Another week, another Game of Thrones episode stuffed with nasty zombies, complicated plots and Starks returning from the dead. And of course, another round of mysteries we’re still trying to get our heads round…
1. Who died this week?
Nobody, in what is certainly a season six first (and possibly the whole series). Perhaps after Hodor’s death last week, they thought we needed some time off.
2. What happened in Bran’s vision?
Well all sorts of things, with the greenseeing Stark basically getting a crash course in all the backstory he needed to help save the Seven Kingdoms. That included the recent actions of the White Walkers, the death of his family and some interesting flashbacks we’ve never seen before, particularly relating to the Mad King.
Yep, that creepy guy on the Iron Throne was the last Targaryen ruler King Aerys Targaryen there (aka Daenerys’ father), appearing in the series for the first time with his classic refrain of “Burn them all!” Appropriately enough we also got a shot of the liquid green wildfire he had made in secret, which still lurks in the storerooms of King’s Landing and based on its prominence in this episode could mean dire consequences for the capital. You know what they say about Chekov’s wildfire…
Oh, and we also got to see young Jaime Lannister assassinate King Aerys, another misguided attempt by him to save people which backfired, much like his actions in this week’s episode. Speaking of which…
3. Has Margaery really converted?
This episode apparently saw Margaery and King Tommen join forces with the radical High Sparrow, but it’s hard to know how genuine skilled schemer Margaery is being. Is this just her way of getting out of trouble (and throwing her brother Loras under the bus so actor Finn Jones can play Iron Fist for Marvel), or has she genuinely become a believer?
If it’s the latter, we can’t imagine the Queen of Thorns being very impressed.
4. Why did Sam steal his father’s sword?
We imagine it was partly a little payback after his dad kept calling him fat and his girlfriend a whore who should die, but there may also be a little method to the impulse theft. After all, Valyrian steel (which the sword, Heartsbane, is made of) is one of the few things that can kill a White Walker, so it could be useful to Sam and his Night’s Watch brothers in their battle for the realm.
Also, with Sam headed off to the Citadel (where the maesters experiment with the latest science), it could be the perfect opportunity to find out exactly why Valyrian steel works so well against White Walkers, and if there’s a way to replicate it.
5. Why didn’t Arya kill the actress?
As we noted in our live blog, Arya would have made a pretty poor assassin if she wouldn’t kill anyone because they were good at their job, but to be honest her refusal to off actress Lady Crane was inevitable. Despite her claims to Jaqen, she is far from No One, and she has too much heart to kill an innocent woman (especially after watching her emote on stage at the loss any death makes people feel).
Now we have Arya-vs-The Waif to look forward to, with Faye Marsay’s assassin chomping at the bit to tear into Lady Stark and Arya tooling up with treasured sword Needle. Can’t wait to see what happens there.
6. Is Bran the new Three-Eyed Raven?
Yep, it turns out Max von Sydow’s moniker was more a job title than a name, so it’s now his job to stop the Night’s King and his White Walker buddies from destroying the realms of men. No pressure.
7. How did Benjen survive?
One of this week’s most shocking developments saw the return of Bran’s long-lost uncle Benjen Stark, aka Game of Thrones season one actor Joseph Mawle after a five-year absence.
Turns out that after leaving Jon at Castle Black to go ranging, Benjen was stabbed by a White Walker (which apparently…turns you into one? Or maybe he meant it would turn him into a wight), only to be saved by the Children of the Forest’s dragonglass-stabbing medical abilities.
Now he serves the Three Eyed-Raven (aka his nephew Bran, who inherited the title this week), and the number of resurrected Starks on the show has never been higher.
8. Where were all the other characters?
There was no sign of Jon, Sansa, Davos, Littlefinger, The Greyjoys or Tyrion and friends this week, so we’ll probably be catching up with them in the next episode.
9. And most importantly – where’s Bronn?
Good news on that front – after 6 weeks of shameful Bronn-absence, the sellsword-turned-knight got a namecheck from Jaime as a weapon against the Sparrows, and based on the next episode’s trailer he’ll be joining Jaime as the latter tries to reclaim Riverrun.
Frankly, we’ll be counting the minutes.
Game of Thrones continues on Sky Atlantic next Monday at 2am and 9.00pm