We continue our trend of bringing dead characters back this week, or supposedly dead ones. The Hound (Rory McCann), last seen getting one hell of a beating from Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), has rejoined the fray, and not a moment too soon! Where the hell has he been this whole time? Hanging out with Ian McShane – who may not think much of the ‘tits and dragons’ that is Game of Thrones but is clearly happy enough to receive the pay check that comes with it – building a tower by the looks of it. I could think of worse ways to spend your summer, and damn it’s good to see him again. I always enjoyed the character of the Hound, the definition of a flawed man, who, despite his appearance and own beliefs is actually a good person at heart.
Welcome back, Sandor Clegane! Imagine him coming across Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). That would be something I’d love to see.
Shame shame shame on you (i)
Ah, there we go. I thought Margaery’s (Natalie Dormer) religious turn came a little bit out of nowhere last week. Had they truly broken her in those cells? The answer, it appears, is of course not! She’s playing them all at their own game until she gains enough clout to destroy them from the inside. It seems that she’s fooled everyone, including the usually very sharp High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce).
Or has she?
Thing is, that Septa (Hannah Waddingham) who likes to go on about shame as much as I do, pretty much saw Margaery slip her grandmother (Diana Rigg) a note – or in this case, a lovely drawing of a rose. It was about as subtle as a White Walker in drag. If one thing is certain, it’s that Margaery is playing a very dangerous game. One she needs to win, or she’ll die.
Props to Olenna, though, for calling out Cersei (Lena Headey) on a few home truths. She is the one that started this mess in the first place, desperate to get Margaery out of the way by any means necessary. Hell, watching her fall was one of the best bits about season five. She really is a broken woman, doomed and alone. Still, at least she’s got the Mountain (Hafpor Julius Bjornsson) and Qyburn (Anton Lessor) for company. A creep and a mute. Lovely.
Shame on you (ii)
Remember that huge army that Robb Stark (Richard Madden) managed to form back in season one? The army that had the Lannisters sweating, the Baratheons raging and the North proud? Well, it turns out that Robb really did screw things up badly, because there’s no sod left who wants to fight for the Starks. You can hardly blame them really, considering how Robb and co got so horribly slaughtered. Poor Jon (Kit Harington), Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Davos (Liam Cunningham) have their work cut out getting the North to support them. Between the unlucky Starks and the psychotic Boltons, the Boltons seem more preferable. Lord Glover (Tim McInnery) kind of had a point.
In desperation, Jon seems determined to make the same mistakes that Stannis (Stephen Dillane) made: march to Winterfell with a small, disillusioned army and end up losing to a topless Ramsay. This shaming, however, goes to Sansa, who despite rightly telling Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) where to go the other week, seems to have decided to write to him for help. Oh sure, he and his Knights of the Vale will have their uses, but any victory will now be mostly thanks to him. A dangerous thing. I don’t think Jon stands a chance going up against him in a battle of wits, and Sansa certainly does not.
Either way, this is getting very interesting. Jon versus Ramsay is going to cause some serious fireworks.
Shame on you (iii)
Is that Bronn (Jerome Flynn) I see? Finally! I’ve been wondering when he was going to turn up again. The show hasn’t quite been the same without his one liners and dry sense of humour, and I loved his and Jaime’s double act in Dorne last year. He certainly wasted no time telling those Freys that they are pretty sodding useless, which, let’s face it, they are. Brynden Tully (Clive Russell) has absolutely nothing to lose, and whether or not they execute Edmure (Tobias Menzies) will have no effect on his actions.
Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) may have gone from being a detestable character to one of the best in it, but he’s no Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) – absent for a second time this week – when it comes to negotiations. It was obvious that Brynden was not giving up Riverrun, and nothing Jaime was going to say would change his mind.
This is an interesting situation where I don’t really want either side to win or lose. We’re rooting for Jaime and Bronn, but at the same time completely sympathise with Brynden, who has just seen the oath-breaking son of the man who orchestrated the Red Wedding come to help out the Freys. Either way, maybe the impending arrival of Brienne will help to smooth things over. I doubt it.
Shame on you (iv)
No, show. I don’t buy it for one second, so you can just stop right there. You’re not killing off Arya (Maisie Williams). It’s just not happening. So there!
Look, Game of Thrones loves to shock us with its unexpected deaths, but they’ve always had a narrative purpose. Ned Stark’s (Sean Bean) death set storylines into motion that are still being played out, as did Robb’s. Renley’s (Genthin Anthony) showed us how ruthless Stannis was, and also led to the Tyrell/Lannister disaster of an alliance. When a person dies, it moves the story forward, and has a lasting impact. Even if Jon had stayed dead, it would have led to serious repercussions for the Night’s Watch and for Sansa, arriving at a Castle Black ruled by Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale), which is why I was ready to accept Jon as dead.
But, since season one ended, there have been two characters whose deaths would make everything they’d been through a little bit pointless: Arya and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke). Their stories have gone off on such a separate tangent that to kill either of them now would make an entire season wandering around the Hall of Faces seem like a complete waste of time. Arya has always been around, doing things in the background. They wouldn’t have kept her alive for so long if she wasn’t relevant. It’s why we’ve not been following Rickon (Art Parkinson) and Osha (Natalie Tena) having adventures in the wild. It’s not important to the plot.
So no. I don’t buy it. Arya is going to meet the one true God, that is death, and tell him: “Not today.”
So much going on. So much to still happen. Are they seriously considering a shorter season seven? If this one ends with the Wall falling down and Dany on her way to Westeros, I might understand that. But as things stand, this show looks far from done.