Spoiler Alert: The following discusses plot points from Sunday night's Game of Thrones Season 6 episode, "Home".
This week, Bran returns (after missing a season) and he's training with the Three-Eyed Raven, experiencing vision quests that seem to provide context about things that occurred before his birth, including seeing his father, Ned, aunt Lyanna and a normal Hodor as children. Meanwhile, at Castle Black, Jon Snow is still dead and Ser Davos is desperate enough to ask Melisandre if there's anything she can finagle with magic to change the Lord Commander's status to dead no more. In King's Landing, King Tommen Baratheon apologizes to his mother for throwing her under the shame bus and asks for her help in making him worthy of his crown. In Meereen, Tyrion becomes a dragon whisperer and unshackles Viserion and Rhaegal to gain their favor. And in Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton pulls the ultimate power move on Roose Bolton.
As always, there was a lot of business to unpack in "Home," but the resurrection's finally out of the bag -- Jon Snow lives! Now, just how he lives remains to be revealed, but after two hours of lying prone on a plank, Kit Harington got to take the most cathartic breath of relief for all of us. Yes, it was no surprise that Snow would wake -- this is a world with magic and dragons -- but the consequences are sure to be fascinating.
Arguably, the next best sequence was Tyrion growing some giant-sized brass ones in an attempt to make the most useful allies he can imagine: Dany's dragons, chained up in the cellar. As always, Dinklage is just masterful with both his comedic timing ("Next time, punch me in the face") and his ability to utterly sell the moment of Tyrion laying eyes, and hands, on the creatures his childhood self wished he could see beyond all else. Plus ... come on with that dragon CGI. It's beyond movie awesome. If the Dragonslayer team could have imagined these guys 30 years ago, Vermithrax-schmermithrax.
I was a fan of Jamie finally meeting the humble High Sparrow in the sept where Myrcella Baratheon lay in repose. Creepy eye stones are explained (to remind us not to fear death, thank you), but more importantly, an increasingly hard-pressed Jamie finds out why you don't poke the High Sparrow. Turns out ol' HS may be expendable, but he's got a whole army of zealot followers who swarm to protect their threatened leader, showing how capable they can be if overthrowing an empire is requested of them. That's a check to the Lannisters, as Jamie, Cersei and young Tommen figure out this is a patience game now, where strategy is going to be their only avenue to success. Well, that and a 10-foot tall zombie-Mountain who can play a mean game of Whack-a-Braggart. Don't talk smack about Cersei in King's Landing, people. Outcome = ugly.
How great was Varys standing there as Tyrion walked down into the dragon's den? He gulped like Shaggy watching Scooby take point for a Scooby Snack. Classic.
The Arya storyline is obviously being given the slow-burn status. I'm grateful Jaqen H'ghar showed up this hour to move along "Arya's Hard Learned Lesson Time," because I don't think I can take more of watching Arya get her ass brutally handed to her via a stick week after week. Her not cracking when Jaqen offered her the easy ways out felt like a solid step forward in her narrative, hopefully.
Anyone else feel a little lost returning to the Ironborn of the Iron Islands? In case you're wondering, that was Euron Greyjoy facing off against Balon Greyjoy on that double-dog-dare of a bridge (try keeping up the Keep, Balon!). It's a little hard to remember, much less see, Euron during a rainstorm in the dark, I don't care how many "brothers" roll out of his mouth. Poor framing aside, I'm not that excited about the side politics of the upcoming fight for succession.
"Home" may be remembered for Jon's return to life, but I'm going to remember it as the episode that allowed Ramsay Bolton to fly past Joffrey Baratheon as the worst S.O.B. in the history of made-up fantasy worlds. I don't think anyone shed a tear when he performed patricide on Roose, but as soon as that deed was done and we saw the look on the poor servant who announced the birth of the latest baby Bolton, we all knew what was coming. The entire long slog of Walda Frey and her baby being lured to Ramsey's dog pen made me want to pop a Xanax. Not because I wasn't completely clear on what was about to happen, but I was terrified of just how much this show was going to make us witness of it. I'm not sure I should feel so grateful for only having to suffer those atrocious sound effects. Ramsay, I can only hope there's flaming dragon breath in your near future.
Things to Ponder ...
What are Jon's supporters, from Davos to Tollett to Edd to Tormund, going to make of his return? It's one thing to want someone back, it's another to see them hacked up and then rise again. Methinks the already jittery Night Watch are going to try to deadify Snow again, and perhaps we see some resistance to fire that will prove his destiny?
Tommen's plea to his mother to teach him to tap into his strength and potential as a leader is the crossiest of roads. Cersei went the despot route with Joffrey and that didn't end well. She birthed actual good with Myrcella and that was rewarded with a heartbreaking death. Now all she's got is Tommen. What path do you take with the child that's begging to be molded? And will Jamie have any say this time since he's actually in a place to parent?
The Three-Eyed Raven isn't leading Bran on a random vision quest back a generation in Stark lore for nothing. The introduction of Lyanna in the flesh feels like a major mythology dump we've been waiting for is soon to come, as there's a whole lot more to know about Lyanna's kidnapping by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and the murky origins of Jon Snow's parentage.
Hodor is actually a Wyllis?! I can see the Different Strokes memes coming at us like winter. With that major revelation, we're left to wonder what put poor Hodor in the monosyllabic skids. Any bets the stable boy sees something he isn't supposed to and he's silenced?
What did you think of "Home"? How about that ending? Was it what you expected?