When we saw Arya retrieving needle last week, we knew that things were about to get stabby in Braavos — we just didn’t guess that Arya would be the victim.
Or, was she?
There’s a fan theory out there (which I first encountered on Reddit) which maintains that the person who got stabbed in the belly during episode 7 wasn’t really Arya at all. Or if it was, she’s not really hurt, having constructed an elaborate trap to defeat The Waif. Consider the evidence:
After having defied Jaqen H’ghar by deliberately failing in her mission to poison the mummer Lady Crane (overacting is a crime in Braavos, apparently), Arya liberates her sword from a hiding place beneath some rocks and immediately goes into hiding, blowing out a lone candle in a dark room awaiting what she figures will be swift and stealthy retribution from either The Waif, Jaqen H’ghar, or both. Remember, they can assume other faces and identities, so lay low, Arya!
But sometime between episodes 6 and 7, Arya changes into Beyonce. One morning she gets up, changes her hairstyle, somehow acquires nicer clothes, and begins strutting through the streets like she owns the city. She’s walking around Braavos like a rich person, hands behind her back (she’s never done that before), without needle, until she overhears some merchants who are about to head back to Westeros.
So Arya suddenly produces not one, but two enormous pouches of coins (subtle), demanding passage at daybreak. She might as well have announced her plans in the Braavos Times-Herald.
A bit later she poses conspicuously on a bridge in the middle of town, and is approached by an old lady, whom she gladly allows to get within knifing distance. No surprise, it’s really The Waif, who gives her the Jon Snow treatment right in the gut. Arya head-butts The Waif and leaps into the canal, making her escape by staying submerged (as you do). But now she’s bleeding and wandering the streets in obvious distress, again in plain sight. So, anyone following me, here’s a trail of blood for you.
Any of this sound suspicious? I’m not buying it. And neither is Reddit reader SDDavis18.
So if it isn’t really Arya, who is it? The explanation that makes the most sense is that it’s Jaqen H’ghar hizownself. He’s know to have a soft spot for Arya, and remember his last instruction to The Waif? “Don’t let her suffer.” The Waif completely ignored that and tried to kill Arya in the most painful way possible. She could have slit Arya’s throat, the quick and easy thing to do. But no. So perhaps this was all a test for The Waif, and not Arya at all. Was The Waif becoming too sadistic for the House of Black and White?
Also, consider this: in Season 2, when Arya saved Jaqen H’ghar’s life, H’ghar promised to kill three people in return, to replace the three lives denied the Many-Faced God. He ended up killing two of those people for Arya in the episode The Ghost of Harrenhal. But Arya’s third choice to die was Jaqen H’ghar himself — a selection Arya parlayed into an escape from Harrenhal.
So techincally, the Many-Faced God never got his third life. Has that debt now become due? Was Jaqen H’ghar compelled to finally fulfill the last death request on Arya’s list, by sacrificing himself? Because he was the one whom Arya named.
At any rate we know that Arya will likely survive: next week’s episode is entitled No One, and there’s a shot in the preview of Arya leaping into a crowd like an Olympic long jumper. We predict that Arya gets out of Braavos, and both the Waif and Jaqen H’ghar add their faces to the wall. Because after all, all men — and little narc helpers — must die.
Who Is The Blue Man, And Why Is He Following Arya?
— Game of Thrones Gifs (@GifsOfThrones) June 8, 2016
Here’s Arya in the streets of Braavos, after (supposedly) being stabbed. Notice the guy in blue walking past her, to the right. That’s kind of significant, because he turns up everywhere in Braavos. Here he is walking back the other way, toward Arya again:
And watching the play:
I’m beginning to think you’re following me:
Mashable points out that it could be a recurring character named Olyvar, who’s a spy for Littlefinger specializing in “homosexual relations.” In fact Olyvar is the one in Season 5 who has sex with Loras Tyrell and then rats him out to the Faith Militant, resulting in Loras’ imprisonment. But why would he now be in Braavos? And why would you recruit a tall, blond guy in a blue suit to be your spy there? It’s the only blue clothing in a sea of browns and tans. Stay tuned, I guess.
Sansa’s Mysterious Letter, Decoded! Here’s What She Wrote
So remember the scene in which Sansa complains to Jon that they need more men to attack Winterfell? She then sees that Bear Island brought almost as many ravens as it did soldiers, so she retires to her tent to compose a letter. But we can’t really see what she’s written, save for her signature (“Stay cool, love, Sansa.”). So we put our finest Maesters on the case (imgur.com), and now we can actually read (most of) the letter. Behold:
So Sansa is appealing to Petyr Baelish to bring his Army of the Vale to Winterfell and bail out The Resistance, as we all figured would be the case. Seems to me like she’s making a deal with the devil — we know that someone is playing someone here, but details are hazy at this point.
Kids Say The Darnedest Things
Having the Lady of Bear Island be a kick-ass 10-year-old was a stroke of inspiration for the GOT writers, who obviously got drunk on deadline night and said “Why not?” Lady Lyanna immediately began trending on Twitter, and little girls began throwing their dolls in the river and acquiring Maesters (your dog will suffice if no holy men are available).
Lady Lyanna Mormont is taking no guff from anyone, and is reluctant to pledge any of her men to the Stark cause. But when Ser Davos explains that the real fight is between the living and the dead, the kid becomes one of the few leaders is Westeros to see reason. She pledges 62 men to the Starks — all of Bear Island’s fighting force.
LADY LYANNA: “We are not a large house, but we are a proud one. And every man from Bear Island fights with the strength of ten mainlanders.”
DAVOS: “If they’re half as ferocious as their lady, the Boltons are doomed.”
You can read more about House Mormont here. The women of that house aren’t mentioned much in the show, but when you read up on them then this kid’s tough disposition is no surprise at all.
Now Go Away Lannisters, Or I Will Taunt You A Second Time!
Many are saying that Blackfish Tully, who is leading the defense of Riverrun against the Lannisters and Freys, is reminding them of the French soldiers in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Of course that siege featured King Arthur catapulting a Trojan Rabbit over the walls. This one just has Blackfish telling Jamie to go f$#% himself.
The Hound Is Back And You’re Gonna Be In Trouble, Hey Na, Hey Na…
I was afraid that if they brought back The Hound, it would likely be a cheap premise unworthy of the series. But I was wrong — they handled it well. It was almost a standalone story, the kind that shows like LOST and The Walking Dead did so well. One reason it worked was the one-off performance by Ian McShane as Septon Ray. He stole every scene he was in, and provided the story with the necessary gravitas. Although he died in the end, he did what all great actors do — leave us wanting more.
Join us next week when we discuss Game of Thrones, episode 8: “No One.”
So usually in this spot we give you a slideshow of stills from the next episode, but the ones HBO provided are so weak and generic, they hardly seem worth the trouble. So instead, in honor of Ian McShane and his greatest character, here are seven of Al Swearengen’s greatest quotes from Deadwood. (WARNING: LANGUAGE NSFW).