TV REVIEW: ‘Game of Thrones’ – ‘No One’

Do characters ever change?

| June 14, 2016
Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

When we think of television, we often imagine characters who transform over an arc in the series. Many of the mediums greatest have been about this very notion, “Breaking Bad” for example was about the transformation of a devoted family man to a violent crime boss. However, as much as we wish to see change in our characters, there is also a profound significance in having them not change. When the AMC series “Mad Men” concluded last summer, many writers, commentators and bloggers chose to comment on how the characters in the series never truly changed. That is not to say they never tried or never attempted to create the illusion that they were born anew, but in all honesty, they made the same mistakes and fell into the same trappings over and over. It begs the question, do people ever really change?

The latest “Thrones” episode, “No One,” ponders this similar idea as well. But before we get too far into that, there is one another important question to answer…

Is Tyrion no longer the best character on the show?

For years actor Peter Dinklage proved to be the most charismatic and enjoyable performance on the show. Tyrion Lannister was the kind of character that could steal any scene he was in. He may have not be the tallest guy in the room, but he was always the most interesting. However, now it appears the show doesn’t quite know what to do with him. Tyrion has had precious little to do over the course of this season and this week’s episode, which featured a fairly long scene of him trying to convince two former slaves to liquor up and tell jokes with him, seemed to have very little use. Dinklage is still a terrific actor, but it appears the character has been reduced to someone who we can just drop in on for a good joke and head back to the rest of the world.

Tyrion has been attempting to hold down Mereen while Daenerys has been gone, but his plan to make peace with the former slavers appears to have backfired with the city now under attack. Luckily for him, Daenerys makes a last minute entry like Superman swooping in to save the day. Maybe more screen time between these two is what we need to fix this problem. Tyrion’s humorous banter seems a perfect pairing to D’s “drop the mic” seriousness. The two technically occupy the same subplot but have only really managed to share a handful of scenes since their introduction last season.

So, where were we before? Oh yes, characters never change. The three characters who epitomize this idea have been Jaime, Arya and the Hound. Of all three, Jaime Lannister is probably the most fascinating. After all, the character began as one of the chief villains of the show, but after being imprisoned, beaten and broken down around season three, audiences began to take sympathy with him. Yes, there is still that bit about how he has the hots for his sister, but people seemed to understand that Jaime was a much more complicated character than originally perceived. However, while certain fans might have hopped that the former king slayer might be making a turn around, it’s clear from “No One” that he is very much still the same man he was at the dawn of the series.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

While still in a standoff with the Blackfish, Jaime is visited by an old traveling buddy, Brienne. The two developed into the show’s “cutest couple that never was” in their travels returning him to King’s Landing after being held prisoner by the Starks, but here they find themselves on opposite sides of an impending war. Brienne now serves Sansa and is in need of an army, she hopes the Blackfish will join. But as much as these characters have respect for each other, they know that they may one day be asked to defeat one another. Jaime admits while interrogating a prisoner that the only thing he cares about is Cersei and that he is more than willing to do anything in his power for her, no matter how cruel or violent. “The things I do for love,” he says, the same line he gave after pushing Bran Stark out that window in season one.

Jaime may be charming, may have respect and admiration for others (he let Brienne escape unscathed after taking the castle), but he is unlikely to become a character who will switch sides. His overwhelming love for his sister will undoubtedly lead to his downfall. But Jamie has never been a character who has tried to change as a person. Both Arya and the Hound have attempted to reinvent themselves to not much luck. Last week, we saw as the Hound attempted to leave behind a life of violence only to have violence find him once again. This week, he returns, seeking vengeance against the men that murdered the community he was a part of. “Killing was the only thing I was ever good at” he mentions, signifying a man who has realized that there is no point running from his violent nature and violent past.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

Photo courtesy of HBO.

As for Arya, she has attempted to become “the girl with no name,” but this episode sees her reclaim the family name. As part of survival, Arya sought to distance herself from the Stark name but now her days of running are behind her. So who managed to be the episode MVP?

Episode MVP

It’s a tough fight between Arya and Jaime. Arya does get a thrilling chase through the streets of Bravos as her hunter follows her like a bionic superhuman. Then there is that mic drop of a final scene where she states that she is no longer the girl with no name but indeed a Stark. However, since Arya got the MVP award already this season, it’ll go to Jaime. After all, he gets his touching reunion with Brienne, that fierce monologue in the tent and the last minute gesture of kindness as he agrees to let Brienne escape capture after the castle is taken.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Television

Jesse Nussman is a senior at UNCC majoring in Communications and minoring in film. He is an avid film lover and writes about various pop-culture subjects within film, television, and music.

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Jesse Nussman is a senior at UNCC majoring in Communications and minoring in film. He is an avid film lover and writes about various pop-culture subjects within film, television, and music.

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