Game of Thrones Recap Season 6 Episode 8: No One
Lady Crane, heeding Arya's advice, portrays a more vengeful Cersei. She finds the still-wounded Arya hiding in her dressing room and patches her up using skills acquired over a long history of abusive relationships. She invites Arya to travel with them to Pentos, but Arya is intent on escaping the reach of the Faceless Men, perhaps even traveling "west of Westeros".
Still recovering, Arya is awakened by a noise outside her room. Lady Crane is dead and her nameless rival stands awaiting her. A chase through the streets ensues, ending when Arya leads her nemesis to where Needle is stashed. She assumes the stance of a Braavosi Water Dancer and extinguishes a nearby candle, plunging the room into darkness.
Lore: Braavosi Water Dancers
Jaqen follows a trail of blood through the House of Black and White to the face library and finds the recent addition of nameless rival. Arya appears behind him, and announces her true identity and plan to return to Westeros.
The Hound catches up to four men associated with the group that slaughtered his recent companions. He quickly massacres all of them.
The Hound's search ends when he comes across Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr hanging the remaining men responsible. He negotiates for the opportunity to remove the blocks under two of the three prisoners. With warnings of greater threats and purposes, The Hound enters into a loose alliance with the Brotherhood without Banners.
With the red priests seemingly holding up their side of the pact, Varys leaves on a secret mission to find Westerosi allies with ships.
Tyrion encourages Missandei and Grey Worm to drink and joke with him, but just as they begin loosening up, an alarm rings to announce the arrival of a large naval fleet sent by the Masters.
While the supervisory trio discusses their options, Daenerys is delivered to the top of the Great Pyramid by Drogon.
Qyburn informs Cersei that seven members of the Faith Militant, led by Lancel, are requesting her presence on behalf of King Tommen and the High Sparrow. They push to a demand, Cersei chooses violence, and a member of the Faith Militant hits Zombie Mountain with a spiked mace, to no effect. Zombie Mountain responds by crushing the man's throat and ripping off his head, causing the others to flee.
Tommen announces that Trial by Combat will no longer be an option in the Seven Kingdoms, and a trial date for both Loras and Cersei. Cersei asks Qyburn about a mysterious rumor.
Brienne and Pod arrive outside the Lannister lines. Pod catches up with Bronn while Brienne and Jaime negotiate. Brienne offers to deliver Riverrun in exchange for safe passage for the Tully army to march north to Sansa's aid. Jaime consents, but Brienne is unable to win the Blackfish's support for the idea.
With Brienne still inside the castle, Jaime works on Edmure to reach a hasty resolution. Using the leverage of Edmure's son, conceived at the Red Wedding, Jaime convinces him to deliver Riverrun peacefully. The Blackfish tries to refuse, but is overruled by his men and their loyalty to their rightful Lord. Facing defeat, he leads Brienne and Pod to a secret exit before turning around and fighting to his death.
Can someone explain why Edmure is so easily swayed by the threat of harm to his wife and son? Generally that statement would sound callous, but generally you've known your wife and son for longer than one day and enjoyed happier times than the vicious betrayal and slaughter of your friends and family, arranged by her father. I'd rather dare Jaime to catapult a baby against a castle and see it's effect on an already poor reputation. Teflon Ramsay pulled off infanticide with no consequences, but I don't think anyone else has. I'm also personally saddened by the Blackfish's sacrifice. I'm sure he's tired of fighting, but there's an easy escape to an opportunity to advise his great-niece as she battles against the monsters that destroyed their families and homes. It was almost as wasteful as Summer's death in The Door!
Despite my familiarity with this series, I don't know how many days there are until "the first day of the Festival of the Mother". Of course, the trial was in "a few days" four episodes ago; since then we've seen Mace Tyrell arrive with an army, Tommen go to the High Sparrow's side, Margaery ask her grandmother to leave town, and Jaime travel to Riverrun. Whenever it is, Cersei needs Margaery and House Tyrell's help more than ever with Trial by Combat off the table.
I went back to the scene when Cersei and Qyburn racked up drinks discussing the spy network of "little birds", but no one mentioned a rumor. Cersei issued orders to find anyone looking to make her loss their gain, but that includes almost every house in the Seven Kingdoms. I'll see if I can dig up anything from earlier episodes for our next podcast.
Similarly puzzling, I don't know where Varys is seeking help in Westeros. He is looking for a navy, but the only navies we've seen are those of the Iron Islands, the Baratheons, and the royal fleet in King's Landing. Most of the Baratheon fleet was lost in the Battle of the Blackwater, and the Lannisters won't help Dany reclaim the Iron Throne. The Greyjoy's reputation make them an unlikely target, even though a weird "oh, you were coming to Meereen? I'm coming FROM Meereen!" meeting on the open seas would be amusing. It may be time to revisit the Sand Snakes; as I've mentioned before, Dorne has a history with female rulers from Essos, and Sunspear is the nearest Westerosi port to Meereen.
It was nice of Dany to make a dramatic arrival, but with so many ships firebombing your city, troops, and citizenry, a display of power would have been appreciated. Maybe set fire to a nice set of the attacking ships before letting Drogon fly off into the night?
While the ending of the final segment in Braavos ("A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I'm going home.") was fantastic, the chase scene really grated on me. Either the faceless rival is atrocious at her job (ignored orders to kill without suffering, failed to wound her mortally, chased a target through the streets in broad daylight) or this was a test so elaborate that Jaqen was counting on Arya to recover her identity the whole time. The rival could have killed or captured Arya at least three times in that chase, but instead struck poses or inexplicably dropped in ten feet behind her. If she's that bad at being a Faceless Man, or that susceptible to holding a grudge (remember, selflessness is crucial to the religion), I don't understand how she's lasted there as an acolyte.
I'm curious about how the Brotherhood without Banners gets information. The larger purpose rhetoric has been applied to people with varying accuracy, but Beric saying "cold winds are rising in the north" and "good and bad, young and old; the things we're fighting will destroy them all alike" sounds like a reference to White Walkers. Perhaps knowledge of the greater war to come is traveling farther south than we realized. What they do next is equally interesting; Thoros and Melisandre may seem natural allies, but the Red Priests have supported a wide variety of leaders. Perhaps the Brotherhood will join the Starks once again and ride north to help Sansa and Jon.