SPOILER ALERT for Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 7, "The Broken Man."
The latest episode brought back some old characters we didn't realize we missed and left off with a major cliff hanger. Read on for the high points from tonight's GoT.
(Missed out on last week's episode, "Blood of My Blood?" Catch up with our recap.)
1) The Hound is still alive. The show opens upon a peaceful, nomadic tribe that dwells in the hills. We see a man among them who is strong enough to carry a massive log by himself. When he puts it down and turns around, the scarred face of the The Hound (a.k.a. Sandor Clegane, brother of The Mountain) is revealed.
But wait. Didn't he die like, two seasons ago? Last time we saw The Hound, Arya had left him for dead after Brienne dueled him and left him severely injured. Apparently, the nomadic cult leader (played by Deadwood's Ian McShane) found The Hound and assumed he was dead since he was already starting to rot and had a bone sticking out of his leg. "The gods aren't done with you yet," he tells The Hound.
2) Margaery tells her grandmother to flee King's Landing. The High Sparrow, tricky as he is, convinces Margaery that the next person she should convert is her grandmother, Olenna Tyrell. Otherwise, "I fear for her safety; body and soul," he says, or rather, threatens. When Queen Margaery meets with her grandmother, she struggles to convince her to go home. Finally, when she slips a piece of paper into Olenna's hand, the older woman concedes. When Olenna exits the room and opens the note, it's a drawing of a rose. What does it mean? For one thing, the symbol of House Tyrell is a flower and Olenna's nickname is the Queen of Thorns. The note could be Margaery's very subtle way of saying she's still on the Tyrell's side, and therefore, her religious devotion is all an act.
We also learn during her little heart to heart with the High Sparrow that she hasn't slept with King Tommen since her release from prison. The Sparrow reminds Margaery of the importance of producing an heir.
4) Olenna Tyrell is the queen of shade. When Cersei Lannister learns about Olenna's plans to leave, she finds her and begs her to stay so their houses can fight the Sparrows: "We must fight them together. We need each other," Cersei says. But Olenna puts the evil queen mother in her place by reminding her that she is alone: two of her children are dead, Jaime is out fighting, and everyone in King's Landing despises her. Plus, the struggle with the Sparrows is all her fault. "You lost, Cersei," Olenna tells her, "It's the only joy I could find in all this misery." BURN.
5) Jaime takes over the battle with the Blackfish—with Bronn. Despite his and Cersei's plans to stay in the capital to fight the Sparrows, Jaime leads the Lannister army to assist the Freys in taking back Riverrun from the Blackfish (a.k.a. Brynden Tully). To our surprise, he is once again assisted by everyone's favorite bad-mouthed knight, Bronn, whom we last saw with Jaime to Dorne. When they arrive, they find the castle being weakly attacked by the Freys, who threaten to slaughter Brynden's nephew Edmure Tully if the Blackfish doesn't surrender. In disgust, Jaime and Bronn take over the siege.
6) Jon Snow gets schooled by a little girl. Though they have the support of the Wildlings, Jon Snow, Sansa and Ser Davos Seaworth still need help from other houses in the North. Their first stop is House Mormont—as in Daenerys' Jorah Mormont and former Lord Commander of the Night's Watch Jeor Mormont—which is led by 10-year-old Lady Lyanna (named after Ned Stark's sister, of course). Though young, she is a sassy little girl. She first denies help to Sansa and Jon, but Ser Davos gets her attention by convincing her that the war is bigger than the Starks versus the Boltons; it's between the living and the dead (as in the White Walkers) and no one will come out unscathed. Naturally, he hits her with the "The dead are coming" line to seal the deal. But it's only a small win—the trio only get 62 men from the negotiation.
7) The Blackfish and Jaime face off. Before making any military advances, Jaime talks with Brynden Tully first, offering freedom and safety to him and his men if he surrenders. But Tully is good at holding grudges; he still calls Jaime "Kingslayer." When Jaime tells him to let it go since the war is over, the Blackfish sternly responds, "As long as I am standing the war is not over." Tully and his men have enough provisions in the castle to survive two years and they're not going to surrender.
8) GoT finally has a lesbian main character. Yara and Theon Greyjoy make a pit stop at a brothel during their escape from Uncle Euron. Though Theon sits with his eyes down, still experiencing PTSD from Ramsay's torture, Yara happily gets it on with a female prostitute. Game of Thrones has previously featured gay characters (Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell) but lesbian characters have been scant, if not completely missing. Yara might actually be the first one—and it's about time. After a pep talk with Theon, she enthusiastically picks up where she left off with her lady.
9) The Greyjoys plan to team up with Daenerys Targaryen. While talking to her little brother in the brothel, Yara reveals her plans to sail their ships to Meereen, make a pact with Daenerys, and take back the Iron Islands from their usurping uncle. Now that's an alliance we're begging to see happen.
10) Sansa goes behind Jon's back. The Stark-Snow campaign is lacking momentum. House Glover, for example, refuses to join in (despite its age-old alliance with the Starks) because Lord Glover doesn't want to fight alongside Wildlings. By the time Jon's party sets up camp, they have an army of 2,000 Wildlings plus northern reinforcements that include men from House Mormont and House Hornwood. Jon thinks they need to attack as soon as possible, but Sansa is hesitant. After seeing a fight break out between soldiers in the camp, she is convinced they need more men before they can fight. She goes behind Jon and Davos's backs, and drafts a mysterious letter, possibly pleading for more help. It's unknown where she sent it.
11) Arya gets stabbed. Arya has a pleasant introduction, finally buying a ticket to sail back to Westeros, and all seems well until she is approached by a creepy old lady on a bridge. The lady wastes no time, immediately stabbing Arya several times in the stomach (Red Wedding style) and removing her mask to reveal she is actually the Waif. Arya quickly pushes her away and dives into the river. The Waif is convinced she's dead, but the Stark girl is able to swim to the riverbank and return to the town center of Braavos, as she bleeds profusely from her belly. Is she going to be ok?!
12) The Hound seeks revenge. The leader of the tribe continues to tell The Hound of the importance of starting over and becoming good again. Even he, a nonviolent figure, was once a killer who murdered a boy in front of the boy's mother. "It's never too late" to become a better person, he tells Clegane.
A tribe gathering is stopped short when three members of the Brotherhood Without Banners interrupt their storytelling session. (Backstory: the Brotherhood is a guerrilla outlaw group that roams the Riverlands. They hate the authority of kings and lords—hence the lack of banners—but they especially hate the Lannisters.) The brothers leave after a verbal exchange with the tribe leader, but something doesn't feel right. The next morning, the Hound returns from chopping wood to find the whole tribe slaughtered, including their pacifist leader. He grabs his axe. He is out for blood.
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