The Two Degrees of Forgotten in “Oathbreaker,” a ‘Game of Thrones’ Recap


Just as charismatic but slightly more ruthless than the High Sparrow, Ramsay’s trying to turn on the charm and gather friends the best way he knows how, by befriending anyone who’s ever had a beef with the Starks. Last week it was the Karstarks, this week it’s the Umbers. Smalljon Umber (son of Greatjon Umber. How awesome are these names?!) is pissed that Jon let the Wildlings through the Wall: “We’re farther north than any of you fuckers. Wildlings come down, we always have to fight them first.”

Sure, he’s mostly being strategic in striking up an alliance with the Boltons, since they need more men to fight as more Wildlings filter south, but he’s not doing it out of reverence for his Northern buds. He calls Roose a cunt (RIP), and refuses to kneel to Ramsay or officially pledge his banners. Instead, in order to gain Ramsay’s trust, he offers him a gift in the form of Osha and Rickon. And so that Ramsay knows this is indeed a Stark child, throws in Shaggydog’s severed head for good measure.

This is the first we’ve seen of Osha and Rickon since season three when they went off to seek sanctuary with the Umbers, so seeing them is both surprising and terrifying. Surprising because oh shit they’re actually back! Terrifying because what will Ramsay do to the youngest Stark after being jilted by Sansa? There may be some hope, however. We may not have to fear completely for Rickon’s life, because just before Roose met his karma-filled demise he reminded his son that they need a Stark in Winterfell to secure their hold on the North. Since Ramsay’s “games” caused Sansa to escape he needs a Stark more than ever, so perhaps he’ll be a bit less sinister in his treatment of poor Rickon. (Can’t speak for the level sinister-ness he’ll unleash on Osha, though.)

Rickon’s appearance was actually the second time the forgotten Stark child was mentioned in this episode. He was named by Arya as her fourth third brother while playing the Game of Faces with the Waif, of which she was doing pretty well. Arya’s bit in this episode was shown in an excellent montage. There’s only so many episodes we can see her getting beaten with two different kinds of sticks, after all. May as well speed up the process.

The Waif threw her low-ball questions, like describing members of her family and where they are now. She responds with a flat, “They may be dead, for all a girl knows.” Once satisfied that the fate of Arya’s family isn’t of her concern anymore, the Waif moves onto her complicated relationship with the Hound (Arya finally admits she was “confused” at her feelings towards him in the end, which borders on adorable). Then she questions Arya on her “funny little list.” Of all she’s been doing since season two, mostly a lot of traveling and a little bit of killing, the only constant in Arya’s life has been her kill list. She’s held onto her vengeance for five seasons, naming all those who wronged her and her family, as her way of staying connected to her former life.

But when asked who was on her list, Arya only lists three names. “That can’t be everyone you want to kill,” the Waif says. “Are you sure you’re not forgetting someone?” She’s baiting Arya by using the second person, trying to get her to crack. Or, to get her to admit that the last thing she did as Arya while working on becoming No One was to kill Meryn Trant, a member of her list. But Arya has more determination and more bruises to break now. “What name would you like a girl to speak?” she asks.

With that answer and a breakthrough moment defending herself against the Waif in stick-to-stick combat, Jaqen offers Arya a cup of water from the pool that has heretofore has killed anyone that drank from it. “If a girl is truly no one, she has nothing to fear,” he says. She drinks, but rather than keeling over, her blind eyes are healed. And she finally answers correctly when Jaqen asks her who she is, and she responds, “No one.”

Arya has certainly earned this triumph for all she’s been put through, but it’s bittersweet and bit difficult to be happy for her. This means that there really is none of that fiery little girl left. Any part of her that held onto her life in Westeros has been beaten out of her. Including the part of her last season that was willing to give up all of her possessions except for the one memory of Jon: her little Needle.


Also from this episode: 
Gilly’s Glee and Bran’s Gall
Daenerys Is Not Special, and Other Meereen Thoughts
Little Birds with Giant Mountains
On Jon Snow and Where You Go After Being Stabbed

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