Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones S06E07
You can say that “The Broken Man” is all about the return of “old faces”. Some of those faces are fan favorites like Bronn and The Hound. And the Blackfish is finally back. He went out to take a pee at the Red Wedding and hasn’t been seen since! Then there’s the Waif girl’s removable old face!
Let’s Discuss Three Big Scenes
#1. The Hound Returns
For the second episode in a row, the show confirms book readers theories by bringing back characters who many suspected to still be alive. The Hound has been absent since the Season Four finale, Benjen has been missing since Season 1. As the show gets closer to its end date, more of these unanswered questions are going to be addressed. In the case of the Hound, I have a better idea of how he fits into this season’s bigger picture. The Hound has unfinished business and there’s a reason for his return. The image of the towering Sept framework against the mountain backdrop is striking.
The Hound’s scenes did a good job of showing how’s he’s changed and gives him the sense of purpose to get back into the fold. In the past, The Hound was never repentant for the things he’s done such as killing Micah the butcher’s boy. Here he’s wanting to be punished.
Writer Brian Cogman and actor Ian McShane did a great job of creating an one-episode character in Brother Ray. In an interview Ian McShane said that the purpose of his character is to reintroduce and bring humanity to The Hound. It felt like Ray was speaking directly to Sandor’s broken mental state or giving what The Hound needed to take to heart. Like the Hound, Ray did horrible things including killing a boy and needed to move past it by believing in something greater, a high power or purpose. The way the Hound picks up the axe at the end it’s not to chop more wood.
#2. The Blackfish Is Back
So Jamie and Bronn quickly make their way to RiverRun to take over the siege from The Frey twits. I’m trying to make sense of this scene from a character perspective. In some ways this is a battle of wills. Blackfish Tully is willing to give his life, his men’s lives and starve to death. On the other hand, Jamie is unlikely willing to wait out 2 years for Riverrun’s rations to run out.
I also see the Riverrun story line as a part of Jamie’s arc. Jamie’s reputation precedes himself. Blackfish refers to him as Kingslayer, something we haven’t heard in a while. Jamie’s oath breaking is also referred to for not fulfilling the deal with Catelyn to exchange his life with Sansa and Arya’s safe return. Jamie learns from the parlay that Blackfish is a man of principles, a man of strong convictions. I think on some level Jamie respects the Blackfish, definitely more than the Freys. I see Jamie’s progression is to earn Blackfish’s respect and find a honorable solution to this stand off.
#3. Arya’s Downfall
Arya’s scene started off with the girl we know and love. She was smart and took charge of getting passage back to Westeros. However, it was a short sighted decision to walk out in the open daylight knowing that a faceless assassin is after her. I knew the old woman was the Waif girl in disguise, but it was a surprise to see Arya get stabbed. The shot of injured Arya walking in the street with all the on-lookers made her look so alone. I hope she learns a lesson about how she’s stronger in a pack (to keep with the wolf metaphor) similar to how Jon and Sansa are at their most powerful by working together. Next episode’s title is “No One”, which is a strong sign that not only Arya isn’t going to die from this wound but possibly she’ll have to blend into the crowd as a “no one” to escape the assassins.
• One of my favorite scenes is Yara and Theon Greyjoy. This is the version of Yara I’ve always wanted from the show. She’s lively, funny and in her own way caring. Theon is also the other “Broken Man” referenced in this episode’s title and that look he gives at the end says he’s back.
• Another solid scene is the great performance from little Lady Mormont. In a funny way, it’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears approach. Jon tries to use familial ties, Sansa tries to appeal to Lady Mormont’s vanity but it’s Davos’ straight up, no-nonsense approach that Lady Mormont responds to. Each of these approaches reflect the individual. Davo’s speech is meaningful in that we understand what’s his motivation to helping the Starks, “it’s the battle between the living and the dead”.
“The Broken Man” is an episode of maneuvering pieces on the playing board. Yara and Theon are making their way to join forces with Dany. Sansa is presumably writing a letter to request Littlefinger’s help at Winterfell. Olenna Tyrell is going back to Highgarden. Also, two pieces are put back into play with The Hound and the Blackfish returning. It is odd to have two episodes in a row without Tyrion’s story line, but strangely I didn’t miss his absence that much. There was enough great dialogue and moments that made this episode pretty engaging, even though not a lot story wise actually happened aside from Arya getting stabbed.
What do you think about the Hound’s return? What was your favorite scene in the episode?