After nearly two full seasons of being whacked in the head repeatedly with a stick, Arya Stark of Winterfell has risen on Game of Thrones. She has a name, and now she has an agenda. But first, she's got to get the hell out of Braavos. (In classic Game of Thrones fashion, it will be forever and a day before Arya actually makes it home to Winterfell.)
The eighth episode of the season was a bit of a mixed bag. It delivered some incredible character-defining moments — Jaime's conversation with Edmure in the tent was a return to form for the embattled Lannister — while also putting the pieces into place for the final act, as we bid adieu to the Riverlands and (hopefully) Braavos. But it also meandered through some plot. I don't need to be reminded that Pod has a magic dick; trust me, that is one thing I will never forget. Of course, with every closing chapter in "No One," even more questions arose. Before we get too deep into the muck that is Game of Thrones, now seems like the appropriate time to remind you that spoilers lie ahead.
ONCE AGAIN, NOW SEEMS LIKE THE APPROPRIATE TIME TO REMIND YOU THAT SPOILERS LIE AHEAD.
OK, now let's address those questions:
What did Cersei have Qyburn look into?HBO
Since we never saw Cersei and Qyburn’s initial exchange, there’s no way to know for certain what Qyburn meant when he told Cersei his little birds found what she was looking for -- but we have a very good hunch: wildfire. Cersei’s fascination with wildfire goes back all the way to Season 2’s "Battle of the Blackwater." Remember when she wanted to destroy King’s Landing so that Stannis couldn’t have it? Well, without Tyrion around, there’s no one to stop her this time. As we saw in Bran’s visions, Mad King Aerys Targaryen II had an abundance of wildfire concealed beneath the city for his diabolical master plan to "burn them all." However, Jaime stopped the Mad King before he could tell his pyromancers to go through with it. It seems as though Qyburn has found the former king’s store of wildfire, which means Cersei can finally make good on her threats.
Will Cersei turn King’s Landing into ash?HBO
Now that Cersei has potentially found an arsenal of wildfire, what will she do with it? The obvious scenario is that she blows the entire city up. (As I’ve mentioned before, King’s Landing is a real shit-hole these days.) The people of King’s Landing turned on her; they threw garbage and spat on her while she walked the streets naked to atone for her sins. Why should she spare their worthless lives? Of course, unless Cersei plans to keep the Red Keep intact, this plan doesn’t bode well for her own survival. So perhaps she’ll target her attack to the Sept. If she goes through with this plan on the day of her trial, then Cersei will be able to get rid of all of her enemies -- the High Sparrow, his Faith Militant, the Tyrells, and her son -- without even breaking a sweat.
So, Cersei will kill Tommen?
At this point, Tommen has already been lost. I don’t doubt that Tommen loves his mother. I think he’s just a stupid, naïve kid who’s looking for someone to tell him what to do. But as we’ve seen time and time again, Tommen has no loyalty to his mother, nor does he possess the conviction of a king. Say what you want about Joffrey, but at least that kid believed in every heinous thing he did. Cersei has been fearful of the prophecy for most of her life; she truly believes Tommen will die. So why not be the one to kill him?
Is the Brotherhood Without Banners headed North?HBO
Beric believes the Lord of Light has a purpose for him. Why else would he have been resurrected so many times? And it seems that purpose lies in the North. During his riverside chat with the Hound, he mentioned the forthcoming winter winds. He knows winter is coming, so what’s his next move? He’s headed North to join the great fight and protect the little guys — and he wants the Hound to join him. This conversation effectively kills the long-standing Lady Stoneheart theories. The Brotherhood is headed North, and that’s where they need to be. We’re at the point in this show where the pieces are being put into place for the final battle. The Riverlands don’t matter. Plus, by bringing the Hound to the North, that not only sets up a tempestuous reunion with the Starks, but it also serves Sandor Clegane’s redemption arc. At least this time he’ll be putting his ax to good use for the benefit of humanity.
What is Daenerys’s next move?HBO
She's come home to an absolute mess. There’s a fleet of ships currently wreaking havoc on Meereen (thanks to Tyrion), her other two dragons are gone (also thanks to Tyrion), and she's got a political nightmare to straighten out. But as we’ve seen, Dany isn’t a ruler. She takes what is hers with fire and blood. She’s not going to negotiate with the slavers; she's going to incinerate them. What good is being the Mother of Dragons if you can’t rain down fire on your enemies? The good news: If Dany sets fire to every last one of her enemies, she’s one step closer to leaving Meereen forever!
Is Arya headed to Winterfell?HBO
Her last words to Jaqen H'ghar were, "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I’m going home." So … yes? That being said, there’s no telling how long it will take Arya to make the journey home, or who she might run into along the way. (Please be Gendry; please be Gendry; please be Gendry.) If Sansa and Jon manage to take back Winterfell from the Boltons, we can probably expect an emotional reunion between Sansa and Arya at some point down the line. (Sob.)
Approximately how many baskets of fruit did Arya knock down as she tumbled down the stairs?HBO
In what might be considered one of the greatest scenes in the entire series, we watch as Arya tumbles, seemingly for hours, down concrete stairs, knocking down baskets of fruit in her path. There’s seriously so much fruit. It’s comical. As EW’s Darren Franich correctly pointed out to me via Twitter, this scene was a "symbolic recreation of two seasons of Faceless Man punchteaching." It did feel that way, didn’t it? We spent all of this time in Braavos only for Arya to cut her training short and reclaim her name? I guess you could say that she learned a valuable lesson — that her need for vengeance is no longer all-consuming — but damn did that feel like a huge waste of time.
Why didn’t Edmure command his men to go North?HBO
Listen. I didn’t want to stay in Riverrun any longer than you did, but the resolution of the entire Blackfish story line was a complete snore. We didn’t even get to see the Blackfish go out like a badass MF like Ser Barristan Selmy. Instead, what we got was Edmure Tully commanding his men to stand down and do completely nothing to protect their home. As frustrating as that was to watch, it was even more maddening to realize that it was Jaime’s plan all along. He could have told Edmure about Sansa and Jon’s forthcoming battle in the North, and the Lord of Riverrun could have commanded his men to help his niece. Jaime could have helped Brienne. But he didn’t. He’s loyal to the Lannisters, who are still at war with the Starks. In that moment, he chose his family -- as we knew he would. But it was still painful to watch Brienne solemnly row down the creek in what might be her final encounter with Jaime.
Essos is east. Westeros is west. But what’s west of Westeros?HBO
While nearly unconscious from her MULTIPLE stab wounds, Arya tells Lady Crane that she wants to travel west — really far west. "Essos is east. Westeros is west. But what’s west of Westeros?" Arya Stark, the great explorer, asks. To be completely honest, that's a great question. The characters in Westeros don’t seem to know what lies past the Sunset Sea, and the only person that has ever attempted to travel farther west is former King of the North, Brandon the Shipwright. Needless to say, he was never seen again. However, in George R.R. Martin's A Feast For Crows, Lord Gylbert Farwynd of the Lonely Light mentioned that beyond the Sunset Sea there is a land without winter where death held no sway and "every man would be a king." (So ... Americanos?)
Listen to this week's episode of Game of Crones.