UK TV review: Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 7
Paul Greenwood | On 07, Jun 2016
Warning: This contains spoilers.
It’s rare for an episode of Game of Thrones to have a pre-credits sequence. Season openers, maybe, and the odd other here and there. But the bombshell dropped on us at the start of this seventh episode was deemed bombshelly enough to merit a prologue all of its own.
It opened like something out of Witness, a bucolic scene as a bunch of Northern Irish extras built a barn and all was harmony and peace. Clearly, we were going to meet someone important at any second: the long-forgotten Gendry, perhaps – he was good with his hands?
But even after last week’s game of where-are-they-now returned, surely no one saw this one coming! The Hound, Sandor Clegane, last seen a couple of years ago with his femur poking out where it shouldn’t be, and left for dead by Arya.
The rest of the episode frankly had no chance of living up to that, and it didn’t really try in places, although that’s not really a criticism. This wasn’t an episode for big moves, but for small advances. Rarely, almost never, has the series been anything less than gripping, but it’s getting to the point where every new scene is met with wonder and apprehension at what we’re going to see next, who we’re going to meet, or who we’ll become reacquainted with. The sense of growing tension is becoming palpable, and the biggest problem we have now is that the episodes just aren’t long enough to fit in everything we’d like to see.
Which meant no Tyrion (for the second week in a row – was Peter Dinklage making a movie?), no Bran and no Dany. In their place, we briefly met Ian McShane, who told the Hound he was spared for a purpose. He was a god-fearing man, but one God, seven gods or the Lord of Light, it was all the same to him. It was no accident we went from there straight to the piety of the Sparrows to ask the question of whether Margaery has been converted or has just been playing a great long game, of which she’s plenty capable. The answer was a delight.
Some cracking lines were the driving force behind much of the ep. “I wonder if you’re the worst person I’ve ever met,” said Lady Tyrell to Cersei. She used to be, but that was a different time. She once said that in the game of thrones, you live or you die, but really in Game of Thrones, you either die a villain or you live long enough to see yourself become the hero.
One such is Jaime, who along with Robson or Jerome’s Bronn, went riding to take back Riverrun. Now, we don’t know who we want to win if the castle is laid siege to – Blackfish is a Tully and therefore a good guy, but we like Jaime too, since his changes of heart. It could well turn out that we don’t get a siege at all, since one area that has maybe been scrimped on in the show’s sixth season is actual battles.
Winterfell has changed hands a bunch of times without us ever really seeing how, and Jon was trying to muster an army to make it Stark land once again. This didn’t make for the most riveting portion of Episode 7, but what does Sansa have in mind with her sneakily composed letter? At least Davos got another great line: “Make no mistake, my Lady, the dead are coming.”
The dead have been coming for so long, though, that there’s maybe a sense of complacency and forgetfulness that anyone can be killed at any moment. Just as she looked like she could be coming home, it truly seemed like Arya was done for. Maybe she will be. Maybe they all will be. The dead are coming.
Game of Thrones Season 1 to 6 are available on Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription. The show is also available on DVD, Blu-ray and pay-per-view VOD. For more, click here.
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