Saturday, June 11, 2016

Game of Thrones 6.02: "Home"

“I’m friends with your mother. I’m here to help. Don’t eat the help!”

As per usual, there was quite a lot going on in this episode of “Game of Thrones.” Most importantly, Jon Snow lives! (Sorry…spoiler alert…). The “Game of Thrones” cast and creative team kept us waiting for a year to find out if he would survive the attack by Ser Alliser Thorne and his fellow traitorous Night’s Watchmen, and I believe we now finally have our answer. I appreciated that the way in which Jon Snow is now alive is perfectly logical in the “Song of Ice and Fire” universe, and it is indeed at least partially something my “Game of Thrones” watching friends were all predicting. It is interesting that HBO took the deception so far though, with poor Kit Harrington having to outright lie in interviews and say he wasn’t coming back. We also got a bit of a look at what Bran is up to, which was interesting because we really haven’t seen him in quite a while. As one would expect with “Game of Thrones,” there wasn’t really a lot to tie all these plot threads together as one episodic theme (although as you might guess from the title, the concept of “home” was central to at least a couple of the plots), but it was still an enjoyable enough way to spend an hour.

We in fact open this episode with a check-in on Bran. He’s been spending his time training with the Three-Eyed Raven. Bran is able to walk as he and the Raven observe Winterfell of the past. A young Ned Stark and his brother, Benjen, play with toy swords out on the grounds, much like we saw Bran’s generation of Stark kids do in the pilot episode six years ago. Lyanna Stark makes a grand entrance on horseback and hands the reigns of her horse over to the stable boy, Wylis, who is actually present-day Hodor. I’m glad we’re finally starting to get a little Hodor backstory. Wylis is actually able to say words beyond “Hodor” at this point in his life. Bran wants to remain in this happy vision of home, but the Raven pulls him out, warning him that spending too much time in a vision could lead to the vision consuming him. Bran goes outside to talk to Meera, who seems kind of bored and depressed. She wants to stay outside despite it being dangerous. After Bran goes back inside, a strange child tells her that Bran won’t be practicing his visions forever, and when he goes back out into the world, he will need her help.

There is also some good Lannister character development in this episode. A peasant is very rude in describing what he did when he witnessed Cersei’s walk of shame, but the Mountain makes quick work of him. Cersei, meanwhile, is at the Red Keep, hoping to be able to go to Myrcella’s funeral. When she tries to leave, however, a whole bunch of guards tell her that the King has ordered that she stay in the Red Keep for her own safety. After the funeral, Tommen and Jaime talk about how Tommen kept Cersei away from the funeral because she wouldn’t have been allowed in the Sept. Jaime tells Tommen he needs to reconcile with his mother. When Tommen leaves, Jaime has a tense conversation with the High Sparrow. He makes it clear he would have no qualms about killing the High Sparrow, but more of the Faith Militant appear and kick Jaime’s bravado down a notch. Tommen takes his father’s advice and does indeed talk to Cersei. He tells her how ashamed he is to not be able to protect his mother and his wife after Cersei worked so hard to try and make him strong.

Next let’s head across the Narrow Sea to Braavos. Arya is still blind and begging for money in an alley. The Waif again approaches her, and they again fight. Arya tries to fight back, but she keeps getting beaten. The Waif disappears, and Arya continues to fight, willy-nilly. At that moment, Jaqen appears. He keeps asking Arya her name, raising the reward she’ll get if she does so, up to the point of giving her sight back. When she keeps saying she’s no one, Jaqen eventually says she can come back to the House of Black and White with him. In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys have one of their trademark discusions. Varys tells Tyrion that Astapoor and Yunkai have been retaken by the slave masters. A little tipsy, Tyrion decides that the best solution to the problem is to release Dany’s two remaining dragons that she had chained up in the cave. Tyrion recounts how in Westeros, the dragons gradually got smaller and smaller once they were confined, until they eventually died out. We learn that as a boy, the present he wanted more than anything was a dragon, but there weren’t any left. Tyrion goes into the cave and releases the dragons, but he just about loses his nerve doing it.

Heading back to Westeros, specifically the North, Lord Karstark informs Roose Bolton that the solders pursuing Sansa have been found dead. Ramsay suggests attacking Castle Black, because that’s Sansa’s logical destination, but Roose thinks that’s a bad idea. The conversation is interrupted with the news that Lady Walda has given birth to a healthy baby boy. His claim to the Bolton throne now open for question, Ramsay’s demeanor changes immediately. He embraces Roose as he stabs him in the heart. Then he brings Lady Walda and her new son into the kennels and sets the hounds on them. He says he prefers to be an only child. Also in bad father/son relationship news, Theon makes the decision to return to the Iron Islands. At home, Balon Greyjoy is trying to cross a rope bridge in a storm when he is approached by his younger brother Euron, who wants to challenge for the throne. As you’d expect, Euron tosses Balon off the bridge. At her father’s funeral, Yara expresses her desire to take the throne and avenge her father’s death, but she is reminded by a different uncle that she must be voted to the throne, and since she’s a woman, that’s unlikely. The Iron Islands need their glass ceilings shattered, people! Yara for Queen 2016!

We’ll end this post talking about the events that took place at Castle Black, which were really the biggest events of the whole episode. Thorne’s goons try to break into the chamber where Jon is being mourned, but they’ve got bigger problems. The Wildlings invade Castle Black. The mutiny now subdued, all of Thorne’s supporters are ordered to be locked up. Davros pays a visit to Melisandre, who looks like she has been crying. He asks if she has any magic that could help Jon. Recent events, however, have made Melisandre doubt her abilities. She agrees to try, however, and she says some chants over Jon’s body. Nothing seems to happen, so she leaves the room, defeated. The magic works, however. When only Ghost is left in the room, Jon’s eyes open and he takes a breath.

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