Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 8 “No One”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Random foresty place: Sandor “The Hound” Clegane tracks down a group of four men, sitting around a campfire. He lops the head off one with his axe, then makes short work of the others as well. I guess these are the ones who slaughtered the group he was working with.

A bit later on he comes across a group of the Brotherhood Without Banners, who have captured the leader of the slaughtering force and a couple of other men. They tell Sandor that these men were rebels and will now be hanged – in fact they’re just about to do it. One of the group is Beric, who we last saw back in Season 3. He and Sandor recognise one another. Sandor says the men killed his friends, and he claims the right to execute them. Beric says he can have one, but ups it to two when Sandor complains. Sandor wants to use his axe on them, but Beric insists they be hanged, not butchered. Sandor knocks the logs out from under two of the men and Beric’s men do the other.

Beric then asks Sandor where he’s going now, and suggests they join forces to go north and fight White Walkers. Beric seems to think the two of them are fated to work together, following their previous encounter. Okay, so Sandor now has a story ahead of him. It doesn’t seem too interesting yet, but no doubt it’ll intersect some other characters at some point.

Riverrun: Brienne and Podrick arrive at the siege of Riverrun. Last time we saw Brienne and Jaime together I speculated that they were developing a thing for each other. That seems to be somewhat in evidence here, as Bronn speculates with Podrick about what they’re doing in the tent together. Bronn is frankly surprised to see Podrick alive, and even more surprised to learn that Brienne is teaching him to fight. Bronn says she’ll teach him to fight like a knight, but that he also needs to learn to fight dirty, like him.

In the tent, Brienne tells Jaime that she is here to ask the Blackfish to join Sansa and Jon’s army to retake Winterfell. Jaime points out that the Tully’s are under siege, and so hardly likely to be in a position to assist. Brienne says she can try anyway. She offers to try to talk the Blackfish to surrender the castle and march north with her, if Jaime will promise to give them safe passage. He is sceptical, but agrees, and gives her until nightfall to make the deal, if she can. Brienne then takes her sword and offers it to Jaime – it’s his old sword, which I’d forgotten that he gave to her to fulfil her oath to find and protect Sansa. She says she’s done that now, so he can have the sword back. Jaime tells her she can keep it, it’s hers now. Brienne takes it back.

As it turns out, taking it back wasn’t a smart move, as when Brienne enters the castle to talk to the Blackfish, he spots the lion on the pommel and accuses her of wielding a Lannister sword. She brushes this aside and shows the Blackfish Sansa’s letter – it seems this was the destination for the letter she write at the end of the last episode. However, the Blackfish is sceptical, he doesn’t know Sansa’s writing, and hasn’t seen her since she was a child. Brienne presents more arguments, saying Winterfell is Sansa’s rightful home, and she needs his help to regain it. He says Riverrun is his home, and he won’t abandon it. Especially not to the Lannisters.

Jaime, meanwhile, has another plan. He visits Edmure and has a convivial chat. He asks about Edmure’s wife and son. Edmure sneers and says he hasn’t seen his wife since their wedding night (the night of the Red Wedding), and has never seen the son that resulted from the one night he lay with his wife. Jaime says, well, if you help me get the Blackfish out of Riverrun, you can see your son, and live with him in safety at Casterly Rock, away from the Freys. But if you don’t help… I’ll take Riverrun anyway and slaughter every Tully I can find. Oh, your son would be a Tully, wouldn’t he?

After nightfall, the Blackfish has not surrendered to Brienne’s offer. A lone figure approaches the drawbridge with a flaming torch. The guards call out who goes there? The figure answers, “Edmure Tully, Lord of Riverrun. Open the gate.” The Blackfish says it’s a trick and tells the guards not to listen to him. But the captain says that Edmure is the Lord of Riverrun, not him, and orders the gate opened. Edmure enters, while the Blackfish stalks off. He orders the captain to have the men lay down their arms and leave the gates open, and to find the Blackfish and put him in irons. The captain hesitates briefly, and Edmure says, “Did you hear me?” The captain nods his head and gives the order.

The Blackfish has gone to Brienne and Podrick, and lead them to a water gate down by the river, and a boat. They row off in the darkness, down the river. Brienne tells the Blackfish to come with them, but he says he’ll be damned if he gives up Riverrun without a fight. A bit later Jaime is on the battlements, and his men report that they killed the Blackfish in a short battle. Jaime looks down the dark river, and spots Brienne and Podrick rowing away. He waves wistfully, and she waves back as they slip into the night.

So the Blackfish dies off-screen. Will he come back somehow? I doubt it this time. Jaime’s clever tactic has deliver Riverrun to him with barely a fight. That was his mission from Tommen, so now he can return to King’s Landing. But will he?

King’s Landing: Cersei is walking through the Red keep when she is stopped by a group of the Faith Militant, led be cousin Lancel. He says that the High Sparrow has requested she visit him in the Sept. She refuses. They say they will take her by force if they have to, at which point Gregor “The Six Million Dollar Mountain” Clegane steps up and rips a guy’s head clean off with his bare hands The other Faith Militant are horrified and retreat.

Tommen calls an audience for an announcement. Cersei enters the throne room, and goes to stand by his side, but Kevan stands before her and says Tomen has commanded that she stand in the gallery with the other ladies of the court. Cersei narrows her eyes in fury, but accedes. Tommen announces that the trials of Cersei and Loras will take place soon, and that he has outlawed trial by combat. They will be tried by a group of seven priests. Cersei realises in horror that her chance of using Gregor as her champion has been thwarted by the High Sparrow.

Leaving the throne room Cersei find Qyburn. In a cryptic exchange, she asks him if his little birds have found anything about the “rumours” they had heard, and are they true. He says, oh yes, they are all true, and much, much more…

Hmm. Well Cersei clearly has a plan, but we’re being teased about what it is. If it’s Qyburn involved – the guy who Frankensteined Gregor Clegane – then clearly it’s going to be something both wacky and awesome. But will it be in time for her trial? And when will Margaery make her move?

Meereen: The priestesses are spreading the word on the streets about how wonderful Daenerys is, as Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, and Missandei stroll around and are pleased to see the people returning to everyday business. Varys says bye and heads off on a mission to recruit more allies.

Tyrion tries to have small talk with Grey Work and Missandei in the Pyramid. He tells a joke and then asks them to tell some. At first they both decline. Tyrion encourages them to drink wine, but both refuse. He asks why. Grey Worm says “rules”. Tyrion points out that the rules were made by their former slave masters, and he is ordering them to drink. They both try the wine. Grey Worm says it tastes like it has turned, but Missandei enjoys hers after a couple of sips. She tells a lame joke about translators. Grey Worm says it’s a terrible joke, and she asks him what he knows about jokes. He says he’s a soldier, he’s heard lots of jokes.

Anyway, this bonding session is interrupted when bells ring signalling an attack on the city! A fleet of ships is sailing into the harbour! At first I think it’s Yara’s fleet from the Iron Islands, but no, it’s apparently a fleet from the Master of Yunkai and Astapor, and they really are attacking. They bombard the city with flaming catapult shot. Tyrion and Grey Worm argue about what they should do… and suddenly there’s a crashing sound on the roof above them. It may be meant to sound like an attack has hit the Pyramid, but I instantly think it’s Drogon and Daenerys landing on the roof. And I’m right! Tyrion rushes to a window to see what’s happening, and Daenerys strides in to take charge.

And the scene cuts. I presume she’ll have Drogon lay waste to the fleet with flaming breath and this whole attack thing will be over pretty quickly next episode. I just hope they don’t assume Yara’s fleet is also attacking when it arrives! Okay, it’s finally coming together.

Braavos: This episode actually opens with the actors on stage, performing their story of the kings. Lady Crane, playing Cersei, gives an impassioned speech over the body of “Joffrey”, much more dramatic than the ribald comedy we’ve seen before. The audience are moved to tears and applaud the performance. Lady Crane goes backstage to her dressing room and starts pouring herself a drink, only to be startled by a noise in the corner. She investigates and pulls aside a costume, to find Arya bleeding on the floor.

Lady Crane nurses Arya in her quarters, giving her food and stitching up her wounds. She gives Arya milk of the poppy to hel her sleep, which Arya takes only after protesting that she doesn’t want it as she needs to stay alert. But Lady Crane convinces her that she needs sleep to heal, and then watches over Arya through the night. In conversation, Arya asks Lady Crane what happened to the younger actress who took out the contract on her. She says that she quit the troupe after her face was disfigured… Lady Crane suggests Arya would be a good actress and should join the company, but Arya refuses.

Just when we think everything is all right, Lady Crane turns around and is killed by the Older Girl with a dagger. Arya flees for her life, racing through the streets of Braavos, with the Older Girl in pursuit. They have a rough and tumble chase, crashing through fruit stalls and markets. Arya’s wound starts bleeding again. She gets ahead and enters a dim room, wiping her bloody hand on the doorframe as she goes. This might look like a mistake, leaving a trail, but I reckon this is a deliberate move on Arya’s part. She wants the Older Girl to find her.

And find her she does. She enters the dim room and closes the door behind her. Arya has retrieved Needle – this is the room she slept in the other night with her sword. The Older Girl says, “You should know that won’t help you,” as she stalks forward confidently with her dagger. Arya raises Needle in front of her face, then swings it down swiftly to her side, slicing the candle that was the only light in the room, plunging it into darkness. Yep, all according to plan. But the scene cuts and we don’t see or hear the fight in the pitch blackness.

Later, Jaqen is walking through the House of Black and White, and spots a trail of blood on the floor. He follows it, past the pool of poison, to the room with the columns containing the faces of the dead. It leads to the bloody, dripping face of the Older Girl, pinned up like the others on a column. He turns around, and Arya has her sword at his throat. Jaqen smiles inscrutably and says, “So. At last a girl is No One.”

Arya says defiantly, “I’m not No One. I’m Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I’m going home.” She turns and walks out.

Nice ending. Great line. Great delivery. I wonder if this was what Jaqen wanted to see all along, or if it’s a serious breach of protocol. Is he going to let her go do her thing, or is he going to institute a plan for tracking down Arya and killing her? It’s impossible to tell – this guy is is impossible to read.

Another good episode. It fells like a lot of the extended storylines are reaching climax points, and there will be a lot of action coming up very soon. There are only two more episodes left in this season, so no doubt there’ll be something big happening. It’s getting really exciting now.

One Response to “Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 8 “No One””

  1. Glen says:

    Nice writeup; I only just rewatched this episode and the next one a few days ago, so these ones are fresh in my mind.

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