Show of hands by those who saw every plot twist in Game of Thrones season six episode eight coming. Airing on June 12, 2016 and titled ‘No One,’ the episode found Cersei thrown for a loop, the battle of Riverrun coming to a surprising conclusion, and Arya remembering she’s a Stark. While we didn’t get to catch up with Bran/the new Three-Eyed Raven, crazy Ramsay Bolton, any of the Starks, or the Greyjoys, Dany did put in the briefest of appearances and the Hound was able to get his revenge. But the major storylines advanced in this episode involved Cersei and Jaime, both of whom showed their ruthlessness but only one of whom found their nasty behavior paid off with a win.
We’re back with the actors on stage and Lady Crane playing Cersei cradling her dead son, King Joffrey. The crowd is really into the scene and she’s even brought some to tears. The applause is long and loud as she leaves the stage. We follow her progress backstage where she discovers Arya (Maisie Williams) hiding in the wardrobe. She’s clutching her stomach and Lady Crane dresses her wounds. She’s not on death’s door as we assumed, and she’s not Jagen H’ghar wearing an Arya face as many had speculated either. Arya asks after Bianca, Lady Crane’s understudy who ordered the poisoning, and Lady Crane admits she did something to her face that will make it hard for her to find work as an actress. Lady Crane wants Arya to go with them as they move to the next city, telling her there’s nothing left for her there. Arya says she’s going west of Westeros, where all the maps stop. It could be the edge of the world but she won’t go with the actors because she doesn’t want to put Lady Crane in danger. Arya reluctantly drinks some milk of the poppy and falls asleep.
Next up is a visit with the members of the Brotherhood who are sitting around a fire joking and having a good old time. Up walks the Hound (Rory McCann), axe in hand. He chops off one head, make that two heads, one penis slice that splits a man in two, and one Brother is whacked in the chest. The Hound asks the one remaining Brother the whereabouts of the man in the yellow coat. He responds by cussing, preferring to die rather than give up his Brothers.
In Meereen, Kinvara (the other red priestess) has made good on her promise to spread the gospel that Daenerys Targaryen is their savior. Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) is ready to set out on a mission back to Westeros and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is worried Dany isn’t coming back. Varys leaves Tyrion or, as he calls himself, “the most famous dwarf in the world” in the middle of the marketplace and heads out on his ‘secret’ mission to Westeros.
Meanwhile in King’s Landing, the Faith Militant are in the Red Keep to meet with Cersei (Lena Headey). King Tommen allowed them in but he’s conveniently absent from the meeting. The Faith Militant, led by Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon), are there to take Cersei to a meeting with the High Sparrow but she won’t leave the Red Keep. They warn her that if she refuses, they’ll take her by force. She tells them to leave and the Mountain steps in front of her to protect his Queen. He won’t move and Lancel says if he doesn’t move, then there will be violence. Cersei answers with the quote that’s been featured prominently in multiple trailers: “I choose violence.” The Mountain rips off one head, with a finger still twitching as the man’s blood spreads. “Please tell his High Holiness he’s always welcome to visit,” says Cersei, rather smugly.
Over at Riverrun, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod (Daniel Portman) look out over the Lannister and Frey armies. They’re soon surrounded and Brienne tells the men she’s come to speak with Jaime Lannister. While Brienne and Jaime meet, Bronn (Jeremy Flynn) jokingly chokes Pod, wondering why he’s not dead yet. Bronn goes into an in-depth analysis of the possibility Brienne and Jaime are having sex in the tent right now, and Pod’s completely disgusted by this conversation. Then Bronn wants to know if Pod and Brienne are having sex, and Pod says he’s being trained to fight, not have intercourse with Brienne. Bronn then volunteers to train Pod to protect himself from people sneaking up on him.
Inside the tent, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) confesses to Brienne he assumed Sansa would be dead, and he’s proud of Brienne for fulfilling her oath to Lady Stark. Brienne says she’s come for the Blackfish because Sansa is going to take back Winterfell from the Boltons but she needs the Tullys. Jaime wonders how they’ll do that when he’s there to battle the Tullys, telling her not to ask him to break his oath. Brienne’s plan is to persuade the Blackfish to give up his home so that he can lead the Tullys to Winterfell. Jaime will actually allow that, if the Blackfish abandons the castle. She has his word that the Tullys will receive safe passage if they do as she asks. Brienne hands Jaime back his sword, but he says it is hers. “It will always be yours,” says Jaime, and Brienne keeps it. As she leaves, she wants him to know that if she doesn’t persuade the Blackfish then honor compels her to fight for Sansa’s kin – to fight him. “Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” says Jaime.
The Blackfish refuses to surrender, telling Brienne he hasn’t seen Sansa since she was a child and doesn’t recognize her writing on the letter Brienne is there to deliver. He does, however, know who Brienne is but he’s completely convinced Riverrun can stand up against the Lannisters. The Blackfish says this is his home and if Jaime wants it, he’ll have to fight him for it. He hands Brienne back Sansa’s letter and she tells Pod they have to get a raven north to Sansa. “Tell her I failed,” she says when Pod asks what to write.
Cersei and the Mountain approach the Iron Throne, inquiring about a Royal announcement she wasn’t informed in advance was taking place. She’s blocked from standing by her son and instead is told her place is in the gallery with the other ladies of the court. King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) tells his people that the Faith and the Crown must work together and those who don’t will be punished. They have determined Sir Loras Tyrell and Cersei’s trials will be held on the Festival of the Mother. King Tommen then reveals something which crushes his mother’s hopes of going unpunished. The Crown has decided trial by combat is now forbidden throughout the Seven Kingdoms because it’s being used to avoid proper trials and punishment. Cersei tears up a bit at the news, but King Tommen barely casts her a glance as he leaves the throne room.
Over in Meereen, Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Tyrion are apparently just killing time until Dany returns. The Unsullied don’t drink so Grey Worm at first refuses an offer of wine but then he gives in because Tyrion is very persuasive. Even Missandei has a glass of wine, and Tyrion suggests a toast to the Mother of Dragons. “Long may she reign,” they say in unison. Grey Worm isn’t a fan of his first sip of wine, and Tyrion reveals he’d like to have his own vineyard and make his own wine when things calm down. Tyrion asks if they know any jokes; they don’t, so he tells a joke about three lords who find a fly in their cups. It’s a dumb joke and Grey Worm and Missandei don’t get it, and Missandei has to explain what a joke is because Grey Worm is busy analyzing it for accuracy. Missandei likes the wine and finally agrees to tell a joke about translators on a sinking ship. Courtesy laugh from Tyrion while Grey Worm jokes that it’s the worst joke he’s ever heard. Missandei is getting very giddy and just then bells ring out. There are slaver ships are in the harbor!
Back at the Lannister and Frey encampment, Jaime apologizes to Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) telling him he’ll be clothed and fed – he has his word. Edmure says the Blackfish won’t surrender the castle and Jaime talks about Edmure’s child that he sired on his wedding night. Jaime can arrange Edmure to be with his wife and child, and will even give the child a keep of his own. Edmure wonders if Jaime imagines himself a decent person. Jaime says it’s not a negotiation and Edmure asks if he understands he’s an evil man, with Jaime replying that he’ll leave the judgement to the gods. Edmure admires Jaime’s looks and wonders how he lives with himself. “All of us have to believe that we’re decent,” says Edmure. “How do you tell yourself that you’re decent after everything that you’ve done?” Jaime recalls being in Catelyn Stark’s (Edmure’s sister) prison and how he admired her more than he did her husband or sons. Edmure doesn’t give a crap what Jaime thinks about Catelyn, but Jaime says he’ll talk anyway. Jaime says the love Catelyn had for her children is like the love he has for his sister, Cersei. Catelyn and Cersei have a fierceness you don’t often see. They go to war, burn cities to ash, and free their worst enemies all to save their children. Edmure says Jaime didn’t come there to talk about their sisters, but Jaime says that’s exactly what he is there for. Jaime will launch Edmure’s son into Riverrun because only Cersei matters. “If I have to slaughter every Tully to get back to her, that’s what I’ll do.” Edmure, visibly shaken, doesn’t reply.
Edmure is freed and approaches the gates of Riverrun, demanding entry. The Blackfish (Clive Russell) doesn’t want Edmure to be allowed in, even after Edmure says he’s the rightful lord of Riverrun. The men say they have to follow Edmure’s command because it’s an order, and the Blackfish says it’s actually Jaime’s order. The men are ready to lower the drawbridge and the Blackfish threatens them with the loss of their heads if they do so. Despite the threats, they lower the bridge to the rightful lord of Riverrun. Jaime and the army wait outside as Edmure enters Riverrun. A Frey tells Jaime he better not be wrong because they just surrendered their most valuable prisoner. Edmure and the Blackfish stare at each other, and then Edmure meets with his men. They welcome him back, but then he commands them to lay down their arms and open the gates. They don’t want to but have no choice – it’s an order. The Frey and Lannister armies march across the bridge and enter Riverrun. Edmure wants the Blackfish put in irons and handed over to the Freys. Edmure has not only given over Riverrun, he’s betrayed the Blackfish. Way to go, Lord Wimp.
Brienne, Pod, and the Blackfish are about to make their exit from Riverrun through secret tunnels but the Blackfish won’t go. The Blackfish tells Brienne she’ll serve Sansa better than he ever could, opting to protect them as they make their escape.
The Lannister banners now hang from Riverrun while the army steps all over the Tully banners. Jaime wants the Blackfish brought to him but he’s told he died fighting. Jaime looks out and sees a lone boat making its ways down the river. It’s Brienne and Pod, and Jaime waves to Brienne. She waves back and continues down the river.
The slavers are firing on Meereen, destroying the city. Tyrion admits he was wrong and Grey Worm takes over plotting their next move. He wants the Unsullied to stay in the pyramid and wait for the slavers to come to them. It’s the only place they can defend. Just then a loud noise alerts them to Dany and her dragon’s presence. Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) strides in while her dragon soars over the city in the background.
The Hound meets up with Beric Dondarrion (a character we haven’t seen in years, played by Richard Dormer) as he and other members of the Brotherhood are about to hang the three men who slaughtered the villagers and hung Septon Meribald (Ian McShane). Beric’s hanging them because of the killings, but he agrees the Hound can have two of them for his own. The Hound wants to gut them but Beric says he’s only allowed to hang them. That pisses the Hound off because he really wanted them to have horribly painful deaths. As they die, the Hound takes their boots for his own and then asks Beric if they have anything to eat. Beric and his men want the Hound to join them, but he’s not much of a joiner. The Lord of Light is keeping Beric alive for a reason, and he explains they’re part of something larger than themselves. The Hound’s not falling for it. Beric says the Hound is a fighter, was born a fighter, and he walked away from a fight. The things Beric and the Brotherhood are fighting will destroy everyone, and he tells the Hound it’s not too late for him to join them.
Lady Crane checks on Arya who’s still alive but sound asleep. She leaves the room and steps on a stool to take down a vial from a shelf, not knowing there’s someone behind her. Arya wakes and yells, “Lady Crane?!” She finds her dead on the floor and the Waif tells her if she would have just done her job, she’d have died painlessly. The Many-Faced God must always receive what’s his and he’s been promised Arya. Arya makes a run for it, fairly spritely for someone who was stabbed repeatedly. They run through the streets and alleys and Arya barely seems injured. She takes cover in a bath house and emerges not knowing where the Waif is. The Waif spots her and the chase is on again. Arya mistakes her environment, leaping off a building and falling down a long flight of stairs yet she’s still able to get up and walk away. She leaves bloody handprints behind and the Waif is hot on her trail. Arya makes her way down another flight of stairs, still leaving bloody handprints for the Waif to follow. The Waif catches up to Arya as she’s huddled in the dark, closing the door behind her and approaching her injured enemy. The Waif asks, “On your knees or on your feet?” What she doesn’t know is that Arya led her back to her own room. She picks up Needle and quickly slices the candle in half to extinguish it, making the room pitch black.
Back in the Hall of Faces, Jagen spots blood on the floor and follows it downstairs where he finds a new face has been added to the Hall. It’s the Waif’s. Arya is behind him and says, “You told her to kill me.” “Yes, but here you are and there she is,” replies Jagen, adding, “Finally a girl is no one.” Arya quickly corrects him. “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and I’m going home.” Jagen smiles and nods as Arya turns and leaves. She walks away without a sign of pain or a limp.
More Season 6 Recaps:
- Episode 1 The Red Woman
- Episode 2 Home
- Episode 3 Oathbreaker
- Episode 4 Book of the Stranger
- Episode 5 The Door
- Episode 6 Blood of My Blood
- Episode 7 The Broken Man
- Episode 9 Battle of the Bastards