Season 5 of Game of Thrones appeared to cover both A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, but the show left out a lot of storylines from those two books. One of those stories was Jaime’s adventure in the Riverlands, which has now become a topic in Season 6. The Siege of Riverrrun, including the failed parlay with the Blackfish and poor Edmure Tully’s near hanging, comprised one of the main storylines in A Feast for Crows. Now, finally, we’re seeing these scenes come to life.
We also saw the return of the Hound, Sandor Clegane, the “Broken Man” of the episode’s title. I believe this story is also drawn from A Feast for Crows. In that novel, Brienne and Pod (who never make it to Winterfell in the books) visit a monastery on the Quiet Isle. There, they meet a monk called the Elder Brother who is in possession of the Hound’s horse, knows way too much about the Hound’s life, and claims he saw the Hound die. In all likelihood, however, the monk was speaking figuratively, having admitted to his own “death” and rebirth in a religious sense. Also, he may have been trying to throw Brienne off the trail because he knew Brienne was hunting the Hound.
Earlier in that chapter, Brienne passes one of the brothers whose face is hidden by a cowl. Tellingly, he is “bigger than Brienne,” and clearly lame. Given his presence, as well as the Hound's horse and how much the Elder Brother seemed to know about the Hound's life, I strongly suspected the Hound had survived and was living in this religious commune. Now, I believe, the show may have proved this to be true.
What I suspect we’ll get before the season’s end is the epic match-up Martin has been building up forever: the Hound versus his ridiculously cruel brother, the Mountain, who is currently serving as Cersei's Frankenstein-like personal bodyguard. That battle should be classic – and I suspect Cersei’s fate may depend on the outcome.
Now, back to Brienne. By bringing her to the Riverlands, the show’s writers have opened up yet another storyline from A Feast for Crows. In the book, Brienne and Pod (who are still searching for Sansa), spend time in the Riverlands running into a host of bad guys leftover from A Storm of Swords. They also encounter the Brotherhood Without Banners, who drag Brienne to their leader – a particularly mysterious and cold-hearted woman. Which means . . .
I think we’ll see that woman this season. It will be a HUGE shocker for anyone who hasn’t read the books, but I truly think it’s coming. So Bring on the Hound vs. the Mountain. And bring on Lady You-Know-Who. This could get good!
* Images courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.