In the previous episode, Game of Thrones caught its breath and finally reset its feet as it followed up with some characters like Margaery Tyrell, Samwell Tarly and Arya Stark. Their storylines were flagging a bit and definitely needed attention and last week’s episode had given them the forward momentum they so desperately needed. The sixth season is nearly halfway through its latter half, which means storylines are going to collide as the pace picks up gradually. But, before that can happen, there is some old business that needs to be dealt with and that’s exactly what happened in The Broken Man.
Instead of jumping into the sequence of the opening credits, the episode opened with Ian McShane guest starring as he led the construction of some sort of tower, which is probably a sept. The actor had stated before that he was cast for bringing back a beloved character from the dead and he was proven right because we saw Sandor Clegane or the Hound, as he is fondly known, carry out lumber on the construction site. At the end of season four, it had seemed as if Brienne of Tarth had beaten the Hound to death, but he is very much alive as he is cutting wood with plenty of vigor.
Nonetheless, he still seems to be his usual prickly and rude self as he chooses to eat alone. McShane’s character tries to get through to him by asking him what kept him going. The Hound says that it is hate that drives him still. However, the holy man insinuates that there is still something that he has to do because of which he is alive. Understandably, the Hound scoffs at the idea because he doesn’t believe in any god since he wasn’t punished for all the horrible things he has done, but McShane’s Ray informs him that he has been punished, presumably by getting beaten up by a woman.
With Salvation such a hot topic, we are taken to Margaery Tyrell who is reading from a holy text where she is joined by the High Sparrow who is still doubting her. He is wondering why she hasn’t done her duty in bed because the holy monarchy needs an heir. The Sparrow tells her that desire is not necessary because she is simply a vessel who has to do her bidding. In addition, he reminds her that the Queen of Thorns may be her grandmother, but is a sinner and needs to be converted. Margaery is very convincing in her role, but Olenna Tyrell is finding it difficult to understand.
The queen gives her a hard stare and tells her to leave while they all the while placing something in the elderly noblewoman’s hand so the Septa following her around doesn’t notice. What did she give? It was a doodle of a flower, her house’s sigil. But, Cersei pays Olenna a visit before she leaves and attempts to find some common ground. The Queen Mother is still vying for the Tyrell-Lannister unity, but the Queen of Thorns has had enough. She informs Cersei that she has lost and should also leave King’s Landing.
But, Cersei still believes that she can win it. Jaime, on the other hand, has been sent to take back Riverrun from Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully. The Freys are also there and are trying to retake the castle by leveraging Edmure, Brynden’s nephew, to get him to yield, but he is in no mood to do so. But, Jaime and Bronn step in to show them how the pros do so and smack some people around and give orders; Edmure is to be bathed and given clean clothes. Now, Jaime is going to parley with the Blackfish. The elder Tully speaks to Jaime, but doesn’t believe that the war is over. Instead, the Blackfish tells him that they can attack the castle or lay a siege, but they can last for two years easily.
In the North, Jon is rallying the wildlings to his cause of seizing Winterfell and if they don’t help, they will be dead. Tormund’s support works in favor of Jon and they are ready. They have to convince the Mormonts to join them and Jon and Sansa have to negotiate with Lady Lyanna Mormont, who is a child, but a tough one. Davos convinces her and their next stop is House Glover that doesn’t join them. Jon wants to march to Winterfell with the men he has, which silences Sansa and she writes a letter to someone for help. Probably Littlefinger.
The renegade Greyjoys are in port and are drinking and consorting with prostitutes. Theon is unable to join in and cannot even gulp down Yale, but Yara says she wants the old Theon back because they have to go to Daenerys Targaryen in Meereen and give her the help she needs to come back to Westeros. We go back to the Hound and the holy men. The cleric confesses that he murdered a boy, but he came back from it to help people and this resonates with the Hound.
Just then some members of the Brotherhood Without Banners appear and they give a clear threat; they will be back to take whatever they want. The Hound warns the Septon that there will be more bloodshed, but the latter doesn’t want to believe it. Finally, we go to Braavos to Arya who is ready to leave for Westeros, but just then, she is attacked by an old lady who is none other than the Waif in disguise. She sticks Arya with a knife who tumbles into the river. Arya is still breathing and walking, but she is losing blood and needs help.
It seems she really needs her pal the Hound to help her, but he is in Westeros chopping wood. He takes a break and realizes he can hear nothing. When he goes back to camp, he finds everyone dead and the holy man hanging from the frame structure under construction. Clearly, mercy is not the way and the Hound will hunt again, this time with an ax.