(Warning: The following contains giant, hulking plot SPOILERS for 'Game of Thrones' Season 6, Episode 7. If you aren't yet all caught up with the show, then proceed with whatever level of caution your friendly neighborhood three-eyed raven suggests is wise.)
Now, last week's installment of everyone's favorite source of incest and treachery, Game of Thrones may not have quite lived up to the door-holding-related viral mania of Episode 5, but it still managed to set in motion a whole lot of intriguing plot threads. Several of which, as it turns out, we got to see a lot more of this time around (while others remain cruelly dangling).
With similar potential teasing of the future in mind, let's take a look at...
Seven Things You Might Have Missed In Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 7
An episode made all the more poignant by the fact that next season's seventh episode looks set to be its finale.
First up, then?
(And note, this is where those aforementioned SPOILERS really start to kick in.)
7. The Warmest of Cold Opens
Now, you don't see a whole lot of cold opens in Westeros, with Game of Thrones' still impressive (and still seemingly never-ending) clockwork title sequence keeping us waiting for a few tantalizing moments at the start of each week's episode. This time out though, it seems that the showrunners were well aware that we all knew exactly what the episode's big twist was, and opted to put it front and center: The Hound is back, and this time, he's living a simple life on a farm?
It's perhaps notable that the first few moments of the episode feature arguably the show's first glimpse of a truly idyllic-seeming existence — with well-meaning folks just trying to do their best in a picturesque setting. More on how utterly doomed such optimism is in Westeros a little later.
6. The Two Septons
For a show that's traditionally been fairly preoccupied by gratuitous nudity and dragons, Season 6 of Game of Thrones is surprisingly close to becoming a subtle meditation on the problematic difference between genuine faith and institutional advantage. With much of King's Landing's plotline this season being focused on the question of faith — and the extent to which it, or power, truly defines the motivations of The High Septon (and now Margaery) — the show looks increasingly likely to stick its neck out in potentially sacrilegious fashion.
Ian McShane's Septon, after all, is perhaps the first religious figure we've yet seen who wasn't either deeply hypocritical, intensely power-hungry or utterly oaf-like. Can the "good" Septon's apparent lack of belief in organized religion — instead holding with there simply being something greater than ourselves out there — be taken as the show taking a distinctly controversial stance on the topic? Or will the High Septon somehow surprise us, and turn out to not be a colossal asshole in the end? With lines like "congress does not require desire on the woman's part, only patience," the smart money might just be on option A.
5. Jaime Lannister Now Has Precisely No Craps To Give
With pretty much everything he'd ever cared about in life (his children, his brother, his honorable post in The Kingsguard) having been taken away from him, it's no real surprise that Jaime Lannister is in something of a mood — and has seemingly entirely run out of craps to give. All he has left is the prospect of someday finding some sort of peace, both with his sister and for Westeros as a whole.
For a man who has dedicated his life to war, Jaime's long-term happiness sure has become heavily dependent on finding peace in his time. As he and the Blackfish's epic, armor-clad standoff showed though, he's probably not going to be above stabbing a few thousand people in order to ensure it happens.
4. Y'know Who You Probably Shouldn't Mess With? The Mormonts
Now sure, Lord Commander Jeor Mormont may have died horrible north of The Wall, and Jorah Mormont is trapped in Westeros's longest running "will-they-won't-they" plotline with his own hand, but there's really no denying that both men have been ridiculously badass throughout the show's run.
As it turns out, it's the women of Bear Island who truly live up to the family's tough as nails reputation — with a distinctly pre-teen Lyanna Mormont (a.k.a. Jeor's niece, and Jorah's cousin) knocking Jon Snow around like he really does know nothing. Her mother Maege may not have made it out of Robb's service alive, but don't be too surprised if Lyanna's band of sixty-two island warriors pull off something pretty darned special before the season is out.
3. The One Woman Who Really Matters To Yara
Now, great as it is to have Yara prefer the company of women — and in a show as unremittingly sexual assault and misogyny-filled as Game of Thrones, it really is great to highlight an alternative option to "marrying some unutterably awful guy with land" — it's still clear that there's only one woman truly on her radar: Daenerys Stormborn.
Rather than carrying any romantic motives though, it seems that Yara is simply intent on making a pact with "this dragon queen," and offering her a handy fleet of ships in exchange for some islands no-one really cares all that much about. Does this mean we'll finally get to see everyone's favorite Khaleesi cross the Narrow Sea? And, if Yara and pals do indeed make it to Meereen, just how awkward is the scene where Varys explains to Theon that being a eunuch isn't all that bad going to be?
2. The Stark's Have Grown Remarkably Good At Surviving Death Lately
For a family that spent much of Game of Thrones' early seasons being horribly murdered left right and center, the Starks sure have gotten good at not dying in recent episodes. Sansa managed to survive jumping off of a castle (and a marriage to Ramsey Bolton), Bran dodged an army of White Walkers (somehow) and Jon managed to survive actually dying. Now we just have to hope that Arya isn't just going to bleed to death in the street (could she perhaps have been wearing some sort of cunningly designed improvised stab-vest?), and that Rickon has all of his skin when next we meet him.
Plus, of course, that's all before we even get to THAT near-legendary fan theory.
1. The Gods Aren't Done With Sandor Clegane Just Yet
Now, Ian McShane's good Septon may have been right on the money when he advised The Hound that the Gods aren't done with him, but it seems that the path they intend to place him on has very little to do with chopping wood.
Has The Hound been set on a collision course with his brother (and the long-awaited "Clegane-Bowl"), or does the show have one more trick up its sleeve? After all, if The Hound really wants to do something noble with his life, he might just set out in an unexpected direction. North, perhaps?
The big question now, though: