It appears I can officially declare Game of Thrones’ Episode 8 of Season 6 “No One” the episode of “anti-hype”. That being said, I will start with what did not suck, as that will be over fairly quickly.
The Hound and the Mountain have started killing people, and it’s highly diverting to watch. First, the Mountain smashed Faith Militant face on some cobblestones and we got a sweet and bloody gutter shot (no, I don’t have the image—get over it). The Hound, on the other hand, is literally prancing around, axe in hand, which is the most promising and arousing image I have seen all season: I want death, dammit, and a dude’s guts spilling out through a hole that was once his crotch-area definitely does the trick.
We were sorely missing Bronn until episode 7. Add to that a reunion with Pod, and he has the perfect victim alongside him once more. Fighting skills aside, Bronn is nothing more than a hilarious man who gossips like an old lady, particularly about who may or may not be wanting to sleep with someone else–aka a perfect segue to the next and last significant highlight of this episode.
Gwendoline Christie (Brienne) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) really deserve recognition for this one. Their on-screen chemistry was some of the best we have ever seen on this show, particularly before they part. If those weren’t looks of longing, I don’t know what is. If anything, their dynamic helps bolster the argument that Jaime is inherently a better person the longer he is distanced from Cersei.
Sadly, I must now turn my attention to the negatives.
Well Arya is apparently superhuman, as we can see by the way she meanders the streets with some deep stomach wounds. I’d be proud of myself for totally calling the Lady Crane reunion, but the rest of that scene was so poorly done it erases any desire for initial back-patting I wanted to do. I guess we can also find some solace in that Arya used her new-found ability to kick ass in the dark to her advantage. She also just turned back up at the House of Black and White, said deuces, and took off with no issue. It all wrapped up too neatly and in a rather anti-climatic way, given all that we were given to expect about how Faceless Men work.
In Dany’s absence the entire situation in Meereen has gotten fairly messy. There are ships being burned and super weird attempts to teach two of the most stoic people of all time how to joke and drink. Dick jokes are rampant, and only done now (finally!) because Varys has decided to travel and write a blog about his adventures. Tyrion, Gray Worm, and Missandei were all cooped up in the pyramid when Dany strode in to save the day in a moment that was just way too well-timed and ridiculous.
Meereen has, even in the novels, frustrated many readers. Like Dany, they are impatient for her to join the Westerosi jumble, whereas I am starting to doubt that the Iron Throne will be her path. That being said, book Dany used her time in Meereen to show her advisors, and her readers, that she makes sensible decisions as a ruler. Yet so far, the region has been a convoluted story in the show. Hopefully, we will get a battle. If we get that and Bastardbowl together next episode we will be quote spoiled indeed.
This isn’t so much an issue with the writing as it is with the character himself, who is now in the leading for the biggest pansy on the show. He takes Jaime’s threats seriously that he will murder his infant son, who he has never even spent any time with, in order to betray the Blackfish and forsake his family home. It’s not as if the Freys would turn over the one heir they have that links them to the Tully stronghold, but Edmure swallowed that easily enough. I hope he faces the repercussions.
Now, to the serious complaints. There have been three key teasers that have fizzled out, and I am fairly unhappy about them:
Are the show writers completely out of their minds? I had previously mentioned what I have called the Waste of Warriors on this show, and the tendency to kill capable and legendary fighters off-camera and with zero fanfare, and this just makes it so much worse. I think it may be intentional now.
The Blackfish was the one survivor from the Stark/Tully clan at the Red Wedding, sneaking away from the massacre due to the best timed piss of all time. He is a formidable and stubborn man, and we were hoping he would kill some people in retribution. All the show gave us in the end was the warm and fuzzy feeling that he at least went out on his own terms. Thanks, Obama.
I actually still believe. Sure, my level of faith has the senselessness and audacity of a Westboro Baptist Church member, but I believe nonetheless. Tommen had to go and outlaw trial by combat, which makes me want to slap his pre-pubescent face. And how cold it is to take away your mother’s best bet on getting out of her predicament, when all the crappy things she has done to, well, literally everyone, were for your soft, little behind. That being said, I don’t see it lasting. The suggestion could have only come from the High Septon, because I doubt Margaery would try to undermine her brother’s best shot at liberation as well. As such, I can see her using her not insignificant wiles to change Tommen’s mind. The High Septon might have religion on his side, but we mustn’t forget that Tommen is still a 15-year-old boy, with 15-year-old boy needs.
Of all the ruined hype, this one might have hurt me most. After numerous name-drops and endless Red Wedding flashback scenes on the recaps, Lady Stoneheart seems to still be entirely written out of the show. This suggests to me that the show writers were just trying to toy with us. They even went so far as to make the air tense when the Hound was peeing in the river, as if she would drift onscreen in the background, out of focus and in all her vengeful glory. This endless teasing all season with no discernible climax left me fairly angered. The north, nay, the hype, remembers, even if the show writers do not.