Why Arya Stark Will Never Be The Same

David Oliver Contributor
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Nyquist may have won the Kentucky Derby, but the true winner of this weekend was Arya Stark.

Because she finally got her eyesight back — after drinking something that, by all accounts, should have killed her. Aka, this is standard “Game of Thrones.”

Game of Thrones episode recap

(Photo: HBO screen grab)

Let’s break it down by the week’s most important threads.

Jon Snow: The biggest question heading into the episode: What was he going to be like, now all resurrected? And we got our answer: Classic Jon Snow moral high ground, though ultimately causing him a unique kind of sadness.

When he rose from the dead (err, his table), he effortlessly gave off “Penny Dreadful” and “Kyle XY” vibes. Careful camera placement left his “pecker” hidden, though Tormund wasn’t afraid to share his opinion: “What kind of god would have a pecker that small?”

Game of Thrones episode recap

(Photo: HBO screen grab)

Jon remembers everything, including Olly’s betrayal. The punishment? Death for his murderers. After they’re hanged, though, Jon does something unexpected. He quits the Night’s Watch — which he can only leave by dying. In essence, he’s not in the wrong. Does a second chance at life mean a ~new-and-improved~ Jon Snow? Meh, he’ll still play an important role, so not concerned.

Bran: OK, this was the moment we were all waiting for. The critical revelation re: Lyanna and Rhaegar. So close, but no cigar. Bran got to see his father’s storied battle with Rhaegar’s guards, though the story had a slight change: Meera’s father had a hand in killing that famed two-sworded guardsman. That’s the trouble with storytelling, though. Nuances can bend the truth.

But before Bran could go find out what all that fuss was about (screaming in the tower), he had to go back to the present at the behest of the Three-Eyed Raven. Buzzkill. Considering the showrunners wrote this episode, I thought it would have been more of an “Aha” kind of clarity. But this was important foundation, so it’s smart they were the ones telling it.

Elsewhere, Varys was working on answers to who’s backing the Sons of the Harpy (spoiler alert: it’s three foreign cities); as I wrote earlier, Arya finally fought back hard enough and won her eyes back — though now she’s “no one”; the High Sparrow is still manipulating Tommen; Osha and Rickon (!) are now in Ramsay’s clutches; Gilly and Sam are on a boat; and Olenna came back to take care of the Queen (Margaerey, mind you, not Cersei).

Whew. Still with me? Episode wasn’t particularly revelatory, though like the premiere, it laid the groundwork for more intense episodes to come. Mixing the two types together will lead to further strong storytelling this season, now in the hands of the showrunners without physical books to guide them.

Favorite quote of the week has to go to Varys. He fanned himself in front of the guards and said, “I don’t know how you stand it in all that leather.” That’s an aesthetic I’ve yet to master, though must be nice. He would’ve fit in well at the Derby (probably the only character that would). (RELATED: Let’s Talk About THAT ‘Game of Thrones’ (Not So) Shocker)