The Handsome Man

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  1. This is, of course, EXACTLY what GRRM has her doing in the books -- along with character development (she is becoming a master at remaining Arya underneath -- e.g., read the Mercy Chapter -- but still advancing in training as a FM). We will have to see why the showrunners have chosen to eschew this. The fact that they did ignore it, however, is the major source of my frustration -- even more so than the sloppy writing as pointed out here by many a poster....
  2. Agree with everything you have said leading up to and after this episode. In the behind the scenes short for the episode, they did say that Arya was leading the Waif into the trap deliberately by smearing the blood on the walls -- still seems like an ex post explanation to me but thought it was worth pointing out. I also assume the reason they had Jaquen/Kindly Man say "do not let her suffer" and then repeated that in the intro to episode 8 was to explain why the Waif did not go for a throat slash in episode 7. I am not defending it -- as others have written, this all could have been done so much better, even if you wanted to stay with the "Arya gets stabbed/Lady Crane heals her/kill the waif plot". I am really struggling now to understand the character's purpose going forward. These past episodes should prove to everyone: Put aside all the tinfoil stuff. Ayra is not turning into Nymeria, she is not the waif, she is is not meeting Gentry, Syrio or Jaquen again. They made a bid deal at the start of episode 5 of Arya culling down her list to 3 (Frey, the Mountain, Cersai). My guess is that the next time we see her, the list is back on her lips. The problem, of course, is that she is leaving the HofBW with absolutely no additional skills, except hard core sweeping and fighting in the dark (contrast that to the Arya in the books, which is where the show could have and should have taken her development). But I bet we see her exacting revenge on 1 or 2 of the 3 somehow -- and probably in another episode that makes us all groan. The point is: there is now no way out of this incredulous mess they have created. It is just not believable to think that Arya is going to be his effective assassin exacting revenge -- but that is where I think they are going to go with the character. Otherwise, what role does she serve?
  3. Ha! Good point but yeah, I guess I am going to be annoyed if she is jumping off rooftops after getting stabbed like that (assuming it was her). Within the show canon, I would be more accepting of her dying and getting resurrected than an immediate "non-magical" recovery. Again, it just seems sloppy: if the plan is for her to recover and start jumping/fighting, then why not just write the scene with the first, not-as-serious, slash but her instincts/training help her parry the rest of the attack (note the headbutt she used to escape the Waif's grasp). But the frustration with these specifics is indicative of the larger narrative concern: it really seems like she has not learned any significant skills (quite the opposite of the books) and will be heading back to Westeros basically as the same Arya when she left. That's OK, I suppose, but it pales in comparison to where GRRM has taken her development thus far in the books. The Arya there is on the verge of being able to wipe out all the Freys at dinner one night without batting an eyelash. Of course, maybe this all goes in a different direction - I hope so, but I thought it would after episode 6 and here we are, deeper in the narrative hole...
  4. Right -- that is where I am on this as well. We seem to be left with (1) the whole sequence was a head fake in some fashion, with Arya not really being stabbed (she somehow had a double?) or finding some mystical way to heal or (2) she heals up faster than a professional soccer player after taking a dive and is jumping off roofs. Neither are particularly satisfying choices, given all the time they have had to advance this story-line in Braavos. I hope for the former, if only to demonstrate that Ayra learned and can use some of the FM skills. The latter option -- to me -- is not only hard to believe but also makes it seem like her sojourn to Braavos has been a complete waste of time. I know member Tagganaro made the point that her time in Braavos has been about self-discovery: she has come to realize that she is not an emotionless assassin but is still a Stark, with -- one assumes -- vengeance in Westeros on her mind. Fair enough. I guess I am spoiled by the development of her character thus far in the books, where she is indeed still that person but is also, manipulatively, using the FM to develop her skills precisely to exact that revenge (witness: Raff in the Mercy chapter). The point is, the show could have easily done the same. in any event, they seem to have had her plot line gamed out for a while (note that the scene of her pulling Needle out of the stones was shot last year), so let's see where this goes....
  5. This is spot on - thanks for making the point. What is all the more aggravating is that it really would not have taken much effort to dovetail the show with the training and evolution of Arya's skills as set forth in the books. A little less sweeping and just an additional training montage or two. My frustration really boiled over with the attempted poisoning of Lady Crane: just walk in and pour a vial in her rum? Hot Pie could have done that. In the books, she comes up with a creative way to dispose of the Thin Man and then, with cold precision, Raff. I hate to be critical: it is no small feat to turn these books into TV and I like how they have truncated or eliminated many other plots and characters (please, no LSH). But the Arya chapters are some of the best written in the books and they did such a marvelous job with her character in Seasons 1-4 that the expectations were high for the move to Braavos and the FM. I just do not follow what they are moving toward. If she leaves Braavos and the FM without any ability to change faces, then it was a waste of time but if she somehow escapes with that ability, with no further exposition, its too much of a leap. The writers have boxed themselves in here.
  6. Agree. Indeed, there are several points in the FM/Arya chapters where there are hints that Arya is using the FM -- absorbing as much training as possible for her own ends. She can be seen as manipulating them. Its fascinating to watch her bounce back and forth between a "no one" assassin and Arya, all the while staying eerily cool. From Mercy (underlining mine): “[Raff] You’ll need to carry me.”See? thought Mercy. You know your line, and so do I.“Think so?” asked Arya, sweetly.Raff the Sweetling looked up sharply as the long thin blade came sliding from her sleeve. She slipped it through his throat beneath the chin, twisted, and ripped it back out sideways with a single smooth slash. A fine red rain followed, and in his eyes the light went out. The show ignores this part of her character - or at least has thus far; let' see how the last few episodes play out.
  7. Spot on -- I feel the same. Given two seasons in Braavos, we should have seen more of the training and technique of the FM than sweeping floors and a 30 second training montage. By the time Arya kills the merchant and then Raff in the books, that training shows -- melding with (and perhaps augmenting) her identity. Obviously, she ALREADY has many faces -- Nan, Squab, Salty, Weasel, Cat, Blind Beth, Mercy etc -- but Arya is always there underneath, especially when her thoughts turn to vengeance. It is an incredibly rich character development in the books. I do not think we will be disappointed by what GRRM is planning for her. It just would have been nice to see more of this these past two seasons on the show. That said, I could see some of it all coming together in the last few episodes.
  8. I do not think they are going to say anything more about who hired the FM for the job of killing the actress. That's part of the problem some of us are voicing here: there is a disjointed feel to the whole Arya in Braavos/FM plot line in the show - something that is all the more frustrating give how those chapters in the books are, to me, some of the best written in the series (and how fantastic the Arya scenes are in Seasons 1-4 of the show). I am hoping we will see some of Arya's skills come togeher and be put on display in the escape from Braavos/showdown with the Waif. Otherwise, her time in Braavos would not seem well spent. Maybe she even steals a face or two to take with her. The showrunners must be moving toward Arya coming back to exact some revenge. I am sure I am not alone in wanting it to be on the Freys -- but if, as discussed elsewhere, that is reserved for LSH, there is not much left for Arya save for Kings Landing.
  9. I get that the understudy could hire the FM by paying some "price" proportional to her standing and the victim's standing. I just would have liked a line or two on the point -- but this is minor, minor quibbling. My main gripe is Arya's skill set right now: walk in and pour some poison in a bottle, or splash some on an oyster (last season). Not much training needed to do that. But in the books, she is a creative, fluid operator -- and that's not just fun to read, it goes deep into her character development. I thought that was where she was headed after she coolly dispatched Polliver at the beginning of season 4, and would like to see more of that in the show.
  10. I am not quite as frustrated as you, but I agree her story arc in Braavos has been disjointed and hard to reconcile with the books. I would have liked to see her develop a bit more, as she has in the books, as a smooth, intelligent, well trained killer. Even when she is driven by vengeance, as with Raff in the Mercy chapter, she remains cool and, almost terrifyingly, in control. Contrast that with the berserk way she dispatched Trant last season. This is just a completely different character who does not seem to have advanced much at all in this regard. In the books, if she goes back to Westoros and poisons all the Freys or infiltrates Kings Landing to kill Cersai (or both), it will be believable and satisfying to read, if you are invested in her character (I loved the Mercy chapter). It will seem like a tremendous leap for her to accomplish that in the show, assuming something like that is the end-game for her. If so, hopefully they advance her skill set further in the next few episodes. And I agree with the comment above re: the Faceless Men in the show: on the one hand they are this mystical cult of assassins yet an understudy actress, visiting the city, can hire them? Sure, she may have paid a different "price", but at least take 1-2 lines of dialogue to explain that.