All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
6.8 No One
We’re almost there. Almost. Also my apologies: I trash-talked the show for making the House of Black and White a group of for-hire assassins instead of Robin Hoods, but I’ve checked my books and sources (aka Alt Shift X– highly recommend) that’s what they’ve always been and that was just wishful thinking on my part. I think it was due to their worshiping of the God of Death and the Brotherhood without Banners’ choice of the Red God who are eerily similar and both may or may not be the Stranger… it’s all good. It doesn’t change my opinion that the House of Black and White is lame for being for-hire, but that goes along so nicely with us wanting Arya Stark to not lose sight of who she is, to seek that moral vengeance, and to get the hell out of Braavos.
As No One is clearly a reference to the HOBAW’s ominous phrase and Game of Faces, the episode appropriately opens on Lady Crane taking Arya’s advice- she’s rewritten her Cersei monologue and as the crosscuts with the audience imply, this play is much much much better than it was before. She receives a standing ovation and she heads backstage- to grab some rum. What. Did she not learn anything? Anyway, she hears a stumble, pulls back a curtain, and it’s Arya! She went to the only person she’s emotionally connected with in Braavos.
Lady Crane takes Arya back to her place to patch her up and they bond some more- Arya admires Lady Crane as she’s quite fierce and feminine at the same time. She invites Arya along with the acting company, but something pulls Arya back. She makes up something about wanting to go West of Westeros, but we know that she wants to go home. She’s already paid for the boat!
Somewhere in Westeros, some… mercenaries are trolling some younger guys about their inexperience with women and as they’re distracted, the big fucking shadow of the Hound walks up and slaughters all four of them with an axe. He’s hunting for Not-Ewan-McGregor-But-Not-Euron-Grejoy. These may or may not be the guys who flanked Lem in the last episode but who knows.
In Meereen, red priests and priestesses are spreading the good word of Dany’s name and Varys leaves for Westeros to grab some ships and more allies. Who could THAT be, I wonder!?
In King’s Landing, Cersei has some more wine when Qyburn informs her that the Faith Militant is freely wandering around the Red Keep and Tommen doesn’t mind because Margaery doesn’t mind, but the Mountain does mind and squashes one without any trouble. Cersei doesn’t try to stop him and even smiles a bit when he rips the sparrow’s face off.
Outside Riverrun, Brienne and Pod roll up at the Lannister camp and she spots Jaime from afar- he’s in Lannister armor and Brienne knows that in her loyalty to Sansa, they are now back on opposite sides of the war. We get a sweet Bronn-Pod reunion as Bronn still jokes about Pod’s incompetence with the opposite sex despite having all the mechanisms. It’s fun to remember how young and trusting Pod still is, with his goofy little smile. It’s like a lifetime ago.
Inside the tent, Brienne and Jaime play a little game called Exposition Catch Up to remind everyone that Sansa’s still blamed for Joff’s murder, that the Lannisters gave the Freys Riverrun after the Red Wedding, and that Jaime is basically following the very grey (re: evil) morals in the name of his father and sister. It makes him complicit in their deeds. He seems to realize this and asks Brienne to talk about something else and the air has changed- this scene started off very early Jaime and then he remembers who Brienne is and what she’s seen in him. Brienne’s faith in Jaime- and faith in his honor- makes Jaime question exactly whose side his on and what he is supporting.
Lastly, Brienne moves to give Jaime back his sword Oathkeeper and he tells her to hold onto it. What it represents- his legacy, his honor, and everything that makes him “knightly”- only Brienne has truly seen this side of him. Jamie and Brienne have a special relationship. I don’t think it’s romantic (please please, don’t make it so D&D, I am begging you)- it’s more like when two people live through a very tragic accident and become closer due to it. They got to see each other at their lowest as well as their strengths. Brienne then heads into the castle and Brynden immediately refuses to run to a niece’s aid as he’s only met her a few times and he doesn’t really consider her family. In three quick sentences, Brienne proves her worth of the Tully words (Family, Duty, Honor), and Brynden reads Sansa’s letter out of respect- and still refuses in order to protect the Tully home.
Cersei makes her way to the throne room to announce her intention of trial by combat- but the High Sparrow has already gotten to Tommen, who decrees trial by combat illegal. Clegane Bowl with the Hound fighting on the side of the Faith is done and it’s probably for the best. Cersei takes this hard- Tommen knows what she has been planning and still choose to move forward with his decision. Cersei is somewhat comforted by Qyburn, who tells her that a rumor he’s heard is absolutely true- we’ll find out what it is.
In Meereen, Tyrion is celebrating that his deal with the masters has calmed down the city and he initiates a drinking game with Grey Worm and Missandei, because literally nothing else is going on in Meereen. This isn’t a well-written scene- there’s no dynamics, there’s nothing we really learn about the characters, nothing interesting comes out about them; it’s a far cry from Tyrion’s bonding with Bronn and Shae back in Season 1. It’s most likely because Missandei and Grey Worm are nothing more than Dany foot soldiers and they miss out by being tied to her lack of development. Anyway, they’re interrupted by the clanging of bells, warning the city that the masters are on their way- and it is a huge fleet heading to Slaver’s Bay.
Back in Riverrun, Jaime plays his former self in order to get Edmure to comply with him and to hand the castle back to the Freys. Edmure reminds Jaime that he’s killed his king, indirectly helped massacre a bunch of noblemen, etc., etc., and finally asks him how he can live with himself at night. Jaime changes his tune and tries to appeal to Edmure’s better side by talking about how he admired Cat and how much she loved her children- and that it reminded him of Cersei. To get back to Cersei, which Jaime wants to do very very badly, Jaime has to squish anyone who bars him from taking back Riverrun. He threatens Edmure’s child, the rest of his forces, etc. and Edmure heads back to Riverrun to take back his seat and to tell his men to stand down.
Brynden helps Brienne and Pod escape but Uncle Brynden stays behind, telling Brienne that he won’t run away from a fight again and not to fear- she will serve Sansa well. He admires her and dare I say, he can recognize bits of Cat in her.
Next, we get news via dialogue that Brynden was killed and I feel cheated out of a really good swordfight. Jaime spots Brienne rowing away and waves to her- maybe the last moment of friendship they get to have and her acknowledgment that he negotiated well enough that they didn’t need to fight each other.
Uh, the masters are bombing Meereen and Grey Worm refuses to take any more of his direction- Tyrion’s not a military guy and he doesn’t know how to strategize war. Their conversation is interrupted by a huge thud and Drogon drops off Dany, who strolls inside and says nothing but still gets a huge paycheck.
Back in Westeros, the Hound finds Lem Lemoncloak but he’s already strung up- by Beric fucking Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. Missing is Anguy and his sweet bow. Alas! After catching up a bit, the Hound demands the honor of killing Lem and Beric concedes and gives him two out of the three to kill. Of course, the Hound kills Lem, steals his boots, and tucks in with his old buddies.
Thoros convinces the Hound to stick around with them as the Brotherhood is answering a higher calling from the cold wind up at the North and this scene is fun because the Hound declares he prefers chicken and it’s such a fan servicey moment, I can’t handle it.
Back in Braavos, Lady Crane checks on Arya who is still out from drinking milk of the poppy. She steps up to grabs something and turns to find that someone has entered the room.
Arya wakes up to a loud crash and sees a dead Lady Crane for no good reason other than, I guess, to show that the House of Black and White will get its victims one way or another. Arya and the Waif then ensue in a parkour race, which doesn’t seem to affect Arya’s stomach wounds at all and she’s still somehow faster and… that’s fine. She eventually makes her way to her little alleyway hideout and cuts out the light with Needle in hand- because Arya can fight well in the dark and whatever. It’s a fine ending but the lead up is just…
So the Waif is a trained assassin with uber stealth skills but she’s pounding pavement and knocking into people for this, drawing a bunch of attention? If Arya knew the Waif would be after her and that she was going to head to her hidey-hole anyway, why bother even going to Lady Crane’s? It seems she anticipated being hunted down. Why go anywhere else but your hideout and a public appearance once in a while? Did she not anticipate her stomach wounds to be that bad? How is she sprinting without any sort of abdomen pain? How does the dark help her out when she’s bleeding profusely from the gut? Does it really give her THAT much of an advantage? We knew Arya wasn’t going to die- why bother to try and make us think that?
Back at the House of Black and White, Jaqan finds the face of the Waif pinned to the wall and Arya tells him her name is Arya Stark and she’s going home. Jaqan smiles at her a nods and like… what? What the fuck? What was the point of all this? To help Arya figure out what she really wanted? Basically… who she was at the end of Season 4? But with more tricks. Sure. Got it. So Arya can waltz in and basically uproot what’s basically a religion and then waltz out?
I think what I buy is that… Arya broke her assignment in not killing Lady Crane and then the Waif broke her assignment but not outright killing Arya. Then at the end of the day, a face, any face, was needed for the wall and Arya happened to be the one to win. Jaqan prefers this because her list will give him a great monthly quota. Or at least, this is what I’ve sold myself on.
I don’t care about the ending to this episode because I’m ready for6.9 The Battle of the Bastards