"The Broken Man?" Or "The Broken Men?": #GoT: S6 Ep7

The Broken Man's God's Must Be Crazy

For those who are not as old as me, "The God's Must Be Crazy" is a movie that came out in 1980 about an indigenous pre-modern African villager who literally gets hit in the head with the modern world (he gets hit in the head with a Coca-Cola bottle).

Why must the #GameofThrones God's be so crazy? Before I tell you the answer to that question if you have not seen S 06 Episode 07 of GoT stop reading immediately and go watch the episode (then immediately return and read my recap). 

In other words *Spoiler Alert*

Every Dog Has His Day Or Is The Hound "The Broken Man?"

Oh before I go on, there were two big GoT happenings this week:

1. George R.R. Martin read another new chapter from the Winds of Winter and supposedly this is an accurate copy of what he read.

2. Josephine Gillan, The actress who plays Marei (one of Littlefingers prostitutes) has told her incredibly sad story. Apparently the GoT gig got her out of actual prostitution which had started for her at a young age. 

3. Bill Simmons new site "The Ringer" is finally live (no more exclusive newsletters or FB posts. From now on you can find Andy Greenwald, Mallory Rubin, and Jason Concepcion at their new web home or on "After The Thrones."

Anyway, back to "Broken Man." One of my favorite characters in the #GameofThrones universe is Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) aka "The Dog" aka "The Hound" aka "Joffrey's Dog."

Last we saw the Hound towards the end of Season 5, he had been skewered by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and deserted and left to die by his former partner in crime Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). 

One of my favorite characters in the history of television was Al Swearengen (Ian McShane). Deadwood, despite being awesome, really never had a concluding episode or even a series ramp-down. 

So isn't it interesting that it is Ian McShane (playing an itinerant priest of the Seven) who it turns out resurrected the Hound? I can't say I was entirely surprised that the Hound wasn't dead, I will, however, admit that I was surprised to see him hanging out in a commune (with Al Swearengen but without Woo).

Okay, so as we find out later, Reverend Al used to be a soldier and was turned to the Priesthood after seeing too much violence. Unfortunately, he also commits the one GoT sin that you can never come back from. In Westeros, you cannot be enthusiastically genuine and truly committed to peace.

In other words, things do not end well for Reverend Al.

So, Al found a "mostly dead" Hound and took him to see Miracle Max. Okay, that is not exactly accurate but he thought Clegane was dead until, out of the blue, Sandor started breathing. Later, my buddy Al asks Sandor what kept him alive and he gave a classic Hound answer.

"Pure Hate"

For most of the episode, Clegane is working out his hate using an ax building up a pile of wood that the commune is using to build themselves a hippie house. I imagine that just like during the rest of his life, he is imagining the head of his brother in place of the wood.

During one of  his few breaks, Clegane sits down to listen to Reverend Al pontificate about the senselessness of violence which is GoT foreshadowing for absolute disaster, so.....

As if on cue, several random followers of R'hllor who ride up to Al's Grateful Dead Concert only they want Al and the boys to donate everything they own to them (out of the goodness of their hippy hearts).

Shockingly, Reverend Al demurs when Sandor suggests that they should ready themselves to defend themselves. Instead of pouting, the Hound goes off to chop more wood and somehow hears absolutely nothing as the followers of the Lord Of Light come back and massacre all of the hippies (including hanging poor Al from the top of the unfinished hippy commune).

I suspect that Sandor has learned the most important lesson in Westeros, never ever assume the best in other people.

Welcome back to the Game of Thrones board Sandor Clegane.

Oh also, one of the biggest discussions going on right now is the theory that the followers of the Lord Of Light that went all "Tie-Dye Genocide" on "Septum Al and the Free Love Kids" were from the Brotherhood Without Borders gilding the lily for the return of Zombie Caitlyn Stark (Lady Stoneheart who I talked about just a few weeks ago). 

Sorry Andy Greenwald, the Brotherhood Without Banners is not exactly super chill in a post Caitlyn world.

RIP Reverend Al. 

Oh and Sandor obviously qualifies as a "Broken Man." But in the GoT universe, he is the safest kind of broken. 

Olenna Tyrell and Cersei Lannister + The Real Housewives of King's Landing

I still think this Kings Landing subplot has become absurdly over-complicated.

Last week, the Tyrell's and Lannister's had the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) surrounded and dead to rights when Margaery (Natalie Dormer) bailed out the Sparrow by delivering King Tommen into his fold.

One option could be that she was making her own play for power outside of her family and another is not forcing her family into cahoots with Cersei (who they all hate).

Did she really turn on the Tyrell's? Apparently not, when the High Sparrow tells her she better meet with Olenna to talk her into leaving Kings Landing  for her "own safety" (body and soul). Margaery meets with Olenna (Diana Rigg) and manages to slip her  a picture of a Rose (showing that her allegiance remains with her family).

So, the only remaining option is that she felt it was the only play she had that could ensure the safety of Ser Loras (who is still being held in the dungeons of the High Sparrow). Margaery tips it by implying that the alternative (to joining "Team Seven Pointed Star") was that Loras would either remain in the cell or have to confess and renounce his titles and inheritance as penance.

FYI Loras could also be "The Broken Man."

I still think this whole thing is kind of stupid.

I am still standing firm on that the High Sparrow would have been in no position to do damage to Loras against the Tyrell army plus the Lannisters.

When the Terrell's and the Lannisters had the Sparrow dead to rights he wasn't going to go scorched earth because it is pretty clear he is a pragmatist (if a very Machiavelian one).

Oh also, the High Sparrow told Margaery that she needs to hurry up and make a baby with Tommen (because of the patriarchy of the 7 - sigh),

But that was not the fun part. The fun part happens after the meeting between Margaery and Olenna when Cersei (Lena Headey) shows up to talk shop. On a show not known for it's "Ha Ha" this was a particularly funny bit.

The short form is that Olenna calls out Cersei for pretty much all of the incredibly stupid things she has done (most specifically arming the faith militant). Olenna says something like "I wonder if you are the worst person that I have ever met," and later follows up by reminding Cersei that she will soon be all alone and surrounded by her enemies  which Olenna mentions provides her, "The only joy I can find among all of this misery."

Cersei's biggest weakness has always been that she almost always acts ONLY on her short-term interest which is almost always wrapped up in her anger and with as much payback as possible.  

If you watched "After The Thrones" this week, I disagree with Mallory a bit in that Olenna is not just being spiteful here. She has every reason to be spiteful (Ser Loras is broken and might be destroyed because of Cersei's Faith Militant disaster) but she also has seen Cersei screw up almost everything she has ever done in the history of her power.  Olenna is basically betting that Cersei can only fuck up Margaery's play (now that she knows Margaery is playing a game with the Sparrow).

This was, on the whole, a fairly solid (if busy) episode. The Kings Landing stuff is probably the biggest Jar-Jar for the week, but it was still a pretty funny bit.

Sansa Stark Might Not Be The Leader The North Has Been Hoping For

I was thrilled to see Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) finally taking control of her life again. 

But, so far, she is maybe creating more problems than her leadership might be worth.

First, she had to get bailed out by Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) in recruiting what turned out to be 62 soldiers from house Mormont.

Second, she was spectacularly ineffective and tone-deaf in trying to recruit soldiers from House Glover. Apparently she thought that demanding allegiance while being spectacularly unaware of the disaster the Red Wedding caused for House G.

Then, as if she was not a big enough impediment to progress yet, she starts reading Jon (Kit Harrington) the riot act for having made Davos a trusted advisor (yup, the same Davos who just saved her ass at the meeting with House Mormont). This is also after Jon gets the Wildings to agree to fight Bolton's and get Winterfell back for Sansa (which was sealed by Lum Lum the Giant saying that his vote goes for "Snow").

On the good side, she does think that since they have recruited so few troops that maybe they should hold off on attacking Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) until they have figured out how to even the playing field. 

Once she realizes that the attack is going forward despite her objections she gets a raven and writes a note to what has to be Littlefinger (Aiden Gillen). I guess we will assume that after he teleported from the Vale to Mole's Town that Littlefinger and all the Knights of the Vale just sat around waiting (despite Sansa telling him she didn't need his help).

Reminder, Littlefinger serves only Littlefinger. He may actually end up turning the tide against the Bolton's but he probably is not going to end up helping Sansa building up real power in the North long-term.

The Great Ironborn "Race For Dragon's"

Not too much here, but apparently there is a Queen with some Dragons (Emilia Clarke).

One set of Ironborn, the Greyjoys aka Yara (Gemma Whelan) and Theon (Alfie Allen), stole a bunch of boats and are hoping to beat the other team of Ironborn (led by Euron their Nuncle) to Meereen to link up with Daenerys to help her ferry her troops to Westeros.

Yara, however, is a bit worried about Theon still being broken after all of his torture at the hands of Ramsay. so she gives him a pep talk. She says he either has to get it together and act like a Greyjoy or just kill himself now.

Theon does a fine job of looking totally committed as he confirms that he is totally 100% fired up and ready to kick some serious butt. Yara is kind of distracted because she met a prostitute she really likes but she seems convinced.

Oh, Theon could clearly be the "Broken Man" of s06e07.

Lannister's + Frey's + and Tully's "Oh My" 

So the Frey's are trying to lay siege to Riverrun currently being held by Brynden Tully (Clive Russell) as Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) shows up with his army and....wait for it....


Another of my favorite, but often forgotten characters, Bronn (Jerome Flynn)  is back on the road with Jamie. Bronn notices that the Frey's have done a truly shitty job of setting up the siege so Jamie orders him to go get them better organized while he goes off to tell the Frey's that they are no longer in charge.

Before he starts slapping the Frey's around they manage to allow the Blackfish to show how truly bad they are at credibility and threats (they threaten to kill Edmure unless the Blackfish surrenders Riverrun). Brynden considers it for about a minute then tells the Frey's that they should just go ahead and kill Edmure. Guess what, the Frey's don't kill Edmure.

After he sees what kind of show they are running, Jamie tells them to clean up Edmure and informs them that they are no longer in charge of the siege. Jamie then gets news to Brynden that he wants a parlay.

The parlay accomplishes nothing and the Blackfish tells Jamie that they are provisioned with food that will last for two years of siege.

Interestingly enough, this is exactly what happened in the books only it happened WAY earlier in the timeline. We will see if the siege ends in the same way as well.

That Damn Waif

Arya pays a ship Captain for passage back to Westeros but as she is wandering around waiting for departure that damn waif, in disguise (of course), stabs her three times in the stomach.

Arya manages to flip herself off a bridge and into some water allowing her to escape. The Waif assumes that Arya has been dispatched and that the Faceless Men have been avenged. But, like her former travel companion the Hound, she just refuses to die.

Well, she is refusing to die as of the end of the episode. Last we see her, she is wondering the streets of Braavos bleeding profusely and looking alone and doomed. 

Still I am guessing she manages to survive and get back to work on her list.

I do not think, in other words, that Arya is the broken man.

So, why did I make the joke about the God's being crazy? Mostly because the Hound and Reverend Al had a conversation about exactly that subject but also because this episode is about, in many ways, applying one's will in order to overcome fate.

Arya and The Hound have always been great at using their sheer strength of will (or hate) to stay alive when fate (and everything else) is conspiring against them. This episode is about reminding us that Ser Loras and Theon had better start getting tough if they hope to survive the Game.

Not a bad episode, too scattered to be a great episode, but certainly a strong episode (Very few Jar-Jar's handed out). Too bad Ian McShane had such a short GoT lifespan.

What did you think of Episode 7? Who was the "Broken Man"? Will Arya survive her stabbing as the Hound survived his? Let me know what you think, leave a comment