Seven Kingdoms Scoop: Recap Of “Game Of Thrones” Season 6 Episode “No One”

“I choose violence.”

Almost everyone chooses violence this week on Game of Thrones, but not everyone is successful in upping the game in “No One”—not everyone gets the outcome they expected. And for those who don’t choose violence—like Jaime and Brienne—there are still choices made here that show some differences are inescapable and undeniable and unfixable.

Jaime and Brienne may never be on the same side, despite whatever friendship they formed years ago at Harrenhal. Edmure Tully, in giving up Riverrun to Jaime and the Freys, has run his house into the ground. Tyrion thought he was outsmarting the slavers, but he underestimated the lure of human capital—and the entrenched oppression going on in Slaver’s Bay. And while Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion—more returned characters from seasons ago—try to convince the Hound to join their fight against the White Walkers (they are going to the Wall, right?), how do they know where they’re going, who they’re fighting, or what they’re facing?

Last week, Septon Ray/Ian McShane/Al Swearengen told the Hound, “Violence is a disease. You don’t cure a disease by spreading it to more people.” But all throughout “No One,” violence is used as a solution. How much longer is this tenable? How much longer can this last?

Lots of impossible situations on Game of Thrones this week. Let’s get into it.

+ “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell. And I’m going home.” In quite possibly the most “Yeah, duh” storyline on Game of Thrones this season, Arya defeats the Waif, killing her and placing her face in the House of Black and White before telling Jaqen that she’s busting out of Braavos and going back to the North. I mean, OF COURSE, OBVIOUSLY. Was two seasons in Braavos really necessary to convey this very obvious plot development? In GRRM’s books, Arya goes deeper into her training with the Faceless Men, and is already working at the acting company while pursuing her assassination assignments. In the show, she never really seemed to integrate with the mission of the Faceless Men, and so in that way, so much of Braavos has felt like a waste of time.

But now she’s going back to Winterfell, I guess. What is Arya’s legacy in Braavos? She helps deliver Lady Crane’s most-loved performance by encouraging her to add rage and vengeance into her portrayal of Cersei’s grief after Joffrey’s death, but then ends up getting Lady Crane killed by the Waif. By killing the Waif, she leaves Jaqen without a friend, all lonely alone in the House of Black and White. And by pledging to go back to Winterfell, Arya is going to what, continue pursuing her list of names? Or maybe she’ll see the edge of the world, where the maps stop, to the west of Westeros? “Here you are,” Jaqen says to Arya, with Needle at his heart. But where is Arya going? After two seasons dragging on in Braavos, I think we’re all ready for her next journey.

+ “Cold winds are rising in the North … It’s not too late for you.” Well, this is the end of our hopes for Lady Stoneheart, right? Because while I was very excited to see Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion—um, I kind of shrieked—them still leading the Brotherhood Without Banners basically means there is no way LSH is leading them. So thanks for playing with us, Benioff and Weiss! That fake-out last week with Lem Lemoncloak and the other alleged BWB members attacking Septon Ray very strongly hinted at LSH if you were hoping for that outcome, and their death this week at the hands of Thoros, Beric, and the other true BWB members nips any desperate Stoneheart yearning right in the bud. God. Fucking. Dammit.

… Anyway! So yeah, the Hound runs into Beric, who if you recall was sent by Ned Stark back in the day to stop BWB, but actually ended up joining them, and who was killed by the Hound before Thoros brought him back through the Lord of Light. Crazy reunion, guys! But there is a certain resignation and acceptance to the insanity of the world once you’ve been killed, seen people come back from the dead, and realized that everything you fought for is pretty much useless, so the trio get along fairly well.

When Thoros and Beric start talking about the Lord of Light, Sandor is skeptical (“Lots of horrible shit gets done in this world for something ‘larger than ourselves’”), but will their mention of the fight against the White Walkers lure him along to the North? Hanging the Night’s King doesn’t really seem like it would work, though. Just saying.

+ “If you break these laws, you will be punished.” Another day in King’s Landing, another day that Tommen slips further from Cersei’s grasp and influence and a little closer into being directly under the High Sparrow’s control. At first, it seems like Cersei’s DGAF attitude and muscle in the form of the Mountain/Ser Robert Strong will end up working in her favor—what can Lancel and the rest of the Faith Militant really do after one of their members has his head torn off in front of them?—but then the High Sparrow outmaneuvers again, outlawing the trial by combat format that Cersei was sure would be her survival.

Instead, Cersei and Loras Tyrell will be tried by a council of seven septons, and I can’t imagine this going very well. Notice who Tommen was surrounded by in the Throne Room—Maester Pycelle, grand-uncle Kevan Lannister, Mace Tyrell—but no Margaery. Is she OK with this turn for Loras? How is she going to play this? And for Cersei’s part, you know her and Qyburn obviously have something up their sleeves; what was that “old rumor” that Qyburn’s child spies the little birds are investigating? I wonder ... and I think it might include wildfire. 

Also, another bait and switch from the showrunners: Based on last week’s episode, book readers thought we were getting the Clegane Bowl, with the Hound and the Mountain facing off against each other in Cersei's trial by combat. NOPE. Honestly, this whole episode seems written with a gigantic “Fuck off” to book readers in mind, especially with what goes down at Riverrun. Which we’ll get into next!

+ “This is my home. And if Jaime Lannister wants it, he can bloody well take it the way everyone else does.” Rest in peace, Brynden Blackfish Tully, you salty, grumpy, wonderfully stubborn and principled man. This is how House Tully (house words: "Family, duty, honor") dies, with the Blackfish killed defending Riverrun from the men who killed his niece and his grand-nephew, let in through the front door by the nephew who was never strong enough to lead. This is how a great family passes away into nothingness. Don’t forget the Rains of Castamere. How long until there’s a song about Riverrun and the Tullys?

There’s so much to cover in this story, which gives us maximum Jaime in his sexy samurai armor time, even as he’s being the exact kind of pompous, privileged Lannister jackass that I find quite trying. First, let’s start with his interaction with Brienne, which ramps up the unresolved romantic tension on her part: She’s so intently staring at Jaime, healthy and whole and riding through the siege camp when she and Pod first arrive at Riverrun, that she doesn’t even care to address the Lannister riders who greet them with her customary politeness. She’s clearly torn during their meeting in Jaime’s tent, arguing Sansa’s case (loved her incredulous “The Tullys are rebels because they’re fighting for their home?”) while also trying to repay the debt she thinks she owes Jaime in the form of Oathkeeper.

But the reality here is that Jaime is still 100% Lannister right now, still fully devoted to Cersei, and still refusing to acknowledge that the Lannister twins are on the wrong side of the war being fought. He’ll let Brienne try to negotiate with the Blackfish, and he’ll agree to give them safe passage through the North, but there’s no way he’s leaving Riverrun without the castle safely in his possession. Return to Cersei in defeat? No way.

And that’s what dictates Jaime’s behavior when he meets with Edmure, too. In the books, it’s clear that Jaime’s speech here—including the bit about killing Edmure’s child by catapult—is meant to avoid war and save thousands of lives (the same mentality that inspired Jaime to kill the Mad King Aerys all those years ago, earning him the nickname Kingslayer), whereas the show puts more of a still-all-in-with-Cersei spin on it. Edmure gets some great lines in with the shocked “Do you imagine yourself a decent person? … How do you live with yourself? … How do you tell yourself that you’re decent, after everything that you’ve done?” but Jaime has an answer for everything, and his threat to slaughter everyone in Riverrun to return to Cersei hits home.

Edmure returns to his castle. The Blackfish is killed. Sansa loses another potential ally. And Jaime’s reputation—the one that has Edmure scoffing “I have your word?”—gets another depressing chapter with the news of the death of the Blackfish, killed while fighting. “The things we do for love,” Jaime says to Edmure of his feelings for Cersei. But that last longing look with Brienne as she and Pod rowed away from Riverrun—Brienne knows that Jaime could be a better person than he is now. And if he’s ever going to be that person, it will be because of Brienne—not because of Cersei.

+ “She’ll come back. She has to.” One of the few people who who didn’t choose violence this episode was Tyrion, so secure in his belief that Meereen was bouncing back that he was shocked when the ships of the masters of Slaver’s Bay sailed in, ready to attack what Dany, Grey Worm, Missandei, Jorah, Daario, and Tyrion had built. Looks like that seven-year timeline Tyrion gave the masters isn’t really going to work for them, and as Missandei notes resignedly and unsurprisedly, “The masters have come for their property.”

But the flip side of that, though, is that Dany has come for her subjects, arriving on Drogon (I’m gonna call him the Drogon Express, given that he seems to fly away right after dropping her off at the top of the pyramid, causing that shaking pyramid that we saw Tyrion notice in the preview for this week’s episode).

So we’re finally catching up with the battle between Meereen and the rest of Slaver’s Bay that we see play out in some of GRRM’s early released chapters from the upcoming The Winds of Winter, and there’s a lot that could happen, I think. Drogon is on the loose, and it would make sense to release Viserion and Rhaegal, too. The Ironborn ships led by Yara and Theon are theoretically arriving soon. And if Dany and Co. are victorious in defending the pyramid and Meereen, how will Dany feel about Tyrion’s pact with the Lord of Light faith to try and sway citizens into defending and supporting Dany?

“You made a pact with fanatics,” Varys noted before sailing off on a secret mission to Westeros for friends and ships, and it will be interesting to see if Dany, once she learns of this arrangement, feels the same way. If so, what does that mean for Tyrion’s position as her right-hand man? Does that remove him from the “dragon has three heads” question? Damn, these prophecies are puzzling.

And some odds and ends:

+ “Please tell his High Holiness he’s always welcome to visit.” The faces of Qyburn and Cersei after Ser Robert Strong/the Mountain tore off that Faith Militant guy’s head? Priceless. Perfection. I want to screencap that and print it out for my office at work, just as a reminder of the good things in life.

+ “The night is dark and full of terrors.” I miss you, Lem Lemoncloak. Too bad that you were a fake-out character to drive up interest in Lady Stoneheart, because Benioff and Weiss are petty jerks.

+ “Those are your last words, ‘Fuck you’? … You’re shit at dying, you know that?” SO glad the Hound is back.

+ Anyone else think that Lady Crane inviting Arya to tour with their company to Pentos was another “Screw you, book readers” moment? Especially since the role being offered was Arya playing Sansa? Whomp whomp.

+ “She should have killed you.” Not wrong, Edmure. Catelyn probably should have sliced Jaime’s throat when she had the chance.

+ “Tougher girls than you have tried to kill me.” Nice shout-outs for Arya and Brienne, Sandor!


+ “Shouldn’t argue about politics.” You are white privilege personified, Jaime Lannister.

+ “I am soldier all my life, you think I never hear joke?” Grey Worm’s smile at Missandei’s laugh was the most perfect thing and I will treasure it forever.

+ So the Bronn/Pod conversation about whether Jaime and Brienne were into each other is all the acknowledgment us shippers of those two are going to get? Real lame, guys.

+ “I just assumed Sansa was dead.” Way to utterly disregard the entire mission you sent Brienne out on, Jaime. 

+ “He’s not my friend.” Girl, get your mind right. We ALL want Jaime Lannister’s fine ass to be giving us gifts.

+ “I haven’t had a proper swordfight in years.” You’ll be missed, Blackfish. SO MUCH.

+ And in previews for next week’s penultimate episode of this sixth season, “Battle of the Bastards”: Jon’s on one side. Ramsay’s on the other. Wanna fight?