Game of Thrones, S6 Ep8 – No One

The latest episode of Game of Thrones was relatively calm but still eventful, moving certain sub plots that were stagnant for most of the season and setting up other big moves. For an episode entitled “No One” it still explored the themes of identity and belonging. Characters had a little more time to reflect on their choices and to consider the consequences of their actions.

Game of Thrones, S6 Ep8 - No OneBack in King’s Landing, Cersei makes the mistake of parading Sir Gregorstein around as she refuses the orders of the High Septon. She was so confident in his abilities to win her trial for combat that she didn’t see how predictable her decision was. To her chagrin, the High Septon convinces Tommen to abolish trial by combat, leaving her without any good options left. Unless, of course, Qyburn’s whispers of a rumor are true. Game of Thrones fans have made various speculations about Cersei’s backup plan and some may involve torching King’s Landing to the ground. We’ll have to wait and see but whatever it is, the peasants are going to suffer.

Riverrrun was the setting of a big chunk of the episode with the highly anticipated reunion between Jaime and Brienne, Brienne’s meeting the Blackfish, and even a fun reunion between Bronn and Pod. In a rather anti-climactic turn of events, the siege of Riverrun is over as Jaime manipulated Edmure Tully into reclaiming the castle. On the up-side, there was no bloodshed so at least the Tully forces remain intact. But then again, this also meant the end of the stubborn Blackfish, Brynden Tully, who apparently died off-screen, Stannis-style. (This is all getting a bit suspicious since Game of Thrones usually goes out of its way to explicitly show the death of major characters. So every time they are dispatched in this way, I always wonder if they might be coming back in some form in the future episodes. After all, Jon Snow, Benjen Stark, and Sandor Clegane all came back. There are no more rules.)

Just kiss already!

Just kiss already!

The most moving moments of the episode were the scenes between Jaime and Brienne (who Bronn so obviously ships together). Fans have been waiting for these two to meet after they parted ways back in season four. Their moments were as affecting as ever and showed the Jaime we had come to know and love (as opposed to the Cersei-obsessed stranger we’ve been seeing recently.) He reassured Brienne that Oathkeeper would always be her sword and the meaningful looks they gave each other spoke volumes. And the sad wave they exchanged when Jaime watched Brienne sail away was another heartbreaking moment. Despite everything, they are still not in a position to fight on the same side. But at least, due to the resolution of the siege, they did not have to fight each other.

Game of Thrones, S6 Ep8 - No OneSandor finally found his way back into the main plot as he crosses paths with the Brotherhood Without Banners. They were in the middle of executing the men who had massacred Sandor’s erstwhile community and they even let him hang two out of three. Although he seemed reluctant to get back into the business of bloodshed, Sandor was recruited by the Brotherhood and it looks like he will be travelling with them and fighting for their cause. Considering they are aware of the threat of the White Walkers, it looks like it won’t be long before Sandor and the other main characters’ paths converge.

There was some movement in the Mereen front as well, as Tyrion got some screentime. He bade Varys farewell as the latter was off to make some allies in Westeros. Whatever Varys does is always so intriguing and I hope that we find out what he is up to soon. Tyrion then spent some quality time trying to get Missandei and Grey Worm to drink and tell jokes. While mostly a filler scene, it was still a bit refreshing to see these characters enjoy some down time. And the smiles exchanged between Missandei and Grey Worm were precious.

Game of Thrones, S6 Ep8 - No OneBut such idyllic peace was never meant to last, especially not in Game of Thrones. Soon, the Masters were at their gates, attacking the city and shattering the tentative calm Tyrion thought he had managed to achieve through his negotiations. Just as things are about to get dire, however, Daenerys marches home and she will, naturally, take charge of the messy situation.

Arya’s Braavos arc finally reached a clear conclusion in this episode, as she proudly reclaimed her identity as a Stark. Various theories, some more elaborate than others, were formulated by fans to explain Arya’s seemingly uncharacteristic behavior in the last episode. It turns out fans were over-analyzing in vain because lame as the explanation may be, Arya was just being careless and sloppy, allowing herself to get injured by the Waif. Her friend Lady Crane had to pay the price in this episode but after a thrilling chase down the streets of Braavos, Arya managed to show how much of survivor she was.

Just as she finally succeeded in defeating the Waif, aided by her training in fighting in the dark, and just as she passed the test of becoming a Faceless Man, she decided that she wants no part of that world. She proudly declares her Stark name and resolves to make her way home. Hopefully, another big Stark sibling reunion is nigh though perhaps, considering the distance Arya still needs to cross, this will happen next season of Game of Thrones at the earliest. But after wandering around Essos on her own, Arya finally has some clear direction even if the journey will be fraught with hardship.

Next week on Game of Thrones, it looks like the penultimate episode will feature the biggest battle on the series so far and it’s going to be epic: