It’s difficult to say that Game of Thrones has “filler” episodes, because even those are exciting. However, Episode 6 Blood of My Blood from two weeks ago could be characterized as such, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
To make an around one hour story short; Benjen is back, Sam has grown a pair, Tommen is soft, the actor that plays Walder Frey somehow hasn’t died yet, Jamie is no longer a member of the Kingsguard, “a girl” is now known again as Arya Stark and Daenerys gives a somewhat out of place and awkward rallying speech. Either way, it is a great setup for the rest of season 6.
Episode 7 ,The Broken Man, starts off with a bombshell, the return of everyone’s favorite mutilated heartless killer, Sandor Clegane. We have not seen Clegane since he was left bleeding out after a fight with Brienne of Tarth in season 4. He seems to have taken up with a group of people that believe in the seven gods and are looking for a place to live and for food. In the Game of Thrones world its always a good rule of thumb that if you aren’t seen dying, you are more than likely alive (Ex: Benjen, more than likely Gendry, and now Sandor). Sandor seems to have a history with the septon of the group he is in. He is a former warrior and killer but has now seen the light of the seven and has become a holy man. It seems at one point that maybe Sandor could go this same route. When the septon is speaking to the group about it never being too late to be good, Sandor seems to hear this message and possibly buy into it. During this preaching, a group of men who believe in the lord of light stop by and intimidate them, and then ride off, obviously setting up a future conflict,
and boy did it ever.
Sandor returns from chopping wood to find that everyone, including the septon, has been slaughtered. This ultimately dissolves the idea that Sandor will become a peaceful man. He told the septon before he died that hate was what kept him from dying against Brienne, now its hate that will drive him again in his search for whoever slaughtered these people.
After not seeing them last episode, another main point this week was to show Jon, Davos, and Sansa out recruiting the wildlings, as well as other northern families for their army. It almost seemed like a presidential campaign watching the three of them go from place to place in hopes of garnering followers.
Their first stop is the wildlings, initially none of them are interested in fighting for them. A few of the wildlings say they have the same beliefs as their old leader Mance Rayder in that they refuse to fight for anyone south of the wall. However, they begin to change their minds when Tormund starts to speak for Jon and reminds them that Jon died for them and that the war will eventually be between the living and the dead. The wildlings agree after hearing this and join Jon’s forces. This scene exemplifies what Jon told Stannis Baratheon in Season 5, that the wildlings only really listen to one of their own, which in this case was Tormund.
Their next stop is Bear Island to meet with Lady Mormont, who looks like she is no older than ten. By looking at his body language and the way he speaks to her, Jon must have thought he would easily be able to obtain her troops, but he is sorely mistaken. Lady Mormont, although she is ten, speaks like a true lord. She asserts herself and claims that she will not waste any of her troops life’s just to fight in someone else’s war. Davos steps in and tells her that he and her have similar stories. They have both found themselves in a position of power that they didn’t expect, and that this war will not ultimately just be between men, but between the living and the dead. This gets her attention and sways her opinion. She agrees to pledge all of her fighting men to Jon’s army, all 62 of them. Jon and company realize after this meeting that they’re going to have to really fight and negotiate for every man they get.
This couldn’t be any truer than during their interaction with Lord Glover. He has a fair argument in that house Bolton helped him regain his castle from the Ironborn, and that he has no reason to betray them, and unlike Lady Mormont, his decision is final. Sansa reminds him that House Glover pledged themselves to house Stark hundreds of years ago. Lord Glover then reminds her that when the Greyjoys attacked them, her brother Rob was too busy in the south trying to become King of the North and sleeping with his foreign wife. This interaction goes to show that although most families in the North are historically pledged to house Stark, not all of them have been treated fairly enough to sustain that allegiance.
Margaery also continues her new eyebrow raising affliction with the faith of the seven this episode. The High Sparrow confronts her and tells her that her grandmother, Olenna Tyrell, must see “the light” and join the faith of the seven for “her own safety”. The High Sparrow is a very smart man and understands the Olenna is highly intelligent and that she is the true mastermind behind all of the Tyrell family’s affairs (sorry Mace), and that she must be dealt with. Margaery meets with Olenna to talk about the faith of the seven and how important it is. At the end of their meeting Margaery hands Olenna a rose. This can be interpreted as more than a nice gesture, but as a cryptic message. Letting Olenna know that Margaery isn’t really all about the faith of the seven, but hat its all an act and she is still on her family’s side. It will be interesting to see how this new conflict between Olenna and the faith will play out, and how Margaery will contribute.
Another important moment from this episode is Jamie’s interaction with the Blackfish and the Frey soldiers with the one, the only, Bronn of the Blackwater by his side (its looking like the season of comebacks ladies and gentlemen). Jamie has been sent to deal with the Blackfish and his takeover of Riverrun, which belongs to the Frey’s. The Lannisters aligned themselves with the Frey’s before the Red Wedding, so Jamie has been sent to keep the peace. The Frey’s are incapable of getting the castle back themselves, so Jamie takes over the siege. In his meeting with the Blackfish, the Blackfish makes it abundantly clear that he is prepared to die in the castle that he was born in, and has no intention of making a treaty with an oath-breaker like Jamie (killing the king you were sworn to protect will get you that kind of reputation I guess). This interaction sets up what should be an epic battle between the remaining Tully forces and the Freys with the help of Jamie’s forces.
Yara, Theon, and their soldiers seem to have made it to the mainland and have gone to a brothel to keep themselves entertained. Yara tells Theon that she needs the “real Theon” by her side and not the broken mess that he has been since he was with Ramsay. Yara also tell hims that they will meet up with the “dragon queen” and take back the Iron Islands. It will be exciting to see how Daenerys and the Ironborn interact once they meet. It’s almost certain that Daenerys will accept their offer if it means she can use their ships to make it to Westeros in the first place, and I don’t think Yara and Theon will hesitate to give her those ships.
We finally get to see Arya in the second half of the show. She finds a sailor and pays for passage back to Westeros, and says they will leave at dawn. All Game of Thrones viewers know, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Arya then looks out over the city with the Titan of Bravos in the background, taking in her last day in the city. Until she is approached by what appears to be an old woman, but its the Waif in disguise. She grabs Arya and stabs her in the stomach several times. Arya then rolls off the bridge into the bay. The Waif doesn’t see her rise up to the surface so she assumes shes dead and walks away (I guess she doesn’t get the “If-you-don’t-see-them-die-they-aren’t-dead” rule). Arya then swims to shore and sees that shes profusely bleeding from her stomach. She then hobbles through the streets of Bravos bleeding until the camera cuts away, leaving her fate up in the air.
I don’t believe that Arya will die from her wounds. She will make it to Westeros, but before she does she must deal with the Waif. She cant leave any loose ends in Bravos before she departs. We will definitely see more of hernext week and will find out her fate for sure, as well as more from Daenerys as she and her army make their way back to Meereen. We may also get more information on Cersei’s trial by combat as well as some more visions from Bran.
All of this buildup should make for an awesome last three episodes.