Game of Thrones, S6 Ep7 – The Broken Man

Another busy Game of Thrones episode that saw the return of several familiar faces, the introduction of awesome characters from the book, and various major trials for some of the main characters.

Since this season of Game of Thrones seems to be moving at breakneck speed, we are getting one reveal after another in every episode. Some have worked better than others and it feels like having so much happen in one season, when previous seasons have lingered almost frustratingly slow on certain story lines, may be making the show a bit uneven. Nevertheless, it was exciting to see certain characters again.

As previously announced, this episode saw the return of the delightful Bronn, still fighting alongside Jaime and still full of witty remarks. We missed Bronn and his fun dynamic with the Lannister brothers. He joined Jaime in Riverrun as they took charge of the Freys’ clumsy attempt at taking the castle back from Brynden Tully, the Blackfish.

Game of Thrones Bronn JaimeJaime and the Blackfish had a short confrontation in which the latter refused to surrender and expressed his disappointment with the Lannister knight. Jaime is setting up for a big conflict here, but it will be interesting to see what happens once Brienne arrives.

Over at King’s Landing, we got a few scenes with the Tyrell ladies as Margaery expertly kept up her convincing disguise as a pious queen while subtly reassuring her grandmother that she was a Tyrell to the last. Being the master manipulator that she is, Margaery will surely emerge victorious in whatever game she chooses to play. Meanwhile, Olenna made a few choice remarks to Cersei, blaming her (and rightly) for all the trouble the Faith Militant has caused.

There was a brief scene with the Greyjoy siblings as Yara tried to bolster Theon’s spirits, helping him to get over his “few bad years” (his expression when she said that was priceless.) Apparently, their plan is to get to Mereen before their Uncle Euron and form an alliance with Daenerys. An interesting direction for these characters, given how fast Game of Thrones is progressing.

Game of Thrones, S6 Ep7 - The Broken ManThen we come to the biggest reveal of the episode: Sandor Clegane is alive and well. After being beaten up by Brienne and left for dead by Arya some time in season 4, the Hound was rescued by a wandering septon named Brother Ray (in an excellent but short performance by Ian McShane). Sandor lives and works in Brother Ray’s peaceful community for a while, seemingly calmed down and tired of his life of bloodshed. He has a lot of interesting conversations with Brother Ray and it even seems like he had more screen time in this episode than he did in previous episodes.

While it was thrilling to see Sandor alive again, since his fate had been left vague, the timing of this reveal is a bit strange. Despite the effective performances by Rory McCann and McShane, the story felt a little out of place considering everything else going on in Game of Thrones. And I’m still not quite sure where he’ll fit in and which sub-plot he will be joining. But it’s clear that no matter where he goes, he can’t avoid the bloodshed, as  some vicious members of the Brotherhood Without Banners (another appearance of this group that leads to certain speculations about a book character) attacked the peaceful community and murdered everyone there. With grim determination, Sandor grabs an axe and we pretty much know what he’s planning to do.

Game of Thrones, S6 Ep7 - The Broken ManAnother big part of this episode was the Stark campaign to gain supporters. Jon and Sansa have been doing the rounds in the Houses of the North, trying to rally support for their cause. And it’s proven more difficult than either of them anticipated, even if Sansa escaped from a terrible situation and Jon literally came back from the dead.

A standout in this episode was the introduction of the young Lady Lyanna Mormont, who was mentioned last season sending a snarky letter to Stannis. The lady of Bear Island was truly formidable and very mature for age. Exuding authority and firmness, the young girl was more than a match for Jon and Sansa and when it seemed like they were not going to make any headway with her, Davos stepped in and somehow managed to convince her to commit her 62 fierce fighting men to the Stark cause.

But the Starks still don’t have enough men and later in the episode, Sansa steals away to send a raven to someone for help. Despite the sweet Stark reunion, it is clear that there are still some differences between the siblings as Sansa continues to keep secrets from her brother. There is a suspicion that she might be contacting Littlefinger for help.

Game of Thrones, S6 Ep7 - The Broken ManThe episode ended with Arya Stark, carelessly strolling around Braavos and trying to get a ride back to Westeros. It was disappointing to see how reckless she was being considering how much she knew about the ruthlessness of the Faceless Men. Did she really think no one would come after her? And she didn’t even bother to put on a disguise. So when the Waif eventually found and stabbed her, it was no big surprise.

She managed to escape with her life but she is now alone and severely injured. She was careless but we still don’t want to see her go down, especially now that she has re-embraced her Stark identity. I’m certain that she will make it out of this somehow and it will be interesting to see exactly how she manages to do so.

Next week on Game of Thrones, Brienne and Jaime’s paths finally cross but it might not be the reunion either of them was expecting: