Season 6, in my opinion, has been the best season yet of Game of Thrones. However, the intensity of the episodes is still following a typical producer’s pattern with S06E08 giving us a bit of a pause in the action so to speak, (typical of an 8th out of 10 episode set) while setting up for blockbuster episodes 9 and 10. In fact, it is rumored that the last 2 episodes of GoT season 6 will be the longest in the history of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
S06E08, entitled No One, was a nod to Arya Stark who has finally decided to be someone with a notable family name of Stark and basically just about 4 major characters: Jaime Lannister, Cersei Lannister, Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark. Beyond the main characters, some sub-characters were included as listed here:
- Blackfish Tully
- Edmure Tully
- Brienne of Tarth
- The Mountain (Ser Robert Strong)
- King Tommen Baratheon
- Grey Worm
- Slave Masters
- Daenerys Targaryen/Drogon
- Lady Crane
- The Waif
- jaqen h’ghar
This week’s episode did NOT include: Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, Ser Davos Seaworth, Bran Stark, Sam Tarley, Gilly, Yara Greyjoy, Theon Greyjoy nor the apparently forgotten gang over in Dorne.
Game of Thrones S06E08 was not short on gore and killing however; in fact the episode included 2 beheading by the infamous Clegane brothers in opposite ends of Westeros. Sandor Clegane (Hound) was part of the cliffhanger last week when he left his life of redemption and forgiveness and picked up an axe to seek revenge on the slaughter of the religious cult members he had joined. The beginning of S06E08 shows his fury and beheading skills as he tracks the perpetrators down. Among his travels he meets up with Brothers Without Banners leaders Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr who were after the same men.
A bit of levity among murder and execution by hanging set the stage for this unforeseen reunion of characters and what may prove to be an ideal fit for the Hound at this point. The BWB kill and fight but all in the name of good causes. What the reappearance of Beric does for readers of George R. R. Martin’s books however, is pretty much kill their hopes of the Lady Stoneheart character ever coming to HBO. In the book, she only lived with Beric’s death. However, stranger deviations from the book to television have happened, so who knows?
Jaime Lannister wins Riverrun by his wits.
As Lady Brienne of Tarth and Podrick come upon Riverrun where they were hoping to find suitable allies and army to help Jon Snow, they come upon a different scenario. Jaime and the King’s army are camped just slightly behind where Walder Frey’s inept sons’ group was when Jaime showed up and took over. Lady Brienne requested an audience with Jaime.
These two have an unusual friendship and bond. They both respect each other without really being on the same side. Brienne convinces Jaime to let her approach Blackfish and see if she can get him to willingly leave Riverrun and help Sansa and Jon take back Winterfell. If she can convince him, she wants safe passage out but if she can not convince him and a battle ensues, she will be forced to stand with him as he is Sansa’s kin. They agree; both hoping it will not come to a bloodshed.
Well, Blackfish is more stubborn than Brienne thought and he absolutely refuses. But, Jaime, suspecting that would be the case uses his shrewdness in negotiations and his brain to develop another plan. He appeals to his captive Edmure Tully, taken from the Frey brothers to get the men inside Riverrun to lay down their weapons and surrender for him because he is the rightful Lord of Riverrun, not Blackfish. The plan is successful; Edmure is back where he belongs, a free man, Jaime can report back to King’s Landing that the rightful owner is in place with allegiance to the Lannister’s and Brienne and Podrick got away safely in a boat, however without any help for Jon. The only life lost was Blackfish’s.
Cersei Lannister’s loses choice of violence.
Before Cersei sent Jaime away on his mission to Riverrun, she told him not to worry about her trial as she will pick “trial by combat” and she has the murderous Mountain (Ser Robert Strong) to fight for her. Earlier I mentioned the beheading by his brother the Hound with an axe, but the Mountain ripped off the head of one of the religious men in the order of the High Sparrow with his bare hands!
Cersei’s son King Tommen, however, has dealt his mother a blow by issuing a new policy; no more trials by combat will be allowed as they are barbaric and not fair. It seems his mother will have to face a trial by jury after all.
Tyrion Lannister faces being wrong.
Tyrion had given the slavers a plan to continue slaving for a period of time, gradually ending it. In Daenerys’ absence, he thought he had instilled a cease fire so to speak and was even feeling cocky enough to incite some levity among staid Missandei and Grey Worm by getting them to drink wine and tell jokes. All this ended when the alarm sounded that the harbor was besieged with ships.
Tyrion had to face the fact he was wrong; not an easy thing for the dwarf to do, but the Master Slavers were attacking by ship. A sudden noise above them in the pyramid forces them to ready for combat, when in walks Daenerys with fire in her eyes this time. Apparently Drogon had dropped her off.
Two things come to mind about what could happen in Meereen in the next 2 weeks: Dragons could set the fleet on fire or Yara and Theon Greyjoy could show up for a battle in the sea.
Arya Stark makes up her mind.
Last week we knew Arya was stabbed; but we felt she was alive. It turned out she got some help from the very Lady Crane who she had been ordered to kill. Unfortunately, just because Arya did not carry out the “murder order” herself, it was not cancelled and Lady Crane was killed after all. The Waif found Arya and they had rather a super-hero type romp throughout the city.
Arya Stark and her sword Needle were successful in killing the waif and she brought her bloody face back to the house of Black and White where she said good-bye to jaqen h’ghar. She tells him that instead of being the girl who is “no one” that she is indeed Arya Stark of Winterfell and is returning home. H’ghar’s sly look appeared a bit pleased; as in proud of her even though their relationship is at an end.