No matter where one stands with regards to this Sunday’s events, one must give props to the DBs for moving things along. Resolutions I did not see coming, including the final twist, were instead served up Sunday. Home, merely the second episode of the sixth season, can leave you cold on first watch; a lot happens, including several world-altering deaths, that you may be left all a-flutter, trying to compose yourself. Upon further reflection, its audaciousness in cutting right to the point and not dragging things out is admirable, even glee-worthy.
For many of our characters, home is not only where the heart is; it is a burning need, the ultimate motivation. Power is just a consequence. Having a strong house, a good family and a sense of belonging is perhaps the most important thing to possess in a world as chaotic as Westeros. Note Bran’s (hello!) comment during his vision of his father (book readers: Lyanna! Ahem), ‘They all look so happy.’ When was the last time anyone ever said that on this show? And where were they? Winterfell. Home. Ever since they lost their home – be it taking the Black, married off, running away or being forced out – the Stark children have been looking to return, or to at least recreate that sense of hearth somewhere else.
It is a long and difficult quest, one I’m not sure they will ever quite complete. At the least, home will come with a price. For Arya, her new home means forgetting her old one. Forgetting her name, because a girl has no name. She is no one. The ultimate orphan; a child of nothing, save the gods. Earlier seasons may have dragged out Arya’s suffering on the streets, so I am glad she is at least under a roof and training. Hers is the longest road, because hers is the most personally exotic destination; and the road goes ever on and on.
Ramsay Bolton. Congratulations. You have usurped Joffrey as the worst little shit in all the Seven Kingdoms. You had been gunning for the title for quite some time, and frankly it was Joffrey’s ‘Draco-esque’ punchable child face that kept him in first place. But I must say, stabbing your father and then siccing the dogs on your literally newly-born half-brother is some next level assholeness. Fun fact: Iwan Rheon, who plays Ramsay, is playing a young Adolf Hitler in an upcoming movie. Of course he is.
Book readers will be happy to note the appearance of the Greyjoy brothers, and the truth about what happened on that bridge that so shook the foundations of the Iron Islands. Keep an eye on this shadowy newcomer, he’s one of the best characters in the book. Balon misjudged his safety; after all, he was home. But what guarantee has that ever been in the world of Westeros? If anything, home makes you more vulnerable to attack. Because you will never see it coming.
And at last, the question I asked last week, ‘will he remain dead?’ has been answered. What makes the scene work is Davos and Melisandre; and the duelibg conflict of confidence and doubt, respectively. Melisandre has devoted her life to service of the Red God and, through him, has created wonders. But after the death of Stannis, her faith in the endgame was shaken. If Melisandre can have a crisis of faith, who could possibly save her? Davos, of course. The man with no faith in gods, but a firm belief in the power and strength of Man.’Fuck the gods’, he says. ‘I’ve seen you create miracles.’ And, though no one except Ghost realizes it, she creates another. A previous season would have sent rangers to find Thoros of Myr, Beric Dondarrion and the Brotherhood Without Banners to resurrect Jon. I am so glad they did not tease us along for half the season in a will he/won’t he dynamic that is only meant to spin wheels and keep us watching. Jon is home now, on the Wall where he belongs.
So, now we continue. The question is not ‘Will he remain dead?’, no, my friends, the question is now ‘Who exactly came back?’ Jon, yes. But how much of him? And will Melisandre see a spark of that Lord of Light inside? I think she will, and I look forward to seeing how that manifests itself. Mostly, though, I am glad they answered the question of Jon because a) I’ve grown to like Kit Harrington and b) it gives us more time to be book snobs. Non-readers, you will hear a lot about a thing called the Tower of Joy over the next week. Inside of that tower is perhaps the answer to the greatest unanswered question in the show. The question of…