GAME OF THRONES: Best Moments From Season 6, Ep. 7 "The Broken Man"
Warning: spoilers ahead for season 6, episode 7 of Game of Thrones, entitled "The Broken Man." If you haven't seen the episode yet, turn back now.
This season, I'm going to try to write up some quick thoughts about each episode the day after it airs. I won't get too deep into full-on recaps (you can find those all over the internet, and you've probably already read a few today if you're into that sort of thing) and will instead focus on what I consider to be each episode's best moments. This can be as many or as few as I want, and will likely vary every episode — today, there are three. I'll also toss in some additional observations that don't fit into the "best moments" category, which you can find at the bottom of the post. For the best moments of earlier episodes this season, click here. Onward!
The Blackfish Takes a Stand
Catelyn Stark's uncle, Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully, has taken his home of Riverrun back from the Freys. As we saw last week, Walder Frey isn't happy about that, so he sends his two idiot relatives and the Lannister army to take it back. This week, we see the incompetence of the Frey army (threatening to kill Edmure, but not actually doing it), and Jaime Lannister has to roll in and get things under control. His parlay with The Blackfish was pretty entertaining because of how dismissive Tully is of the once-great fighter known as The Kingslayer, and with Riverrun seemingly impenetrable and stocked for up to two years, it'll be interesting to see what Jaime does to attempt to take the castle back.
Arya Gets It In The Gut
I was worried the show would skip Arya's storyline this episode since we saw her so much last week, but I'm happy we got to check in with her again so quickly. After renouncing her apprenticeship at the House of Black and White, embracing her identity, and uncovering her Needle, Arya's looking for passage back to Westeros. Everything seemed to be going well when, BAM — the Waif comes out of nowhere and stabs her multiple times in the stomach. I wasn't expecting that at all...so much so that at first I wondered if this was a dream sequence. But it's very real, and Arya goes over the edge of a bridge and plunges into the water, and the Waif makes the classic mistake of not confirming the kill before smugly walking away. Arya survives, but she's terrified, wet, and wandering the streets. Where will she go? What will she do? My guess is she'll call upon the actress whose life she saved, Lady Crane, and Crane will help her to make them even.
The Hound Returns
In one of the show's rare cold openings, we discover that despite Arya leaving him for dead, The Hound survived his fight with Brienne and has become a peaceful man living and working with a church group. I knew this was coming, but suspected the show might play coy with the reveal; instead, they unveiled it before the credits even began. The theme of resurrection factors heavily into this season (there's another character I'm hoping to see before the season ends that would continue this theme even more — book readers probably know who I'm talking about), so seeing The Hound pop up again fits right in with that.
The show did a tremendous job of imparting a lot of information in a short time: The Hound is still alive, he still hates his brother Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, and he's tried his best to live a peaceful life. But when the Brotherhood Without Banners murder his entire group (including the awesome Ian McShane, who was great in his brief one-episode stint as a septon), The Hound gives in to his old ways and now has vengeance on his mind.
Though it was nice to see Lady Olenna take Cersei down a peg and leave the Queen Regent fuming at the knowledge of her own mistakes, I'm not convinced Olenna would be daft enough to believe Margaery's fake conversion to the Faith. I get the sense that the old woman taught her granddaughter everything she knows about playing the game of thrones, and I feel like she would instantly see through the facade and understand the move Margaery is making. That obliviousness seemed out of character for the veteran, and I suspect the show chose to have Olenna not understand the ploy simply for the benefit of audience members who forgot about the scene earlier this season in which Margaery spoke with Loras in the dungeon and revealed a quick flash of her true self. Either way, it was good to see Margaery slip Olenna that note with a rose on it after the High Sparrow made his threat about Olenna's safety; it's the sigil of House Tyrell, which lets Olenna know Margaery still has her family in mind (it may also be a reference to Loras, nicknamed "The Knight of Flowers").
With his sister's help, it seems like Theon Greyjoy is finally starting to regain his identity. He spent so long as "Reek" it's no surprise he's still a little shell-shocked, but Yara explained that she needs him to be the real Theon again if they're going to take back the Iron Islands (with Dany's help). Considering this season began with Theon and Sansa on the run after escaping Winterfell, it'd be appropriate for him to regain his full sense of self by the end of the season, so I'm hoping that's where his storyline is heading and I'm fascinated to see what he'll do moving forward. He's still troubled by his misdeeds of the past and prickles at the mention of justice, so he'll have to settle for vengeance in the meantime and hope for redemption in the long run.
Jon, Sansa, and Davos had mixed results recruiting their army to take down Ramsay Bolton and reclaim Winterfell (I'm so thankful we haven't seen Ramsay in weeks; it's been such a nice breather from his tired, one-note character). They managed to convince the Wildlings to fight with them, and thanks to Davos, they gathered 62 fighters from the young Lady Mormont. Convincing the young leader of that house to pledge her men to their cause was a tough task, one they couldn't duplicate with House Glover after Sansa pushed a little too far and got a nasty history lesson about how Robb's philandering screwed over the house in their time of need. So it makes sense that Sansa would (presumably) write her letter to Littlefinger and request aid from the Knights of the Vale, even if she'd rather never see him again. She knows she needs his help if they're going to win, and as we're reminded here, this battle isn't just about squabbling families — it's essential for the North to be united if they're going to have any hope of keeping the White Walkers at bay (good luck with that, by the way).
This was a really solid episode. For the most part, it actually felt like actual progress was being made in many of the storylines, which I was thankful for because when episodes spin their wheels and don't do as much to forward the larger narrative, I get a little antsy. Writer Bryan Cogman and director Mark Mylod did an excellent job here.
What did you think?