This article contains spoilers for "No One," the eighth episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. Proceed with caution. You might also want to read our full recap of the episode or see all of our Game of Thrones stories.
The 165 hours between each Game of Thrones episode are just as entertaining as the hour we get each week, if not more. Each week, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff plant seeds that blossom into Reddit threads, Facebook yarn boards, and fodder for our own wild "what if?" discussions. And the show indulges its conspiracists: teasing the "Tower of Joy" reveal, the basis for the long-standing R + L = J theory, is borderline evil.
In "No One," the eighth episode of Thrones Season 6, Weiss and Benioff quit toying with the dot-connecting obsessives. There were no big twists or character deaths, but it was revelatory all the same, the dramatic version of ripping a bandage off shrouded wounds. On Game of Thrones, what's not going to happen is as important as what is. Here's what we can finally put to rest (and how it changes the game):
Check out the Horrifying Hotel that Inspired 'The Shining!'
An anticipated showdown between the Mountain and the Hound, expected to take place during Cersei's "trial by combat" against the High Sparrow, is all but dead. This week, the born-again Tommen retired the practice on the basis that it really doesn't prove anything. OK, fair. But we, like most of the internet, dreamed of watching Gregor and Sandor Clegane bash in each other's skulls in what would be Thrones' most hulking battle.
It's possible we'll see "Cleganebowl" transplanted to another arena. Sandor is now in cahoots with the Brotherhood and seemingly on a path to the Great War against the White Walkers. But considering the overarching threats in that scenario, the Clegane brothers would most likely be allies before foes.
So long, Lady Stoneheart
Speaking of the Brotherhood, an appearance by Beric Dondarrion suggests that Lady Stoneheart, a resurrected, bloodythirsty version of Catelyn Stark intermittently seen in George R.R. Martin's books, won't be making it to television. Like Jon Snow, Beric is one of the few Thrones characters with the ability to come back to life, thanks to some love from the Lord of Light. This is established on the show -- recall the time Sandor bested Beric in a duel many moons ago -- and comes up again this episode when the Hound takes his vengeance on Lem Lemoncloak and pals.
But Beric being alive at this point in the story is a departure from the source material; in A Feast for Crows, Brienne discovers that the Robin Hood-like figure sacrificed his life to bring Catelyn back to life. If he's still around, that means Catelyn (who becomes known as Lady Stoneheart after her resurrection) isn't. When Thrones hammers home that Catelyn Stark is dead, dead, dead in the conversation between Jaime and Edmure Tully, it's also suggesting this theory is also dead, dead, dead.
Arya is not the star of her own Fight Club
The internet pulled for the Faceless Men storyline to be more than it was. Arya becoming "Arya Bourne" wasn't enough; the gallery of masks were an arsenal of Chekhov's guns, sitting, waiting to be contorted for maximum surprise. Throughout Season 6, theorists have wondered if the whole Faceless Men organization was too good to be true. Maybe Arya was caught in her own mind. Maybe Jaqen and the Waif were constructions of her shattered mind. Maybe every scene where she struggled to survive her blindness was just her falling deeper and deeper into a psychotic spell. NOPE. It was all real, and now Arya's headed back to Westeros. But good thinking, internet.
A favorite bit of theory fodder: Arya's Season 1 mentor, the master Braavosi swordfighter named Syrio Forel, returned to message boards everywhere when a curly-haired man appeared behind the Waif in a recent promo photo. Super incorrect -- so incorrect, that maybe it's time to put "Syrio Forel returns" to rest (even though we technically never saw him die)? How many characters can Thrones really bring back?
One rumor that is true, however...
"No One" wasn't a total bust for imaginative Thrones viewers. What was Qyburn referring to when he told Cersei an "old rumor you told me about" was "something more"? Of course we have a theory.
Think back a few episodes to the flashback Bran had as he fled the weirwood tree, with the Three-Eyed Raven's knowledge half-downloaded into his mind. The Stark wunderkind had a vision of Jaime murdering the Mad King, along with glimpses of an inferno of green wildfire engulfing King's Landing.
Westeros history tells us the latter never actually happened. The Mad King told his underlings to fetch every gallon of wildfire they could get their hands on, so that he could enact an insane plan to self-immolate and transform into a dragon, but Jaime put an end to that before it even started. But what if that wildfire is still there? And what if that's what Qyburn and his little birds found out? And what if, to avert the High Sparrow's judgment at her upcoming trial, Cersei burns it all down?
Yes, "No One" cleared a portion of Game of Thrones' board -- but what's next? We're still waiting for that "Tower of Joy" scene...
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. Find him on Twitter: @misterpatches.