Game of Thrones “Home”

Game of Thrones S6E2 “Home”

After last week’s slower paced season premiere, “Home” was under pressure to move the stories scattered across Westeros and Essos along, and it succeeds at this. Much like “The Red Woman”. “Home” is an episode where we end up checking in almost everywhere, but “Home” makes improvements in that most of the featured story lines go beyond just check ins and are scenes that drive the show forward as we steer closer and closer to the conclusion of this series. In “Home”, Bran makes his return and we get a fascinating look at his training, a change in power and resurrection happen at Castle Black, Ramsay becomes Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, House Greyjoy makes its return, Jaime is thwarted, Arya is rewarded, and Tyrion makes an interesting decision. Let’s jump right in.

We’ll start up beyond the wall where Bran makes his long awaited return to the show. Bran and the three eyed raven travel to Winterfell in the past, where Bran sees a young Ned, his uncle Benjen, and his aunt Lyanna. He even sees Hodor whose real name is Wylis and is intellectually fine at this point in time. Bran wants to spend a whole lot more time here but the three eyed raven brings them back to the present and tells his apprentice that while staying in the past may be tempting, he’ll lose himself if he stays in the past long enough. While Bran gets to use greensight all day, Meera finds herself frustrated that all she gets to do is sit around a tree and do nothing all day. Leaf, one of the few remaining children of the forest, tells Meera that she is very important because one day Bran will leave this cave and he still won’t be able to walk. Hard to argue that, but I see where Meera is coming from. Fun activities that far beyond the wall seem slim pickings, I’d probably get frustrated too.

At Winterfell, Lord Karstark, Ramsay, and Roose discuss the failed attempt at finding Sansa Stark. Roose is far from happy but Ramsay offers a solution. Ramsay figures that Sansa will go to her brother Jon at Castle Black so Ramsay suggests they storm Castle Black to take her back. Roose is again appalled at Ramsay. Most of the north already strongly opposes them and they’ll only lose even more respect if they were to attack Castle Black. Roose ends his little speech by telling Ramsay that he’s gotten far too crazy and that leaves their position very unstable. If Ramsay doesn’t clean up his act, Roose will name his soon to be child his heir.

Speaking of that new heir, Maester Wolkan enters the hall and informs the group that Roose’s wife has just given birth and it is indeed a boy. This is a big turning point for Ramsay as he gets pushed into a corner here. His antics have left his claim to Winterfell very shaky and now with Roose having a lawful son, his status is dangerously close to being wiped out. Instead of taking his chances with these circumstances, Ramsay takes things into his own hands by stabbing his father through the heart, and making Maester Wolkan inform the other lords that Roose was poisoned by his enemies. Not wanting to leave any loose ends, Ramsay leads his step mother and new baby brother into the kennels where he lets the hounds feast on them, destroying House Bolton. As the sole member of House Bolton, Ramsay finds himself the Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North. Things are likely to get crazy up north now. As cold blooded as Roose was, he was at least a tactician who thought every move through. Roose is right, Ramsay is a hot head and he’s prone to not think before he acts. With no one there to restrain Ramsay, things are certainly going to get interesting.

Still heading north are Sansa and her group, who are on their way to Castle Black. Sansa receives a piece of good news along with a piece of bad news. The good news is that Sansa learns that her sister Arya is alive when Brienne recounts to Sansa the time she ran into Arya. Not too long ago, Sansa thought she was the last Stark, now three of her siblings are out there, that’s a major reason to keep on going. The bad news is that Theon will not be accompanying them to Castle Black. Theon pulls Sansa away to let her know this and he says he can’t take the black because that makes your crimes forgiven, while he should never be able to have his crimes against the Starks forgiven. Theon asks for one of the horses and Sansa allows it, asking where he’ll go. “Home” he says, as the two share a final embrace.

As you recall, home for Theon is Pyke on the Iron Islands and “Home” gives us our first scene in Pyke in a very long time. Yara reads a letter to her father Balon that confirms the last of their mainland strongholds have been retaken by the northerners. Yara looks at this as the perfect time to give up the war effort as there is no civil war to leave the northerners exposed anymore and all the northern strongholds are very far inland, significantly weakening the odds that the Ironborn could hold these strongholds anyway. Balon isn’t hearing any of it though and insists that while he is king, she will follow his orders and he fully intends to try and invade the north again. Balon leaves the hall and tries to cross the bridge over to another tower but is stopped in his tracks by the surprise return of his brother Euron. Euron has a bit of a reputation for being crazy and he’s sailed all around the world. It seems odd that Euron would have returned at this point but he has his reasons. Euron tells Balon that he’s ruled the Iron Islands for far too long and it’s now someone else’s turn (him) to rule. As Euron gets closer, Balon tries to stab him but Euron is quicker and stronger than his older brother, and manages to throw Balon over the bridge down to his death. At the funeral the next day, an angered Yara vows revenge on her father’s killer and says she will use every resource available to her as Queen of the Iron Islands. Yara’s uncle, Aeron “Damphair” Greyjoy reminds her that Ironborn do line of succession differently. The salt throne will not just be handed to her, there will be a kingsmoot (an election) to decide who will next rule the Iron Islands. Yara vs Euron seems to be the likely clash here, I wonder who will win.

King’s Landing gets some more screen time than it did in the premiere, but I’ll admit these scenes kind of felt like check ins. The first scene shows off undead Mountain’s strength, as he smashes the skull of a man who exposed himself to Cersei in her walk of shame with a single throw against the wall. In the second, Jaime and Tommen mourn Myrcella at her funeral. Tommen has not allowed Cersei to attend and Jaime tells Tommen to go apologize to his mother for that. After he leaves, the High Sparrow enters and Jaime threatens to kill him for what he did to Cersei. The High Sparrow isn’t scared by the threat, and even posts his guards far enough where they wouldn’t be able to save him if Jaime went through with his threat. Jaime gets unnerved when the High Sparrow mentions their strength in numbers and belief in one cause. Together, he and his followers have the power to overthrow empires. Lastly, Tommen does go to his mother and apologizes for not allowing her to attend Myrcella’s funeral. Tommen says he was fearful the faith militant would arrest her again if she came to funeral so he figured it be safer for her not to go. Tommen then admits that he’s tired of being afraid and wants to learn to be brave like her. Cersei embraces her son afterward and tells him she’ll always help him.

In Braavos, Arya’s days as a beggar have reached their end. The Waif makes good on her promise and returns to fight Arya again. And again, Arya is quickly defeated. The Waif leaves as Jaqen arrives and Jaqen tempts Arya, asking her to say her name in exchange for shelter, food, and then her vision. Each time Arya replies that she has no name. Satisfied, Jaqen tells Arya to follow him and tells her that she is no longer a beggar. Will she get her sight back too? I hope so, Arya doesn’t seem to be making any kind of noticeable strides in blind combat and watching the Waif easily beat her up might get tiring if it continues to be a regular occurrence.

In Meereen, the small council of sorts that includes Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, and Missandei discuss issues facing the city. Tyrion is told that Astapor and Yunkai have returned to their slaver ways, leaving Meereen as the only free city in Slaver’s Bay. Tyrion worries that Meereen will look weak if they don’t do anything and enquires about the dragons. He is informed that the two dragons haven’t ate since Dany left the city. Tyrion recalls reading about the Targaryen dragons and that the last of the dragons were also captive and because of it, they were incredibly small and weak compared to their free range ancestors. Tyrion decides to take a visit to the catacombs to release the two dragons from their chains. Tyrion nervously walks closer to them, hoping that they understand that he is their friend. Tyrion succesfully unchains one of the dragons and sees that dragons are actually quite smart, as the second dragon presents Tyrion his neck so he can undo his chain as well. Tyrion frees the second dragon and heads back to the exit, telling Varys to not let him do anything that stupid ever again. The dragons are still inside the catacombs, but they at least have free range now so it’s an improvement.

At Castle Black, night has arrived and time is running out for Davos and the loyalists to accept Thorne’s offer. Thorne asks one more time and Davos tells him that they have decided to refuse the offer. Thorne gives the signal and a brother starts tearing through the door with a hammer as Davos and the loyalists draw their swords in preparation for a fight. They’re not going to get a fight though because Edd has returned just in time with the wildlings, including Tormund and Wun Wun. There technically is a fight between the wildlings and the mutineers but once Wun Wun shows what a giant can do to a human, the mutineers are forced to yield. Edd orders the mutineers to be arrested and the loyalists seize Castle Black.

With order being restored, Davos goes to Melisandre and asks a favor of her. Davos asks Melisandre if there’s any way that she can bring Jon back to life. While she admits she’s seen it done before, Mel admits she herself has never done it and doesn’t seem to be up for it anyway given her recent disappointments in her religion. Davos tells her to forget the Lord of Light and tells her he’s not asking the lord of light to do this, he’s asking her, the person who has made him a believer in miracles. Davos ultimately convinces Mel to try the resurrection ritual and Davos, Edd, and Tormund gather in the room to watch. Being a rookie and a shaken one at that has its effect, as she does the ritual much slower than Thoros did in season three and it seems as though it doesn’t work as she says the final words and Jon does nothing. One by one, everyone leaves the room, Davos leaving last. In a now empty room, the depressed Ghost happily rises to a stand, possibly sensing what’s about to happen. Jon suddenly awakes and gasps for air! While I was pretty sure he’d come back to life, it’s great to get that confirmation and Jon can get back to business. Welcome back Jon Snow.

Other Thoughts

Obviously there’s plenty of questions to ask about Jon. When Beric was resurrected, he admitted the process changes you and you begin to lose yourself. How much will this affect Jon? The big question in my book is will Jon be allowed to leave the night’s watch now? The vow literally says that one’s watch won’t end until their death. He did die so his oath is technically completed. I doubt there’s much historical precedence for this and I think he’ll leave because he’s still Lord Commander. He’ll probably kill the mutineers and then leave, who would oppose him at that point?

I wonder if we’ll get more clarity on greensight. By the looks of it, Bran and the three eyed raven are basically ghosts in these visions. Doesn’t look like they can be seen but can they be heard, or maybe even change anything? Time travel is always a tricky thing to pull off so it’d be safer if he can’t alter the past but who knows for sure if Bran can or not.

Olly might be the bravest mutineer of all. He was the only one to try to attack once Wun Wun showed what he could do. Or maybe he’s just stupid. He got lucky Tormund pushed him instead of drawing his weapon.

Speaking of Wun Wun, what the hell was that archer thinking? One crossbow shot is going to kill a giant? Nope, but it will piss him off and make him throw you against a wall to your painful death.

People of King’s Landing, you’re on watch. I know most of you don’t like Cersei, but don’t go around trash talking her anymore. The Mountain is out there looking for you to do so, and will punish you.

Maesters are assigned to be loyal to castles, not lords. So imagine how unlucky Maester Wolkan had to be to draw Winterfell? Roose probably won’t do anything to you, but he’s far from a pleasant man. Ramsay though? Wolkan better write that letter informing the northern lords that Roose was poisoned by his enemies. Who knows what Ramsay will do to him if he doesn’t?

Tyrion rarely has “cute moments” but recalling Tyrion as a child asking his uncle for a dragon, a small one just like him, was cute. Dany’s dragons aren’t small, but even still, Tyrion might get to ride one of them one day. That would be a pretty cool childhood dream to see realized.

What happened to Hodor? Why is he the way he is now? Showing him as once being normal leads me to believe we’re going to find out.

The Ironborn really should further value architecture and engineering. Pyke is their greatest castle and the thing has those scary wooden rope bridges everywhere. If I was Balon, my first order would have been to make some more stable bridges.

“Home” is a busy but well-paced episode that gets season six heading in the right direction, highlighted by the resurrection of Jon Snow. 

Grade A-

 

 

 

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