This week on ‘Game of Thrones’: Arya has a bit of a flesh wound, Cersei considers rebuilding King’s Landing, and Pod emulates his rowing hero, Gendry.
Blah blah blah Spoilers through Game of Thrones 608. You know the drill, kiddos.
So. Uhm. That happened. I mean, we all have bad days, right? And even with a few lows, Game of Thrones season 6 has mostly been good. Except for this episode. I recognize that certain things had to happen they way they did, it’s just, well, what’s the point? Let’s just get into without all this cryptic nonsense, yea? I ramble on in these recaps enough as it is.
Somewhere in the Riverlands where there are no chickens
We knew after the end of last episode that The Hound would be on the warpath to avenge the death of his new BFF Brother Ray. Over the river and through the woods to the Brotherhood’s house he goes to fuck up some dudes without banners. The Hound slaughters the handful of Brotherhood members he comes across without hesitation, turning them into horror film fodder. For such a changed man he doesn’t bother questioning whether or not he’s killing the right people and that doesn’t sit well with me. We spent an episode listening to Brother Ray wax on poetically about giving up violence and how Sandor was a changed man. Instead of actually killing those responsible, he just kills whatever men he might find and moves on to the next poor bastard, axe in hand.
He then finds Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr who are in the middle of a hanging party and sorry, no dogs allowed, mate. Sandor lays claim to killing the men because they killed his friends and Beric says best he can do is two out of three and Sandor kicks their boxes and watches them die. He then eats (not chicken, sadly) with the Brotherhood and they ask him if he’s ever considered the good word of the Lord of Light. He ponders this for a moment, pees in a river, and then joins up with the Brotherhood.
Not only did these scenes further dash the hyped Hound/Mountain fight, but it also laid to rest the hope that Lady Stoneheart might appear in the show. I’m okay with both scenarios, if I’m honest, but what I’m not okay with is this feel-good relationship thing going down. Is the Brotherhood now heading north to fight white walkers? Why would they let the Hound join when he slaughtered four innocent members of their group? Is the Hound back to being a killing machine? I liked meeting Beric and Thoros again, but when the show is moving at a breakneck pace to reach the end, why have the first scene? It only ruins the Hound in my eyes.
The siege continues outside Riverrun, but judging by the state of the tents and the trenches, it seems Bronn has whipped the Freys into shape. Brienne arrives and she demands the Lannister men take her to Jaime and they’re all, “Uh yes ma’am.” While Jaime and Brienne are making goo-goo eyes at one another (sending Brienne/Tormund shippers into a rage), Bronn takes this moment to teach Tripod a thing or two about defending himself. I love all four of these characters and dammit, I wish they were on the same side. My dream was that Jaime would see the error of his ways and journey North to aid Sansa with Bronn in tow. A silly, farfetched dream, I know, but there was hope Brienne would stubborn her way into Jaime’s heart again.
Instead, she does her duty and petitions to talk to the Blackfish, to convince him of aiding the northern cause of reclaiming Winterfell. Jaime agrees to her terms knowing full well that the Blackfish will do no such thing and because he has a soft spot for Brienne. When Brienne tries to return Oathkeeper, having fulfilled her duty, Jaime solemnly tells her that the sword belongs to her. The pair share a silent moment and then go about the respective jobs. I appreciate that there wasn’t romance between Jaime and Brienne. It would have been easy. It might have made some fans incredibly happy, but to me, these two are some of the more noble fighters in Westeros. Jaime has a duty to Cersei and Brienne to Sansa. They are both compelled by honor to push emotions aside and I respect that. Giving in to emotions cheapens all the sacrifices each have made.
Brienne meets with the Blackfish and after some stubborn negotiating she convinces him that Sansa requires aid. He sighs and is reminded of Cat but concedes that Riverrun comes first, then Winterfell. Brienne commands Pod to send a raven to Sansa telling her that she failed.
Jaime shares a moment with Edmure, oddly reminiscent of when Catelyn has Jaime imprisoned. Jaime makes the comparison I’ve always made when it comes to Lady Stark, that like Cersei, she put her children above all else. And Jaime admits that he had no love lost over Robb or Ned, but that he admired Catelyn and her love for her children. While I have no doubt that these are true words from Jaime, they are manipulative words, words that remind us he is more than a fighter. Moments before, Edmure stated he’d never seen his son and had only had the one interaction with his wife, so what did he care what might happen to them? After Jaime’s speech about being dedicated to one’s children, he threatens to catapult Edmure’s son into Riverrun. It’s then that Edmure agrees to go through with the deceitful takeover of Riverrun, despite the Blackfish’s protests otherwise. Clever Jaime.
During the takeover, the Blackfish helps Brienne and Pod flee and declines to go with them, instead opting to die defending his home.
Even Jaime seems disappointed to learn that the Blackfish fell and I’m saddened that another awesome character has gone out with a whimper offscreen. As Jaime looks out over the ramparts, he sees Brienne and Pod, rowing upstream, out of the Riverlands. If he had signaled then, he might have captured them, but he doesn’t. He respects Brienne too much to make her a prisoner again, and they simply wave to one another, maybe for the last time.
The Faith has yet to realize that Cersei wants nothing to do with their shenanigans. They think that without the Tyrells and without Jaime that she is just going to roll over and let them have trials that aren’t by combat. Well, ho ho ho, my friends. Santa Qyburn has come to town and he’s brought plenty of presents for the naughty boys and girls of King’s Landing. I’m not certain about what’s in his bag, but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s a few hundred jars of wildfire.
After an altercation with the Faith militant wherein Lancel tries to bully the Mountain and loses, Tommen calls a family meeting and decrees that they are doing away with those icky trial by combats and instead will try both Cersei and Loras Tyrell in a more humane way, by seven septons who definitely aren’t already predisposed to think everyone is guilty. Cersei is not pleased with her son’s actions.
I’m actually scared, y’all. If Cersei dies at the end of the season, what will I do? She’s my favorite.
Varys leaves because things are getting a little too red in Meereen for his liking, so he sails back for Westeros in the hopes of making friends for the Mother of Dragons. Tyrion doesn’t take Varys’ loss well and tries to laughably get Missandei and Grey Worm drunk and telling jokes. Every scene with these three is awful. Why. Why do we do this? This scene was the joke. Tyrion doesn’t goad Varys into drinking, why do it to these two? It’s a waste of time.
Because the Slavers are sick of Tyrion’s shit, they attack Meereen. The Unsullied get everyone into the pyramid and when things start to get a bit hairy, a wild Dany appears, with Drogon flying off in the distance. Dany walks in from the balcony like Sue Ellen’s mother returning from her vacation in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and our drunk heroes are all, “Oh shit she’s mad. We’re in trouble.”
So. Dany. Baby.
You have a dragon. A dragon you can now ride. Why…did you not, oh, I don’t know, use said dragon to set at least one attacking ship on fire? Surely Drogon can’t take on the entire fleet but in the dark can’t he fire bomb a few of them and fly off unscathed? Where is your “Dracarys”? Where is your rage toward those attacking your city?! I know they’re probably saving this for episode 10’s battle sequence but it’s incredibly frustrating watching these inane filler sequences.
Oh, what in the hell just happened in Braavos? Apparently plot armor on this show is thicker than Greyscale. After last week’s episode I was certain CERTAIN that there was a better explanation for Arya’s actions than she got cocky and really wanted back to Westeros but welp, turns out I was wrong. If Arya can survive such wounds then what the heck was Jon Snow’s problem? You mean to tell me that Arya, the most street smart of the Starks, thought she could pompously walk away from the Faceless Men? You have got to be kidding me.
But don’t worry. It’s cool, guys. She can totally survive stab wounds and then swim in a poop-infested canal and not die from disease. She went to the Lara Croft school of survival.
Luring the waif into her little hideout to kill her, I can buy, but running through the streets, blood leaking all over the place like a pubescent Jen who doesn’t quite understand menstrual products, I cannot. Everything about Arya’s actions was season one Arya. We’re in season six, sweetie, and you should be going into septic shock after sustaining such injuries. But I guess she has to outlast the pain, what with the T-800 chasing her down the street.
Sigh, but I digress. After Arya, panicked, runs through the streets bleeding out, she finds her way to Lady Crane who has taken Arya’s character development tip to heart. Lady Crane heals Arya’s major abdominal wounds with a fucking nap and some painkillers because that’s how plot armor works. The waif finds Arya, but not before brutally killing Lady Crane. Arya runs, again, parkouring her way through the streets of Braavos, something I can’t even do after a big meal, but hey. Whatever. Arya leads the waif back to her hidey hole where we finally see Needle and Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ why oh WHY didn’t Arya have needle WITH her? She hid her only weapon under a pillow in an alley? Where anyone could find it? ARE YOU KIDDING ME.
Sigh, she does cut the candle in half, which was a cool visual, off-screen kills the waif and takes her face back to her master. Mostly healed from her wounds, again, Arya confronts Jaqen H’ghar and he RIDICULOUSLY says to her, “Now a girl is truly No One.” Not because it’s true, mind you, but because the writers needed a reason for her to say, “I’m Arya Stark, bitch.”
But now with both Arya and the waif gone, it seems Jaqen needs to get some work done.
I don’t hate that Arya went to the House of Black and White. I thought it was important in her development to realize that she was Arya Stark and she needed to face her demons. That was done very well with Lady Crane and opening her up to realizing that all she was doing was running away from her problems, but this fight with the waif was just…not the Arya I know.
The High Sparrow definitely goaded Cersei into using the Moutain as an excuse to outlaw trial by combat.
I’m kind of disappointed there wasn’t a scene in the north tonight. I had hoped there’d be more of a set up for next week’s episode but it seems like we’re going to get an episode like we did for “Blackwater” or “Castle Black” and it’ll be entirely at Winterfell.
I love that everyone still calls Jaime Kingslayer and laughs when he says, “I give my word,” as if he doesn’t hold his honor in high regard. It’s such a struggle for his character because he is so defined by that one moment in his life, that moment no one knows the truth about except Brienne, and no matter how many words he keeps (and he has) he will never escape it.
Bastard bowl next week! Pleasebegoodpleasebegoodpleasebegood.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9pm EST.