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Reply All: A Game of Thrones Email Exchange – S6E7 ‘The Broken Man’

If you missed last week’s exchange, you can check it out here.

NICK: As happy as I am that The Hound is back and showing off his impressive axe-swinging skills (which I’m sure will come in handy for something other than wood in the near future), I felt his re-entry was a little lackluster. So Septon Ray nurses Clegane back to life, talks freely of peace among the greenest hills we’ve ever seen on the show, and then ends up dead with everyone else because he can’t bribe or fight the supposed Brotherhood. I know this season has been pushing the time element, but this just seemed forced to me. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for him to get back to his roots and – presumably – take on his brother mano a mountain. The Hound has always been a character you loved to hate, until we saw a Needle-sized sliver of goodness that Ian McShane’s character was attempting to bring out before getting himself and his followers killed. Suddenly I’m rooting for The Hound more and more.

KEITH: I’ll agree that, while I was happy to see The Hound back, his return was absolutely the most lackluster of the various returns we’ve seen this season. I feel like his experiences with Arya––who I feel he did genuinely care about––have continued to soften his perspective on the world and Ray recognized that and was trying to bring it out. Sadly, the pacifist approach is hardly one that works in Westeros and Ray and the rest of the nomad… religious…. group…. type people end up slain, pushing The Hound back into conflict. It’s good to have him back, but this whole bit seemed entirely too cliche to be in Game of Thrones.

Speaking of Arya, however, how could she have let her guard down so easily? I’m pretty much 100% sure she’s still alive, but for how long, I’m not entirely sure. I had thought her entirely too smart to let the Waif sneak up on her like that, but maybe the prospect of returning home got her so excited that she just spaced out for a second?

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NICK: Dude I know. After everything she learned during her internship, you’d think she’d be more keen to the tricks the Waif is likely to use. Maybe she was high on her hopes of heading home, but still, she’s spent so much time learning how to become aware of her surroundings that it seems nearly impossible for her to not be suspect of the sweet old lady. To be fair to Arya though, she’s only ever seen Jaquen wear another’s face, so maybe she assumed he was the only one currently appointed to using the faces of the dead. Either way, she could have – and should have – been more cautious. Also, let’s give a hand to all the folks who helped Arya as she stumbled and bled through the streets of Braavos! Apparently it takes more than an open stab wound for people to provide assistance. Tough crowd.

Speaking of tough crowd, how about that chat between Cercei and Lady Olenna? It was a slightly more sophisticated version of a Mean Girls lunch table exchange. Olenna is pissed because Cercei’s an idiot, and Cercei’s like “whatever, I have a Mountain, you’re leaving King’s Landing, my son married your granddaughter, and, oh yeah, you’re grandson is rotting in a prison”. Unbeknownst to Cercei, Margaery’s little drawing of the Tyrell sigil restores Olenna’s faith in her family’s potential dynasty.

So Margaery convinces Tommen to form an alliance with the High Sparrow, seemingly turning over a holy leaf. Obviously after her drawing we find she’s not so easily swayed, but where does this new alliance go from here?

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KEITH: That’s something I’ve been pondering for the past two weeks. Margaery is entirely too smart to have let the High Sparrow shift her approach to the world, and letting Lady Olenna in on this was a clever way to overtly clue the reader in as well. My biggest concern here is that, much like Margaery, the High Sparrow is entirely too smart to be fooled by a little bit of trickery, and I suspect that Margaery is hardly as slick as she believes herself to be. Expect this one to end badly. Really badly.

Speaking of the passing of secret notes, who do you think Sansa was writing to? Do you think she’s trying to draw on Petyr’s Knights of the Vale, or do you think maybe she’s writing to someone else? This is another situation I suspect doesn’t necessarily end well, as Sansa is––once again––hiding things from Jon. How do you see this playing out?

NICK: I think the obvious answer is that she’s writing to Littlefinger, and that maybe she’s swallowing her pride because she’s coming to the realization that the Stark name isn’t held in as high regard as once before. So who is she writing to, if not Petyr Baelish? How about her great-Uncle Brynden, currently keeping Jaime and Bronn busy with the siege at Riverrun? The only thing against this theory is that she’s already sent Brienne to Riverrun, but perhaps the letter provides stronger words of encouragement than Brienne could muster. Either way, I’m looking forward to the reunion of Brienne and Jaime, as next week’s trailer teased. The two hate each other, but went through such an ordeal that ended with them saving each other’s lives, and now we get another round and hopefully some good fight scenes.

How did you feel about Lady Lyanna Mormont? The most brutal 10 year-old in the North! HAIL LADY MORMONT!

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KEITH: Oh, you mean the Bear-oness of Sassypants Island? She was awesome! She was a great kicking off point for Jon and Sansa’s “Support the Starks” Tour and offered a bit of levity without having it seem forced (like Tyrion’s “punch me in the face” line from earlier in the season). It also served to remind us that maybe Jon and Sansa aren’t going to have the easiest time convincing people to join up with them––after all, Lyanna does point out that Jon’s still a bastard and Sansa’s marital situation has left her Stark name up for interpretation.

The scene also reinforced the fact that Ser Davos is really, really, good at convincing people to support a given leader. He did it at the Iron Bank and he does it again here.

So, what are you looking forward to most in the next episode?

NICK: Points for that pun!

As anxious as I am for Brienne and Jaime to share a tent, and the Hound to do some damage, I’m teeming with excitement over the Arya thread. There’s theories milling about that the girl who was stabbed wasn’t actually Arya, and another that posits that she and the Waif are one – a la Fight Club – and that she’s basically killing “Arya Stark” to become “no one”, which happens to be the title of episode 8. I’m hoping my mind gets blown regardless of the outcome, but Arya’s story is finally starting to pay dividends after so much time in the House of Black and White. We also can’t forget who the third person Arya uttered death to way back in season two: Jaquen H’ghar. It’s been presumed since then that his assistance in helping her escape Harrenhal relinquished that request, but Jaquen is a man who lives – and maybe dies – by his word. What was it he told Arya when she tricked him into helping her? Oh yeah, “Help was not promised, lovely girl, only death”.

So what about you, good ser? Are you itching for the Hound? Fun at Riverrun with Brienne, Jaime, and the Blackfish? Perhaps more Lannister slights? What has captured your attention for the coming week?

KEITH: A man also eagerly awaits the outcome of Arya’s encounter with the Waif. I’ve also seen the theories about how the girl who was stabbed might not have actually been Arya, and given the fact that we saw her cautiously drawing Needle out of its hiding place and placing it beside her as she lay in bed, I feel like we might be getting some sort of “look, she really was too clever to get herself stabbed like that!” payoff. It’s also going to be really great to get Jaime and Brienne onscreen together again. Theirs was one of my favorite storylines in season three, and I’m totally pumped to see how their relationship has evolved.

Check out the trailer below for episode eight, and catch Game of Thrones on HBO Sunday at 9pm EST.

 

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Nick Hershey

The author Nick Hershey

Nick was born and raised in Amish country, has a beard, but isn’t Amish. He’s a fan of winter as long as he’s at the top of a mountain with a board under his feet. He’s an avid sports fan, movie junkie, tv bum, and music enthusiast who still purchases CDs for some reason.