This episode featured the return of one important character and the possible death of another one (but let’s hope not).
As usual, spoilers ahead!
The Hound is back! After having been left for dead by Arya an eternity and a half ago, he seems to have joined a cult of benign, peace-loving hippies. His plotline is certainly nothing to get excited about as it compresses and portrays GoT’s most popular theme; the devastation of the innocent. The group’s leader, a former criminal, shares that if a threat were to come against his troop, he would refuse to stop them by immoral means. This allows Clegane to solidify his own stance on the matter:
“Violence is a disease—you don’t cure it by spreading it to more people”
Hound: “Well, you don’t cure it by dying.”
Confirmed: The Hound is still the morally ambiguous but altogether badass murderer we all remember.
Of course, the peacemaking sentiment foreshadows the imminent slaughter of the sack-wearing hippies; they are all killed by a gang of followers of the Lord of Light, while The Hound was ignorantly chopping some firewood. He didn’t seem massively upset at this, confirming for certain the return of everybody’s favourite stoic murderer.
SANSA AND JON
Sansa, Jon, and Davos are off on the Make The North Great Again tour and the first stop is the wildlings. Tormund is stumping hard for Jon, reminding the free folk that Jon was the one who saved them from the Night King’s army and then literally died for letting them south of the Wall. Jon pipes in with the fact that Squad Bolton will come for the wildlings as soon as they finish off the Stark forces. It’s pretty much a no-brainer. Even Wun Wun the giant agrees.
The second stop is Bear Island, where the fiercest ten-year-old in Westeros, Lyanna Mormont, holds court. Sansa takes the lead here but she underestimates Lyanna and can’t close the deal. Neither can Jon, whose flattery of Lyanna’s uncle, Lord Commander Mormont, gets him nowhere. This little Lady Boss isn’t in the mood for small talk. She wants answers. Why should House Mormont fight to retake Winterfell? Why should they sacrifice more lives after all the men and women (including Lyanna’s own mother) that fought for Robb? Even though “Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North whose name is Stark,” House Stark barely exists anymore since Jon is a Snow and Sansa is technically a Bolton (gross).
Ser Davos steps in and gives the kind of no-BS answer that Lady Lyanna Mormont deserves. He tells her that the coming war isn’t about the Starks or the Boltons or any other individual house; it is the war between the living and the dead, and the dead are coming. That does the trick, and House Mormont pledges all its fighting men to the Starks. Of course, House Mormont only has 62 fighting men, but beggars can’t be choosers.
The last stop at House Glover doesn’t go well. First of all, the Boltons helped Glovers take their castle back from the Ironborn and Lord Glover doesn’t want to go against them, albeit less out of loyalty than the desire not to be flayed alive. The Glovers also refuse to fight alongside wildlings. Sansa tries to get fierce and reminds him that House Glover is pledged to House Stark, but the Glovers have a number of bones to pick with the Starks and Lord Glover drops a couple of serious truth bombs on her: they were loyal to Robb Stark and fought in his army, but the Starks did nothing to help when the Ironborn invaded. Robb was off marrying Talisa and screwing everything up for everyone, so now the Starks are dead to them.
Back at the Stark army’s camp, things are looking pretty bleak. Sansa wants to keep gathering support but Jon and Davos know that they need to march on Winterfell ASAP because, y’know, Winter Is Coming. Sansa decides to send a secret raven. If I had to guess, I’d say she writes to Littlefinger to secure the support of the Knights of the Vale, but we shall see.
The High Sparrow finds Margaery reading a story from one of their religious book collections; he asks if he can comment on a personal matter, and inquiries as to why Margaery hasn’t lain with King Tommen since being freed. She tells him that she can’t seem to locate the love she had for her husband, and the High Nutcase basically tells her she needn’t have feelings to make a baby, just patience. He then directs her attention to her grandmother, Olenna. He believes Olenna to be a sinner and wishes to send her back to High Garden. Margaery visits with Olenna, with one of the septs watching on. She urges her grandmother to leave and, unable to speak freely, slips a note into Olenna’s hand. When alone, Olenna opens the note and finds a simple drawing of a rose. The rose is the sigil of House Tyrell – is this Margaery’s way of saying that her loyalties still lie with her house and that she is only telling the cult what they want to hear? I guess we’ll soon find out. Later, Cersei urges Olenna to stay, not wanting to lose yet another ally to the High Sparrow. Olenna retorts with only anger toward Cersei for having brought the High Sparrow to the castle in the first place, and refuses to budge. She is returning home, whether Cersei likes it or not.
Practically banned from King’s Landing, Jaime, Bronn, and 8000 soldiers march into the camp of Walder Frey’s men. He tells Bronn that he wants him to be his right hand man and help him lead the battle. Bronn reluctantly agrees and the two walk up in time to see two of Walder Frey’s men threatening to hang Edmure Tully – The Blackfish’s Nephew – should he not relinquish the castle. The Blackfish replies that they can go ahead and hang him, when one of the men puts a dagger to Edmure’s throat. Again, the Blackfish goads them to do it and walks away. Frustrated, the two men begin walking Edmure back to his cell when Jaime stops them. He demands that they feed and bathe Edmure, and when one of the men protests, Jaime punches him. They do as he commands and Bronn begins barking out orders. Jaime requests a Parlay with Blackfish, who soon obliges. The two exchange words, but even after Jaime’s threats, Blackfish refuses to give up Riverrun and walks back into the castle. I’m curious, because Brienne is set to see The Blackfish, and knowing that she and Jaime have some sort of bond could provide an interesting altercation. Will Jaime give up the fight knowing he’d have to fight Brienne? I suppose we’ll find out.
The Greyjoys are in an interesting place all together. We know that Euron is in the Iron Islands, wanting to build ships, with seemingly no trees on the island. Yara and Reek are on the run to try to find and meet up with Daenerys. They are taking a “personal” day at an adult fun house. Reek however is having no fun is all business and ready to get back on the trip. Yara is telling Reek that she can’t do it without Theon Greyjoy and she needs him back. Reek doesn’t think he has it anymore and Yara tells him to drink some ale, which he doesn’t want to do. They keep going back and forth and she keeps insisting that he drinks more ale. After drinking the cup of ale, you notice a difference in his eyes and he seems to be transformed back to Theon. The big question going forward is Theon back? Or does Reek need to be drunk to bring Theon back? It will be interesting to see going forward.
Ready to return to Westeros, Arya spots a Westerosi ship captain. She asks to book passage home and when he responds that she can’t afford it, she tosses a bag of money in front of him. He offers a hammock in steerage, and tells her they’ll be leaving in two days. Arya throws another bag of gold his way and demands not only a cabin, but that they leave at dawn. She snatches the gold from him, most likely to ensure she makes it onto the ship. As she stands on a bridge, staring out at the Braavos canal, an old lady approaches. Arya doesn’t seem too concerned with the people around her, considering she recently upset an order of highly trained assassins, and lets her guard down when an old lady approaches. Arya turns to her and the woman uses a dagger to slice her across the stomach. The old woman grabs Arya and stabs her twice more, before removing her face to reveal The Waif. Arya escapes by jumping into the canal, and when she resurfaces, she takes to stumbling in the streets. It’s obvious she wants help, but isn’t sure who to trust. Onlookers don’t seem overly concerned with her condition either. Hear me now, Game Of Thrones writers…if ANYTHING happens to Arya Stark that ends in sadness, I will probably beat you up.