So a lot went down in this episode of Game of Thrones, but WHO CARES, JON’S BACK. I’m so juiced, and while we all knew it was going to happen (which says something about the conviction of people who were forced to go through the Red Wedding), they really dragged it out to the point where even I almost second-guessed myself. Almost.
The fact that Jon is back changes a lot in Westeros, even if he’s only been dead for 2 episodes. For one, now that he died is he relieved from the Night’s Watch? We know Sansa is heading for Castle Black, so will we finally get a Stark reunion? Will they go get Rickon? Ramsay Bolton wants to go to Castle Black to kill Jon, so will Jon kill Ramsay? Will he take Winterfell? Will he head for King’s Landing and take care of the Lannisters? Will he meet up with Tyrion and Dany and flame all the white walkers??? SO MANY POSSIBILITIES!
But, alas, this is a recap where I talk about the entire episode, so let’s go through what went down and my thoughts. Jon is sure to pop back up in there somewhere.
Beyond the Wall
The episode opens with Bloodraven training Bran how to warg into the weirwood, which takes them back in time. Yes, on top of bringing Jon Snow back to life, this episode gave us TIME TRAVEL. I love this show so much. Anyway, we were taken back to Winterfell when Ned and Benjen were kids, a bit before Ned is to be taken to the Eyrie as a ward. While they are practice fighting, Ned says the same words to Benjen that Jon says on the Wall when training Olly, “keep your shield up, or I’ll ring your head like a bell.” This not only shows their close relationship, but gives us some reference to the present, which implies that Ned must have said the same thing to his sons at one point. The two boys are practicing when Lyanna (!!!) rides in on a horse and in clothes similar to the boys. In the books, there have been times when Ned has compared Arya to Lyanna, and here we see that this is true. She is not dressed in ladies’ clothes like Sansa would be. In addition to this insight, we see young Hodor, or Wylas as he was once called. He used to be able to talk, which begs the question, what happened to him? These are all interesting questions, and I’m glad we got right into it with Bran’s story – we don’t have to spend episodes watching him learn how to connect to the weirwood, by the time we get there he already can.
We also get Meera, who seems hopeless, most likely in part because of the death of her brother Jojen, but also because there is nothing for her to do. Bran tries to cheer her up, but Meera doesn’t listen to him. However, a child of the forest speaks with her, telling her that Bran still needs her, that “he’s not going to stay in there [with the Bloodraven] forever.” This is news, and opens up even more possibilities. Is he going farther north to stop the white walkers? Is he going back south to meet up with Jon, Sansa, and Rickon?
At the Wall, the Night’s Watch has cornered Davos and the others protecting Jon’s body. They are preparing to fight back when Edd comes back with the wildlings. The Watch, who are all cowards at this point, yields after the giant Wun Wun smashes the gate open and smashes one member of the watch against a wall (after he shot him). Ser Aliser is angry, telling the wildlings that Castle Black has never fallen for thousands of years. Tormund and Edd aren’t having it and lock up him, Olly, and the other members of the Watch who killed Jon.
I will admit, they made me a bit nervous when Tormund told them to burn Jon. I understand them not wanting him to come back a white walker, but JUST WAIT A BIT LONGER. Davos seemed to be thinking along the same lines, as he goes to Melisandre and asks if she can bring him back. It’s interesting to see him comforting her and asking her to do something that he once despised about her. It’s also interesting to see him begging her to bring Jon back of all people. While I obviously agree, I do find it telling that he asks her to bring back Jon and not to go find Stannis’s dead body and bring him back. As devoted as the two were to Stannis, it’s clear they both saw/see something in Jon specifically, seeing as neither of them have ever asked or tried to bring back any of the hordes of people who have died throughout this show. Anyway, Melisandre agrees and though her confidence is still low and she thinks that she’s failed JON COMES BACK AND IT IS SO LIT. Honestly, can someone fix my TARDIS/time turner/weirwood tree so I can jump forward in time to Sunday?
Back down in King’s Landing, Cersei is still struggling after her imprisonment in the Sept and the murder of her daughter. She has Zombie Clegane on the loose, smashing people who have her name in their mouths against walls. It was strange that Tommen wouldn’t allow Cersei to attend her own daughter’s funeral, and I wondered whether he was actually angry with her, but it turns out she isn’t allowed in the sept. However, after the funeral, he does go to speak with her, and they have a conversation that is really interesting, especially in juxtaposition with Joffrey. Tommen and Joffrey really are opposites, to the point where Tommen is afraid to go up against the Sparrows to save his mother and wife. It’s interesting that what Tommen actually needs is a bit of Joffrey in him, and what Joffrey needed was a bit of Tommen.
Jamie is keeping up with his new attitude of giving no fucks about anyone but himself, Cersei, and Tommen. He has a confrontation with the High Sparrow, who is scary because he’s so genuine. He seems like a kind man, but is so fully steeped in faith that his decisions can be just as cruel as anyone else’s. The number of followers he has is enough, he says, that “together we can overthrow an empire.” It’s such an interesting commentary and political stance on the wealthy vs. the poor. Too bad there are ice zombies to worry about. And honestly, that’s my only issue with the goings on in King’s Landing. Even though not everyone in the North is prepared for what’s about to come, there’s enough urgency up there with the real endgame, while the Lannisters are still too concerned with the people around them than the real threat.
Not only did this episode bring us Jon Snow and time travel, but it gave us DRAGONS. Honestly I just want to kiss this episode. While there are some real issues facing Meereen, including Astapor and Yunkai having gone back to their normal and continuing the enslavement of people since Dany has left, we get to see Tyrion go meet Rhaegal and Viserion! Peter Dinklage comes through with the usual brilliant acting, as Tyrion risks his life to try and gain the trust of the two dragons locked up beneath the pyramid. He tells them a story about how much he wanted a dragon as a kid and as he does, the dragons seem to be listening to him. He unchains them, though he leaves them in their prisons, so I’m assuming he’s taking baby steps. Obviously, the final step is for him to choose one to ride, go find Dany, and the two of them fly to the wall together where they present Jon with the final dragon. After which, of course, the three of them flame all the white walkers, Dany takes the Iron Throne, Tyrion Casterly Rock, and Jon Winterfell. Obviously.
We get another small glimpse of Arya in Braavos, as she gets smacked around by the waif again. However, the kindly man (aka not really Jaqen H’ghar) comes to get her, though even he is testing her, telling her that if she says her name that he will give her shelter, food, and her sight back. Arya doesn’t fall for it, telling him that “a girl has no name,” which allows her to go back the House of Black and White. While Arya’s time with them has been interesting, I’m curious what her final straw will be. Arya is not the most patient of people, and while she’s learning something she finds valuable, I’m curious how long she will be able to stand being smacked around. Also, I really can’t wait for her to become a faceless assassin who puts all the Lannisters out of their misery.
There’s also an interesting parallel between Arya and Bran’s story arcs. They are both being implored not to get attached to their pasts, to become people who do things for the greater good rather than their own gain. Honestly, it’s also very similar to Jon’s journey on the Wall. Come to think of it, there are a lot of institutions in this world that force people to forget themselves for the service of a larger cause.
We get a twist in Winterfell, one that I expected to happen but not so soon. Ramsay murders his father Roose after the birth of Roose’s baby. After becoming Lord Bolton, Ramsay gives his stepmother Walda and his new baby brother to the dogs (which I’m glad we didn’t actually have to see). This was the obvious next step for Ramsay, someone who only ever wanted power second to his father’s acceptance. This need for power finally overpowered the latter, and now Ramsay is free to do what he wants, that being going to Castle Black to kill Jon Snow so that no Starks can come for Winterfell. It’s interesting that he doesn’t seem concerned about Bran or Rickon, despite knowing that they are both alive. However, I can’t wait for Ramsay to ride for Castle Black only to get what’s coming for him. I hope Jon kills him in the most horrible way possible, or better yet, that Sansa kills him.
Speaking of Sansa, we know that Brienne and Pod are taking her to Castle Black, which I was worried about since Jon was still dead when they were discussing it. Now, as I’ve said above, I’m excited because we’ll finally get some Starks together! That is, unless they somehow give us another Red Wedding-type situation. Arya was SO CLOSE to joining her mother and brother then. Anyway, we’re coming towards the end of the story, so I don’t think there will be another twist like that. While Sansa thought that Theon was coming with them, he decides that he can’t face Jon after everything he’s done. While Sansa has forgiven him, it’s clear that Theon feels extreme remorse for what he’s done, but that he can’t face what he recognizes as justice. Now that Sansa is safe with Brienne, Theon decides that he will go back to Pyke. I’m glad we’re getting some redemption for Theon, and this plays into one of the major themes of Game of Thrones, that despite the horrible things these people do they are in fact human, have feelings, and can evolve.
More than just Theon is returning to Pyke. After learning that the Greyjoys have now lost Deepwood Motte – the last stronghold on land that they held – Yara argues with her father Balon about where their priorities should be. She argues that the Greyjoys are best fought on water, not on land, and that they can never hold the North. Balon, stubborn as ever, is ready to try again, but he never gets the chance. On his way across one of the bridges on Pyke, he meets his brother Euron, who has returned from being at sea. After they argue, Balon pulls a knife on him, but Euron throws him off the bridge. While Yara fully expects to be crowned the Queen of the Iron Islands, as her father intended, her uncle Aeron “Damphair” Greyjoy reminds her that this is not how the ironborn choose their leaders, which means there will be a Kingsmoot!
I love that this episode was already exciting before the Jon reveal. While I joke and say that’s the only thing I care about, this episode really was great as a whole, and while during the promotion the crew was unable to convincingly say that Jon was dead for good, the actual episodes did much better in playing with our emotions. This show is so good because there are so many moving pieces that we all know influence each other and will eventually come together in a battle of ice and fire, although honestly I really just want this to be the season of the Starks getting back together and getting back at everyone who wronged them, in addition to stopping all the white walkers. I’m so excited to see what’s coming next.