This review contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones season 6, episode 7 – The Broken Man. This is your only warning.
Game of Thrones has been pretty light on character death this season, at least so far, in comparison to previous seasons. Of course we have had some major losses (Hold the door), but this week we actually see another character who we all thought to be dead.
We start things off this week in new surroundings, with an unknown group of people building something, leaving us all wondering “who are these people? What are we doing here?”. Until, that is, we see that one of the people is shown to be none other than the Hound himself.
Yup, Sandor Clegane, who many assumed to be dead after Arya left him to die following his battle with Brienne. I couldn’t help but go “Yessss!” as I realised who it was. I had missed the Hound, who had some of the best lines in the show before he “died”. Such a whirlwind force, now directionless without Arya or a home to go to, will be very interesting. The end of the episode hints at something for him, but I’ll get to that later.
After last week’s surprise turn from Margaery, we check in with her and the Sparrow. I think we all know that Margaery is not as brainwashed as she seems, and is simply playing the long game by pretending to be a changed woman. She is, however, rather convincing as the act does not drop even for a second. Even when she meets with her grandmother, the Queen of Thorns, she seems a flat cardboard cutout mindlessly spouting religious platitudes.
The viewers know Margaery too well to really fall for it, but she seems to have everyone fooled, even her own grandmother. That is, until, Margaery tells her to return to Highgarden (for her own safety) and secretly hands her a drawing of a rose. While it was not the warning of the Sparrow’s threats I expected to see, it still serves as a flare to say “I’m still here.” I can’t wait to see what she is up to.
We also see a pretty brilliant exchange between the Queen of Thorns and Cersei who, to her credit, fully admits that this whole mess with the Faith is entirely her fault. Despite this omission, though, the Thorn Queen isn’t moved by Cersei’s pleas to work together to take down the Faith.
While this seems a little farcical considering Ser Loras is still a prisoner, Olenna seems resolute in her dislike of Cersei and is fully content to let her stew in the mess she has made. This scene is pretty satisfying, as it is good to have Cersei forced to see the fact that yes, all this is your fault and you have no one but yourself to help you get out of it. I have no doubt that Cersei will remember those words, but will she remember what petty revenge and jealousy caused?
We make a brief trip to Riverrun to see what a mess the Freys have made of besieging the castle, but also to check in with the Blackfish. While Jaime undoubtedly has a huge amount of men (8,000 to be exact), Riverrun seems to be a very difficult castle to siege. The Blackfish seems content on dragging this out as long as possible, but there is undoubtedly a big battle in their future. Jaime has been rather boring this season, he has been a rather reactionary character who seems to exist only as an accessory to Cersei, so let’s hope that the battle of Rivverun breathes some life into his wooden form.
Speaking of battles, plans don’t seem to be going well for the Bastardbowl. Having gotten the Wildlings on their side, Jon, Sansa and Davos begin the seemingly arduous task of getting the minor Northern houses to support them in the battle for Winterfell. While things don’t go super swimmingly, we do get treated to a new character – Lady Lyanna Mormont, who is pretty damn badass considering she is not even in her teens. Let’s hope that she lives long enough to be fully grown, I can’t wait to see what she does. It’s been a while since we had a new character that was so inherently interesting, and I have a feeling there is more to her then just a fierce bark.
Speaking of fierce women, we see Yara and Theon docked somewhere as Yara enjoys the local women and Theon looks incredibly uncomfortable. While he is not “Reek” anymore, he isn’t really Theon any more, either. Once again, Yara is there for her brother, and tells him that she needs him but she needs the real him. Not this broken man we have now. While Theon has come far since he was with Ramsay, he is still very much “the broken man”. But at the end of this scene, when he looks up at Yara… there’s something in his eyes that says I’m here, sister. Truly a powerful scene, with due credit given to both the actors.
Before the episode wraps up, we get an interesting scene with Sansa. A couple of episodes ago, we saw Sansa turn away thousands of Vale soldiers because of her anger at Littlefinger. While she has every right to be angry, furious even, I thought this decision was dumb from the start. The smaller houses just do not have enough to beat the Boltons, Umbers and Karstarks combined. Here we see Sansa writing a letter to someone, and while we don’t see it’s contents, I sincerely hope it’s her swallowing her pride and working with Littlefinger to defeat Ramsay in the Bastardbowl.
Of course, I could be wrong, but who else could she be writing to? I do hope, however, that Sansa writes out clear conditions and emphasises that she does not forgive Petyr for giving her to Ramsay. She once again shows the steel she has grown by standing up to Lord Glover earlier in the episode, and I want to continue to see Sansa grow into the fierce young woman we saw glimpses of today.
We get a small smattering of Arya this week, which shows that unsurprisingly to everyone but Arya the Faceless Men don’t take too kindly to people like her. She is stabbed multiple times by the Waif (but will probably live, she has some strong plot armour), which is undoubtedly setting us up for an epic clash between the two of them. Perhaps we will get a reveal or hint at warg powers for Arya? That would be great, but I’ll settle for the Waif’s smug smile getting ripped off and used as a frisbee.
The episode doesn’t end with any epic dragon swooping action this time, but it does end with a call to action for the Hound which is what I referred to earlier. Previously, we saw the group building the church (?) being bothered by men from the Brotherhood Without Banners who follow the Lord of Light, while the leader of Sandor’s group is for the Seven. Predictably, the group were slaughtered while the Hound was away. Despite the leaders words about violence being a disease, the last thing we see is him picking up an axe, seemingly for some Brotherhood chopping action.
My real question is, who will he end up with? Will he go searching for Arya? Will he go back to King’s Landing? None of these? For Sandor Clegane, the possibilities are endless.