A Girl is disappointed that "Game of Thrones" Season 6, Episode 8, "No One." However, this Girl is very glad Arya Stark is finally done trying to be No One, and now on her way back home. Westeros needs 00Stark's particular set of skills in the wars to come. Farewell, it seems, Jaqen H'ghar. You had terrible taste in assistants and assassination targets. But bye.
"No One" was an hour filled with revenge, betrayal, and Cersei Lannister's mic drop line, "I choose violence" -- which had the unfortunate timing to air on the same day as the most deadly attack in the U.S. since 9/11. Fantasy violence = badass. Real violence = just bad.
• The Hound got revenge against the rogue members of the Brotherhood Without Banners for the events of Episode 7, and maybe he's going north to fight the White Walkers with Beric Dondarrion (and LS)?;
• Arya was helped by Lady Crane (who was then killed by the Waif) and got her revenge by killing Terminator Waif (Arya's wounds healed a bit too fast, just saying), and now she's on her way home to Winterfell;
• The Faith's Puppet in Chief, King Tommen, outlawed trial by combat (What about #CleganeBowl, you monster?!) but Cersei and Qyburn may have a backup plan;
• Jaime Lannister reunited with Brienne (Jaime, Tormund, Bronn -- she should be the Bachelorette with all of the guys who would f--k her);
• Jaime also took over Riverrun with the release of the Tully's own Tommen, Edmure Tully;
• Shockingly, slave masters can't actually be trusted in Meereen, but thankfully, Mhysa is back in town, with dragons, just in time for a massive siege;
• Speaking of sieges, Brynden Tully appears to be the new No One. The Blackfish, like Tyrion, was betrayed. The Blackfish was said to have "died fighting." Did he? If we don't see it happen, did it happen? Would they really just let this legend die off-screen? Eh.
It's hard to now how many of those storylines we'll be following next week in the "Battle of the Bastards." The Episode 9 promo (see below) just showed the epic Stark vs. Bolton showdown.
Read on for a recap of Episode 8:
THE MAP: No cold open this time. (They should do them more often, even if they don't have surprise returns.) This week, the map takes us to King's Landing, Winterfell, The Wall, Braavos, Meereen.
ARYA IN BRAAVOS
The episode starts with Lady Crane's stage scene as Cersei, with Joffrey's death. Foreshadowing to say she'll see him again in heaven, but first she seeks vengeance. Love that she's playing Cersei, who vows revenge against Sansa Stark, but she turns around and helps Sansa's sister in real life. Backstage, LC sees Arya behind the wardrobe. She's bleeding (for real, not fake, and it's not really Jaqen or the Waif) and LC helps patch her up. OK, but those wounds seemed serious and it's not like the Waif wouldn't know how to inflict lethal wounds. Honestly, this is the most pedestrian of the Arya survive options. D&D should go with fan theories next time. LC took her own revenge on Bianca, who wanted her killed. LC wants Arya to come with them to Pentos and replace Bianca as an actress, but Arya says they wouldn't be safe. What's West of Westeros? The edge of the world? Arya would like to see that. LC gives Arya milk of the poppy but Arya doesn't want to sleep. Still, she takes it. Is she too trusting?
Later, LC tends to Arya as she wakes up. But the Waif always finds Arya in the end. Lady Crane is killed. The Waif tells Arya if she had done her job, LC would've died painlessly. The Many-Faced God was given a name. He must take what is his. And now he's been promised another name. She can't change that. No One can. And No One does! Arya goes on the run, and we have a shaky-cam chase through the streets of Braavos. Has any good ever come from a trip to Braavos? Just saying. It's not a place to revisit. Arya has a fruit fall on the steps of Braavos and the Waif stares her down. Anyone else getting "Battleship Potemkin" vibes? This is very well shot, this sequence, even if it's a bit far-fetched. The Waif deserves what she gets -- Arya knifing a candle so they fight in the dark, which is the formerly blind Arya's specialty at this point.
At the end of the episode, Arya revists the House of Black and White, trailing blood, to add the Waif's face to the wall. She points her sword at Jaqen, who apparently had no idea what was up. So the Waif always knew what Arya was doing but Jaqen had no clue? Jaqen says finally a girl is No One, but she says "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I'm going home." Finally! Took long enough. She leaves him alive. He needs a new apprentice now. Where's Gendry? Maybe he can row over to Braavos.
THE HOUND + THE BROTHERHOOD
We visit with the group of Brotherhood guys who killed the Hound's group. For whatever reason, they are giving kissing and butthole jamming lessons in the woods. The Hound approaches with his axe and just goes to town, brutally slaying. He chose violence, too. Cersei would approve. Love the last words exchange. "You're sh-t at dying."
Later, we see Lord Beric Dondarrion (Jon Snow-ed six times, if you recall), whom we haven't seen since Season 3. Apparently Beric was also after those Brotherhood guys, who were former men of his who disgraced the Brotherhood name. Thoros of Myrs stops the Hound from axe-ing them, he says they hang them. It turns into a how-to-kill debate. They hang. Clegane gets new boots, so that's a win. He also asks the Brotherhood for something to eat. "I prefer chicken." YAS. Like Arya, his female counterpart, he is asked to join them and turns them down. Lots of horrible sh-t in this world gets done for something larger than ourselves. The Hound has the best lines. But Beric says cold winds are rising in the North. He knows about the White Walkers? The Lord of Light gave the Hound the power to defeat him, why? The Hound is a fighter. He was born a fighter. The things they are fighting will destroy young and old. The Hound seems to think about it, so maybe it's a soft no for now, with the potential to be yes.
We walk with Tyrion and Varys in Meereen, and watch another priestess speaking to a crowd. Varys is going on a secret expedition, and Tyrion ("the most famous dwarf in the world") will miss him. Varys: "We need friends in Westeros, and we need ships." Tyrion says they need their queen most of all. So now Tyrion is on his own, apart from Grey Worm and Missandei.
Later, Tyrion seems a bit cocky and overconfident, while Grey Worm and Missandei aren't so sure. They don't want to drink with him. They want Daenerys Targaryen back. Tyrion wants his own wine, The Imp's Delight. (SELL IT TO US NOW) Tyrion starts telling a Stark joke, which feels like foreshadowing. Whenever they have light moments like this, you know something awful is about to happen. After some more light banter, the bells ring. Ships approach. The masters have come for their property, Missandei sees.
We see the siege on Meereen and Tyrion admits he was wrong. He asks Grey Worm what the army should do. GW says to stay there and wait for the masters to come for them. Then they will fight. Yikes. It's a scary plan and they here a noise. Mom's home! Dany just strolls in, and we hear what sounds like Drogon behind her.
Qyburn tells Cersei members of the Faith Militant have been allowed into the Red Keep. Tommen let them in, of course. Cersei tries to walk somewhere -- to see Tommen? -- but Lancel and other Sparrows stop her. He says the High Sparrow wants to see her/COMMANDS her to see him, and she refuses. The Mountain steps forward. Lancel says "Move aside, ser," which is kind of hilarious. "Order your man to step aside or there will be violence." Cersei: "I choose violence." She doesn't say it with joy or anything, though. She's simply resolved. The Mountain rips apart one of the Sparrows and Lancel looks nervous. It's so strange to be rooting for the Mountain and Cersei at this point. But she scored a point this week.
Later, Cersei makes her way to the throne room and is stopped by Kevan Lannister. There is to be a royal announcement in the throne room, and Cersei is just being informed. Why is Kevan appearing to side with the Faith instead of wanting House Lannister to reclaim its power? He knows Tommen is a puppet. Tommen makes his speech about the Faith and the crown being the two pillars who hold up this world. The High Sparrow decided on trial dates for Cersei and Ser Loras. Also, Tommen said "from this day forward, trial by combat will be forbidden" across the Seven Kingdoms. So that's the High Sparrow's chess move against Cersei and the Mountain. Dammit, Tommen. Qyburn approaches Cersei about that little rumor. His little birds investigated. And it was more than a rumor. Much more. Wildfire?
Brienne and Pod have a sassy little moment at the start of the sequence, then when men show up she tells them she has Jaime Lannister's sword. Bronn gets Podrick F--king Payne in a headlock and they banter. Bronn asks if Jaime and Brienne are f--king. He'd f--k her. So now we can add him to the list, with Tormund and Jaime. Bronn and Pod had a nice little scene (not so nice for Pod) but Bronn is still best with Tyrion.
Meanwhile, inside the tent, Brienne surprises Jaime by saying Sansa is actually alive and Brienne is working for her to get Riverrun's army to battle the Boltons. That's not quite what Jaime wants, since he's currently battling Riverrun. Brienne says to take Riverrun without bloodshed, allow her into Riverun under truce to talk to the Blackfish and get him to move Tully forces north. Jaime doesn't think it will work with the Blackfish, but his men might go north. Jaime gives Brienne his word that he'll allow them safe passage north. Brienne also gives Jaime back his sword. He gave it to her for a purpose and she achieved it. He said it's hers and will always be hers. Aww. Good. We need more Valyrian steel, especially steel made from Ice, to take on the Boltons. Jaime and Brienne part as friends (with some eye f--king, maybe?) but she tells him if it comes to it, she may have to fight him, since she's Team Stark.
As expected, the Blackfish turns down the offer to "abandon" his family seat at Riverrun and go north. Brienne shares Sansa's note with the Blackfish, who says "she's exactly like her mother." Sansa wants her home back, but this is the Blackfish's home, and if Jaime wants it, he can take it the way everyone else does. So Brienne's mission failed, at least in terms of getting the Blackfish's support.
Later, Jaime visits poor Lord Edmure, who is still tied up. Edmure knows the Blackfish will never surrender the castle. Jaime knows a good death is all the Blackfish can hope for, but Edmure has more of a future ... even if he hasn't seen his wife since the Red Wedding. (A bad beginning if ever there was one.) It's good to hear Edmure get to talk, and he reminds Jaime ("an evil man" but a "fine looking fellow") that the Lannisters massacred his family. Jaime reminds him this is not a negotiation. Edmure wants to know how Jaime lives with himself. How does he tell himself he's decent after everything he's done? He talks about Catelyn. Edmure wishes she had killed Jaime. Jaime admired Catelyn. He was awed by her love for her children. It reminded him of his sister. Is this talk of Catelyn foreshadowing LS, or is that out of the question now? The things we do for love, Jaime, says, like he did in the first episode. Bran. "I love Cersei. You can laugh at that if you want, you can sneer. She needs me. To get back to her I have to take Riverrun." He'll take Edmure's son and launch him into Riverrun in a catapult, he'll slaughter every Tully who ever lived to get back to Cersei. Because he loves her. That's how he lives with what he does. That's awful and creepy, but still beautiful and romantic. And it works?
Edmure goes to the gate and demands entry, as the Lord of Riverrun. Blackfish refuses to surrender and tries to block the men from letting Edmure in. He knows Edmure is just doing Jaime's bidding. But the Blackfish is not lord of the castle, so the Blackfish loses. Sorry, man. Black Walder tells Jaime, if he's wrong, he just surrendered their most valuable prisoner. But he's not wrong. Edmure commands the men to lay down their arms, open the gates, and leave Riverrun to the Lannister/Freys. Edmure commands the Blackfish be put in irons and handed over to the Freys. Betrayal! The Blackfish helps Brienne and Pod leave but he refuses to leave Riverrun. He tells Brienne she'll serve Sansa far better than he ever could. He plans to stay and fight. "I haven't had a proper sword fight in years. I expect I'll make a damn fool of myself." Jaime is told the Blackfish died, but we don't see it. We do see Jaime and Brienne waving goodbye to each other as she rows away. Who should get her final rose -- Jaime or Tormund? Or Pod as the dark horse?
YAAAAAAASSSSSSS. Episode 9, always known to be a BAMF of an episode, is called "Battle of the Bastards" and you know what that means. Yas! The epic Ramsay vs Jon fight is coming Sunday, June 19. If someone gets to kill Ramsay it should be Sansa, though, not Jon. But please show him no mercy, he has earned none.
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