Seven kingdoms, seven gods and now seven episodes – yep, we’re rattling through this year’s Game of Thrones at a rare old pace (though probably not quickly enough to phase whatever horse Littlefinger zooms around remote regions on).
As usual here at RadioTimes.com we’re kicking off our weekly GoT commentary at 11.50pm, building up to the 2am showing on Sky Atlantic (watching alongside our American and international cousins) and generally having a grand old time. Or you know, getting emotionally scarred together. Depends on the episode.
03.28: So it’s goodnight from me, but as I sign off I leave you a thought.
What if the real Game of Thrones…was the friends we made along the way?
Have a good week now.
03.25: Sadly, we have to wait a whole week until we can find out – and in terms of this blog you’ll be finding stuff out without me next week (if that’s a sentence that makes sense, it is half 3 in the morning), as I am otherwise indisposed (aka on holiday).
Still, never fear –I will be back for episode 9 (where exciting stuff like beloved characters dying normally happens), but in the interim you will be left in the capable hands of my colleague Kasia, who will almost certainly do this blog justice with fewer typos.
03.20: Predictions for next week: Arya gets healed in some way so she can really take on the Waif in No-OneBowl (yeah, I’m making this happen), the Hound kicks some ass, the siege at Riverrun goes horribly wrong.
Oh, and Dany will probably make a big speech about how she’s going to invade Westeros without doing much about it.
03.19: Compare lil Lyanna Mormont to Robin Arryn – similar ages, but rather different styles of ruling. Hope we see more of Lyanna in the weeks to come.
03.17: Highlights from this week – Bronn is back (and hilarious), little Lyanna Mormont, the Hound, the Blackfish.
Low points: More of the slightly tedious religion plot, and no Tormund/Brienne romance.
03.14: Looking back on the Sansa/Jon plotline this week, they seemed to cover a LOT of ground to rally all those houses. They must have borrowed Littlefinger’s jetpack.
03.10: Here’s the trailer for next week’s episode, which seems to be doubling down on the siege at Riverrun.
Also, looks like Cersei finally has enough of the Faith and sets FrankenMountain on them – yay!
(Well maybe not yay, but they are a bit annoying. It’s possible this show has desensitized me to violence).
03.08: You see, while in the source novels (where the theory first sprung from) the Hound was implied to be a monk of the Faith, the TV show seems to have made clear that he hasn’t exactly come round to religion – after all, it’s what got all those people killed.
And if he wasn’t a believer, why would he stand as the Faith’s champion? Hate to say it guys, but cleganebowl might be out.
03.07: Right, here goes. Basically, cleganebowl refers to a popular fan theory that the presumed-dead Hound would come back to battle his undead brother the Mountain, a big deal due to their shared beef (the elder Clegane, Ser Gregor, is the one who burned the Hound’s face as a child).
In the theory, Cersei would call the zombie-Mountain as her champion for a trial by combat against the High Sparrow’s crew, only for the Sparrow to call the newly-pious Hound as the Faith’s champion, reuniting the brothers in a pitched battle.
A weird subculture called #cleganebowl has sprung up around this theory, with videos made, catchphrases and lots of online messageboards, and the whole thing is very entertaining. However, this week’s episode MIGHT not have confirmed cleganebowl as much as some would like…
03.02: Still, in fairness a lot of this episode had to be reserved for the Hound’s return, and I liked all that. Not sure if it confirms or rules out the cleganebowl fan theory though, which I’ll try to explain now…
03.00: And no Dany this week – saving their powder, as it were, for some exciting final episodes.
02.59: That’s not necessarily a bad thing of course, but still, those people who think the show has gotten a bit slow aren’t gonna be too happy with how this week panned out.
02.58: And that’s that! A pretty uneventful episode all told, even by recent standards. Setting a lot of things up for the final three episodes.
02.57: Not the longest guest stint for Ian McShane there – basically “fridged” to help motivate the Hound.
02.56: Oh damn – the Hound really should have come and had that soup. Everyone’s been killed!
02.55: Oooh, that looks like a rather nasty wound. Arya gonna make it, girl?
02.54: Arya’s checking out of Braavos – but you can’t trust nice old ladies in the street! They might be Faye Marsay planning to kill you.
02.53: If those guys are from the Brotherhood without Banners their MO has changed a bit. They used to be nice!
02.51: Ooh, this is not gonna end well. These nasty outlaw types look like trouble, and not even the Hound can save EVERYONE at this weird hippy commune.
02.50: If he felt that much shame, he should hang out with Septa Unella. Feels like they’d get on.
02.49: Interesting choice for a sermon, Ian McShane.
02.48: Ooh, looks like Sansa might be going to Littlefinger for help after all.
02.47: They had some more success off-camera, then. Got a few more dudes to join their armies.
02.46: Wow, were getting through this episode at a fair old pace!
02.43: “Come to Meereen, the Eunuch place to be”. A real display of Eunity.
02.42: Theon might find something to chat about with Varys and Grey Worm if these two DO go and join Daenerys.
02.41: Tough love! Yara can talk Theon into glory and alcoholism.
02.39: Poor Theon. Taking him to a brothel seems insensitive.
02.38: Well, this recruitment drive is going well.
02.37: I feel like Lord Glover isn’t being very helpful.
02.36: It’s Tim McInnery! From Blackadder!
02.35: “Bargaining with oathbreakers is like building on quicksand”. The Blackfish is just terrific.
02.34: You could say that bridge-lowering scene was a bit…drawn out.
02.33: Haha, she only has 62 men for them. That was worth the trip. Also, Davos is good with kids.
02.32: Remember when Davos convinced the Iron Bank of Braavos to fund Stannis’ claim to the throne? He is the best salesman in Westeros.
02.30: Here’s a summary of this conversation so far.
02.29: Ooooh, this Mormont chick has some bite.
02.28: Lyanna Mormont may be the best new character on the show. The Macaulay Culkin of Westeros.
02.27: Jaime is on great form too. Fun fact – this siege is one of the last plotlines from the source novels to be adapted to screen. It got bumped from last year’s series in favour of that awful Dorne plot.
02.26: Seems like Ser Brynden finds their threats…
02.25: Ahaha, I love Bronn. Also, I think I made up that line about Bronn being Jaime’s right hand in last week’s blogs, so…royalties please?
02.23: Oooooh could this be the return of Bronn? yaaaay
02.22: Leave Tommen Cersei, he’s useless.
02.21: Oh good, a snark-off between Cersei and Olenna. Olenna makes good points RE: Cersei’s stupidity.
02.18: While we’re in the break, a clarification – Ian McShane and the Hound’s crew are clearly building a church (or “sept’) rather than a siege tower. Not sure what it says about my mentality that I assumed the latter, but I apology unreservedly for any confusion/emotional distress I caused.
02.17: Jon always looks like he’s about to have a little cry, it’s a bit weird.
02.16: Jon actually having died IS a pretty good gimmick. Wun Wun doesn’t seem convinced, though.
02.15: Yeah, what did happen to Mance Rayder’s 100,000 men? There are apparently only 2,000 Wildlings left. Jon being nice and persuasive, here.
02.14: Ahh, Margaery isn’t brainwashed after all! Very nice.
02.13: Read between the lines, Olenna! Margaery dropping some mad warnings there.
02.11: High Sparrow may regret trying to mess with Olenna. Diana Rigg is the best. After the Hound, of course.
02.10: Eurgh, the High Sparrow is dishing out sex advice to Margaery. And surprise surprise, it’s not SUPER progressive w/r to the role of women.
02.09: Man, the Hound is so great. I’ve missed him.
02.08: Ian McShane is Captain Exposition right now, telling us exactly what we’ve missed of the Hound.
02.07: Oh Sandor, don’t feel too bad that Brienne beat you up – it WAS a very cool fight.
02.06: Side not, that has to be one of the only cold opens we’ve seen in this series – interesting.
02.05: He’ssss back! The Hound is back in business!
02.04: Hello! Who could this fellow be!
02.03: Should have known – any scene this idyllic had to have Lovejoy, aka Ian McShane in it.
02.02: Wait, no theme song this week? We just jumped right in with this siege tower thing.
02.00: Should starting any minute now. Annnnyy minute. Just peppy adverts for now.
01.58: Always good to meet a fellow brother of the Night’s watch. Or you know, 2am’s watch.
01.55: Tinfoil hats at the ready…
01.54: 6-ish minutes and counting! Here’s hoping the episode doesn’t start a few minutes late like last week, I’ll look a RIGHT mug.
01.48: Speak for yourself – I have speculative puns stacked up by the dozen.
01.45: 15 minutes to go! As a lil’ treat, here’s a nice history of the late Hodor’s best lines, as put together by those friendly chaps at HBO.
No, there’s something in YOUR eye.
If you don’t know what Cleganebowl is, fear not, because I hope to lay it all out at some point later this merry eve. Unless of course key participant in said fan theory The Hound remains dead, in which case I’ll just quietly pretend this never happened.
01.38: If you’re reading this after a heavy weekend, it’s fair to say that Edmure Tully is your spirit animal RN.
01.35: With less than half an hour to go, here’s a bit of background reading for you – the “Broken Man” speech from the books that I mentioned earlier, which this episode is apparently named after. It’s very good, so worth the time even if we don’t end up seeing a version of it on screen tonight.
01.32: Hype levels building…
01.30: Seriously though, they do seem to be pretending Dorne doesn’t exist this year. Maybe an acknowledgement that they really screwed it up, or just a coincidence?
01.27: Sssh, don’t jinx it.
01.24: Hey, remember that bit last week when Arya refused to kill her target because she sort of complimented her? She is literally the world’s least professional assassin.
01.21: To be honest, people have written internet fan theories over less.
01.17: Dark wings, dark words. But are we reading too much into this if we take this as DEFINITE confirmation of a fan-favourite character death this week?
01.12: Time is ticking away, but my God I wish it could tick faster. My life is currently empty of spinning castles and epic theme music.
01.00: Only an hour to go until this week’s episode, so I’ll treat you all with this fairly horrific image sent in by reader Billy Ashton. Hope none of you had to eat tonight.
00.50: Ah, maybe they’re just excited (or rather, as an official tie-in account feigning excitement to engage a wide audience). I shouldn’t be so cynical.
00.47: Really not sure why they post this every week. Are they just really keen to get trending?
00.41: Here’s one thing we do know, though – this is what the Mad King was like, and I can’t imagine why the Seven Kingdoms ended up chucking him out before the series began.
Oh and he’s also Dany’s dad, which doesn’t make me worry about her in power AT ALL.
00.37: Oh, I almost forgot – we also got a great big pile of mysteries to unravel in the form of a vision had by Bran Stark, which one industrious fan managed to slow down earlier this week.
Is that bloody hand Ned Stark’s? What’s with the focus on the wildfire? And why are we seeing King’s Landing in flames? Hopefully all this will be solved over the next four episodes.
00.30: Especially if their name is Stark, eh?
00.27: And while we’re chatting about episode 6, it’s worth looking back on Daenerys’ barnstorming speech from the closing moments of the story. We can think of a few people who’ll be feeling worried about her plans for Westeros…
00.23: Just been delving into our e-postbag, and I’ve been sent this lovely Tyrion caricature by artist Rob Doyle. Fine enough to hang on any wall in King’s Landing.
00.20: Also last week, Tommen decided to team up with the High Sparrow and his Faith Militant to turn Westeros into some sort of semi-theocracy, confirming him as the continent’s second-worst decision-making tween after Bran Stark.
00.16: Right, on to recaps. Last week’s episode brought back a few familiar faces like Edmure and the Freys (as noted before), but the most surprising moment came from the return of season one actor Joseph Mawle, whose Night’s Watchman Benjen Stark disappeared five years ago.
It’s now looking like this undead Stark fella has been merged with book character Coldhands, a mysterious figure who saved Bran in the novels and had been categorically revealed NOT to be Benjen by series author George RR Martin. So yeah, that’s a bit confusing.
00.09: I feel you, Deana. I feel you.
00.07: Now, the reason people think the Hound is coming back is quite complicated, so I’ll try and sum it up. Basically a few months ago guest star Ian McShane said that he would be bringing a fan-favourite character back from the dead, and most people think that he’s probably talking about The Hound.
This is due to the fact that in the source novels The Hound is heavily hinted at as being alive and living out his life as a monk, having been saved by a Septon who helped him turn his back on his old, violent life. That Septon is who many think McShane is playing this season, and that he’ll turn up in this week’s episode because in the books he makes a famous speech centred around the idea of a Broken Man. This week’s episode title? The Broken Man.
Got all that? Phew. This show is COMPLICATED.
11.59: BUT even these pulse-pounding returns aren’t what has us most excited this week, as it’s also rumoured that Rory McGann’s brutal fighter The Hound (last seen being beaten all to hell by Brienne in season 4) could be making his way back to the action from beyond the (supposed) grave.
Get hype people – this is basically confirmed (even though it probably won’t happen).
11.54: But it’s not just Bronn (<3) coming back this week – we’ll also be seeing the return of Ser Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully (Clive Russell), last seen escaping the Red Wedding by nipping out for a wee, possibly the most fortuitously timed bodily function in history. AND more looks at the recently-returned Frey family and Tobias Menzies’ Edmure Tully, still held in chains. Exciting stuff! It’s like a Red Wedding reunion.
11.50: God, this year’s series is flying past isn’t it? Feels like only yesterday that Jon Snow was still dead, Roose Bolton remained unpierced and Hodor’s biggest problems were how to get the lice out of his furs.
But look at us now – half a cast gone, Westeros in the grip of religious fervour and with all sorts of old favourites rejoining the action tonight. Of course, even if SOME characters have only been gone a few episodes, it’s still too long since we last saw them…