Game of Thrones
- TV Show
- Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
- run date
- D.B. Weiss
- Current Status
- In Season
The episode’s title is “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” Those are the words of House Martell. But I’m thinking the showrunners intend for us to think about those words while we process that final scene with Sansa Stark. I have a lot of thoughts about that scene, and it’s tough to write in my usual style about the rest of the episode knowing that pitch-black moment is coming at the end. But first we must start with–
Braavos: Arya’s Karate Kid training continues as she cleans another body. Sponge on, sponge off. She no longer seems quite so anxious and frustrated with this job, but she wants to know what’s behind that mysterious door where the bodies are taken. “I’m not scrubbing one more corpse until you tell me why I’m doing it!” she demands, rather reasonably.
Arya asks to play the “Game of Faces” with her moody nameless roommate. This is a game where you tell things about yourself to another person and if they can tell that you’re lying then they get to hit you with a stick. It sounds wretched, but it’s still more fun than Frisbee Golf. Later Jaqen H’ghar tests her. Arya tries to tell her story while inserting little lies, but Jaqen can always tell when she fibs. Most interestingly, her claim of hating The Hound was a lie. Also not true: Arya saying she wants to be No One. Of course she doesn’t. She’s Arya Stark. She wants super-assassin abilities, but the reason she wants these powers is for vengeance. If she fully gives up her identity as Arya, then what is the point?
Later, a man—a regular random man, not “A Man…”—brings his sick and suffering young daughter to the House of Black and White. Arya tells the girl their deadly water will heal her, so she drinks it. It’s a heartbreaking scene. Arya may not be able to fool Jaqen or her roommate, but her lies do convince this sick girl. She just played the Game of Faces with somebody and won. That is enough for Arya to advance to Level 2. She’s not yet ready to become No One—not just anyone can become No One, you know—but she’s ready to advance beyond floor-sweeping and corpse sponge-bath duties.
Jaqen takes her into the Hall of Faces. This is what happens to the corpses, their physical identities are somehow magically preserved for the use of the Faceless Men. There are thousands of them. You would think the Faceless Men would get to a point where they would have enough. How many spare identities do you really need? And how do you reach the ones that are really high up? (“You get a face lift!” a reader shot back on Twitter. Still, I assume the ones on the bottom rows get used the most often.