The Cersei / Tyrell plot keeps mercilessly going down its awful path. The houses are now basically split with Olenna’s dismissal of Cersei, and all of this against an enemy that is EASILY dispatched with the Tyrell army or the Lannister army. For no discernible reason, Margaery has denied her family’s army from freeing her, has stayed in a situation that she can obviously get out of (she literally could have signaled her grandmother to kill the overseer that was tasked to her), and has intentionally led Tommen into embracing this path. If the Faith are what they claim they are, they wouldn’t kill Loras over her betrayal, but whatever.
This is so out of character for Margaery that I’m just flabbergasted. Unlike Dorne, which is such a minor plot in the shows that it can be safely and mercifully ignored by the showrunners, the Lannister/Tyrell conundrum is such a central part of the kingdom (since it literally involved the King), we have to deal with this ridiculous plotline directly until Cersei and Jaime are dead. Again, who cares that the people loved Margaery right? The showrunners can forget about this, so I guess we can too? Sure. Why not?
The entire Lannister family (sans Tyrion) dying simply can’t happen fast enough at this point–not because they deserve it or they haven’t played the game well enough. No, I just can’t believe the Lannister storyline at this point. I can buy dragons and magic and undead and changing history from the future through nothing but a vision (i.e., Bran), but what I am having major trouble with here as a viewer is believing the city’s reaction to Margaery’s imprisonment, her ridiculous change in demeanor, etc. Even if you could buy that she is simply mimicking a rose (beautiful to look at it, but thorny to the touch), if you want to invest yourself fully into symbolism, a rose doesn’t kill you, and the Tyrells have killed many people, including Joffrey after he married Margaery. It simply punishes you for getting too close (e.g., touching the stem to pluck it by hand). The Tyrells are more capable than just annoying someone who touches them. This is so bizarre. Unfortunately, the Lannister plotline (i.e., the death of the main Lannisters) won’t happen until next season at the earliest. Cersei will watch the Zombie Mountain destroy someone in a trial-by-combat and it will be a hollow victory, really. I still think Cersei will die at the hands of Tyrion next season, but she has to watch her last child die first. I hope she kills the High Sparrow, but it may only happen after her son Tommen dies. And it will be a desperate last act (a final victory before accepting her own fate).
There is one Lannister-aligned plotline which anchored this episode: the return of the Hound. Ian McShane (who btw is one of my favorite actors) gave away all of this months ago, when he said he would be responsible for bringing an old character back to life. However, it played out very well on screen, including how I thought it would from having read A Feast for Crows (the fourth book), where we see what readers thought was the Hound digging a grave as he accompanied a band of priests. The Hound is going to destroy the entire raiding party that killed his new friends, and he is going to seek out frontier-style justice across the Riverlands. I think we’re all looking forward to him meeting up with the Starks. When Arya sees him for the first time, it’s going to be an amazing episode, I hope.
What do I expect to happen from the Hound? Well, I think the showrunners are going to probably disappoint me again, but I would love to see the Hound fight Zombie Mountain and they kill each other. Brother against undead brother. If I were to write the scene, Zombie Mountain will get on top of Sandor like he did to Oberyn, and he will start to blind the Hound. The Hound would scream in pain as blood starts to flow out of his destroyed orbs, but then the blinded Hound would manage to permanently kill The Mountain. He may burn him like his brother did to him (which seems to work well against the Undead in this show, though The Mountain is very different in resurrection style–a medically-induced resurrection in the show–than the White Walkers’ form of resurrection).
Will that happen? Probably not. We’ll probably just get a Hound that walks around the Riverlands doling out frontier justice for those who cannot do it themselves. Perhaps he will return to the nice man and his daughter that Arya and he visited before he stole from them and pay them back in some way. When he finds Arya, he will help her with her list. I feel like that would be the perfect opportunity for him to have good reason to fight his Zombie Brother. After all, The Mountain is on her list, and so is The Hound. By killing The Mountain and being himself killed in the process, he effectively helps her in her frontier-style vengeance. To me, it’s perfect. To the showrunners? Who knows what they’re thinking. I wipe my hands of it. I’m trying to lower my expectations so I have less disappointment.
The only real things to speculate on here are 1) Littlefinger and 2) Arya. Littlefinger is going to end up being the target of Sansa Stark’s letter at the end of the episode. She’s finally learned a lesson about the game, as I noted earlier she needed to understand. Her name didn’t mean crap to the North. Her role with the Lannisters and Boltons is more poison than catalyst, and she needs Littlefinger’s army. Finally, something that makes sense. I’ll give the showrunners an A++ for the turn around on that one. The second speculation is that Arya is going to survive and escape to the boat. She will not go after the Waif, who may believe Arya is dead for now, but Jaqen is unlikely to buy it. He will want her face, and until the Waif finds Arya’s body, it’s probably a task the Waif will have to continue with (finding Arya). That’s more likely to happen in Westeros the second time. At least that’s my prediction, and this time, Arya will have more friends around her or an environment that works to her advantage. I think she will use the Waif’s overconfidence again her, and drive Needle into the Waif’s heart.
Anyway, that’s my speculation. My record of prediction has been slightly off this season, but that’s what I’m predicting. What do you think?