Tonight’s episode as per the title, focused on Arya Stark and her attempt to relinquish the hold that the House of Black and White had on her, and no longer be ‘No One’. It also saw the end of the siege of Riverrun, The Hound tearing through the Brotherhood and Cersei being dealt a fatal blow in Kingslanding.
Let’s get into episode 8, ‘No One’:
Arya and the end of the No One arc
It seems that the good deeds are not for naught as Lady Crane was the one who nursed Arya to help after the wild attack by the Waif last week. But Lady Crane was on the one caught in a precarious position after The Waif sniffed out Arya’s whereabouts.
This week saw Arya enter into her final battle with the Waif, while she then lured the Waif into a dark room where she killed her using Needle – in the dark, because she learnt to fight blind. A lot of this fighting fell to chance, if the Waif followed her lead, if Arya did not die or bleed out before she could fight the Waif etc. Also Arya did not just tell Jaqen that she killed the Waif, she staged a dramatic show where Jaqen would walk in on the Waif’s face in the Wall of Faces, so we can assume that Arya now knows how to remove a face from a body?
In all I felt as if this was a disappointing end to the Arya storyline that they have been building up to, we did not even get half as much of a developing arc as most of us suspected, even the wild theories that have been making the rounds were better than the lackluster way that this ended. I understand that Arya has been in Braavos for far too long and it’s high time for her to return to Westeros but I don’t see her as an epic assassin, she is not Batman trained by the League of Assassins yet, she is a girl that has learnt some skills, won a fight with a fellow assassin by chance and that said ‘adios’ and quit. But on the plus side, I’m glad she is returning to Westeros.
Jaime, Brienne and the Legend of the Blackfish
I don’t know about you, but I have been waiting for this Jaime/Brienne reunion forever, and it was so apt and sweet and just poured back all the emotions that I felt about this twosome and I must commend Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie for just selling the hell out of this interaction.
Sidenote: I really enjoy how Bronn seems to ship the two of them, it’s adorable.
The Riverrun plot never really amounted to anything or affected anything in the plot. Jaime allowed Brienne passage into the castle, she asked the Blackfish for help with Sansa, he refused, and then Jaime has a chat with Edmure, who takes the castle back and the Blackfish died defending himself. Siege over. The most important plot point of this entire storyline seems to be the characterization of Jaime.
Ever since he has been back in Kingslanding and around Cersei, Jaime has not been his best self – following Cersei’s lead, making questionable decisions, but since he has been away from her we have seen another side of him – a Jaime that makes smart tactical decisions in war, a Jaime that jokes around with Bronn, that can lead an army. And then Brienne returns, reminding him that he is a better man than he thinks he is, he is better than the life that his father and his sister live by, and just showing us his best possible self. How I wish we could see more of Brienne-esque Jaime, but I do assume that even Jaime will have to start sculpting himself soon away from the persona that is so closely connected with Cersei.
Catching up with the other characters:
- The Hound and his axe are taking no prisoners as he tears through the Riverlands taking revenge for Brother Ray and his comrades. His quips and the brutal way that he kills the members of the Brotherhood is hilarious and almost Inglorious Basterds-like. After meeting with Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, Sandor discovers that it was a rogue group of the Brotherhood that were killing civilians and he is encouraged to join the Brotherhood as they head North.
- We finally got to see the zombie Mountain kill a Sparrow, but things aren’t looking promising for Cersei as Tommen and his High Sparrow advisor decide to do away with the trial by combat for the trials of both Cersei and Loras so Cersei can’t even expect the Mountain to bail her out of this situation, so she might have to fall on more desperate measures.
- Varys leaves Meereen, heading back to Westeros to rally troops for Daenerys, meanwhile Tyrion, Missandei and Greyworm chill out, try some wine and practice telling jokes (this once again was a long and tedious scene) but their fun is cut short when the Masters return to the village in order to get their people back, and always one for an entrance, Daenerys returns on Drogon, bewildered as to what has become of her city.
Predictions for the end of the season (Spoiler/Speculation warning):
- What is Cersei’s plan? My guess is wildfire. There have been theories floating around for a while but in this episode the conversation she has with Qyburn confirms this and there have been clues leading up to it, which you can read in the Vanity Fair article here. My guess is that in the finale, Cersei will attempt to use the wildfire to burn down the sept and will cause a lot more damage, killing more than she wants to (because wildfire is difficult to control) and will go full Mad King Aerys and Jaime will have to kill her in order to save the city.
- Where is Varys going? Perhaps to Dorne, the closest point to Westeros from Essos, where we know they hate the Lannisters, are willing to support a Targaryen queen and is close to another Lannister-hating house – the Tyrells. Perhaps he’s going to Oldtown to convince them that Daenerys is the princess who was promised, or to Kingslanding to cause havoc.
Game of Thrones airs on HBO on Sundays at 9pm E.T