No One? I'm a Stark of Winterfell #GoT S6 Ep8

Neither A "Wise Master" or Faceless Man Am I

I do want to start by sending all of my thoughts and prayers to all the friends and family of everyone who was lost in Orlando. Unbelievably sad and an attack on everything we stand for (or should stand for). Solidarity!

So, this is two busy episodes in a row. There were a few pretty significant events and lots of set-up for the last two episodes. There has been reporting that the 10th episode will be movie length (or at least one of the longest ever) and they have promised a monster battle to come so it makes sense that they are doing a ton of moving.people and plots around.

You will probably notice, however, that I was not a very big fan of this episode (sloppy writing).

Anyway, if you have not yet seen Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 8, quit reading and come back after you are done. In other words, *Spoiler Alert*

I'm Arya Stark Of Winterfell, Damn It!

The episode starts with the actress that Arya saved delivering the modified monolog from the end of the play about the battle of the five kings (she took Arya's notes on the speech apparently).

The crowd loves her and as she is smiling and removing her makeup she notices a bleeding girl (with no name) hiding in her closet. 

So, given that the girl with no name recently saved her from being killed by...

who was it that tried to poison her?

Oh right, it was Arya (Maisie Williams). 

So, given that the girl with no name (or with one fairly famous name) recently saved her from being killed by that same girl with no name (or with one fairly famous name) the actress fixes her wounds right up and starts caring for her.

Two funny bits:

1. When Arya notices that the actress has done a good job stitching her back up she asks why and the actress cops to having a taste for dating lots of bad men, stabbing them out of anger after they cheat, and then stitching them back up.

Okay, now that is a crazy "how I became an underground physician" story. But, then again, they all are :).

2. At one point, the actress asks Arya to join the troupe, and Arya's response is "I Don't Think I Could Remember All The Lines" which is awesome since the play is about the fall of her own family much of which she lived first hand.

Anyway, after these funny parts and some cuteness (and remember that basically anytime someone is really nice to Arya or the Hound you know something awful is about to happen to them). Arya wakes up from her sleep (after the actress slips her an "MJ special") to find (shocker) that the Waif has found Arya and killed the actress.

Look, I like Arya, I love the Faceless Men part of the books but I have mostly hated the way Benioff and Wiess have written it on the show. Why would Arya Stark, who has been living on nothing but hate and survival skills for virtually her entire life, not know that the Waif might think to check with the person whose life she recently saved?

Yes, I do get that she was bleeding out and that she was desperate. I am not saying it is insane that she would go to the actress. I am saying that she would have maybe mentioned not just that she can't join the troupe because of the Waif (which she does tell the actress) but that she and the actress (you know during the nice conversation about killing ex-boyfriends) are currently in dire danger and should probably relocate (and to be on the look out for almost anyone who shows up to try to kill her...because faceless).

In fact, she should have suggested that the relocate to somewhere where the Waif would be less likely to look. 

Just saying, Arya is not an idiot. I have no idea why they keep expecting us to believe that some people that we know are not idiots are idiots just so that they can move the plot along more quickly. Have some respect for your audience.

For the record, I also believe that Arya is a total badass (see training with Silvio the 'Dancing Master,' and traveling with the Hound, and training as an assassin for all this time). They have made her seem almost totally helpless and weak for this entire subplot and I don't like that at all.

Okay, so like I said, the Waif shows up. Only after about two seconds she decides not to use the mask trick and just kill Arya straight up (hubris). The Waif says the contract had to be collected on the actress and that now one other contract is up (on Arya).

So, Arya starts running and the Waif starts chasing

To me this chase scene was comical. The Waif looks like the T1000 chasing Arnold's hopelessly outdated Terminator model around town. Seriously, go back and watch T2 and compare the look on Robert Patrick's face in the chase scenes to the look on the waif's face. If you look at it like that, you will start laughing, I promise.

Not surprisingly, Arya runs all over town and opens her wounds back up using the blood to lead the Waif 1000 back to her lair and, drumroll please, Needle.

At the last second, as the Waif 1000 says some Hubris-filled stuff, Arya uses Needle to snuff the candle light out (the implication being that Arya was recently blind and will be better able to fight blind).

The next thing we see is Jaqen (Tom Wlaschiha) following a bloody trail back at the House of Black and White (not sure they ever called it this on the show but it is the House of Black and White). The trail leads to the Waif's face being added to the wall of faces.

This means, of course, that it evens the books. The Many-Faced God was promised one more face and the death of the waif squares that account. Jaqen seems pleased that Arya ultimately beat the Waif and is still among the living. He asks, if she is now a girl "without a name?"

Arya responds that she is, "Arya Stark of House Winterfell" and proclaims loudly that she is going home!

Good, the end of a bad subplot and hopefully Arya goes back to being a bad ass.

"You're Shit At Dying, You Know That?"

Well, here is some good news.

Remember last week when it seemed like the Brotherhood Without Banners were back but might have turned entirely evil? Well, it turns out that those were just a few of the Brothers who had gone "rogue."

Before we find that out, the Hound (Rory McCann) dispatches the first half of the guilty Brothers after chasing them down in the forest and dispatching them with much vengeance and furious anger. Always fun to see the Hound in action.

Ultimately, the Hound ends up finding the rest of the "rogues" who are about to be hung by the legitimate Brotherhood Without Banners including Lord Beric Dondarrion (who you might remember was resurrected after losing to the Hound in an earlier trial by combat). Somehow, the Hound gets them agree to be the one that dispatches two of them (although they insist that it stay death by hanging). 

So, after the hangings, they all sit down for some chow and talk shop. Lord Beric (Richard Dormer) suggests that the Hound join up with the Brotherhood. The Hound reminds him that joining up has not gone very well for him but Beric responds that "it is not too late" for the Hound to turn his life around. This statement is very similar to what Brother Ray (Ian McShane) said to him before getting himself hung last week, so I suspect that the Hound is joining the Brotherhood Without Banners.

Hopefully, we get to see Catelyn soon. They have been denying she will appear so vociferously for so long that it starting to seem inevitable that Lady Stoneheart will soon appear (much in the style of "Jon Snow is dead and will never return").

We can only hope!

"You Have A Keen Military Mind Pod!"

Time to hand out some Jar-Jar's (my award that I give out for particularly dumb integrations of the books by the writers of the television show. The awards are named after the great Gungan General Jar-Jar Binks).

As I mentioned, in the books the siege of Riverrun by Jamie happens much earlier in the storyline and the siege ends with Jaimie gaining the castle but losing the Blackfish. As of today, we still have no idea where the Blackfish is off to in the books.

Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) shows up at the siege a bit late but convinces her old pal Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to let her try to convince the Blackfish (Clive Russell) to pack up his troops and head toward Winterfell with her.

Meanwhile, we get in some quick giggles as Bronn (Jerome Flynn) finds Pod (Daniel Portman) and starts teaching him dirty boxing (the "keen military mind" line came when Pod says "It looks like the castle is under siege" to Brienne btw).

Of course, the Brienne brokered peace makes way too much sense to ever happen. In other words, when presented with her offer, the Blackfish says no, 

As Brienne is trying to negotiate with Ser Black of Fish, Jaimie is working on his own plan for taking Riverrun. Basically, he convinces Lord Edmure of House Tully (still his prisoner) that he will send the Freys to get his relatives and use a catapult to throw his wife and son against the castle wall if Edmure doesn't go in and tell all the Blackfish's men to lay down their swords and surrender the castle.

Sure we all know that he is capable of doing this (remember him throwing Bran out of the window way back in Season One) but just to prove to Edmure (Tobias Menzies) how crazy he is, he tells Edmure about how much he needs to get back to Cersei because he loves her (his sister, in case you forgot).

Edmure decides to betray everyone and give up the castle. For some reason, all of the forces that took the castle with the Blackfish roll over on him in like two seconds and totally give up the castle to Edmure (because "he is the Lord of the Castle" and they apparently have no sense of self-preservation).

So here is the dumb part, the Blackfish could try to escape with Brienne but chooses to stay and fight (even though his troops surrendered). Rather than show any of the military genius or the talent for self-preservation that he showed in the books he is only stubborn and suicidal on the television show.

This makes ZERO logical sense, yet another example of Benioff and Weiss making characters fit their expedited timeline and consolidation goals at the expense of logic. Oh, and by doing it this way, they get to let Jamey watching Brienne floating away down the river and wave goodbye to her as she goes.

Brienne is sad, she failed at her mission and I am sad because it made no damn sense.

RIP and adios to the Blackfish (Why? I have no idea? What a Waste).

Benioff and Weiss, I give you three Jar-Jar's and may Gungans have mercy on your soul!

"I Choose Violence" (and Other Love Songs)

I am a bit torn about awarding Jar-Jar's for the Kings Landing subplot this week. 

Partially, this is because I have bashed the Kings Landing subplot for the last several weeks and partially this is because while what Cersei does is kind of dumb on this episode but Cersei often does idiotic things in both the books and on the television series.

So, Cersei (Lena Headey) knows she is going to face a trial soon. She knows her ONLY strategy for winning that trial is to choose for it to be a trial by combat and so instead of keeping that ace hidden up her sleeve what does she do? You guessed it when confronted and ordered to report to the High Sparrow by a group of the Faith Militant she orders Ser Robert Strong to play "open the clam shell and root out the pearl" with one of the militant's heads.

Subtle as ever.

Cut to the throne room, Tommen (minus Ser Pounce and Margaery) announces to the assembled lords and ladies (and Cersei) that the crown is banning trials by combat, that her trial will be starting soon, and that it will be administered by seven Septon's.

The only narrative purpose that the first scene served was tipping Cersei's hand about wanting to use Ser Robert Strong as her stand-in for a trial by combat. However, given the snipping of so many other story lines and so much consolidation of the books, was this a necessary scene?

Everyone in King's Landing knows that Cersei has Ser Robert Strong with her (aka the Mountain). Everyone knows this is her only hope for the trial.

I guess it was fun to see the Mountain as a human can opener (or should it be a can opener of humans)?

I will withhold the Jar-Jar's but I am pretty sure this was bad writing. 

"The Most Famous Dwarf In The World"

If you remember, Tyrion believes that he solved the problems of Meereen by making a deal with the Wise Masters and a deal with the Red Priestess. So, it is a confident Tyrion that first waves farewell to Varys (who is leaving on some unknown and previously unannounced mission) and then gets drunk while telling jokes with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). 

I might have mentioned above that when people start having fun on Game of Thrones it usually means that they are about to have trouble. So, right in the middle of Tyrion's party, the Wise Master's decide to attack Meereen with what looks to be a giant fleet (not sure how they got a gigantic fleet since in the books they have some boats but are mostly landlocked).

Tyrion tries to play general but Grey Worm shuts him down and tells him that he has lost whatever capital he had. Meanwhile, Grey Worm announces that he and the rest of the Unsullied will be chilling out in the Pyramid because trying to defend the rest of Meereen would be too difficult.

In other words, it is looking pretty bleak in Meereen and Tyrion's master plan has entirely failed.

But then, out of the blue, guess who shows up?

Yup, the Queen is back, they open the door and there is the Queen of Dragons (Emilia Clarke) and up in the sky above the pyramid is Drogon the Dragon (I suspect her Dothraki horde is somewhere near as well).

Mere seconds ago, it was not looking good for team Tyrion and now it is looking really bad for the Wise Masters. Not sure what this all means for Tyrion, but I do find it sad that his attempts at wise governance all failed. My hope was that he was finally going to become a valuable member of team Daenerys.

We did learn about his retirement plans, he wants to retire and start his own vineyard which will produce a wine called "The Imps Delight."

Good to know!

Anyway, that is the end of another episode of Game of Thrones. It had its moments but not one of my favourite episodes of the season.

What did you think of episode 8? What stood out to you? Let me know, leave a comment!