I apologize for not talking about the best episode of season six last week when “The Broken Man” brought The Hound back into the fray and introduced Ian McShane into the cast, but E3 preparations have led to Game of Thrones being sort of secondary in my head. But we’re back, and I intend to explain to you just why Arya’s storyline finally matters and why Jamie Lannister is on my good side again. The latest episode, “No One”, is full of redemption both in terms of characters as well as my emotions towards the show.
Let me just say that last week’s episode of Game of Thrones brought me to a halt in my hate of Braavos’s scenes. Arya is now being hunted by Jaqen’s apprentice, who seems hellbent on killing Arya. Unfortunately for her, Arya has learned things and is extremely confident in herself, even after being stabbed a bunch in the stomach. The final moment of this entire story for the episode establishes Arya as No One, because she finally mastered being someone. I think that might be one of the best endings for a character’s arc (obviously not the entire arc, but a major one in Arya’s life) that Game of Thrones has had that didn’t end with the main character dying. Even though we had to struggle through so many terrible episodes of Arya training to be No One, I can’t help but feel satisfaction at how the story closes out.
Speaking of character arcs redeemed, I am falling back in love with Jamie. Sure, he’s still kind of a slave to Cersei, but it is clear he is learning what true love may be. It may in fact be that he should go out and be with Brienne, but part of me wonders if that would ever happen. It seems likely after Brienne escapes from Riverrun that Jamie has in fact fallen in love with her in a way which he hasn’t quite realized before. Sure, there was an entire journey where the two were basically tied to the hip, but I think he only came to recognize Brienne as a friend, not as a lover. I’m not sure that Jamie will ever break out of the spell Cersei has on him, but I could definitely see it happening if pushed to the point of choosing in some capacity.
But I have to also add that every moment in Riverrun was a treat. Blackfish is such a great character who has honor, yet recognizes his own flaws. He knows his place in the game of thrones and he doesn’t attempt to go beyond those limits. We also got great scenes between Podrick and Bronn, both characters who got a little bit more bonding because of their past with Tyrion. I loved all the quips and character interactions that cemented Bronn as one of my favorite characters, and Podrick as someone who could be more than just a squire someday. If he would even want to be.
While Jamie is off letting Brienne escape from Riverrun, Cersei is being put in a great bind that feels extremely rewarding. Many theories for Game of Thrones think that trial by combat was going to lead to a certain fight between two brothers. I think that fight might still exist, but it is not going to happen under the guise of lawfulness. Tommen’s decision to remove trial by combat as an option in the court of law makes sense from the reasoning he gave, which is essentially that it is an unfair way to cheat punishment for someone’s sins. But it also just feels like the High Sparrow is getting information that makes him far more lethal than Cersei may have believed him to be. And we got a scene of The Mountain killing some of High Sparrow’s henchmen which was extremely brutal but in a really sudden way that I loved. I’m curious to see if they explore the idea of spies more, or if the showrunners feel that they have already explored it enough with Varys.
Remember Varys? Remember how excited I was for him and Tyrion to have their own show together? I’m not anymore, and neither is Game of Thrones. We get a glimpse at Meeren as the slavers prepare an assault on the city. But don’t worry, Daenarys will get to fight her first real war because she showed up just in time. How the showrunners didn’t just have a shot of her flying into the city on Drogon’s back is beyond me. It would have been a welcoming bit of epic in comparison to the really grating timeliness of her arrival.
But who cares about Meeren, right? I want more of The Hound! And we got it with some more of the Brotherhood without Banners. It wasn’t much, but you can definitely see the show putting The Hound in a position to become helpful, as the Brotherhood seems to be on the side of justice. There really isn’t much there, but I hope the Brotherhood stays on for a while because it turns out that I really missed them.
There was a noticeable absence of any Jon Snow in “No One”, but I didn’t mind it at all. We know we’re gonna get a big fight between Jon and Ramsay, so it is definitely alright to save that for the penultimate episode of the season. Which is the next episode! There is always a big battle in episode nine, so expect huge set pieces and a hell of a lot of blood. Until next time!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO
Game of Thrones "No One"
- Cersei will either get her comeuppance soon, or become more evil
- Arya is no one and these last few episodes established that so well
- Jamie is slowly being redeemed by being away from Cersei
- Give me more Bronn, please
- Daenarys is so boring. Even her returning to Meeren right before war is boring