In Game of Thrones, fan theories can often be more interesting than what actually happens. After Arya’s stabbing last week at the hands of The Waif, many thought that the person we saw on screen wasn’t actually Arya — Arya wouldn’t be so dumb to walk in broad daylight, seeking passage to Westeros, Arya isn’t right-handed, etc etc. But as this week begins, we find that yes, Arya was actually just being dumb, and slipped up.
After she crawls out of the filthy canal with two holes in her gut, she gets help from the actress Lady Crane, and gets her killed (though at least she got a chance to incorporate Arya’s Cersei notes into her monologue!). She then leads The Waif on a chase through the city to her hiding spot, where the two fight in the dark. She marches into the House of Black and White with The Waif’s face, placing it on the wall herself, when Jaqen arrives. She pokes him in the chest with Needle, declares she’s a Stark, and is going to Westeros. Jaqen just smiles like the total creeper than he is. Was this his intention all along?
In the Riverlands, the Hound is on the warpath with his axe. After killing a handful of the schlubs he’s still looking for (“You’re shit at dying, you know that?” he tells one who’s just caught his axe with his crotch), he finds the Brotherhood without Banners, about to execute with the rest of the murderous fucks he’s looking for — including Lem Lemoncloak. Still leading the pack are Beric Dondarrion and the red priest, Thoros of Myr. They let him kill two of the three rogues that they still have, but insist on hanging them (the Hound wants to use his axe) out of respect for his loss, then get to work recruiting him to their cause. They don’t spell it out, but insinuate that they’re going north. To fight the white walkers?
Arriving at Riverrun, Brienne and Podrick Payne find it under siege. In the Lannister camp, Pod and Bronn reunite, and commence bro-ing out. Granted an audience with Jaime, Pod and Bronn wait outside, where Bronn asks her squire what many have been thinking… “You think they’re fuckin’?” Inside, Brienne tells her of her goal to recruit The Blackfish, and attempts to return Oathkeeper, the Valyrian sword made from part of Ice, Ned Stark’s sword. It’s clear Brienne and Jamie still care for each other; he tells her to keep the sword. When Brienne reminds him they’ll be on different sides if The Blackfish refuses to surrender, Jaime acknowledges it, but admits he hopes it doesn’t come to that. And it doesn’t — he threatens Edmure into surrendering, by saying he’ll catapult his baby with
the Frey daughter over the walls of Riverrun. “The things we do for love,” he says, harkening back to S1 E1, right before he pushes Bran out the window. Ultimately, he completes his task at Riverrun with only one death; The Blackfish, who always wanted to go out fighting. Brienne and Pod escape in a rowboat on the river — Jaime sees it, but lets them go.
In King’s Landing, having fully separated Tommen from his mom, the High Sparrow summons Cersei to the Great Sept of Baelor, which she refuses. Her former fucktoy Lancel is the tool that summons her, arriving with a gang of Faith Militant, threatening violence if she does not comply. She chooses violence. When one of the Militant attacks Ser Robert Strong, he gets his skull and spine separated from his body.
The Faith has understood that they would lose a trial by combat, so they’ve manipulated Tommen into changing the rules, outlawing trial by combat. His momma gonna need a new strategy, and from the cryptic convo about rumors that she has with Qyburn, it seems like she might be ready to burn the whole city to the ground. Was Bran’s vision of wildfire exploding in the crypts of King’s Landing a vision of the future? Was the bombed out Red Keep from Dany’s vision in Qarth’s House of the Undying? At least Jamie is coming home soon.
In Meereen, Varys sets off on a “secret mission”…to where, we don’t know. In the Great Pyramid, Tyrion finally gets Grey Worm and Missandei to drink and joke. It’s a brief moment of levity. When a buzzed Missandei laughs, it’s the only thing capable of making Grey Worm smile. But it doesn’t last long. The masters of Astapoor, Yunkai, and Volantis have returned, with a fleet of ships to attack the city. On one hand, you could say Tyrion failed. On the other, you could say he bought time for Danerys to get back. And she is back, landing at the top of the Pyramid on Drogon’s back. Something tells us she won’t be pleased.
Some final thoughts: We haven’t seen Bran or Ramsay in weeks…what have they been up to? Who else did Jon and Sansa recruit? I suppose we’ll find out next week, at the second Battle of Winterfell.