Game Of Thrones

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In tonight’s episode of Game of Thrones, we find that broken men may be fixed, but they’re never quite the same.

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Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read the A Song of Ice & Fire series. The post và the comments section will contain spoilers from the novels! Because no, we are not all Unsullied now. If you haven’t read the books yet, please check out our non-book-reader recap. Thanks!

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Tonight’s episode unusually had a cold open, & the reason for it was quickly apparent. After all, a long-missing name in the opening credits would’ve been a big giveaway, wouldn’t it? That’s right, the Hound has returned to trò chơi of Thrones.

Well, Sandor Clegane has. The Hound just might be dead, after all.

In “The Broken Man,” we find that instead of dying alone after his brutal fight with Brienne at the over of season 4, Sandor Clegane was discovered by a lay holy man, & is living in a Westerođê mê hippie commune led by his savior, Brother Ray (Ian McShane).

Sandor Clegane isn’t quite the man we saw last- more contemplative, though he’s as gruff as ever. Ray thinks the gods have something more planned for Sandor, but the former Hound isn’t so sure.

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In King’s Landing, Margaery is selling her conversion like a champ. The High Sparrow corners her for another one of his trademark chats on the Bench of Truth khổng lồ confront Queen Marg about avoiding her marital bed. It’s her duty lớn provide an heir, he reminds her- & it’s also her duty now to bring the Queen of Thorns over to their way of thinking.

Closely guarded by Septa Unella, Margaery visit her grandmother, and explains that Loras will be released once he confesses và repents of his sins. She strongly urges Olenmãng cầu to leave the thành phố, and slips a note inkhổng lồ her h&. Her perfect mask slips then, & if you thought her conversion was for real, forget about it. Margaery is deep inkhổng lồ this game, & I’m not sure she’s going to find her way out, but she is brilliant.

The Queen of Thorns takes the hint, & once away from the septa’s prying eyes, Olenna finds that Margaery has slipped her the Tyrell rose, signifying her true loyalty. Growing Strong, indeed.

The wildlings Jon has been counting on for his army are asking some hard questions about marching south lớn fight, especially the ginger fellow who was at Hardtrang chủ (Murray McArthur). No, not Tormund- the other one.

Jon tells them that the Boltons will come for the wildlings when they’re done with Jon and his lot. Tormund backs Jon by reminding them that Jon literally died for them, và the Free Folk can’t argue with that. I mean that’s a tough one to beat in any debate.

Wun Wun adds his two cents: “Snow.”

And the wildlings are secured.

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Cersei và the Queen of Thorns have one last chất lượng spat before Olenmãng cầu heads out of town. Cersei’s attempt to guilt Olenmãng cầu about leaving Loras behind is a nasty maneuver, but Olenmãng cầu rightly points out that this is all Cersei’s fault so screw that. The Queen of Thorns knows the High Sparrow is aiming for her, and Cersei is an idiot for not getting out, herself.

Olenna is right about Cersei losing. Cersei encouraging Jaime lớn take the Riverrun assignment without considering she was in any danger showed a severe lachồng of foresight. Cersei’s arrogance và her overconfidence in her easily swayed son Tommen will be her undoing. Probably very soon.

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Speaking of Riverrun, Jaime has arrived with the Lannister troops & Bronn. Hey buddy, where ya been! He’s still waiting for a rich wife & a castle, but his sharp wit is intact.

The Freys have sầu made an absurd mess of the siege of Riverrun, trotting out Lord Edmure Tully and threatening hyên with hanging to lớn try và force the Blackfish inkhổng lồ surrendering. The Blackfish is an old h& at war và siege, & stonily ignores the threat. (Damn, it’s good to have Clive Russell baông xã in this role, saying more with a long silence than most actors can with a dozen sentences.)

Jaime takes comm& of the botched siege, and sets up a meeting with the Blackfish.

It’s great lớn see Jaime in a more kinetic mode, now that the siege is on. He’s been wasted in King’s Landing this season, with stagnant Jaime-Cersei scenes, & now he’s back in action, showing his strengths & reminding us of who he is, separate from his sister.

I don’t think we’re getting the infamous baby-in-a-trebuchet threat, since Roslin Frey is nowhere lớn be seen, but hey, fingers crossed?

Up in the North, Sansa, Jon and their retinue arrive at the first house khổng lồ ask for help, the isolated Bear Islvà. They find House Mormont less than friendly, with the 10-year-old lady of the house Lyanmãng cầu (Bella Ramsey) handing them their asses in short order. This is, after all, the same girl who told Stannis Baratheon himself where khổng lồ stichồng it when he commanded her house’s assistance.

Davos has better luông chồng, putting himself in Lady Lyanna’s place, using his silver tongue, and speaking frankly about the true war between the living and the dead.

With Davos’ words, Lyanna reconsiders and agrees to lớn nói qua her fighting men with them- all 62 of them. Jon sucks at hiding his dismay, but Davos gracefully accepts.

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The Blackfish & Jaime parley at Riverrun, and it doesn’t go quite as the Kingslayer had hoped.

The Blackfish is summarily unimpressed with Jaime’s threats, và reminds Jaime of his oath regarding the Stark girls. He also points out that Riverrun can withst& a 2-year siege, và burn two years of Jaime’s life. Not exactly the rush job he thought he was signing up for.

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The tough old Blackfish knew he wasn’t going khổng lồ surrender when he came down lớn meet, but he tells Jaime, he wanted to lớn get the measure of hlặng. He’s disappointed.

Coming at this from a book reader’s perspective sầu, I’m wondering where they’re going with this, since we haven’t spent a lot of time with the Blackfish, và it may not be apparent khổng lồ everyone why Jaime would give sầu a damn about this man being disappointed in hlặng. The Blackfish is a legend, a war nhân vật, và someone Jaime looks up khổng lồ, but I don’t think the weight of that comes across if you don’t know the back story.

But at least we got that reminder of Catelyn, và Jaime’s vow to lớn send the girls bachồng. That should lead lớn an interesting discussion with Brienne next week.

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At stop #2 on the Great Northern Recruitment Road Trip, Sansa, Jon and Davos don’t fare as well. Lord Robett Glover only got his castle baông chồng with the Boltons’ help, and doesn’t think highly of Robb Stark, who threw it all away & got everyone killed for his foreign wife. Sansa challenges Glover but his refusal is final: lớn him, House Stark is dead.

Over in Volantis, Theon và Yara are celebrating their getaway from the Iron Islands. Well, Yara & her men are. Theon is shaking & uncomfortable, surrounded by the prostitutes và festivities.

Yara can’t take it any more, hyên behaving as if he’s broken. She gives Theon a hardcore pep talk, full of tough love. I know some people will give sầu Yara shit for not being sensitive sầu enough but she’s an Iron Islander, not a psychotherapist, và she does love her brother in the only way her people know how.

And it works. Theon chugs his ale, makes a decision, & lifts his head, meeting her eyes. Perhaps he isn’t broken, after all. Theon will have sầu a long road ahead of hyên, but his way baông chồng khổng lồ himself begins here. Now the Ironborn siblings will be off lớn approach Daenerys with an offer.

There’s one more check-in with the Great Northern Recruitment Road Trip, as they phối up camp. They’ve sầu acquired a few more soldiers along the way, happily, but not nearly enough. After disagreeing with Jon over how to proceed, Sansa makes a decision of her own. She sends a raven, and I’m guessing this is khổng lồ Littlefinger, because those Knights of the Vale would make a fantastic addition to lớn any army. And they will come for Sansa Stark.

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Okay, so let’s get this out of the way. Brother Ray is talking again và this is still not the Broken Men speech. You can’t hotline it a condensed version of it either; it’s something else, và damn it’s hard sometimes as a tín đồ of A Song of Ice và Fire to let go và take in only what we are seeing onscreen. I would’ve liked khổng lồ see/hear it performed because it’s a fantastic speech from A Feast for Crows, but once you recognize the feeling, then you have to lớn mix aside your disappointment & examine what is there, not what isn’t. And what is there is still very good.

Alright, moving on.

At Brother Ray’s HappyFunTime Commune, a trio of strange men come sniffing around và they’re clearly bad news. (Yeah I see you, Lem Lemoncloak.) They appear to be from the Brotherhood without Banners, only they’re not as fun as they were in season 3. Sandor can see it, and Ray can, being the ex-soldier that he is. But he is still looking to avoid a fight.

“Violence is a disease; you don’t cure it by spreading it khổng lồ more people.”

“You don’t cure it by dying either,” Sandor replies.

Smart words, on both accounts. So much of the violence in Game of Thrones is the direct result of another act of violence, an endless cycle of vengeance & strategic retaliation that will never over until everyone involved is dead…or simply stops, as Ray has done.

Pacifism is an attractive option, but it isn’t the way of Westeros (that’s ignoring the larger problem of White Walkers who definitely don’t respect pacifism). Ray’s philosophy, while beautiful in its way, is impractical for their current war-stricken society. These people are sitting ducks.

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In Braavos, Arya is acquiring passage baông xã to lớn Westeros. With that arranged, she has a day to kill. If that day doesn’t kill her first, which it might. Standing on a bridge, she’s approached by an elderly woman who suddenly stabs out at her- it’s the Waif in disguise, of course. She stabs her a few times in the stomach before Arya is able to lớn break away from the Waif, and jump over the bridge into the water below.

She disappears into lớn the water, and the Waif is satisfied she’s done. Arya surfaces nearby, bleeding badly. Staggering through the streets of Braavos alone, there’s no one lớn help to her, & this may be the end of Arya Stark.

Or so we’re meant to think. I’m fairly sure she’s not going anywhere anytime soon so my real questions are:

Why is Arya walking around undisguised in broad daylight, apparently unarmed, when she knows the Faceless Men intkết thúc to kill her now?

Jaqen ordered the Waif to lớn carry out the assassination but khổng lồ not let Arya suffer. Clearly multiple stab wounds khổng lồ the gut is suffering, confirming once và for all that the Waif is a lousy Faceless person. So my question, how can Jaqen not be aware of this? I wondered before if he was testing her as well as Arya, & I’m still waiting to lớn find out. I hope this is truly resolved, and not a gaping plot hole.

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Heading baông xã lớn Westeros, one last time: lớn no one’s surprise, the sketchy men from earlier return while Sandor is out chopping wood and butcher the entire commune. Sandor comes back lớn find everyone dead, and Ray strung up.

Sandor walks away from Ray’s body toàn thân and the peaceful life, and grabs the axe cộ.

Assorted thoughts:

Having the Hound baông chồng, I just grinned like an idiot whenever he was onscreen. I like that he isn’t exactly as he was, because he’s gone through a lot và change is believable. I’m looking forward to seeing how the old Sandor Clegane meshes with the new.I’m stoked for the show khổng lồ have sầu Yara be interested in women. It’s not important to lớn the plot but I appreciate it.Ian McShane’s face is a wonderl&. Are you sure we can’t keep hlặng, trò chơi of Thrones? I mean you recycled Dean-Charles Chapman… (yeah, yeah I know.)Lyanmãng cầu Mormont spinoff, please. Bella Ramsey is amazing. I could watch her tear people down all day.Was that two weeks in a row with no Tyrion OR Ramsay? Is that a record? I can’t say I missed either one of them.The Broken Man- There are several in this episode: Theon, Sandor, Loras, disappointing Jaime, Edmure (so far a shadow of the lord we knew in season 3) và House Stark itself seems to lớn be rather broken. But everyone & everything is fixable, until it’s dead.