Game Of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 7 Recap: What Is Dead May Never Die

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO
Warning! Spoilers ahead. "The Broken Man" opens with a pleasant country scene, one that is pretty much as un-Game of Thrones as can be. Men are building, women are cooking, birds are chirping. Someone call Frodo, we've landed in the Shire. A septon known as Brother Ray (played by Ian McShane) oversees a group of men carrying logs for construction. One stands out. He turns. He looks very, very familiar. Hurrah For The Hound!
Setting aside our excitement at this long-debated Hound comeback for a moment, let's take a look at what we learn here: 1. Our friend the Hound was pretty much dead when he was found by this kindly septon, who took him in and saved him. 2. Brienne is a badass. Brother Ray: "How many men did it take to cut you down?"
The Hound: "Just one."
Brother Ray: "He must have been some kind of monster."
The Hound: "He was a woman."
3. The gods have plans for Sandor Clegane.

Lie Back & Think Of Westeros

If you weren't a fan of the High Sparrow before, this episode's exchange about marital duties will only seal the deal. The Sparrow, echoing Victorian matrons of times past, would like to know why Margaery has been avoiding the attentions of her teenage husband. After all, she has a duty. Her evasive answer, that "the desires that once drove me no longer do," does not move him. "Congress requires no desire on the woman's part," he Sparrow-splains. "Only patience." It's all fine and dandy until the Sparrow imparts his final words of advice: Lady Olenna better watch her back. A strategic mistake on his part; I think no one comes between Margaery and her Queen of Thorns. The popular theory that Margaery is only faking her newfound devotion to the Seven seems to be confirmed when she visits Lady Olenna to encourage her mother to mind her business and leave King's Landing. Evading Septa Unella's eagle eye, Margaery passes her grandmother a crumpled note. Lady Olenna plays along (this intrigue is old hat) and leaves. Margaery's sweet smile and suggestion that she and the septa pray only serves to reinforce how devious she is. Lady Olenna unfolds the note, which bears a rose, the symbol of House Tyrell. Margaery is growing strong.

Wun Wun's Word Is Law

Back in the North, Jon and Sansa are trying to convince the wildlings to join their fight against the Boltons. This is a recurring theme for this episode, which basically has Jon and Sansa traveling the North, asking everyone to please, just help them get their home back. The wildlings are hesistant. Tormund is all for it, but the others don't get why they should get involved in a fight which could decimate their tribes. Jon's got them there, though: If they don't lose to the Boltons, they will lose to the White Walkers. Either way, they die. "I need you with me if we're going to beat them and we need to beat them if you're going to survive." Hard words to ignore. And then Tormund pulls the death card: "He died for us. If we're not willing to do the same for him, then we're cowards." In the end, Wun Wun is the deciding vote. He stands, declares his allegiance by bellowing "Snow," and stomps off. That's one way to end a conversation, I guess.

From One Cunning Lady To Another

Scenes between Cersei and Lady Olenna are always a treat, but this one is double-fudge-sundae level. Cersei knows she fucked up by allowing the High Sparrow to rise as far as he has. Things have gotten out of hand, and she has paid the price. From now on, she and Lady Olenna must help each other. Far from being understanding, though, Lady Olenna spits Cersei's repentance right back in her face: "I wonder if you're the worst person I've ever met. At a certain age, it's hard to recall." She reminds Cersei of her smile on the day that Loras and Margaery were taken away. A Lannister may pay her debts, but a Tyrell remembers. Cersei tries again: "You love your granddaughter. I love my son. That's the only truth I know. We must defend them." It's a no go. "You've lost, Cersei. It's the only joy I can find in all this misery." That smirk has cost Cersei. What will the price be?

No More Small Talk

Jon and Sansa continue on their quest to gather enough troops to take down the Boltons. First stop? Bear Island, home to House Mormont. (Yes, as in Lord Commander Jeor Mormont — RIP — and Jorah Mormont, currently seeking the cure for greyscale — and heartbreak.) They are greeted by the harshest 10-year-old girl ever to grace our TV screens (Jorah's sister, perhaps?). Compliments? Bah! Lyanna Mormont has no time for that. She moves things along and asks them to state their business. Jon and Sansa want men. Lady Mormont wants to know why she should kill more Mormont men to help out a Snow and a Bolton — or is Sansa still a Lannister? (Expert shade there, little one.) Here, Davos takes over — he knows how to talk to little girls. "This isn't someone else's war. It's our war," he explains in that calm, safe Davos way. "Jeor Mormont and Jon Snow understood that the real war isn't between a few squabbling houses. It's between the living and the dead. And believe me, the dead are coming." (Is anyone getting Walking Dead vibes from this season?) Davos prevails. Lady Mormont will send men. All 62 of them. (Great, thanks!) Can this girl be in every episode from now on?

"Kingslayer." "Blackfish."

In the Riverlands, two men with absurd nicknames meet to talk terms. Jaime Lannister gives it straight: If Blackfish does not surrender, the Lannister army will lay siege to the castle and all inside will die. If he gives up now, they'll let Blackfish's men live. After all, the war is over. Why continue to fight? Blackfish is not impressed: "As long as I'm standing, the war is not over." Will Jaime kill Edmure Tully? Will Blackfish stand his ground? Will Brienne's appearance in the next episode make this plot line a little more interesting?

"I Kissed A Girl. "

Looks like the Greyjoys have made it to an as-yet-undetermined port city. Theon is anxious. Yara is getting some with a pretty prostitute, because hey, "Some of us still like it." Seeing her brother's distress, she sends the girl away and promises to catch up with her later. Yara then gives Theon some tough love: either slit his wrists or get over everything he's been through and return to her. After meditating at the bottom of a glass of ale, he makes his choice. That gleam in his eye is definitely old Theon.

Stark Vs. Snow

After a disappointing visit to Lord Glover, Sansa and Jon are back at camp. Jon wants to march on Winterfell, ASAP. Sansa thinks they need more men. Davos sides with Jon, leading Sansa to question her half-brother's leadership. We leave her writing a letter, signed Stark and sealed with a dire wolf. Who is she calling favors from? Is it her uncle Blackfish? Or Littlefinger himself? In any case, Jon better cool it with the mansplaining. Sansa has her own plans.


Redemption Is Real

Back in the green pastures the Hound now calls home, Brother Ray is preaching. Turns out, he used to be a soldier. He burned, he pillaged, he murdered, and he liked it. (Sound familiar?) But one day, he went too far. And now, he repents. "All I can do with the time I've got left is to bring a little goodness into the world. It's never too late to come back." These words, echoing the message of redemption that Brother Ray has been spreading throughout the episode, seem to resonate with the Hound. He has sinned. He has been saved. Will he repent? The lovely speech is interrupted by a gang of men who clearly mean trouble. It seems they're from the Brotherhood — remember them? They kidnapped Arya and friends three seasons ago. When their demands for food and supplies are denied (politely, but firmly) by Brother Ray, they go on their way with those ominous words we've come to know so well: "The night is dark and full of terrors."
Fear The Faces
It seems a little naive of Arya to just be walking down the street asking random people for passage to Westeros when she has the Waif and the Faceless Man after her. And yet, that is exactly what she does. She bribes some sailor with two bags of coins, and is relishing her newfound freedom when an old lady approaches. As you probably suspected, she is the Waif. The Waif stabs Arya (!!!), repeatedly (!!!), but just when it looks like she might actually die, she escapes by jumping into the river. Her attacker waits around to see if she'll emerge. She doesn't. Will this quench the Faceless Men's thirst for revenge? Of course, Arya pulls the oldest trick in the book and just pops up a little bit down river. She drags herself out of the water — bleeding heavily — and makes her way down the street. As she clutches her belly, it dawns on her. Every face is a potential threat. No one can help her. As Vanity Fair notes, this is unlikely to be the last we see of Arya. But come on, girl. Get it together.

The Night Is Dark & Full Of Terrors

The Hound was right to fear the Brotherhood. He is working out his aggression on a large tree when he senses something's wrong. He runs back to the camp and finds everyone dead, including Brother Ray, who hangs from his half-built structure. The Hound has finally found his breaking point. Watch out world, the Hound is back — and he's got an ax.

A Random Thought

During her conversation with the High Sparrow, Margaery is reading the book of the Mother, chapter 3, verse 12, which says: "A wife salves her husband's wounds. A mother sends her son to sleep." Does this indicate that Cersei might have something to do with Tommen's death? Share your thoughts!

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