Game of Thrones s6 ep 7

*SPOILERS*

Well, Lovejoy wasn’t with us very long, was he?

Ian McShane’s much-anticipated GOT debut is over almost as soon as it begins, but he arrives with some fanfare by way of (GOT’s first ever?) cold open, playing a constantly, slightly irritatingly smiling Septon – nobody can be that happy all the time, especially in the hell on earth that is Westeros – who runs some sort of religious commune of suspiciously clean and healthy-looking extras, with very special guest the good/bad old Hound hanging around looking hangdog as ever.

Yes, having established its reputation early on as a show unafraid to kill folk off, GOT has spent this season bringing them back instead. And yes, I know we never actually saw the Hound die, and a tv death without a body isn’t a death at all, but still. If GOT were as brave as it wants to be, the Hound would’ve died on that hillside where Arya left him, so I guess it’s not. Which means that no matter how bad Arya’s injuries are this week, she’ll be fine for this season at least; there’s a very good chance that Lady Stoneheart may appear after all; and who knows, Dead Septon Lovejoy might well pop back to life of a sort too, if the writers are in the mood.

We shall see.

Meantime, as the Hound – his perpetual bad mood not in any way improved by yet another narrow escape from death – and his axe head off across the countryside, Margaery is treading very carefully around a religious leader of very different style. The High Sparrow smiles too much as well, but the menace underlying every word is palpable: “I only pray your grandmother follows your lead….you must teach her the new way as she taught you the old or I fear for her safety. Body and soul.”

Uh-oh….

It’s been some time since we saw the real Margaery, but that quick, unmistakeable flash in her eyes and the Tyrell Rose she presses into her grandmother’s hand tell us the real Margaery is still in there, still brilliant, and, oh thank heaven, still playing to win. Never mind the blinkered Daenerys, absent from this week’s episode, and entirely unmissed, or the increasingly desperate Cersei, reduced to rubble by the imperious, magnificent Olenna; Margaery is a queen I can root for, and both Natalie Dormer and Diana Rigg’s performances are wonderful.

Of course, the delicately-plotted politics of Kings Landing are miles away, both in nature and geography, from Jon and Sansa’s more inelegant attempts to gather up support in the North. Great-uncle Brynden – a canny, indomitable old soldier Olenna would get on famously with – makes quick work of both the Freys’ callow threats and Jaime’s more considered attempts to resolve the siege at Riverrun, but Jon and Sansa aren’t quite as formidable or as clever as the Blackfish, as yet, bless them. Their blundering efforts to butter up the joyously tiny and blunt Lady Mormont are both funny and endearing – Jon’s desperate expression when he turns to Sansa, all “what do we say now?” is adorable – and while Davos’s earnest, empathetic way with young Princesses (poor Shireen) gets them out of that particular jam, House Glover isn’t so easily swayed. Tormund and the Giant keeping the Wildlings on board is great, but, in an episode all about getting ready for the big fight, both Sansa and I think we need more troops. Getting involved with Littlefinger again to get them, though? Oh, Sansa. Trusting Baelish didn’t work out for your dad, it didn’t work out for your mum, and it didn’t work out for you last time you tried it, either. Let’s hope Brienne and her sword come back soon; you’re going to need them.

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3 thoughts on “Game of Thrones s6 ep 7

  1. Bill June 7, 2016 / 2:52 pm

    I adore Ian McShane, Deadwood is a fantastic show and I was over the moon to see him in GOT. However, I was completely confused as to the point of his being there? Apart from to show us where the Hound has got to all this time? I can’t quite figure out if the Hound respects Arya for taking him out of the race for a while, or if the “hate” that kept him going means that we should fear for her safety. I think it is the former. I do agree with you though about resurrecting all the characters, it’s all about to get a bit JR and Dallas I think. Having said that though, I would like Gendry to make an appearance at some stage, as the romantic in me sees him and Arya Stark as the rulers of the seven kingdoms.

    This episode flew by and yet it nothing really seems to have happened. Not only did we not have any Daenarys, but we didn’t have any Tyrion or Varys playing the comedy duo, nor did we have Bran and his visions of the Night King. Looks like the Ironbored are going to give Daenarys her ships though and she may finally cross the narrow sea.

    Margaery, like Cersai, is at her best when she is scheming, and I am so relieved to know that is exactly what she’s up to. Lady Oleanna’s dressing down of Cersai was the best scene in this episode for me. I have to say though, this episode definitely seemed like a bit of preamble in advance of the last three episodes, which must be action packed.

  2. CJ Cregg June 8, 2016 / 7:20 pm

    I think the Hound will be ok with Arya too, Bill – he was v fond of her by the end and it wasn’t her who cut him down, in fairness, it was Brienne, wasn’t it? Arya just left him to bleed out, and I think he probably can’t be bothered holding a grudge against her when there are so many worse folk on his hit list….. It was a real waste of Ian McShane, though, I completely agree. A friend of mine suggested – before either of them turned up – that he might have been cast as Euron Greyjoy, which I think would have significantly enlivened the Ironbored plot (the guy they’ve got is fine, but he’s not Lovejoy!) and been much more fun than McShane wandering in for a single ep, grinning a bit and then immediately kicking the chamber pot.

    I know what you mean about preamble, but I did really enjoy most of the ep anyway. Apart from the Ironbored who can’t die fast enough for me, tbh. Lady Olenna just destroying Cersei was just amazing, though. “I wonder if you’re the worst person I’ve ever met.” BURN. I really hope she gets out of Dodge quick enough – I would be gutted if she ended up in the High Sparrow’s cells.

  3. Bill June 13, 2016 / 12:14 pm

    I was thinking about whether Oleanna might fall foul of the High Sparrow as well. This season is supposed to be all about “strong women”, so I would imagine that the High Sparrow imprisoning the three strongest noblewomen on the show doesn’t really play up to that! Ah, you’re right, it was Brienne that stabbed the Hound, I forget everything about this show, especially as it has veered away from the books. I think that tonight’s episode is going to be an exciting one though!

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