WHAMMYYYYYYYYY. I have to say, I was confused AF to see the GoT refresh segment go straight into an action sequence. I was thinking the whole time I must have fast forwarded, and I even re-winded a couple times for good measure. But HOT DAMN, what a statement by the showrunners to drop a surprise that has confounded viewers and readers alike for years now. Sequences like that, going with a cold open leading into the intro theme, is what makes GoT the hottest and most compelling watch in the TV industry. You know what it is by now. Time to break it all down and see where we’re at. Cue the anthem!
It appears Arya received some good news and some bad fortune in Braavos last night. While she was able to secure safe passage back to the main land from a merchant making his way to Westeros (and even convincing him to leave “on the morrow”), Arya also suffered some pretty devastating injuries by way of the Waif disguised as an old hag. It was some amateur hour stuff by Arya, as she should have been on the look out for the Waif and Jaqen around every corner. But, she was able to pull some Leo DiCaprio in the Revenant type ish and make off through a river. What really matters is how Arya will manage to patch herself up in the middle of Braavos without any friends or allies and in time to make her departure to Westeros. Her story arc has come so far at last, and viewers had a genuine scare that she would die last night. We’ve simply seen too much good fortune for many of our beloved characters this season for viewers to not feel on edge about somebody going RIP in peace on us…
Meanwhile, Jamie and Bronn made their way to Riverrun to “parlay” with the Blackfish.
Having Bronn and Jamie’s whimsical exchanges was a delight.
But, his conversation with Brynden Tully was even better. How are you supposed to treat with a man hell bent on violence and with nothing to lose? It appears Jamie is as perplexed as the Freys, despite his condescension. But at least he can siege a castle better than those Frey fuck boys are…
In King’s Landing, times are as strenuous as ever for Cersei and Lady Olenna. Even in these times of hardship, however, they cannot seem to put their differences aside to unite against their common enemy. Cersei attempted to offer an alliance with Lady Olenna, but she didn’t know that the Lady received a message from Margaery during a tense conversation they had together, supervised by Septon Unella. (sidenote: Unella has some serious hurt coming her way, the scowl on her face is upper echelon resting bitch face)
We have no idea what the meaning of the picture of the rose that Margaery drew for Lady Olenna… But it does confirm suspicions that her obedience to the High Sparrow has been a ruse all along. For now, Lady Olenna appears to be obeying Margaery’s commands and making her way back to High Garden, but the story seems to be just beginning for their plan.
On the campaign trail, things do not appear to be going swimmingly for #Stark4Winterfell2016. It’s apparent that Jon and Sansa are in over their heads when it comes to raising bannermen. Thanks to the quick on his feet actions of Ser Davos, they were able to gather 62 good soldiers from House Mormont (62!). But, if they fight as ferociously as Lyanna Mormont speaks, they should be a solid addition (that girl was exhilarating on TV). But the good feelings ended when they made their way to House Glover. Sansa was short for words, and Jon’s inexperience was no match for the emotional sentiment of Lord Glover. Short on time, and with little recourse left, Jon made the decision to march on Winterfell with the troops they have. Sansa, however, sees things differently and secretly got off a letter to a presently unknown person…
And so our recap brings us to the biggest reveal of the episode and an opening sequence that sent shock waves amongst fans right from the fucking jump: the return of Sandor “The Hound” Clegane! As soon as a saw Ian McShane’s chiseled face as an unknown Septon, I knew we were in for a doozy of an episode. A few seconds later, and we were staring at “the broken man” lugging firewood. Obviously, the return of the Hound has major implications moving forward, both from a plot driving perspective and from a fan theory perspective. But from a purely viewer enjoyment perspective, it’s delightful to have the Hound back. Such a complex and well developed character is always a welcome addition back. And despite the attempts of Ian McShane as a Septon preaching non-violence to the Hound, he appears to be set on a war path (in an area rampant with the Brotherhood Without Banners)… lookout.
What can we gather happened to the Hound?
Well, form conversations the Sandor had with the septon we can safely assume that he was found in the same place Arya had left him, fatally injured and nearing death. The septon successfully nursed him back to health, despite several times he doubted the possibility would occur. While simultaneously reviving him, it appears the septon also taught Sandor some form of a moral code. Eventually, he would shed his “hound” persona and become simply “Sandor.”
What can we expect the Hound to do from here?
Well it seems abundant clear that after seeing his commune ravaged by pillagers, he is out for blood. Although many fans asrcibe to the theory that there will be a “Clegane Bowl” during Cersei’s trial by combat, after careful consideration I do not believe that will occur. Are we really supposed to believe that the Hound will be the Faith’s champion and receive his comeuppance by killing his already dead and reanimated brother, subjecting Cersei to the same fate in the process? I’m inclined to say no. Especially when you consider that it would keep the High Sparrow alive and kickin’ and giving out all of the royal family sex advice we can handle as viewers.
Instead, I’m much more inclined to believe that Sandor will seek out the Brotherhood Without Banners, who are running rampant in the area. His thirst for blood could just as easily be quenched by a showdown with Beris Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, that is, unless another fabled figure finds him first…
Who did Sansa send a letter to???
Based on some foggy type deciphering and some good ole’ grit (a google search), the NFN is prepared to predict that the letter was intended for Peter “Little Finger” Baelish.
And TBH, there aren’t many options left for the Starks cause at this moment. Maybe a last ditch effort could be made to the Karstarks or Umbers, but from a show perspective, Little Finger has been sitting on the sidelines for much of the season. It seems apt to bring him back in the fold this way with a fresh army just in time to save the Starks’ effort to retake Winterfell. But aside from that, any ulterior motives or rewards to be handed out remain unclear.