We start just after the last episode ended with Meera still trying to help Bran escape, whilst Bran is still stuck in his visions, including some of Aerys Targaryen. The dead are still pursuing them, when a mysterious rider arrives to save them with some kind of flaming mace. I was fairly sure this was Benjen Stark, but they cut away for the time being.
Sam and Gilly are at Sam’s home at Old Town. They recap Sam’s problems with his father, how he was forced to join the Night’s Watch. We first get to meet Sam’s mother and sister.
In King’s Landing the High Sparrow is telling Tommen not to worry about Margery’s walk of shame and also allows Tommen to see her. Last week Margery was being aggressively anti Sparrows to Loris, whereas this week she is talking about the gods plan.
Meanwhile we get an awkward Tarly family dinner. Sam’s dad is clearly not a nice guy, and you can see why Sam was like he was when he first arrived at the Night’s Watch back in Season 1. He just about allows Gilly and baby Sam to stay, whilst Sam goes to complete his Maester’s training. But instead Sam steals the family’s Valyrian Steel sword and they all leave.
Arya continues to scope out the assassination attempt on the actress playing Cersei. She poisons her drink and leaves. At the last minute Arya slaps the drink out of her hand. The waif is there watching, this is the end of Arya’s time at assassin school. Jaqen allows the waif to kill Arya, who has reclaimed Needle and is hiding out. We’re heading to a fight there, and if it doesn’t come down to stick fighting then that will have been a waste of a fair few episodes.
Meanwhile Jaime greets the Tyrell army that arrives. Margery is about to undergo her walk of shame when the army arrives. They demand Margery and Loris back. However Tommen has become a servant of the Seven. I understand why Margery has done it, she saw this as her way out. And they get the popular support behind them with the High Sparrow. As Olenna remarks they’ve beaten them. Jaime is removed from the Kingsguard. This was a big power move by the High Sparrow, he’s essentially got control over the king.
Walder Frey appears for the first time since the Red Wedding, who has lost Riverrun to the Blackfish. Walder still has Edmure Tully and plans to use him to break the siege of Riverrun. Jaime is also being sent to Riverrun to assist in this siege.
As predicted it is revealed that it was Benjen who helped Bran and Meera. He was nearly killed by White Walkers, but was saved by the Children of the Forest.
Daenerys continues to march home with her new Dothraki hoard. She finds Drogon that gives the episode a pretty cool ending, but it basically just sits there. Call me a man of simple pleasures, but I wanna see dragons destroy stuff.
Let’s be honest it was always going to be hard for this episode to live up to the previous one. And this went more for spectacular visuals, the army at the sept or Drogon’s reappearance rather than actually big moments. Benjen’s reappearance was quite a big one, but one that many people, myself included, predicted after last week’s episode. I’m not surprised the way that the King’s Landing storyline went. I was hoping for that blood in the streets, explosion of violence, but I’m not surprised they’ve held it back. Cersei’s trial is coming up and I’m still behind the Clegain bowl – get hype! But it has further broken up the kingdom, Tommen has got the High Sparrow what he definitely wanted, control over the King. We also have a third big conflict brewing, the siege of Riverrun, with Walder and Edmure reappearing we have someone to really root against, cause I for one still haven’t forgiven those Frey’s for the Red Wedding. Personally I really enjoyed Sam’s storyline. In his own way he eventually managed to find a way to stand up to his father. That’s a far smaller scale, personal conflict, but one that worked well in this episode. At first Sam was reduced to the Sam first met, however we also see his growth over the last 5 and a half seasons, to the point that he was able to make a stand. This was not in the same league as last week’s episode, but I liked the High Sparrow outmanoeuvring everyone, he might preach living a humble life, but suddenly he’s got control of the King and is possibly the most powerful man around now. I’m still waiting for Cersei to choose violence, and I don’t think it’ll be too much longer.