‘Game of Thrones’ 6.06 Recap: “Madness Has Had Its Day”

I had my issues with last week’s episode of ‘Game of Thrones’, but it ended with one hell of an emotional climax. Unfortunately, this week’s entry doesn’t offer anything so memorable.

The North

Fleeing from the White Walkers, Meera continues to drag the still-unconscious Bran through the woods. He remains warged, and has montage-heavy visions in which he sees basically everything that has occurred on the show to date. (I’m not a fan of using clips from previous episodes for this purpose, no matter how quickly they fly by.) Eventually, Meera tires out and can’t pull the sled any further. Bran wakes up to warn her, “They found us.”

Zombies and skeletons converge on the pair. Just as it seems that all is lost, a mysterious stranger rides in on a horse and fights the undead off with a flaming mace weapon. Doing his best Kyle Reese, he suggests that they should come with him if they want to live. He then has no trouble at all quickly pulling both Meera and the crippled Bran onto the horse with him and riding off.

Once they’ve safely lost the White Walkers and put enough distance from them, they camp for the night. The stranger pulls off the scarf covering his face and reveals himself to be Bran’s uncle Benjen Stark, a former ranger from the Night’s Watch who went missing in Season 1 and was presumed dead. He explains that he was attacked by White Walkers and left for dead, but was saved by the Children of the Forest. Ever since, he has worked for the Three-Eyed Raven. Now that the previous Raven has died, it’s up to Bran to take over that role.

Horn Hill

As they ride in a carriage toward his family home, Sam and Gilly must get their stories straight. They’ll claim that the baby is Sam’s son (the kid’s certainly fat enough for that to be plausible) and Gilly should hide the fact that she’s a Wildling. The only thing Sam’s father despises more than him are Wildlings.

They arrive at the huge estate and are greeted by Sam’s mother and sister, who are both very happy to see them. Sam asks about his father and brother, and is told that they’re away on a hunt. They couldn’t be bothered to greet him. That’s probably for the best.

Sam’s sister Talla dresses Gilly up in a fancy gown for dinner. The meal is incredibly awkward. Sam’s father, Lord Randyll Tarly, is a very cruel man who loathes his son. He considers him weak and cowardly, and isn’t at all impressed that Sam plans to train as a maester. Gilly tries to defend Sam but mistakenly reveals that she’s a Wildling. That’s absolutely the last straw, as far as Randyll is concerned. He yells that this is the ultimate disgrace. Because the baby is his grandchild (he believes), which obligates him to care for it, the boy will be raised and educated there. He also agrees through gritted teeth to allow Gilly to stay as a servant. Sam, however, is to leave at daylight and never return. Sam’s mother chastises her husband for his rude behavior and whisks Gilly away to console her.

Later, Sam says a tearful goodbye to Gilly. Shortly afterward, he develops some backbone and comes back for her. He can’t leave the woman he loves or their child with these awful people. He’ll bring them with him and figure out where they can live later. On their way out, Sam steals his father’s Valyrian steel sword called “Heartsbane” from its place mounted above a mantle in the dining hall.

King’s Landing

Tommen meets with the High Sparrow again to discuss Margaery’s walk of atonement. He’s concerned that she’ll be as badly abused as his mother was. The Sparrow assures him that the people of the city like Margaery more than they like Cersei and will treat her more kindly. He then brings Tommen to see his wife. She’s well-dressed and groomed, and says that she hasn’t been mistreated (which we know is false). She even acts happy, and claims that it’s a relief to finally let go of all her lies. She sounds brainwashed. This is quite a change from the defiant Margaery we saw just recently. She tells the young king, “The gods have a plan for us all.”

When the day for Margaery’s walk comes, Jaime meets the Tyrell army at the city gates and lets them in. They march to the square in front of the High Temple and interrupt the atonement ceremony before Margaery is disrobed. Jaime demands that she and Loras be released. The High Sparrow tells him that he and all the Sparrows will happily die in the service of their gods. However, there’s no need for that today. There will be no walk, because Margaery has already atoned for her sins by bringing a new member to the faith.

At this, Tommen walks out of the temple and gives a speech announcing a new age of harmony. An alliance between the Crown and the Faith will restore the kingdoms to glory. A very confused Mace Tyrell asks Lady Olenna what’s happening. She grumbles that they’ve just been beaten.

Have they, though? A sly smile from Margaery suggests that this was her plan and she manipulated this alliance herself.

For his disobedience, Tommen is forced to strip Jaime of his command of the Kingsguard. In recognition of his years of loyalty, he will not be imprisoned or executed. Instead, he’s effectively exiled from King’s Landing and ordered to lead an army in the Riverlands to help Walder Frey reclaim Riverrun, which was recently taken by Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully.

Jaime tells Cersei that he has no intention of going to the Riverlands. He’ll find Bronn and as many killers as he can hire and will execute the High Sparrow. Cersei warns him that this is the wrong play. Killing the High Sparrow will just lead to his own death, and she couldn’t bear that. She urges him to play along for now, go to the Riverlands and remind everyone that the Lannisters are still a force to be reckoned with. She tells him not to worry about her upcoming trial, because it will be a trial by combat and she will name The Mountain as her champion.

The Riverlands

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the cranky ol’ sonofabitch Walder Frey. He’s just as disagreeable as ever. He’s quite pissed about losing Riverrun to the Tullys and demands that his nincompoop sons take the castle back. When they protest that other houses have risen against them, Frey calls for Edmure Tully, the poor hapless groom from the notorious Red Wedding, to be pulled out of the dungeon. He tells Edmure that he has good news; he can go home soon. Of course, he neglects to clarify whether he’ll be alive or dead at the time.


Arya watches the latest performance of the play starring her intended assassination target, the actress Lady Crane. The chapter we see this time is about Joffrey’s death, and a scene that should be purely comical is given unexpected gravitas by her emotional speech about the pain of losing a child. The audience loves her.

Arya sneaks backstage and drops the poison into the actress’ rum as planned. On her way out, Lady Crane recognizes Arya from the audience and calls her aside. She assumes that the girl wants to join the theater, and tells her about her own childhood sneaking in to see her favorite plays multiple times. Arya can’t help but like the woman. When asked her name, Arya says that it’s “Mercy.” (Ooh, foreshadowing!)

As Lady Crane reaches to drink her rum, Arya knocks the cup out of her hand, warns her that the young actress playing Sansa wants her dead, and runs off. She immediately goes to the harbor and digs up her sword Needle from the spot where she buried it. It seems that she’s not ready to become No One after all.

Back in the House of Black and White, The Waif reports to Jaqen on what has happened. He’s disappointed, and tells The Waif that she knows what to do, but “Don’t let her suffer.”

Across the Narrow Sea

Daenerys leads the Dothraki horde across the desert toward Meereen. When her boyfriend Daario asks how many ships it will take to bring her new army to Westeros, she estimates about a thousand. (Hmm, who do we know that just pledged to build a navy with a thousand ships?)

As they come to a valley that looks like an obvious point for an ambush, Daenerys stops the procession, senses something ahead, and rides off on her own. After a moment, Daario says that he’s going after her. Before he can, a giant dragon flies overhead (I believe it’s Drogon) with Daenerys riding its back. She lands in front of the awe-strucken Dothraki and gives another rallying speech about taking what’s rightfully hers.

Episode Verdict

This week’s episode feels like a placeholder. Not much of significance happens and the ending is anticlimactic. I enjoyed the character building stuff with Sam and Gilly, but other than Sam obtaining a Valyrian sword (which will surely be important later), this entire chapter in their story could have been skipped if they’d gone straight to Old Town.

Unfortunately, I’m not finding much of Arya’s storyline interesting this season. Everything about the subplot involving the actress feels easily predictable. I hope that Arya taking back Needle is a sign of more exciting things to come.


  1. itjustWoRX

    This was definitely the weakest episode of the season (thus far). I swear I nearly muted the TV when Daenerys started another one of her ridiculous speeches. My curiosity peaked with the Frey scenes, thought I heard some things that may or may not have been foreshadowing. I also enjoyed the return of Benjen “Coldhands but not Coldhands” Stark.

    This entire season seems to be fan service at the expense of quality writing. Not that that’s a bad thing (this season has been very entertaining), but still a far cry from seasons 3 or 4. I still have no idea how the WORST season of this show managed to win the series Emmy award. Oh well, Martin won’t finish writing his books for another 15 years anyway…so HBO might as well kick it into high gear.

    Can’t wait to see the Blackfish back in action next week.

    • I agree with you, especially the part about the quality of the writing. To me, it seems that it has gone downhill ever since Martin stopped writing one episode per season. Also. I’m sensing some friction between Martin and the production team from what I’ve read (between the lines) elsewhere lately.

      • itjustWoRX

        He should expect friction with just about everyone…the old fart needs to get back to writing and stop with the cocktails and cosplay parties.

  2. Timcharger

    Ah! This got posted. Didn’t get around
    to guessing the title quote. Rewatched this episode
    just an hour ago. Attempted to watch this on Sunday,
    but traveling meant viewing from a tablet, just a
    horrible experience. 1st world problems.

    Honorable mentions:

    “There were so many lies in those stories.”
    (So apt to GoT for the various lies from the myriad
    of liars.)

    “Not fat enough already?”
    (Memorable; riveted at the father/son interaction
    over dinner. Ouch. Sam’s reaction. Gilly’s response.
    Good stuff.)

    “I’m angry that horrible people can treat good people
    that way and get away with it.”
    (Gilly is rising to be one of the show’s best characters.
    She adds telling Sam that his father doesn’t know the
    man Sam really is. Good girl. Sam, she’s a keeper.)

    Josh’s winner:

    “Madness has had its day.”
    (Mace Tyrell actually said something useful and
    contributed. And how the scene played out showed
    that madness will have a long life and many more

  3. Chaz

    I personally dont see any issues with this season, to me this is one of the best seasons so far, but I certainly understand why others would be upset…..Martin not finishing his novels and only providing input leaves much more for the writers to do, so naturally some of the script is going to suffer based on previous seasons, but I think they’ve been doing a bang up job this season in getting things moving.

    This episode in particular I really enjoyed, a bit of filler but I’m invested enough in these characters that the extra building of them is great to watch, I do feel that Arya story line has been wasted, should have figured something would happen with needle since they made a big deal to show her hiding it….but why go through all of this torture and abuse to become an assassin and then just say, well, guess its not for me and its not like these guys will be easy to hide from, if they want her dead they will make her dead….at least thats the way they’ve built them up, still interested to see what happens with her though 🙂

    • Timcharger

      “guess its not for me and its not like these guys will be easy to hide from, if they want her dead they will make her dead.”

      To be fair, Arya only recently learned that there
      is no moral code to the “religion” of the Faceless
      God. Assassins for hire, just whoever is first in
      line to contract out a kill. Good people, bad
      people, House of Black and White doesn’t care.

      Arya was mislead to think that they eased
      suffering, freed slaves, created a great city. But
      what they really do is take care of workplace
      jealousy with some poisoning.

      And I’m not so impressed with Faceless
      assassins. Remember how Arya first met Jaqen
      H’ghar. He was trapped to be burned alive,
      and needed the help of little Arya. And Jaqen is
      supposed to be their top 007 agent, right? Or
      should I say, Jaqen is their Tom Cruise of IMF?

      Arya can just get some oyster, clam, and cockle
      residue and spread it in one of the facemasks,
      right? And the entire House of Black and White
      dies from deadly salmonella.

      • itjustWoRX

        I think it’s a test for the Waif, and she’s going to fail. She’s holding a grudge and hatred for Arya which goes against the principles of the faceless men. She and Arya may duke it out before Jaqen intervenes somehow.

        And Arya NOT killing the actress very well could be another test that she passed.

        A man can only guess.

        • Timcharger

          You certainly may be correct,
          that the Faceless Men have a hidden, higher
          ethic. The seemingly arbitrary missions have
          a higher purpose yet to be revealed to the
          assassins, to Arya.

          But this kind of “religion” where the higher-
          ups, Jaqen H’ghar, interpret the Faceless
          God’s will, and the devout assassins are to
          carry them out without objection, without
          explanation; yeah, this doesn’t usually end

          Jaqen H’ghar may not be that much
          different from Buffalo Bill of the Silence of
          the Lambs. They wear the skin of the dead.

  4. Timcharger

    Josh: “last week’s episode of ‘Game of Thrones’, but it ended with one hell of an emotional climax.”

    This week’s couldn’t top last week’s emotional climax.
    But a simple edit of the sequence of scenes would
    improve this week’s episode. The episode ended at
    the wrong climax.

    Dothraki Sea ending:
    This was just a prep rally. It was a rah-rah cheer of
    the Dothraki football team. We rather watch the
    actual football contest than see the players scream
    and holler. Yeah we learned that Drogon has
    doubled in size in the past few weeks. But still not a
    good climactic ending.

    (The other 2 dragons if growing too, now that they
    are unchained by Tyrion. They must not be able
    to fit through the dungeon opening anymore, right?)

    • Timcharger

      Josh: “I hope that Arya taking back Needle is a sign of more exciting things to come.”

      This should have been edited to be the final scene
      of the episode. We’re anticipating the Arya and
      Waif showdown. We see Needle at Arya’s bedside.
      The candle being blown out. The music tempo
      rising. Blackness. This would have been the better
      climactic ending.

  5. Timcharger

    Josh: “Sam steals his father’s Valyrian steel sword.” and “Arya taking back Needle.”

    It should be noted that Jon Snow’s two closest
    family and friend got rearmed with the swords
    that were given (or supposed to be given) by
    their fathers.

  6. Timcharger

    Tender moments from girlfriends.

    Both Gilly and Meera were in situations where
    they could have been upset at their male partner.
    If they were married, they would have yelled at
    Sam and Bran.

    Sam, you spineless man! Stand up for yourself,
    and don’t ever let your father talk to me that way!

    Bran, you spineless man! Stand up for yourself,
    and what good are your superpowers for? You
    lie around all day, and I do all the work!

    But instead they embraced and comforted their
    man. Good girlfriends.

  7. Timcharger

    The North
    Josh: “left for dead, but was saved by the Children of the Forest.”

    A new wrinkle to dragonglass rules.
    These rules keep changing.

    Dragonglass kills White Walkers.
    Dragonglass creates White Walkers.
    Dragonglass uncreates White Walkers.

    It’s like an infomercial. But wait, there’s
    more! Dragonglass can also clean…

    • Josh Zyber

      Also perplexing is that Benjen was killing White Walkers left and right without either dragonglass or Valyrian steel. Guess they’re not as tough as they’re made out to be.

      • Timcharger

        He was killing wights. They are the
        White Walker minions. Gotta pay attention
        to these GoT zombie rules.

      • cardpetree

        Pretty sure those skeleton zombies have been killed throughout the seasons without using Dragonglass or Valyrian Steel. I’m thinking back to the Hardhome episode last season where Wildlings and the Night’s Watch members were killing those zombies left and right. Looks like the White Walker leaders are the ones that have to be killed with Dragonglass and Valyrian Steel.

      • Timcharger

        Even the undead has a class system!

        The Whites (Walkers) are the generals,
        the masters. The brown masses serve
        them. The minions are enslaved by the
        blue-eyed. Blue eyes! And no female
        leaders, too! Even after death, there’s
        no equality.

  8. Timcharger

    Horn Hill
    Josh: “I enjoyed the character building stuff with Sam and Gilly, but other than Sam obtaining a Valyrian sword (which will surely be important later), this entire chapter in their story could have been skipped if they’d gone straight to Old Town.”

    My guess is that Sam isn’t going to be a Maester
    at Old Town. What’s the Executive Maester
    Program like at Old Town University? Can Sam
    get his MBA (Maester of Business Administration)
    within 3 years? The show is going to let 3 years
    pass for this storyline to play out?

    It’s like the 1,000 ships the Greyjoys are building.
    Finishing 1 a month will take 83 years. Building
    1 ship a week will take 19 years. The Greyjoys
    are going to take 3 years, if they can build 1 a day!

    • Timcharger

      In the past years, I’d waited for the
      blu-rays to come out. And then commented
      on year-old threads. But now, I’m caught up
      in the misery/joy of the weekly Watch.

  9. Timcharger

    Horn Hill
    Josh:. “(The kid’s certainly fat enough for that to be plausible)”

    Whoa! Fat baby shaming?
    Why dya go there, Josh?

    If baby Sam wanted more bread,
    I can only imagine your response.

  10. Timcharger

    King’s Landing
    Josh: “A sly smile from Margaery suggests that this was her plan and she manipulated this alliance herself.”

    I don’t know if Margaery is the Master Manipulator
    this week. While I agree with…

    Josh: “This is quite a change from the defiant Margaery we saw just recently.”

    …so it seems like this must be an act. Margaery
    must be faking it.

    But I wonder if the Master Manipulator really is
    the High Sparrow. Margaery’s fake faith has
    brought King Tommen in and his faith is real. So
    the High Sparrow may or may not believe
    Margaery’s conversion is real, but it was just a
    means to get Tommen into his fold.

    Margaery wasn’t going to do the Walk of Shame
    either way, so I don’t think she really
    accomplished a thing with her manipulation.
    But the High Sparrow strengthened his position.

    Tommen’s Kingsguard now has armor bearing
    the 7-pointed-star on them. (The blacksmiths
    must work quickly and discreetly.) Jamie must
    not have gotten the memo; his armor was still

    • Timcharger

      And this…

      Josh: “For his disobedience, Tommen is forced to strip Jaime of his command of the Kingsguard.”

      …is further evidence that the High Sparrow
      is the Master Manipulator in this episode.

      Margaery cares not whether Jaime Lannister
      is in King’s Landing or not. But Jaime has
      personally threatened the life of the High
      Sparrow. So the High Sparrow has motive
      to manipulate Jaime out of King’s Landing.

  11. Timcharger

    No one died in this episode!

    Benjen killed some wights, but arguably they
    are the undead. Not really living, so they don’t

    So who will be the big casualty this season?

    Has it already occurred? Hodor? The 3 eyed
    raven? The Children of the Forest? Naw, it
    has to be someone bigger, right?

    There’s only 3 episodes left…

    • Timcharger

      King’s Landing
      Josh: “She tells him not to worry about her upcoming trial, because it will be a trial by combat and she will name The Mountain as her champion.”

      Cersei has been so cocky about this.
      Oberyn was so arrogant before Tyrion’s
      trial by combat. Is GoT hinting who the
      next major casualty will be? Cersei
      dismissing the threat, and repeatedly
      underestimating the High Sparrow, I

    • Timcharger

      Ramsay Bolton? That would be a big
      casualty. Papa Roose and bastard Ramsay gone
      in the same season?

      Walder and Ramsay are among the most despised.
      Will we lose both this season? Or do we need an
      enemy to carryover next year?

    • Timcharger

      Melisandre dying by the hands of Davos.
      I think that’s gotta happen. We got a new Red Priestess
      in the show, Kinvara. So she’s expendable. And Jon
      can’t have resurrection-cheat always traveling with him.

    • Timcharger

      The High Sparrow has made the largest strides
      in accumulating power. He seems destined to
      be a big player in the end. So his death would
      be surprising. Be enjoyable, too.

  12. Timcharger

    Edure Tully and Rickon Stark are captives,
    so they are likely losses. But not headliners, if
    they lose their heads.

    • Timcharger

      “I wonder if you’re the worst person I’ve ever met,”

      “It’s the only joy I can find in all this misery.”

      Olenna Tyrell is just one of best characters. Her
      conversation with Cersei reminded me of Tywin’s
      conversations with Cersei. Tywin would be writing
      when Cersei interrupted him. He was making
      some devilish plans that would advance his House
      that would be revealed in some later episode. I
      hope Olenna is doing the same.

      The joy-in-misery line seems more quotable, but
      the wonder-if-worst line has this candid insulting
      quality that is so endearing. Maybe it’s just the
      way Diana Rigg delivers it.

        • Timcharger

          Depends on which theme. If it’s a theme
          you’ve mentioned repeatedly this season, female nudity
          for male exploits and being entirely chaste, this line
          delivered by a woman turns that theme on its head.

          “Now I’m going to f*ck the t*ts off this woman.”

          I wouldn’t be disappointed but no amount of bracing
          would prepare me for that quote choice.

        • Timcharger

          Or you can go with a safe theme.
          Much of the show is about violence. And this line:

          “Violence is a disease.”

          It works. Despite the person who says it, proves
          that choosing non-violence can be just as deadly.

    • Timcharger

      The juiciest quote. So ripe with meaning:

      “Congress does not require desire on the woman’s part.”

      The selection of the word, “Congress,” and tying it to rape.
      Can’t help but see the political implications of subjugating
      women and restricting their choices over their own body.

      • Timcharger

        And it’s delivered by a religious leader!

        Where do we see that in our real lives?
        GoT writing. It’s F-ing great.

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