“Game of Thrones” Season 6, episode 6 was a promising installment that helped set up the remaining four episodes of the HBO series this season. While the House Stark reunion beyond the Wall will be much discussed, the new union of crown and faith in King’s Landing has incredible implications for the future of Westeros, assuming we believe Margaery has truly converted to the High Sparrow’s way of thinking.
Warning: “Game Of Thrones” Season 6 spoilers ahead.
A New Power Trio
By the end of “Game of Thrones” Season 6, episode 6, “Blood of My Blood,” there was a new powerhouse in King’s Landing threatening to solidify its hold on the Iron Throne, but possibly destroy the traditional political structure in Westeros. It began calmly enough with Margaery Tyrell’s (Natalie Dormer) conversion to the Faith, something hinted at in a few episodes. King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) too naive, too young, to match wits with powerful players such as Margaery, the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) or even his own mother, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey).
As soon as the High Sparrow lets Tommen see Margaery, fans should have suspected something was wrong. She alludes to the High Sparrow and his devotion to his faith. Considering so many people in King’s Landing are completely dishonest and see other people as pawns to further their own interests, the High Sparrow appears to be above the fray. Here’s a man who seemingly can’t be corrupted, whose faith has won over the masses.
That’s what makes the High Sparrow such a formidible and interesting character in Westeros. With the backing of Margaery and Tommen, the Sparrows have full control of King’s Landing. And the Sparrows have frightened two of the most powerful figures in Westeros. If Cersei and the Queen of Thorns, also known as Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) are scared, viewers really should pay attention. Of course, Margaery knows how to play the game in King’s Landing, so there’s always the possibility she has an ulterior motive.
In a first move under the new alliance, Tommen strips Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) of his duties as captain of the Kingsguard and sends him to deal with Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (Clive Russell) at Riverrun. Jaime’s new task leads to some exciting possibilities in the Riverlands. Walder Frey (David Bradley) confirms the presence of the Blackfish, but also brings out Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies). The son of the Lord Hoster Tully and the younger brother of Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), Edmure was last seen at the Red Wedding. Unfortunately, he pales in comparison to his more competent uncle.
Most important, Tommen’s move puts Jaime, the Brotherhood Without Banners and the Stark faction together in one location. Whether it’s a reunion between Jaime and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) or a tense encounter among Jaime, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), there are a lot of storyline possibilities here. With the revelation of Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle) beyond the Wall, there’s even a slight possibility that Lady Stoneheart, also known as the revivified Catelyn, could make an appearance in “Game of Thrones” Season 6.
Bran Meets Coldhands
Speaking of Benjen, we finally meet Coldhands. The mysterious protector was featured in George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire,” but his appearance in “Game of Thrones” seemed unlikely as the television series has moved well beyond the time of his introduction in the book series. It turns out David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were saving Coldhands for “Game of Thrones” Season 6. After the heartbreaking death of Hodor, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) are completely vulnerable with the Night’s King on their trail.
Benjen was last seen in “Game of Thrones” Season 1, but went missing after a Night’s Watch mission beyond the Wall. It turns out Benjen was killed during the mission, but timely intervention by the Children of the Forest stopped him from turning into a White Walker. Connected to the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow), Benjen was aware of the danger facing Bran and Meera. Bran’s uncle saves them from the pursuing White Walkers, but the trio are far from safe. It’s unclear where they will head next or whether any place beyond the Wall can be considered safe against the Night’s King.
Randyll Tarly (James Faulkner) ranks up there among the worst fathers in “Game of Thrones.” Randyll is relentlessly cruel to Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) because his son’s ambitions and strengths don’t align with his old-school of view of masculinity. After a humiliating dinner, it appears as if Sam is resigned to leave Gilly (Hannah Murray), who finally has new clothing, and baby Sam in the care of his family while he heads to Oldtown. But Sam gathers the courage to take his family from Horn Hill. As a final act of defiance, Sam takes Heartsbane, the Valyrian steel greatsword, as he leaves.
Sam wasn’t the only one going against what was expected. Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) first mission as an apprentice of the Faceless Men was to kill a actress whose only crime was being too good in her role. Arya’s moral dilemma, about killing somebody on the orders of a younger actress looking to become a star, leads to her revealing the plot. Her adversary, Waif (Faye Marsay) happens to see the transgression.
Arya understands she is in danger, which is why she grabs Needle before heading back to the House of Black and White. This is another “Game of Thrones” Season 6 storyline that leads to more questions than answers as viewers have no idea where it is headed. She could go to Meereen and join up with Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) or head back to Westeros and learn the whereabouts of Sansa and Jon.
The latest “Game of Thrones” episode highlighted a few storylines. Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) rallying cry atop Drogon served as a good secondary story to support what was happening in King’s Landing, Horn Hill, beyond the Wall and Braavos. Daenerys is returning to Meereen with an army, but she needs 1,000 ships. And with four episodes left in the season, Dorne remained curiously absent. After all, the outcome of Ellaria Sand’s (Indira Varma) coup has to be discussed at some point, right?