This week on ‘Game of Thrones’: HBO has no respect for secrets, Jon and Sansa cold call the entire North to sell the Stark name, and Margaery draws a picture.
Spoilers through Game of Thrones 607: “The Broken Man.” You know the drill, this is Game of Thrones, people die, people come back to life, etc. So, if you don’t want to be spoiled, go watch it first! Then come back and gossip with me.
I envy you, Game of Thrones show-only watchers. Not only do you have just one year between installments, but you don’t have the trauma, the pain that is the theories surrounding the A Song of Ice and Fire series. You’ve heard a few, I’m sure. They trickle into show discussion every now and then, with their fancy tin foil hats and hope for the future. You see, for a lot of book readers, those theories are all we’ve had for years, we’ve clung to them like shields against the Long Night, hoping that they’ll keep us safe until the next book releases. And then, HBO comes along with a big stick and loud mouth, outpacing the books and smashing every theory to pieces. Whether they’re true or false, it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, the shield, the theory is no more, and we’re left with “show canon.”
And like with the Jon Snow revival from the dead, Game of Thrones smashed another theory to bits in the opening two minutes of “The Broken Man.”
Somewhere in the fields of the Riverlands
Game of Thrones rarely does cold opens, so often reserved for the really shocking moments. But when an opening like Game of Thrones can give so much away with just an actor’s name, it’s sometimes necessary. In the case of the Hound, his reveal came before the titles because it’s so much more rewarding to see his burned face first. It’s been over a year since Arya left him dying from wounds inflicted by Brienne of Tarth and even Arya thought he had died. It seems it’s pretty difficult to kill a Clegane these days.
Luckily for the Hound, he was found by
Ian McShane Brother Ray, a peace-loving man wandering the Riverlands with his band of home-building hippies. Death has changed Sandor. He’s always been the gruff protector with a heart of gold-ish feelings, except that one time he killed Micah, the butcher’s boy, but with Brother Ray’s help, now he’s more pensive, more aware of what violence brings to the world. It doesn’t mean he isn’t going to use violence to achieve what he wants, it just means he might contemplate what that violence means before he goes through with the act. Unless someone steals his chicken. Then it’s fucking on.
During Sandor’s interlude with Brother Ray, the Brotherhood without Banners makes a guest appearance, threatening the poor hippies in a very unbrotherly fashion. Brother Ray is all, “It’s cool. We don’t even have horses. Most of us don’t even have pants. All we have is love and forgiveness.”
And then Sandor picks up his axe to get to work.
On a Bus Traveling Through the North
Jon and Sansa have borrowed Littlefinger’s traveling coach and are off gallivanting around the North to try to persuade its lords that Winter is Coming and with it is something far scarier than Ramsay Bolton. I find that hard to believe considering the White Walkers seem inclined to entertain reason, but hey, what do I know? At least the wildlings believe in Jon’s cause and they get behind him and his pretty man bun fairly quickly. Maybe it’s the view from behind. Maybe Tormund is hoping he’ll get more time with Brienne. Whatever the case, plus 2000 men. Good job, Snow.
The first stop on the Fuck the Boltons north tour is Bear Island, home of the most amazing Lord in all of Westeros: Lady Lyanna Mormont. Having lost all of her other family members, Lady Mormont is a stern force to be reckoned with, not easily sold on the Stark’s plan for retaking Winterfell. With only a few words, girlfriend renders both Jon and Sansa speechless, ready to give up on their plight to get more men to oust the Boltons. It’s only when Ser Davos, an outsider, speaks up and informs Lady Mormont of what’s out in the world that she puts her hand up and makes the decision to send men to their cause. It may only be 62 men but if they’re half as fierce as their Lady, I have no doubt they’ll make an impact on the fight. Also, I’m convinced they have actual bears.
Season 6 has been about the strong women in Game of Thrones and Lady Mormont may have been the best yet. In five minutes we saw her heed experienced council, put a stop to bullshit and flattery, and then make a reasoned decision based on the knowledge at hand. Oh, did I mention Lady Mormont is only ten years old? Which means she wrote this defiant message to Stannis with in own hand:
Next stop on the Fuck the Boltons tour (any excuse to type that phrase) is House Glover at Deepwood Motte aaaaaaaaand the meeting isn’t as successful as it with the Mormonts. And by “as successful” I mean, “Jon got his pretty little face kicked in.” Lord Glover recently recovered his home from the Ironborn squatters leaving stains of old gods knows what on his carpets so he’s a bit gun shy about letting anyone else inside. I spent the entirety of this scene doing two things: 1. Trying to figure out where I knew the actor who played Glover from (Father Bain, Outlander) and 2. Praying that Sansa would put him in his fucking place. In the end, he gives the Starks the ol’ middle weirwood and tells then to go sell their Cutco knives elsewhere.
Jon plays his Charlie Brown music and decides to just quit the sales game as he’s never going to make enough money again to buy his fancy shampoo specifically cultivated for luscious dark curls. He decides he’s had enough disappointment in his life and he’ll just end it outside Winterfell where Stannis bit the big one, thankyouverymuch. Sansa, sick of his whining and fear of girls, decides to write to Littlefinger for aid, even though she totally said she’d never do that.
If Ironborn ships can sail across the narrow sea in just one episode, that needs to be their sales pitch to Dany. Forget seduction and rebirth speeches. The Mother of Dragons has heard it all before, but ships that travel at the speed of Littlefinger are of some serious use to her.
Asha Yara, meanwhile, is making good use of the whole, “drink til doesn’t hurt anymore” therapy ol’ Pops was fond of. Seems like she and Tyrion might get along quite nicely. Theon is a bit hesitant and was kind of hoping he’d have a little more time to process his years and years of mental and physical torture, but Yara is all, “drink or kill yourself, I’m tired of you crying. I’m trying to get laid over here.” Theon decides to drink to tough love, as is the healthy way to do things. Buck up, pal. Pretty soon you’ll meet an entire army of Unsullied, which might be good for your mental well-being.
I KNEW IT. Margaery you beautiful fucking liar, you. Way to play the part and trim down your attire too, home girl. Continue admitting your flaws and don’t make eye contact, lest they see the glimmer of a rose in your eyes. They’ll believe you as a convert soon enough.
The Sparrow may be suspicious of Margaery’s actions but he can’t pinpoint anything particularly out of place, so he goes along with it, much in the same way Cersei went along with the Sparrow’s plans before realizing too late what he was up to. Margaery controls Tommen, especially now that she’s getting off on withholding, so he’ll go as she does. She’s just waiting for the hot mess that is Cersei to implode before making her next move. She tells the Queen of Thorns to Highgarden it out of there and for as someone as astute as Olenna, damn, does she take a long time to read eyebrow language. It takes a toddler’s drawing of a flower to get Lady Olenna to realize that Margaery knows what she is doing.
Though, she could have cooled it on the change in demeanor. She went from rabid to understanding in two Cersei seconds flat.
Speaking of Cersei, she comes in to sadly bid Olenna adieu and tries to get her to stay and join their two houses to make right what Cersei did wrong. Olenna puts a pin in her ego and reminds her she did this all by her lonesome so she can get out of it on her lonesome. Besides, what is she going to do? Kill them all? And then Cersei starts getting ideas:
Jaime and Bronn are back together! I repeat: Jaime and Bronn are back together! I loved Tyrion and Bronn together, but there’s something so special about this pairing because at his core, Jaime tries to be a good person. He tries to be the hero and Bronn’s all “LOL dude you bone your sister and have no hand. You ain’t a hero.” Bronn is that sarcastic reminder that Westeros isn’t all noble knights and ladies in pretty dresses. It’s siege trenches made of shit. It’s brothels and bastards. And it all comes at a price.
Jaime comes face to face with the Blackfish who refuses to give up Riverrun to those godless Freys, even when they threaten to kill his nephew, Edmure. The Blackfish is stone cold and oh dear god do I want him to face off against Ramsay. Here’s hoping this siege ends soon and Brienne and the Blackfish team up with Jaime and Bronn and they head north to put a sword in that bastard’s gut. But I digress.
The ex-Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, looking ravishing in that red Lannister armor is all, “Brynden. Baby. Remember your house words? Just hand over the castle.”
And then then the Blackfish tells Jaime he’s a disappointment and Jaime remembers his dad is dead.
Arya’s out for her daily rich person stroll in Braavos. Why she’s doing such is BEYOND me. It’s not like she was born yesterday. It’s not like she’s Sansa from 5 seasons ago. She knows that the Faceless Men are after her. She knows they’ll kill her. She knows they can wear any face they like, hiding in plain sight. But she does so anyway and openly books passage to Westeros with bags of money that she definitely earned selling oysters, clams, and cockles. As she’s wistfully staring at the Titan of Braavos, the Waif appears and I’m reminded of a horrific scene from season 3:
Arya limps through Braavos, bleeding out, finally realizing that now she knows what it’s like to truly be No One. Arya can’t die so I have two theories on the matter: 1. Lady Crane saves her life, repaying the debt or 2. Arya was actually Jaqen H’ghar and he’s making good on that third life he owes her. Either way, Arya’s not dead.
Both Clegane brothers have been brought back from the dead, in one way or another; both brothers have a renewed sense of purpose. And now, I suspect, both brothers are headed toward a battle full of so much hype not even the internet can slay it.
I’m kind of bummed that the Brotherhood without Banners is killing innocents. They were originally led by Beric Dondarrion, sent by Ned Stark, to take out The Mountain and his men ravaging villagers in the Riverlands. And now, they’ve become those monsters and a Clegane is out to stop them. It’s nice, thematically, but it still makes me sad.
Cersei is totally going to use those caches of wildfire under King’s Landing to kill everyone. That makes me less sad. Cersei’s broken; she’s lost. Let the world burn.
Don’t act like this is the first time I’ve made an Arrested Development joke in a Game of Thrones recap.
Arya will never die. I refuse to believe it.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9pm EST.