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No One (Game of Thrones)

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"No One"
Game of Thrones episode
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 8
Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by David Benioff
D. B. Weiss
Featured music Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography by P. J. Dillon
Editing by Katie Weiland
Original air date June 12, 2016 (2016-06-12)
Running time 59 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Broken Man"
Next →
"Battle of the Bastards"
Game of Thrones (season 6)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"No One" is the eighth episode of the sixth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 58th episode overall. It was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Mark Mylod.

Arya Stark fights for her life and chooses her destiny; Jaime Lannister returns Edmure Tully to Riverrun; Cersei Lannister is thwarted; Daenerys Targaryen returns to Meereen; and Sandor Clegane tracks down the Brotherhood Without Banners.

"No One" received mostly positive reviews from critics, who listed the conclusion of Arya's story with the Faceless Men, the reintroduction of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Jaime's scheme to retake Riverrun as high points of the episode, but also received some criticism as being anticlimactic. Filming of the episode's foot chase scene between Arya and the Waif required a month of practice in Belfast to get the choreography right. In the United States, the episode achieved a viewership of 7.60 million in its initial broadcast. The episode was Maisie Williams' and Peter Dinklage's selection for the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards to support their nominations.

Plot[edit]

In the Riverlands[edit]

Sandor Clegane tracks down some of the Brotherhood Without Banners men and brutally kills them, searching for their leader. He then comes across Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, who are preparing to hang the men responsible for the attack on the village. Sandor bargains with Beric, who allows him to personally hang two of the men. Beric and Thoros try to recruit Sandor into the Brotherhood, explaining that they intend to head north to fight the White Walkers and need his strength.

Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne arrive at Riverrun, where they reunite with Jaime Lannister and Bronn. Brienne explains that she has come to recruit the Blackfish and the Tully army for Sansa, but Jaime points out that he is currently besieged in Riverrun and refuses to surrender the castle. Brienne proposes that if she can convince the Blackfish to surrender the castle, then Jaime will allow him and the Tully army safe passage to the North. Jaime agrees to the plan, but gives Brienne until nightfall. She then returns Oathkeeper to Jaime, stating that she has completed her mission. Jaime, however, tells Brienne that she can keep it, as Oathkeeper is hers and hers alone. Brienne then attempts to negotiate with the Blackfish, but he refuses to abandon Riverrun, despite being sympathetic to Sansa's plight.

Meanwhile, Jaime talks with Edmure Tully, trying to win his cooperation by tempting him with seeing his newborn son, whom he has never seen, and offering to send him and his family to Casterly Rock, away from the Freys. Edmure ridicules Jaime and all of his past misdeeds, and asks him how he can live with himself. Jaime responds how he wants to take Riverrun to be back with Cersei, and he is willing to do anything to achieve it, even if it means killing every Tully he finds, including Edmure and his son. Jaime then sends Edmure to parley with the Blackfish. Despite the Blackfish's protests, the Tully soldiers allow Edmure entry into the castle. Edmure then orders his men to surrender Riverrun, and also orders the Blackfish's capture. The Blackfish helps Brienne and Podrick escape, but remains to fight to the end.

Jaime is informed about the death of the Blackfish, and sees Brienne and Pod escaping on the river. Both Jaime and Brienne mournfully wave each other farewell.

In Meereen[edit]

With the Red Priests on their side and spreading pro-Daenerys propaganda, Tyrion Lannister and Varys see Meereen returning to life. After warning Tyrion not to trust the Red Priests, Varys leaves for Westeros on a secret mission to find more allies and ships. Tyrion then has a drink with Grey Worm and Missandei. He then tries to introduce them to humor by trading jokes. As they start having a good time, they are interrupted when a fleet which was sent by the masters arrives to attack the city, with Missandei explaining that they have come to recover their "property". As the masters' fleet bombards Meereen into the night, Tyrion and Grey Worm discuss their strategy when Daenerys Targaryen returns to the city, arriving at the top of the Great Pyramid with Drogon.

In King's Landing[edit]

The Faith Militant, led by Lancel Lannister with King Tommen Baratheon's blessing, arrive to take Cersei Lannister to see the High Sparrow (whom they now refer to as the High Septon). Cersei refuses to go with them and when one of the Faith Militant attacks, he is brutally killed by Gregor Clegane. Seeing the rest of the Faith Militant soldiers intimidated, Cersei remarks that the High Sparrow is free to come to the Red Keep to see her. She then attends a royal announcement by Tommen in the throne room, but is denied standing by his side by Kevan Lannister, her uncle and Hand of the King. Tommen then announces the date that Cersei and Loras' trials will be held, and that, in consultation with the High Sparrow, he has decided to end the practice of trial by combat as a means of resolving conflicts. The prospect of a trial by seven septons clearly worries Cersei. Qyburn then reports to Cersei about the "rumor" that she ordered him to investigate, and he remarks that it is "more, much more".

In Braavos[edit]

Lady Crane returns to her chambers to find a wounded Arya Stark hiding inside, and helps stitch her wounds. She tells Arya that thanks to her warning, she mutilated her would-be killer Bianca's face before kicking her out of the acting company. She then offers to have Arya join them, but she refuses, saying that she intends to travel west of Westeros to see the edge of the world. As Arya recovers, The Waif arrives and kills Lady Crane, intending to kill Arya as well. Arya flees through the streets of Braavos, but during the chase, Arya's wounds reopen and she limps back to her hideout with the Waif in close pursuit. As the Waif closes in, Arya uses Needle to cut a candle, plunging the room into total darkness, where, having been trained while blinded for several weeks, Arya gains the upper hand.

At the House of Black and White, Jaqen H'ghar finds a bloodtrail and follows it to the Hall of Faces, where he finds the Waif's face. Arya then holds Jaqen at sword point. Jaqen congratulates Arya by telling her that she is finally No One. However, she rejects the title, asserting her identity as Arya Stark before turning and leaving, announcing that she is "going home." Jaqen proudly watches on as she leaves.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

The episode was written by series co-creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.

"No One" was written by the series' creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.[1] It adapts the chapter "Jaime VII" from A Feast for Crows depicting the Siege of Riverrun.[non-primary source needed]

In the "Inside the Episode" featurette published by HBO following the airing of the episode, David Benioff spoke about the revelation in King's Landing, and Tommen's decision to abolish "trial by combat," stating "This moment is a grievous blow for Cersei because she's been counting on trial by combat really since the end of season five. This was always her ace in the hole, the Mountain was never going to lose a trial by combat there's no one out there who could beat him. And then Tommen takes it away from her and knowing really what he's doing. He might be a weak King, but he's not an idiot, he understands that this move is going to mean that she's probably not going to fare that well in this trial. So it's a pretty devastating moment for Cersei, and you see that in her reaction, and partly because it just bodes so ill for this coming trial, and partly because it's her own son who's really betrayed her."[2]

Speaking about the siege of Riverrun, Weiss noted about Brienne and Jaime's reunion that "Jaime didn't expect to see Brienne necessarily ever again, he certainly didn't expect to see her marching into his military camp. And his relationship is obviously very complicated, and fraught, and has undercurrents that he's uncomfortable with feeling." Benioff continued about Brienne's escape, "It's these two who are not quite sure how they feel about the other, and he lets her go. He'd be well within his rights to send his men after her, to capture her, and it wouldn't be that hard to capture her since she's being slowly rowed away by Podrick, but he doesn't. She might technically be an enemy now that she's serving Sansa Stark, who is still obviously a suspect in Joffrey's murder, but she's not Jaime's enemy."[2]

Clive Russell, who portrayed Brynden "Blackfish" Tully in the series, spoke about his character's encounter with Brienne of Tarth, in an interview with IGN, noting "Brienne represented for him his young self, a person of integrity, a soldier of integrity, trying to do the right thing. That added to the conflict he felt of what was the right thing to do: whether to send men to Sansa or not." He continued by saying about their relationship to each other, "She spoke very clearly to power. She was talking to an older man who's, initially, very irritated by her being there, but eventually takes her very, very seriously. There's a touching moment where he acknowledges that to her face. It's very touching and sad, and I think that's what it's about. He's really recognizing the next generation of what I once was."[3]

In the conclusion of the "Inside the Episode" segment Weiss spoke about Arya's story, saying "Arya is in danger, she's got an open wound in her stomach, and the one person who has protected her to this point unfortunately gets murdered. The fact that the Many-Faced God gets the people who have been promised to him really makes you think that there's almost an inevitability about what happens to people who run afoul of the Faceless Men, as Arya has done." Weiss continued about the final part of the sequence, "Arya's telling Jaqen by putting the face on the wall that 'this account is settled, and we're good here, and now I'm going to walk away,' and I think she knows what the answer's going to be. The implication, obviously, is that Jaqen was, on some level, rooting for the outcome that he got. He may be "no one," but there's still enough of a person left in him to respect, and admire who this girl is and what she's become. Arya finally tells us something that we've kind of known all along, that she's not no one, she's Arya Stark of Winterfell."[2]

Casting[edit]

Richard Dormer (pictured) and Paul Kaye returned to the series as Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, respectively.

"No One" saw the reintroduction of Richard Dormer and Paul Kaye, who portrayed Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, respectively, in the third season, last appearing in the episode "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", before returning for the sixth season.[4][5] Dormer was previously asked about returning to Game of Thrones in an interview in February 2015, saying at the time that he was doubtful about coming back to the series, stating "they haven't told me about it, so I don't think so." He also noted about his portrayal of the character, "Beric was a noble character, a leader of men. Kind of like Robin Hood. So I thought, that's how I'll play the guy."[6] Paul Kaye's participation in the series was confirmed in mid-April 2016, with his agency posting about the casting shortly before the premiere of the sixth season.[5]

The episode also featured the deaths of several recurring characters in the series. Faye Marsay, who portrayed the Waif, spoke about her participation in the episode, and leaving Game of Thrones after several seasons, saying "As much as I'm sad that I'm now off of the show, I think that storyline needed to be concluded that way. I'm rooting for Arya and Maisie as well. Even though I won't be able to hang out with everyone again, I think it was done right and done properly. I think Arya deserved to rip off her face and stick it on a wall."[7] Recurring guest actors Clive Russell as Blackfish, and Essie Davis as Lady Crane portrayed their characters for the last time in the series, as they were killed off on screen.[8]

In the first scene featuring Sandor "the Hound" Clegane, comedian Steve Love was cast as one of the Brotherhood members killed by the Hound. Love previously had become known for his impressions of various Game of Thrones characters, uploading the video to YouTube, which ultimately resulted in his appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Following the appearance, Love stated that he had received an email from Benioff offering him a part in the show, saying "I broached the subject by sending them an email back saying 'Listen I don't know what your plans are for me but it would really mean a lot to me if I could have one of those trademark Game of Thrones gruesome death scenes, and they wrote back saying 'Actually Steve, that was exactly what we had in mind for you.'"[9]

Filming[edit]

Filming of the exterior chase scenes throughout Braavos took place in Girona, Spain.

"No One" was directed by Mark Mylod. Mylod previously directed the fifth season episodes "High Sparrow" and "Sons of the Harpy". Mylod also directed the previous episode, "The Broken Man", for the sixth season.[10] Mylod stated in an interview that the most physically challenging scene to direct was the chase scene, while the scene he was most scared to shoot was the conversation between Jaime and Edmure, stating that he felt the writing was "so freaking good that I was scared about fucking it up."[11]

Mylod additionally spoke about filming the final scenes of the episode, the foot chase between Arya and the Waif, in the behind the scenes featurette published by HBO after the airing of the episode. Mylod stated that he did extensive research in order to create the foot chase, saying "I devoured every foot chase in the history of cinema, but trying to take from that something that would fit into the blueprint of the Game of Thrones visual style, which is not necessarily the same kind of kinetic, handheld feel that you find in many contemporary thrillers. It's a much more classic frame." He continued, "Everything hinged from finding this very lovely, steep stairwell and thinking 'Wouldn't it be great if she leapt off that, and then tumbled down the stairs?' I had this image in my head that I wanted lots of oranges rolling down, not quite sure where that comes from, but it looked pretty."[12] Mylod also stated in a separate interview that it was a conscious decision not to show the final fight between Arya and the Waif, given that it took place in the dark, noting "when the character dies in the dark, unless we switch on night-vision goggles, we're not going to be able to see that, and we're not going to stick around to hear a scream in the dark anyway. It was actually a conscious choice in the writing and I think, for me, a very elegant storytelling beat as to get that reveal a few seconds later."[11]

In an interview, Maisie Williams described the thought process behind Arya's scenes, as well as the process of filming saying "We wanted people to think this could be the end, or the start of the end. Like maybe her wound is going to fester – like The Hound." She continued, "There was this constant spectrum of conversation with Mark Mylod during the chase of about how petrified she needs to look, but also how safe she is. Arya's been very lucky with the people she's encountered so far. The whole time she was with The Hound she took a back seat because he was really good. So I wanted her to look like she was struggling." Williams also stated that she gave input on how the scene should take place, stating "I didn't want the chase stunt to be unnecessary or superhuman. I got on set and they were going to have Arya rolling around, and diving, and I was like, "That looks amazing, but no." I'd be like, "Why would she run over there? She'd just duck under here and just get out." It doesn’t look quite as cinematic, maybe, but they'll have to find something else if they want cinematic. And I felt awful because the job of the stunt guys is to make everything look as crazy and cool as possible. But I know Arya now. In the beginning it was a lot of guesswork and now I've figured her out."[13]

Faye Marsay, who portrayed the Waif, spoke about her scenes and filming with Williams, saying, " I think we did a month in Belfast before we started shooting. We went into the stunt tent and lived there. It was choreographed like a dance. Maisie is so well coordinated and good at what she does. I'm a little bit less coordinated and easily pissed off. I would drop the stick down and go, "I can't do it!" And she would encourage me. She's so supportive. We did a month, and then the day before the cameras turned on, we would go through the moves a couple of times so we wouldn't hurt each other. There were a few times we clipped each other. I remember getting her in the stomach really bad one time, and she nearly cut my ear off at one point. It was fun. It was a lot of fun, but we were exhausted as well."[7]

The castle face, and drawbridge were physically built, with the rest added in post-production with special effects.

Filming of the Riverrun sequence began in October 2015, and led to some complaints by locals living in the area following the construction of a portion of the Tully castle. The shooting of the scenes took place in Corbet, County Down, Northern Ireland.[14] Due to some concerns over the size of the structure, filming was unable to take place until local inspectors were able to determine if the production unit followed what had been agreed upon in the "planning application."[14][15] Construction of a portion of the castle began in September, with tents and wooden additions being added shortly after.[14] In addition, the production unit also created an actual working drawbridge for the scenes, rather than relying on CGI to create the set piece. Visual effects were added to create the rest of the castle.[12]

Clive Russell, who portrayed Blackfish, spoke about working with Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, noting "There's something very curious, by the way, I'm probably about 6'6" tall. I think she's about 6'3", but all the time I worked with her, I felt like she was taller than me. Now I don't really know what that has to do with it. It might be something to do with being confronted by a physically charismatic very tall woman, or maybe it's that she's caught the impressiveness of the character of that woman, that soldier. She's also an extraordinarily hilarious woman. We had great fun together. It was great fun to play."[3] Gwendoline Christie also spoke about filming with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who portrays Jaime Lannister, again, saying "I was excited, It was really fun to be with Nikolaj again, and I thought the way of which their reunion happens is not really expected. I just loved that it was so formal, because within the confines of such formality, and having to negotiate with each other, there are so many other stories begging to be told in those moments. There's a slow process of creeping familiarity among two people who haven't been together for a long time; it was allowed to build."[16] Coster-Waldau also spoke about their first reunion scene, stating "It's a great scene. These characters are so much about holding their cards so close to their chest and they don't want to reveal how they're feeling. But we know there's history between them, that this is more than two knights meeting. But they would never acknowledge that."[16]

Mylod, spoke about the decision to show Blackfish's death off screen, saying "there was a lot of tonal discussion about this, and I think I can safely speak for the writers that the choice was a conscious one in the writing not to see his actual death, because the emotional focus was really about the final moments between him and Brienne -- two warriors, two samurais, facing each other -- and Brienne's acknowledgment that this fellow samurai has chosen his moment, and this is his moment of dignity and choice of his death. So it was really about that moment of choice and the dignity and acceptance between these two great warriors, rather than the actual detail of his actual death. That was actually a tonal choice as to how we saw that character."[11]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"No One" was viewed by 7.60 million American households on its initial viewing on HBO, which was slightly less than the previous week's rating of 7.80 million viewers for the episode "The Broken Man".[17][18] The episode also acquired a 3.9 rating in the 18–49 demographic, making it the highest rated show on cable television of the night.[17] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.436 million viewers on Sky Atlantic, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week on its channel. It also received 0.113 million timeshift viewers.[19]

Critical reception[edit]

"No One" was received mostly positively by critics, who listed the conclusion of Arya's story with the Faceless Men, the reintroduction of the Brotherhood Without Banners, and Jaime's scheme to retake Riverrun as high points of the episode, but some critics described sequences in the episode as being anticlimactic.[20] It has received an 87% rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes from 47 reviews with an average score of 7.2/10.[21] The site's consensus reads ""No One" sees some fan favorites back in action and moves the final few pieces into place for a momentous – and long-awaited – battle."[21]

Matt Fowler of IGN wrote in his review for the episode, ""No One" may have given us a bloodless siege, but there were plenty of bloody moments, namely from the brothers Clegane, who were both awesomely brutal this week. Though not against one another, as it looks like, for now, the Cleganebowl's been canceled. I loved the end of Arya's arc along with Jaime's scheme to take Riverrun - though I'm curious to see what comes of the Tully angle. Brienne failed to get an army for Sansa and Jaime's just going to head back home now? It seems like there should be more to this that him just winning one for the Lannister name. Though regardless of what the payoff might be, it was still good to see how so much of this story tied back to the first three seasons and Jaime's time as Catelyn's prisoner."[20] He gave the episode an 8.2 out of 10.[20] Myles McNutt of The A.V. Club criticized the episode's momentum within the season, writing "The lack of momentum driving these stories is surprising to me given that the season has largely been doing a fine job with internal momentum." McNutt continued, "The show may have run into an unfortunate convergence of so many anti-climactic storylines in a single episode, but their very existence is a necessary byproduct of a narrative that is preparing to shed its skin and move forward with a new lease on life." Despite this, he gave the episode a grade of B-.[22] Erik Kain of Forbes wrote about the episode, "Not the greatest episode of the season, but I still didn't want it to end. Sometimes I realize that even an episode I have lots of complaints about manages to be some of the best television out there. Game of Thrones isn't always on the money, but even an off night can be surprisingly good."[23] James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly summarized the episode in his review by saying "Cheers, chills, and the sound of online fan theories imploding. "No One" delivered Jaime Lannister's finest scene in years, a thrilling chase, and set one Stark on an exciting new path."[24]

Jeremy Egner of The New York Times criticized the episode in his review, writing, "It's just not all that satisfying. After endless weeks of stick-beating and the events of last week, it all seemed a little too tidy," and additionally called Arya's story "anticlimactic."[25] However, Egner also praised the episode's continuation with the King's Landing story, as well as the follow up with Sandor Clegane and the Brotherhood Without Banners.[25] TV Guide's Damian Holbrook criticized as implausible the fact that Arya, after being stabbed multiple times in the previous episode by the Waif, was able to outrun and kill her faster, stronger nemesis in this episode.[26] Hanh Nguyen of Indiewire also felt the Riverrun sequence ended in an anticlimactic fashion as well.[27]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2016 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Maisie Williams as Arya Stark Nominated [28]
[29]
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister Nominated
Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Production Design for a Fantasy Program Deborah Riley, Paul Ghirardani, Rob Cameron Won
2017 ADG Excellence in Production Design Award One-Hour Single Camera Period Or Fantasy Television Series Deborah Riley Nominated [30]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c "Game of Thrones: Inside Sn 6 / Ep 8". HBO. June 12, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Schwartz, Terri (June 12, 2016). "Game of Thrones: Clive Russell on Brienne and the Blackfish's Connection". IGN. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ Wigler, Josh (June 12, 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Season 6 Kills Several Someones in 'No One'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b Stolworthy, Jacob (April 18, 2016). "Game of Thrones season 6: Character last seen in season 3 to make return". The Independent. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
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  8. ^ Wigler, Josh (June 14, 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Season 6 Kills Several Someones in "No One"". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  9. ^ Jay, Paul Cote (June 14, 2016). "Game of Thrones impressions land Steve Love a cameo on show". CBC. Archived from the original on August 20, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
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  18. ^ Porter, Rick (June 7, 2016). "Sunday cable ratings: 'Game of Thrones' back to usual numbers, 'Preacher' holds up". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (6 - 12 June 2016)". BARB. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b c Fowler, Matt (June 13, 2016). "Game of Thrones: "No One" Review". IGN. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  21. ^ a b ""No One" Game of Thrones: Season 6, Episode 8". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  22. ^ McNutt, Myles (June 12, 2016). "Game Of Thrones explores the paradox of "No One" (experts)". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  23. ^ Kain, Erik (June 12, 2016). "'Game Of Thrones' Season 6, Episode 8 Review: No One". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  24. ^ Hibberd, James (June 12, 2016). "Game of Thrones recap: 'No One'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2016. 
  25. ^ a b Egner, Jeremy (June 13, 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Season 6, Episode 8: I'm Still Me". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  26. ^ Holbrook, Damian (June 27, 2016). "Cheers & Jeers", TV Guide, p 84.
  27. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (June 12, 2016). "Review: 'Game of Thrones' Keeps The Violence Off-Screen As Battles Build". IndieWire. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  28. ^ Prudom, Laura (July 14, 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Rules 2016 Emmy Race With 23 Nominations". Variety. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2016. 
  29. ^ Prudom, Laura (July 14, 2016). "Creative Arts Emmy Awards Winners: 'Game Of Thrones' Leads Way On Night 1". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  30. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 5, 2017). "Art Directors Guild Awards Nominations: 'Rogue One', 'Game Of Thrones' & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 5, 2017. 

External links[edit]