Well, Throners, we’re living in a post-Hodor world and we’ll never look at doorstops or elevators without wistfully thinking of our strong and steadfast buddy. The follow up to this major dramatic and emotional blow is less crazy, a bit more strategic, and a re-entry of some characters whom we haven’t seen in awhile. Of note, if you’ve been playing along with the game “Boobs, Deaths, Dinks” — in which we try to predict how many boobs, deaths and scenes of Peter Dinklage will appear — Season 6, Episode 6, “Blood of my Blood” threw up goose eggs across the game board. ZERO boobs, deaths or Dinks. An unprecedented show of evenhandedness from writer Bryan Cogman and director Jack Bender.
This episode had another theme: Cool Uncles. Dads are out — in with uncles! Team Thrones is working on the PR for uncles everywhere who often get a bad rap. If you’ve been dealt a bum dad in Westeros, or your dad is out of the picture, look to your uncle. Or your creepy preacher who’s sort of like an uncle. Or just tell your dad to piss off and steal his sword, it’s not like he’s using it anyway.
On the plus side: so many returns of your Faves, as well as your Problematic Faves. Let’s hope you remember what happened in Season Three, cause we’re going to back to the Riverlands to kick it with the Tullies and the Freys.
The charming Walder Frey (David Bradley) is back, still getting older while his wives all stay the same age (twelve). He’s basically up to the same stuff — hosting seriously dour dinner parties and raging against the Tullies. He’s pretty mad at his sons for losing Riverrun to Brynden Tully, the Blackfish, who has conscripted a bunch of houses and the Brotherhood Without Banners against them. Frey’s ready to use the only trump card he has left, whom he brings up in chains from the dungeon: the piteously unlucky groom of the notorious Red Wedding, Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), brother to Catelyn Stark, nephew of the Blackfish, uncle to the Stark children. Not so sure he’s going to be the best blackmail bait at this point in time.
We finally get to meet the family Tarly, who reside in quite the impressive pile of bricks. Somehow, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) has managed to undersell the absolute awfulness of his father. Yup, Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) really earned my ire when he carb-shamed poor Sam at the dinner table. Dude just wants a biscuit to go with his week-old venison. Does the paleo diet know no bounds?
Sam takes the abuse his father hurls at him, reverting back to his old mindset, and hoping to conceal the fact that Gilly (Hannah Murray) is a Wildling, and baby Sam isn’t his child. Randyll HATES Wildlings (and fun…and most things, it seems). Though Sam’s mom and sister have gussied her up in a fine dress, Gilly’s quick mouth when it comes to defending Sam’s warriorhood trips them up. She retorts that Sam killed a thenn, a wight, a White Walker, coming down to the Wall, and that’s all Randyll needs to confirm his suspicions that she’s of Wildling extraction. Considering his rage against them, he offers the option for Gilly to stay as a kitchen maid, but this is the last he’ll ever see of Sam. He also swears that Sam won’t ever receive Heartsbane, the sword of Valryian steel destined for his firstborn son.
After some very Samwell hemming and hawing, he grabs Gilly and the baby, and scoops the sword off the wall, intending to make off with his family, and his inheritance (which will come in handy killing White Walkers).