Friday, June 17, 2016

Game of Thrones 6x08 Review: “No One” (Where Do We Go From Here?) [Contributor: Melanie]

“No One”
Original Airdate: June 12, 2016

Last season our eighth episode of GoT featured one of the standout moments of the season, a massacre as the wildlings tried to escape a flurry of White Walkers and Jon Snow sharing an epic staredown with the Night’s King before getting away. This year’s eighth episode did not feature so much drama. It was something of a pick up but it was still clearly an episode meant to move pieces into place for the final two.

This episode set up for what seemed like it was going to be three separate battles. In the end, it ends up setting up for two. The preview for next week seems to be focusing almost exclusively on the Battle of the Bastards (which is actually the episode’s title), which looks like it’s going to be crazy epic (to use a scientific term). With the situation at Riverrun diffused, the action lies here and at the siege of Meereen. Likely, they’ll probably split the battle between two episodes (historically Dany plotlines have taken a backseat during the penultimate episode). And it’s safe to say the current state of affairs is not where anyone thought it would be with two Starks, 2,000 wildlings, and 62 Mormonts (count ‘em) taking on Ramsay’s 5,000 soldiers.



In the Riverlands, the Hound makes quick work of several of the men responsible for the death of the villagers. During his rampage he crosses paths with Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr once again. Beric allows the Hound to personally hang two of the three men but forbids him from butchering them with his axe. They then recruit him into the Brotherhood, claiming they need his strength as they are heading north to fight the White Walkers.

At Riverrun, Brienne receives a startled but not unkind welcome from Jaime (Bronn jokingly strangles Pod before saying hello, as he does). The two converse and Brienne insists she be allowed to lead the Blackfish and his men north to help Sansa. Jaime points out this is contradictory to his own loyalties to the crown as Winterfell was given to the Boltons by royal decree. He does, however, allow her until nightfall to enact this plan. Brienne tries to return Oathkeeper to him but he refuses, saying it is hers alone. She leaves, warning him that should it come to it, she will fight against him personally on Sansa’s behalf.

Brienne’s negotiations with the Blackfish go nowhere, despite his sympathies for his niece’s plight, and Jaime speaks with Edmure. He offers Edmure the chance to see his wife and son in exchange for his help. He then sends Edmure into the castle where he orders the Tully men to stand down and open the gates. Brienne and Pod flee with the Blackfish’s help. After the battle, Jaime is informed the Blackfish died fighting and he watches as Brienne makes her escape, offering a wave in solidarity.

In Braavos, Arya is being nursed by Lady Crane, who is grateful for Arya’s warning and has since mutilated her would-be assassin, preventing her from further work in theatre. As Arya recovers, the Waif finds her and kills Lady Crane. A chase ensues, with a wounded Arya quickly succumbing. Eventually, the Waif corners her in the hovel where she hid Needle and Arya cuts the candle, engulfing the room in darkness. Immediately after, we see Jaqen in the House of Black and White, looking at the Waif’s face in the Hall. Arya reiterates to him that she is not No One, and leaves.

In King’s Landing, the Faith Militant attempt to take Cersei to see the High Sparrow but quickly retreat when the Mountain brutally murders one of them. Later, Cersei is banished to the gallery for Tommen’s royal announcement with the other ladies of the court. He decrees that trial by combat will henceforth be outlawed and Cersei and Loras’ trials will be decided by a jury. Qyburn then approaches a distraught Cersei and informs her a rumor she asked him to investigate was true.

In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys are walking through the city, now vibrant again and filled with Red Priests proclaiming Dany’s prophesied purpose. Varys then leaves, bound for Westeros and more allies. Later, Tyrion is having drinks with Missandei and Grey Worm who are opening up to the idea of socializing and fun. But it’s cut short by the arrival of the fleets from Astapor and Yunkai. They bombard the city and while Tyrion and Grey Worm argue over battle strategy, Dany arrives on the back of Drogon.


Last week I gave you a spoiler warning and this week I’m not since it’s now an impossibility of this particular theory coming true. With Beric Dondarrion alive, it seems unlikely that Lady Stoneheart will be making an appearance. Many of us got pretty fired up at the possibility of Catelyn Stark returning as the vengeful wraith known as Lady Stoneheart. And the episode seemed headed that way with the focus on the Brotherhood and several mentions of Catelyn from multiple characters. But it was not to be as Beric Dondarrion is alive and kicking. In the books, he sacrificed himself to resurrect her three days after the Red Wedding. If he’s here, she can’t be.

And, honestly, I can’t blame them for cutting it. As much as I want to see Catelyn go Kill Bill on a LOT of people, Lady Stoneheart’s presence would have been very convoluted for those not aware it was coming and her symbolism as unrelenting vengeance is pretty well looked after between the Hound, Sansa, Arya, and many others who have already or intend to go on killing sprees. But it was a fun week of speculation regardless.

Another big possibilities that popped up this week is something I’ve written off in previous recaps but is back on the table: Aegon Targaryen. It’s an outside shot, but Varys’ secret mission to Westeros might bring some form of the Aegon storyline into the show. I think it’s highly unlikely, considering how contrived it would end up being, but considering Varys’ current state of affairs in the book, we can’t completely rule it out. As I mentioned before, Aegon is a young man claiming to be the son of the late Prince Rhaegar and the rightful heir to the Iron Throne (but who isn’t claiming that?). Many fans agree at this point he’s nothing more than a puppet and “false dragon” (a term used by Quaithe to warn Dany), so his appearance seems pointless, but it’s something to keep an eye on.


So, how the heck are the Starks going to take back Winterfell? They might not. It’s possible they lose and start next season as prisoners. They could win by sheer force of will despite being outnumbered two to one. But, it’s also possible some consolidation might be taking place. The Brotherhood, which is meager in numbers but is something, could arrive to help with the Hound. And there is an outside chance that Jaime’s heart to heart with Brienne might convince him to completely abandon his previous intentions and ride north with the Lannister army to aid them.

Honestly? I’m not sure how we’re getting out of this pickle. Maybe a dragon will go rogue and show up to eat Ramsay’s head. BUT something to keep in mind…in the book Jaime actually refuses to help Cersei when she calls for him before her Walk of Atonement. In fact, he has the letter containing her plea for help burned. We may very well see this adapted, especially now that trial by combat isn’t an option for her. And the Lannister forces are the Starks’ only real chance.

Meereen will likely be a quick clean up between Dany’s dragon and the Iron Fleet likely making an appearance. Dany will then have her pick of ships and then it’s hello Westeros. But I still wonder what Varys’ intentions are for the unnamed allies he’s calling upon in Westeros, and there’s the lingering element of Euron Greyjoy. We’ll likely end the season with Dany on her ships and heading home. Or maybe she’ll even clean house and make it back in time for the end of episode ten (but I doubt it).

Ultimately, we’re a lot less resolved than I thought we’d be at this point, even with the amount of characters killed off week to week (Tommen is likely on that chopping block soon). Check back here for the final two weeks of Game of Thrones!


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