"No One" is the eighth episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. It is the fifty-eighth episode of the series overall. It premiered on June 12, 2016. It was written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by Mark Mylod.
The acting troupe are once again performing "The Bloody Hand" with Lady Crane, playing Cersei mourning the death of Joffrey. However, unlike the previous version, it is edited as Arya proposed, with Lady Crane's Cersei promising revenge. After the scene, Lady Crane walks off stage where she sees Arya, injured from the previous episode who seeks refuge with Lady Crane. Arya is then treated by Crane. They have a brief conversation about what they're going to do in the future (and remarking the fate of her rival actress, Bianca) with Lady Crane asking Arya to join the play company who is going to Pentos, and Arya warning Lady Crane about dangers that will be coming to both of them. Finally, Lady Crane tries to give Arya the milk of the poppy which Arya first rejects but accepts after being told that sleep is the only way for the wound to heal.
The following morning, Lady Crane is standing on a chair, fetching some medicine from a high shelf, when she is killed by a man who turns out to be the Waif. Later Arya wakes up, apparently startled by a loud noise. She finds that Lady Crane has been brutally murdered, apparently impaled onto the legs of the chair she had been standing on. The Waif rebukes Arya for not carrying out her mission so that Lady Crane could have died less violently, and now she has come to kill her. Arya leaps out the window and flees into the streets. She rolls under a wagon and flees into a bathing space for men but is unable to outrun the Waif, who is closing in on her. Arya barely manages to stay ahead and rolls down a flight of stairs, overturning several baskets of vegetables in the process.
Her flight causes her wounds to reopen. Arya flees into an alleyway and uses her bloody hand to leave a bloody trail to a doorway, thus luring the Waif into a darkened room that is only lit by a candle. The Waif soon catches up with her. Closing the heavy door, the Waif tells Arya that she can choose to die on her knees or on her feet. Arya rises to her feet, retrieving her sword Needle from its hiding place under a blanket. With one quick slice of Needle, the candle is chopped in half and the room is plunged into total darkness.
Later, Jaqen H'ghar enters the Hall of Faces to find a trail of blood. He eventually finds that Arya has murdered and ripped off the Waif's face and stuck it into one of the shelves. Arya has also gouged out the Waif's eyes with her sword. Arya then confronts Jaqen who admits sending the Waif to kill her. He then tells Arya that she has finally become "No One" and has passed the test to join the Faceless Men. However, Arya corrects him that she is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and that she is going home. Jaqen responds with a nod and a barely perceptible smile, and Arya walks away.
In the Riverlands
Several men including Gatins and Morgan, members of the Brotherhood Without Banners who took part in the massacre of the villagers, are exchanging jokes over a campsite fire. While joking about sex, the four men are set upon by an axe-wielding Sandor Clegane, who has come to exact revenge for the murder of the villagers. He kills two of the men immediately with his axe and dispatches the third after a brief scuffle. Sandor then slashes Gatins below the waist, causing his innards to drop out. Sandor tries to get information out of Gatins, but instead he curses the Hound before he is killed.
Later, Sandor stumbles upon a forest clearing where he finds that seven members of the Brotherhood including leaders, Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, are in the process of hanging Lem Lemoncloak and other two renegades for their role in the unauthorized attack on the Riverlands village. As the three condemned men stand on blocks with nooses around their necks, Sandor explains they killed his friend and he therefore wants to kill the men himself. Sandor wants to inflict a harsher death upon them than hanging, but Beric stops him. Out of respect for Sandor's loss, Beric agrees to let him kill two of the men. However Thoros refuses to let him butcher them. Sandor complains, pointing out that in days gone by he would have killed all seven of them to get his way, but ultimately agrees to let them simply hang. Sandor kicks the blocks from under the feet of two of the men including Lem, and takes Lem's boots for himself as the body is still twitching. Beric kicks the block of the third man.
After the executions, Sandor joins the Brotherhood for a meal by a creek. Beric suggests he should join up with the Brotherhood, that they are fighting for a greater cause and that "cold winds are rising in the North." Sandor is skeptical of their chances of success and distrusts them due to his earlier acrimonious encounter with them. Beric recognizes that Sandor is a warrior and tells him that they are fighting against things that seek to destroy all life. He then tells Sandor that it is not too late to help.
In the streets of Meereen, the Red Priestesses preach that Daenerys Targaryen has been sent by R'hllor to end slavery. Tyrion Lannister and Varys enter the market place where they debate the merits of Tyrion's hiring of "fanatics" to keep order on Meereen. Varys is leaving on a secret expedition because Daenerys needs friends in Westeros. He parts with Tyrion before reaching the docks as his expedition would not remain secret if he was seen with the most famous dwarf in the city. As he leaves Tyrion corrects him, "The most famous dwarf in the world."
Later, Tyrion meets up with his advisors Grey Worm and Missandei at the Great Pyramid. He offers to share drinks with them to celebrate the resurgence of the city. When they express a reluctance, Tyrion convinces them to do it in honor of their Queen. Grey Worm complains of the taste while Tyrion boasts of starting up his own vineyard once Daenerys has conquered the Seven Kingdoms. He asks Grey Worm and Missandei to tell jokes but they do not know how to. He makes a joke about Westeros Lords, but Grey Worm expresses puzzlement and it becomes clear he doesn't know what a joke is. Missandei explains, then realising she is enjoying the wine she tells her own joke about two translators. Tyrion feigns amusement but Grey Worm says that it was the worst joke he has ever heard. As the others react with confusion, he reveals he was making his own joke. Missandei laughs and Grey Worm himself smiles.
Before Tyrion can tell another joke, they hear the sound of bombardment. Looking out the ramparts, they see a large fleet of ships from Astapor, Yunkai, and Volantis. Missandei tells Tyrion that the slavers have come to reclaim their property. By evening, the slavers' fleet are using trebuchets to bombard the city, causing much damage to Meereen. Admitting that diplomacy has failed, Tyrion lets Grey Worm take command of the battle. Grey Worm proposes defending the pyramid instead of fighting on the beach. At that point, they hear movement on the roofs. After venturing out onto the balcony, they discover that Dany has returned with her dragon Drogon.
In King's Landing
Qyburn informs Cersei that the Faith Militant have been permitted entry to the Red Keep and they demand to see Cersei. Among the Faith Militant is Lancel, who tells Cersei that the High Sparrow would like to speak to her in the Sept of Baelor. However, Cersei refuses, even when Lancel warns her that it was a command and not a request. Cersei retorts that the High Sparrow promised that she could stay in the Red Keep until her trial, to which Lancel replies that no such promise was made. When Ser Gregor Clegane threatens the Faith Militant, Lancel tells Cersei to order him aside or there would be violence. Cersei refuses to let the Kingsguard stand down. One of the Faith Militant proceeds to attack Gregor in the chest, penetrating his armor, but Gregor seems unharmed. In retaliation, the Kingsguard rips off his head, forcing Lancel and his men to stand down.
Later on, Cersei, Qyburn and Ser Gregor enter the Great Hall to find a large crowd as there was a royal announcement. Cersei asks Kevan Lannister why she was not informed. Kevan bars her from standing beside her son and tells her that her place was in the gallery "with the other ladies of the court." Cersei reluctantly takes her place there while the other women hurry aside, not wanting to be near her or Gregor.
King Tommen Baratheon starts by saying that the Crown and the Faith are the two pillars that hold up this world, and should one collapse, so does the other. He also says that The Father judges them all, and if they break his laws, they shall be punished. He announces that Loras Tyrell and Cersei's trial will be held in the Sept of Baelor on the first day of the festival of The Mother.
After much prayer and reflection, he also announces that trial by combat will be forbidden in the Seven Kingdoms, stating that it is a scheme made by those who want to escape true judgement from the Gods, and that Loras and Cersei would stand trial before seven septons as it was in the earlier days of the Faith.
As the King leaves, Qyburn tells a shocked Cersei, who had been planning on calling a trial by combat with Gregor as her champion, that his little birds have been investigating an old rumor that she had told him about, and that the rumor was found to be much more than a rumor.
Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne travel to Riverrun to deliver Sansa Stark's letter to Brynden Tully. Upon arriving, they discover that the Lannisters and Freys are besieging the castle. Soon, they are surrounded by several Lannister horsemen. Brienne tells them that she has come to see Ser Jaime Lannister and that she has come to return his sword, Oathkeeper. While Brienne speaks with Jaime, Podrick is waiting in the camp, when he is suddenly put in a choke-hold by an unseen figure, who is revealed to be Bronn. The sellsword is jubilant to see Podrick, and playfully ribs him about sex and his fighting skills before Bronn offers to give Podrick a lesson in dirty fighting -- the kind that he will really need, not the formal kind, that Brienne has been giving him for 2 hours a day.
Jaime and Brienne meet discreetly in a tent. While Brienne has found Sansa, their situation is complicated by a bounty that Cersei Lannister has placed on Sansa's head. Brienne tells Jaime that she has come to secure Brynden's help in seeking reinforcements for her campaign to retake Winterfell from the Boltons. This is not possible because Jaime is laying siege to Riverrun. Brienne convinces Jaime to let her negotiate with the Blackfish so that Brynden and his men can leave the castle at night to travel to Winterfell. Jaime agrees to grant Brynden safe passage but says that he has to surrender by nightfall. Brienne also tries to return her sword, Oathkeeper, because the use it was lent to her for has been fulfilled. Instead, Jaime tells her to keep it because it is hers. She reminds him that, should she fail to get the Blackfish to surrender, her oath to Lady Catelyn Stark would compel her to fight against Jaime. Clearly moved by his admiration for her, Jaime replies, "Let's hope it doesn't come to that."
Brienne and Podrick enter Riverrun to negotiate with the Blackfish. However, Brynden refuses to relinquish his ancestral seat. Brienne then tells him of her oath to aid his grand-niece Sansa and shows him Sansa's letter. While sympathetic to his grand-niece, the Blackfish is unable to help. Brienne then tells Podrick to get a maester to fetch a raven and send a message to Sansa telling her that she failed to secure help from Brynden.
Later, Jaime visits the captive Edmure Tully and apologizes for the conduct of the Freys. Edmure is still defiant and insists that his uncle will not surrender Riverrun. Jaime then informs Edmure that he had sired a son with Roslin Frey. If Edmure can convince the Blackfish and the garrison to surrender, he offers to allow Edmure and his family to live in a comfortable exile at Casterly Rock. He also offers to give Edmure's son a proper education and some lands when he comes of age. When Edmure denounces Jaime as an evil man, Jaime responds that he would let the gods decide. Edmure then asks Jaime how he sleeps at night after all the bad things he has done.
Jaime then recounts his time as a captive of Lady Stark and how she struck him with a stone. Despite her hatred for him, he came to respect Catelyn for her undying love to her children. Jaime compares Catelyn's love for her children to Cersei Lannister's love for her own. He then reiterates that he loves Cersei so much that he would kill any Tully that stands in his way. Jaime then issues his final ultimatum to Edmure. If the Tullys do not surrender, he will catapult Edmure's son over the wall and kill every Tully who stands between him and Cersei. Jaime then leaves to let Edmure make up his mind.
Edmure seemingly accepts Jaime's offer and walks back to the castle with a torch. He announces himself as their rightful lord and convinces the guards to lay down the draw bridge despite the protests of his uncle Brynden. The guards obey Edmure because they have sworn an oath of fealty to Hoster Tully and his son. The guards lower the drawbridge and Edmure enters the castle. Back at the Lannister and Frey lines, Lothar Frey criticizes Jaime for losing their most valuable hostage. Once inside, Edmure climbs the ramparts and orders the Tully garrison to lower the drawbridge and to surrender to the Lannisters and Freys. Jaime and the Lannister and Frey hosts then march into Riverrun and occupy the castle, draping the Lannister and Frey banners all over the walls.
Edmure then orders his men to find and put the Blackfish in chains and hand him over to the Freys. However, the Blackfish has already escaped. At one of the castle's exits, he helps Brienne and Podrick into a boat. Brienne tries to convince Brynden to come along, but he insists on not running away from this fight. He tells Brienne to continue serving Sansa and assures her that she will do a better job of it than he has done. As Brienne and Podrick escape, the Blackfish stays behind for a final stand against several Lannister soldiers. On the ramparts, Jaime is informed of the Blackfish's death. He then sees Brienne and Podrick rowing away on their boat. He quietly waves goodbye, to which Brienne waves back.
- Steve, beheaded by Sandor Clegane
- Riddell, killed by Sandor Clegane
- Gatins, killed by Sandor Clegane
- Morgan, killed by Sandor Clegane
- Brother of the Faith Militant, killed by Gregor Clegane
- Lem Lemoncloak, hanged by Sandor Clegane
- Two unnamed outlaws, one hanged by Sandor Clegane, the other by Beric Dondarrion
- Ser Brynden Tully, killed fighting the Lannisters and Freys (Off-screen)
- Lady Crane, throat slit by The Waif
- The Waif, killed and face cut out by Arya Stark (Off-screen)
- 12 of 28 cast members appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Carice Van Houten (Melisandre), Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark), Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane), Michiel Huisman (Daario Naharis), Hannah Murray (Gilly), Jonathan Pryce (High Sparrow), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), and Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- Also;this might be the final appearance of cast member Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'ghar), if his role in the story has ended.
- The title refers to the "identity" the Faceless Men in Braavos take: "No One".
- In the books, Arya is often asked "who are you?" by various people - the kindly man, the Waif and a man she referred to as "plague face" - and she answers consistently "no one". In response, they almost always tell her she lies, implying that she has not given up yet her past identity as Arya Stark, therefore she is not ready to join the Faceless Men. Only after she peforms successfully her first mission, the kindly man accepts her answer "no one" without responding that she lies.
- Dorne does not appear in this episode. The Night's Watch, Bran Stark and his subplot, The Vale, Samwell and Gilly in the Reach, and House Greyjoy also do not appear in this episode. No storylines in the North appear at all, neither Jon and Sansa's new Stark army or Ramsay Bolton at Winterfell. Most of the episode focuses on the converging subplots at the siege of Riverrun.
- Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr return on-screen in this episode, having not been seen since Season 3.
This episode is filled with callbacks to prior events:
- As they eat around the campfire, the Hound says that he would have preferred having chicken. This references the Season 4 premiere "Two Swords" when he sardonically threatened Polliver that he was going to have to "eat every fucking chicken in this room" - implying that he would eat all of the chicken Polliver and his men were having after he killed them. Then he indeed killed them all (with Arya's help), and rode off eating a piece of their chicken.
- When seeing Sandor, Thoros of Myr asks him: "Clegane, the fuck are you doing here?". In season 3, after the Hound was captured by the Brotherhood without Banners, he asked the Red Priest: "Thoros, the fuck are you doing here?".
- Beric's line that "the cold winds are rising in the north" repeats the warning in Jeor Mormont's letter to the Small Council in early Season 2, saying that undead men and worse were stirring beyond the Wall.
- Sandor's comment to the Brotherhood archer that "tougher girls than you have tried to kill me" is a callback to Arya's attempt to stab him with Needle in Season 4, and his later fight with Brienne (in which he nearly died).
- There are a few references to Sandor's trial by combat with Beric Dondarion, in which Beric was killed and subsequently resurrected by Thoros of Myr.
- Tyrion Lannister refers again to the alleged (but possibly fictitious) incident in which he allegedly took a honeycomb and a jackass into a brothel. He started reciting this anecdote back in Season 1's "A Golden Crown" when he was a prisoner at the Eyrie and was shaming Lysa into allowing him to demand a Trial by combat. Lysa thought he was being disgusting so she cut him off before he could explain what exactly he did with these. In this episode he adds the extra line "and the madam [of the brothel] says..." before being cut off again.
- Bronn offers to train Podrick Payne how to fight dirty, which is how you survive in a real fight. He gave similar advice to Jaime when he began training him to fight left-handed at the beginning of Season 4.
- Bronn refers to Podrick as having a "magic" cock, as he apparently impressed three prostitutes he spent time with in Season 3 episode 3 "Walk of Punishment."
- Jaime Lannister quips "the things we do for love" to Edmure - a variation on Jaime's famous quote, "the things I do for love," which he said ruefully right before shoving the young Bran Stark out a tower window, crippling him, in the series premiere, "Winter is Coming."
- Jaime directly points out that he was Catelyn Stark's prisoner, but the roles are reversed now in a sense, as her brother Edmure is now his prisoner. Jaime also recounts that Catelyn hit him in the head with a rock, which occurred soon after he was taken captive, in the Season 1 finale "Fire and Blood."
- Brynden accuses Brienne that she serves House Lannister because she carries a Lannister sword - similarly to what the Hound told her on "The Children".
- Due to the fact that the Siege of Riverrun subplot was pushed back later than it occurred in the books (before Cersei's arrest), it happens before Jon's death and resurrection, and/or Sansa's attempts to rally the North against the Boltons. Thus Sansa never made any effort to contact her Tully relatives at Riverrun again, or ask them for help. That being said, her attempts to contact Brynden now aren't a very drastic change, as she would probably try to at least contact them if they still held Riverrun: in the episode itself, Brynden regretfully points out that Riverrun itself is besieged and he is in no position to send men north to help Sansa against the Boltons.
- It is unclear if Jaime followed through on Brienne's suggestion to let the Tully army retreat back to the north if they would yield Riverrun itself - this is an invention of the TV series due to the subplot being delayed and the North rising again in revolt against the Lannisters, though given that the subplot was delayed, offering the Tullys to retreat back to other rebel-held territories is a logical offer given the context in the TV continuity. At the end of the episode it seems that the entire Tully force simply surrendered to the Lannister/Frey army.
- Due to the way Season 5 was heavily condensed, Brienne of Tarth didn't head north to the Wall in the books looking for Sansa and Arya Stark: instead she continued to wander around the Riverlands searching for Sansa, her progress slowed through that war-torn part of the countryside. The TV series had Brienne spot Sansa on the road out of the Vale, and thus follow her to Winterfell, where she spent the rest of Season 5 largely waiting for Sansa to light a candle in a window as a signal (actress Gwendoline Christie has openly said that after Season 5, fans would walk up to her on the street and complain that she didn't do much in Season 5 other than wait for a candle). Brienne's storyline picked up again at the beginning of Season 6, however, and gave a plausible and unconvoluted reason to send Brienne back to the Riverlands, and thus her subplot from the fourth novel: Sansa simply commands her to head south and try to develop a line of communication with her Tully allies commanded by her great-uncle Brynden.
- Brienne doesn't try to reach Riverrun in the novels, though at the very end of the fifth novel she does cross paths with Jaime Lannister again with his army in the Riverlands.
- Something which might not come across well on-screen is that Jaime is acting when he threatens Edmure Tully, playing up his bad reputation as "the Kingslayer" to intimidate him into believing that he actually would launch his baby over the castle walls with a catapult, even though in his inner POV narration Jaime doesn't really want to kill anyone. Other people aren't aware of the drastic change in his personality and self-reassessment of his honor that Jaime has had since losing his sword-hand, which makes it easier for him to pretend to be the kind of ruthless man his father Tywin actually was.
- In the behind-the-scenes video extras for this episode, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime) confirmed that Jaime is trying to make his threat "sound believable" - Jaime is bluffing, but relying on his infamously bad reputation to convince Edmure that he means what he is threatening to do.
- In the books, Jaime more explicitly threatens Edmure that he will not only kill his baby, but is indeed willing to send hundreds if not thousands of his own men to their deaths to take Riverrun. Brynden pointed out last episode that his hundreds of remaining men would die if they storm the castle, but the Lannisters and Freys would lose thousands taking such a defensively strong castle. In the books, Jaime embellishes his act of intimidating Edmure (which Jaime doesn't actually want to carry out) by saying that he is more than willing to make the assault in waves: sending in the Freys as cannon fodder first, as he considers them expendable, then sending in the Lannister army once the Tullys are tired and out of arrows and boiling oil. That Jaime has outlined such a plausible plan for attack which will at least minimize his own Lannister losses helps convince Edmure that he actually means what he is saying.
- Jaime teaches the Freys (physically) a lesson about the ineffectiveness of unrealized threats, however, so he isn't one to make entirely empty threats. In the books, his inner POV narration seems to indicate that he was bluffing about killing Edmure's baby (the death of Elia Martell and her children disgusted Jaime), but he isn't necessarily bluffing about attacking the castle by force if it won't yield peacefully. In his mental narration Jaime truly hoped there wouldn't be an attack but resolved that if it came to that, he would actually be the first man on the battlements, knowing well he'd probably be the first to get killed, as a self-punishment for breaking his oath to Catelyn.
- In the books, Edmure Tully indeed did manage to impregnate his new wife Roslin Frey on their wedding night. Edmure and Roslin were led away from the wedding feast in the bedding ceremony, then several hours passed as they were in the wedding chambers having sex while the feast continued, but before the massacre. When the massacre at the Red Wedding began, Frey guards burst in and captured Edmure alive, because he is a valuable hostage.
- Time is moving more slowly in the TV series, and the Riverrun subplot was delayed to Season 6 (in the books it happened before Cersei's arrest). Thus in the novels, less than 9 months pass between the Red Wedding and the siege of Riverrun, and Roslin hasn't given birth to Edmure's child yet. As a result, Jaime says he will launch it over the walls when it is born, and they aren't sure if it will be a boy yet. Because the child hasn't been born yet, he is as-yet unnamed in the books.
- In the novels, Jaime said he would launch Edmure's baby over the castle walls with a trebuchet, which is bigger than a catapult. In this episode he just says he'd use a "catapult" - the line was probably changed so the audience would readily understand in that instant what he was threatening (some people aren't familiar with the term "trebuchet"). In the preceding episode, Jaime and Bronn did say that they had both catapults and trebuchets.
- Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully doesn't die in the novels. Instead, shortly before Edmure surrendered the castle, he helped Brynden to sneak out of the castle by swimming through the underwater portcullis and escaping downriver. Jaime is annoyed at his escape but doesn't punish Edmure for it. Brynden has not reappeared since. Curiously, the TV episode doesn't actually show Brynden dying, but has him imply to Brienne that he intends to fight his own Tully men that Edmure sent to capture him, after which a Lannister soldier simply reports to Jaime that Brynden is dead. It's possible that the Tullys faked his death by passing off another corpse as his, to prevent the Lannisters and Freys from trying to hunt for him (they won't look for him if he's dead). This may be another case of the TV series hedging its bets as it has in the past by leaving a situation deliberately ambiguous: they don't know if Brynden will return in a later episode but if he does, they have an option to say that he just faked his own death. Nonetheless, Game of Thrones Wiki will list him as dead until proven otherwise.
- The Freys have become so notorious for their treachery and violation of Guest right that even their allies treat them scornfully, although that treachery helped them bring the Starks down: Jaime and Bronn humiliate the Frey officers in public, verbally and physically. In the books, it is equally evident: Daven Lannister says aloud he wishes the present Freys (Emmon, Ryman, Edwyn, and Walder Rivers) will get killed, and Jaime tells them they are much worse than the Riverlords who were forced to bend their knees. Jaime is enraged to notice that Ryman has given Robb's crown to a whore, as one more humiliation for the Starks, even after Robb died.
- Jaime tells Brienne "You fulfilled your oath to Catelyn Stark against all odds." In the books she did not, since she's been looking for Sansa in the wrong place, and never encountered her or Arya. Jaime also has not fulfilled that part of his oath, because he and Brienne returned too late to King's Landing, after Sansa escaped.
- Jaime, however, managed to fulfill the first part of his oath which is not mentioned in the show - not to take up arms against Starks or Tullys. He did his best to prevent bloodshed, no matter how much Brynden taunted him, and succeeded: in the novel, not even one of the besieged was harmed (including Brynden), and neither were the besiegers.
- It was unclear in the last episode why members of the Brotherhood Without Banners would slaughter the villagers that Sandor Clegane was staying with, given their previous efforts to defend the commoners, and the Freys this season even saying that the Brotherhood was rallying the commoners against them. This episode explains that it was just seven rogue members of the Brotherhood led by Lem Lemoncloak who did this without permission, and when the leadership of the Brotherhood found out what they did they hanged Lem and his surviving men. Therefore, the Brotherhood Without Banners as an official organization actually hasn't been drastically changed from the novels (as seemed possible after last episode).
- Although there was an archer with the Brotherhood in this episode, it was not Anguy, the companion of Thoros in Season 3, who was played by Philip McGinley. It is most likely this is due to the unavailability of the actor, although it is very possible that over the years Anguy may have been one of the casualties of conflict. It's possible that Anguy is still alive, just "off screen" with other elements of the Brotherhood.
- In the books, Rorge stole the Hound's custom helmet, shaped like a snarling dog's head, after it was believed that he was dead. Rorge turned bandit, until he and his men were killed by the Brotherhood and Brienne in the Riverlands - after which Lem Lemoncloak took the Hound's helmet from Rorge. In this episode, the Hound starts stealing Lem's boots off his legs while he's still squirming at the end of a noose, perhaps a nod to Lem stealing the Hound's helmet in the books.
- Tommen says that Cersei and Loras's trials will begin "on the first day of the festival of the Mother" - referring to The Mother, one of the seven aspects of the godhead in the Faith of the Seven. In the books, no such holiday has specifically been introduced yet, but it is somewhat established that there are various holidays throughout the year devoted to all seven aspects of the Seven, i.e., the "Maiden's Day" is a major holiday devoted to The Maiden. There is a "Feast of the Father" day - presumably there are feast days for the other six aspects of the Seven.
- It is mentioned that the ecclesiastical trials of the Faith of the Seven traditionally include seven septons. As Tommen said, the Faith lost the right to hold ecclesiastical trials under the Targaryens but this is one of the powers they regained when Cersei recreated the Faith Militant.
- Qyburn tells Cersei that an "old rumor" he had the Little birds investigating turned out to be true. Cersei is also now desperate that the High Sparrow is aware enough not to let her demand a Trial by combat. Bran Stark's flood of visions two episodes ago in "Blood of My Blood" included a brief shot of an entire underground stockpile of Wildfire exploding - which has actually not happened yet. In Season 3's "Kissed by Fire," Jaime mentioned that the Mad King hid stashes of wildfire all over King's Landing, including under the Great Sept of Baelor and the Red Keep itself. In this episode, Jaime also remarks that Catelyn and Cersei were the kind of mothers who would "burn cities to ashes" if anyone hurt their children. It's possible that this was all a lot of foreshadowing that Cersei found the wildfire cache still under the Great Sept and is going to try to detonate it.
- In the books, the wildfire caches hidden under the Great Sept and elsewhere were actually recovered by the Alchemists' Guild and used in the Battle of the Blackwater - it is how they were able to provide so much at such short notice. Cersei does commission the Alchemists to continue making more wildfire, and in a fit of pique and petty revenge she burns down the entire Tower of the Hand using wildfire, as a slight against Tyrion's memory after he flees to the Free Cities. Therefore, while in the books the old cache of wildfire from under the Great Sept was collected, Cersei has been producing new wildfire reserves which she may try to use as some kind of trump card.
- The TV adaptation has somewhat rearranged the order of events occurring at the Second Siege of Meereen compared to the books:
- Barristan Selmy didn't die fighting the Sons of the Harpy in Meereen, but continues to rule the city in Daenerys's name after she disappears on her dragon.
- Tyrion Lannister arrives at Meereen but hasn't met Daenerys yet: he is with one of the sellsword companies hired by Yunkai that are camped outside the city, though he intends to lead the sellswords to defect to Daenerys's side in the middle of the coming battle.
- Apparently due to economy of characters, the TV version had Barristan die fighting the Sons of the Harpy and had Tyrion arrive earlier, allowing Tyrion to take Barristan's place ruling the city in Daenerys's absence. That being said, it is unknown if Barristan will survive the upcoming battle, so condensing events so that he dies earlier might not be a very drastic change.
- In both versions, a truce is reached between Meereen and the slave-masters for a time, but it is eventually broken. In the TV version, even Tyrion didn't seem to think his agreement to phase out slavery after seven years would necessarily work, he was more focused on stalling for time to keep the slave-masters at bay until Daenerys returned; meanwhile, the slave-masters were also stalling, until they could bring their main armies to bear on Meereen. In the books, there was no seven-year plan, and the truce was always tentative.
- In the books, the slaver alliance is led by Yunkai, along with whatever is left of the slave-masters who fled Astapor, a large fleet sent by Volantis, and also fleets and soldiers from Qarth (as well as smaller local cities Tolos and Elyria). In the TV version Qarth and the other cities aren't mentioned, and the slaver alliance consists of Yunkai, Astapor, and Volantis.
- Tyrion suggests the Unsullied try to repulse the slaver army when they are vulnerable landing on shore, but Grey Worm dismisses this and insists they fall back to the city and Great Pyramid and hold off the slaver armies from a position of defensive strength. This somewhat matches the situation from the novels: Meereen is so badly outnumbered by the slaver-alliance that they have no hope of successfully repulsing their landing - in fact, the city was already surrounded by both land and sea. Thus the Unsullied fell back to within the safety of the city walls.
- The actual battle begins in multiple preview chapters from the upcoming sixth novel, The Winds of Winter: It is a large battle which will span multiple chapters. Daenerys Targaryen hasn't returned to the city yet when the battle begins in the novels - though even in the TV version it began off-screen, before Daenerys returns. The books seem to imply that Daenerys may return on her dragon at a crucial point in the middle of the battle.
- Varys criticizes Tyrion Lannister for making "a deal with fanatics," asking the Red Priestesses of the Lord of Light religion to win back the masses of Meereen by preaching that Daenerys Targaryen is the Lord's Chosen. This seems to parallel how Tyrion's sister Cersei Lannister herself made "a deal with fanatics" when she recreated the Faith Militant, but that proved to have severe negative consequences for her.
- Varys is going back to Westeros to negotiate with potential allies for if/when Daenerys returns and then moves to retake the Iron Throne. In the books, Varys fled King's Landing when Tyrion did, but his exact whereabouts afterwards were unknown (he never traveled to Meereen). Varys does later reappear in Westeros, however, leading to the question of whether he went to Pentos and then returned, or if he was hiding out under false identities in Westeros the entire time.
- It is somewhat implied that Varys is taking this opportunity to leave because, as he said before, he is uncomfortable around magic-users such as the Red Priests.
- The most obvious potential allies Varys could be seeking to convince are the new rulers of Dorne and the Iron Islands. The only others in any position to offer aid (and not need aid like the Starks and Tullys) are the Reach and the Vale - but Varys's rival Littlefinger controls the Vale. Tyrion earlier said that it might be possible to convince House Tyrell to switch sides if they have finally had enough of the Lannisters, despite their claim to the throne through Margaery's marriage to Tommen. Due to keeping their men out of the war until now, the Vale and Dorne still have fully intact armies, and the Tyrells nearly so, while the Lannisters lost a large amount of men to attrition fighting Robb Stark and are financially bankrupt from wartime spending. It is unclear if Varys knows that Yara Greyjoy is already leading the Iron Fleet to Meereen.
- The TV show drastically changed the Dorne subplot, then abandoned it at the beginning of Season 6. In the books, Doran Martell reveals that he was only feigning a desire for peace, and has in fact been a secret Targaryen loyalist the entire time. He even sends envoys to Meereen openly promising Daenerys that she doesn't even need to capture a landing site for her army: the minute her army lands in Dorne, House Martell will openly declare for her and join their strength to hers. The TV version condensed and then abandoned so much of this it isn't clear how Dorne will be incorporated into future events (see "Ellaria Sand's coup in Dorne").
- Jacob Anderson has said that he worked out with the writers a slow build for Grey Worm's humanity, gradually stepping him away from being a mindlessly robotic slave-soldier with no sense of self. In Season 5's "Sons of the Harpy," a lot of focus was given on Grey Worm actually grimacing when he was badly wounded in a fight - as he later explained to Missandei, this wasn't due to pain but out of fear: he used to be a fearless robotic soldier who cared so little for his own life that he would fall on his sword without question if his slave-master ordered him to, but now he has things he actually cares about, and he feared never seeing Missandei again. The long scene of Tyrion trying to encourage Grey Worm and Missandei to make jokes finally culminates in Grey Worm actually making a joke: "That's the worst joke I've ever heard" "What? You just said you don't even know what jokes are" "I know, that was a joke." Missandei laughs at this and Grey Worm even cracks a smile: gaining a sense of humor is another significant step in reclaiming his humanity.
- In the Inside the Episode featurette for this episode, Benioff and Weiss state that Jaqen sending the Waif to kill Arya was sort of a test for both of them, and they explicitly say that Jaqen hoped the whole time that Arya would actually defeat her, because he sees great potential in Arya. This explains his reaction of pleasant surprise when she returns with the Waif's face cut off.
- The preceding episode included several elements which seemed to hint that when "Arya Stark" was in the marketplace buying passage on a ship to Westeros, it was actually a Faceless Man pretending to be her: Arya is left-handed but she handled the money bags with her right hand, three separate times. She was also using Jaqen's mannerisms, smirking by cocking her head like he does and walking with her hands behind her back. This episode confirms that this actually was Arya Stark the whole time.
- It is possible that the TV show had Maisie Williams (Arya) imitating Jaqen's mannerisms on purpose, as a red herring for viewers analyzing the scene. Another possibility is that it was just a plot idea which the producers realized wasn't working out well halfway during filming, so they simply abandoned it, but retained the already shot footage because the hints were subtle enough that they could be glossed over.
- In a post-episode interview the director was specifically asked if they intended this as misdirection, but he awkwardly denied that it was ever meant as misdirection, or that they ever intended anything than the final version. He may have been lying on the second point, but at the least, if it truly was misdirection he would simply have admitted it.
- It is possible that the TV show had Maisie Williams (Arya) imitating Jaqen's mannerisms on purpose, as a red herring for viewers analyzing the scene. Another possibility is that it was just a plot idea which the producers realized wasn't working out well halfway during filming, so they simply abandoned it, but retained the already shot footage because the hints were subtle enough that they could be glossed over.
- Arya was badly stabbed last episode, and her encounter with Lady Crane at the beginning of this episode happens immediately after that: it seems surprising that Arya is able to run around throughout the city and fight afterwards, albeit by the end of the chase Arya had moved around too much and opened up the stitches on her wounds. That being said, it is somewhat implied that many days passed by off-screen while Arya was convalescing at Lady Crane's lodgings, knocked out with Milk of the Poppy. After the preceding episode, writer Bryan Cogman did stress that sometimes days or weeks pass by off-screen between scenes of the TV show. Visually it is still somewhat implied that Arya only spent one night at Lady Crane's home - it would have been helpful if the script included a line outright stating that some days have passed since she was stabbed.
- The other possibility is that, again, they originally intended the person who was severely stabbed to actually be Jaqen wearing an Arya disguise, but the idea was later abandoned.
- Maisie Williams revealed in a post-episode interview that the chase was originally going to be even more elaborate, with acrobatic dives and rolls which she suspected were added to make it more "cinematic". Williams was baffled at how Arya could possibly perform such elaborate moves while still recovering from multiple stab wounds so she argued with the stunt coordinators and director to ultimately tone down the moves from what they originally intended, adding in a few more moments of Arya staggering to show that she's exerting herself and in terrible pain, etc.
- It is unclear why the Waif didn't simply kill Arya while she was unconscious. Perhaps the Waif wanted Arya to suffer pain, or to be aware who is her murderer.
- This raises the question of how a burning candle was still in the building where Arya was hiding Needle. Or it's possible that she lit the candle on her way in just now, despite her injuries, fully intending to put out the flame after she'd lured the Waif close enough - though Arya is presented as badly injured and no hint is given that she was pretending to be more severely hurt than she actually was.
- The significance of Arya extinguishing her candle with the sword would appear to be her advantage fighting in darkness, following her combat training whilst she was blind. This strongly suggests the Waif must not have had the same training, as she is clearly a better fighter than Arya and unencumbered by any injuries. In turn this implies that Arya's blinding was a punishment specific to her and not part of "regular" Faceless Man training. The point is further underscored by the Waif's face having bloodied eyes when shown in the Hall of Faces.
- Arya accurately says that the Waif "doesn't have a name". In the books, "the Waif" is just a descriptive term that Arya uses for her in her internal POV narration, no one ever actually calls her that in dialogue. Similarly, the TV show does credit the character as "the Waif" and refers to her by this term in the HBO Viewer's Guide, but no one actually calls her that in dialogue.
- The Waif tells Arya that a name has been promised to the Many-Faced God, and "no-one can change that." After killing the Waif, Jaqen tells Arya she has finally become No-one, which validates the Waif's statement.
- The stage play in Braavos loosely based on the War of the Five Kings, titled The Bloody Hand, reappears briefly again in this episode. It now includes the rewrites that Arya suggested to Lady Crane last time: Arya pointed out that losing family members you love makes you angry, so she should play "Cersei" as angry. Lady Crane suggested this to Izembaro, but at the time he was insulted that one of his actresses would question his script. Apparently, Arya's idea that she gave Lady Crane was so good that Izembaro ultimately relented and outright rewrote the dialogue from the scene - and the audience was utterly impressed by the revised version.
- Although Izembaro and Bobono do not appear on screen in this episode, actors Richard E. Grant and Leigh Gill are credited. Their voices can be heard as Lady Crane heads backstage, acting out the next scene in the play, when Tyrion shoots Tywin on the privy.
- The musicians at the stage play are actually heard playing The Rains of Castamere as Lady Crane exits, after Tyrion has poisoned Joffrey and is about to kill Tywin.
- Lady Crane mentions that their acting troupe is going to travel to Pentos soon: in the books, some acting troupes indeed don't stay in one place but travel around between the Free Cities seeking new venues. Varys said that he was part of an acting troupe as a child when he was a slave: he was born in Lys but traveled all around the Free Cities, until one day they were in Myr where his owner sold him to a sorcerer who castrated him.
- Arya accurately points out that no one knows what is west of Westeros: it is at the western end of the known world. The Sunset Sea is on the western side of Westeros, but no one has ever managed to cross it. The Iron Islands are just off the western shore of Westeros in the Sunset Sea, but even the Ironborn - a race of great mariners - have never discovered what may lie west of it. Ships that travel west just find an endless ocean and have never seen any hint of land.
- Arya points out the wordplay that Westeros is at the "west" end of the known world, and Essos is "east." The novels never directly specified that this is how the continents got their names, though it seems obvious. Tyrion previously pointed out that "Westeros is west" when traveling east with Jorah in Season 5.
- Incidentally, the third continent, Sothoryos, is indeed "south." There is no named northern continent, only polar ice. Essos is loosely analogous to real life Eurasia, and Westeros is loosely analogous to the British Isles - super-sized into a continent the size of South America, according to George R.R. Martin. Sothoryos meanwhile is a fantasy analogue to Africa (in the episode, it is said that Missandei is from Naath, a large island off the north coast of Sothoryos).
- The World of Ice and Fire sourcebook (2014) states that the maesters and other scholars of the world have determined with reasonable certainty that their world is a round globe in shape - from studying the motion of the stars and other experiments. That is, it isn't a flat disc like in some other Fantasy series such as Terry Pratchett's Discworld, nor is it banana shaped. The sourcebook also states that they realize that theoretically, a ship that travels directly west from Westeros should eventually come around the sphere of the world to the eastern end of Essos (in Yi Ti, their fantasy analogue of China, which few men from Westeros have visited). Their planet is apparently much bigger than real life Earth, however, so no one has ever successfully made a voyage across such vast distances. It is also explicitly unknown if there are other continents in between: Martin directly stated that he isn't sure if their world even has analogues of the Americas and Australia, nor will we ever know.
A major point was revealed about the Timeline in this episode: Edmure Tully directly states in dialogue that he has been kept in a cell "for years" - which must mean at least two years have passed since the Red Wedding at the end of Season 3.
- The rate at which time has been passing in the TV series from one season to the next has been unclear, given how events from the novels were being rearranged. Dialogue in Season 2 stated that one year had passed since Season 1, and Season 3 was stated to take place two years afer Season 1: this seemed to imply a principle that one TV season equals one year of story time, which would keep up with the rate that the child actors are aging, but it was never confirmed as a firm principle.
- After the end of Season 3 and the Red Wedding, few direct statements about the passage of time were made - indeed, some events such as Tyrion's imprisonment in King's Landing had to be dragged out for some months to match this, though other events happen much more quickly than in the books (due to moving around the order they occur in).
- The only firmly dateable point in the timeline after Season 3 is that Walda Bolton had a full term pregnancy: Roose Bolton said he was going to marry her at the Red Wedding, she was introduced in Season 4, in mid-Season 5 she announced she was pregnant, and then in early Season 6 she gave birth. It is unclear exactly when she conceived - she could have announced her pregnancy 1 month after conception or 3 months after, it is unknown - but the point stands that around 9 months to roughly 1 year must have passed between Season 4 and Season 6.
- Thus according to the one TV season equals one year principle, 3 years would have passed between Seasons 3 and 6, but at a bare minimum, at least 1 year must have passed.
- Edmure's statement in this episode now establishes that at least 2 years indeed passed between Seasons 3 and 6, possibly as many as 3 years, narrowing down the timeline.
- Curiously, the actor who plays Edmure, Tobias Menzies, said in an interview for the preceding episode that he actually wasn't sure how much time had passed in his confinement, and said it could have been anything from three years to as little as one year for all he knew - apparently he just forgot that the exact line he gave referred to multiple "years."
In the books
- The episode is adapted from the following chapter of A Storm of Swords:
- Epilogue: The Brotherhood without Banners hangs someone despite his pleas for mercy.
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Feast for Crows:
- Chapter 34, Cat of the Canals: A murderer takes the boots of the victim.
- Chapter 38, Jaime VI: Jaime tells Edmure his terms for yielding Riverrun.
- Chapter 42, Brienne VIII: Someone accuses Brienne that she serves the Lannisters because she carries a Lannister sword.
- Chapter 44, Jaime VII: Edmure surrenders Riverrun, and the Lannisters and Freys win their battle and take over the castle without bloodshed. The Blackfish avoids being made a hostage of the Iron Throne.
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Dance with Dragons:
- Chapter 23, Daenerys IV: A naval blokade is established around Meereen.
- Chapter 27, Tyrion VII: A Red Priest preaches about Daenerys.
- Chapter 48, Jaime I: Brienne and Jaime reunite at the Riverlands.
- Chapter 70, The Queen's Hand: The ruling council of Meereen discusses the situation. The besiegers use trebuchets against the city.
- The remaining material appears to be based on what will come in the sixth novel, The Winds of Winter, particularly the storylines of Arya.
Arya Stark: "A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and I'm going home."
Lancel: "Order your man to step aside or there will be violence."
Cersei: "I choose violence."
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