So we’re just about over halfway through the latest season of Game Of Thrones, and it’s been an…interesting ride.
Though the overall quality of the show has picked up since the pretty damn lengthy dip that followed a certain sexy Dornishman’s skull-popping, devastating exit a few years back — the amazingness of the occasional Hardhome aside — the myriad plots this season run the gamut from the great and compelling to the
will Arya become a ninja mercenary or not? hooray, Arya’s at least decided to stay Arya!
There are other questions still to be answered, too. Emily covered some of these last week, in the process mentioning the magic phrase — ‘Where the fuck is Bronn?’ — which immediately made me think: that right there is a surefire, easy way to bump up the quality straight away. The three B’s: Bring Back Bronn. Boom! Instantly a better show. Any show. ‘Want a better show?! Give your show a Bronn!’ Give a Bronn to Gotham!
Because Bronn sorta just disappeared after we saw him last season, having fun with Tits And Poison™ in a Dornish jail. The Dornish eventually let him go and were all like, ‘LOL, jk! You can leave now. We know there’s nowt anyone would ever want to do here ever since Oberyn died anyway! We’re gonna go focus on an awfully conceived and executed storyline now. Kthnxbai!’ And since that? No Bronn. (Well, apart from a mention in the most recent episode. But we’ll get to that.)
Game of Thrones has had a few other great characters like this, who slipped off the radar. They teased us, they pleased us, and then they just slunk off — presumably because they assumed we wanted more time to spend with, I dunno, Kevan?
No! Stop that, Kevan! We don’t want any part of that! …I think.
Anyway, we got Benjen Stark back this week! Anything is possible! So then here are the Game of Thrones characters we miss, and want to return, the most:
The “Come On Now, Stop Teasing — We Know You’re Coming Back, So Just Hurry Up! …Please” brigade
As mentioned above, everyone’s favourite sell-sword and seemingly unbeatable quick man-with-a-knife has been missing since last season. This is unacceptable. The only appearance he’s made this year is a brief mention by Jaime, who wants to throw a bag of gold at him to have him gather a bunch of his (presumably numerous) bad motherfuckers into a posse and go collect the High Sparrow’s head.
Honestly? As soon as Jaime pitched that I was so up for seeing it, but yeah it wouldn’t really make much sense for a pragmatist like Bronn to go charging into certain death, so luckily we find out almost immediately that Jaime won’t be going ahead with even asking. Still, though, just a mention of Bronn’s name lit up the scene. The dude’s a dude. Charismatic, capable, realistic about his place in the world and the nature of said world. We all need a bit of Bronn. Game of Thrones needs him back onscreen.
I know what it looks like on your telly, but no, he’s not still on the show.
He’s been gone a long time.
That dude in the House of Black and White, washing corpses and making face collages? That guy might look like the Jaqen we met years ago — peering out of a mobile wooden cell before becoming Arya’s super-badass avenging angel, leaking cryptic pronouncements about the life-death balance and a multi-faced god — but he might as well be a completely different character. Get rid of him. Bring back the old model.
Thoros of Myr
This motherfucker here. Before we even met him on the show, this motherfucker fought for King Robert in the Greyjoy Rebellion, and he was the first dude (followed closely by one Jorah Mormont) through the breach during the Siege of Pyke, going absolutely ballistic with his flaming sword and scaring the collective poop out of the Ironborn. (Remember: flaming sword fuel can melt iron.)
Then, running around the Riverlands, with his mates Undead Beric and Hawkeye the archer, and their band of independent sorta-justice warriors, freaking out Melisandre and making The Hound say, ‘Thoros of Myr? The fuck’re you doing here?’
Win after win after win. We need this band of merry OG dead-resurrectors to make a comeback.
Bring back Hawkeye!
Bryndan ‘The Blackfish’ Tully
That gif should say it all. All around badass and no-shit-taker, The Blackfish was last seen noping out of the Red Wedding before extra ketchup was served. Good intuition. Now let’s bring him back to savage some Bolton shit up. We know he’s in the wings.
As well as Winterfell, the Boltons apparently control YouTube too, as they won’t let me embed the full version of that awesome funeral fire-arrow clip. But here it is. Even better than you remember.
The “We Don’t Really Need You, But…You Know” Posse
Hot Pie and Gendry
Alright, Hot Pie, dude, we know you got a pretty sweet gig at the Inn at the Crossroads, baking bread and giving advice to people looking for captured Starks. And that’s cool and all. But I’ve got a better idea for you. Gendry, listen to this, bro, this concerns you too. Firstly, stop pretending that you’re actually going anywhere with that rowing. You’ve been tracing the same figure eight for years, feeding on any fish stupid enough to wander into your confused orbit. You must be pretty strong now, but still — that’s no way to live. Instead, why don’t you and Hot Pie combine your considerable talents. A food truck! Well, food boat! Hot Pie bakes shit up in the back; you row up and down the coast; stopping at any hungry hamlets willing to pay. Foolproof business model. You can have that. That’s on me.
The “Yeah, You’re Dead. So What? We’re Doing The Whole Resurrection Thing Now, No Problem!” Cohort
Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane
Without spoiling anything, we know there have been hints that the Hound may return in some capacity. To put it lightly, this would be a very welcome development. Sandor Clegane is one of the very best characters this show has produced, and Rory McCann’s performance was absolutely stellar. The Hound’s backstory, his awareness of the world he inhabits and of his own nature, and the slowly unfurling humanity that his path had been revealing to us — not to mention his virtuoso way with swear words and withering put-downs — make him too good a prospect to abandon. He has to come back. If only because a showdown between him and his brother is a thing that we all need to see. A real one. Not like the sparring match with The Mountain 1.0 in season 1 that was ended by a word from the King. No, no, no, a real, full-on CleganeBowl is a thing that absolutely needs to happen, so at some point after The Zombie Mountain is done decorating the walls with Faith Militant head parts he needs to get finally, and this time irrevocably, finished off by his ‘little’ brother.
Remember how cool this dude was. How, despite his dumpy-seeming frame and his flamboyant theatricality, he just exuded an aura of badassitude. ‘The First Sword of Braavos does not run’, indeed. Oh, how innocent we all were back then. The things we hadn’t seen.
Well, now that we have seen them, we can easily believe that Syrio managed to get away after being surrounded by — in the derisive words of The Hound — ‘Meryn fucking Trant’ and his little gaggle of Kingsguard way back in season 1. Imagine the havoc he could’ve been wreaking off-screen since then. Have him water-dance his way into the next big battle, gracefully cleaving a bloody path through the fray. Or, if Jaqen doesn’t do as we ask above, just have him show up in Braavos and whisk Arya away from the House Of Chores And No Fun. She’s already on her way out. BOOM! Arya + Syrio, wrecking shit up, both sides of the Narrow Sea.
Battle-Santa is a necessary feature of the North. Just look at him. He is the Wall. I’m pretty sure the structural integrity of that impossible construction actually physically weakened the day he was struck down by mutineers. No magic excuses needed to bring Battle-Santa back — wherever there is snow and Man, there is Battle-Santa. Just have him stroll back on, like, ‘Yes. Problem?’
Like, that’s it. That’s all I should need to say.
He was such a perfect fit for the show. Grim, charismatic, regal. Yeah, he got burned up like a pile of trash; but at least our resident Jesus analogue, Jon Snow, put an arrow through his heart before the flames could bother him too much. MAYBE IT WAS A MAGIC DELAYED-RESURRECTION ARROW AND YOU’LL BE BACK SOON TO HELP WITH THE WHITE WALKER THING AND THEY CAN’T HURT YOU BECAUSE YOU’RE CIARAN HINDS!
Ser Barristan Selmy
So this season we learned that the greatest swordsman who ever lived, Ser Arthur ‘Dual-Wielding Like A Boss’ Dayne was stabbed in the back by Howland ‘Sneak Attack, LOL What, All’s Fair In Love And War’ Reed. It wasn’t that long before that we saw the other greatest dude with a sword ever (or close enough), Barristan Selmy, get butchered by the Essos branch of the Eyes Wide Shut orgy-and-street-stabby-gang.
We get it, Game of Thrones: even the greatest die, and even the bravest and most renowned can die without fanfare. Yadda-yadda, valar morghulis, yadda-yadda, don’t care! Give us at least one super-hero swordsperson who lives and battles like a badass for a while. Maybe Barristan Selmy had a twin! Barristane Selmy, somehow even better than his brother! And keeping it secret all these years! Now here to wreak bloody vengeance!
Okay, Grenn went out like a boss, defending the wall from giants. Can’t argue with that. But as one of Jon Snow’s Original Night’s Watch (No)Pussy Patrol, we still miss him. And Pyp.
This goddamn hero
HA! Just kidding. Keep on swingin’, ya mug.