Following on from one of the series’ strongest episodes in a while, you could be forgiven for wondering exactly how ‘Blood Of My Blood’ would it follow it up. The answer, as it turns out, is in workmanlike fashion; efficient, but not too fancy, although with a sprinkling of stardust.
The preview for this episode suggested the possibility of a big showdown in King’s Landing, but evidently we’ll have to wait for our next on-screen scrap, with Tommen and Margaery apparently having embraced the cult of the High Sparrow (surely a feint on their front, especially considering how defiant Margaery seemed previously).
Still, with the Lannister twins separated once more, and no long left to rein in Cersei’s hair-trigger impulses, we’d fear for the Sparrows if we liked them. Then again, we don’t expect her to expend too much energy on safeguarding the Tyrells.
However, it appears that King’s Landing might not be long for Westeros if Bran’s visions are anything to go by. And with Daenerys handily linking back up with Drogon (now utterly massive, by the way), this mainland invasion could be happening sooner than we originally thought.
Anyways, back to Bran: seen last week having his unconscious form dragged by Meera while he has the entire history of Westeros uploaded into his brain, his situation is improved somewhat by his rescue by Coldhands (finally appearing in the TV series) – whose identity is, somewhat unsurprisingly, revealed as Benjen Stark, who you may remember as having gone missing way back in Season 1.
Asking people to remember this far back might be a big ask, but it’s nice to see a show that takes its own mythology so seriously and continues to reward loyal viewers. The reappearance of Walder Frey and Edmure Tully is another perfect case in point (not to mention the Blackfish’s promised return) – this season has been one of glorious fan service and theories either being validated or smashed on the rocks.
Sure, it lacks the razzle-dazz of last week, but unlike last season, it truly feels like every scene is leading somewhere.
In a strange way, not having the books’ back story lingering in the background seems to be working in Game Of Thrones‘ favour. Shorn of the knowledge of what’s ahead, it has been forced to rely on its excellent writing and performances like any other show. It has always been excellent in this regard, but Season 6 has exhibited a real sense of confidence that Season 5 didn’t always have. What a great time to rediscover it.