‘Violence is a disease. You don’t cure a disease by spreading it to more people.’
I didn’t think I’d be writing a blog post this soon after my last Game of Thrones post but then episode 7 aired and now there’s so much more to talk about.
This episode was titled ‘The Broken Man’. This of course is referring to The Hound who has made his reappearance. Not exactly the re-introduction that I thought and/or hoped for, but it does look to still be interesting and I have a few ideas on where I would like to see him go now. We first see The Hound this episode before the titles have even run – I believe that this is the first time this has happened since the very first episode, correct me if I’m wrong – and he is helping to build what looks like a church. We also see Ian McShane as Brother Ray and we quickly learn that he found – what he thought was the dead body of – the younger Clegane brother and then nursed him back to health.
We learn quickly that Brother Ray was not always the helpful/healing type and that he once used to be a soldier and did terrible things. He doesn’t shy away from telling his group of followers about his past exploits. He describes in brutal detail how he once killed a young boy in front of his mother and that he will never be able to forget the sound of her screams. The Hound, listening to this story from the back of the group (the others are scared of him) realises why he is telling them this. In fact Ray looks Sandor in the eyes and says that no matter what people have done in their past, they can always change for the good. This was a really touching moment when we actually got to feel a sense of relief from The Hound. Has he finally got away from all the bloodshed and atrocities that have haunted him?
In short, no. Ray is cut short by some horsemen who ride up and as good as demand for supplies. Brother Ray welcomes them , ‘seven blesses to you.’ They ask, ‘do you have horses?’ Ray calmly replies, ‘no horses here.’ They then ask about steel and food. ‘You are welcome to stay for supper.’ Is Rays response. They then ride off but not before a threat is delivered. It is clear that during this encounter Sandor recognises the men or at least their armour. He explains that the men are from the Brotherhood without Banners and that the welcome that Ray made to them probably angered them as they follow the Lord of Light. Now last time we saw the Brotherhood was in Season 3 where The Hound killed their leader – Beric Dondarrion. He came back to life fairly quickly after that but this scared the hell out of Sandor and when they show up this time around he looks nervous.
Whilst chopping wood a little later on he hears screams in the distance and upon returning to the camp he sees every single follower of Rays dead on the ground. Slowly the camera pans up to the swinging body of Brother Ray himself. Of course he was going to die. Not only is Ian McShane one of the best actors ever – in my opinion – but, he smiled. If you smile in Game of Thrones you die. That’s like, a rule. The final shot of The Hound – and the episode – is him picking up an axe and then heading off, looking rather angry. So, what does this mean? We can assume that he is heading for the Brotherhoods camp to seek vengeance. It wouldn’t surprise me if we actually saw this encounter as the opening to the next episode. When we did see the Brotherhood last time they were not this violent, which leads me to believe that we may finally get the appearance of a much-loved character from the books. Lady Stoneheart, AKA a resurrected Catelyn Stark. She leads the Brotherhood in the books and makes them more violent overall in her quest to destroy the people that have wronged her family.
The second part to this post revolves around Aryas small section. She is being overly confident when we see her first. She is looking for a way back to Westeros and so buys passage onto a ship. She then stops to admire the view of Braavos. This is when The Waif strikes. Disguised as an old lady she cuts Aryas stomach and then proceeds to stab her multiple times in the gut. Arya escapes but not before she is seemingly severely injured. The final shot of her is walking through the crowded city streets holding her midsection. This whole thing all seemed very odd. Firstly Arya knows that the temple of the Faceless men are going to be looking for her, so why not take precautions? I mean, she didn’t even have Needle on her.
There is a theory that has been circling about Arya and The Waif being the same person. Arya is having to fight with herself in order to become ‘no-one’. It does make sense when you start thinking how – when she was blind – nobody batted an eyelid when she was being beaten senseless in the middle of the street. Also the only other person we see the Waif interact with is Jaqen H’ghar and that is only when Arya is not in the room at the same time. Now as cool as this would be I don’t think it will happen. I believe that Arya has been very clever about the whole thing. I think that she has advertised her whereabouts (by stealing money and paying for transport on a ship) so that The Waif will find her. She has then strapped some kind of blood sacks to her stomach (knowing that when she is attacked The Waif will go for this part of her body). In doing so she shows the illusion of being badly hurt but also has a way of luring her enemy to where she wants to fight with drops of blood. Perhaps the dark hideaway that we saw in the last episode? I said it before, Arya now knows how to fight in the dark. Whatever the case we will almost definitely find out in next weeks episode – titled ‘No-One’.
One last thing before I sign off. The episode titles for the final two installments of this series have been released. Episode 9 is ‘The Battle of the Bastards’. Oh my god! It is happening! Please please please, please let it be a dedicated episode for Jon vs. Ramsey. The finale is called “The Winds of Winter” which is a direct nod to George R.R. Martin’s still incomplete sixth novel of the A Song of Ice and Fire Saga. What could this mean? I am still unsure.
Those are my thoughts on the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Tell me what you think? Will The Hound survive his encounter with the Brotherhood? Will we riot if he doesn’t and we never get The Hound vs. The Mountain? Yes. Yes we will.
‘You don’t cure it by dying, either.’