Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones S06E08
Many characters of ‘Game of Thrones’ are in a cyclical state of transformation, learning lessons along the way which brings them back to where and who they once were. Dany has gone from slave to queen to slave and back again in Meereen. Jon has come back to life and is pretty much as he was before he died. The girl has no name is once again the Needle wielding Arya Stark. The Hound is a natural born killer, not a sept building pacifistic. Like all of these characters, Jamie has been strengthened by his experiences. He’s reconciled the parts of himself that are in conflict. Or in other words, knowing who you are and being true to your self is the most powerful version of you as “No One” shows us.
Let’s Discuss Three Big Scenes
#1. “I Am Arya Stark of Winterfell”
Oh Arya, how you survived multiple stab wounds to the abdomen defies plausibility. Perhaps if you had only one wound we could suspend our disbelief just a little bit when you run for your life and leap like an Olympian. The chase scene is out of a Terminator movie and the Waif is doing a damn good impression of an unstoppable killing machine.
To get to Arya’s final scene in the episode took a long and for many, a tedious journey to get there. What Arya fans love about her is that she’s a smart, powerful young girl who has a strong self-identity. This arc stripped away her best defining traits, making her look foolish and dis-empowering her. Maybe we didn’t have to see her fall to her lowest point, alone and dying, but it sure earned the “I am Arya Stark” line. Turning the tables on the Waif, from prey to predator and using the blind training to her advantage is the Arya we want to see.
Sadly, Lady Crane’s fortune ran out but I think we’d all want to skip ‘Arya in a theatre group in Pentos’ story line and straight into ‘Arya back in Westeros’. Needle is her instrument of death and she has a list of names to work on. I used to think that Arya is a smaller, younger version of Brienne, a female warrior, but perhaps you can make the case that she takes after The Hound?
#2. “The Things I Do For Love” – Jamie Lannister
With the way the show is going, Jamie and Brienne’s scene could be their last together. It gave a sense of closure to their relationship by having Jamie acknowledge that Oathkeeper belongs to Brienne, a very thoughtful and symbolic gesture, and Brienne drawing the line in the sand that they are on opposites sides of the war. And Jamie waves goodbye to her, letting her and Pod, who had a farewell/fan service scene with Bronn, row away to safety.
I’m glad that Brienne didn’t become a predictable, convenient solution for Jamie to get Blackfish Tully out of the castle. It would have robbed Jamie of a good character moment. There’s nothing honorable about threatening to catapult Edmure Tully’s baby into Riverrun and kill everyone inside. But it’s a threat that Edmure believes Jamie would carry out and Jamie keeps his promise to Brienne that he would take Riverrun without blood shed. What makes Jamie most fascinating to me is how these characters traits which seem to be in opposition to one another have become aligned in this moment. The TV version of Jamie want to be with Cersei, it’s what motivates him to make disreputable decisions like pushing Bran out the window which comes back full circle to “the things we do for love”.
#3. “I choose violence” – Cersei Lannister
If there’s a get of out jail card for Cersei it would have been the Trial by Combat to prove her “innocence”. Trial by Combats as a method to settle accusations never made much judicious sense but that antiquated system sure has provided some awesome scenes in the past. I really wanted to see Ser Gregor Clegane pop the faith militant’s head like a grape as a nod to Season Four’s “The Mountain and the Viper”. Tearing it off is cool too.
So CleganeBowl isn’t happening but I imagine episode 9’s Battle of the Bastards will have more than enough action. It goes to show how the High Sparrow is unassumingly powerful. After the plan to arrest Cersei fails, through King Tommen he’s literally changing the rule books by abolishing the Trial by Combat so that Cersei has no options left. However, Cersei does not look defeated. Any idea on the rumor Maester Pycelle’s little birds have discovered? The King’s Landing scenes still have their work cut out, but anytime there’s no scenes in the basement of Baleor’s Sept it’s a plus.
• I like that it was renegade Brotherhood members, not the real Brotherhood, which killed Brother Ray’s peaceful followers. Beric Dondarrion is still alive. Does this rule out a fan favorite theory?
• It would have been cool to see Blackfish Tully swim away in the river, living up to his nickname. But I guess Blackfish doesn’t fit into the end game and the show wanted to tie up a loose end.
• Tyrion’s storyline is uneven. How do that many ships sneak up in the harbor? It would be kind of predictable if Drogon swoops in to destroy those ships. Dragons and fire seems to be a formula for a season finale? It would be better if Dany can think of a way to get those ships for herself; the enemy delivering exactly what she needs the most.
The big oversight in “No One” is Arya easily surviving the stabbing and physically running for her life so soon after a near fatal injury. I realize there were some Arya theories last week but for fear of spoilers I didn’t read them and they seemed to made by fans trying to make sense of her story line. Overall, “No One” is a really enjoyable episode if you can look past certain flaws. The final two episodes are nicely set up. There’s the Battle of the Bastards and the Battle of Meereen. Then there’s Cersei versus the Faith Militant which is a story line that needs to come to a decisive end. It’s going to be a violent sprint to the finish!
What do you think about how Jamie took back Riverrun? What are you most looking forward to in the final two episodes?