Sunday, June 12, 2016

GAME OF THRONES (S6E07): "The Broken Man"

Episode 4 of Season 6 (S6E07) of HBO's Game Of Thrones is titled "The Broken Man." Sometimes the titles of episodes are difficult to interpret but here it is clear that the "broken man" of the title is Gregor Clegane, also known as The Hound. The other prominent broken man in this episode is, of course, Theon Greyjoy. In addition to stories involving both these broken men, the plot advances nicely in King's Landing, in the Riverlands and in Braavos in this episode

This is one of the rare Game of Thrones episodes with what is known as a "cold open"--the action begins without seeing the title credits first. We see a very large axe, and then we see a very large man using that axe to chop wood and immediately recognize the man as Gregor Clegane, last seen being left to die by Arya Stark in (S4E07) "Mockingbird" after losing a battle with Brienne of Tarth. The Hound lives! Interestingly, he explains to the Septon who saved his life that what brought him back from the brink of death was "hate" and that he was bested by a woman (whether he means Arya or Brienne is not clear). There are multiple scenes with Clegane and after the Brotherhood with Banners massacres the entire group of people that were following the septon (and the septon himself) it is significant that the only thing he grabs as he departs is his axe. It's doubtful he will be using it to only chop wood.

The other broken man is Theon, who is still recovering from his abuse and torture as Ramsay Snow's plaything Reek. He and his sister Yara have stolen away with the fastest ships of the Ironborn. Yara is tired of the person her brother has become and basically bullies him into making a decision to "get over" his losses and fully support her and the Ironborn in their search for Daenerys Stormborn before their Uncle Euron or "to end it." Theon chooses life, but it is not clear to me that he is enthusiastic about it.

The other important events in the episode were: Jaime and the Blackfish meeting in the Riverlands as the Lannisters take over the siege of Riverrun from the incompetent Freys; Arya books passage to Westeros (with two hefty bags of coin) and then gets stabbed repeatedly in the stomach by the Waif; the High Sparrow urges Margaery Tyrell to convince her grandmother to join the Faith of the Seven; Margaery meets with Olenna and sneaks a piece of paper with House Tyrell's sigil on it as she urges her grandmother to leave King's Landing; Cersei Lannister and Olenna Tyrell have another exquisite war of words; Sansa, Jon and Ser Davos have limited success in convincing Northerners to join them in their attempt to recover Winterfell.

The highlights of this episode were:
  • For the umpteenth time Lady Olenna Tyrell (i.e. The Queen of Thorns) has the best line of the episode when she tell Cersei "I think you are the most horrible person I have ever met" and "You’ve lost, Cersei—it’s the only joy I can find in all this misery." 
  • A close second-best line was delivered by the pacifist septon who says "Violence is a disease" and that you don't cure it by spreading it.
  • The discovery (or confirmation) that Yara Greyjoy is a lesbian (or at the very least likes to have sex with women)
  • The entire scene with Lyanna Mormont of Bear Island was a highlight, with the child actor (Bella Ramsey) completely stealing the scene from three important characters (Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Ser Davos Seaworth)
  • Confirmation that Margaery's religious conversion is not as real as the High Sparrow seems to believe (although it is doubt that someone so sharp as he will truly fall for her deception) was great to see.
The parts of the episode I could have done without:
  •  Arya's stabbing seemed totally unsurprising to me. Surely someone who knows that assassins can wear any face should have been more cautious when an unknown old lady approached her on the street.
Grade: 8/10.

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