Well, this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “No One,” offered some great character moments, but has most likely smashed my favorite book reader theory to smithereens. If you’re not caught up, then watch out! Spoilers are coming!

*I will also be briefly discussing some book spoilers at the very end when talking about The Hound and The Brotherhood without Banners.

Bravvos

I was very excited to see the acting troupe again, and we join them as Lady Crane delivers her amazing monologue over “Joffrey’s” body, incorporating Arya’s notes! As she goes backstage to have a drink, she reveals a bleeding Arya hiding in the dressing room. Apparently Arya ran to her for help after all; Lady Crane does owe Arya her life. As she tends to Arya’s stomach, she gives Arya her life story. It turns out she has a history of fighting with her boyfriends and then patching them up afterward. She also shares that she has apparently slashed the jealous actress Bianca’s face! Lady Crane is someone you do NOT want to be on the wrong side of.

Since the part of Sansa in the play is now open, she offers it to Arya. For a moment, I was really excited to see Arya traveling around with the acting troupe, but Arya turns her down and says that she wants to go exploring off the map instead. After drinking some milk of the poppy, Arya falls into a nervous, drugged sleep.

I was on edge every time Lady Crane was on screen. I was half expecting her to end up being The Waif! Although Lady Crane was just herself, The Waif did show up. Arya wakes as The Waif kills the actress, and flees by jumping out a window. After a pretty cool chase scene through the streets of Bravvos, Arya leads the Waif back of her hideout and grabs needle. As she is backed into a corner, she cuts the only candle lighting the room and the screen turns black.

image source HBO.com

image source HBO.com

In the House of Black and White, Jaqen H’ghar follows a trail of blood leading to a face on the wall. Arya has somehow defeated the Waif, gouged her eyes out, and hung her face in the hall. As Arya confronts her old friend, he tells her that “a girl is ready to be no one”. However, Arya informs him that she is a Stark and is going home. As she walks away, Jaqen looks after her with what I interpreted to be pride.

I am a little confused about Arya’s arc this season, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me for her to be swaggering through the streets one day, cowering in fear the next, immediately getting over a gut wound, and then overcoming all of her troubles instantly. However, I am very glad that she is headed back to Westeros.

Meereen

In Meereen, is appears that the peace Tyrion had brokered with The Masters has held, as has the agreement with the red priestess. Many red priestesses are busy throughout the city spreading the word that Dany is the savior that was promised, and it seems like the people are listening and believing. We join Tyrion as he walks with Varys to the docks. Varys is going on a trip to someone with ships, which is interesting because a lot of those people (the Ironborn) are actually already headed towards Meereen.

image source: sbnation.com

image source: sbnation.com

Back at the pyramid, Tyrion attempts once again to bond with Grey Worm and Missandei. After bullying them into trying some wine, he shares that he wants his own vineyard and then starts telling jokes. Tyrion has not quite yet figured out that many jokes require a shared experience to find funny, and they go over badly. However, it only takes all of three sips for Missandei to get tipsy, and she takes a stab at telling a joke too. Poor Missandei isn’t very good at telling jokes either, but the three share a brief moment of adorableness before being interrupted by bells alerting the city that they are under attack.

Outside the city is a fleet of ships; The Masters have come to take back their property and promptly begin throwing fire at the walls of Meereen.

Tyrion at least knows that he messed up, and as he argues with Grey Worm about military strategy something big lands on the roof. After a few tense moments, Dany enters the room looking very displeased. I think it is a pretty safe bet that the next time we see Meereen, there will be some dragon fire.

Kings Landing

In Kings Landing, Qyburn arrives in Cersei’s rooms to let her know that the faith militant are on their way to see her. Led by Lancel, the fanatics inform Cersei that the High Septon is summoning her to the great sept. Lancel pleads with Cersei to go peacefully, but she instead delivers the line that we have been seeing in previews all season; “I choose violence”. The Mountain steps up, one of the faith militant charges forwards, and in a few moments, The Mountain rips off his head. The rest wisely retreat.

image source HBO.com

image source HBO.com

The next time we see Cersei, she is entering the throne room with Qyburn and Mountain in tow to hear a royal announcement. Cersei can no longer stand behind her son as she has in the past, and instead is regulated to stand in the gallery with the other ladies of the court. As she seethes in the gallery, Tommen stands. After a nonsense introduction about the Faith and the crown holding up the realm together, he announces that Lores and Cersei’s trial will he held soon and that trail by combats will be forbidden in the kingdom from that point on. Cersei is screwed. As Tommen leaves the thrown room, it is clear that he is extremely uncomfortable with betraying his mother in that way.

As Cersei watches her son leave, Qyburn sidles up to tell her that “the thing” she told him to look into is true. This was frustratingly vague, but my theory? I’m pretty darn sure they are talking about Wildfire.

Riverrun

Brienne and Pod arrive, and Brienne in particular seems very distressed about the siege. As she talks with Jamie, Bronn grabs Pod and starts to tease him. I had completely forgotten that they were both in Tyrion’s employment for a long time, and seeing them interact with each other was a treat. After briefly catching up, Bronn declares that he is completely unimpressed with Pod’s new training schedule and starts to teach him how to fight dirty like a sell sword.

image source HBO.com

image source HBO.com

Meanwhile in Jamie’s tent, he and Brienne are having a very serious conversation. The two are understandably at odds over Sansa Stark, and seeing Brienne defend her was awesome. “I don’t think you know many girls like her” was officially my favorite line from the episode. Brienne proposes her plan; to convince the Blackfish to give up the castle in exchange for Jamie allowing the Tully troops to safely march North to help defeat the Boltons. Jamie gives his word that she has until nightfall to attempt her plan, and Brienne attempts to give him back his Valyrian steel sword. According to her, he gave it to her to find Sansa and as she has done so, it has achieved its purpose. Jamie informs Brienne that the sword is hers to keep, and they part knowing that they will most likely be fighting against each other very soon.

Once inside the castle, Brienne finds herself arguing fiercely with The Blackfish, who is refusing to leave his home. While she makes a darn good argument for going to Sansa’s aid, and The Blackfish declares her to be just like her mother, he says that he is sorry but he will not stop defending his home.

While Brienne is arguing inside, Jamie goes to speak with Edmure Tully. Emdure is completely over trying to play nice and throws every verbal barb he can towards the Kingslayer. The two also start talking Catelyn Stark. Jamie admits that he admired her and compares her to Cersei. I didn’t like this conversation because I don’t like Cersei’s influence over Jamie, but it was very interesting to hear him say “The things we do for love” as that was almost exactly what he said right before he pushed Bran out of the window back in season one.

After night falls, Edmure approaches the gate to the castle. When The Blackfish orders the soldiers to ignore Edmure, they turn on him and open the gates. After entering the castle, Edmure immediately orders everyone to surrender and hand The Blackfish over to the Frey’s. And the Lannisters and Freys ride in, The Blackfish leads Brienne and Pod to an escape boat. He stays behind and dies fighting while Brienne and Pod row away.

As Jamie stands on the battlements, he sees his friends escaping and offers Brienne a sad, awkward little wave. She waves in return, and my heart broke a little bit as the two friends parted ways.

The River Lands

Let’s end this recap with The Hound. After all of his new friends were brutally murdered last week, The Hound quickly catches up to those responsible, taking out four of the bandits as they tell dirty jokes around the fire. As he continues his rampage, he finds the three that spoke to Brother Ray strung up by Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion. You may remember that a few seasons back The Hound fought Beric, killed him, and then watched as Thoros brought him back to life.

image source HBO.com

image source HBO.com

After the three attackers are executed (which I will fully admit to skipping through because it was incredibly graphic and I cannot handle that at the moment) Thoros and Beric attempt to recruit Clegane.

This is where the book spoilers I mentioned up front will come into play because this is where I thought Lady Stoneheart would show up. However, since she didn’t show and Berric is still alive and leading the Brotherhood, I doubt that she will. I’m pretty disappointed, this is something that I was really enjoyed in the books and was looking forward to see it come to life on the show.

That said, the Brotherhood puts forward a pretty convincing argument towards the Hound to join them. They say that The Hound cannot simply stop fighting, but he can still help more than he has harmed. Next week it is likely that he will be roaming through the Riverlands with the Brotherhood.

Who is excited for Episode 9 and The Battle of The Bastards?