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Tales From Westeros – Season 6, Episode 7: The Broken Man

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Hello all and welcome to another entry in the ever growing “Tales from Westeros”. Episode 7. That’s right. Only three more weeks of Thrones for this season, which means things are going to start moving. Fast. Lets get to it shall we, a look inside Episode 7. As always, spoilers ahead.

The Worst Shit in the Seven Kingdoms

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You know an episode is gonna rock your world when it starts without the intro. Ohmahgahd. We open on some laborers building a structure of some sort, and it appears to be a relatively happy settlement. We see an older man with a golden Seven Pointed Star necklace around his neck. Due to his grizzled greying hair and beard, I originally inferred that this is Brynden “Blackfish” Tully, due to the Tullys being followers of the Seven. Ned once told Catelyn that it was “her gods” with “all the rules” and I thought the actor looked different. However, when I turned captions on, he was billed as “Ray”, and “Ray” appears to be a septon, albeit a different kind of septon. I think “Ray” is supposed to be Septon Meribald from the books, but I’m not entirely sure. So, Ray appears to be the foreman on whatever project this is. Things feel….happy? I dunno, no one was dying, the music was all in major key, and I was disturbed. Teams of men are seen transporting logs, but then we see a man transporting one over his shoulder unassisted. My “what?!” reached about seven octaves when the man turns to reveal a burned face, with long, shaggy hair and a beard. Sandor Clegane. The Hound. Last time we saw the Hound, he was left out in the woods to die after Arya refuses to mercy kill him after his fight with Brienne. What is he doing in Riverrun? The intro refuses us our answer. Oh man. So, I’d like to discuss a quick fan theory if I can. There’s a theory that Sandor Clegane is still alive and appears in A Feast for Crows after his supposed death in A Storm of Swords. This theory, called the “Gravedigger” theory comes about during a Brienne chapter where she’s on the Quiet Isle. The Elder Brother of the Isle tells Brienne that “the Hound is dead”. However, when Brienne uses his full name, Sandor Clegane, the brother replies, “He is at rest”. The Elder Brother of the Isle appears to talk about life and death in metaphorical terms, being that he claimed that he died at the battle of the Trident, but then was reborn into the Faith, what he calls his “second life.” Brienne later sees a brother digging graves who appears taller than even her huge stature. George RR Martin has gone on record as saying Brienne is shorter than the Hound. In that same chapter, she sees said brother stop his work to scratch a nearby dog’s ear, promoting the “Hound” imagery. The brother also appears half crippled, which would be consistent with the wounds that put him down in the book. Check out Alt Shift X’s video on the Gravedigger theory for more. Now, the popular consensus here is that Sandor is going to rep the Faith in Cersei’s upcoming trial by combat against his Frankenstein’d older brother Ser Robert Strong, aka Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane. This theory is known as Cleganebowl and is one of the more anticipated in the books; however the show might have just made it plenty more likely.

Sandor is seen chopping some wood as Ray talks to him, commending him on his axe technique. The two banter. He is curious, and asks how many men it took to put him down, and Sandor replies one and then further elaborates, “It was a woman.” Ray might find this amusing, but it is true. The workers ring a dinner bell and all line up for some grub. Sandor eats alone and Ray again comes up to start a conversation. We learn that Ray was the one to find Sandor and that when he came upon him, he thought he was dead. He begins telling us that he swore Sandor was dead multiple times throughout his healing process and asks what kept the Hound going. “Hate” he replies, simply. The septon is struck, and tries to tell him that the “gods aren’t done with him” however, Sandy just thinks he’s a “big fucker” and “tough to kill.” The two debate over religion. Ray claims the gods have plans for Sandor Clegane, Clegs tells him that he doesn’t know him or his story and claims that if the gods are real, he deserves punishment.

Margery Clips a Sparrow’s Wings

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In King’s Landing, Margery and High Sparrow talk about religion. I really think that Margery is playing Sparrow, because she starts talking about how she pitied the poor however, were disgusted by them. Sparrow claims to know this feeling, that the poor are reflections of excess. Margery joins Sparrow and he finds out that Margery has left the royal balls rather blue since her rescue. He claims that Margery has a duty to her king to produce. Marge claims that she’s not been in the mood, but Sparrow tries to press her to have a kid. Sparrow goes on to call Grandma Olenna a sinner and that Margery has to instead teach her about how awesome the Seven are, otherwise he “fears for her safety” “body and soul”. A threat? Maybe. From such a sweet old man? Yeah, I think so. Sparrow has let his control settle in and he’s ready to start making some moves. Margery visits granny with Septa Unella, who tries to get her to leave. Marge is clearly trying to be all into the Faith, and Olenna is reminding her that they marched against the Faith in order to come to her rescue. They argue about Loras, as in order to go back to Highgarden is to renounce his name and titles and repent. Olenna is having NONE of that.  She states that Loras is the heir to Highgarden, which in the books isn’t true. The Tyrell siblings have two older brothers, Garlan and Wilas, the latter of which is the oldest and therefore the heir. Margery argues that Loras will at the very least be granted his freedom. Olenna tries to get her to leave for Highgarden, noting that no law is making her stay. Margery insists on staying due to her position as the Queen. However, Olenna is slyly, high school class style passed a note by Margery and told to go home. Olenna acquiesces to leaving and departs. Outside, she reads the note, with a golden rose. Growing Strong. She clearly hasn’t given up on her house. Margery is playing the Faith, and with it, the High Sparrow. It’s a brilliant tactical move. Again, Margery proves she’s way more than a pretty face.

Wildling Out or Wun Wun’s First Words

In the North, Jon talks to the Wildlings and they express tentativeness to fight in Bastardbowl because it isn’t against the White Walkers or their army of the dead. Tormund, the bearded voice of reason, tells them that they would all be dead if not for Jon and….ehhhh it’s pretty true. #RememberHardhome. Wun Wun the giant looks on sadly as the Wildling in protest tells them that if they all die, it’ll be like the free folk never existed at all. “That’s what will happen to you if we lose.” Jon states. He goes on to explain that Ramsay and his groupies know they’re there and that most of them are women and children, and that “we need to beat them if you’re going to survive.” Tormund continues to press for support for Jon, citing his death and betrayal for standing up to the Night’s Watch and allowing the Wildlings south of the Wall, and that if the Wildlings are cowards if they don’t fight for Jon; if that’s the case, they “deserve to be the last of the Free Folk.” Wun Wun stands, being the last of the Giants, and merely says “Snow.” It’s clear he’s got his backing. The Wildlings agree to help Jon in the fight against Winterfell. This is gonna be one hell of a smackdown. I’m excited to see Tormund in action again.

Real Royal Mothers of Westeros

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Back in King’s Landing, Cersei and Olenna talk. The Queen of Thorns is in rare form as she tongue lashes Cersei for being the cause of all her problems. And in a way, she is. Cersei says that Olenna is right and admits her mistakes in creating the Sparrows. Cersei claims that she and Olenna need each other. Only partly convinced, Olenna states that she’s still leaving the city and advises Cersei to do the same. But Mama Lion don’t leave her cubs. Cersei is here to Cer-stay. Olenna points out Cersei’s hopeless situation, and declares that she’s lost this little game, which is the only comfort she has. Seeing Cersei fall is probably very cathartic for Olenna, however since their houses are intertwined, it meant she had to fall a bit too.

Stick Her with the Pointy End

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In Braavos, Arya appears to be well dressed and in new clothes and new spirits. She walks around the market and finds a man who sounds Westerosi, who can be overhead stating that the Iron Fleet is in Slaver’s Bay, which makes sense given the scene with Yara and Theon I’ll discuss in a bit. Arya guesses correctly that the man is Westerosi and asks to book passage home. He thinks she’s just some homeless beggar, however, a sack of gold changes his mind. He tells her that they leave in two days and that she can have a “hammock in steerage”. Arya throws down another sack of gold. “I’d like a cabin. And we leave at dawn.” I don’t exactly know how Arya came to be ballin like that, but it was a great move. She wanders the streets a bit more, which seems, you know, not safe given that a bunch of assassins are after her. She takes a rest on a bridge and we see the famous Titan of Braavos in the background. The Titan seems to be a lot cooler in the books, as it apparently roars and has signal fires for eyes, however the one in the show has a shield, so, potato-potahto. Anyway, an old woman turns to Arya and calls her “sweet girl”. Arya turns, innocuously and the old woman swipes at her with a knife. Arya dodges, but is quickly grappled by the old woman, which is revealed to just be the Waif wearing a face. The Waif stabs Arya multiple times in the stomach; however the wolf doesn’t go down that easy. She head-butts herself out of the grapple and dives into the water, blood pooling on the surface, the Waif smiles, pleased with herself. However, Arya resurfaces and begins to crawl toward the market. She walks around, alone, scared, soaked and bleeding. Arya looks around at every face knowing that each and every one of them could be a Faceless Man and kill her; however she sorta just ends up looking like a crazy person. So Arya’s fate is unknown but we know she’s at least making it to next episode, as the preview for it shows her doing that Jason Bourne window jump. Arya made a big move betraying the Faceless Men, and she just might pay for it with her life.

Here We Stand

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In the North, Jon, Sansa and Davos head to elusive Bear Island in order to persuade House Mormont to join their cause. The current head of House Mormont is a preteen girl, Lyanna Mormont, who is possibly better at politics than everyone in the current ruling family combined.  She points out Jon’s bastardy and Sansa’s technical Bolton surname when they plead for help on behalf of House Stark. Davos however swoops in to save the day, stating that it’s not about the House v. House struggle; that this is about when the White Walkers and the Night King come through, all the Northmen will need to be ready for war. This wins over little Lady Mormont, and gives them 62 fighting men, stating that “we are not a large house, but a proud one.” This is no good, but Bear Island warriors have been known to be ferocious, aka Jeor and Jorah Mormont the Old and Young Bears respectively, and Lyanna’s mother, Maege Mormont, who apparently died at the Red Wedding or sometime during the War of the Five Kings, is known in the books as one of the most battle hardened women in Westeros. But 62 is still 62. The numbers are not on Jon and Sansa’s side, and as we can see, their forces are camped where Stannis camped right before the snows hit last season. They have the support of a few small houses but nothing quite enough, as we see in a scene that had us all feel a pit of doom in our stomachs, House Glover, one of the larger houses and currently occupants of the castle Moat Cailin, deny them their support. Lord Glover states, “I was loyal to House Stark, but House Stark is dead.” Jon and Sansa bicker about their next move as Davos tries to settle a squabble between soldiers. Jon wants them to fight with the army they have, little more than 3000 men, before the snows come. This is the same mistake Stannis made, attacking a well-fortified castle with a small force. Sansa looks at the ravens in their cages and writes a letter, stamping it with the Stark seal. We don’t see who it goes to, but my money is on Littlefinger, hoping to get the support of the Knights of the Vale to boost their numbers. Maybe she’s offering herself back to Robin if they win, but that would make no sense. Why win Winterfell if you aren’t going to stay there? Sansa’s been married or engaged like five times now, so maybe she just knows how to play the game. Just like Littlefinger taught her.

Will the Real Theon Greyjoy Please Stand Up?

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In Volantis, the Iron Fleet and the Ironborn are in full party mode at a brothel. Poor Theon, man. It’s like taking a blind guy to an art gallery. Theon looks uncomfortable, as he may be experiencing what Ramsay joked was “phantom cock”. Yara mashes faces with a whore nearby. So, I guess Yara is a lesbian, if not bi or pansexual? Which is cool, not a big deal was made out of it and it didn’t feel very “male gaze”-y at least to me. Yara jokes about Theon’s castration, but then apologizes. It’s clear that Yara is now very close with her brother, as this entire scene, she’s trying to help him. “I’m sick of watching you cower like a beat dog.” She tells him. Yara presses Theon to drink as they discuss their plan: which is basically to steal Euron’s plan. Sail to Mereen, make a pact with Dany and take over Westeros and the Iron Islands with her dragons. However, Yara says that she needs Theon Greyjoy, the real Theon Greyjoy, not this “rat shit pretender”. Theon continues to resist, still mentally broken by Ramsay’s torture. Yara implies, actually pretty much explicitly states that if Theon is so broken that there’s no coming back that he should just kill himself. Yara says that if he’s going to stay alive, that she needs him. “Are you with me? Are you really with me?” Yara pleads. It’s sad really; it’s a sister pleading with a stranger who took the place of her brother, knowing that the latter is still buried in there deep inside. Alfie Allen was actually masterful in this one facial expression as Theon turns to Yara and with steely eyes, nods. Reek is no more. Theon Greyjoy, the real Theon Greyjoy is back. Ramsay may have taken parts of him that will never return, but the kraken does not yield, and it certainly does not sow. What is dead may never die. Yara goes off to have sex with her chosen girl, leaving Theon to contemplate his returning identity. With the thousand ships that the Greyjoy siblings have in their control, Dany could technically sail her army to Westeros and actually, you know…do stuff. Uncle Euron would be furious to learn his bride to be is already over the Narrow Sea. Let’s hope the Greyjoy twins know what they’re doing.

Jaime Goes Fishing  

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In the Riverlands, Jaime and Bronn are at the head of the Lannister Army. They look out on the Frey army (if you can call it that) attempting to siege Riverrun. Bronn and Jaime mock the pitiful army and their tactics. We see that Lothar and Walder Frey Jr. bargaining with the Blackfish, threatening to hang Edmure Tully unless they yield the castle. Stationed up on the ramparts, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully continually calls their bluff, and the Freys know that they really can’t kill Edmure, he’s their bargaining chip. Not to mention Daddy Frey would be furious if they killed their most valuable prisoner and didn’t get Riverrun out of the deal. Jaime approaches and tells them that their perimeter is shit and they allowed all 8000 of his men to approach unchallenged. Bronn adds that the Freys should be glad that the Lannister army is here to help, otherwise “we would be fucking you in the arse right now”. One of the Freys begins to backtalk Jaime when he orders Edmure Tully bathed and fed, and Jaime proceeds to backhand him with the Golden Pimp Hand of Respect. When Jaime got said golden hand, they explained it was gilded (gold covered) steel, so that’s gotta hurt. Jaime informs the Freys that the siege is now under his command and he and Bronn begin barking orders. Jaime tells Bronn that he’s going to undergo a parley with Blackfish to try to talk him into giving up the castle. Bronn doesn’t think this is wise, due to the fact that while the Blackfish is old, Jaime only has one hand. His bad hand. Jaime got a bit better at swordplay in Dorne, but is still pretty miserable. Jaime meets on the drawbridge with Blackfish, who clearly has the upper hand conversationally and tactically. Jaime promises to spare Blackfish’s men if he surrenders, on his honor. “Your honor.” Blackfish spits, “Bargaining with oath breakers is like building on quicksand.” Jaime wonders why the Blackfish is willing to risk his men’s lives, given that the War of the Five Kings is over, to which the Blackfish replies that so long as he is alive, the war is not over. He presents Jaime with two options: attack, or attempt to starve out Riverrun. The latter is obviously easier, however Jaime gets informed that Riverrun has enough food to last them two years. “Do you have two years, Kingslayer?” Blackfish says; dropping the mic and returning inside like a boss. So we’re set up for a pretty crazy battle here, another at Winterfell. It’s safe to say that the last three episodes of Thrones are bound to be action packed. And bloody.

The Broken Man

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Back in wherever the hell Sandor Clegane is, the septon talks to his followers about his time as a soldier, claiming he would follow orders no matter what they were: arson, theft, murder, etc. He begins to talk about how he killed a boy in front of his mother, and that her screaming haunts him. Septon Ray mentions the mother called them animals, but he realizes “animals are true to their nature, and we had forgotten ours”. Septon Ray goes on to reminisce that he was, and still is, haunted by the screams of this woman, and it is presumably this event that drives him into the Faith of the Seven and septonhood. He claims that it’s “never too late to stop robbing people, stop killing people and start helping people.” Sandor listens ruefully, presumably touched by the similar story. Sandor was really only good at killing, but he had two halves to him: Sandor Clegane, the man, the unburned, who showed kindness and The Hound, the dog, the burnt, who knew only violence. It’s a very Harvey Dent/Two Face, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde sortve situation, and Sandor seems to have, for the most part, exorcised his darker half. Sandor’s character is constantly being pulled in two directions, which caused him to drink heavily and have general disregard for his own life. Sandor Clegane was a man in torment, but he apparently has carved out a happy existence here, at the very least a peaceful one. During Ray’s sermon, three riders approach them and are greeted warmly. They claim to be protectors, and ask if they have food or steel. Ray offers them food, but claims they don’t have steel. The men ride away, stating that “the night is dark and full of terrors.” This is a common phrase of followers of Rhollor, as we’ve heard from Melisandre, however there is another group commonly associated with the Red God: The Brotherhood Without Banners. The Brotherhood is a group of loosely organized mercenaries and followers of Rhollor led by Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, a red priest. The Hound found Berric Dondarrion in a trial by combat after being captured by the Brotherhood and supposedly slew Beric, but Thoros revived him back to life, as he has apparently done multiple times. These riders may or may not have recognized Sandor. So Clegs starts chopping some wood and Ray comes up to tell him that supper is ready. The two chat and Sandor tells the septon that the riders were members of the Brotherhood, and the two briefly talk about religion again. Sandor tries to warn Septon Ray that the riders will be back, but the holy man doesn’t seem concerned. Ray tells Clegs that he might have some ale “hidden away” for him, as he deserves a reward for all his hard work and goes off. Later, to conclude the episode, we see Sandor still chopping wood as he hears the sounds of a struggle and gets going. Sandor returns to find the settlement in ruins and everyone dead. He goes to the structure they were building, presumably a sept, and sees Septon Ray hanging in a noose from one of the beams. Sandor’s face twists; he grabs a nearby axe and appears to be on his way. It appears the gods might have a plan for Sandor Clegane after all, but it appears Sandor Clegane has a plan for that part of him he locked away. The Hound can never truly be put down, it seems. It’s a huge bummer to see a man so desperately trying to run away from a life of violence and murder suddenly thrust back into it out of necessity. It would have been nice for Sandor to get his happy ending but the fans are likely looking forward to Sandor the way we remember him, as the Hound. I’m excited to see how Sandor functions in the coming episodes/seasons. I’m mostly just incredibly glad he’s still alive. And I’m now more than excited for a certain upcoming trial. Get hype.

Thanks for reading, berate me in the comments.

-Zach P.

 

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Posted on June 8, 2016, in Geekology, Tales from Westeros, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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