“Do you know of any magic that could help him? Bring him back? … I’m asking the woman who showed me that miracles exist. … Have you ever tried?”
Well well! Hopefully you actually watched Game of Thrones on time last night OR avoided the Internet like the plague until you actually had time to catch it, because Jon Snow is back, bitches, or at least some version of Jon Snow, and that news was inescapable after about 9:54 p.m. last night. Sorry if you got spoiled, like our Punch Drunk Critic head honcho Travis Hopson did, but I’ve been saying Jon Snow is coming back for a year, so ... sucks for you.
What else happened in last night’s second episode of season six, “Home”? Other stuff besides Jon Snow’s resurrection did, in fact, occur! And most of it was bloody and gory and silly, in typical Game of Thrones fashion. There were a few legitimate HOLY SHIT moments, though, especially for me as a Book Reader (capitalized for maximum douchiness), so let’s discuss.
+ “The former Lord Commander.” “Does he have to be?” Traitor Alliser Thorne was right when he said “Nobody needs to die tonight,” but he didn’t know how right—Jon Snow doesn’t need to die, so Melisandre brought him back. Alliser Thorne and maximum child asshole Olly are now doubly screwed since they’re thrown in the Wall’s cells and the man they assassinated is back to life, but how much of Jon Snow really is Jon Snow?
Don’t forget that Beric Dondarrion, leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners who was brought back by Red Priest Thoros of Myr, noted that each time he came back from the dead—six times in total—another little part of himself faded away. His memory was gone piece by piece, and if the person you’ve brought back from the dead doesn’t even remember who they are, what’s the point?
But that’s not where we are yet with Jon Snow—not quite. His death brought together the wildlings and the Night’s Watch loyal to Jon Snow, and it’s clear that Dolorous Edd and Tormund Giantsbane are united in their affection and respect for the Stark bastard. But what will his resurrection do? Perhaps it will reverse Melisandre’s loss of confidence (“Everything I believed … all of it was a lie. … The Lord never spoke to me”) and certainly it has delighted Ghost, who had this adorable reaction to his best friend’s return:
Do you, Ghost.
+ “They were all so happy.” “So were you, once.” After a season without Bran, we get a glimpse into his training with the Three-Eyed Raven—too brief a glimpse, if you ask me. “Greenseeing” is the act of seeing the past, or even the present, by traveling through plant life, and so technically what the Three-Eyed Raven and Bran are doing is using the weirwood in Winterfell to go back in time and see the childhood of Bran’s father, Ned, and his siblings, Benjen (the Night’s Watch ranger who disappeared all those seasons ago beyond the Wall), and Lyanna (the sister who was kidnapped, supposedly, by Dany's older brother Rhagaer Targaryen, sparking Robert’s Rebellion and the downfall of Targaryen rule).
“My father never talks about her,” Bran notes of Lyanna, and it’s true that the sister who sparked a war and the end of a family is somewhat undiscussed in the world of the show. But she’s tremendously important, and Bran’s ability to travel through time now gives us the ability to see way more flashbacks—like the one teased in the previews for next week, at the Tower of Joy, which was where Lyanna was being held and where Robert and Ned went to save her. There have been MANY RUMORS about Lyanna and what happened at the Tower of Joy, and it will be great to see that play out onscreen.
So yeah, Bran is still seeing, Meera is worried about what they’re doing, and the Children of the Forest are still hanging around, encouraging Meera to have in faith in Bran’s training. “It’s not safe anywhere,” Meera says, but she really has no idea.
+ “You raised me to be strong, but I wasn’t. … Help me.” Not much to say about this awful Lannister storyline, so I’ll keep it short: Tommen realizes that he’s weak as hell; he’s encouraged by Jaime, who is finally acting like a father figure, to seek help from Cersei (WHY? WHY!); Tommen apologizes to his mother and asks for her guidance in facing off against the High Septon and the Faith Militant.
Now, here’s my question: WHAT GUIDANCE COULD CERSEI POSSIBLY GIVE? She saw herself outsmarted and outplayed by the High Septon. She allowed the Faith Militant to gain all this power, essentially under her nose, and doesn’t have the manpower to fight them off. Jaime and Cersei are back together now (“They’re not putting your mother in a cell, never again, not while I’m here,” proclaims Jaime, in the exact opposite move of what book Jaime did, because I CANNOT with this storyline), but Jaime is limited in his power, too, as we saw with his faceoff against the High Septon.
So yeah, when Tommen asks, “If I can’t even protect my own wife or my own mother, what good am I?”, I’m inclined to agree. It’s great to have zombie Mountain Ser Robert Strong on your side, but he can’t kill everyone, and even he was Qyburn’s idea, not Cersei’s. Given all that, Tommen turning to Cersei for help certainly feels … misguided.
+ “I don’t mock the Drowned God. I am the Drowned God. … I am the storm, Brother. The first and the last. And you’re in my way.” Hey, Euron! Bye, Balon! Theon’s and Yara’s father takes a tumble from a rope bridge this episode, thrown over the edge by younger brother Euron, who enters the Game of Thrones with a murder already under his belt.
Who is Euron? Well, as he himself told Balon, he’s FUCKING CRAZY, a heartless, remorseless motherfucker of a pirate who cut out his crew’s tongues and who has his eyes on the Salt Throne. In the books, Euron is nicknamed the “Crow’s Eye” and is vicious and unpredictable, excellent at mindgames and supposedly trained in some dark magic. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that storyline the show adapts, especially as we go into the Kingsmoot, in which the inhabitants of the Iron Islands pick their next ruler.
Where does all this leave Yara, who recently told her father that all of their mainland strongholds have now been taken back, meaning their insurrection and attempt to take over parts of the North is essentially over? Well, she doesn’t know Euron is back, nor does she know that he was responsible for killing her father, nor does she know that Theon is still alive and has left Sansa, Brienne, and Pod in an attempt to return home to the Iron Islands. Yara’s eyes are on the Salt Throne, too, but as the Drowned God priest tells her, “Perhaps you’ll win. And perhaps not.” And so our election coverage of the Kingsmoot begins!
+ “I am their friend.” “Do they know that?” Over in Meereen, Tyrion makes some new friends in the form of Viserion and Rhaegal, unchaining Dany’s two remaining dragon children and earning their trust in the process.
I have a lot of shrugs about this whole storyline—why would Tyrion even ask Missandei if the dragons know her and like her, but then not take her into the pyramid with him, as a sign that he was trustworthy?—and I still feel like Tyrion hasn’t done much in Meereen until now, but this is a major step forward. Let’s not forget the prophecy from Dany’s time in Qarth: The dragon has three heads.
+ “Where is Lord Bolton?” Oh, Roose Bolton! You terrible, horrible man, who died at the hands of his own terrible, horrible son. I must admit I am PRETTY SHOCKED that this went down, especially because last week I was all talking up Roose’s extreme game-playing skills and disparaging Ramsay’s ruthlessness. But I guess I underestimated even Ramsay, who kills his father, unites some of the Northern houses behind him, and then feeds his stepmother Walda Frey and his newborn half-brother to his wild dogs. Touche!
As we know, patricide, and family killing in general, is a big deal in Westeros, but this episode is full of it. Euron kills older brother Balon. Ramsay kills father Roose. Remember when Tyrion killed Tywin, and that was a huge deal? It feels like a ripple effect has gone on since then, and everyone is getting caught up in it.
Two interesting things, though: That Ramsay kills Roose the same way Roose killed Robb Stark, with a knife under the ribs, and that even Roose is aghast at the idea of the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch being murdered: “You’d unite every house in the North against us,” he warns Ramsay. But who in the North will stand up to Ramsay now? (Clue: It’s clearly Sansa. It’s obviously Sansa. Just saying.)
And some odds and ends:
+ “Jon Snow’s a bastard, not a Stark.” Stop trolling, Roose!
+ Davos continues to be the fixer of the Wall, helping organize the wildling uprising, coaxing Melisandre into trying her hand at bringing Jon Snow back to life, and basically being a badass. If Game of Thrones were The Godfather, Davos would clearly be Tom Hagen, Consigliere.
+ “Fuck him, then. Fuck all of them. I’m not a devout man, obviously…” I must say that I prefer Davos’s proclamations of “fuck” to Jaime’s “fuck prophecy,” probably because show Jaime is so damn annoying.
+ Maximum points to giant Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg, who smashed that Night’s Watch member like a child having a tantrum. You really thought shooting a GIANT with an ARROW was a good choice, dude? You deserve that gruesome death, bye.
+ ROT IN THOSE CELLS FOREVER, OLLY, YOU ANNOYING TWAT.
+ I liked the Three-Eyed Raven’s warning to Bran about spending too much in the past: “It is beautiful beneath the sea, but if you stay too long, you drown.” Any other book readers reminded of Shireen’s clown, Patchface, and his warnings about the sea?
+ “Hodor talks!” Oh, Wylis. What happened to you?
+ FEELINGS about Robb and Catelyn Stark showing up in the “previously on” section.
+ Tommen clearly has a better understanding of Cersei than Jaime does: “Your mother wouldn’t do that,” Jaime says when Tommen admits he thought Cersei killed Trystane. “Yes, she would.”
+ Is the High Septon Westeros’s religious version of Bernie Sanders?! “Every one of us is poor and powerless, and yet together we can overthrow an empire.”
+ Eyeroll at Tyrion’s continued dick humor: “He makes dwarf jokes, I make eunuch jokes.” Yeah, yeah. We know.
+ Anyone else feel like Tyrion’s “I’m friends with your mother” to Viserion and Rhaegal was some straight shit a guy trying to get in good with a single mom would say to her distrustful kids?
+ “A girl is not a beggar anymore.” Arya’s continuing her training after she refuses to give a name to maybe-Jaqen after being beaten up by the Waif yet again. Great! Let’s keep Braavos moving!
+ Sometimes Game of Thrones dialogue sounds exactly like those taglines the Real Housewives have. Euron’s is totally “When men see my sails, they pray,” and Tyrion’s is totally “I drink, and I know things.”
+ Cheesiest dialogue of the week goes to Ramsay with “I prefer being an only child,” in response to Walda’s terrified “He’s your brother!” That is some real bratty writing.
+ Things I wish the show had kept from the books: That Balon’s death is mysterious and unsolved, and the confusion surrounding it is another sign of Melisandre’s powers (since one of the leeches with Gendry’s blood that she threw in the fire was for Balon Greyjoy, and his death afterward seems like a reflection of her immense abilities), and that the main Drowned God priest is another one of Balon’s brothers, Aeron, who is also terrified of Euron. That would have given his conversation with Yara more heft, no?
+ And finally, from the teaser clip for next week: “They think you’re some kind of God” is said about Jon Snow; Arya fights the Waif (GODDAMMIT, AGAIN?!), someone brings a “gift” to Ramsay, Dany arrives at Vaes Dothrak, and we get the long-awaited flashback to the Tower of Joy. See you all then!