Reply All: A Game of Thrones Email Exchange – S6E6 ‘Blood of My Blood’

If you missed last week’s exchange, it’s because we didn’t have one. Instead, we recorded a mid-season podcast, which you can check out here

With Keith out galavanting around like some kind of recently introduced Greyjoy, Matt stepped in for this week’s edition of Reply All.

NICK: So after spending the past week racking my brain with flat circle time travel and being reminded of Hodor every time someone held a door open, we’re back with the sixth episode that saw some more story lines taking shape. Arya’s compassion for Lady Crane prevents her from completing her mission, and her turn back to her Stark self is resurrected with the resurgence of Needle.  Dany delivered a speech that made me want to stand up and declare my willingness to sail to Westeros as she shouted to her khalasar atop Drogon. Jaime and Cersei continue to be bested by the High Sparrow (he’s so smug) as Tommen forms a holy alliance and basically says “nah mom, I don’t need you anymore”.

But let’s start at the beginning with another Stark reunion: UNCLE BENJEN IS BACK AND HE’S COLDHANDS AND HE SAVED BRAN AND MEERA’S LIFE!


MATT: Screw Uncle Benjen! How about the fact that we more or less guessed most of the events that played out in ‘Blood of My Blood’ during our Game of Thrones midseason podcast? I know for a fact that we discussed the High Sparrow’s game playing skills, Arya’s Faceless Men betrayal, the return of Drogon, as well as Benjen Stark, so I think we can call ourselves true Scholars of Westeros.

Anyway, back to old Ben from the snowy sea. I always felt that the Coldhands character from the book was indeed Benjen Stark, which the Game of Thrones showrunners have now confirmed. Although, his role was a bit different in the books and Martin is claiming that the two characters aren’t one in the same. Whatever George, just finish the last two fucking books and quit trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Coldhands is Benjen, Benjen is Coldhands. It just makes too much sense now.

I did appreciate the explanation of his otherworldly appearance though, and the fact that the Children saved him using the same method they cooked up to create the Night King. These fucking Children are in all sorts of shit, but now that they’re pretty much extinct, their magic lingers on through Coldhands and the White Walkers.

I envision Benjen helping Bran learn more about his past, and ultimately leading him to become the magical force we expect him to be now that he is the new Three-eyed Raven. We got a glimpse of his powers in the episode, and low and behold who do we see? The Mad King Aerys, so just like we discussed in the cast, I still believe Bran will have a hand in his madness.

Outside of the Bran thread I found Arya’s to finally be worthy thanks to her betrayal of the Faceless Men. It looks like she will finely get going again, but now she has the world’s most deadly assassins after her, so it’ll be interesting to see how she gets out of this mess.

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NICK: So what’s next for almost-assassin Arya? Obviously she knows she’ll be fighting for her survival, but is it a safe assumption she starts to make her way back to Winterfell? The Waif is all too excited to get the head nod of death from Jaquen, but after spending as much time training as she did, Arya at least has the wits and knowledge to see things others don’t when the Faceless Men make their move.

I have this sneaking suspicion that the Tyrells are in cahoots with the High Sparrow.  Think about it: Lady Olenna had been playing the game with and through Margaery  to overtake Cersei’s hold on not just King’s Landing, but all of the Seven Kingdoms. While perhaps the imprisonment of Loras and Margaery may have unplanned, the opportunity to use the High Sparrow’s power of persuasion has created a new fold in the story. Olenna had to know the Lannister’s plan of using the Tyrell army while the Gold Cloaks would “stand aside” seemed a bit too obvious of a trap. Tommen isn’t exactly the most free-thinking person, and we’ve seen numerous times already how easily he can be persuaded, especially with his queen whispering in his ear. Thus the new holy alliance and the separating – again – of Jaime and Cercei.

Maybe it’s a crazy idea, but this is where reading and watching the show have taken me.

MATT: Arya has to get away, I just don’t see her thread ending abruptly in a glorious death at the hands of the bitchy girl. Speaking of the Waif, there’s some speculation that she may be Syrio, Arya’s trainer from the first season. If this turns out to be the case then possibly Waif/Syrio will help Arya get away? I think it’s a stretch, but with what we’ve learned this season, it wouldn’t be the craziest revelation.

You know Nick, I think you may have something with your thoughts on the Queen of Thorns. She did plot Joffrey’s death with Petyr, and she’s clearly a premiere game player, so I wouldn’t put it past her. It’s clear that Margaery knows how to play the game too, but Tommen does not. All he can think with is his penis, so the High Sparrow had an easy time converting him to his cause.

The fact that the Lannisters are split is key, and actually gets Jaime’s thread back in line with the books. Although, with how the show has dealt with things, it looks like they’ll be pitting him against his savior Brienne. This works for the show, but is another one of those changes that I just don’t like. Jaime is a much more humble dude in the books and I appreciate his change, but in the show they’ve sort of built him back up as a dick, so I’ll be interested to see how he handles the Riverrun siege.

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NICK: Where do you stand on Sam and Gilly’s thread? While not action-packed or even remotely exciting, Sam’s grand scheme to keep Gilly and baby Not Sam safe at Horn Hill backfired within hours of his arrival. The only good that really came of it was Sam – eventually – saying “screw you, dad” and hightailing it out of his family’s castle with one of the few Valyrian swords left in the entire world. Obviously Heartsbane is going to play a role, and the time spent on Sam and Gilly this week were entirely for Sam to obtain his birthright. What are the chances Sam actually goes to Old Town to train to become a Maester? There’s no way Sam sticks his nose in books for the rest of the series while harboring a sword like Heartsbane. Spurning his father’s tyranny is Sam turning a page in his own book instead of someone else’s. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t end up back at the Wall.

Sidenote: How brutal is Randyll Tarley? Dude fat shames his son and has no qualms about hiding his feelings towards Wildlings. I’d have stolen the family sword too if I were Sam.

MATT: The whole Sam and Gilly thread has – and still does – feel inconsequential. The scene from this week’s episode was purely cooked up for the show as it doesn’t take place in the books. I believe he does make it to Old Town to begin his training, but like I said before I just don’t see his importance in the show. The whole sword thread will surely lead somewhere and I think that somewhere will entail Lord Tarly, who is a mean son of a bitch. I do think the show portrayed him as he is in the books quite well.

Who knows where Sam and Gilly will end up, but as of right now I could care less. I do care about the return of Drogon though, who seems to have doubled in size since we last saw him. Do you think now that he’s back and Dany is on the march we will get to see his brothers out of their dungeon and roaming free before the season wraps? Maybe all three flying in unison with riders, or is that looking too far ahead?

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NICK: Ever since Tyrion dragon-whispered Rheagal and Viserion I’ve been waiting for them to make an appearance. Are they still in the dungeon? How do they get out? Do they have their own moon door they can fly through? I’m really hoping the brothers will unite at some point this season, but I’d be surprised if we see two riders joining Dany.

Episode seven’s preview takes us back to Jon and Sansa, Jaime’s siege-skills get tested at Riverrun, and Yara and Theon plan their next move. What are you most looking forward to in “The Broken Man”?

MATT: I’m with you, I just want to know what the hell Rhaegal and Viserion have been doing since Tyrion broke their bonds. I’m assuming they’re chilling in their cold, dank, dungeon, so hopefully some shit will hit the fan and Tyrion will break them out for a BBQ. Maybe the Wise Masters will reneg on their deal with Tyrion and Varys and lay Mereen under siege afterall, which makes for a perfect excuse to unleash the dragons.

Well with any new episode I’m always interested in which scene the title is derived from, so who is the broken man? Will it be Jaime as he confronts Riverrun’s forces but realizes his lady giant is involved? Is it Theon? Maybe a lesson from the High Sparrow?

I can tell you I’m the least interested in the Theon and Yara thread, again because it’s so far from the book’s events that it feels off. I liked Theon suffering as Reek in the North more than his cleaned up Iron Born self. In terms of the line I’m most eager for, it has to be the Jon and Sansa narrative. They’re key to the overall story, so their adventure will drive the events of Season 6 onward. Hopefully towards Ramsay Bolton’s glorious death.

NICK: I’m actually looking forward to seeing where Yara and Theon are headed. Seeing Theon continue his transformation back to some resemblance of his old self is setting his character up for a bigger redemption. Whether that’s exacting revenge on Ramsay or something else entirely is yet to be seen, but I think he does something big to right his past wrongs. Also Bronn is shown in the episode preview, and I’m also pro-Bronn.

But mainly I’m just hoping for more dragons.

Check out the trailer below for episode seven, and catch Game of Thrones on HBO Sunday at 9pm EST. 


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Nick Hershey

The author Nick Hershey

Nick was born and raised in Amish country, has a beard, but isn’t Amish. He’s a fan of winter as long as he’s at the top of a mountain with a board under his feet. He’s an avid sports fan, movie junkie, tv bum, and music enthusiast who still purchases CDs for some reason.