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Monday, 13 June 2016

Game of Thrones S6E8: No One

Game of Thrones
Series 6, Episode 8
No One.

We're very close to the end of the series now, with just two episodes left (both of which have been announced as being longer than usual, with episode nine being fifty-nine minutes to the usual fifty-five, and episode ten being sixty-nine minutes), and as such, this is the point where I think we'd usually expect to start seeing plot threads getting wrapped up.

To that end, this episode focuses predominantly on Arya in Braavos, and Jaime and Brienne in Riverrun, with short bits about Cersei, Clegane, and Tyrion. For that reason, I expect we won't be seeing Arya, at least, again this series, and we might well not see Jaime either. Brienne features in the synopsis for episode ten, so we know she'll be in that one.

In this week's episode, Arya goes to Lady Crane for help as the Waif pursues her through Braavos - but in so doing, swiftly learns that there's no way to escape from the Faceless Men once they've promised their god a name. Brienne attempts to convince the Blackfish to abandon Riverrun and join Sansa's army, while Jaime tries to end the siege by appealing to his prisoner, Edmure Tully. Elsewhere in the Riverlands, Clegane encounters Beric and the Brotherhood. In King's Landing, a confrontation between Cersei and the Faith Militant has fallout when Tommen abruptly declares that trials by combat will be banned, robbing Cersei of the best tool in her arsenal. In Meereen, Varys leaves on a secret mission, just in time for the Masters of the other cities in Slaver's Bay to launch an all-out attack.

Very colourful.

We'll start with the Clegane plotline, because to be entirely honest, I have no idea why we're bothering with him. Does anyone care about Clegane? At all? I feel like the only reason anyone gives a damn about his storyline is that with the Brotherhood reappearing and Catelyn getting referenced a lot this series, we're all kind of hoping we'll see Lady Stoneheart turn up - and since we haven't yet, we're not really getting any kind of meaningful payoff from watching Clegane potter about the Riverlands building stuff and hitting people with axes. I don't know, maybe he and the Brotherhood will dramatically show up during Sansa's battle with Ramsay.

Meereen's story also felt kind of pointless too. We get Tyrion telling jokes with Missandei and Grey Worm, and then we get the Masters attacking - and boy, am I glad that Tyrion's whole 'let's make deals with slavers' thing has turned around and bit him in the face. It's pretty much all leading up to Daenerys making a dramatic return, so I presume that either that siege will be ending by way of dragons, or they'll be finding a way to take those ships for themselves, since they need ships.

Meanwhile, the King's Landing stuff is pretty expected, because if Cersei could just pick trial by combat with zombie Mountain, there'd be no dramatic tension there, but it's kind of crushing nonetheless. I know a lot of people don't like Cersei, but I think everyone can agree that being tried by seven corrupt religious fanatics is not a fate anyone should have to deal with. Also, man, Kevan is awful - for being supposedly Hand of the King, he's apparently done nothing to stop Tommen falling under the thrall of a zealous fanatic, and his primary motivation in life seems to be spiting Cersei. Can Kevan die yet? Quite soon, preferably?

Zombie Mountain can kill him.

All of which leaves us with Riverrun and Braavos. Riverrun sees Brienne unsuccessfully convincing the Blackfish to take his army to meet Sansa (as that would involve abandoning Riverrun), and Jaime successfully convincing Edmure to open the gates and end the siege without any deaths. The end result is that really nothing has changed: Sansa doesn't have the Tully army, and Riverrun is back in the hands of the Freys as it has been for the past few series.

It was nice to see Brienne and Jaime interact again, though. I don't ship them, because Brienne can do better, but I like them as friends, and the obvious respect and affection they have for each other. It was a pretty short meeting, but it's probably going to be their last one for a while - but the fact that they met now raises some questions, since apparently Brienne's going to be meeting 'an old friend turned foe' in episode ten. It's can't be Jaime, and she doesn't have that many other friends.

The Waif, looking to stab people.

Arya, meanwhile, spends most of this episode fleeing from the Waif, only to eventually fight and kill her. This isn't much of a surprise, I think everyone was expecting that, and the mystery was mostly one of 'will this make her rejoin the Faceless Men' or 'will she return to Westeros.' It looks like it's going to be the latter, and while it'll be nice to see her (hopefully) reunite with Sansa, Jon, and Bran (once he's back from Beyond the Wall), I am a little sad that her whole Faceless Man storyline has been cut off this early.

Next week, it seems like our focus might be exclusively on Jon and Sansa as they battle to retake Winterfell and face off against Ramsay. I do not see Ramsay surviving this encounter, if I'm being entirely honest, but I do hope that Sansa is the one who gets to kill him.

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