HBO’s Game of Thrones season six episode seven brought back two characters, one of whom viewers assumed was dead and one who was just missed because he’s a supporting player who hasn’t gotten in any recent screen time. The episode also introduced a new character played by Ian McShane and found the Stark siblings on the road trying to drum up support for their quest to regain Winterfell from the Boltons. And speaking of the Boltons, Ramsay was once again absent from the story. Also left out of episode seven was the gang at Meereen as well as Dany, her dragon, and the Dothrakis. Tommen was mentioned but didn’t put in an appearance, and Bran/the new Three-Eyed Raven was left out in the cold which, in retrospect, is better than what happened to his sister, Arya, in this episode.
The episode begins with Ian McShane showing up as a character who isn’t referred to by name. Readers of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire will recognize the character as Septon Meribald from Martin’s A Feast For Crows. Septon Meribald and his followers are busy building what could be a new place of worship, happily going about their day with the men doing the construction work and the women cooking. And yes, there he is! Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane is alive and kicking. Welcome back, Rory McCann. Septon Meribald asks how many men it took to take him down, and The Hound admits it was a woman who got the better of him. The Septon discusses the moment when he first stumbled upon The Hound, describing him as nearly dead, stinking to high heaven, and with a bone sticking out of his leg. The Hound says it is hate that kept him alive when he should have died, but Septon Meribald says God’s not done with him yet and that’s why he’s still alive. The Hound asks if the gods are real, why haven’t they punished him, and the Septon responds, “They have.”
At King’s Landing, Margaery (Natalie Dormer) is busy reading The Book of The Mother when the High Sparrow stops by for a visit. Margaery’s got the text memorized and the High Sparrow’s impressed. Margaery’s back on the “I only pretended to love the poor and the needy” kick, and the High Sparrow agrees that is sometimes what happens. The High Sparrow’s purpose for the visit is to find out why she hasn’t joined her husband in their marriage bed, and Margaery says those desires no longer drive her like they used to. The High Sparrow reminds her King Tommen must have an heir or they won’t be able to continue their work. The High Sparrow is about to leave when he casually tosses out a major announcement: he fears for Lady Tyrell’s safety if she doesn’t repent.
Margaery meets with her grandmother (Diana Rigg) with the ever watchful Septa Unella (Hannah Waddingham) close by. Lady Tyrell wants Unella to leave but of course she won’t. Margaery seems fine with Septa Unella’s hovering presence, telling her grandmother that Loris’ only hope for release from his imprisonment is to confess and repent. If he doesn’t, he’ll remain caged up. Lady Tyrell is beside herself and wants Margaery to return home immediately. Margaery tells her grandmother it’s she who should leave King’s Landing as soon as possible, squeezing her hand and passing a note as a signal that she’s faking at least part of this pious act. Lady Tyrell opens the note when she’s alone and it’s a drawing of a single rose.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) meet with the Wildlings who are reluctant to follow Jon Snow to battle. They don’t believe his war is their war, but Tormund reminds them it’s because of Jon Snow that they’re safe. Jon tells them everyone will be coming for them if he loses at Winterfell. He tells the Wildlings he needs them with him if he’s going to win the North back. Tormund reminds them Jon Snow died for them at the hands of his Brothers and if they’re not willing to do the same for him, then they’re cowards. The giant rises, says, “Snow,” and leaves the group. That ringing endorsement prompts the rest of the Wildlings to commit to the cause. Jon asks if Tormund’s sure they’ll come, and Tormund says if they pledge to do something, they’ll do it. The Wildlings are now officially #TeamStark.
Cersei (Lena Headey) meets with Lady Tyrell and asks if she’s actually planning on leaving. Lady Tyrell blames everything on Cersei, telling her that their two houses are on the verge of collapse because of her. And, for once, Cersei accepts the full blame. “I wonder if you’re the worst person I’ve ever met?” asks Lady Tyrell. She reminds Cersei about the way she smirked when her granddaughter and grandson were put in cells. Lady Tyrell says she’s definitely leaving and Cersei should too, but Cersei won’t leave her son. Lady Tyrell rubs in the fact that Cersei’s family is gone, the people despise her, and she should leave while she can. “You’ve lost, Cersei. It’s the only joy I can find in all this misery,” says Lady Tyrell, fully enjoying seeing Cersei squirm.
Next we get to catch up with the buddy comedy team of Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jeremy Flynn). They’ve been separated for too long but now they’re back leading the Lannister army to Riverrun. Jaime and Bronn have a nifty little exchange about commanding armies, and Jaime calls Bronn his right hand that he lost. Bronn stops him from completing the old Lannister saying of “a Lannnister always…” as they walk through the Frey army. They listen in as the Frey boys threaten the Blackfish with the hanging of Lord Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies who’s been keeping busy with Outlander while Edmure’s been locked up). If he doesn’t yield the castle, Edmure dies. A Frey reminds the Blackfish that he sliced his niece’s throat ear-to-ear, but the Blackfish responds by saying, “Go on, then, cut his throat.” They don’t – just as the Blackfish expected. Up walks Jaime telling the Freys they allowed 8,000 men to approach unchallenged. The siege is now under Jaime’s command and he wants Edmure bathed as soon as possible. Bronn tells the Frey army to dig trenches, and then Jaime requests Bronn get word to the Blackfish that he wants a parley. Again we’re treated to the comedy act of Bronn and Jaime as they discuss who would win in a fight: Jaime or the Blackfish.
Sansa, Jon, and Sir Davos (Liam Cunningham) visit the young but confident Lady Lyanna Mormont who rules Bear Island. Jon Snow tells Lady Mormont he served under her uncle at Castle Black, explaining Robb Stark is gone but House Stark is not and they want House Mormont’s allegiance. Lady Mormont consults her advisors and says Jon is a Snow and Sansa is a Bolton, something Sansa immediately takes issue with, replying that she’s always been a Stark. Jon reiterates that they need to fight Ramsay Bolton but Lady Mormont wants to know why she should sacrifice another life on Bear Island for someone else’s war. Sir Davos speaks up, telling her he understands how she feels. He explains his background and that he’s here because this isn’t someone else’s war, “It’s our war.” Lyanna’s uncle made Jon his stewart because Jon had the courage to do what was right. The real war is between the living and the dead, and Mormont knew that. Davos says, “Make no mistake, my lady, the dead are coming.” Davos continues his speech, telling Lyanna a divided North won’t stand a chance against the Night King and advising they all need to fight together to get back Winterfell. House Mormont has kept faith with House Stark for a 1,000 years, “We will not break faith today,” says Lady Mormont. They pledge 62 fighting men. They are not a large House but every man from Bear Island fights with the strength of 10.
Jaime rides through the troops and approaches the gates to Riverrun. Archers keep him in their sights as the drawbridge lowers. Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully (Clive Russell), surrounded by some of his men, is on the other side. He meets Jaime in the middle and asks after Sansa and Arya. Jaime admits he doesn’t have them and he’s there to get the castle back for the Freys. Hundreds will die if the Blackfish doesn’t surrender, with the Blackfish responding by says thousands of the Lannister army will die, too. Jaime promises to spare his men if he surrenders, and the Blackfish says he’s ready to die in this castle. “You can either attack or try to starve us out,” says the Blackfish, adding that he has two years’ worth of provisions. The Blackfish only met with Jaime to get his measure, and he’s disappointed with what he sees.
Once again we’re back with the Starks and this time they’re met with a firm no. Lord Glover isn’t about to help take back Winterfell because the Boltons helped him take back his castle from the Ironborn. Glover asks who else is fighting for the Starks and Jon lists off House Mormont and confirms the bulk of the army is made up of Wildlings. Glover can’t believe the rumors are true and declares House Glover will not fight alongside Wildlings, turning and walking away. Sansa reminds him his House is pledged to the Starks, sworn to answer when called upon. Glover says they were pledged and even followed Robb Stark, but Robb wasn’t there and instead took up with a foreign whore and got himself and those who followed him killed. “House Stark is dead,” says Glover, effectively ending the conversation.
The scene shifts to a bar where Theon (Alfie Allen) appears upset the men and his sister, Yara (Gemma Whelan), are drinking and partying with whores. He won’t drink and can’t have a woman, and his sister tries to get him to relax. She says she’ll never hurt him and Theon wants to know if their uncle is after them. Of course he is, confirms Yara, demanding Theon drink his entire cup. She’s tired of watching him cower and continues to demand he drink the ale. She wants the real Theon back, not this wimpy pretender. She promises they’ll get justice; he corrects her to say justice would be dying at Winterfell. She promises him revenge instead and that they’ll sail to Meereen and make a pact with the Dragon Queen to take back the Iron Islands. Theon, the real Theon, looks at his sister and wordlessly indicates he’s with her.
Sir Davos tells Jon and Sansa they’re camping where Stannis did and Jon says they need to march on Winterfell now, with the three Houses and the Wildlings who’ve pledged their support. Davos runs off to break up a fight while Sansa and Jon discuss whether Davos is worth listening to. Jon wants to fight now, but Sansa believes they need more men. As Jon rushes off to help Davos, Sansa sees that House Mormont has brought ravens. She pens a note and signs it with her name and seal. Who’s it to? I’m guessing she’s finally going to say yes to Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish’s offer of men to fight for the Starks.
And now we’re back where we began the episode, catching up once again with Septon Meribald who’s delivering George R.R. Martin’s famous Broken Men speech. Septon Meribald is talking to his people about how he used to be a coward who followed orders, doing wrongs to innocent people just because he was told to do so. He wasn’t even worthy of being called an animal because animals are true to their nature. He recalls cutting a young boy’s throat and how that changed everything. He can still hear that child’s mother’s scream, but now he’s just trying to bring a little goodness into the world. It’s never too late to start over, to come back, to start helping people. Just then three men on horses ride up to the group, demanding to know what they’re doing there. The men say they’re just protecting the people, then they ask about food and horses. The Hound stares them down as the leader says, “Stay safe. The night is dark and full of terrors,” before turning and riding away. The Hound tells Septon Meribald that those men were from the Brotherhood and they follow the Red God. He wants to hunt them down because he knows they’ll be back, but Meribald doesn’t think that’s necessary.
On to Braavos where Arya (Maisie Williams) walks through the port and finds a man who agrees to give her passage on his ship. They leave in two days but then she throws him a bag of coins, telling him he’ll leave at dawn instead. She walks away and is alone on a bridge watching boats float by when an old woman approaches. But no – it’s not an elderly woman at all – it’s the Waif in disguise. The Waif grabs Arya and stabs her repeatedly in the stomach. Arya leaps from the bridge, her blood spreading in the ocean while her body is underwater. Surfacing, she crawls to shore, clutching her stomach. Wet, bleeding, and in pain, no one helps her as she staggers through the crowded market.
The Hound is busy chopping wood when he hears a horse in the distance. He returns to the peaceful little group to find they’ve all been slaughtered and Septon Meribald has been hung from the chapel they were building. The Hound stares at him and then turns, grabs his axe, and walks away.
More Season 6 Recaps:
- Episode 1 The Red Woman
- Episode 2 Home
- Episode 3 Oathbreaker
- Episode 4 Book of the Stranger
- Episode 5 The Door
- Episode 6 Blood of My Blood
- Episode 8 No One