I will start every one of these posts off with this warning about spoilers. There will be plenty of spoilers. Seriously, if you have not watched the episode, do not read this post. I will also be mentioning stuff from the books. These are not straight up recaps of episodes, nor are they reviews. I will just mention the stuff I liked/disliked and probably give some opinions about what could happen next.
This was a very interesting episode in the way that it started. Instead of doing the previous episode then jumping to the opening credits, the show follows the previously on GOT with a bunch of people happily building a Sept. The sun is shining, the music is joyous, and everyone is smiling. Then we meet Ian McShane, who is also smiling and happy. Wait, this is not the Al Swearengen we know and love! When I heard that McShane was cast for the series, I just assumed he would be an Iron Born. I figured he would be Victarion Greyjoy. But no, here he is playing some peaceful, Septon. And who does he have with him? Sandor Clegane.
As soon as I saw what they were building, I knew we were going to get the Hound. Quick book rant. In the book, we never get 100% confirmation that the person Brienne sees is Sandor. The Septon is vague and keeps saying that the Hound is dead. I always felt that his meaning was that the Hound was no more and this man had found peace (actually he may say that). My assumption in the next books is that the High Sparrow will call upon Brother Clegane to fight his brother. This will help Sandor reconcile who he was with the fact that the Warrior resides within him (hey, I should be a Septon, I am pretty good at this made up religious stuff). I am guessing the show decided to just drop all of that due to time and go with the Hound picking up the ax to go ahead and deal out a shit ton of death on people. Or maybe after killing the Brotherhood, he will have a moment of clarity (as McShane’s character mentioned after he murdered a young boy).
It is pretty tough to imagine the man who once said:Or how about:And come on, he is also the guy who once said this:Yeah, I suppose him just hacking away at people with an ax is more believable than him becoming a warrior for the gods.
Moving away from the Hound, we go to his pal, Arya, who had a bit of a rough week. I really thought she was going to have an epic showdown with the Waif. Arya was pretty awesome while booking passage to Westeros, but then she meets an old lady who slashes and stabs her and reveals herself to be her nemesis. Arya takes a plunge into the water and comes out holding a wound. My brother sent me a theory that I had not encountered before, but that I actually really liked. It basically goes that the Waif is a persona that Arya created. She is trying to get rid of the baggage that is Arya Stark. Without going into too many details (and trust me, falling into a theory rabbit hole can lead to some weird shit), the episode coming up is called “No One.” The idea is that Arya will find and fight the Waif, but be killed in the process. Jaqen will be standing with the Waif, who will remove her face to reveal the face of Arya Stark, Jaqen will say “who is a girl?” Arya will answer “no one.” End episode. I really do like it. It is very Fight Club (seriously, the comments in that link are a great mashup of the two).
Jon Snow and Sansa Stark are having troubles building an army to fight Ramsay Bolton. The North Remembers…riiiiighhhhtttt. They remember Robb sleeping with a southern girl and that is about it. They forgot about the Red Wedding. They act like the Bolton’s are not a bunch of backstabbing ass-hats. Fortunately Lady Mormont is up to the task. It does look like Sansa was smart enough to write a letter to Petyr and ask for that army from the Vale. Wise move.
Since I mentioned Littlefinger and the Vale, I might as well toss Riverrun into it as well. One of the things I can never really understand is how they fit into all of this. I get that there is basically a struggle between Fire (DRAGONS!!!) and Ice (White Walkers). Varys has been manipulating things to make Westeros more amenable to a return of the Targaryens. Cersei obviously wants to hold onto her power as long as possible. I can get all of that. Littlefinger is the outlier. He manipulates himself into a position where he basically is in charge of the Vale (and he effectively kept them out of the War of the Five Kings–whereas if Jon Arryn were alive, he would almost certainly have sent aid to Robb). He tries to have Bran killed back in the first season and make it look like Tyrion. And yet then he aligns himself with the Lannisters, but then rescues Sansa and marries her to Ramsay. I just cannot see a logic to his moves. Sometimes I wonder if we are supposed to believe he is this master manipulator, but in reality he is just moving pieces on the board, but does not even know what game he is actually playing.
The same goes for Riverrun. How does this story fit into the larger, overall story? Granted, I really enjoy this part of the books. I think this is where we see tremendous growth in Jaime Lannister. It also seems that we will see that same growth in the show. I wonder if during this siege Jaime will prove to be an excellent commander, even earning the respect of the Black Fish. Maybe when the time comes for all armies to either fight the White Walkers or fight Daenerys and the Dothraki, Jaime will be the one to lead them (hell, even abandoning this siege so both forces can fight together against a common enemy). I don’t know, I feel like this whole story line was created (especially in the book) to just give Jaime something to do for awhile. Maybe to bring about that showdown between himself and Brienne? Ugh. I just need to stop thinking about it.
I cannot believe this season is winding down. I feel like so much is going to happen in this next few episodes!