'Game of Thrones' Writer Explains Why 'The Broken Man' Needed a Cold Open
Surprise! Every week, we expect "Game of Thrones" to start with 1) clips from previous episodes to tease what's ahead, and 2) the map intro with the theme song and credits. But that was not the case for Season 6, Episode 7, "The Broken Man." Instead, GoT delayed the map intro and went straight into a scene with complete strangers ... until one of them was revealed to be Sandor "The Hound" Clegane (Rory McCann).
Bryan Cogman, who wrote "The Broken Man," recently teased that there was a week of shooting for this episode that was his favorite week in six seasons on the show. He confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that it was the sequence with The Hound and Brother Ray (Ian McShane):
"It was my favorite week on Game of Thrones because it's a beautiful little three-act play. Very much on purpose it tonally doesn't really feel like Game of Thrones until the end when everyone gets slaughtered. Ian McShane is a New Age ex-warrior with a painful history of violence, and he's found his own flock trying to rebuild their lives. He sees Sandor as a candidate. He recognizes in Sandor a bit of himself. The Hound, apart from being grateful, starts to open up to him. He's the first and only friend he's ever friend in his life. And that was an interesting relationship to explore. The scenes have a light touch and gentleness and humanity and humor that you don't find on the show – then the raiders ride in. The Hound is few miles away chopping wood and they come back and slaughter everybody, pushing him back into the cycle of violence."
Cogman also explained why they decided to to break with tradition and use a cold open:
"We figured it would make his reveal more impactful if the audience hadn't seen [McCann's] name in the opening credits first."
True. It would've been even more impactful if McShane hadn't spoiled his role in advance, to the point where many fans knew exactly what he'd be doing when he returned, and that he'd only be there for one episode. But, anyway, cold opens are refreshing for GoT and we wouldn't say no to more of them, whether for similar reasons or just to keep us on our toes.
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