There are spoilers included in this review.
Each week it is a veritable puzzle to figure out exactly who the Game of Thrones writers meant with their episode titles. Actually, sometimes it has multiple meanings as they are very clever people. This week, the word “broken” was actually spoken to one of the obvious choices for the description…Theon Greyjoy. I think he fits the description of a broken man as well as any other character at this point. His sister Yara truly loves him in her fashion, and after stopping at a brothel and pub for some sex and ale, she has a sisterly chat with him. She tells him that if he is really broken beyond repair, then end his life; if not, then bring her back the Theon she remembers. A glimmer of life appeared in Theon’s eyes after a very long long time which can only be construed that he is back among the living finally.
Jon Snow and Friends
Meanwhile, a sorry little group of door-knockers akin to street beggars are making the rounds of all the “smaller houses” of the North searching for allies. Jon Snow, Sansa Stark Lannister Bolton, and Ser Davos Seaworth request an audience of the 10 year old female ruler of Bear Island, Lyanna Mormont. The encounter is probably one of the most entertaining and uplifting scenes from any GoT episode of season 6 so far. Not only is the actress Bella Ramsey a spunky little thing, she has won the hearts of viewers everywhere. It would probably behoove the writers and author George R. R. Martin to expand her role.
In the world of Westeros, House Mormont is in the North and is where Jorah Mormont came from. He was actually the head until he was ousted for slaving and ending up in Meeren to help Danaerys. His sister took his place, but apparently was killed at the Red Wedding along with Rob Stark and others, so her only child, a 10 year old girl named after Eddard Stark’s sister Lyanna sits their throne. She played her role expertly, asking advice of her two advisors and did not come across as inept as Tommen, or as cruel as Joffrey.
In the end, after she called their “small talk” to a halt and got to the meat of the matter, she agreed to help in the fight for uniting the North, but when she announced the number of men in their army as only 62, everyone had mixed emotions. She said they were small but a mighty house and each man was easily worth 10. It was a touching moment.
Jon Snow is feeling dejected and wants to try to win back Winterfell with what army they have but Sansa knows they need more. She is seen sending off a message by raven and one can only surmise it is to Littlefinger. Let’s hope he comes through with his promise about Blackfish at Riverrun.
The Fight for Riverrun
Speaking of Riverrun, it is a coveted house. It has been taken over by Brynden “Blackfish” Tully which angered the prior owners the Freys who want it back, and has now involved Jaime Lannister and the King’s army to also see that it is given back to the Freys who have allegiance to the Lannisters. A bloody battle was avoided in this episode as Jaime came upon the 2 Frey men trying ineptly to blackmail Blackfish to turn over the castle for the life of his nephew Edmure Tully, who has been a prisoner since the Red Wedding slaughter. When Blackfish says go ahead and kill him, he calls their bluff and they fold up to Jaime’s amusement as he takes charge of the situation.
There are three more story lines affected by Game of Thrones S06E07; one in King’s Landing concerning the apparent merging of faith and crown, one in the city of Braavos and another bringing back a character believed to have died but is very much alive.
Queen Margaery’s irate grandmother, the Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell pays her a visit and is pleading and begging with Margaery to come to her senses. When a piece of paper changes hands between them, unseen by the High Sparrow’s matron, viewers sense that Margaery has something up her sleeve besides prayer books. Olenna goes back home to Highgarden to await the plan.
Arya Stark’s Choice
Arya Stark made a her decision last week to not be an assassin for the House of Black and White, the faceless men of no names. Her nemesis, the Waif, is after her. She contacts a ship owner, arranges for passage to get out of Braavos, but is not watchful enough. The Waif, in the form of an old woman, does to Arya pretty much the same thing that Jon Snow’s mutinous men did to him at the Wall. She is stabbed multiple times in the belly and thrown into the sea. The Waif thinks she is dead as she did surface for a long enough time, but after she leaves, viewers are relieved that Arya is still alive as she breaks the surface. Bleeding badly, but alive. Her fate is one of the cliffhangers of this episode, but unlike Jon Snow, she is still breathing.
Brother Ray and Forgiveness
The last story concerns a new character Brother Ray, played by Ian McShane and an old major character, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, (Rory McCann) who was in Game of Thrones from the first premier through season 4 but was presumed dead in season 5.
Apparently the character of Brother Ray is patterned after 2 other Game of Thrones characters; Septon Maribald and Elder Brother of the Quiet Isle from earlier episodes that Lady Brienne and Podrick stumbled across. Good men trying follow the Faith of the 7 and preaching forgiveness and starting over.
In this episode, Brother Ray has a small group of followers and they are building some kind of worshiping place. The building takes a great deal of wood and viewers see 4 or 5 people at a time carrying heavy logs. Then the focus is on just 1 man carrying a log by himself, even with a noticeable limp. Could it be? Yes! It is the super strong, charred-face Sandor Clegane, more commonly called the Hound that we have not seen since Lady Brienne fought him off a cliff and she and Arya Stark left him to die in Game of Thrones season 4.
In talking with Brother Ray, one can see he is changed inside. He is mellower, talks softer without malice and is also a good candidate this week for the “broken man” title. Both Ray and Hound have done malicious deeds in the past, and both believe in redemption. However, reality of the times sets in with a visit by 3 riders who are members of “The Brotherhood” who claim to be protecting people.
While the small clan is preparing food and then eating their evening meal, Hound is still in the woods chopping more wood. He hears strange sounds and rushes to their camp to find that the entire group has been murdered and Brother Ray is hanging from the beams of the unfinished worship place. The Hound’s peaceful benevolent look vanishes as you can see him harden with “hate” which is what he said kept him alive when he was beaten and left to die. The episode ends with the Hound grabbing the only weapon at his disposal… the axe.