This discussion of Game of Thrones will contain spoilers and will not take the books into consideration.
We are done reacclimatizing ourselves to the season. Death and rebirth and madness are coming for everyone once again. Where last week the show thought a lot about loci of power, episode two is about new beginnings, as implied by the title of the episode. “Home.”
Willis could talk. Or Hodor could talk.
Either way, Bran returned to the show after taking a season off and he was given a look at the Winterfell of his father’s youth by the three-eyed raven. Bran figures to be a prominent piece of the show again, but is barely around. But it feels significant that he’s seeing his father as a boy and that he’s starting to see a little more of what Hodor once was, before whatever hodor’d Hodor hodored him.
Bran’s trip back “home” is the perfect metaphor for the kind of “home” that the characters in the episode come upon. It’s a home that is familiar and feels close to a homecoming, but isn’t a home they’re quite able to grasp and hang onto. It’s not the home they think it is.
2. The Mountain / Cersei’s Power Returns
Cersei seems more at home, collecting power again. Despite preventing her from Myrcella’s funeral, Tommen comes to her and asks her forgiveness for not using his power to protect her. Jamie is back on her side.
And importantly, she has Zombie Mountain to help her gain power. He crushes a drunk man’s skull near the beginning of the episode in a horrifying scene.
It’s actually a significant moment that shows her power quite neatly. It’s not so much his brute force that reveals her power, but that if a man tells a story about her, she knows. The whispers and information are coming back to her, and in King’s Landing that is a source of power.
3. Tyrion and the Dragons
Tyrion isn’t home, but gives the dragons a new beginning in an amazing scene where he befriends and frees the dragons left behind after Daenerys has been taken away.
Outside of the final moment of this week’s episode, Tyrion may have the two best scenes of the season so far.
4. A Bolton Dies
Holy shit. Ramsey is a full blown pyscho. That’s full Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son levels of horrible.
Last week we talked about how Ramsey’s mistakes with Theon and Sansa might come back to haunt him in the wake of some things his father Roose says in the season premiere.
Not so sure about that any more. Or, at least, it’s changed.
After murdering his father, the whole plan of the Bolton’s taking the North falls on his shoulders. The mistakes he’s made could still cost him the North, but Roose won’t be there to say, “I told you so.”
One of the more interesting things about Ramsey that we see really clearly here is that he is as sadistic as Joffrey, but very calculated. He clearly has an alliance set with the Karstarks. When he stabs Roose, the Karstark present isn’t surprised at all. There was a plan in place here.
5. The Iron Islands, Were Happiness is a Bleak Memory
Things are always so bleak in the Iron Islands. Theon tells Sansa he’s going “home.” **Ding ding ding. You said the magic word.** Then we see “home.”
His sister is trying to stop her father Balon Greyjoy from doing more dumb things. He acts dumb. Goes out on a rope bridge in a storm, because everyone in the Iron Islands lives under the mistaken impression that they’re invincible. He meets his brother (that’s Euron, say hi, he’ll be back), who also thinks he’s invincible, and then the king dies.
Hope the Kingsmoot goes somewhere interesting.
6. No One
Still just dabbling in Arya’s story. But the little blind girl is headed somewhere now.
Her presence gives us a lot more Stark in a single episode than we’ve had in a long time. Jon, Sansa, Arya and Bran in a single episode. Plus the flashback with Ned, Benjen and Lyanna.
7. Jon Snow!
And the only thing anyone really wants to talk about: Jon Snow. (Or maybe you’d like to talk about the little nugget packed in there that you forgot about: Deepwood Motte has been reclaimed. No?)
Anyhow, Jon Snow. It happened. It really, really happened. He’s a real boy.
While no one knows it yet when the episode ends, Melisandre is able to resurrect Jon. He’s back, the wildlings came to defend him against his betrayers, and his betrayers are imprisoned.
I know I said we aren’t talking about the books, but the shift from Thoros and Beric Dondarrion to using the Red Priestess and Snow is pretty neat. It’s a clean use of the characters already available to start touching on some of the same actions and storylines.
Things are about to get very interesting on the Wall.
RELATED: 7 Thoughts on Game of Thrones S6E1