Season 6 of Game of Thrones is an interesting season for many reasons. It’s the first season where the show goes beyond the books and book readers and non-book readers are in the same boat for the very first time. No one knows what is going to happen and that makes things extra interesting. This is also a season where the show runners have said once again that this is the best season ever. They have grown into their roles of being responsible for a global phenomenon, the budget has increased over the years and basically the possibilities have increased. Another thing that helps the writers is that they have an end date in mind. The way things stand now they hope to wrap things up after season 8. Having the clarity of when a show is going to end is wonderful for writers. You can work towards that end and you no longer have to stall. And while does all should have a positive effect, bigger isn’t very often not better and knowing when a show is approximately going to end makes it very attractive to start racing towards that end and that can cause pacing issues.
If there is one thing that plagued No One, then it’s pacing. Characters are moved across the board to set them up for whatever is going to end up happening but that’s not always done in the most graceful way to say the least. There were definitely a few jarring moments and events in this episode. Was it a bad episode? Not quite. But Game of Thrones can do better and I have no doubt Battle of the Bastards will be better.
In Mereen Varys leaves on a secret mission while everything in the city seems to have gone back to normal. But the Masters have sent a fleet to attack Mereen. As Grey Worm discusses defense strategies Daenerys returns and she looks very unhappy. Arya makes it to Lady Crane who takes care of her wounds. The Waif kills her later and she chases Arya through the streets of Braavos. Arya leads her to her hideout and takes out the Waif in the dark using Needle. She goes to the House of Black and White after and declares that she is Arya Stark and that she is going home. Lancel and the Faith Militant try to take Cersei to the Sept by decree of the High Sparrow. Cersei refuses and The Mountain kills one of them. Later Tommen decrees that there will be no more trials by combat forcing Cersei to stand trial before seven septons.
Brienne arrives at Riverrun and tells Jaime why she is there. Jaime agrees to let her enter the castle where Brienne tries to get the Blackfish to surrender. He refuses. Jaime threatens to kill Edmure’s son. Edmure enters the castle and orders his men to surrender. Brienne and Pod get away. The Blackfish stays behind and is killed. Sandor tracks down two of the three who killed the villagers and takes them out and two others. He later stumbles upon the third who is being hanged with two other renegades of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Beric Dondarrion agrees to let Sandor kill two while he kills the third and Beric tries to convince Sandor to join them as they head to the north.
What I liked
The return of Beric and Thoros and of course that the renegades got what was coming to them. The Braavos chase was beautifully shot. The scenes at Riverrun continued to be great as well and I am almost sad that the siege is already over.
What I didn’t like
There was a lot wrong with this episode. The main issue was the pacing. There was no way to know how much time had passed between scenes. How long was Arya with Lady Crane? If it was just one day then she healed ridiculously fast. How much time had passed between the departure of Varys and the attack from the Masters? What was the ultimate point of Arya’s time with the Faceless Men? And why was she suddenly no one? Was killing the Waif all she had to do? If so, then why the slapping game if it doesn’t matter if you are truly no one?
What I’m looking forward to
I wonder what Cersei and Qyburn were talking about. Was it wildfire? I can’t wait to find out. I also can’t wait for Arya to return to Westeros and I can’t wait for Dany to move on from Mereen. But most of all, the battle of the bastards. Bring. It. On.
Notes from the ravens
Goodbye Lady Crane. You shall be missed. You deserved better.
I have said it a few times but now that the Braavos storyline seems to be concluded I really don’t understand what the deal was with the Waif. This storyline had so much promise but they kind of botched it in the end.
Bye bye Blackfish. You also deserved better. Why didn’t you just go north with Brienne?
It was good to finally have Edmure speak. I don’t know if he has a role to play down the line but I hope this is not the last we see of him.
I understand why Dany is not happy with seeing that everything has gone to shit while she was gone but if she remembers how she left in the first place then she should realize that she has no right to be pissed.
Tyrion is undoubtedly a smart man and he is a good advisor. Just not so much in Essos. I hope he does remain with Dany though cause she will need him in Westeros.