It has been a while since I made this statement, but make you have seen this week’s episode before reading this recap! Massive spoilers ahead, and I do not want to ruin some long awaited surprises.
The episode opens with a Bran scene, which marks his reintroduction to the series after taking Season 5 off, and we find him with the three-eyed raven warging out with the tree roots. What vision is he having? Well, he is back home at Winterfell, only it is years ago, and he is watching his father Ned as a boy spar with his uncle Benjen. They are soon joined by their sister Lyanna (aka the woman who sparked Robert’s rebellion), a character we had yet to see on the show. Also present is a young Hodor, who apparently was capable of saying things other than “Hodor” in his youth. (also, we see a young Nan, a character who exited the show very early in its run). The raven forces Bran to abandon the vision, claiming that he will drown if he stays immersed in it for too long. Bran asks Hodor about his youth, but unfortunately, the man in the present is still incapable of saying anything but “Hodor.” Meanwhile, Meera is tired of the cave and the wargs (and who wouldn’t be, after spending an entire season stuck in there), and she wants out. However, she is followed outside by one of the children of the forest, who reminds Meera that Bran will still need her once they venture back out into the world.
And back to Castle Black, where Thorne’s ultimatum is up, and he and the rest of his traitorous followers are arrayed outside of Sir Davros’s forces room, ready to pounce. Thorne warns that if they all come out peacefully there will be no need for bloodshed, but come on, this is ‘Game of Thrones,’ there is ALWAYS a need for bloodshed. Thorne and his men begin chopping down the door to the room, where Sir Davros and company draw their swords, ready to fight to the last man. Luckily for them, the Wildlings have answered their call right in that moment, returning with Edd and with the monstrous Wun Wun smashing through the gate to Castle Black, and killing the only man stupid enough to loose an arrow on him, in a great “hulk smash” type moment. Davros, Edd, and Tormund Giantsbane accept the surrender of the traitors, and throw the lot in the jail cells. Tormund then visits Jon’s body, and after a moment, says he is going to collect firewood to burn the body, they cannot have Jon becoming a White Walker after all.
Down at King’s Landing, Cersei is being ridiculed following her walk of Shame last season by one of the men who flashed his genitals at her, the man having a great time telling the story to his drinking buddies. He steps outside to pee and is confronted by the Mountain zombie, the man so drunk that when he turns to face his attacker he pees on the Mountain’s armor. With one violent move, the Mountain smashes the man’s head into a wall, instantly killing him, and restoring (I suppose) some small snippet of Cersei’s honor. Later that day, as she and the Mountain prepare to go to Myrcella’s funeral, they are stopped by Tommen’s forces, who claim the King does not want her returning to the Sept, for fear of what happened to her last time she was there. Cersei relents (which makes the guards opposing her very happy as they seem terrified of the Mountain). Tommen and Jaime attend the funeral, though, and Jaime wants to know why Tommen did not let his mother attend. Tommen admits his shame at not being able to do anything to help his mother or his wife when they were abducted by the High Septon, and Jaime urges his son to apologize to his mother. The High Sept himself enters then, and Jaime urges Tommen to leave so he can share some choice words with his sister’s tormentor. Jaime threatens to kill the holy man, but the High Septon has his own forces surrounding the two, a show of power to remind Jaime how his sister was so easily taken. Tommen does go to speak to his mother, and Cersei seems somewhat resigned to the fate of her last child. Still, he not only apologizes to her for what happened but then he asks her to help him be stronger and learn how to command, a request which she just might be able to help him with. (though she might have second thoughts if that means Tommen will save his wife from the religious nuts)
In Mereen, the remaining members of Dany’s inner circle are meeting to discuss their next move, now that their fleet has been destroyed. It seems the rest of Slaver’s Bay is back to business as usual under the Master’s control, and that Mereen is the last hold-out of Dany’s power. To make matters worse, Tyrion learns that the dragons have stopped eating, which is a problem for a Queen whose main title is the mother of Dragons. Tyrion explains that Dragons cannot be kept in captivity, that is how they died out the first time around, and decides that he will free them himself. He and Varys approach the vault of the pyramid where the dragons are being kept, and it is clear that Tyrion is having second thoughts. He alone heads down the steps to approach the dragons, and when they spot him, there are some unsettling moments where it is unclear whether the beasts are going to listen to him or eat him. Tyrion vary calmly tells a story about his youth and his love for stories of dragons, and how he wept when he learned they were gone from this world. The dragons seem to understand that he is an ally, and allow him to get close, a trust which Tyrion rewards by unchaining both of the dragons, and setting them loose. They allow him to depart in peace, but it is clear that Tyrion is still very uncomfortable, commenting to Varys on the way out to punch him in the face if he ever has another idea like that.
Arya is visited by the Waif once more, and while she is struggling valiantly to fight back against her, she still cannot figure out how to fight while blind. The Waif does not believe her when she says “I am no one,” and Arya begins swinging wildly at her surroundings, unaware that the Waif is gone. Fortunately for her Jaqen appears, and tests her devotion by offering her a warm bed, food, and the restoration of her eye sight, and all she has to do is admit who she is. Despite the temptations, Arya stands strong, and says “I am no one.” Satisfied that she is learning, Jaqen takes her back to the House of Black and White, saying she is no longer a beggar on the streets.
In the woods outside of Winterfell, Sansa and Brienne speak on all that has happened, with Brienne assuring her that Arya is alive, and looking well, and Sansa admitting that she should have gone with Brienne the first time the woman offered her services. Sansa and Theon then speak on the plan to go to Castle Black to seek refuge with Jon, but Theon is worried that Jon will kill him on the spot. Sansa assures him that if he takes the black all his crimes will be forgiven, but Theon does not want to be forgiven, he wants to find a way to make it up to the Starks all the damages he caused them. He says he will return “home” (back to Pyke) but from there, who knows how he will make up for what he has done.
At Winterfell itself, Ramsay is berated by Roose for losing Sansa and Theon again, as Ramsay lays out a plan to head to Castle Black and take back Sansa, and kill Jon Snow in the process to secure their place in the North. Roose basically tells him no, right before their Maester arrives and informs them that Lady Walda had her baby, and it is a boy. Roose turns back to Ramsay and declares that Ramsay will always be his first-born, but that clearly is not enough to the former bastard, as he pulls out a knife and stabs his father through the heart. Next, he orders the Maester to bring him Lady Walda and the child and to tell everyone else that Roose died of enemy poison. The Maester is completely cowed by Ramsay and does as ordered, with Lady Walda and her newborn meeting the new Lord Bolton in the main yard of Winterfell. Ramsey leads her into the dog kennel (which she foolishly walks right into, no questions asked) and announces that he is now Lord Bolton, and that he preferred being an only child, all while he opens the kennel gates. Lady Walda begs him to let her flee back to the Riverlands, but Ramsay does not like loose ends, and he sicks the dogs on her and his little brother, killing them both in an insanely violent manner.
Over in Pyke (the home that Theon wants to return to), King Balon (the last king of the War of the 5 Kings) is meeting with Yara, musing about how they have lost all of their holdings on the mainland. He still demands that they go back to war, but Yara sees it as futile. Balon leaves and is crossing one of the rickety bridges of his castle when he is met by his brother Euron, who we learn was driven mad during a storm at sea, and cut out the tongues of his crew so he could have silence. Euron is clearly back to claim the throne for his own, but Balon is not willing to give it up. They fight, and Balon finally joins the other 5 kings in death. Following that, the Iron born hold a funeral for their deceased king (no one saw Euron throw him from the bridge), and Yara swears to get revenge on whoever killed her father. We also learn that Yara is not the successor just yet, as the new king is chosen during a kind of Kingmoot, and she will be going up against her uncle Euron for the title (which has never before been held by a woman).
Finally, at Castle Black, Davros visits Melissandre and asks her about her power to bring people back from the dead. It is a gift she has heard of before, but she has never done it, and her confidence at the moment is a little shaken, with her even telling Davros that she might be a fraud because none of her visions have come true. He encourages her to try, saying that despite everything she still made him believe in miracles, and they could really use one at the moment. So, with Ghost, Tormund, and Davros watching, Melissandre prepares to revive Jon Snow, stripping him down to a loin cloth and cleaning all of his wounds, then giving him a haircut and tossing the hair into the flames. She then stands over him, hands on his chest, chanting magical words (I’m guessing here) over and over again, waiting for the man to wake up. After a number of attempts, it seems the spell is not working, and they all lose hope, exiting the room one by one. Not long after, we see Ghost look up, and we know something good is about to happen. Just before the episode cuts to black for the end credits, Jon’s eyes snap open, and he gasps as life returns to his once broken body.
GAMES OF THEORIES:
– I’m thinking the story of how “Hodor” became Hodor is going to be grim and heartbreaking, and most likely seen in one of Bran’s flashbacks. As for the flashbacks themselves, I sincerely hope this will be the show’s way of catching us up on all of the backstories of Westeros that we got in the books, but the show did not have time yet to delve into.
– The Melissandre curse from seasons ago is finally complete, as Balon has finally joined, Joffrey, Robb, Stannis, and Renly in death. Clearly she has more power than she originally thought (well, that and her ability to bring people back from the dead)
– So his eyes are not white, so we know Jon is not a White Walker but is there a chance there might be something wrong with him? A piece of his soul missing perhaps? Either way, I cannot wait to see the looks on the faces of the Night’s Watch when they see him up and about again.
– Will the death of Ramsey Bolton be cheered more than the death of Joffrey Baratheon? Joffrey was cruel and evil but in a childish way. Ramsey is the devil, and I cannot help but hope that he gets one of the most gruesome deaths the show has ever seen, as he has done some despicable things. Wouldn’t it be great if Theon got to kill him? That would definitely be a great way to redeem him for all his crimes.
Anyone else feel like we are in some alternate reality where things are actually hopeful on ‘Game of Thrones?’ Arya might be able to get her sight back, Sansa is now protected by Brienne and on her way to meet Jon at Castle Black, Jon Snow came back from the dead! What worries me is that ‘Thrones’ is never this hopeful, and it makes me think that the beginning of Season 6 might just be all about building up that fragile house of cards making us think everything is going to be ok, and then knocking it all down with something horrible at the end of the season. (Yes, I know, that Bolton storyline is still as dark and disturbing as anything else we have seen on ‘Thrones,’ but still). Definitely looking forward to the next episode when everyone realizes Jon Snow is alive, and we might actually get to see him reunite with his sister. See you back here next week!