We open with some construction, I think of a tower. Included in the construction is Sandor Clegane, aka the Hound. Damn this excites me, the Clegane bowl is very much on (get hype) and that’s been something I’ve been hoping for this season. We learn that he was found by a Septon of the seven (played by Ian McShane), he is telling the Hound that there was a reason the gods spared him. To fight his brother perhaps?
In King’s Landing, Margery is still in jail, although far more comfortable that she had been before the deal between the Sparrow and the crown. It’s hard to tell Margery’s actual desires, I cannot tell if she’s actually been won over by the Sparrow, or is merely playing the game. Then she slips something to Olenna, which clearly suggests that she is playing the Sparrow, rather than becoming a true convert. Prior to this Natalie Dormer has played it so well; it’s been hard to tell. The note for Olenna has an image of the Tyrell rose.
Jon is trying to win the Wildlings to his side. Some are against the idea, saying they agreed to fight the White Walkers. Tormund also speaks for Jon, and this helps secure the Wildling support. I’m always game for cool Tormund moments, and this was certainly one of those.
Cersei meets with Olenna, who blamed Cersei for all that has happened. Cersei admits that she made mistakes, but is unable to make Olenna stay in King’s Landing. I like that Cersei knows she screwed up, and she wants to correct it, but I hope she’s got a bigger plan in play than just waiting for her trial by combat.
At Riverrun Jaime and Bronn arrive with the Lannister army. Bronn is put in charge of organising the siege. Meanwhile Edmure is being used to bait the Blackfish. It completely fails. Jaime takes charge from the Frey’s and Bronn beings mapping out a proper siege.
The Stark’s attempts to win support take them to meet with young Lady Lyanna Mormont. She makes the point that she is there to look after Bear Island, and does not have to sacrifice innocent men for another’s war. Ser Davos is the one who wins her round and helps secure House Mormont’s support, even if it is only 62 men. I thought the young actress who played Mormont, Bella Ramsey, was great. I’m not sure how old she is, but I’d say around 13 or 14, and she was one of the highlights of the episode. Although Ser Jorah will always be my favourite Mormont.
Back at the siege Jaime meets with the Blackfish. Jaime appeals to the idea of not losing lives, however the Blackfish says that whilst he lives the war isn’t over, instead he wants to defend his home.
Lord Glover, played by Tim McInnerny, is the next Northern Lord Jon and Sansa visit, and he shoots down Jon. It’s obviously hard for many of the houses to see past the fact they are fighting with Wildlings. The Glovers reiterate the fact they will no longer fight for the Starks after Sansa demands they fight because of their pact to House Stark.
Theon and Yara are on the run, and whilst everyone else is whoring Theon is obviously on edge, missing key parts of his anatomy and all. He’s also scared of Euron hunting him. Yara tells him that he either needs to be Theon or he may as well just end it. She plans to take Euron’s idea of going to Meereen.
Jon, Sansa, and Davos take stock of their army. Sansa believes they need more men, Jon wants to just fight with the army they have. Sansa sends off a letter asking for aid, I’m not certain to whom, but my suspicion would be Littlefinger at the Vale.
Ian McShane’s Septon gives a speech about what his life was prior to when we’ve met them and how that should use to look forward, this was clearly aimed at the Hound. But they are interrupted when three men arrive; I believe they are members of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and they leave after making some veiled threats.
In Braavos, Arya is looking for passage back to Westeros, she’s finds a ship will to take her. However the waif attacks her before they can leave. She suffers several stab wounds, and is knocked into the river. Arya survives, but is obviously fearful of most people, as anyone could be the waif. This leaves Arya in a vulnerable position, but I’m backing her to get even next week given the episode will be titled ‘No One’.
The Hound continues to work, but when returns to find the rest of his group slaughtered, before he leaves, axe in hand, clearly ready to wreak some revenge. This was clearly the work of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and it is not going to go well for them next week.
I really liked this episode. There were essentially three main stories, and two of them felt very much like an old school war scenario. The siege at Riverrun and the Stark’s recruitment drive remind me of the stories from season 2 or 3. I like how Jaime swanned into the Riverrun siege and essentially had to sort it all out. It was also nice to see Bronn back, and now essentially as Jaime’s second in command. Meanwhile we got to see a fair amount of difference in the northern houses. We got to see both Mormont and Glover, who gave differing answers. I can’t help but feel that both of these lords are going to be important, particularly Lord Glover, why else would you hire someone of the calibre of Tim McInnerny? And given how good she was in this I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Lady Mormont. Speaking of hiring big acting talent, Ian McShane as the Septon who saved the Hound’s life was great, and I’ve got to admit I was surprised that he was killed off at the end of the episode, given that it was Ian McShane, but I guess he only wanted to appear for one episode. But let’s talk about the big story here; the Hound is back and still alive. I did call this by the way, go back and you can see I mentioned the Clegane bowl in an earlier review. So I was in no way surprised to see the Hound back, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t great. The death of his group is clearly what will motivate him to take on the Brotherhood Without Banners, and I’m expecting he’ll find his way to the High Sparrow at King’s Landing for Cersei’s trial by combat. I certainly wasn’t expecting Arya to be attacked from the back by the Waif. Obviously we all knew a confrontation between the two was coming, but I didn’t expect that to happen, I’m expecting Arya will get her revenge, but I hope she doesn’t) and based on the title of next week’s episode don’t think she will) spend too long recovering. Margery seems to have been playing the high Sparrow, and I have to say playing him well, it wasn’t until she slipped the note to Olenna that I could be sure, but now I am. We also got a moment between Theon and Yara, and it’s part of Theon’s continued path to redemption. Overall I was a fan of this episode, I really like the feel of it. We were in the trenches at Riverrun and with the Starks. And having the Hound back is just great, Rory McCann kills it in that role, and we get closer to that Clegane Bowl dream.