Now that’s a cold open. There I was getting ready to hum along with the intro, and it cuts right to Ian McShane’s Brother Ray character. As he progresses along building his church, we glance a single person carrying a log. Who?

The Hound has returned. We get a bit of backstory on how Ian McShane’s character found him left for dead. Brienne won’t be pleased she didn’t finish the job, but it’s good to have the man back. Clegane Bowl, anyone? It’s happening. Maybe not this season, but like winter, it’s coming.

ian mchshane on game of thrones

While the Septon holds court at what doubles as Warrior’s Anonymous, three members of the Brotherhood Without Banners ride up. Yeah, if you think it doesn’t end well for the group, you’d be correct. The final scene is The Hound grabbing an axe and heading off.

Go brother. Eat all the damn chickens in Westeros.

the hound is back

Ser Davos Should Win the Game of Thrones

We see John, Sansa and Ser Davos trek to Bear Island to get the support of House Mormont. John’s speech fails, as does Sansa’s attempt to win over the ten-year-old Lady Lyanna Mormont.

Leave it to Ser Davos to steal the entire episode as he convinces her to pledge the House’s 62 soldiers. Out of a brilliantly acted episode, the Bear Island scene is the standout part for me. I’ll admit to having a soft spot for Ser Davos.

Snow

How do you convince the Wildling army to link up and take back Winterfell? Easy, one impassioned speech and one word from a giant. Snow. That summed up the rest of the tribes and I’d back Snow too after a giant throws his lot in with the ex-Lord Commander.

jon snow gathers wildling support

Tormund grabs the runner-up spot of the night when he responds to Snow asking if they will show up. They aren’t as clever as the southern folk. If the Free Folk say they are going to do something, they do it.

Bronn as Jaime’s Right Hand

At the front of the Lannister army, Jaime and Bronn are charged with taking back Riverrun from the Blackfish. It’s damn good to have Bronn back on the show. He’s been missed and provides some comic relief to the situation.

I know it won’t last, but Jaime should stay paired with Bronn. The acting hits all the right notes between the two. When Jaime is in King’s Landing with Cersei, the pacing of the show gets screwed up. Cersei is better left conspiring and Jaime in the field.

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Bronn goes on to demand a lordship, a castle, and a high-born beauty. The guy doesn’t ask for much, and it was perfect when he cut off the old Lannister adage of they always pay their debts.

The Blackfish scene was pure setup, but it was nice to see him call the Freys on the bluff to hang Edmure.

A Girl Can Jump off a Bridge

Arya was too nonchalant in moving to leave Braavos. While a girl has her name back, the waif has a score to settle. After securing passage to Westeros, Arya stops on a bridge where she is attacked by the waif.

She survives the attack, but it brings up an important question. One of the main rules of the Faceless is nothing is personal. The waif took to the task with a little too much pleasure and defied standing orders for her not to suffer. Multiple stab wounds to the abdomen? That qualifies as suffering.

One theory floated is that the person stabbed on the bridge is a fake Arya. If you’re a reader of the books, fake ‘characters’ are used quite often – Arya, Sansa, etc. Will HBO go this route? If not, why was Arya that confident the morning after defying the Faceless Men?

I’d lean towards it being the real Arya for simplicity. HBO has three episodes left in the season, will they introduce that plot device? It’s a minor plot hole of Arya being fearful last episode to pure confidence in the latest.

In a perfect world? HBO would take the chance and introduce a fake Arya. Bringing the Hound back was a nice nod in that direction and the sudden inclusion of the Brotherhood Without Banners lends a bit more hope that the show is steering back towards the source material.

Theon Greyjoy Gets His Groove Back

What, you thought we would have a Game of Thrones episode without nudity? The scene is about Theon finally shedding his doubt and fully committing to helping Yara linking up with Daenerys in Mereen.

It’s good to have Theon back. He owes the Starks and it makes you wonder how it will shake out when the battle lines are drawn.

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Yeah, Margaery is Playing the Game of Thrones

No shocker here. The pious act we saw Queen Margaery playing last episode and parts of this? She’s playing the game. She manages to sneak a message to her grandmother, Olenna, ‘warning’ her to leave King’s Landing.

What’s the end game? No love lost between the Tyrells and the Lannisters. Margaery is ignoring Tommen and Olenna happily dismisses Cersei. The two may hate each other, but they love their respective families. The High Sparrow’s grip looks to be tested next week.

Though, how great would it be if the fan theory that the High Sparrow is actually Howland Reed, a fierce Stark ally? Get lost reading all the fan theories on the various subreddits.

Sansa Lifts the Vail

With only a handful of houses pledging troops and the Wildling army, Snow and Ser Davos make preparations to hit Winterfell. While not enough, the two know they have to strike.

Sansa knows this and prepares a raven for additional troops. Who? Littlefinger owes her his life, so don’t be surprised if we see the Knights of the Vail enter the battle for Winterfell at the right moment.

Game of Thrones Keeps Building

I know people will decry this as another setup episode, but it is my favorite episode since Hardhome. There wasn’t any wasted time and thankfully we didn’t have to hear another speech from the Khaleesi.

The pace is quickening in the Seven Kingdoms and the final three episodes this season promise to be one hell of a ride. Whatever cliffhanger HBO has in store for us will be brutal.

All of the pieces are set for multiple battles. Mereen and Slaver’s Bay will have to be dealt with before Daenerys can head west. King’s Landing will have to expel the Sparrows and Winterfell must be controlled by the Starks before the Night King moves against the living.

Damn HBO. Why can’t you pull a Netflix and gives us the remaining three now?

Game of Thrones 607
Pros
The Hound returns
Brienne and Jaime reunion/confrontation setup
Greyjoys to link up with Daenerys
Snow gets his army
Cons
Still dealing with Arya’s Braavos storyline
9
Great

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