This season, man. It’s enjoyable enough, and yet… not much is really blowing me away. Except for the Hound. He’s still cool. He’s like the Jeff Lebowski of Westeros, only instead of White Russians, he unwinds with some murder. Don’t piss on his rug and don’t kill his septon. The Hound abides, okay?
Major episode spoilers ahead.
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Maybe you get the Game of Thrones you deserve.
Did we want all of these fan theories confirmed or are the big story beats this season feeling a bit predictable? Maybe this only applies to book readers, but I feel like this season is largely about moving all the players into their end-game positions on the chessboard, and being “right” about what will happen takes a bit of the fun out of things.
Arya: “I am exactly who everyone watching this show for six seasons expected me to be.”
Me: “Fucking duh.”
And how does Arya settling a rather personal vendetta against that bitchy little Terminator-walking Waif make Arya finally “no one?” It doesn’t. It contradicts two seasons of this story. Arya’s whole time at the House of Black and White was so much nothing. I didn’t feel like Arya ever, ever wanted to be “no one.” Not even temporarily, like she thought the Faceless Men would replace the hole in her heart where her family used to be, where the flame of her vengeance burned. The moment she buried Needle upon her arrival in Braavos, we knew she’d pick it up again. But what did Arya learn beyond some great stealth killing techniques? What did she learn about herself?
Also, after the wild fan theories about how Arya COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE SO STUPID AS TO WALK ALONG THE WHARVES THROWING COIN AROUND… she really was that brazenly stupid? Come on, that’s not Arya! I was disappointed with her farewell to Jaqen, too—he just gave her a little nod and smirk, a little unspoken “Okay, great, my teachings and patience with you were all for naught. No big deal.” That wasn’t even a “Bye, Felicia,” more like a “Meh. Whatevs. See ya.” A man who talks about a man in the third person should, by rights, not be that hot. But a man pulled it off while wearing highlights and spa robes. I’ll miss you, Jaqen.
I would’ve liked a bit more closure with Jaqen, a man who’s been one of the many murderous father figures Arya collected (and mostly rejected). Something to make the Faceless Men seem like more than two seasons of wheel-spinning because to bench Arya like Bran would be unthinkable to fans.
Okay. So Arya is Arya. She wants to click her heels and go home. Now what?
The Hound is not no one, either, as we saw last week. Wasn’t expecting him to meet up with the Brotherhood Without Banners so soon. The same can be said for “the kissing master” the Hound snuck up on. That was pretty satisfying.
Maybe this season is missing a bit of joy. Tyrion gets what I’m saying, stuck in Meereen with two of the most prudish characters on the show. I love Grey Worm and Missandei, but comedians, they are not. Also, why didn’t Grey Worm maybe get the Unsullied on the beach when there was time, instead of letting the Masters pull into the harbor and run roughshod all over the city? It’s not like they didn’t see the ships arriving from the top of the pyramid. Add it to the files of things we shall never get a good answer for.
But, huzzah, the Mother of Dragons is home and she’ll set things straight… in the finale. I guess the Dothraki are five minutes behind Dany, you know, since khalasars aren’t as fast as rogue dragons?
Over in Riverrun, Jaime does get a mostly bloodless takeover of the Tully ancestral home. There was a nice callback to the first season with Jaime’s “The things we do for love.” He’s come a long way since he pushed Bran out of that window. Except not really because he still will do anything to be with Cersei. If that means killing the Blackfish, so be it. I’m just so bummed for Brienne—she’ll be returning to Sansa empty-handed.
I liked her and Jaime’s little waves to one another. I mean, be careful what you wish for? I didn’t want Jaime and Brienne to cross swords, but Riverrun got wrapped up neatly. Still, better than Dorne.
At this point, I’ll take what I can get.
- Quote of the night: “Tougher girls than you have tried to kill me.” or “You’re shit at dying, you know that?”
- So… no more trials by combat, eh? The High Sparrow knew the Mountain would be too tough? Does this mean we’ll never get the CleganeBowl people are hoping for?
- After watching Gregor rip that Faith Militant’s face off, I think I’m with Cersei in choosing violence. So long as it’s hilariously over the top like that. Start with that smug asshole Kevan. (When did he become so bitchy?)
- I hate that Varys left Meereen. Don’t go! Ships are totally coming your way!
- Will Arya meet up with Gendry, perhaps? Maybe he can pick her up and give her a ride back to Westeros in his rowboat!
- RIP Blackfish—we didn’t even get to see him die onscreen. And he was right! You know the Blackfish watches Outlander and knew not to trust that jerk Edmure. I was really hoping I’d get to see Edmure hang because I hate Tobias Menzies’ character on Outlander So. Much.
- RIP Lady Crane. The Red God gets his name, after all. She made a more likable Cersei than Cersei.
- Next week: Episode 9 is always a Big Event hour and “The Battle of the Bastards” should prove no less pivotal as Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton face off.
Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9PM E/PT on HBO.
Theresa DeLucci is a regular contributor to Tor.com covering TV, book reviews and sometimes games. She’s also gotten enthusiastic about television for Boing Boing. Send her a raven through Twitter.