Game of Thrones Recap: Episode 8, “No One”

arya-stark

I’m me

GoT seems to be teaching us, as an audience, that its myriad plots are about character development and not (always) about how they play out. Take Arya, who opens this week’s show running away from the Waif and bleeding copiously from her stab wounds. Arya leads the Waif right to her sword, Needle, and shows off her training when she slices off the top of a candle—a quick and artistically beautiful moment. In a sacrilegious move, she trails blood through the House of Black and White and puts the Waif’s bloody face among the others taken for the Many-Faced God.

Bye

The scene announces her total rejection of the Many-Faced God’s vengeful path, particularly when Jhaquen Hagar tells Arya she has at last become no one, and she declares herself to be Arya Stark of House Winterfell in turn. I think it’s probable that forsaking unthinking vengeance was always the Many Faced God’s plan for Arya, or at least a likely option.

Although people evolve on GoT, their essences remain steadfast. We also see this with Sandor Clegane when he seeks revenge on the men who killed the nice hippies he met in the previous episode. The old Hound would have split the heads of the marauders the Brotherhood without Banners had on the gallows, but he hung them instead, then peed nonchalantly in a stream. Subtly, but extraordinarily well, GoT shows how people remain true to themselves even though the world has changed them.

Over in Meereen, the Queen’s advisers are really coming together. Truth be told, they’re my favorite bunch—I hope I’m not jinxing them into a tragic fate by saying that! Daenerys arrives on a dragon just as the Masters attack the city. Although her return will certainly be a big help, the most interesting thing about to happen just might be Yara and Theon’s arrival on the Meereen shores. I’m sure the Greyjoy’s Iron Price will go over super well with the Mother of Dragons.

Tommen

Totally his own man

For the Lannisters, things are tense. Jaime takes Riverrun incredibly quickly—for Cersei, he tells Edmure. Is this foreshadowing? Cersei is about to be judged by the Seven Septons and cannot request a trial by combat. These new rules come courtesy of the High Septon’s Tommen’s decree, and I can’t wait until Margaery turns the tables on those slimy old men! Even if that doesn’t go down, at the very least Cersei could swiftly be put to death and we’ll finally be rid of all her brooding. She should take lessons from Jon Snow, who broods much more enjoyably. Maybe then we’ll see some heat between Jaime and Brienne. Then again, maybe not—it seems too easy.

Don’t forget that next week’s episode is an extra-long one.

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About the Author:

Nicole Foti is an adjunct professor of writing and cultural studies at various colleges in Rhode Island and Connecticut. She uses academic research as a disguise to think deeply about fantasy, science fiction, feminism, representation, affective dynamics and shifting modes of power.

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