This is a recap of the Game Of Thrones episode “Blood of My Blood” (season 6, episode 6).

Non-spoiler summary: “An old foe comes back into the picture. Gilly meets Sam’s family. Arya faces a difficult choice. Jaime faces off against the High Sparrow.”

See below for full SPOILER-ific recap!

It’s Memorial Day weekend and we are now past the half way mark of season 6. Let’s get into it!

1) Bran finishes his Three Eyed Raven Matrix-style knowledge download as Meera drags him away from the Wights

In a series of rapid fire images and sounds, we get the impression that Bran is getting a crash course in the entire history of Westeros.

Some new scenes include seeing wildfire getting created in large supplies:

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And for the first time, we briefly see a king that has been mentioned many times before: the “Mad King,” King Aerys II Targaryen.

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This is the king who Young Ned Stark helped remove from power so his drunk buddy Bob Baratheon could take the Iron Throne.

Of course, they did so with a little help from the Kingslayer himself, Jamie Lannister:

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Jamie killed the king while serving to protect him as a member of the white-cloaked Kingsguard. Instead of standing by and allowing the increasingly paranoid and delusional Mad King to burn people alive for imagined insults, Jamie stood up to him, earning him the nickname Kingslayer, Oathbreaker and Man Without Honor.

And of course, Bran’s knowledge montage also includes one more tease of his daddy Young Ned Stark demanding to know what happened to his sister, although all signs point to something not good in the Tower of Joy:

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This question immediately followed by an abstract image of bloodied hands effectively uses the Sergei Eisenstein soviet style of montage to give us an ominous answer:

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2) … but at the last second, Bran and Meera are saved by Benjen Stark / Coldhands!

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Anybody got a pair of gloves I could borrow?

Their mysterious savior is Bran’s uncle Benjen Stark, who we last saw as First Ranger of the Night’s Watch in season one. He also seems to be a figure from the book that up until now it seemed had been removed from the show for expediency sake: Coldhands.

Although Benjen does not say “I’m Coldhands,” later in the episode we learn his back story, which seems to jive with the Coldhands origin story in the books: while on a raid north of the Wall when beset upon by Wights, a Child of the Forest saved him and through the ol’ “dragon glass in the heart” procedure, reversed the Ice-Zombie-fication process that otherwise would have taken place. So I guess in the same way that anti-venom is made out of snake venom, dragon glass in the heart both creates White Walkers and inoculates you from becoming one?

Was it Leaf, the Child of the Forest who sacrificed herself to allow Bran and Meera to escape, who saved Benjen? Since she created the White Walkers, is she now attempting to undo the destructive force she brought upon the world by doing whatever is in her power to help humans defeat the White Walkers? Or are there more of her species still out there?

3) Gilly and Lil’ Sam meet Big Sam’s family, and his mom is nice and his dad is a jerk

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Sam, couldn’t you have found anything besides burlap sacks for your GF and baby?

So, as Sam told Jon many times, his father Lord Randyll Tarly is a jerk. But since womenfolk and babyfolk aren’t allowed at the Citadel where Sam is going to train to become a maester, he thinks that the safest place to leave Gilly and Lil’ Sam is with his mom and pop at House Tarly, because at least his mom is nice (and she is!).

At dinner, Randyll insults Sam for wanting to eat bread (evidently House Tarly is a bunch of hunters on a paleo diet) and then insults Gilly for being a wildling (Mole’s Town Whore = okay, but Wildling = not okay).

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Don’t worry, Sam, it’s always awkward when your family meets your (pretend) Baby Mama for the first time

Gilly stands up to Mean Daddy Tarly at dinner, but Sam can only cower and take it.

After accepting his father’s pronouncement that he’ll never sleep another night at House Tarly, Sam initially says goodbye to Gilly and Lil’ Sam, but then changes his mind and sneaks out with them in the middle of the night.

He also steals the family sword, Heartsbane, an ancestral blade made of Valerian steal.

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Get it, Sam. Get it.

Sam shows that he might have a little backbone after all:

Gilly: Sam. That’s your father’s sword.
Sam: It’s my family’s sword.
Gilly: Sam. Won’t he come for it?
Sam: He can bloody well try.

Good first step, Sam! Now just stand up to him when you’re in the same room with him next time!

4) Arya watches a little more of Bizarro Game Of Thrones…

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While last episode was troubling for Arya to watch the bastardization of the story of what happened to her father Ned, this time the play brings her a little joy as she watches the comical reenactment of the Red Wedding and the death of Joffrey.

After watching the actress and the person she is supposed to kill, Lady Crane, deliver a talented monologue and show her kindness backstage, Arya has doubts about poisoning her.

5) …and then Arya decides that she wants to be a Stark, not one of the Faceless Men.

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Arya and her Reverse-Princess-Leia hairstyle

This has been a long time coming. The moment when Arya would decide if she wants to stay true to her stubborn Stark principles of Doing The Noble Thing or completely let go of herself and blindly submit to the will of the Many Faced God (as told to her by Jaqen).

After poisoning Lady Crane’s rum, Arya decides to make things as dramatic as possible and wait until the last moment to knock the poison out of Lady Crane’s hand just before it touches her lips.

Earlier Arya noticed the younger actress jealously pining for Lady Crane’s starring role in the play. So to Arya, killing someone who appeared to be a decent person just because someone was jealous and able to pay for her death didn’t seem right. As she places the poison, she literally must face herself in a mirror. Is she okay with the person the Faceless Men want her to become?

The storyline ends on a cliffhanger with Arya retrieving Needle from where she hid it when she first started her training at the House Of Black And White, and the Waif ratting on Arya to Jaqen and making it clear that she intends to kill her.

I wonder if in some twisted Willy Wonka reversal where it was all a bigger test outside of the smaller series of tests, if Jaqen is secretly pleased that Arya didn’t kill someone who did not deserve to be killed, and her final test will be in defeating the Waif, who clearly is full of jealousy and vengeance, which Jaqen specifically told Arya were not qualities desirable in the Faceless Men.

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Arya removing her family sword from the stones mirrors Sam’s removing his family sword from its spot above the hearth; just as Sam initially leaves Gilly but then changes his mind and does the right thing, Arya initially poisons Lady Crane but then changes her mind; and just as Gilly helps Sam remember that he is not the things that his father says he is, Arya must remember who she really is.

For me personally, watching Arya make the decision to be a Stark and stay true to herself was the most satisfying moment of the entire episode.

6) The Lannisters and the Tyrells team up, but that rascally High Sparrow outsmarts them anyway

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tfw u a high priest but u a little bit of a bad boy 2

We watch as Jamie leads the plan discussed in the previous episode for the army of House Tyrell to march on Baelor’s Sept to retrieve Margaery, and her brother Loras, before her nude walk of atonement.

For a moment, it appears that their plan will work. They’ve got superior numbers and they’re ready to fight.

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“I speak for King Tommen.” Do you? Do you really? Oh, dude, you are about to look SO dumb.

The High Sparrow responds by stating that they “yearn” to die in the service of their God, aka they don’t give a fuck and are afraid of nothing. Yikes.

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Lancel sighting! Wtf is that weapon he is holding?

But the tension of the stand off is released without bloodshed, because the High Sparrow had a little trick up his sleeve: King Tommen. Or more specifically, it seems that Margaery has been brainwashed by the High Sparrow, who then in turn convinced King Tommen to fall in line and recognize the authority of the Faith.

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It’s easy to believe that young and easily manipulated Tommen was brought over to the Faith when Margaery asked him to, but I find myself unconvinced that Margaery was so wholly swayed, especially after she was so strong in the face of the Septa’s torture for so long.

I’m guessing that Margaery is working some sort of long con which involves getting the High Sparrow to think that she is a True Believer, and for which she is just using Tommen as a pawn.

So, the High Sparrow believes in the Seven, and I believe in Margaery. Come on, Margaery, don’t let me down! Outsmart them all!

7) Jaime is sent to fight the Blackfish and retake Riverrun

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Son, you’re being a little shit right now.

Since Tommen is in the pocket of the Faith now, as a punishment for marching against the High Sparrow, Jamie is sent away to fight the Blackfish and regain control of Riverrun.

Who is the Blackfish again? He is Brynden Tully, head of House Tully and uncle to Catelyn Stark.

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Get ready to see some action from the sharp shootin’ Brynden Tully later this season.

And as if you needed a reminder, in this episode we get a little taste of Lord Walder Frey, the perpetrator of the Red Wedding where Catelyn and Robb Stark were murdered.

8) Reminder: Lord Frey is still alive and still an ass and still just begging for vengeance to be carried out against him

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“I suck so hard,” said Lord Frey.

After the death of Jon Snow’s betrayers earlier this season, apart from Ramsay Bolton, the person that GOT fans are most rooting to be brought to justice is Lord Walder Frey.

We get a quick taste of how awful he is in this scene where he berates two of his sons for losing Riverrun, slaps his (latest) young wife on the butt for no apparent reason, and then brings up the Red Wedding.

Apart from a plot refresher, this scene seems to primarily serve as prepping viewers for seeing the Frey get dealt the justice they deserve. Oh yeah, and it does deliver one new piece of information:

9) Edmure Tully has been imprisoned by Lord Frey ever since the Red Wedding

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This guy’s wedding night did NOT go how he thought it would.

The scene ends with Lord Frey telling his sons that the Blackfish will yield because they have his nephew Edmure Tully. Edmure was the one who got married at the Red Wedding to Lord Frey’s daughter Roslin Frey, the original intended bride of Robb Stark before he went and fell in love with army nurse Talisa.

Edmure has been a prisoner ever since the Red Wedding, evidently. We last saw him being carried up the stairs for the bedding ceremony, shortly before the carnage of the Red Wedding took place.

Will the capture of his nephew cause the Blackfish to yield? Or will it only further spur him to destroy Lord Frey?

10) Dany delivers a speech on the back of Drogon

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While out riding in the desert with Daario and her new Khalasar, Dany’s dragon sense starts to tingle and she commands everybody to wait around while she goes and finds Drogon.

Our fierce Khaleesi returns mounted on Drogon and gives a badass speech.

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I don’t speak Dothraki, but I’m pretty sure their resounding cheer meant “Yes, we’ll ride on ships with you. You can call them ships, you don’t have to call them ‘wooden horses.’ That is condescending.”

So, the stage is set for Dany to join the frey: she has an army of Dothraki ready to sail to Westeros and fight by her side; she is reunited with Drogon and seems completely in control of him now; and in an earlier episode, Tyrion released her other two dragons from their shackles.

Dany just needs to find one thousand ships, the exact number of ships Euron said he was going to build and bring to her. Interesting.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading and see you next week!