This episode was the calm before the storm we’re all anxiously waiting for. While the promo for episode 9 focuses, as the episode’s announced title suggests, on the battle between the two bastards, Jon and Ramsay, we’re left wondering who will win this mighty battle. What’s more, what other surprises await us in this season’s final episodes?
BRACE YOURSELVES, SPOILERS ARE COMING! From here on out, you’ll find both spoilers from episode 8 and speculations / fan theories about episode 9 and the season finale.
First, let’s recap what this calm before the storm was all about. The episode opens in Braavos with Lady Crane delivering a tearful performance at the street theater, as per Arya’s suggestion. Arya herself makes an appearance shortly after, severely wounded. Thankfully, acting is not the only thing Lady Crane is great act, she also has remarkable nursing skills and attends to Arya’s wound immediately.
In King’s Landing, Cersei is being summoned by the High Septon but she refuses to leave the Red Keep. When her cousin Lancel, leading a group of men from the Faith Militant insist, Cersei orders The Mountain to take care of it. “I choose violence”, she says, and that’s exactly what they get.
It would appear that she’s won that round, but then in the throne she is not allowed to take her place next to her son and she is sent to the gallery. As she watches, King Tommen announces that trial by combat is now banned throughout the Seven Kingdoms. That means, naturally, that The Mountain cannot defend Cersei in her upcoming trial. Sir Loras faces a difficult future as well.
In Riverrun, we see Brianne and Pod arriving at the Lannister camp and being brought to Jamie. A much expected reunion ensues. The two are being rather frustratingly formal at first. Brianne’s plan is to take Blackfish and his forces to help Sansa and she convinces Jaime to let her try.
Towards the end of the scene, we get the moment of tenderness we were all waiting for. Brianne tries to return Oathkeeper (the sword Jaime gave her) back to him, saying that it has served its purpose. He refuses, saying “No, it’s yours. It will always be yours.”
Brianne’s plan fails, so Jaime tries something else. He has a most interesting chat with Edmure, in which he tries to get him to order the castle guards to open the gates, so a long siege can be avoided. Their conversation is quite long, layered and intense. Quite frankly, it is the scene that stands out the most from the entire episode.
Edmure accuses Jaime of being an evil man and asks him how he lives with himself. Ultimately, Jaime’s reasons are explained bluntly: “I love Cersei, she needs me, and to get back to her I have to take Riverrun. And if I have to slaughter every Tully who ever lived to get back to her, that’s what I’ll do.” Edmure is thus compelled to do what Jaime says.
In Riverlands, there’s the Hound that successfully tracks down three of the murderers that slaughtered Brother Ray in last week’s episode and runs into Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, from the Brotherhood Without Banners.
Back in Meereen, we find Varys leaving on a secret mission and later Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm having a fun time (for a change) over some wine. But the mood is ruined soon after, as the slavers begin attacking the city. Daenerys shows up, looking quite pissed and leaving us wondering if she can do what it takes to save the city once again.
The episode comes full circle, as we go back to Braavos, where Waif finds and kills Lady Crane and then continues to chase Arya throughout the city. Though severely wounded, Arya finds her way back to Needle and ultimately slays Waif.
She returns victoriously to the House of Black and White, where Jaqen doesn’t seem angry about her killing his other disciple. If anything, he looks proud. The episode ends with the epic conversation between the two: “Finally, a girl is no one”, says Jaqen, to which Arya responds “A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell — and I’m going home.”
Well, we sure hope she makes it home. It’s common knowledge that nobody is ever safe in Game of Thrones. So many main characters lost throughout the seasons. Or are they? Fan theories (most of them very well founded, based on solid arguments from the books) are suggesting that a particular character, presumed dead for several seasons now, may be making an appearance, or a comeback (depends how you want to look at it).
We’re talking about Lady Stoneheart, or the zombie-like version of Catelyn Stark from the books. There, she is resurrected by Lord Beric Dondarrion, who loses his life in the process, and assumes command of his Brotherhood Without Banners. The Brotherhood is corrupted by her lust for revenge.
Kaitlyn Tiffany, a GoT fan writing for The Verge, thinks that the fact that the Brotherhood, who hadn’t made an appearance since season 2, are now brought back to the foreground, means something. Moreover, there’s been some talking about the Red Wedding lately and Walder Frey, the orchestrator of the Red Wedding, is back. Tiffany also argues that this season might be considered the year of the Starks, with all of them fighting to take back their home, and home wouldn’t be complete without their mother, would it?
Finally, in the season finale’s synopsis, is it mentioned that Brianne will meet a friend turned foe. It’s highly unlikely that friend is Jaime, which leaves Catelyn Stark, to whom she had pledged her allegiance many seasons ago. But times have changed, she is still faithful to the Starks but also has feelings for Jaime Lannister and more importantly, she has his sword, Oathkeeper. I think that would be enough to anger an already revenge-driven Lady Stark, don’t you?