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Peace in Westeros is about as common as resurrection — not impossible, but reserved only for very special occasions.
There’s no special occasion in sight as of this past week’s episode of Game of Thrones, called “No One,” which saw blood spilling through the streets of Braavos, war coming to Meereen’s shore, and fiery schemes brimming beneath the surface of King’s Landing. It’s all leading to an explosive final two episodes of season six, beginning with the impending frosty fight outside of Winterfell.
Here are all of the highlights from the past week of Thrones:
The Faceless Woman
“A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home.” With those magic words, Maisie Williams’ fan-favorite character finally remembered the North, formally announcing her plans to leave Braavos. But these plans are only possible thanks to the death of the Waif (Faye Marsay); her life ended and face brutally removed at Arya’s hands.
“It would have been amazing to do a final fight scene,” Marsay told THR, “but I also like leaving it up to the audience’s imagination on how exactly did Arya rip that girl’s face off. By the looks of it, there was a lot of blood. Jaqen finds her there in the hall, and Arya says, ‘You told her to kill me!’ It’s clear that she really ripped the Waif’s face off. That’s pretty cool. I’m rooting for Arya, even though I played the Waif. I’m like, ‘Hell yeah! Kill her, dude!'”
Arya’s Next Move
It’s one thing for Arya to want to go home, but actually getting there? That’s a tricky situation. Luckily, she’s much better at handling tricky situations thanks to her recent training. In fact, even though she’s not one of the Faceless Men, it sounds like the House of Black and White got exactly what they wanted out of Arya — at least that’s the case according to Tom Wlaschiha, who plays Jaqen H’ghar.
“It’s safe to say that the Faceless Men certainly have an interest in what’s going on in Westeros,” he told THR. “Jaqen just appears from nowhere in season two and picks Arya to train her. Now, by the end of season six, she’s pretty much finished her training and going back to Westeros. Unless all of that was really selfless on his part, I think the Faceless Men want to have some sort of influence on what’s happening in Westeros, Arya being their weapon.”
East of Braavos
Meanwhile, further out in Essos, another character is poised to return to the Seven Kingdoms — but only if she’s able to untangle the Meereenese Knot first. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) finally returned to Meereen in episode eight, just as war came to her doorstep. Luckily, the odds are in Dany’s favor on this one, as we outlined in our preview of the Battle of Slaver’s Bay.
Back in Westeros, another battle brewed and swiftly came to an end, thanks to Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) outsmarting the Blackfish (Clive Russell) at Riverrun. But before that resolution, came a reunion: Jaime and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), together again for the first time since season four.
“It had been a long time since they last said goodbye,” director Mark Mylod told THR. “It’s one of the greatest love stories on television for me. I just absolutely love it. The extraordinary thing for me is that they create such a beautiful, dramatic tension in any two-shot that has Nikolaj and Gwendoline. The way they use their eyes to either connect or disconnect — to avoid each other’s eyes — is so great. They play the black notes of their scenes so beautifully.”
The King Speaks
Jaime isn’t the only Lannister celebrating victory, though King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) is finding the taste to be bittersweet. The alliance between the Crown and the Faith remains strong for now, but it comes at the expense of the young king’s true grasp on his power.
“Technically, he’s the most powerful person in Westeros. He’s the king. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, but he sees that he can’t actually stand up in his own boots,” Chapman told THR. “He doesn’t have the right people backing him up. He always has someone manipulating him or using him for the power they want from him. It just sucks for Tommen. I feel bad for him. He doesn’t deserve this.”
While Tommen worries himself sick over the future of his house and Westeros at large, his mother plots and schemes her own way out of a dark corner. Several theories emerged this week about Cersei’s (Lena Headey) plan to escape her fate, now that Trial by Combat has been outlawed — and almost all of them come down to one very ferocious and flammable word: wildfire.
The Battle of the Bastards
As fire brews in the South, cold winds gather in the North. The so-called Snow Bowl is finally upon us, as Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) prepare to battle it out in episode nine, appropriately called “Battle of the Bastards.” In assessing the odds of survival, the narrative is on Jon’s side, even if the numbers are firmly Team Ramsay — though expect that to tip in Lord Snow’s favor before the episode ends.
No matter the outcome, the episode is guaranteed to be one of the biggest Game of Thrones has ever seen, which is saying something. Liam Cunningham, who plays Davos Seaworth, previewed the episode for THR. “It’s possibly going to be the most talked-about episode of the entire story, of any season,” the actor said. “I can’t tell you the air of expectation I have on this. I have every confidence that it’s going to be as magnificent as what I saw being filmed.”
Watch the video for more on season six’s final battles:
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