7:08pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Game of Thrones' Gives Daenerys Targaryen Her 'Braveheart' Moment
[Warning: this story contains spoilers for episode six, season six of HBO's Game of Thrones.]
As an old warrior once said: "Freedom!"
Daenerys Stormborn (Emilia Clarke) of House Targaryen — The Unburnt Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and of the First Men; Queen of Meereen; Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea; Breaker of Chains; and Mother of Dragons — channeled her inner William Wallace and delivered the rousing battle cry the show has been promising for years and years.
Although she still has a way to go before reaching Westeros, Dany's current mission statement has been announced loud and clear: She's coming for the Seven Kingdoms, and she has an army of thousands of blood riders backing her up. Forget winter; the Dothraki are coming, and they have dragons.
Beyond the Wall
The action begins where it ended in "The Door," with Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) dragging Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) into the night. He's still experiencing the final visions gifted to him by the Three-Eyed Raven, witnessing the deaths of his parents, his brother Robb (Richard Madden), and even reliving the traumatic fall from the highest tower of Winterfell. What's more, Bran envisions the Mad King Aerys Targaryen on the night he tried to burn King's Landing to the ground with wildfire — the same night he was "king-slayed" by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), though Bran only sees glimpses of Jaime's role.
Bran eventually wakes up from the visions just in time for the army of the undead's arrival. But before they can kill Bran and Meera, a mysterious rider arrives, boasting fire-drenched weaponry and other tactics designed to take apart these monsters. He takes Bran and Meera away on horseback, and in the morning, by a campfire, he reveals his identity: Benjen Stark (Joseph Mawle), Bran's uncle, last seen ranging north in season one.
Benjen explains that during his trip north, he was stabbed by a White Walker with a sword of ice. He was left to die and turn but was subsequently saved by the Children of the Forest, with a shard of dragonglass shoved into his heart — the same way they created the White Walkers. Benjen tells Bran he must learn to control his powers before the Night King comes.
"One way or another, he will find his way to the world of men," says Benjen. "And when he does, you will be there waiting for him, and you will be ready."
In Horn Hill
Sam (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) arrive at House Tarly's home of Horn Hill. Sam plans to leave Gilly and her baby there while he heads to Oldtown to train as a maester. One small problem: Sam hasn't told his family that Gilly is a wildling … and Sam's father Randyll (James Faulkner) hates wildlings.
Of course, the news comes out at the dinner table, right as Randyll rips Sam to pieces with insults, fat-shaming him and highlighting his continued cowardice. Gilly tries to defend Sam's reputation by recalling his time slaying a White Walker north of The Wall, but it only reveals her true nature, leading Randyll to toss out a slew of insults. He holds to his pledge to raise Sam's "bastard," but bans Sam from ever setting foot in Horn Hill again.
Sheepish Sam nearly complies with his father's demands, but has a last minute change of heart, grabbing Gilly and the baby and taking them with him on the road to Oldtown. Before he leaves, Sam sneaks away his father's most prized possession: Heartsbane, House Tarly's ancestral Valyrian sword, a weapon that could prove invaluable in the war against the White Walkers. Gilly fears that Sam's father will come looking for the weapon, but Sam doesn't sound concerned: "He can bloody well try."
In King's Landing
The High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) finally allows King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) to see one another. At first, Tommen apologizes for letting the Sparrow keep her captive, but Margaery whistles an unexpected tune, saying the Faith of the Seven actually have some merit. Tommen seems to agree, without much need for further convincing.
Later, just as it seems Maragery is about to embark on her Walk of Atonement, Jaime and House Tyrell's considerable forces arrive at the Sept of Baelor. Jaime demands both Margaery and Loras be handed over, but the High Sparrow insists it's not his call to make; he would die before succumbing to Jaime's terms. As it turns out, he won't have to. The High Sparrow calls for Tommen and announces an alliance between the Crown and the Faith, much to Jaime's chagrin.
It gets worse for Tommen's "uncle," as Jaime is removed from the Kingsguard and told that he will instead lead House Lannister's army as they march on Riverrun, which has been retaken by Brynden "Blackfish" Tully (Clive Russell). A furious Jaime tells Cersei (Lena Headey) he can still assassinate the Sparrow, but she insists that such an action would end in his death, making all of their schemes for nothing. Instead, she tells Jaime to do as Tommen says: conquer Riverrun, and show the world what it means to be a Lannister.
"We've always been together, and we'll always be together," she tells her brother and lover as they passionately kiss. "The only two people in the world."
Walder Frey (David Bradley) resurfaces for the first time since the aftermath of the Red Wedding, and he's none too happy. The wicked Lord of the Twins is furious at the news that his troops have lost control over Riverrun.
"It's a castle, not a bloody sheep," he barks at his men. "You didn't lose Riverrun, you let the Blackfish take it!"
Even through his fury, Walder Frey puts forth a plan. He wants his men to return to Riverrun and haze the Blackfish with images of the weapons that murdered Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and Robb's unborn child. Not only that, Lord Frey gives his men a prisoner to take along: Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies), the groom at the Red Wedding, still held under Frey control.
Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) returns to the play, once again preparing to assassinate Lady Crane (Essie Davis), the woman who plays Cersei in the production. However, Arya is drawn in by Crane's powerful performance, as she delivers a monologue about the death of her son Joffrey at the Purple Wedding.
During the curtain call, Arya heads backstage and poisons Crane's rum. Before she can leave, Crane calls Arya out, saying she's seen her in the audience. The two women bond over their mutual passion for pretending they're somebody else. After Arya leaves, Crane tries to make some changes to the production's script, but the troupe of actors' loathsome leader wants none of it. Crane is about to take a sip of rum, but Arya bursts back in and stops her. She points out the actress playing Sansa in the play, knowing that this is the woman who hired the hit on Crane.
"Careful of that one," says Arya. "She wants you dead."
Arya leaves, but not without The Waif (Faye Marsay) watching everything from the shadows. She reports back to Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), who gives her the order to track and kill Arya, so long as she doesn't let her suffer. Meanwhile, Arya reclaims her sword Needle, and braces herself for the inevitable confrontation.
The Meereenese Knot
Daenerys and Daario Naharis (Michiel Huisman) ride though the desert, still a week away from returning to Meereen. What's more, they're a thousand ships away from being able to sail to Westeros. This doesn't discourage Dany, however. She's intent on turning her attention toward the Seven Kingdoms, where she will take what is hers.
The Khaleesi proves her devotion to winning Westeros over when she rediscovers her dragon, Drogon, and delivers a rousing speech while riding the massive fire breathing beast.
"Every Khal who ever lived chose three blood riders to fight beside him and guard his way," she shouts, speaking in Dothraki. "But I am not a Khal. I will not choose three blood riders. I choose you all. I will ask more of you than any Khal has ever asked of his Khalsar. Will you ride the wooden horses across the black salt sea? Will you kill my enemies in their iron suits and tear down their stone houses? Will you give me the Seven Kingdoms, the gift Khal Drogo promised me, before the Mother of Mountains? Are you with me, now and always?"
The roaring response from the thousands and thousands of Dothraki makes it clear that the new blood of Daenerys' blood are ready and willing to conquer the lands across the Narrow Sea… finally.
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