was quite anti-climacitc to have all that build up for her walk only to have that anticipation dissipate at the last second (perhaps Margaery has the High Sparrow right where she wants him).
On a high note, Mace Tyrell’s address to his troops was a nice bit of comedic relief. That dude is cornier than Tyler Perry. There aren’t many things funnier in Westeros than Mace Tyrell squeezing his fat face into a helmet and delivering a Chris Farley inspired motivational speech.
Finally, on the road to Meereen, we didn’t spend too long a time with Dany, Dario and the Dothraki, but it was still time well spent because we finally learned of Dany’s hell bent intentions to take the Iron Throne. She put a fucking exclamation point on that statement by summoning Drogon and riding him along with her army back to Meereen with the sole thought of consolidating her troops and finding some wooden horses to sail to Westerns. Little does she know, there’s some changes that have been made during her little excursion, but let’s hope she doesn’t get too bogged down while acclimating herself to those changes.
What can we expect from all of these characters converging at Riverrun?
Well, to be short, a hella lot. As a refresher, each of Brienne, Jamie, the Freys, Edmure and the Blackfish are reported to be making their way to Riverrun. And to add on top of that, there was talk of the the Brotherhood Without Banners running amok in the Riverlands as well… (sidetone: that fact is of GREAT consequence to book readers because it opens a world of possibilities for the Show). Still, the fact this many characters in Game of Thrones are set to square off at one location is kiiiiinda unprecedented. It’s been a long freaking time since we’ve so many people in one area. The Game of Thrones world is vast and expansive. Any time that 2 characters can conjoin their plots together is a noteworthy occurrence. When 5+ do so? That could be cause for fireworks…
If Sam and Gilly aren’t staying in Horn Hill then where are they going?
I didn’t want to do a whole review of Sam/Gilly’s whereabouts this past ep because it was an absolute snoozefest, but let’s touch on it a bit here. Presumably, they’re all on their way to the Citadel as Sam was originally slated to commence training to become a maester. And it looks as though Gilly is set to accompany him there. How this will play out is curious, however, as females are prohibited in the Citadel.
The Citadel is technically a complex of buildings located in Oldtown, the oldest Westerosi city and located in the Reach. It was built by the First Men before the Andal invasion. The Citadel serves as HQ for all of the world’s maesters.
Who is the Waif, and what’s up her butt?
The Waif has had it out for Arya since day 1, but her intentions as to why are unclear to viewers. Although the Waif of the Books was not a beloved character, she also didn’t possess this vilified mean streak. My best guess is that the Waif is so butt hurt that Arya became the favorite of Jaqen that she made it her personal vendetta to take her down. And that suspicion was confirmed last night when the Waif reminded Jaqen of a “deal” that she had made with him, to which he told her to make sure “she doesn’t suffer.” Quite obviously the Waif intended to have the opportunity to kill Arya should she go against her training. But, little did that twit know, Arya plans to use said training to take the Waif down when she comes alookin’!
Who is this “Coldhands” character mentioned before, and what’s his relevance to the storyline?
Coldhands is an iconic figure from the Books who assists Bran, Meera, Jojen and Hodor on their journey to the Three Eyed Raven. He dons the blacks of the Night’s Watch with a scarf covering his face. His eyes and hands are black from congealed blood. However, readers never find out the true identity of Coldhands, which became a major hotbed for theories. Many speculated that it was Benjen Stark all along, however how he came to have special powers never made any sense to anyone.
Fast forward to last Sunday and Book readers got the answers to both questions in the matter of 30 minutes.
Coldhands is a relevant character because he was integral in keeping the band alive on their journey to the weirwood tree. It appears Benjen will be integral in a journey by Bran and Meera once again. He has some form of magical powers, the extent of which are unknown. What we know from the Books is that he is unable to enter certain magical areas (like the Raven’s weirwood) presumably because he was treated with the same dragon glass as the Walkers were created with.
This time, however, the destination is unknown. Although he did mention that Bran would complete his training on the right side of the wall, waiting for the Night’s King.
All in all, it appears that the showrunners are making use of a lot of past source material and transposing the storylines of characters like Coldhands, Jamie and Brienne. It’ll be interesting to see how their arcs play out given the altered circumstances. Nonetheless, it’s making for compelling television.
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