Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 2 recap: what is dead may never die
The following is a recap of episode 2 from the sixth season of Game of Thrones, and it contains spoilers. Many spoilers.
Season 6 Episode 1 had the duty of picking up the pieces for viewers.
But not Episode 2. It pushed the show into high gear and trust me, it's an episode that you're going to remember. We saw more than one scion of a great house dethroned and Jon Snow come back from the dead.
Yep, that's right. After months of speculation about whether or not the bastard of Winterfell would rise form the dead, the show finally obliged us. But like Lady Stoneheart in the books, I think he is going to be out looking for blood; not like the balanced, thoughtful Jon Snow we've known so long.
Also, I really thought it would take a lot more to bring someone back from the dead. Melisandre pretty much gives Jon a haircut, mutters a few words and that's that. No much fanfare at all.
But it's the brutality of the episode that makes it one of those episodes that's right up there with the Red Wedding and last year's epic White Walker battle at Hardhome.
The episode begins with Bran as an observer, as younger versions of his father and uncle spar in Winterfell's courtyard, and Lyanna Stark rides circles around the younger boys. This is possibly the first time we've had a vivid flashback like this and narratively it makes sense for us to have seen this through Bran's eyes.
That vision is almost immediately contrasted by what Meera Reed is looking at outside the cave: white, dead lands. Having just lost her brother Jojen, she's far from happy being away from the action.
But then a Child of the Forest pops up to placate her that Bran won't be hanging out under a tree forever.
Back at the Wall, Davos Seaworth's play for time is wearing off. Just as Ser Alliser Thorne's men are smashing down the only barrier between Jon's body and the men who killed him, a giant followed closely by Tormund Giantsbane and Dolorus Edd crash through the main gates of Castle Black. Jon's body is safe for resurrection again. Alliser and his men, including that little snot-faced Olly, are marched off to the cells.
Is Tommen finally showing some spine?
Is what you think when Cersei is confined to the Red Keep in King's Landing on his orders, barring her from attending his sister Myrcella's funeral.
There's a tense moment as the guard tries to stop her from leaving, but the looming prescience of the Mountain and smell of promised violence has everyone quaking in their boots. Cersei seems to realise this much (and perhaps that wasting the blood of loyal guards isn't the best move) and returns disgruntled to her rooms.
Tommen, meanwhile, has just realised just how little control he has over anything that's happening, to the degree that he doesn't get to see Margaery, even when he explicitly requests it.
So he goes to his mother and says he finally "wants to" develop a spine. "I should have executed all of them. I should have pulled down the Sept onto the High Sparrow's head before I let them do that to you. You would have, for me. You raised me to be strong, and I wasn't. But I want to be. Help me."
I'm sure we'll see Cersei at her conniving best quite soon. The walk of shame is finally beginning to wear off and the claws are almost out again. Also, the number of Lannisters has depleted rapidly. Myrcella's body lying on the stone slab just reminds of you of all the recent funerals - first Joffrey and then Tywin.
The name game
Arya finally gets back in with the Many-Faced god after Waif beats her up again. "If a girl says her name, a man will give her her eyes back," Jaqen tempts her. But Arya sticks to what she's learned, telling him: "A girl has no name."
So her story looks ready to get a nudge for the better and hopefully we'll see her back in Westeros soon with her newfound abilities. And finally getting the revenge the Starks deserve.
The Boltons are doomed (well, it's now just the one Bolton)
The series' most despicable psychopath underscores his despicable psychopathy by bringing his newborn baby half-brother and his stepmom to the kennels and - well, we don't need to re-live the moment, do we?
The scene teetered on being unwatchable and was the bloody runoff of Ramsay's patricide, where he secures his place as heir to Winterfell by giving his sociopathic father, Roose Bolton, the gift of a dagger, wrong end first. (For a moment there, I admit, I thought Roose had stabbed Ramsay.)
Roose's death came after a lecture in which he warned Ramsay about acting too much like a "mad dog," so it's fair to assume the message was lost on him.
But this also means that the Boltons are almost done. We all crave to see Ramsay's blood spilt in any way where he suffers a lot, but his plan to take Castle Black spells his doom.
Despite my utmost horror over the Walda+baby fed to the dogs scene, I must admit that there were a couple of violent scenes in the episode that actually made me laugh out loud: One, a random Night's Watchman, is killed by the Wildling giant. With shocking ease, Wun can toss around a normal man like a rag doll, and intimidate Thorn and his cretinous bunch to stand down.
The other dashee is a nameless King's Landing braggart, who besmirches Cersei's - cough cough - "honour," says Jamie Lannister is "a half an inch shy of an inch," and ends up drunkenly urinating on The Mountain. He would have been wiser to whizz on the electric fence, for The Mountain smashes his skull on the wall like a walnut.
Balls of steel
The show's shortest man has the greatest courage. How great was it to see him unchain the dragons?
After a speech in which he states the fact of dragons' intelligence - "That's what I do: I drink and I know things," he says between gulps of wine - he ventures to the dungeon and very, very carefully releases them from their harnesses.
All this adds fuel to the already growing theory that Tyrion is a Targaryen. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, it's rumoured that King Aerys Targaryen (aka The Mad King) hooked up with Tywin Lannister's wife Joanna at one point before his death. Many believe that Joanna became pregnant with Tyrion shortly afterwards, meaning he could very well be related to Dany as well as Jon Snow, if you're a R+L=J believer.
Elsewhere, Lord Balon Greyjoy is thrown off a bridge by his brother Euron, upsetting the leadership hierarchy in the Iron Islands. Reek-slash-Theon states his intention to leave the Sansa-Brienne-Podrick party, and we assume he'll go back to House Greyjoy and his sister, Yala. And Daenerys, new Slave of Dothraki Custom, gets a break this week.
So, to summarise Home: six deaths, minus Jon Snow's resurrection, nets five losses of life in this episode. Till next week.