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No one is dead. Long live Arya Stark (Maisie Williams).
After nearly two full seasons of training at the House of Black and White, Arya finally dropped out of assassin school and decided to return to her Northern roots. By the end of “No One,” the eighth episode of Game of Thrones‘ sixth season, the young wolf killed her greatest enemy and vowed to return “home,” which is exactly where the other Stark siblings are heading. It’s as strong a sign as any that the final episodes of the series will see the rightful lords and ladies of Winterfell back where they belong — at least until the White Walkers come calling.
Here’s how the episode played out.
Lady Crane (Essie Davis) once again performs in front of a large crowd, moving them to tears with her sorrowful soliloquy over her dead son’s body — a speech that takes a turn for the vengeful, following advice from Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) some episodes earlier. Moments later, Crane once again stumbles on Arya, hiding away in a closet backstage, nursing the wounds inflicted on her by The Waif (Faye Marsay).
That night, Crane patches Arya’s injuries, a craft she learned from years and years of relationships with rough men. Crane asks Arya to join the theater troupe on the next leg of their tour in Pentos. Arya says it’s not safe to tag along, since the House of Black and White is after her. Instead, she plans on traveling the world: “Essos is east, Westeros is west, but what’s west of Westeros?” The maps stop there, she says, and she wants to find out exactly what lies beyond the Seven Kingdoms.
The following morning, Arya wakes and finds Lady Crane dead, with the Waif standing nearby. An intense chase ensues, with Arya racing through the streets of Braavos, reopening her wounds in the process. Eventually, Arya lures the Waif into a dark chamber, and blows out a candle — the room’s only light source — just as the two are about to battle.
Later, at the House of Black and White, Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) enters the Hall of Faces and sees the Waif’s bloody face tacked onto the wall. He turns around, sees Arya, and smiles: “Finally, a girl is no one.”
“A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell,” she corrects him, “and I’m going home.”
The Hound on the Hunt
Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) seeks vengeance against the men who killed Brother Ray (Ian McShane) and his holy flock, burying an ax in four of the killers, before finally stumbling upon “the man in the yellow cloak.” But Sandor is not the only one who wants this man dead: Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) and Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye) are in the process of hanging Lemoncloak and two of his fellows for executing Brother Ray’s flock. Out of respect, Beric allows Clegane to hang two of the men himself, though he forbids him from butchering them.
Following the executions, Clegane breaks bread with Beric and Thoros, and they offer the retired warrior a role within the Brotherhood Without Banners. They say there’s a great war brewing in the north, and they need good men to help them. Beric echoes Brother Ray’s sentiments, telling Sandor that there’s a reason he’s still alive, and it’s not just because he’s a hell of a fighter.
“Good and bad, young and old — the things we’re fighting will destroy them alike,” says Beric. “You can still help a lot more than you’ve harmed. It’s not too late for you.”
With that, it certainly sounds as if Sandor Clegane has been recruited into the Great War against the White Walkers.
Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman) finally arrive at Riverrun, yielding some long-awaited reunions with Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) respectively. Jaime gives Brienne the chance to convince the Blackfish (Clive Russell) to leave Riverrun peacefully so he can bring the Tully army to Winterfell. She in turn offers to hand over Oathkeeper, now that her mission to find Catelyn Stark’s daughters has been satisfied; but Jaime says the sword belongs to her.
Unfortunately for Brienne, the Blackfish rejects her notion for surrender, saying he hasn’t seen Sansa since she was a child. But Jaime’s plan to take over the castle works out much better, as he successfully pressures Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) into surrendering Riverrun.
During the siege, Blackfish helps Brienne and Podrick escape before Lannister forces arrive. He stays behind, and is reportedly killed in battle. From a distance, Jaime watches as Brienne rows away, the two former friends and travelers waving at each other one last time.
In King’s Landing
Lancel Lannister (Eugene Simon) and fellow members of the Faith Militant arrive at the Red Keep, demanding that Cersei (Lena Headey) accompany them on the High Sparrow’s orders. She rejects the command on most violent terms, siccing her bodyguard Robert Strong (Hafthor Bjornsson) on them; he rips the head clean off of one of the Faith Militant, making his power known.
“Please tell his high holiness he’s always welcome to visit,” Cersei tells Lancel.
Later, Cersei attends a great meeting called together by King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), who announces that the trials against both Cersei and Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones) will commence during the first day of the Festival of the Mother. What’s more, Tommen and the High Sparrow have outlawed Trial by Combat throughout the Seven Kingdoms, ruining Cersei’s plan to escape her fate via the Mountain’s brute strength. Still, it seems she has a plan in place, as Maester Qyburn (Anton Lesser) tells her that he’s investigated “that rumor you told me about.”
“Is it just a rumor,” she asks, “or is there more?”
“More,” he replies without hesitating. “Much more.”
The Meereenese Knot
Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is pleased with the peace that’s washed over Meereen, but his fellow advisor Varys (Conleth Hill) remains skeptical about aligning with “fanatics.” To that end, he leaves the city in order to pursue a “secret mission,” one that involves making new friends in Westeros, and gaining some ships.
Moments later, while Tyrion enjoys a celebratory drink with Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), bells begin to ring throughout the city, signaling war. The slavers have returned in force with a multitude of ships, striking just as the Meereenese were settling into peace.
Just as Grey Worm prepares to defend the pyramid, the only safe place in the city, a familiar face arrives: Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), finally returning after weeks and weeks away. With an army of Dothraki and fire-breathing dragons at their side, Meereen’s odds just greatly improved.
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