Game of Thrones “The Broken Man”

Game of Thrones S6E7 “The Broken Man”

Upon seeing the episode title for this episode the first time, I figured it was going to have a lot of Theon, who if we’re being honest, is probably the most broken person in the show. I’m glad to be wrong though because as we all now know, the broken man in question is one Sandor Clegane, who is most certainly not dead. While the return of a fan favorite certainly helps “The Broken Man”, it’s still ultimately another table setter, but it manages to be a step above last week’s “Blood of My Blood”. In addition to Sandor Clegane’s long awaited return, “The Broken Man” offers excitement in other areas such as Jon, Sansa, and Davos’ military recruitment tour, a meeting between Jaime and the Blackfish, hidden motives coming to light in King’s Landing, and Arya facing retaliation from the Waif. Let’s jump right in.

We’ll start with the big news of Sandor Clegane being alive. Sandor is now a lumberjack in a peaceful community and was saved by their leader, a septon named Ray. Ray recounts the memory of having saved him and wonders what the gods have in store for him since they kept him alive. Sandor doesn’t think the gods are really out there. While he has renounced his violent ways, he still feels guilty about how violence was such a big part of him before Arya left him to die, if the gods were real, Sandor thinks they surely would have punished him by now.

Later on, the community gathers around for dinner and a story about Ray’s years as a violent and sinful warrior and his conversion to a septon. They’re all interrupted by a trio of men who reveal themselves to be from the Brotherhood Without Banners. They’re either lying or the Brotherhood has changed their ways because they attempt to extort food and supplies from the community. Brother Ray tells them they got nothing to hand to them and they leave ominously. Sandor warns Ray that they’re going to come back and that they should prepare for a violent confrontation but Ray refuses to go back to his violent ways, telling Sandor violence is like a disease, and it can’t be cured by spreading it to others. Sandor replies that you don’t cure it by dying, and it turns out he’s right. Sandor ends a long day of lumberjacking by coming back to the settlement for some food and finds that the entire community has been massacred, all of its people are dead and Brother Ray has been hanged.

Brother Ray was a good guy but his pacifistic ways are such a hindrance in this brutal world and he paid for it with he and his people’s lives. It’s rather ironic in that speech of his he makes mention that it’s never too late to come back. He meant to come back and be good, but these scenes are the story of Sandor Clegane, which paints a very different picture. Sandor has tried his best to leave his violent ways behind, but he’s been given no choice but to come back, just in the exact opposite way Brother Ray would have wanted. Ax in hand, Sandor storms off to look for the Brotherhood men who destroyed his new life. It’s sad for Sandor but there’s no way he was going to be brought back to be a pacifistic guy. He’s back, and he’s got a purpose now, so watch out.

We’ll stick in the Riverlands for our next story line. Jaime, Bronn, and the Lannister army arrive at Riverrun and they can hardly believe their eyes when they see how poorly the Freys set up a siege. There’s no trenches, no guards, and they keep threatening to kill Edmure with the intent of never actually killing him. Jaime heads over to the man in charge of the siege, Lothar Frey, and tells him he’s taking over control of the siege. Bronn sets out to make the sorry attempt at a siege look more respectable and functional, while Jaime attempts to get a parley with the Blackfish. Jaime is successful in this endeavor and meets the Blackfish at Riverrun’s drawbridge. Jaime offers the Blackfish pardons for all his men if he yields the castle immediately but warns him they’ll show him no mercy if he refuses. The Blackfish unsurprisingly refuses and tells Jaime that they have enough provisions to last two years inside of Riverrun. This is the last thing Jaime wants to hear as he’s trying to get back to King’s Landing as soon as possible. That’s why he put the offer on the table in the first place, it would have been the quickest solution if the Blackfish took it. As the Blackfish says “As long as I stand, the war is not over” and that potential battle could be two years long, Jaime is going to have to think outside the box to get out of there quickly.

A check in with the Greyjoys is next and it seems as though Yara, Theon, and their group of loyalists are heading east, having stopped in Volantis. Theon finds himself the odd man out as the whole group is partaking in some fun in a brothel. Yara sees Theon is having a crappy time of it and tries to cheer up his brother. Yara gives Theon some tough love when it becomes apparent cheering him up isn’t going to work. She tells him to just kill himself if he’s so broken that there’s no coming back, but if he’s still savable, he needs to come back now because she needs all the help she can get. Theon decides that he can make it back and the look he gives his sister is the first time we’ve seen Theon look like that in years. Theon Greyjoy is still a broken man and he may never be fixed back to normal, but it finally seems as though he’s fully committed to try and make it back.

In Braavos, Arya makes preparations to get back home. She walks over to the market and books passage with a Westerosi sailor for the next day, bribing him with a pretty penny to do so. Arya heads over to a bridge and admires The Titan of Braavos for what she probably thinks is the last time but she leaves herself completely unguarded. An old lady passing by that everyone assumes is the Waif comes up to Arya and brutally stabs her in the gut, revealing the unsurprising surprise that she is in fact the Waif. After the shock sets in, Arya shoves the Waif out of the way and dives into the canals to get away. Satisfied, the Waif walks away. Arya surfaces shortly thereafter and bloodily limps her way through the streets, paranoid that the Waif could be disguised as literally anyone. Why she didn’t have this same paranoia beforehand, I’m really at a loss of words for. Things do not look good for Arya right now,  she’s got a huge stab wound in the gut, which very well could get infected considering that canal she jumped in is probably polluted, and at the very least was greatly painful to her wound considering its salt water. I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen with Arya from here on out so I’m going to hope it turns out alright because it’s already started rather questionably.

To King’s Landing we go. Margaery is reading the holy text when she is interrupted by the High Sparrow. While the High Sparrow is satisfied that Margaery has become such a devout person, he’s disappointed to find out that her newly found devoutness has kept her away from Tommen in the bedroom. The High Sparrow tells Margaery that she has duties to the king, namely providing an heir. Once that awkward conversation is had, the High Sparrow changes the topic to Margaery’s grandmother. The High Sparrow tells Margaery that Olena is a great sinner and he warns Margaery that Olena may have to pay for those sins in the very near future. Margaery takes the hint and decides to meet with her grandmother, who’s still in shock that Margaery went devout and has turned from trying to save her brother Loras. They meet under the watchful eye of Septa Unella, who Olena mocks the entire tire. Margaery insists to her grandmother that she should go home and to really emphasize the point she gets on her knees and tells Olena that she needs to go home. Olena takes the hint and tells Margaery that she’s going home and the two share their goodbyes. While Margaery was on her knees, she secretly put a crumpled piece of paper in Olena’s hands and Olena takes a look at it once she’s all alone. She sees a picture of a rose, indicating that Margaery is still loyal to their house and this devoutness thing is all a ruse. Satisfied, Olena makes preparations to return to Highgarden.

Before Olena can leave, she is confronted by Cersei. Having nowhere else to turn to, Cersei tries to propose that they work together but she’s getting nowhere on that proposal. Olena chastises Cersei for starting this whole mess with the sparrows and insists that she’s leaving before they can arrest her, and tells Cersei to do the same. Cersei tells Olena that she can’t leave, and that she has to fight for Tommen. Olena tells Cersei to give up, saying she’s got no allies, no power, and everyone is against her. Olena tells Cersei that her complete failure is the only positive she can find in any of this and that she is truly a vile woman who got what was coming to her. Everything Olena said is true, so if Cersei really is going to fight the sparrows, you have to wonder how she’s going to go about it since she’s got absolutely no one to turn to now.

We’ll finish things up North, where Jon, Sansa, and Davos travel around the north looking for allies in their upcoming battle for Winterfell. They start with the wildlings, even though Tormund said they’ve got two thousand fighting men, they still have to convince them to fight. With the help of Tormund, Jon is able to convince the free folk to join the army. Jon’s off to a good start.

Things get progressively worse as they continue, starting with the Mormonts of Bear Island. The three meet with Lady Lyanna Mormont, a ten year old girl who rules the island thanks to the violence that the war of five kings caused to her family. Sansa thinks she can easily manipulate her as they’re both girls in positions of power but Lyanna shoots her down when she tries to appeal to that. Jon tries to appeal to her next, mentioning her uncle, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont and how great of a person he was but again Lyanna shoots it down, instead asking them to cut to the chase. Jon then explains that they need help in reclaiming Winterfell from the Boltons. Lyanna seems hesitant to help considering neither Jon nor Sansa are actually Starks at this point (bastard for Jon, marriage for Sansa) and says that her most important need is to protect the people of Bear Island. In a shock, Davos is actually the one to get through to Lyanna. Davos appeals to Lyanna about how they both found themselves in a position that they never thought they would ever be in, and starts talking about the white walkers. Davos says that the Night King and his army is coming. The north needs to be united if they’re going to survive and the north will never be united until the Boltons are ousted from power. Convinced, Lyanna accepts Jon’s request to join his cause and gives her every soldier she has, all sixty-two of them. All of that work for sixty-two men? Rest assured, Lyanna says that every Bear Islander fights with the strength of ten mainlanders. Let’s hope she’s right.

Lastly, Jon and friends meet with House Glover at Deepwood Motte and this one is just a complete failure. Lord Glover doesn’t really want to help, citing how quickly House Glover fought for Robb when he called them, and how Robb did nothing to help them when the Ironborn took Deepwood Motte. Making matters worse is that Lord Glover is not too fond of Wildlings, which account for all but sixty two men in Jon’s army. Lord Glover emphatically turns them down and asks them to leave.

Sometime later, Jon and his army set up camp and Davos gives us the number count we’ve been waiting for, 2402 men. A disappointing number for sure but there’s really no one else to ask and Jon insists that they have to march now, before the weather turns on them like it did to Stannis. Sansa insists that they need more men to stand a chance but Jon tells her this is all they have. In her tent, Sansa realizes that she’s going to have to take matters into her own hands and writes a letter. It doesn’t show who she’s sending it to, but you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think she’s writing to Littlefinger to ask him to bring the Knights of the Vale. Taking a stand against Littlefinger and rejecting him was a great moment for Sansa, but she can’t be done with Littlefinger just yet if she wants to get her home back. I’ll eat crow if I’m wrong, but expect Littlefinger and the Knights of the Vale to march north.

Other Thoughts

Sansa is going to tell Jon if Littlefinger brings the Knights of the Vale, right? The way that scene was framed, it sure looked like Sansa was writing the letter in secret. And Sansa not valuing Davos as Jon’s right hand man is not cool. Ser Davos is the man.

Looks like Euron is going to get beat to the punch. Yara and Theon are sailing to Meereen to form an alliance with Dany before he can do the same. Something makes me think Dany will like the thought of another queen and will accept Yara’s alliance proposal.

Hypothetically speaking if each Bear Islander did count for 10 mainlanders, The Boltons would still easily outnumber the Stark forces. But Lyanna was pretty damn cool so I’ll allow the statement.

Two welcome backs and possibly a goodbye? Bronn and Sandor both make returns after some lengthy breaks while Olena in this episode felt like it may have been a final sendoff. I hope not though because the Queen of Thorns is awesome.

Jaime smacking Lothar with his golden hand was pretty cool. Great weapon to catch someone by surprise, even though in this case Jaime did warn him.

Jaime had Edmure bathed and fed. Keep an eye out for Edmure, can’t help but think Jaime has a trick in store that uses him.

On the bright side, the delay in the siege allows more time for Brienne to get to Riverrun. I’ll be damned if we don’t get a Jaime and Brienne reunion.

Where’s Jaqen at? The Waif promised him that she would kill Arya without letting her suffer. I know Arya’s alive, but if she dies from those wounds, it seems a pretty rough way to go. Surely the Waif would face some consequences for breaking her promise.

With Wun Wun on board for the fight, I can’t wait to see him in action. A giant engaging in a massive battle? Sign me up.

Tyrion is a no show again, making it his sixth miss overall and second consecutive. Can’t help but think something big is in store for Tyrion and friends in Meereen when we almost assuredly visit them next week.

“The Broken Man” brings back Sandor Clegane and gives him new purpose as the episode also makes preparations for other story lines’ climaxes. 

Grade B+

 

 

 

 

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