TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones - No One
One of the interesting things about Game of Thrones as a show is its ability to laugh at your story expectations like Syrio Forel laughs at death. There were certain elements that were always going to happen like we imagined, for example Arya's victory against the waif, despite the "shock ending" of her being stabbed in the gut. But several things happened this week that are either going to surprise people or/and make them a bit angry.
In terms of the latter, it's doing away with two widely rumoured events in the blink of an eye. Firstly, Lady Stoneheart - while it was always a slim chance, the show played around with her book iconography by showing the hanging men, but immediately brought back Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, both ready to head north to fight the real battle. Joining them temporarily was the Hound, who managed to get bloody vengeance on the killers of Lovejoy as well as taking our what I assume were four other BWB members. And in King's Landing, Tommen decided to dampen his mother's excitement at the possibility of having Ser Gregor win her freedom by banning trial by combat. I always thought the little king wouldn't survive the season, but it may end up being at the hand of his own mother. So no Stoneheart and no Cleganebowl. Hmph.
While Cersei no longer holds sway on her son, she certainly still casts a spell over Jaime, who spelled out his intentions to a captured Edmure Tully, namely that he just wanted to win so he could go home to her. And he did, thanks to Edmure first coming home to Riverrun and then convincing his men to surrender, despite the Blackfish's protestations that it was all a Lannister plot. Sadly, the Blackfish died off-screen, but not before sending Brienne and Pod off on a boat. Jaime's relationship with Brienne is interesting, he actually comes across something off less of a knob than he is, but unfortunately he is still nowhere near the redemption we thought he might be approaching. Maybe next season?
For once Tyrion's plans went awry, as the masters decided to take back Mereen via a whole fleet of ships, only for Dany to come and rescue them. Strangely this all very downplayed, with her landing on the roof and only a fleeting background shot of Drogon. But with her back there this hopefully sets in action her journey to Westeros with the iron fleet. Arya's arc - and fate - was a bit awkwardly resolved, but it was a nice touch to have her cut out the flame before beating the waif, before proclaiming to Jaqen triumphantly that she is "Arya Stark of Winterfell!". Given the big battle to come next week, maybe they don't want us to get fatigued.
It was a fine episode really, nice and thoughtful and a bit of a breather before next week's giant battle between Jon and Ramsay. The horror nut in me was happy to see a nice bit of gore from both Cleganes, notably the bit where The Mountain just ripped that dude's face clear off, and I imagine we're going to get a bit more with the Wildlings and the Boltons together, two groups that don't know the meaning of the word restraint. With any luck, this episode will be brought to us by the letters N and C and the number 17.
You can read Charlie's look at the previous episode, The Broken Man, here.