By BRENDAN CICIONE
Last Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones was full of developments which left viewers shocked, as many old characters made their returns and recurring characters showed changes. These developments are setting up what will be a violent and dramatic end to the season.
The first return happens north of the wall. When Meera escapes with Bran he recalls the history of Westeros, but as he awakens he is alarmed. The wights have caught up to them and they have no way to fend them off. The scene began to look grim, but a hooded man comes to their rescue, killing the wights with a flaming chain and feeding them the next scene. It is revealed that this man is Bran’s uncle who went missing north of The Wall, Benjen Stark. This was a return long awaited by fans and it seems that Benjen was sent by the three eyed raven to guide and protect Bran and Meera.
Sam and Gilly head to Horn Hill where Gilly is supposed to stay while Sam becomes a maester at the Citadel. At Horn Hill Sam’s father lets his hatred for him known. Multiple times throughout dinner he mocks Sam calling him weak, fat, and unworthy to inherit his house’s holdings. Sam and Gilly make a decision to leave, but take his father’s beloved sword with them which will lead to him following them. By doing this Sam will draw out his father and have to kill him or be killed.
In Braavos Arya continues on her task to kill the Cersei actress even though she knows it’s wrong. After she poisoned the actress’s drink she bumped into her and realised she didn’t deserve to die. As she’s about to take a sip Arya knocks the drink out of her hand and warns her about the younger actress. Arya failed the test and The Waif was there to witness the event. Jaqen H’ghar gave The Waif permission to kill Arya as she failed for the last time. Becoming a faceless man requires a person to drop their past self including any possessions physical or emotional. Since The Waif desires to kill Arya she lacks the requirements to stay a faceless man.
Back in Westeros, King’s Landing has experienced a lot of turmoil between the faith and the Lannisters. Mace Tyrell leads an army with Jaime to the sept to ensure Margaery Doesn’t make a walk of atonement. To their surprise Margaery has embraced the faith of the seven and has persuaded Tommen to join her. Jaime is stripped of his title and is directed to help the Walder Frey’s forces regain Riverrun which they had taken from the Tullys. Margaery is really playing the high sparrow to ensure her brother’s safety and once she is able to will escape with Loras.
In Essos Daenerys rides off in search of Drogon. When she returns she calls on the entirety of her khalasar to be her bloodriders, an elite title meant for only the most highly honored warriors. The scene represents that she has began to gain control of herself. In the past she was unable to control Drogon whereas now she has rode him and is able to keep him calm. Daenerys will return to Meereen with her army and prepare to cross the narrow sea when she gets her thousand ships.
This episode certainly showed a lot less action and far more development than the other episodes of the season. Although it lacked action the episode still kept viewers entertained with the reappearances of Benjen Stark and Walder Frey, as well as progression in Daenerys’s and Arya’s plotline. With these plot developments it is apparent the final episodes of this season will be worth the wait.