Oh, what fun it is to be a Stark. Between Arya, Bran, and the surprise re-entrance of Benjen Stark, the Stark family and friends are in for a rollercoaster ride for the remainder of this season of Game of Thrones. It seems like Starks are preparing for an epic showdown. With whom I do not know. It could be the Ramsay and it could be the Night’s King. Could be both! Allies are slowly coming together, leaving hope for their rightful place in the realm.

I love when episodes pick up from where the last one left us. The latest Game of Thrones episode opened with a still dreaming Bran and a scared Meera dragging him through the forest. While Hodor’s heroic door holding gave them time, it did not keep them safe for long. Bran dreams of a myriad of things in flash sequence. So many things were happening inside his head all at once. What was clear:

“Burn them all.”

I believe this line is just as important now as it was a few seasons ago. Just before all hell breaks loose, Bran comes to and says, “Meera, they’ve found us”. Uh, duh! But, before all the walkers come rushing in at them, they are saved by a mysterious figure in a dark cloak. The figure uses amazing fireballs to rip through and shatter the walkers. As the figure fights off walkers, Meera and Bran are swooped on to the rider’s horse, and they gallop to safety. Turns out the hooded, masked figure was Benjen Stark. Not only was he there to save Bran and Meera, but he is also there to help the Three-Eyed Raven (who is Bran now). How exciting! Here is this character we all presumed to be dead and he comes back at a time where Winterfell is in dire need of saving from Ramsay and the Iron Throne is in dire need of being taken from the Lannisters. Perfect timing!

Benjen explains how White Walkers stabbed him, but before he could turn into one, the Children of the Forest saved him. How? The Children stabbed Benjen in the heart with a piece of dragon glass. But wait? I know, I know. That’s how the Nights King was made. So Benjen has this dead but alive, half walker half human thing going on. Plus, he was totally pals with the old Three-Eyed Raven and knows all about what Bran needs to do. I love how that old guy kept this kind of secret from Bran. Why not say, oh, by the way, your uncle is alive, sort of. Still wondering what was going on with this guy. I understand that magic is dangerous and if you don’t understand it then you could really mess things up. But look at what crap Bran has done without knowing. Maybe Uncle Ben will be a little more forthcoming with the secrets.

Over in Braavos, Arya is getting herself in a troubling situation. After she was tasked with the job of poisoning and killing actress Lady Crane, Arya did recon before completing her task. As she watched the performances daily on the stage, her attitude toward them changed from agitated to entertained. Her fondness for the actress Crane was bound to get her in trouble. After Arya poisoned the actress’s drink, she got caught in the room. Pretending to be interested in acting, Lady Crane takes a shine to Arya as she gives her tips on how to portray Lady Cersei. Lady Crane asks Arya,

“Do you like pretending to be other people?”

That does it for Arya. She runs away, but not too far, as she slaps the drink out of Lady Crane’s hand just before the actress drinks to her death. Unfortunately, the Waif sees Arya and reports back to him. Apparently, Arya does not like pretending to be other people. She goes back to the rocks from hence she arrived and retrieves her sword Needle. She waits in the dark until her next move. Meanwhile, the Waif tells Jaqen what Arya has done and reminds him that he promised her she could kill Arya if this happened. He agrees and tells her to not let her suffer. Arya has a fight coming. There is no doubt that Arya will win this battle. It’s about time! I am glad to see Arya decide to leave the House of Black and White. She needs to find her siblings and take her new ninja ways on the road.

Then there is Jon’s friend Sam and his love Gilly and her/their son. They arrive at Sam’s home, House Tarly. It is gorgeous! I did not know Sam was rich like that. For all of Sam’s warnings to Gilly about refraining from mentioning she is a Wildling, she lets it slip that she is one while defending Sam. Sam’s father, Lord Randyll is a piece of work. He is nasty, rude, and just plain awful. He comments on Sam’s weight and treats him with such disdain. Lord Randyll says that Sam will not stay at his house, but he will raise the baby as family. In the comforts of their room, a disparaged Sam apologizes to Gilly for what happened at dinner. She is kind hearted and expresses that she is not mad at Sam, but his father. Sam with his last bit of courage deems it unnecessary for Gilly and their son to stay at Horn Hill. He grabs their stuff and retreats. Before leaving, Sam grabs his family’s sword made of Valyrian steel. Now another Stark ally has a sword that can kill White Walkers. Love it!

The stars are aligning for the Stark family. But, we all know how that goes. When things are going good, Game of Thrones likes to throw a wrench in the situation and derail everything. People we love could die for good! As much as I love the momentum the Stark family is having, I will say I hope it slows down a little bit, so I don’t lose anyone else I love.

Daenerys has gained some speed with the thousands of Dothraki she has conquered. But I know her momentum will stop once she gets back to Meereen to find her fleet of ships has been burned to a crisp, leaving her no way to get her soldiers across the sea.

The Lannister’s momentum is also slowing down now that the High Sparrow has tricked Queen Margaery and King Tommen into forming an alliance with the faith and the crown.

I can’t lose any more of my Starks! Let’s hope next week’s new episode keeps my head from exploding again. Tune in Sunday, June 5, only on HBO.


Catalina Combs is an aspiring film critic from California. She loves reading, writing, film, baking, music, drawing, traveling, Disney, and playing soccer. Her life usually revolves around all of these and her family. The oldest of six, Catalina tries to set a good example for her siblings. She graduated from Santa Clara University in 2010 with a BA in English Creative Writing and is pursuing an MA in Film. I also blog on WordPress and contribute to the website Examiner.com. Twitter- @tiggercraze | Facebook- Cat Combs | Instagram: @tiggercraze