Sunday, June 19, 2016


Episode 8 of Season 6 (S6E04) of HBO's Game Of Thrones is titled "No One." This is clearly a reference to Arya and her attempts to join the guild of Faceless Men assassins in Braavos and become "no one" and give up her identity as a member of one of the key families in Westeros. But it is also a reference to identity and class, because in A Song of Ice and Fire, one's status in society is directly related to one's name, and so someone who is "No One" has no status, and if someone loses status (like Cersei has by losing her title of Queen, Queen Mother and Regent) then those people are being treated as "no one." And one of the key plot points is who gets to decide who has status and who does not, i.e. deciding who will become "no one."

One of the main themes of this episode was about honor and how people's sense of honor complicates their understanding of what "the right thing to do is." The Blackfish can't see past his sense of honor to survive the siege of Riverrun and escape with Brienne and would rather have an "honorable death" instead of helping his niece's daughter, Sansa regain her household home.

Catelyn Stark's brother, Lord Edmure Tully decides that it is better to surrender his ancestral home of Riverrun to the Lannister-Frey army and trust Jaime Lannister's honorable word that his wife and heir will not be harmed.

In King's Landing, the political intrigues continue with Cersei's son, King Tommen Barratheon outlawing trial by combat, which is the one thing that she was counting on saving her life in any trial that will be called by the High Septon to account for her crimes against the Faith. She has the reanimated Ser Gregor Clegane (The Mountain) to fight as her champion who can defeat any man in one-on-one combat, so the Septon outmaneuvers her to have the practice of trial by combat abolished by the King.

Meanwhile, Sandor Clegane is reunited with the Brotherhood without Banners, and he gets to see the murderous ruffians who slaughtered his friends in the previous episode "The Broken Man" (S6E07).
But he find out about "the real fight" against the white walkers from the North.

Back in Braavos, we finally get a showdown between the Waif and the Arya which turns into a thrilling Hollywood chase reminiscent of Jason Bourne. With corresponding Hollywood ending.

The highlights of this episode were:
  • The best line of the episode went to Jaime Lannister, "The things we do for love" (which is  also what he had previously said way back in Season 1, Episode 1 when he kicked Brandon Stark off the ledge at Winterfell)
  • There were several other contenders for best line in this week's episode, starting with Cersei Lannister's "I choose violence," to Tyrion Lannister's "Most famous dwarf in the world" (line said to Varys), Bronn's "Do you think they're f***ing?" to Podrick Payne (talking about Brienne and Jaime) and Arya's "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell and I'm going home!" 
  • The most exciting moment of the episode was when Arya blew out the candle in her hovel as she faced the Waif, and you immediately realized that despite the fact that she was bruised, bleeding and battered, she had turned the tables and would probably be the one girl walking out of their encounter alive, which is not what we would have expected to happen just a few second before. 
  • The second most exciting moment in the episode was the timely return of Daenerys to Mereen, just as the slavemasters of Essos have decided to burn the city down in spite of the pact they made with Tyrion to end hostilities over Daenery's abolition of slavery.
The parts of the episode I could have done without:
  • Did we really need to se The Hound hack down four other people, replete with split heads and dripping human entrails?

Grade: 9/10.

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