House Stark has been victimized throughout the six seasons of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” with House Lannister delivering the cruelest blows.
In the very first episode, Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) was thrown from a tower and crippled by Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) to conceal his incestuous relationship with twin sister Cersei (Lena Headey).
At the end of Season 1, patriarch Ned Stark (Sean Bean) was beheaded by Jaime and Cersei’s bastard offspring, King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson).
And in Season 3, Ned’s widow, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley); their eldest son, Robb (Richard Madden); and his pregnant wife, Talisa (Oona Chaplin), were murdered at the infamous “Red Wedding,” once again courtesy of the Lannisters.
But House Stark, it seems, is on the rebound.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) is determined to reclaim her Winterfell ancestral home by ousting fiendish Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon). At Sansa’s side is her half-brother, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), risen from the dead to fulfill his destiny.
Now another Stark is about to rejoin the clan. It’s little sister Arya (Maisie Williams), emerging bloodied but unbowed in Episode 58, “No One.”
Arya was marked for death by the Faceless Men assassins guild after she failed to poison actress Lady Crane (Essie Davis). Crane’s understudy, Bianca (Eline Powell), paid for the hit but Arya refused to carry it out.
To punish this disobedience, Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) orders The Waif (Faye Marsay) to kill Arya. But she escapes with a stomach wound and receives treatment from her only friend in Braavos, Lady Crane.
Sadly, this kind deed costs the actress her life. She’s mutilated by The Waif, who eventually corners Arya in a candle-lighted chamber.
“It will all be over soon,” The Waif snarls. “On your knees or on your feet?”
Tapping skills she honed while temporarily blind, Arya extinguishes the candle, raises her sword Needle and slays The Waif. Then Arya confronts her former mentor, Jaqen, at his eerie temple.
“Finally, a girl is no one,” Jaqen says with admiration.
“A girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell,” she insists. “And I’m going home!”
In other developments:
• Jaime and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) reunite during a siege of Riverrun. She tries to persuade Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully (Clive Russell) to abandon the castle so the troops can join House Stark in marching on Winterfell. When Brienne fails, Jaime sends prisoner Lord Edmure Tully (Tobias Menzies) into the castle so he can order his men to lay down their arms. Rather than surrender, Brynden dies fighting.
• At King’s Landing, Cersei hoped to escape further punishment for her sins by opting for a trial by combat, with Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafpor Julius Bjornsson) serving as her champion. But King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), no doubt swayed by the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), bans such trials, calling them a “brutish tradition.” This means seven clergymen will judge Cersei and imprisoned Ser Loras Tyrell (Finn Jones). And this means a pair of executions could result.
• Ser Gregor’s brother, Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann), exacts gruesome revenge on rogue members of the Brotherhood Without Banners after they slaughtered a village. Later, one-eyed Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) urges Sandor to join the Brotherhood. “Cold winds are rising in the north,” Beric warns. “We need good men to help us.”
• Finally, slave masters aim to conquer Meereen by launching fireballs from a fleet of ships. Hunkered down in the Great Pyramid is Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), who hears a loud noise. It’s Queen Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Drogon, her most fearsome dragon. Those slave masters? Looks like some dragon justice is coming.