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Spoilers for tonight's episode of Game of Thrones are all over this article. If you haven't caught the episode tonight, now would be an excellent time to bail.
We knew before the eighth episode aired that tonight's big episode would be called "No One" and thus was likely to be Arya-centric. While I'm pretty sure the likes of Brienne of Tarth and The Hound ended up with more actual dialogue this week, Arya Stark's storyline was furthered in a whole lot of ways. While Arya is still in Braavos at the end of the episode, she finally has a direction to head in: She's going home.
So, how did we get here? When last we saw Arya on Game of Thrones, she had been stabbed repeatedly by The Waif and was wandering along the streets, trusting no one. This week, she finally sought refuge with the theatrical performer, Lady Crane, who got her into trouble in the first place. The actress patched her up and gave her some medicine to help her sleep. Unfortunately, The Waif found Arya, killed the actress, and another epic chase ensued. At this point, I was pretty tired of The Waif's brutishness and her love for bloodshed and pushing people around. She might have helped Arya to get better at fighting, but she was seriously the worst. Luckily, Arya was able to gain the upper hand by forcing The Waif into a darkened room, which made both The Waif and Arya blind. Since Arya's had a lot of practice at being blind this season, it's not outside of the realm of reason to believe that she was able to win the fight, despite the fact her abdomen was once more bleeding profusely.
The real question was: Where does Arya go from here? Game of Thrones rarely offers easy solutions, but obviously it would be ideal for her to return to Sansa and Jon. In addition, the theatrical scenes in Season 6 have proven she still holds a lot of hatred for Cersei and the Lannisters, who have basically destroyed her whole family. There's plenty of room for revenge there, too.
We do know her relationship with Jaqen H'ghar and the House of Black and White did not progress exactly as I think many of us thought it would when she left for Braavos some time ago. In fact, Arya's storyline this season has been one of the least interesting, as it encompassed a lot of brutal training moments and continually pushed our hate for The Waif to the forefront. The House of Black and White itself hasn't been as compelling as I would have expected it to be, having seen all of the bustling activity that went on there in George R.R. Martin's books. Although Game of Thrones has taken pains to explain the goals of the Many Faced God and to explain what is happening with the faces in the temple, H'ghar and the temple were still somewhat mysterious entities that seemed far removed from the central plot other than to help Arya to gain more life skills.
Which is why I nearly cheered when at the end of the episode, Arya returned to the temple one last time and informed her former mentor that she would no longer be No One. Instead, she will be Arya Stark of House Winterfell, and she will be heading home. What a badass. Of course, I have no idea what role she will fulfill when she gets there, but the future looks very, very bright for the young fighter, provided she doesn't succumb to that insane abdomen wound on the way.
Game of Thrones often relishes in showing us death scenes. This week, in fact, we saw Sandor Clegane pulverize a slew of former Brothers Without Banners members who had gone rogue and killed his mentor the week prior. We also saw his brother, The Mountain, rip the face off of one of the Sparrows who attempted to order Cersei about. However, director Mark Mylod chose not to show us a couple of bigger deaths this week, letting The Blackfish go out after noting he was about to make a fool of himself. The sword fight between The Waif and Arya was also left to our imaginations, and the scene was all the better for it.
Obviously, a lot of additional stuff happened during the episode, including some lighthearted moments between Pod and Bronn. However, it's Arya's story that got the most traction this week, and for that we are very thankful. New episodes of HBO's Game of Thrones air on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET. You can find out what else is coming up in Season 6 here.