In this week’s Game of Thrones, a whole lot happened. Jon and Sansa began to put their plan of retaking Winterfell into action. Jamie Lannister went to the Riverlands and involved himself in the war of the Tullys and Freys. We got to see yet more politicking between the Lannisters and the Sparrows. Arya now that she no longer is No One, met up with the Faceless Men for a brief confrontation. Theon and his sister stopped for a little R&R and a quick pep talk. Finally, we got to see what an old friend’s been doing since his, ahem, unintended sabbatical from the story, but will they be back in the mix with all the problems involved in Game of Thrones? While this wasn’t as a high-stakes episode as the past two episodes, the ball moved forward and we got yet another great episode of the show.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from the Game of Thrones Season 6 episode “The Broken Man.”
The episode begins giving us an update on what Sandor “The Hound” Clegane has been up to since being left for dead by Arya after losing a battle with Brianne during the season four finale. Turns out, of course, he didn’t die. After being nursed back to health, The Hound has come to live a simple life living in a community led by a religious leader, played by HBO alum, Ian McShane. Boy, it would have been great if they found a way to slip “cocksucker” into one of his speeches!
That was not the case, however. The Hound was living a life away from the politics and the battles that he has been surrounded by his whole life, although he was still torturing himself somewhat for the life he used to live, he was at peace now that he was away from it all. During one of the leader’s sermons about nonaggression, they are approached by three riders up to no good. It’s slyly hinted that the three riders are members of The Brotherhood Without Banners, and they pretty much are itching for a fight. McShane’s character would rather not tangle with them despite The Hound’s warnings, which ultimately don’t serve him or the community well. As The Hound is away chopping wood, he returns to find the community slaughtered, including women and children, and McShane’s character left hanging. This is sure to light a fire in The Hound and he now has a reason to go back into fighting.
In the Riverlands, Jamie Lannister is getting back into the game of war. He has taken a Lannister army of 8,000, is once again joined by Bronn (who we haven’t seen in quite some time) to Riverrun to help end the war between the Tullys and the Freys. The Freys are trying to lay siege to a castle held by the Tullys, but it’s clear that they Freys are small potatoes and their siege is a joke and even though they have Edmure hostage, and their threat of killing him is not swaying Uncle Brynden in the least. Jamie assumes command by giving a golden pimp smack to the one of the Frey brothers and requests a meeting with Brynden Tully to try and resolve the impasse.
However Brynden “the Blackfish” Tully remains steadfast and refuses to give up the fort. He knows he temporarily has the tactical advantage, and in his mind is still at war. He will not give up the fort while life draws breath. Looks like we will be heading to yet another fantastic battle.
In Kings Landing, Queen Margaery is outside her dungeon now that King Tommen has made a deal with the High Sparrow, and it now looks like the High Sparrow is serving as her counsellor as well. Little by little, he’s making a big play for the throne. As they discuss things, it’s revealed that she is no longer intimate with the king, and the High Sparrow, in a very unnerving way, advises her that she has a responsibility to produce an heir, even if she doesn’t want to.
Later Margaery is reunited with her grandmother, but the reunion doesn’t go as planned. Margaery is still lock in step with the High Sparrow or is it an act. Even under the watchful eye of her former jail guard Septa Unella, Margaery manages to pass a note to her grandmother also telling her to leave Kings Landing, for it’s not safe for her there. The note is a picture of their family crest, so the grandmother takes some ease that Margaery is not lost but playing a long con with her captors.
Cersei and the Tyrell grandmother have one last meeting before she departs, and the old frenemies have yet another moment of trustful disdain towards each other. Olenna Tyrell reminds Cersei that this is all her doing by granting the High Sparrow the power he has assumed and now both of their houses may fall as a result. She advises Cerci to get outta dodge like she is, but knowing that Cersei will stay put and meet an untimely end grants her with a small satisfaction.
The escaped Greyjoy siblings finally made port where they are relaxing for a little R&R at a local brothel, and it turns out Yara really enjoys whores as much as her dismembered brother once did. As she sees her sullen brother she first teases him for having lost his appendage but quickly apologizes. Theon is still dealing with post-traumatic stress from his dealings with his dealings with Ramsey Bolton, but Yara forces her brother to drink hard and remember who he was before he was tortured. She promises him that they will meet up with Daenerys Targaryen and exact their revenge on their uncle and retake their home. After the pep talk worked, she proceeds to engage in sexual congress at the whorehouse.
Over on the East Coast in Bravos, Arya realizes that she also needs to leave. She strikes a bargain with a sailor to arrange safe passage out of town, and head back to Westeros where she will once again work on her kill list with her newfound assassin skills learned from the Faceless Men. Just before she is about to leave though she’s confronted by an old woman and stabbed in the stomach. It turns out the old woman was her forever nemesis Waif, and now poor Arya is mortally injured. She falls into a river from her injuries after barely escaping her assassination attempt. As she walks through the town trying to hold onto her wound, she realizes that ANYONE could be a Faceless Man, and she is completely alone and afraid. Of course, we hope that Arya will survive her wounds, but she’s not out of the woods yet.
In the North, we begin the War over Winterfell. This episode was completely surrounded by politics within the north as Jon Snow and Sansa Stark put their plan to rally northern houses to their cause into action. Even though it seemed simple a few weeks ago, not all is as it seems.
They have no problem rallying the Wildlings to their cause, after all, it was Jon Snow who saved them from the White Walker attack north of the wall. Jon also granted them passage past the wall and even paid the ultimate sacrifice for his action by being betrayed and killed by his fellow members of the Night’s Watch. Since Jon was resurrected and now wanting to retake Winterfell from Ramsey Bolton, the first he would call for help would be from The Wildlings. There was a brief debate among the Wildlings as to if they would join the battle. Tormund voices in support for Jon Snow and debated against another Wildling. The deciding vote went to Wildling giant Wun Wun who simply said “Snow” and who’s going to argue with a giant? The Wildlings are once again back on #TeamSnow.
The next group to rally support from is Bear Island led by 10-year-old Lady Lyanna Mormont. Boy was she a force of nature! For such a person of small stature, she was a commanding presence, and it was very funny watching both Jon and Sansa pleading with this child for her help. The young Mormont girl pointed out that Jon was a Bastard, and Sansa has married quite often for the sake of survival. However, the winner of the debate is Davos Seaworth, who gives a great speech hitting on all points needed to gain Lyanna’s support. In addition to pointing out that Jon Snow was chosen by her relative Jeor Mormont to lead the Night’s Watch, Davos also has his eyes on the true enemy: the White Walkers north of The Wall. If they’re all going to survive their onslaught, they need a Stark ruling Winterfell. Lyanna agrees to help the Starks. The only catch is that she is only willing to give his 62 soldiers, which is pretty much cannon fodder against Ramsey’s massive army.
The third house they tried to get was not as excited to join them. House Glover was not on board joining an army of Wildlings. Sansa tried to step in and advise them their loyalty to her family, bit she was instead reminded that Robb Stark led them to a defeat that only the Boltons could get them out of. As a result, Jon and Sansa have a small army, that isn’t seeming to work well together. They will need some sort of miracle, and Sansa proceeds to send a letter requesting support. It’s pretty much assumed that we’ll see Littlefinger within the next few episodes hopefully offering assistance, but since it’s Littlefinger, who knows what team he’ll end up one.
One complaint about this episode, and other episodes, is that we are almost being thrown into the affairs of the Riverlands, and we really haven’t spent much time following those families. They have often been side players and as a result, we really don’t care much for them and their fights. The Freys and the Tullys operate more as secondary armies to the families we care for. Hopefully, we can spend more time with them to actually care about those politicks, but right now the most interesting person in that fight is Jamie Lannister.
Meanwhile, Arya’s defeat by the Faceless Men reminds us once again that Game of Thrones is tough on the Starks, but also no one is safe. Arya probably will survive, but it’s always a gut punch when the show hurts children and hurts the Stark family.
Yet another episode showing nothing from Dorne. It’s starting to seem like the show doesn’t really care about their shenanigans.
We finally got to see Ian McShane, who got in trouble for saying that Game of Thrones was a show about “Dragons and Tits.” His role was brief, but could have been used by a lesser known actor, especially if the actor didn’t have kind things to say about the show afterward. His character did serve his purpose of getting The Hound off his butt and back into the battle.
Next week looks like we will not only see another confrontation between Cersei and the High Sparrow, but it looks like Brianne will have to reluctantly do battle against Jamie Lannister, whom she has a great deal of respect and honor for due to their time on the road together in past seasons.