Sunday, June 12, 2016
Game of Thrones No One
This episode- where to begin? A LOT happens in this one- and yet with the breakneck pace of this season I'm almost surprised MORE didn't happen. But the big news tonight is- Arya. The daughter of Ned Stark had a character defining moment.
Spoilers for books and show.
We start off at the theater. The show, eager to showcase the theatrical troupe that has been such a delight, again shows us Lady Crane and her skill. She takes in Arya and we immediately see that, contrary to speculation, Arya was not playing a game with the Waif. She really was taken by surprise and was dumb enough to flaunt her gold and think she could leave Braavos without the reckoning of the Faceless Men. I have a hard time with that, but whatever. Her plight opens and closes the episode, appropriately enough given the title, and it lives up to the hype. It was a thrilling sequence when she and the Waif inevitably face off again, although I'm sorry jumping from a second story window, running through Braavos and then that second jump! Not buying that, not when you've just been stabbed repeatedly in the stomach a day ago.
I mean it's ridiculous, but for all that it was thrilling to see her extinguish the candle. Okay little Waif, you wanna play? Let's play in the dark- which Arya can do. And this is kinda exciting because a theory I saw earlier this week- that Arya was playing the Waif and drawing her in so she could take advantage of darkness- was partly right. She may not have been luring her, but when it came time, she chose darkness and had the advantage. Nicely done.
A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I'm going home.
And just like that Arya's time with the Faceless Men is done. And did Jaqen look pleased or what with her decision? He may be No One but you can't tell me he wasn't rooting for Arya, like they mentioned in the aftershow. That may be THE moment of the season, so far.
So let's talk about Cersei. She got some bad news tonight- Tommen threw her under the bus with his outlawing trial by combat. But wait- what "rumor" is Qyburn referring to? He has a habit of providing her an ace for her sleeve does anyone know what this about? I'm thinking maybe we'll get a resolution of Cersei's story by the end of the season? Or maybe not... hard to say. The Mountain's usefulness may be limited if there's no trial by combat- but I'm not sure the books are going this way.
Daenerys is back! Apparently the problems in Meereen, which are such a huge part of A Dance with Dragons, are swept away here and Tyrtion has time to drink with Grey Worm and Missandei. It was a fun scene- "Anyone not drinking is disrespecting our queen"- but it is short lived as the navy of- someone- shows up. Was that the Volantene fleet or Yunkai's? Anyway the initial shot of their attack was impressive, but then Dany returns. With her back and a fleet close by, does she have the ships she'll need to sail to Westeros? Man are they condensing the book or what? This is called forward plot movement on speed.
Which brings us to Riverrun. A lot of time was spent here and I have mixed feelings. I thought the Edmure/ Jaime exchange was done well, and a highlight was the baby in a catapult ploy used by Jaime- straight out of the books. I always wonder in the books- would Jaime really have done it? Here you almost think he would since show Jaime is not book Jaime. His reason for being in such a hurry- to get back to Cersei- is maddening though given his book arc. The other thing that bothered me was the portrayal of the Blackfish- instead of escaping like he does in the books, to fight on, here he stubbornly refuses to yield, which means Sansa doesn't get Tully help and will be forced to rely on Littlefinger?
In my opinion they've never handled the Blackfish properly, even though the actor does a fine job. But is he really dead? We never see a body, and it seems weird they would use him and then just kill him off. So... who knows? And by doing it this way they make Edmure willing t give his uncle to the Freys, which I don't buy. It also doesn't ring true that Jaime would (or could) make that deal with Brienne- to let the Tully forces all march north to fight Freys and Boltons. But whatever, it's the show.
Lastly we have Sandor. He's on the rampage here and it's kind of a shame- this feels like a redemption arc for him, but in the book he finds redemption in peace. Not in indiscriminately killing. This is a typical approach from the writers, unfortunately. Now it's possible he'll go back to violence in the book if provoked somehow, but I can guarantee it'll be handled with more sensitivity. Time will tell.