Last week was a heartbreaker, an episode that will be seared into our minds.
So it seemed natural that this week's follow up, "Blood Of My Blood", would take us down a notch, but that does not mean that it doesn't offer its own surprises and highlights.
This week's episode takes place immediately after the end of "The Door". Meera is seen pulling Bran's sled, while the young Stark is still trapped within a vision.
Through his dreams, we see scenes of past episodes and a bonus: the sight of the Mad King Aerys ordering the burning of his enemies. We even see the back of the young Jaimie draw his sword to kill the last Targaryen on the Iron Throne.
Not too far away, wights are coming. Meera is exhausted and is unable to pull the sled any longer. Bran then wakes up and tells the young woman that their enemies have found them. The wights then catch up to them. The distraught Meera draws a dagger to defend Bran, as she apologizes to the boy she had vowed to protect.
Suddenly though, help came. A stranger on horseback with his face covered drives away the wights. He then turns to Meera and tells them that they should go with him. Meera ties the sled to the stranger's horse, and they gallop out to safety.
Down further south, in the Reach, Samwell Tarly arrives with Gilly and baby Sam at his ancestral home of Hornhill. His mother and sister are delighted to meet the two, whom he introduces as his lover and son. His father and brother are not present though, and he cautioned Gilly on mentioning that she is a Wildling.
Later Sam and Gilly joins the full Tarly family in dinner. Gilly is now dressed in a fine dress borrowed from Sam's sister and she adapts well, emulating how everyone else eats at the table. Lord Tarly, though, is none too pleased with his son, and he remarks that he is still soft and unmanly.
Gilly, however, does not stand for it. She tries to defend Sam, revealing how he had saved her many times and has killed a whitewalker. Unfortunately though, she inadvertently reveals that she is a Wildling. This causes Lord Tarly to continue berating his eldest son.
Lady Tarly is disgusted by all this. She walks out telling Gilly and her daughter to join her. Lord Tarly then turns back to Sam and tells him for the sake of his mother he will keep the child and Gilly can stay working in the kitchens.
Later in his bed chamber, Sam apologizes to Gilly for not defending her. But she does not mind telling him that she is more angry about good people being treated that way. Sam then bids his goodbye since he is about to leave for training in the Citadel, he then walks out. A few seconds later, though, he returns and tells Gilly that he is taking her and baby Sam with him.
The trio then walk out together, before they leave, Sam grabs the family's heirloom Valyrian steel sword.
In the east at Braavos, Arya once again returns to the play to watch over her target who is the main actress. She later sneaks backstage to poison her drinking bottle. But before she leaves she encounters the actress who appears friendly towards her. This prompts her to change her mind, and she later returns and knocks the drink out of the actress' hand.
Little does she know, her companion in the temple saw the whole thing and reports back to Jaqen. The assassin seems disappointed, and the companion tells him that he promised. Jaqen nods, a signal that appears to mean that she should take care of Arya. The companion then smiles and leaves.
Arya, though, is ready to leave. She retrieves her sword Needle from its hiding place in the pier, and she seeks shelter in what appears to be a hidden part of the city.
Back in King's Landing at the Sept of Baelor, Tommen speaks with the High Sparrow to discuss Margaery's impending "Walk of Atonement". He asks if there is any other way. But the old man says that it must be done. He then offers to let him see Margaery.
The young King is happy to see his wife, who although is still dressed simply, is now clean and no longer dwells in a cell. She appears to have atoned for her sins, and she speaks about the High Sparrow in a good way. Whether this is a ruse remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, trouble is brewing in the streets. The Tyrell army has arrived in the city, and they are being led by Jaimie and Lord Mace Tyrell.
They march to the Sept of Baelor where a crowd has gathered. Margaery is in the entrance steps with the High Sparrow, surrounded by the Faith Militant. Lady Olenna then arrives to witness the unfolding event.
Jamie demands that the High Sparrow free the Queen and Ser Loras. The old man says that the faithful will gladly die for their religion but not today. He says that Margery has atoned for her sins by bringing someone back to the fold of the faith. The door of the Sept opens and King Tommen steps out followed by the Kingsguard. He takes his stand besides his wife and announces the renewed alliance between the crown and the faith. The crowd then erupts in cheers! Lord Mace asks his mother what is going on, Lady Olenna tartly replies, "he has beaten us, that's what's happening".
Later within the hall of the Red Keep, Tommen strips Jaimie of his leadership of the Kingsguard for breaking his order of not attacking the Sept. He also banishes him from court.
But there is a place for Ja
mie somewhere else. Because in the Riverlands, the Lannister ally Lord Frey had just lost Riverrun to the Blackfish Tully. He berates his sons for letting it happen, and reveals a token they could still use to play, which is the prisoner Edmure Tully, the only survivor of the "Red Wedding".
Back in King's Landing at the Red Keep, Cersei tells Jaimie to lead their army north in support of Lord Frey. Jamie has no wish to leave his sister especially since her trial for her sins is about to come, though, but Cersei assures him that it will be a trial by combat and that she has "the Mountain" by her side.
North of the Wall, Meera asks the Stranger why he saved them. The Stranger says it is because the Three-eyed Raven called him. "But the Three-eyed Raven is dead," Meera protests. "He lives again," the Stranger counters. Bran then wakes up and turns to him. "Who are you?" he asks.
The stranger then removes the cloth covering his face, it is Benjen Stark, Eddard's younger brother!
Benjen then narrates that he was stabbed in the stomach by a Whitewalker, he was dying/transforming when the Children of the Forest found him. They prevented the cold from taking him over by using the same method to create a Whitewalker - which was by stabbing his chest with dragonglass.
He then says how important Bran is, because the Night's King will find a way to attack the realms of men, and the Three-Eyed Raven is needed to be there to face him.
Far to the east, in the steppes, Daenerys and Daario are riding ahead of a Dothraki column. The Queen asks Daario how many ships she'll need to get her army to Westeros. The warrior replies, "a thousand." She then asks, "Who has that many ships?" He shakes his head, "no one." (Which makes one think Euron Greyjoy may be on to something with his idea).
Daenerys then rides ahead for no reason to the nearby mountain, leaving Daario and the column.
He waits a little bit, then decides to follow. But a sound is soon heard on the skies above. The great black dragon Drogon makes an appearance flying overhead. The Dothraki warriors panic a bit, but the dragon lands and they see Daenerys astride it.
She proclaims then that all the Dothraki present are to be her bloodriders. She rouses them and asks them to join her in her quest to reclaim her family's throne in Westeros. They cheer, and Drogon roars!
The Great Houses may be horrified at first, but with Night's King coming they'll be glad to have her army and her dragons. Let us hope Bran and Jon with Melisandre will be able to join her.