Written by Hannah Dunleavy


Last Night’s Watch

Hannah Dunleavy talks Game of Thrones episode six, with its bad dads, lost uncles and uncles who are really dads. Just another everyday story of Westeros folk. Contains SPOILERS.

Ayra (Maisie Williams) doesn't hang around for the curtain call. Photos: HBO.

Arya (Maisie Williams) doesn’t hang around for the curtain call. Photos: HBO.

Stark Family Reunion Part II

Man, they had a right good rummage round in the bran tub of Characters We’ve Not Seen In Ages this week. Let’s start with the reappearance of the longest-serving AWOL character yet, Benjen Stark, who answered the question of who was going to do the heavy lifting, if not the one of where’s he’s been since series one. Honestly that explanation was so action-packed I couldn’t work out if it was true or he was having an acid flashback.

Either way, things might be looking up in this plot line because a) Joseph Mawle and b) Meera and Little Lord Byron Stark are about to break Jack Donaghy’s cardinal rule “never go with a hippy to a second location.”

Also back on the screen were Walder Frey (do your own David Bradley chant here) and Edmure Tully, who looked less like a man who’d been locked in a dungeon than I thought he would. Another mention of but no appearance yet for the Blackfish and Jaime was driven to use Bron’s name, but I think it was probably in vain. Shame.

The smell of the greasepaint

Jaqen H’ghar learned the lesson of so many middle-class parents this week when he realised despite everything he’d invested in Arya’s education, she wanted to be an actress. Which is also interchangeable with faceless assassin, adding a whole new reason not to click on that Where are these child actresses now? clickbait. You’ll Never Believe No 6. She’s undercover in North Korea.

Arya’s found Needle and gone into hiding because she’s not stupid. Of course, that other girl (who I’ve just now realised I don’t know – or much care – the name of) is after her. Makes a change from sadistic loitering I suppose.

I didn’t enjoy Act II of that seemingly Lannister-sponsored piece of theatre, but I did like seeing Arya laugh in all the wrong/right places. I wonder if the actress was a real target or if it was merely that she was dressed as one of the people on Arya’s list. Either way, she lives to put on another performance, which currently appears to be no bad thing. Wait, that doesn’t sound very GoT

Swords and Sandals

Jaime rides a horse upstairs. Nuff said.

jaime lannisterOK, maybe not, but there was something so Rome, or indeed Rome, about that huge scene as King Nephew Son and Queen Sackcloth & Ashes declared their devotion to the religious life/cult/plot device, that you couldn’t help but be impressed by the scale. Also Diana Rigg said very little but did so much. Also helmet feathers. Many, many helmet feathers.

In truth, the timescale is so odd this season, it has made this plot a bit hard to fathom. Was the King’s conversion really that quick or did it happen over a number of meetings? Is he so lovestruck/horny that he converted in just one meeting? Are we supposed to believe any of it is sincere?

Because the conversation explaining their characters’ motivations went like this.

“Why do you like the High Sparrow?”

“I dunno.”

“I like him because he sort of got a thing about him.”

“Yeah, same. I like the thing too.”

Elsewhere in King’s Landing, Cersei gave Jaime the “only two people in the world” breathy whisper and threatened to unleash the Mountain in a Trial By Combat. Both of which were proper horrifying.

The prodigal son

So, worst dinner of the week award goes to the Tarlys, who are really only here to facilitate putting a Valerian steel blade in Sam’s hands. Still, everything here was nicely done – even if Gilly was dressed like Dunelm’s curtain sale bin. And Little Sam deserves some sort of smile bonus.

Other thoughts

Yeah, I know, another big shouty, CGI-heavy, metaphorical barn-burner from The Unburned, but there’s only so much of these I can take before my mind starts to drift towards the logistics of it all. Who could even hear her? What do the people at the back think is happening?

A Bolton-free week. How nice.

Where the fuck is Ian McShane?

Follow Hannah’s week-by-week Game of Thrones blog here


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.