Check out last week’s review here.
It has been a season of fast-paced story lines (including characters teleporting between regions in a single episode) and returning characters. Bran, Rickon, and Benjen are just a few of the characters that have returned to Game of Thrones after no screen time for one season or more. This season has already had a different feel from the previous five seasons.
“The Broken Man” kicks off with a scene before the opening credits. This caught me by surprise and I had to rewind a bit because it felt like I missed something. Game of Thrones has only ever done this on season premieres. A septon and his followers are building what looks like it may be a sept. We don’t know any of these characters of why they’re even relevant to what’s already going in the season. Are we to assume this will tie into the Sparrows because they’ve been the only worshipers of the Seven that we’ve been exposed to this season? The scene ends when we see another returning character: Sandor “The Hound” Clegane.
Ray and The Hound
Did anyone really assume that The Hound was dead? An off-screen death is an excuse to leave open the possibility to bring the character back later on when they could create an impact. The scene that followed the credits could not have been easy to write. We haven’t seen this character for almost two seasons. Unfortunately, this led the Septon, Ray, to spit out as much exposition as possible. David Benioff has already stated that he didn’t like doing flashbacks because he feels like it’s “lazy storytelling” so we have to listen to Ray speak as if he raised Sandor Clegane from the moment he was left on his doorstep as an infant.
It didn’t seem like The Hound just woke up that morning from recovery because he was swinging his axe as if his near-death experience never took any strength away. Why is Ray recapping any of this to him for any reason other than for viewers to have idea what The Hound has been up to this entire time. It’s not like this is their first conversation. The Septon already knew his name.
But I digress… Yay! The Hound is back!
Margery is seemingly under the wing of the High Sparrow. In the last episode, there were subtle hints that she’s just not completely brainwashed. The High Sparrow walks in as she’s reading the Book of the Mother. She could just be pretending but her ability to recite a passage from it seems to prove otherwise. Is the High Sparrow suspicious as well? He warns that her grandmother’s time may come if she doesn’t repent. Without skipping a beat, Margery agrees and speaks to Olenna. Of course, she doesn’t do that without the stone-face Onella there. Without showing any sign that she has any of her own intentions, Margery tells her grandmother to go back to Highgarden while shoving a drawing of a rose in her fist. Is that her way of saying “I’m still a Tyrell. Trust me, grandmother”?
There’s something about how Olenna is played as a grumpy old woman that is so entertaining.
The wildlings explain their objection to joining the battle for Winterfell. It’s not what was agreed to. After all, Mance Rayder died because he refused join Stannis’s fight for Winterfell. Stannis didn’t, however, die for them. Jon did, as Tormund pointed out. So begins Jon and Sansa’s efforts to rally support for the pending battle.
Cersei’s desperate bid is quickly snuffed out by Olenna’s you-reap-what-you-so speech. Even with the Mountain in the room, Cersei seems powerless. It couldn’t be complete without Olenna’s
“You’ve lost, Cersei. It’s the only joy I could find in all this misery.”
Bronn is back and he’s pretty disgruntled. He still does not have the wife, lordship, or castle he was promised. The Freys have started the “siege” of Riverrun. Remember when Walder Frey said how much the other houses looked down on the Freys and he said they’re nothing but jokes to the rest of Westros. Yeah, here’s a good example. They look like a bunch of bandits trying to make demands with a hostage. If Edmure Tully dies, would anyone even care? The Blackfish doesn’t. Jaime clearly asserts his superior skills at war by taking over command of the siege.
Bear Island looked beautiful. Who knew such a place in the North would look like that? The next stop on Jon and Sansa’s trip is this home of House Mormont. The head of this House is none other than 10 year old, Lady Lyanna, who owns her position more than other child lord we’ve seen. Bran and Robin could have learned a thing or two from this one. I hope we see more of her. It was entertaining to see her sass people much older than herself.
The moment that we were waiting for when Jaime and the Blackfish were face-to-face came down to Blackfish showing how much of an immovable object he is. Jaime made no more progress in coming to terms with him than the Freys would have.
The Glovers show how the Stark name is irrelevant to some Northern Houses. Rallying to take back the North is not just as simple as saying “The Starks are back”, especially when you’ve enlisted wildlings.
Theon and Yara
Theon and Yara stopped for some women and booze before heading to Maureen. Theon is a shell of his former self. As much as I never cared for the Greyjoys, especially Theon, I couldn’t help feeling a bit of sympathy for him as he appeared broken amongst what used to be a carnival to him. Yara shows that, despite how much of a jerk he used to be, that she loves him in her own Ironborn way.
“If you’re so broken that there’s no coming back, take a knife and cut your wrists. End it.”
Jon, Sansa, a Davos return to the spot where Stannis once established an encampment before he marched on Winterfell. Is this the same camp that was set on fire by the Boltons? Somehow Jon Snow will know better how to protect it than “the most experienced commander in Westeros”? With the underwhelming army of dysfunctional soldiers and Jon Snow’s reluctance to rally more Houses, Sansa sends a raven. It’s amazing how she somehow become the wisest Stark when she began the series as the most naive and annoying. As she said, she did what she had to in order to survive.
Ray and The Hound
The moment some strangers approached Ray’s group in the middle of their field, you just knew that these poor people were going to die, especially when Ray refused to give into their demands. The Hound tries to convince him that the pacifist mentality will get him killed, but he gets shutdown and becomes frustrated.
Arya walks with an odd sense of confidence, considering she betrayed trained assassins. This is someone that has traveled with The Hound, a notorious killer, and someone that has seen how efficient the House of Black and White is when they dispatch a target. She drops sacks of gold in front of a Westerosi captain like she was born a Lannister and that she has nothing to fear. Shortly after, she is stabbed viciously by the waif. After she narrowly escapes, she now begins to fear that her assassin could be anywhere. A bit late to be suspicious of your surroundings. Fear not, Arya fans, she’s not dead yet. At least she’s walking, which is more than The Hound could do when she left him for dead and we learned his episode that he survived.
The Hound finally gets his ale, but his glimmer of happiness is cut short. Not only do we learn that he can care about someone other than himself now, but his fear of losing him plays out. He grabs his axe and walks off with a purpose. Where is he going now? The doorstep of the Brotherhood Without Banners? I have a feeling that book-readers are holding their breaths and hoping this means a certain vengeful character will finally make an appearance on the show. We’ve been waiting for it since season three. While there’s no certainty that some theories will play out, one thing’s for sure: The Hound is back and he’s sure to increase the death toll.
Judging from the preview of the next episode, No One, we’ll get that and tensions will mount in The Riverlands and King’s Landing.