All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
6.7 The Broken Man
Oh, a COLD OPENING!? This only happens when things are serious. In a little picturesque valley, a small sept is being built and Ian McShane isn’t spewing foul language everywhere. His new Dan is none other than… The Hound. HE’S ALIIIIIVEEEEE. We welcome back Rory McCann as well as Riverrun to the opening credits and chant all the Yarps! The title is obviously a reference to the Hound, who was last seen protecting Arya and was doing a good job of turning around from the brutal murderer of the butcher’s boy, but then got chopped down by Brienne. He’s in the rebuilding phase and we’re all ready to see him regain some honor.
Apparently, they offered McShane as well as Succession’s Brian Cox some roles in the beginning of the series but they declined. I want to know who they would have played! Not Tywin. Robert? Pycelle? WHO, DAMNIT.
Al says that he thought the Hound was going to die when he found him and the Hound said hate spurned him forward. He’s convinced that the Hound is alive for a reason and not just because he’s a good fighter- but because he has a higher purpose. Anyway, Brother Ray doesn’t really care who the gods really are or what they are- just as long as they instill the right morals and behavior of people, and whatever they are, Sandor Clegane is meant for something. The Hound’s past makes him reluctant to believe that he’s deserving of anything but all you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you, amirite?
As if on cue, we cut over to Margaery reading the book of the Mother and she and the High Sparrow toss some verses between them- verses about how women are to serve men as wives and mothers. The High Sparrow uses this as an opportunity to ask Margaery why she hasn’t performed her wifely duties and produced an heir yet because as a vagina-bearing human, that’s her purpose. Fucking… no. Fuck. Wisely, Margaery says she doesn’t want to spark any lust (it’s a SIN), but the High Sparrow is adamant that she bear a child aka another puppet for the church. Margaery agrees and the High Sparrow is all, “If only Olenna were as agreeable as you!”
Seeing this as a threat, Margaery visits Olenna, who is convinced that Margaery is being brainwashed and that House Tyrell is to be destroyed by the faith by stripping Loras of all titles. She sneaks a note to her grandmother. It’s a sketch of the family rose, which confirms that Margaery is simply playing a part- very well might I add- and that she is going to find a way to navigate through it all.
Outside Winterfell, the Wildlings are hesitant to join Jon Snow as it’s not the reason they traveled south. It’s the Boltons, not the White Walkers! Dim Dalba doesn’t want to spare any more Wildlings in case they need them in the fight against the dead, but Jon points out that the Boltons will wipe them out before the wights even get there simply because they are Wildlings. Tormund hits it home when he reminds Dim Dalba that Jon died for them and if they’re not willing to do the same in return, then they all deserve to die anyway. Wun Wun proclaims his allegiance to Jon and the rest of the Wildlings assumedly fall in line.
In King’s Landing, Cersei sees Olenna off and Olenna points out all the things that Cersei has done- gotten Loras locked up, installed the High Sparrow into a position of power, effectively ended House Tyrell and House Lannister by leaving them with no heirs… her father would be ashamed. Olenna tells Cersei that she might be proud of herself but she’s lost- and there’s no way for Cersei to kill all of her enemies including the city which hates her all at once.
The Lannister army pulls up to Riverrun to find Frey forces thinly spread out in a badly planned siege. Jaime commands Bronn to lead some of the troops and… Bronn is a sellsword, not a strategist. Come on. But Jaime offers Bronn a spot as his right-hand man, but Bronn’s still salty about not getting his castle and wife. Soon, grasshopper. Soon.
Anyway, the Freys are doing just what Walder told him to do- threaten Edmure, brandish the knife used to kill Cat, but Brynden struts up, scowls, and doesn’t give a shit about Edmure. Remember when Edmure couldn’t even light Hoster’s funeral boat? He’s a sorry piece of crap. If Plus, if Edmure is their only bargaining chip, they’re not just going to kill him. Jaime orders that they treat Edmure with respect and takes over the Riverrun siege- there’s a bit of old Jamie swag back and he’s got that little curt delivery that he had back in Season 1.
We get to see Bear Island for the first time and it is just so pretty. It’s the seat of House Mormont, where Jon, Sansa, and Davos have just arrived to ask for support. House Mormont is led by Lyanna, Jorah’s niece, a young girl of… twelve. Sansa tries to flatter her, but Lyanna’s not about to be bought off, speaks fiercely, cuts the chitchat, and asks their purpose. Everyone is taken aback but continue to ask for Lyanna’s support as she had written to Stannis that Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark. Jon pleads for her to pledge allegiance to House Stark, which was not wiped out with Robb and Lyanna’s like, well Sansa married out and you’re a Snow so… Lyanna’s tired of seeing her men die for other people’s fight and Davos steps forward to relate to Lyanna- they each find themselves in unexpected positions when they weren’t in positions to lead in the first place and even if it’s not their names on the title card, it’s still their war.
Lyanna believes Davos’ tale about the army of the dead and agrees to join forces against the Boltons who don’t care about anyone who doesn’t align with them and won’t unite for a single purpose. She pledges all of 62 Mormont men, who fight with the fierceness of 10 mainlanders. She’s so badass. I want Lyanna on the Iron Throne. Shit would get done.
Jaime rides up to the drawbridge of Riverrun to negotiate with the Blackfish, who notes that he’s failed Cat’s task of bringing back Sansa and Arya. Jaime ignores this and orders him to surrender so that the Tully men aren’t killed but Brynden refuses to give up his home. Family, duty, honor… Brynden is planning to hold onto it all.
Up north, Jon and Sansa get turned down by House Glover who were apparently helped by the Boltons in retaking Deepwood Motte from the Greyjoys. The Glovers won’t pair up with Jon’s Wildling army because pride and Glover also points out that Robb got his older brother killed, his family thrown in prison, etc… all because Robb wanted to marry Talisa and was blind to all else. Sansa and Jon are apparently paying for Robb’s actions. That’s fine and all but completely contradicts what Ned, Robb, and the North were all about in the first place. I’ve pulled it apart in other episodes. I won’t get into it. I’m watching my kingdom die by writing.
In… Pentos? Ah… somewhere in Essos, Theon is surrounded by naked women and has no interest in them- he’s come so far from the playboy he thought he was. Yara’s also taken up with a woman, because Yara is boss. It hurts her a bit to see Theon cower around and she pleads with him to discover how to live again- she believes that he’s a survivor and is worthy of justice but Theon is still convinced that he doesn’t deserve sympathy or justice. Yara asks him exactly then why he is living and tells him to pull himself together.
Back in the North, Davos and Jon set up camp right in the spot where Stannis was holed up in- they’ve collected 2,000 Wildlings, 200 Hornwoods, 143 Mazins, and 62 Mormonts- they have a chance against Ramsay’s 5,000 but Sansa knows they need more. She asks to ride down to House Cerwyn, but Jon shoots her down because he needs to make sure the Wildlings and Northmen don’t kill each other before the battle.
Sansa takes it upon herself to write a scroll to an unnamed recipient and signs it Sansa STARK with a direwolf seal. Most likely, this is going to Littlefinger, who already told her that the forces of the Vale are at her disposal.
It’s lunchtime at the constructed sept, and Brother Ray is giving a lecture about how he had killed and betrayed innocent people and finally felt shame as he heard a woman wail through the night. Like the Hound, he’s had a revelation, an awakening of sorts, that it’s never to late to help people and looking directly at the Hound, implores that it’s never too late to come back. He’s interrupted by three unidentified riders.
If you haven’t read the books, one of the characters is Lem Lemoncloak and he’s a part of the Brotherhood Without Banners, last seen in Season 3. This is bad casting- he looks just like Euron in yellow. Also, his cloak is more… brown than lemon, but Lem says he is “protecting the people” and asks if there are any horses or treasures lying around. Brother Ray invites them to stay for supper but Lem declines, telling them to stay safe and rides away.
The Hound continues to chop wood far from the construction site and angrily tells Brother Ray that he shouldn’t have been so kind to them and that they were scoping the site to see what they could take. Brother Ray refuses to fight them and is convinced he can change people otherwise- those days are long behind him and frustrated, the Hound says that not taking action doesn’t do anything more than refusing to fight and will only lead to death.
Back in Braavos, Arya identifies a man’s accent as being from Westeros and asks to sail home with them. She’s going to leave in two days and spends the next few hours strolling around the city. She’s approached by a weirdly familiar looking old woman, who slices her belly and then stabs her a few time, even twisting the knife a little bit. It’s the Wait! Arya pushes her off and falls into the canal below. The Waif leaves her for dead, but Arya is really good at holding her breath and escapes bleeding very badly, as stomach wounds would have you do.
Her best pal, the Hound, is still chopping wood when he hears people screaming. He’s pretty far from camp and by the time he makes it back, all of the good hearted people who took him in have been killed. Brother Ray has been hanged inside the very sept he was building, as the music motif of Stannis, Melisandre, and the Red God plays in the background.
In the final shot of the episode, the Hound pulls a nearby axe out of a tree stump- he can’t catch a break from violence. He needs to seek vengeance for this. Remember when we thought this was going to lead up to Cleganebowl? The Hound would fight in the name of the Faith and Cersei would pick the Mountain for her trial by combat? That was a bad idea. Who would you actually be rooting for? Not the High Sparrow. Not Cersei. Not the Mountain. What the actual fuck were we thinking!?
On deck, we have episode 6.8 No One.