Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers.

This season really is moving fast, isn’t it? We’ve now reached the back half of the sixth season and very few characters are still where they started- either physically, emotionally, or both.

North of the Wall we get some amazing fan service. First, Bran’s visions highlight the Mad King Aerys- does that mean the theories about his madness, whispers, and Bran’s trips to the past might be true? Or is it foreshadowing for some wildfire infused insanity that it looking to go down over in Kings Landing? Secondly, uncle Benjen Stark is back, in a weird half-dead magically sustained state, but back nonetheless! And he seems to know a great deal about the

Secondly, uncle Benjen Stark is back, in a weird half-dead magically sustained state, but back nonetheless! And he seems to know a great deal about the Three Eyed Raven and how that entire plan is supposed to move forward. Bran has a new mentor, but what does it all mean. I assume Benjen, marked as he is, cannot venture past the wall. Can Bran? What about the mark on his arm? Can they ever truly run from the Night’s King?

Arya might have some running of her own to do, though knowing her, fighting will be the cards first. We’ve known all along that she could never give up who she was, and in this episode, we finally see her rejection of ‘No One’ play out. Jaqen is disappointed, the Waif has murder in her eyes, and Arya now needs to escape the mark of an entire organization of assassins. I mean, there have to be more than just the two of them, right? At any rate, an Arya vs. Waif showdown seems inevitable. But after that where does she go?

And on that note, where the hell are Sam and Gilly going to go? He’s stolen his very violent father’s 500-year-old Valyrian Steel sword and run off into the night. Is he still going to Old Town? Dad’s totally going to find him there, right? I enjoyed that little sub plot, but aside from having another means of Walker killing, I’m not sure how it will tie back to the larger narratives fast enough. Time will tell, I suppose?

Cersei’s trial by combat inches eve closer, and the atmosphere in King’s Landing is just getting worse for the regent. The plan to bring in the Tyrell army completely flops, Tommen (and assumedly Margaery) are now devotees of the High Sparrow, and Jamie has been sent from the city to deal with the Blackfish.

I’m not sure what the showrunners want viewers to feel about the situation in King’s Landing. Are we supposed to be angry at the Sparrow? Feel bad for the incest twins? Want to give Tommen a hug? It’s the home of the literal Iron Throne, but my emotional investment in any of those characters is minimal. (Except for Ser Pounce, he’s the best.) The High Sparrow is playing the quiet long game, but even the Tommen reveal felt anti-climactic. It was almost expected after all of those chats. Hopefully the much hyped Cleganebowl will happen and infuse the town with some excitement.

As an aside, I’m also getting the feeling that the Iron Throne itself is just one big McGuffin. I mean, is there really anyone truly fit to rule the seven kingdoms with all of these major external threats about to go down? Will Cersei just go crazy and torch the entire town in Wildfire? I have an inkling that the concept of Westerosi rule will change drastically by the time the story ends, bringing in a completely new status quo and no singular “winner”. Does anyone else get that vibe?

Finally, Daenerys makes another speech about her birthright and all that. We’ve seen that a million times, so there really isn’t much to add except that I wanted to high five Daario for pointing out that she’s a conqueror, not a leader. The man is correct, and the fact that she responded to his statement by mounting a dragon and making another “look how powerful I am” speech just shows how right he actually was. Dragons help you to be a good leader how?

Grade : B.