The most interesting event – confirmation that Benjen Stark, as we suspected, lives – happened as soon as the episode kicked off. This, however, was also the highlight of this, rather weak, episode. From that moment onwards, everything went down the hill. Even the initial excitement regarding this crucial event and revelation soon evaporated due to the complexity of rather unclear new information we got from our favorite uncle.
The situation is as it follows. Using the magical obsidian, by plunging it into the hearts of First Men, The Children were able to create the very first White Walkers. Therefore, we know for a fact that the White Walkers were once humans. That much is clear, at least from what we have witnessed in last week’s episode. What we also know is that both The Children and the White Walkers have the power to turn humans into the White Walkers. The Children use obsidian and the Night King uses his finger. The information we received in the last episode, if I understood it correctly, is that White Walkers are also able to turn other humans by the means of their weapon.
This new information provided by Benjen Stark himself, says that an Other does not have to touch the human in order to turn him in one of their own but can also, as it seems in Benjen’s case, kill them using their weapon embedded with magic, thus initiating the transformation from human to a White Walker. If this happens, as it (apparently) did with Benjen, one of the possible ways to prevent the transformation from progressing is if the Children use the same method – plunging the knife into the heart of the subject – they used in creating an Other.
This of course opens a whole can of worms such as:
- How come the obsidian magic worked on Benjen and not on other White Walkers (or WIghts)? Is it because his period of transition was not completed? Or because of the Children’s magic? Or both?
- How long does this period of transition last? A minute? An hour? A day? Or two?
- And why aren’t Benjen’s eyes blue since we have seen that in the process of becoming the WW (or Wight) this should be the first stage.
- How is it possible that his skin and face transformed but his eyes did not?
- Was Benjen supposed to turn into a White Walker (as I understood) or only into Wight?
- If we was supposed to turn into an Other, then how come the obsidian kills the Others but not half-Others? Why does the obsidian stop the process of transformation, respectively? Children’s magic? Instead of unmaking them by turning them into a puddle (as we have seen on Sam’s example) wouldn’t it be more logical to turn them back to their original, human form?
- Does this imply that obsidian in half-Other (as the means of putting an end to the transformation) has a different effect only when an Other is made via Night King’s touch or weapon and not via the obsidian embedded with Children’s magic?
- Or, must obsidian be plunged into one’s heart in order to work its magic?
- Or, are we going to blame everything on Children’s magic and be done with it?
- On the other hand, if any human can turn into a White Wlker, then why look for particular people? Why not turn all men, especially all those vast numbers that gathered in Hardhome? White Walkers are scarce creatures to find. Last time we saw them there were only three left. Where are the Others? Are there any other Others?
- Who can be turned into a White Walker? All men? Only First Men? Just Starks?
- Is this why the Night King showed interest in Stark children?
- Where was Benjen Stark all this time? And what is he up too?
- How did Bloodraven get in touch with him?
- Does Bloodraven recruit only the members of Stark family for his missions?
- How much does Brandon know? And how did he gain this knowledge? Through Bloodravenor on his own?
- Was Benjen the one who left the obsidian at the Fist of the First Men for Grenn, Edd and Sam to find it?
- How did the White Walkers gain the power to turn humans into White Walkers?
- Is there an efficient way to turn all White Walkers back to their original human form?
- Last but not the least, how did Benjen manage to find a horse?
BEST OF THE EPISODE
– The return of the long gone (but not forgotten) Benjen Stark (who was apparently merged with the role of Coldhands) regardless of the whole naiveté and the apparent process of turning the complex text into a textbook cliché of epic fantasy.
– Braavos is, for a change, the strongest segment of this week’s episode. The exchange which occurred between Arya and Lady Crane, the actress that, symbolically, carries the role of Cersei Lannsiter in the play, was extremely interesting, first and foremost because it gave us the insight in Arya’s analysis of the woman who found herself on the Kill List due to her direct involvement in Ned Stark’s death. It also mirrored Arya’s personal fate. On the other hand the extensive analysis of Arya’s face, provided by Lady Crane, and her remark about Arya’s desire and pleasure in taking the role of someone else, in the context of Faceless Men and the things they do, was truly a gem. However, the very next scene tells us that Arya de facto cannot renounce her face, and how her identity of a Stark is something that will always prevail. The proof of this notion lies in the reappearance of Arya’s now famous sword Needle, which she successfully hid away during the last season. The meaning of this revelation is perfectly clear for “Needle is Jon’s smile” and Arya Stark will never be No One. Although this moment carries the abundance of positive feels and emotions, what awaits Arya in the coming episodes (if not even seasons), will certainly be a challenge because, from the look of it (and their rules), it is clear that The Faceless Assassins will not rest as long as Arya walks this Earth, breathing.
– The mechanism of Bran’s acquisition of vast knowledge from Bloodraven, which was literally shown as the process of downloading the data as if he was connected to some external hard drive. Stuck in his visions Bran seemingly went over the entire history of Westeros, from distant past (with the accent on Jaime’s interaction with the Mad King, which has earned him the Kingslayer title and reputation), over some recent events we watched during the last several season (death of Ned Stark, The Red Wedding, Battle at Hardhome, Bran’s fall from the tower in Winterfell, birth of dragons, creation of a White Walker from one of the Craster’s sons, the march of the White Walkers to the Fist of the First Men, the scenes from the Tower of Joy and so on) to the potential future visions (like Lyanna in the bed of blood and roses and the Wildfire spreading through some tunnels that could either be the tunnels of the King’s Landing (hardly unlikely considering Jaime killed Mad King’s pyromancer), the tunnels beneath the Wall or some other tunnels) we are yet to uncover in the show, hopefully and most likely during the finale of this season.
– Cameo of Aerys “The Mad King” Targaryen.
– Now that Walder Frey has finally returned to us there is a chance someone might kill him and soon. Fingers crossed it happens at the wedding.
– Games Queen Margaery plays.
– The blue feather on Mace Tyrell’s helmet.
– Jaime is finnaly set on the right path, on the path to Riverlands. This could potentially mean that things will, finally, fall into the right place not only for Jaime but also for Brynden Tully, Brienne of Tarth, Podric Payne and Brotherhood without Banners. Who knows, maybe we even see The Hound next week.
WORST OF THE EPISODE
-Jaime Lannister. This has apparently become a rule rather than exception. It is unclear why has everything related to this character, starting from third season onwards, turned to dust. The path of this character also remains unclear. What does Jaime want? Unclear. Who is Jaime Lannister? Unclear. Does he remember the promise given to Cat Stark? Probably not. Does he remember the Oathkeeper? Or what it stands for. Does he remember Brienne? Or the dream he dreamed? Does he remember anything or has he, like North, forgotten? Will his trip to the Riverlands finally manage to separate him from the heels of Cersei Lannister he is clutching so hard and for quite some time now? It is unclear. However, from the look of it, it seems he will not, even though it already happened more than ten years ago, during the Feast for Crows. Jaime Lannister is one of the most complex and most interesting people in this story. To waste him in such a way is truly a sin.
-Waif’s personal desires regarding the death of Arya Stark have been granted?! Isn’t this a violation of Faceless Men’s rules?!
-Overdoing the character of Randyll Tarly and his unjustified hatred for Wildlings would be easier to swallow if he was a Northern Lord instead of a Southern.
-Jaime was fired (?!?!) from the King’s Guard by his son. Does this mean he is, just like Jon, released from his oath?
-Cersei becoming a rare voice of reason is a sign that we are witnessing a terrible crisis in text unfolding.
-The unbelievable strength of tiny Meera Reed.
-The worst is saved for the end. Although seeing Drogon in all his glory was truly magical and refreshing, hearing yet another poorly directed speech (not to mention acted) about the ships, the Narrow Sea, taking what is yours and so on, becomes a story of night mares. Daenerys is ready to set her sail to Westeros. Again. Jaime and Cersei are the only two people left on this world who are going to execute their revenge to all those other nonexistent people who wrong them because alas Lannisters always pay their debts. Sam, Gilly and little Cratser belong together. Nothing can ever stay in their way. Not even the Citadel. Baelish was sorely missed. I don’t know about you but this vicious circle of endless speeches that mean nothing is becoming not only relentless but also tedious. Daenerys. as a character, despite all her flaws, still deserves a better script and altogether better lines. After all, we already have one demagogue in the show whose ornate speeches at various staircases, tunnels, basements and stairways of King’s Landing oppress audiences around the world for months. Do we really need another?
Best quote: “The dead never sleep.”
Text written by: Monika Ponjavić