Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones revealed a few plans in place and set into motion the coming conflicts that will define this season. While it did provide one memorable return of a character long suspected lost, the lasting impact of “The Broken Man” will be how it set up our characters on their respective roads.
With battles brewing in Riverrun, King’s Landing and Winterfell, season six won’t likely go out without a sizable bodycount.
Find out who’s in the line of fire in our SPOILER-filled recap below!
Meanwhile, In Greener Pastures …
OK, so I’m not sure exactly where the good Reverend Ian McShane is hanging out, but his character, Septon Ray, is setting up shop with a few followers and a simple life. Nothing fancy, just chopping wood, building towers and, oh yeah, hanging out with the Hound!
Remember the Hound? He’s the guy with the face that looks like undercooked burger meat, because his brother, the Mountain (you may have heard of him, he’s now lumbering around not-quite-dead-anymore with Cersei), pushed his face into a fire. He hung out with Arya for a while, he got his butt kicked by Brienne of Tarth and he was left for dead. Turns out, Ian McShane stumbled across his nearly-dead body and nursed him back to health. Now, he’s doing the reformed-sinner routine, hauling giant logs around and aggressively chopping wood.
It might be easy to lump Ian McShane in with the High Sparrow in King’s Landing (we’ll get to him later). McShane, while a preacher, isn’t so preachy. He also used to be a violent man, and now, even though he’s turned his life to the gods, he admits that he’s not necessarily sure he knows more about the gods than anyone else. He’s not religious, he’s more, like, spiritual, you know?
One day, the Hound, Ian McShane and his friends are hanging out when a few of the Brotherhood Without Banners show up demanding food and weapons. Ian McShane politely invites them to stay for supper, but that’s not going to satisfy them, clearly. “Sleep tight!” they warn, not ominously at all.
Ian McShane doesn’t seem too worried about it. He’s not going to fight, despite the Hound’s concern. Despite Ian McShane’s efforts, the Hound is still harboring a lot of bitterness over getting beaten by Brienne and abandoned by Arya. He’s channeling all his frustration into a lot wood chopping. Really intense wood chopping.
That’s what he’s busy doing when the Brotherhood Without Banners return, slaughter all of the Hound’s new friends and string up Ian McShane all nasty like.
The Hound grabs his wood-chopping axe, looks dead into camera and says “Here we go again!” Alright, maybe that last part didn’t happen, but he is definitely trading wood-chopping for body-chopping now.
Meanwhile, In the North …
Jon Snow and Sansa are on a whirlwind tour to win hearts and minds and, let’s be honest, soliders. First, they need to get the Wildlings united on their side. Even though Jon Snow risked everything and was murdered for helping the Wildlings, now they’re being a little wishy-washy with their allegiances. They resist the urge to jump into Jon’s battle with the Boltons at first, but a rousing speech by Tormund seems to do the trick. Once Wun-Wun the giant pledges allegiance to “Snow,” the others follow.
Next, Sansa, Jon and Davos head to Bear Island to get the support of the House Mormont. Bear Island is ruled now by Lady Mormont, a young girl that could easily still be counted among the key demographics for Bratz dolls. She’s not one to be underestimated, however. At first resistant to Jon Snow and Sansa’s flattery and appeals, the tiny #girlboss heeds Davos’ warning that the North needs to be united if they’re going to survive the coming war with the dead. The shrewd young Lady of Bear Island pledges her fighting men, all 62 of them.
That’s a start, and it’s more than Sansa and Jon get from Lord Glover, Master of Deepwood Motte. Backing Robb Stark turned out not so great for the Glovers. The Ironborn attacked their castle, threw Glover’s wife and children in prison and generally trashed the place. The Glovers took their castle back with the help of the Boltons, feeling a little abandoned by the Starks. Plus, they’re not going to fight alongside those icky Wildings.
OK, so it’s not quite the successful recruitment drive Sansa and Jon were hoping for. Even though their little rush week turned out fewer pledges to House Stark than they had hoped, Davos advises they need to strike before another snowstorm comes blowing in. He knows how much the snow slowed Stannis down. Jon agrees, but Sansa’s not too pleased with how Davos seems to have more sway with Jon than she does.
She sneaks off and writes a letter to someone, but we don’t see to whom. Could it be she’s reconsidering Littlefinger’s offer for assistance? He does have all those convenient Knights of the Vale.
Meanwhile, In Riverrun …
The Frey boys are being all kinds of dummies trying to get the castle back from Catelyn Stark’s uncle, the Blackfish. They trot out the Blackfish’s nephew, Edmure, and threaten to hang him, but the Blackfish is unmoved. So then they threaten to slit his throat, but Blackfish calls their bluff again. Knowing full well Edmure is their best bargaining chip, the brothers Frey don’t follow through with either attack.
That’s when Jaime shows up with his men (and Bronn!) and declares listen up fives, a ten is speaking. He slaps about the Freys and takes over the siege. His first order of business is to have Edmure cleaned up and fed. Then he wants the Freys to set up a proper perimeter, and for Bronn to set up a sexy little meeting between the Kingslayer and the Blackfish.
The Blackfish assures Jaime that he has no plans to surrender the castle willingly. And if the Lannisters hope to starve them out, they’ll have to wait two years for the Tully forces to go through all their provisions. The only way they’re getting that castle back is if they make it over the walls and force them out, so good luck with that!
There is a wildcard on the way. How will Brienne’s impending arrival affect this standoff?
Meanwhile, En Route To Meereen …
The Greyjoy siblings make a tiny pitstop at a brothel on their way to strike a deal with Daenerys. Yara’s getting her jollies with one of the working girls, but poor Theon lacks the equipment to really enjoy himself.
Yara pauses her pawing to give Theon a little pep talk. Basically, she says, in the understatement of the century, he’s had a rough couple of years, but now he either needs to get his groove back or kill himself. Theon chugs some ale, and it starts to look like he might eat, pray, love his way back to some semblance of normal.
Meanwhile, In King’s Landing …
Margaery may have renounced the trappings of court life, but she sure snatched her crown back fast, didn’t she? The High Sparrow walks in on the Queen praying and has a totally appropriate and very cool conversation with the Queen about if she’s getting any. Now, I get it, producing an heir to the King is important to the Sparrow and the kind of thing people talk about openly in a monarchy. But it was still gross. She tries to explain that she’s just not in the mood to bang Tommen, and he assures her that you don’t need to have desire to get through it, just patience. I’m sure anyone that’s faced a disappointing Grindr hookup could agree. The High Sparrow also warns Marg that she should get her granny, Lady Olenna, to atone before she finds herself in some trouble.
This triggers Margaery to meet with Lady Olenna and tell her it’s time to head home to Highgarden. At first, Lady Olenna protests that she’s not leaving Margaery and Loras. Under the watchful eye of the septa that follows Margaery around, the young Queen pleads with her grammy and secretly slips her a doodle of a flower — the sigil of the House Tyrell. It’s official: Margaery has a plan, and her whole conversion is just for show. That’s not a big shocker. The real question now is does the High Sparrow realize it, and is he one step ahead of the clever queen?
Lady Olenna is wrapping up her affairs before leaving King’s Landing when her best frenemy Cersei shows up to ask her to stay as her only remaining ally. Instead, Olenna unleashes a torrent of reads that would not only shutdown the library, it would burn the building down. My favorite was when she pondered aloud “I wonder if you are the worst person I’ve ever met.” The only joy Olenna finds in all of this is seeing Cersei fail so hard. Ooh, sick burn.
Meanwhile, In Braavos …
Arya is just strutting around the streets in broad daylight, tossing around sacks of coins like there’s not a league of assassins with the power to look like anyone definitely out to kill her. She books a boat back to Westeros for dawn, and then has a nice little sit out in the open overlooking the water. How quaint!
A kindly old lady approaches and gives Arya a good stabbing all in the tummy before revealing herself to be the Waif in disguies. (Duh.) Arya flings herself into the water and makes an escape. We last see her wandering the streets of Braavos, wet and bleeding, afraid of every face she sees, which is probably as wary as she should have been in the first place. You don’t have to be a psychic to know you in danger, gurl!
What did you think of last night’s episode of Game of Thrones?