The following recap contains massive spoilers (DUH). Please don’t read ahead unless you are perfectly ok with that fact or have seen the episode.
This week’s Game of Thrones begins with Meera dragging Bran through the snow. Bran is still stuck in the dream state, but seems to be floating all over time and space. He’s no long focused on one event, but seems to be reliving everything that has happened throughout time including what we have seen in the past 5 1/2 seasons, things that happen before season 1, and things that happen in the future. Meera reaches her limit, and cannot carry Bran anymore. Crying, she sits down beside him, and Bran opens his eyes and informs Meera that the wights have found them. Just as it seems as if they are about to be overrun by the wights, a mystery warrior arrives on a horse with a fire mace and saves them. After he has dispatches the nearest threats, he instructs Meera and Bran to come with him. He hoists Bran and Meera upon his horse, and they ride off.
Sam and Gilly are riding in a cart, and all the different trees that she sees amaze Gilly. She thinks they are beautiful. As they approach Sam’s family’s place, Gilly asks Sam what he told his family about her. He tells Gilly that his father, Randyll Tarly, doesn’t care for Wildlings, so he decided to avoid the subject. They finally arrive and are greeted by Sam’s mother. Sam introduces his mother, and his sister Tally, to Gilly and Samwell. Lady Tarly is all too happy to meet her grandson and daughter in law.
In King’s Landing, Tommen is asking High Sparrow if there is any way to save Margaery other than the walk of atonement. In order to ease his mind, the High Sparrow offers Tommen a moment to see her. Being reunited with his wife brings Tommen happiness he hasn’t seen in a while. However, the High Sparrow has clearly brainwashed her, as she is now agreeing with everything that the High Sparrow has said. She sees the world differently, and even now agrees that Ser Loras has to atone for his sins.
Gilly has changed into a lady’s clothing, and Sam thinks she looks beautiful. They go in to eat with Randyll and Sam’s mother, Melessa Florent. They talk about the hunt that Randyll and Dickon went on earlier that day. Dickon Tarly asks how much hunting they do on the wall, but Sam informs them that Jon and Gilly did most of the hunting. Sam praises Gilly’s hunting skills. Eventually, Randyll goes to insulting Sam. After a few minutes of berating, Gilly has had enough and jumps to Sam’s defense. However, in her tirade, it comes out that she is a Wildling. Sam’s father then declares his disdain for Wildlings, and his disappointment in Sam for fathering a child with one. He tells Sam that Gilly will be allowed to stay, but will be forced to work in the kitchens. Little Sam will be raised there, but Sam will never be allowed to step foot in his home again. Later that evening, Sam goes to apologize to Gilly. She’s not mad at Sam, though, just that jerks like his father get away with being jerks. Sam tells her that he will be forced to leave at first light, and just as it seems as if he is going to leave, he comes back into the room and tells Gilly to pack. Sam says that their place is together, as a family, and he wants to take Gilly and Little Sam with him. On their way out, he takes his family’s Valerian steel sword. Gilly asks Sam if his father will come for it, to which Sam replies, “He can bloody well try.”
Arya goes to see the play again in preparation for her task. The actress whom she is supposed to kill, Lady Crane, moves her. Arya makes her way backstage and pours the poison into Lady Crane’s drink. Lady Crane sees Arya and they share a touching moment. Just as the actress is about to drink the poison, Arya knocks it out of her hand, and then warns her to watch out for the other actress who hired the assassins. The Waif sees Arya’s actions and reports them to Jaqen. Jaqen instructs The Waif to take Ayra out, but not to let her suffer. Arya retrieves Needle from where she had hid it, and then hides from the fate she knows is coming for her.
In King’s Landing, Jaime is waiting Lord Tyrell. He has arrived with his army in order to wipe the city of the zealots and to save Magaery and Loras. They arrive just as the High Sparrow is about to force Margaery to make her walk of atonement. However, just as the armies are readying to purge King’s Landing of it’s sparrow problem, the High Sparrow makes the slickest and smartest move in all Game of Thrones history, and backs down. He announces that Margaery doesn’t have to make a walk of atonement, since she brought another into the faith. It’s at this point that Tommen walks out of the Sept. Jaime and Lord and Lady Tyrell all have egg on their faces. By backing down, the High Sparrow took away all the justification that the army had to wipe out the zealot threat. Later that day, Tommen strips Jaime of his title of head of the Kingsguard, and banishes him from King’s Landing.
Walder Frey is upset that Blackfish has taken back Riverrun. He wants his men to take it back. He wants them to take Lord Edmure with them and to remind Blackfish about all of the events of the Red Wedding. He believes that this will cause Blackfish to give up Riverrun.
Jaime informs Cersei that he’s been instructed to help Frey take back Riverrun. Jaime wants vengeance against the High Sparrow for taking his son. Cersei wants him to lead the Lannister armies, as their father wanted him to. Jaime wants to be there for Cersei when she stands trial, but Cersei reminds him that it’s a trial by combat, and she has the Mountain.
In the North, Meera asks the stranger why he helped her and Bran. The stranger explains that the Three-Eyed Raven sent him. Meera says that the Three-Eyed Raven is dead, but the Stranger says that he is now born anew. It’s at this moment that Bran wakes up. The stranger tells Bran that the last time he saw Bran was when Bran was just a fearless boy who would frighten his mother. He pulls his hood back and we see that it is Benjen Stark. Jon had thought that he had been killed, but the Children of the Forest had saved him. They kept Benjen from turning into a wight by putting a piece of dragonglass into his heart. Benjen informs Bran that he is the Three-Eyed Raven now, and when it is truly needed, he will be ready.
Across the sea, Danaerys is riding with her Dothraki army. She asks them to stay put while she rides off by herself. They all wait for a while, but eventually become impatient. Just as they are about to go look for her, Khaleesi rides in on Drogon in all of his magnificent glory. She gives a rousing speech where she asks if the Dothraki will go with her to the Seven Kingdoms and help her to take it. They are moved by not only her words, but also by the awesome image of her riding a dragon. Their cheers are what lead us out of the episode.
This episode was incredible. It didn’t necessarily make up for the emotional trauma of last week’s episode, but it was still darn good. I’m really worried about Arya, though. I was hoping that she was going to be able to accomplish the task, if for no other reason than to keep her out of harm’s way. I also really wanted to see her become a super badass assassin. Lastly… how about dat Khaleesi doe? SERIOUSLY.. My hope for the end of the series is: Danaerys on the throne, Tyrion is her Hand, and Jon Snow is the leader of the Kingsguard. I have no idea if this will come to fruition.. but this is my ultimate goal and dream.
Game of Thrones airs on HBO and simultaneously streams on HBO Go on Sunday nights at 9PM ET.