Arya Back

Illustration for article titled Arya Back

“A girl has no plot” was a joke I saw made in at least four or five Game of Thrones recaps during the most banal of the Arya/Many Faced God saga. The quip was too easy because, of course, it proved to be true: the conclusion and admittedly triumphant end to “No One” seemed to throw the entire plotline into question, as though Arya’s extended time in Braavos was mostly a placeholder between being lost and rediscovering herself.

This is not to say it wasn’t mostly worthwhile, nor that a girl’s protracted journey of self-discovery isn’t; her struggle with her own identity was both satisfying and worthwhile at points, particularly when she sliced out the eyeballs of Meryn Trant and crossed his name off her list. But the journey, we’d hoped, was always to get to the point where “No One” left off—with Arya renouncing the Many Faced God and reclaiming her own name—and the relatively loping pace of her plot points this season often seemed like time-killers in an arc that was always meant to come to this point. Which is not to say her journey with the MFG and A Man won’t come up again once she travels west of Westeros, but it is to say that I am profoundly glad that Arya finally performed the ultimate facial on the stout and grumpy-looking blonde A Girl chasing her around with seemingly no other purpose. Good-bye, A Girl, also known as The Waif. See you next in Fish Without Bicycles.

Bye bih
Bye bih
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Perhaps I’ve seen too many Nora Ephron movies, but this set-up means the time is ripe for an Arya-The Hound meet-cute, in which the former sidekicks reunite and make-up by happenstance somewhere in the woods of Westeros. The Hound is certainly operating with a slightly higher level of moral compass, after having temporarily given up killing people in order to live a modest life as a woodchopper in the area village hippie commune. His taste for blood now, though, seems only to extend to the vagaries of revenge, something our girl Arya knows well. A team-up en route to the massive Stark-assembled army versus the Boltons that we know is inevitable by the final episode would be a nice little denouement for Game of Thrones’s quintessential odd couple, and also a little bit of niceness before 40% of our favorite characters end up flayed at the hands of Locoboy Ramsey!

Speaking of meet-cutes, how about that Daenerys pop-in right as the slavers are attacking Meereen with fireballs? I swear, these writers were truly in a rom-com mood, what with that and a whole extended parlor room scene with Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm cracking jokes. Understandably it was meant to emphasize the normalcy amidst which war can strike, but also it was someone having a little classic fun in a way we haven’t seen much this season. Someone sign up Grey Worm for a night at Caroline’s, stat.

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The fuck happened to my city, b?
The fuck happened to my city, b?

Okay, but imagine you’re Daenerys Targaryen and your last few months have consisted of: fleeing armed mutiny on your dragon child and eating only the full goats it hunts in a barren plain; being captured by the most war-hungry band of nomads in the land and threatened with rape and murder before they realize you should instead just go live in a yurt with a bunch of barren widows; overthrowing an entire government of bros and collecting their troops for yourself, after you emerge unscathed from a flame and stoke their sensibilities like the best army general who ever lived. THEN YOU GET BACK AND THE MUHFUCKAS YOU PUT IN CHARGE HAVE NOT ONLY PRIMED YOUR CITY FOR AN ARMED ATTACK, THEY TOTALLY DRANK ALL YOUR WINE. I love Tyrion Lannister but this dude gotta lay off the juice a little bit, and now that Dany and the dragon are back she’s gonna fully read him the riot act (after she lays waste to the assholes from Slavers Bay). And this, my friends, is precisely why I don’t participate in Airbnb.

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Between negotiations for the moderately bloodless taking of River Run for Walter Frey—which worked well but for the Blackfish, who died a noble death in his own home—I found myself contemplating the light sexual tension between Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth, to whom he gifted his sword for keeps. When Jaime lectured Edmure Tully about how much he loved Cersei, it was with a fiery passion that, incest aside, frankly doesn’t seem all that healthy; relationship-wise, Brienne and Jaime would coexist as equals (as opposed to twins!!!) and it would be nice to see Brienne having a little love in her life that isn’t the unwanted gestures of Tormund Giantsbane. And yet, there are barely worse feelings than loving an unavailable man, and so we must remain hopeful for a Tarth-Wildling union in the future. (If Tormund sacrifices himself at the Bolton battle to save Brienne I will FAINT ON MY COUCH.)

“Put your one hand on my shoullllder...”
“Put your one hand on my shoullllder...”
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Also, Cersei and Loras Tyrell will stand trial in front of Seven Septons because King Tommen has become a religious fanatic freako! I still have faith that Margaery will find a way to subvert this grody cult, though.

Boners: NONE! No boning!!

Deaths: SO MUCH KILLING!! The Waif; all the bandits from the Brotherhood Without Banners who slaughtered The Hound’s commune, including freakin’ Lemoncloak; the Blackfish; presumably many people at Meereen; Lady Crane, the most gifted actor in Braavos. RIP!

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Images via screenshot/HBO

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DISCUSSION

I don’t know. I thought this episode was kind of a dud. I know we’re gearing up for the penultimate episode, where traditionally, all the shit goes down, but after last week, where we also didn’t get a lot happening, this was kind of a snore. I’m glad I watched the Tonys and caught GoT later on demand.

Thoughts!

Jaime. Uuuuuugh. I am so booooooored by him. I really hoped reuniting with Brienne would be more eventful. Like, when Brienne was all, “I’ll have to fight you,” I was like YES, LET’S SEE THAT PLEASE. At the very least, could we get some of the painful introspection we got from season 3 Jaime? But no. The show is just doubling down on his everlasting love of Cersei for reasons that completely escape me. Can someone chop off his other hand? A toe? Maybe then we can get something going for Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, who deserves way better than this.

The Blackfish. Sigh. Dude. Like. I can’t... It’s just.... Come on. Your niece is rallying people to her side to raise the North. She could use your expertise, even if you don’t have the numbers. Why are you gonna throw it all away to make a stand you totally can’t win? Go help your niece take the North, then you can take back Riverrun later. It’s not going anywhere, I promise. So dumb. (Unless, he’s not really dead, of course, since we didn’t see the fight that supposedly brought him down. But people “dying” and then not being dead is getting a little tiresome, so like...pick a lane, show.)

So, Arya’s entire Braavos storyline has been a waste of time? I mean, we all knew that eventually she’d reclaim Needle and her name and go home. I was just hoping she might have gained a few worthwhile skills before then. You know, like, become a face changing assassin. At least get a few of their powers. But I guess not? What a huge bummer from a story line that started out pretty awesome.

Speaking of stories that went nowhere, what the fuck is up with Dorne? Remember back at the beginning of the season when there was a coup? I guess we’re done with that for this season? Why did we even bother with it? Another disappointment. Remember when Oberyn came and was awesome and everyone was excited for Dorne? Good times.

What do you think the rumor Qyburn was talking about refers to??

All in all, it’s a bad episode when it ends and I’m like, “Huh, I wish they had shown me what Bran is up to.” Also, no Tormund OR Lady Mormont. Boo.

I don’t know whether or not we’re going to get LSH or not, and honestly, I’m fine either way, but I wish we knew so that everyone could stop waiting and speculating. I’m tired of it. (Personally, I don’t think the show is going to give us LSH.)

So, next week will be the big showdown between Jon and Ramsay. I can’t say I’m too excited for it. They just brought Jon back from the dead, I seriously doubt they’re going to kill him again. Not to mention, we still haven’t gotten confirmation of the R+L=J theory, which I assume we will get next week or in the season finale in a Bran flashback. Obviously, I want Jon and Sansa to win and I want Ramsay dead, but honestly, as long as Sansa doesn’t end up back with fucking Ramsay, I can live. I assume Littlefinger will arrive to save the day.

Btw...where is Melisandre? She resurrected Jon and told Davos she was going to serve him and stuff, but then she just disappeared. Is she just chillin’ back at the Wall? You’d think she’d want to stick close to Jon.

I dunno, you guys. It’s been a surprisingly strong season and I’m just worried they’re not going to stick the landing. :/