Spoilers below the line…
Well, there we have it. What we all knew was going to happen, has finally happened. Ramsay confirmed he’s the sickest bastard around, Bran’s back, Arya takes another beating and Theon gets some kind of redemption.
Let’s start with Bran. We’ve not seen him for around two years, and what’s he been up to? Going through puberty, apparently. He’s also been hanging around with Max von Sydow’s Three-eyed Raven. In a nice scene, Bran revisits his old home Winterfell and sees a young Ned, Benjen and Lyanna Stark, as well as a young Hodor, or should I say Willis, – who can talk! This scene is interesting for two reasons. One, it’s nice to see Winterfell again and Bran gets a little win here, which are elusive to the Starks. Two, it seems to be setting up more of these flashbacks which may shed light on Jon Snow’s parentage, a long-standing mystery of the show. I’m not going to go into the whole detail here, because I can’t really be bothered and it’s been speculated about so many times I’m tired of it. But basically, the theory goes that Jon is not Ned’s bastard but is in fact the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. You can read all about this theory here.
“I’ve never been much of a fighter so apologies for what you’re about to see”
We left last week with Jon Snow on a table with Davos and some loyalists guarding his corpse (or is it?!). Edd has gone to fetch the wildlings, giant and all, as we predicted and they proceed to reclaim Castle Black from Ser Alliser. God I hate that guy.
Jaime and Tommen have a nice heart-to-heart. That’s a good kid. He’s going to be a useless King, sure. But he’s a good kid, nonetheless. It’s nice to see him have some sort of character development too, as he apologies to his dear mother and admits he should have stood up to the High Sparrow, who has an ominous warning for Jaime. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. These guys look like they’ve amassed some serious power without any sort of opposition.
“I drink and I know things”
Tyrion goes rogue and in a moment of madness decides to unchain Daenerys’ two remaining dragons after informing Varys, Grey Worm and Missandei that dragons should be free and will die out if contained. Amazingly, he doesn’t die but warns Varys to punch him in the face if he comes up with a plan so crazy again. It’ll be interesting to see what he plans to do with these dragons, considering he’s likely to have zero control of them but hey-ho. Maybe they’ll go and find Daenerys, who knows. Speaking of, we don’t see the Mother of Dragons this episode, which is a tad disappointing. I hope she gets her mission back on track ASAP personally.
“I don’t want forgiveness”
In another great addition to the Theon/ Sansa story line, Brienne tells Sansa that Arya is, or at least was, alive. Everything is going too well for the Starks at the moment, it’s making me suspicious. But anyway, their plan is to head up to Castle Black where, to their knowledge, Jon is Lord Commander (or is he? or isn’t he? or is he?). Jon’s very existence is in a weird sort of Schrödinger’s cat situation.
In a heartbreaking scene Sansa offers Theon her forgiveness, but he doesn’t want it. She says he could be protected at the wall and he could take the black. It’s a really moving scene and it’s a testament to Sansa’s character growth that see doesn’t seek revenge on the man who essentially was the cause of her family’s demise. They still see each other as siblings. Theon feels he doesn’t deserve forgiveness however (he’s probably right there) and opts to return home to the Iron Islands.
“I am the Drowned God”
Back to the Iron Islands, then. I honestly couldn’t care less about this lot. Actually, I lie, I care less about Dorne. But this lot come close. They’re not likeable and they’re not nasty enough to be interesting. They’re just a bit bland really and I don’t have any emotional connection to any of them, bar Theon. Let’s hope he gets there soon.
There was a cool scene here however. Just as we’re reacquainted with Balon Greyjoy, he’s unceremoniously thrown from a rickety bridge. Health and safety should really take a look at that. And thrown off by his brother no less! Euron Greyly has returned home to murder his dear brother and he seems to be deluded into thinking he is the Drowned God.
Balon really was on borrowed time. He seemed to die ages ago in the books.
Yara doesn’t really seem to give a toss and is instead more concerned about taking her deceased father’s place on the throne. That’s not how it works, however, and we’re informed there needs to be a Kingsmoot to decide who steps up.
“I prefer being an only child”
Who’s the troubled psychopath we love to hate? Nope, not Joffrey. Ramsay has well and truly taken his place as the most psychotic and disturbing character in Westeros. Iwan Rheon is fantastically creepy as the bastard son of Lord Roose Bolton. This scene was a genuine shock to me. Upon learning of the birth of his baby brother, Ramsay decides to murder his dear father and take his place as the main power in the North. No, he doesn’t stop there. He then lures Fat Walda, baby in arms, to the kennels. Stupid Walda. What ensues is pretty disturbing stuff as Ramsay slowly releases his hounds on Walda and baby bro in a nail-biting and horrific scene. The joy he gets out of doing it personally and in such a brutal way is really sickening. Couldn’t he have just poisoned them or killed them in their sleep. No, because he’s one sick bastard.
I hear dog food is expensive anyway.
I’m not sure what Ramsay’s long term goal is here. Does he want the iron throne for himself? I’m not sure. Does he have the tactical ability and strategic experience necessary to lead an army? I’m not convinced. I suspect it might all blow up in his face some time soon.
“Fuck ’em, fuck ’em all”
Back to the wall then for the big ending. We catch up with Melissandre feeling very sorry for herself but is brought round to the idea of reanimating The Lord Commander’s corpse by a sweet-talking Davos. It’s a weird scene, seeing Davos tell Melissandre that miracles are possible is a bit odd. Melissandre is so easily swayed and eventually gives in and says “oh, go on then” or words to that effect. It feels a little forced but it’s a nice moment for Davos.
Now, we all know this was coming and we all know Melissandre was going to be the one to do it. But I’ve got to give the team credit here because they really make it tense and for a split second I though it might not work. But just as Melissandre, Davos and co think it hasn’t worked and leave the room, Jon bursts into life! While this has been suspected for ages, it is done really well and they don’t milk it too much. I’m glad they didn’t drag it out all season, too.
I’m really interested to see if it’s the old Jon or whether he’s been changed by the process. I’m also assuming he’s not going to be Lord Commander anymore, or is he? He died, so is he released from his vows now? I’m guessing he’s going to be the focal point of the fight against the White Walkers. But if that’s the case, what’s changed? That was the case before he died, so I’m curious to see how his reincarnation upsets the status-quo.
The faith of the Lord of Light believe that a chosen warrior will come to combat the coming darkness. Melissandre initially believed this to be Stannis (Oops), but the theory goes that Jon Snow is indeed Azor Ahai reborn.