Sunday, June 5, 2016
Season 6, Episode 6: "Blood of my Blood"
Last week's rankings: "Hold the Door"
In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die. In that spirit, here’s your weekly look at who’s winning and who’s (slowly, painfully) dying.
This is the first time since Season 3, Episode 2 (34 episodes ago!) that no one died on screen. Even for a show whose principle tagline is "All men must die," that's still a pretty amazing streak. Given that the final four episodes of the season look destined to be extremely blood-soaked, let's all enjoy this brief respite to celebrate the living.
2. House Stark
We already saw Sansa and Jon reunite a few episodes ago, and they're headed to rescue Rickon. Bran and Benjen reunited this episode, and they're on their way to Castle Black. And A Girl is no longer just a girl, but Arya Stark once again, and she's maybe about to join a traveling theater troupe that could land her back in Westerns. All of this seems to portend a possible Stark family reunion at the end of the season, where all six living Starks could be in the same place together for the first time since the series' second episode.
Of course, the fact that the show is making us hope for this means it won't happen, and I actually think we might get another Stark death this season. The safe money there is on Rickon, but I have a sneaking feeling it will be Sansa. The two big things we needed out of Sansa as a character were for her to seize control of her life, and convince Jon to recapture Winterfell. Now that both of those things have happened, it feels a bit like Sansa's character arc is over, and the she's now expendable to the show. I hope I'm wrong.
One last Stark thought: Does anyone else get the feeling Benjen might just essentially be a sleeper agent for the Night King?
3. Daenerys Stormborn, Sun of our Stars
After Seasons 4 and 5 largely tore her down from her pedestal and exposed her as someone who still has a lot to learn about ruling, Season 6 has reaffirmed that she's still one of (fake) history's greatest conquerers.
4. Queen Margaery
While Houses Lannister and Tyrell are quite pissed at the Crown's new status quo, it feels like Margaery knows what she's doing. Perhaps the biggest lesson she's learned from the Faith has nothing to do with actual faith, but is all about the importance of having the support of the masses--certainly something that Cersei has spent he life giving zero fucks about.
5. Valerian Steel
Knowing what Sam knows about killing White Walkers, his stealing Heartsbane from his father feels like something of great importance. And a big hint that we haven't seen the last of the ever-cheerful Lord Randyll Tarly.
Honorable Mention: Flashbacks
Hey, we saw the Mad King!! That leaves his son, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen as the only major character whose death predates Episode 1 that we haven't met via flashback yet. And I feel like he's definitely coming.
1. House Lannister
Just as Season 6 might be giving us the Stark resurgence we've all been clamoring for, it might also finally be giving us the Lannister downfall that we've clamored for even more ravenously. With Tommen now actively going against the interests of his parents, Cersei stripped of almost all of her power, and Jaime headed for a possible defeat in the Riverlands, the Lannister name has never meant less.
It will be fascinating to see where Cersei and Jaime go from here. For years now, we've all assumed the show's endgame will principally involve Jon and Daenerys, while Cersei has just been busy worrying about the Titanic deck chairs that is the King's Landing power struggle. But will the show actually dispense with either of them early? I have a feeling that Cersei will at least live to see Tommen die, fulfilling the prophecy that she'll bury all of her children. But once Tommen goes, which could be any episode, it feels like Cersei will be expendable as well.
2. Family Dinners
As we saw last season with the riveting House Bolton dinners at Winterfell, sitting with your family around the the dinner table can be a uniquely wretched experience in Westeros, and the reunion of House Tarly did not disappoint. Well, unless you were one of the people at the table. Or those scrumptious rolls that had to go uneaten.
3. Edmure Tully
Poor Ed. When Walder was expositing about "remind them who it was that got married at the Red Wedding," he was really talking to show viewers, who likely couldn't pick Edmure out of a lineup. Well, look at the bright side--while all of his comrades were being slaughtered, he was getting laid, and really, that's not a bad final act before getting chained up and used as a bargaining chip.
4. Walder Frey
He may be gloating now, but I'm pretty sure the show only brought him back this season to kill him. There just aren't enough episodes left to turn him into a major villain.
5. Mace Tyrell
When the histories are written of the greatest motivational speakers of Westeros, poor Mace won't even get a footnote.
Honorable Mention: Spelling and Autocorrect
Seriously, I've been writing these columns for four years now, and I still have to look up how to spell half of these names every time I write them. And don't even get me started on how many times Westeros has gotten autocorrected to "Westerns" without my catching it. Damn you, George R.R. Martin!
Confirmed Kills: 0 (For reals!!)
Season Death Tally: Still 52 (and probably about to skyrocket)