A bit of a slow one this week, but by no means a bad episode.
I don’t think we’re going to get a bad episode this year, and all power to the show for pulling it off so far. What we did get was invited to dinner with the Tarlys, taken to church with the Sparrows, and reminded that Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) is actually a major player in the game. I know, I’d forgotten too.
If I have one criticism, it’s the distinct lack of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) in a season that already hasn’t had much of him. Ah well.
Shame on you (i)
Look, we all wanted Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to come back. It was cool they found a way to do that. But one thing that makes GoT so special is that you never really know who is next for the chop. It could literally be anyone, though making Jonathan Pryce a series regular this year as the High Sparrow is a bit of a spoiler – they wouldn’t have bothered if he was dying any time soon – and thus we get nervous whenever a character we like is in jeopardy. However, now they’ve done it once, it seems they want to keep on doing it. Because Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) has returned from the Great Beyond.
Last seen in season one, his disappearance and presumed death has been an underlying mystery for some time. It was quite easy to assume him dead – the Starks don’t tend to do too well on this show, but we didn’t really have any idea. It’s all very well and good seeing him again, but this bringing folk back from the dead thing could start to get very old, very quickly. This season, more than any other, has focused on magic. Magic is fun, but it’s a little hard to worry about a character if they are going to be resurrected next week. This is a bit of a slippery slope, and they need to be careful here.
Or at least bring back more Starks! Ned (Sean Bean) would be a welcome return. Or Robb (Richard Madden). Or Catelyn (Michelle Fairley).
Shame on you (ii)
Is it wrong of me to be just a tiny bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see Margaery’s (Natalie Dormer) walk of shame? Season six has really toned down the nudity. Maybe last series’ critics had more of a voice than they realised. Just as the walk is about to begin, it’s interrupted, first by a massive Tyrell army, and then by the High Sparrow himself. It turns out that King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) has now gone full Sparrow supporter, as has Margaery. What an idiot.
It’s hard not to wonder why the Lannister and Tyrell armies haven’t just burned the Sept of Baelor to the ground by now. They’ve literally sat around and done sod all about the Sparrows for weeks, even tough old Olenna (Diana Rigg). Tywin (Charles Dance) would shit out a crossbow bolt if he could see what a mess his children had made of things.
Thus, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is on his way over to the Riverlands, to deal with what has been an off-screen issue so far: Brynden Tully (Clive Russell) has retaken Riverrun from the Freys and is causing all kinds of trouble. So Jaime has been sent to deal with him, the poor sap. Speaking of which, it’s very nice to see that old Walder Frey (David Bradley) is as charming as ever. It’s high time the Freys got what was coming to them.
Shame on you (iii)
Well, finally it looks like Arya’s (Maisie Williams) story is moving forward. Despite sitting through that awful play a few times, she decides that Lady Crane (Essie Davis) doesn’t deserve a painful death by poison after all. It looks like she’s done with trying to be a Faceless Man. Though it now makes me wonder what the entire point of this subplot has actually been. I guess we should just be thankful that Arya is still alive.
But not for long. The Waif (Faye Marsay) is on the war path! I hope Arya manages to get the better of her. She has acquired some skills from her time with these dudes. This has to be leading somewhere good. Surely?
A special shaming to the guy in charge of this play, portrayed by Richard E. Grant. He really is a nasty piece of work. I suspect a twist coming here – that he’s actually the one who wants Crane dead. Though isn’t that a little too obvious?
Shame on you (iv)
Let’s take a minute to all agree on one thing – Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) is not a very nice man. We kind of knew this anyway from what Sam (John Bradley) has said about him in the past, but he really is awful. He’s so busy moaning about what Sam isn’t, he can’t even see what he is. I’m reminded of the Tyrion/Tywin relationship here. I suppose it’s a bit of a shame that Sam the Slayer, killer of White Walkers and Thenns, didn’t stand up and tell his father where to go. That he was done taking shit off him. But I guess that isn’t Sam.
Fair play to him, however, for stealing his family sword. After all, it’s the only thing that can kill a White Walker, and they’re on their way. They’re taking their sweet time, but they’re on their way. Ah, like they stand a chance against that big bloody dragon anyway.
Game of Thrones season six has been pretty damn awesome so far, if ridiculously busy. It seems to be tying up loose ends that we’d forgotten about, from Benjen Stark to what actually happened to the surviving Tullys after the Red Wedding. It really is on a last lurch towards the finish line, and I’m completely along for the ride.
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