We’ve hit that time we reach in every season of Game of Thrones where there’s a few episodes devoted to some shit happening that’s necessary to set up the more exciting stuff to come later. That’s all well and good, though the plot-advancing becomes particularly clear when the best moment in the episode is one that’s the best because gifs and screenshots of it are going to be used for “fuck the patriarchy” memes for the foreseeable future.
Episode 7 of Season 6 of Game of Thrones, entitled “The Broken Man,” covered a variety of our characters trying to make alliances with parties who were not down to team up. We watched Queen Margaery send her grandmother away from King’s Landing while suggesting with a snuck note in the form of a sketch of a rose (their house symbol) that she is, as we suspected, not entirely down with this religious mumbo-jumbo the High Sparrow is all on about. Margaery certainly was awfully quiet when while admitting to him that she doesn’t want to jump young Tommen’s bones because of the new piety he’s fake pulled her into (“It’s just, the desires that once drive me no longer do.”) His response? A classic “lay with your husband ‘cause you should, not cause you want to,” a response that proves once and for all he’s as full of shit and assholeness as any of the leaders the proceeded him. (Sorry his actual quote was “Congress does not require desire on a woman’s part, only patience. The king must have an heir if we are to continue our good work.”)
Anyway, apparently Nana Tyrell is getting the fuck out of King’s Landing (frankly I don’t blame her; the vibe there is particularly bleak, even if the weather seems good), but not before telling Cersei, who visits her in a last-ditch effort to get someone, anyone on her side: “I wonder if you’re the worst person I’ve ever met.” Nice. Cersei’s gonna go down only caring about her blood relatives, and as we know even her expressed affection for them is rare.
Next up we’ve got the return of Sandor Clegane—big! After being left to die by Brienne of Tarth, he was apparently saved by some traveling band of religious buds led by Al Swearengen, aka Ian McShane Deadwood. They don’t have a penny to their names but they have some bright sunlight and the support of one another. Very sweet and highly naïve of them. While with them building some sort of rustic church, Sandor’s tempted by the idea that he could have a peaceful life, until they’re all shot by a bunch of dicks who wanted their food, or maybe just like blood as much as everyone else on this show. Well, it seems likely that we’ll see him return to a life of killing very soon.
We’re also looped in on Jamie’s activities. He’s realizing that taking back River Run from the Blackfish is gonna be harder than he wanted it to be. Still, leadership is a nice color on him, and damn does he rock that gold hand. Also his henchman Bronn has returned, who’s also letting it dawn on him that perhaps the cushy life he was once promised (a castle, a lady) might require more work than was initially laid out, and even then isn’t quite on the agenda.
Yara Greyjoy and Theon are taking a pit stop for beer and prostitutes after stealing all the ships on their way to convince Dany to take back the Iron Islands. Yarra’s about to get down with some hotties (we welcome her casual lesbianism, and seeing her outside the depressing salt-spray colored islands), but poor Theon is still rather melancholy about all the suffering he’s caused (um, he should be) and the fact that everyone keeps joking about how he can’t fuck. Yara proves she’s better than most would be and pauses before her good times to tell him to perk up and she’ll always be there for him.
But all of that was primarily housekeeping, as the most important scene of the episode (besides Arya getting fucking stabbed in the stomach by that face-shifting twat right after booking passage on a ship to Westeros as she was super cavalierly just walking around town; she apparently didn’t immediately bleed out from that definitely would-be fatal wound, so we’re not too worried about her) was one of several that had Jon and Sansa trying to win over allies in their fight against House Bolton: we meet Lyanna Mormont, the 10 year old who rules House Mormont of Bear Island. Though House Mormont once swore fealty to the Starks and Winterfell, Jon and Sansa are learning that getting troops from those who don’t believe that winter is very much coming in the form of some difficult to kill cold dudes, or who have pledged themselves to the Starks too many times before, is proving tough. Watching Lyanna shut down her advisors was the moment the GoT writers clearly knew would get viewers through the episode, especially when contrasted with all the baby kings and leaders we’ve seen so far (Joffrey, Tommen, that weakling who breastfed too long). Does this upcoming battle against the Boltons look good? Nope, everyone looks like they’ve got it rough (what else is new?), especially Sansa, who appears to have desperately sent a Raven that we know is def gonna get intercepted to Littlefinger (who she SWORE she wanted nothing to do with) in search of help. Given the dude’s endless love for her dead mama and desire to not be totally cast out, it seems possible he’ll come to her aid—that is, if he has any power to do so with, if the raven isn’t intercepted, and if the Wildlings who are with Jon don’t start fighting with their minimal other troops.
Let’s get one more stone cold look in, ‘cause we can.
Boners: Nothing but a few sets of boobs belonging to prostitutes, natch
Dead: Arya stabbed, one man hanged and lots of people shot with arrows