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‘Game of Thrones’ – “Home”: Book Readers, You Know Nothing

This week on ‘Game of Thrones‘: Bran walks, Wun-Wun smashes, Tyrion plays with dragons, and Sansa smiles.

Spoilers through Game of Thrones season 6, episode 2, OBVIOUSLY.

Two episodes in and the kill count seems remarkably high, even for Game of Thrones. Or maybe it’s just the unknown territory we’re wading into here with book readers and show watchers having no idea what’s about to happen, so characters seem to be dropping at an unexpected rate. That being said, this episode may have been one of the better joint efforts I’ve seen. Sure, episodes like “Hardhome” and “Blackwater” get praise but their purpose is more streamlined, the focus being in one area. “Home” had solid story progression throughout, tons of action, and I’m satisfied with most of the episode. In keeping with the “theme” of the episode title, many of the characters moved toward or revisited their homes, but let’s dig in to all that, shall we?

North of the Wall

Bran! Oh, Bran! Look how much you’ve grown in the…two months that have passed in Westeros. It looks almost like you’ve aged three years! Puberty is a bitch, amirite?

I hated Bran in the books, hated every damn chapter, but I liked his opening scene and the decision to start out his visions with characters we know. It makes the journey from boy to tree much more interesting. There wasn’t much of note except we saw baby Hodor (aw) and a young, rambunctious Lyanna, interrupting the boy’s training just like young, rambunctious Arya did back when they were still babies. Awwwww. Good times.

His interactions with Meera were a bit odd, though. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how to talk to girls or something.

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Winterfell

I’m about to say a thing that will shock nor offend anyone: Ramsay Bolton is an absolute monster. After last week’s bit of remorse spied over the death of Myranda, I thought that Ramsay might not be an all dark character. But it seems my summer childishness has gotten the better of me and I was wrong. Ramsay cares only for power and Ramsay, in that order. When the Bastard of Bolton learned of the birth of his baby brother, he immediately killed Papa Roose without hesitation. It seems Kylo Ren could learn a thing or two from Ramsay.

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What’s more, the Lord Karstark wasn’t even taken aback by Ramsay’s actions, so that tells us that either 1. Karstark knew the coup plans ahead of time or 2. He knew Ramsay’s reputation well enough to not react. Either way, I wonder how the North will handle the death of the traitorous Roose. Ramsay could certainly pull the sweet and innocent act, which he’s good at, and make the claim that Roose betrayed the Starks, not him, in an effort to unite the North.

Even more disturbing than Roose’s death was the murder of Walda and her newborn son. Actually, her and the baby’s death were one of the more gruesome deaths on the show and if I had one complaint about the episode, it’d be about that. I understand the point of it, I understand Ramsay’s sadism, but it was difficult to watch and like Sansa’s rape, I’m not sure we actually needed to see that act played out. It screams of shock value to me because unlike other villains on the show, there’s not much depth to Ramsay’s darkness. He’s evil for evil sake and watch his atrocities on screen seem like a waste of time. For some stupid, naive reason, I thought Ramsay would let Walda live, give him a tinge of greyness to make him more interesting. It’s like I haven’t been paying attention or something, but I can’t fathom Walder Frey handling the death of his daughter and grandson well, even if she wasn’t much liked by him.

Outside of Winterfell

Somewhere in the snow, Team Awesome attempted to light a fire and poor, terrified Theon warns them against being conspicuous AT ALL. I have to say, the battered dude has a point, but Brienne is all, HAHA LET THEM COME. Meanwhile, Brienne tells Sansa that Arya is still alive and Sansa smiles at the thought of her rough and tumble little sister fighting against Brienne and the Hound. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE SANSA. HER SMILE LITERALLY MELTS SNOW.

Theon asks Sansa if he can leave because he thinks Jon will kill him once they reach the Wall. Sure, Jon Snow might not kill him, but UnJon… very real possibility. Therefore, Theon leaves to return to the Iron Islands which seems like a horrible idea because the last time he did that Winterfell was sacked and Starks died. But hey, do yo thang, QUEENINDANORF.

Pyke

One of the coolest things about Game of Thrones is the intro sequence and what all it can tell us about the show, like the unfortunate Bolton sigil over Winterfell. Tonight’s episode gave us a glimpse of Pyke, especially a closeup of those infamous bridges.

That certainly weren’t foreshadowing a death at all.

So after Balon Greyjoy mysteriously fell to his death from a bridge after being pushed over by his ugly-mustached brother Euron, Asha Yara goes to the Damphair and is like, “No worries, homes, Imma get the baddies that did this.” And the Damphair’s all, “Get in line, GIRL, menfolk have a Kingsmoot to plan.”

And that’s when she killed him, your honor.

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Braavos

Arya pandhandles some more and then faces the Waif and fails miserably, yet again. In her frustration, she throws her staff around in a rage, trying to hit the Waif back any way possible, because that’s the mature response to her situation. Instead of hitting the Waif, she slams it into J’aqen H’gar, and in return, he offers to take her back to the relative safety of the House of Black and White. Last week I wasn’t a fan of the brief Arya appearance because it felt too much like a pointless Arrow flashback, too small to mean much of anything. This week, however, I’m glad that Arya is moving through her story in spurts. It makes her timeline feel longer but doesn’t dawdle on the boring parts, even though her blindness at this point seems a superfluous addition, but hey, J’aqen is always a welcome appearance.

King’s Landing

Things are rough in King’s Landing if your last name is Lannister. There’s slander going on the streets, the militant faith is upgrading their gear, and we haven’t seen Ser Pounce ONCE this season. Desperate times, my friends.

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Cersei is forbidden from attending Myrcella’s funeral and while part of me understands Tommen’s reasoning (and I didn’t want to watch her raped in front of another dead child), I was heartbroken for the Queen Regent. With the death of a second child, there’s a spark that’s gone out of her and she’s more resigned to follow the status quo. Her new guard is more for defense rather than offense and either she’s biding her time to strike back or she’s truly a broken woman. Either way, when Tommen does finally visit to apologize, she’s distant and I think this is two-fold: one, she’s hurt by his actions, keeping her from Myrcella, and two, she doesn’t want to be the reason he’s also killed, so if she keeps her distance maybe she can save him.

In the Sept, the Sparrow and Jaime trade threats and ultimately, the Sparrow with his many heavily armed guards wins out, with a disgruntled Jaime conceding his defeat. Jaime did raise a good question about why he hasn’t been taken to the cells for his sins and it makes me wonder if the Faith doesn’t prey on those considered “weaker” like women and gay men. Whatever their reasoning is, Tommen needs to get a bird of prey to hunt down that Sparrow and end his reign of religious terror.

Meereen

No Dany this week, and that’s probably for the best, even though I still adore her when she’s traipsing through the desert.

Instead, we get a quick visit with Missandei and Grey Wurm (Aw mah babies), and Tyrion makes the awesome decision to try to “feed” Dany’s dragons, because he drinks and he knows things. It seems no one told him decisions made while drinking tend to not be the most advisable. In a scene far too reminiscent of one from the books involving a boring Martell son, Tyrion slowly approaches the dragons and just, ya know, talks to them, like they’re plants in need of growing. Instead of being burnt to a crisp like he should have been, he releases the dragons from their chains and they begrudgingly respect their savior enough to not eat him. For today, at least. It was a wonderfully done scene that, while somewhat silly from a “you need to survive” standpoint, made the prospect of Tyrion riding a dragon all the more enticing.

And he gave Varys permission to punch him in the face, so I eagerly await that moment in their history.

Castle Black

Nothing happened here. Move along, younglings.

I’M JUST KIDDING.

OH MY GOD DID YOU SEE WUN-WUN HULK SMASH THAT DUDE? DID YOU ALSO WISH IT WAS OLLY?

Looks like we found where Dolorous Edd ran off to and my, my, he’s made friends with Tormund Giantsbane. For the first in forever, I’m HAPPY at how things are transpiring at Castle Black. The wildlings put Thorne and his baby protégé behind bars and we should all be celebrating with Dornish wine.

In a moment of desperation, Ser Davos approaches Melisandre and is all, “Look, I know I told Stannis to dump you like a dozen times and I hated you for what you did to him and especially to Shireen, but you do some crazy magic with that body of yours, do you think you could bring back this Stark Snow fellow? Resurrection after a few days can’t be harder than making a murderous shadow baby.”

And here’s where I LOVE Melisandre. Like many of the characters on the show working through redemption arcs–Cersei, Theon, Jaime–Melisandre is a woman who has no idea of her place in this world. The power she once thought possible is no longer at her fingertips; she doesn’t believe in her religion but more importantly, she doesn’t believe in herself. It’s this atheist man who brings her back to a semblance of her old self, begging her to try for the sake of their future, and so she does, hesitantly. Her emotions are completely on display as she prays to the Lord of Light for help, getting louder with each failed incantation, hoping that the increase in intensity will bring Jon back to life. Instead, she fails and Tormund leaves. One by one they each leave the room, dejected at the attempt, until no one is left but a sleeping direwolf and a still very dead Lord Commander.

It’s similar to an earlier scene where the Red Priest talks about reviving Beric Dondarrion:

I knelt beside his cold body, and said the old words. Not because I believed in them, but… he was my friend. And he was dead. And they were the only words I knew. And for the first time in my life, the Lord replied. Beric’s eyes opened. And I knew the truth: our God is the one true God… and all men must serve Him.

Only when Thoros of Myr was completely at the mercy of the Lord of Light did he respond in kind. And only when everyone in that room lost hope did Jon Snow return to the world.

And my god, I’d never been so happy to see Jon Snow breathing.

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Random Thoughts

I hadn’t considered Hodor’s past much because apparently I’m a monster, but after seeing that flashback, I feel like I need to know more about him! When Bran said his real name, he smiled, and dammit if that didn’t get to me a tiny bit.

I don’t know how I feel yet about Euron Greyjoy except I was immediately struck with how much he reminded me of early Theon which his cocky tilt of the head and sneer. So far, beautifully cast on looks alone.

Next week’s episode looks amazing. We’ll have Jon back and Bran is visiting the Tower of Joy set scene that so many of us have speculated about. Will we finally learn the truth of Jon’s parentage? D&D are squashing book theories all over the place.

Also in preview news, who do you think Lord Umber brings to Ramsay as a gift? Please don’t be Rickon. Please don’t be Rickon. 

Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9pm EST.

About Jen Stayrook

Jen Stayrook
Don't let the fancy nerd duds deceive you; Jen’s never been described as “classy.” You can find her on Twitter where she stalks all of her favorite celebrities: @jenstayrook. Or you can find her on Steam or Xbox dying in every game she plays as "Rilna." Email: jen.stayrook@theworkprint.com

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