Game of Thrones: Season 6 Episode 7 Review – The Broken Man
After teasing us weeks back that Ian McShane would play a religious character who would be integral to bringing a character back into the show, we were finally granted sight of McShane. Below you will find our spoiler-heavy review of this week’s episode.
No one will argue that Ian McShane is always a welcome addition to any show. He brings a classy gravitas to his performances that makes him very unique and very captivating. It’s such a shame then, that the show only utilises him for one solitary episode, then kills him off abruptly at the episode’s end.
We understand the point of what the writers were trying to achieve with this – Clegane finding comfort in a man who still believes in the good of both man and of Clegane himself, who is then taken away, so that Clegane reverts back to square one. But to make such promises concerning bringing McShane into the show, then to kill him off so abruptly; this smarts for us. As we expected a longer turn from the actor.
We were pleased to see Margaery back in her regal attire this episode, and importantly still entirely in possession of her faculties. The front that she puts on only being a way to pretend that she has been cowed by the Sparrows, when in truth she seeks to get Olenna out of King’s Landing before The Queen of Thorns suffers the same fate.
In fact, considering her foresight and intellect, Olenna seems like she should really have guessed the Sparrow’s next move, given that they have already detained and humiliated two royal women. It makes sense that Olenna might be next, as this is perhaps a flaw in the writing – that someone as cunning as Olenna did not notice this before Margaery found out. This is all assuming, of course, that The High Sparrow isn’t being cunning himself, by only telling Margaery of his plans so that she would urge Olenna out of the city.
The best part of this episode for us was the siege of Riverrun, which played out very closely to the books indeed, right down to Jaime’s parley with Brynden Tully, the threatening to hang Edmure and the look of the set (in relation to what we had pictured in our minds). The Blackfish is indeed a character that we’re growing to love ever more dearly, due to his resolve and ability to elude death and capture. Clive Russell is doing a great job in the role and we can’t wait to see Bryden’s escape from the castle (if the show follows the book in this too).
We were glad to have Bronn back. We liked his humour about the unsullied and his refusal of Jaime’s offer. In a sense, both Bronn and The Hound provide a similar quality to this show (both are good-hearted men who commit bad deeds, who speak their minds no matter the cost) that has been lacking since their departures, so it’s great to get them both back at once.
We found the introduction of Lyanna Mormont a little strange, as we’ve never known the Mormonts to be lovers of the Starks to the degree that they would adopt Lyanna’s name. The girl is presented as bold and smart – perhaps too much so to make the notion realistic. All in all, we’re just happy to see Bear Island get some screen time.
The episode ends with an attempt on Arya’s life. We’ve heard theories that Arya faked the blood, using – just like the actors in the play – pig’s blood. The notion being that Arya knew the attempt on her life was coming and that she wanted to make it look realistic (using padding to halt the blows). We find this a plausible enough theory, but we’d almost rather the opposite was the case, as we’re truly tired of seeing Arya’s failures in the East, which – much like Daenerys’ failures in the East – is grating on our patience (in both the books and the show).
Overall, this was a mild episode that ranks among the weakest provided this season (which, if you have been reading our reviews, you will know has been full of strong episodes). With only three episodes remaining, we hope that the show returns to bolder content.
Image credits: HBO