This is a recap of the Game Of Thrones episode “Home” (season 6, episode 2).
Non spoiler summary:
Bran trains with the Three-Eyed Raven. In King’s Landing, Jaime advises Tommen. Tyrion demands good news, but has to make his own. At Castle Black, the Night’s Watch stands behind Thorne. Ramsay Bolton proposes a plan, and Balon Greyjoy entertains other proposals.
See below for full SPOILER-ific recap!
Okay, before we get into it, here is a map provided by HBO’s own recap show “After The Thrones.”
If you’re a visual learner like me, it’s nice to see where all the chess pieces are on the board at this point.
Okay, let’s get into the episode…
1) Jon Snow has risen!
This happens at the end of the episode and we’ll talk about it more later in this post, but come on, how can we talk about anything else before mentioning this news? JON SNOW IS ALIVE! Or at least undead. We’ll figure it out.
2) Bran is back!
I love that Game Of Thrones can have me screaming with excitement just during the “Previously On” because I know which characters will be featured in this episode.
Bran Stark is back, who we haven’t seen since season 4 when he finally arrived at the Three Eyed Raven to begin his training. Training for what? Well, the Three Eyed Raven says that “there is a war coming.” Funny, seemed like everybody was already at war?
The role that Bran will play is unclear, but we know his training involves the ability to use the old Tree God magic of the Weirwoods to travel back in memories to see his father Ned Stark as a young boy sparring at Winterfell with his brother (Bran’s uncle) Benjen and sister (Bran’s aunt) Lyanna.
And as a fun flashback bonus, we get to see a young Hodor, and learn that he is called Wyllis and that he used to be able to say more than just “Hodor.”
The Three Eyed Raven gives Bran a taste of this vision, but then pulls him back to the present Lois Lowry’s The Giver style. He knows that Bran could become too enamored with seeing all of his family alive and stay in the visions of the past forever, and lose sight of what he must do in the present day. Or as they put it:
Three Eyed Raven: “It is beautiful beneath the sea, but if you stay too long you’ll drown.”
Bran: “I wasn’t drowning. I was home.”
Ding ding ding! This episode’s name, Home, was name-checked by a character!
So, why are we being shown this backstory? Most likely it’s because we’re going to learn more about a storyline known in the books as “The Tower Of Joy.” As Bran mentions, his father Ned never talked about his sister Lyanna much. That’s because it’s too painful for Ned to bring her up, on account of what happened at the ironically named tower:
Following the end of the war of Robert’s Rebellion (also known as The War Of The Usurper), Ned and his posse came upon the Tower Of Joy being guarded by some members of the Kingsguard and they brawled. Previously, Lyanna had been betrothed to Robert Baratheon, but was then abducted (for reason’s unknown) by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen (heir to the Iron Throne and older brother of our favorite Khaleesi, Danaerys).
After the battle, Ned found Lyanna dying inside the tower. From the next episode preview shown at the end of this episode, I’m guessing we might follow Bran watch this played out as a flashback:
Our time with Bran ends with seeing Meera being in a teenage angsty wasteland overlooking a frozen winter wasteland outside of the cave, because she is getting bored waiting around while Bran has his visions. A Child Of The Forest (or possibly extra from Cirque Du Soleil who wandered on set?) warns her that Bran needs her help.
3) GIANT GOES SMASHY (Moment 1 of 2) and Castle Black Is Saved!
Just when it looked like Ser Alliser Thorne and his lackeys were going to smash down the door and kill Ser Daavos and the rest of the folks hanging around Jon Snow’s corpse, ol’ Edd Tollett came through and delivered a Wildling army, complete with Red Beard Leader bonus card and Archer Smashing Giant expansion pack.
Thorne, Olly and the other Jon Snow stabbers are thrown in the cells.
Before we move on from Castle Black, though, just want to give a quick award for this episode’s funniest line, which comes from Davos. Usually Tyrion wins this award easily, but Davos saying “I’m not much of a fighter. Apologies for what you’re about to see” as a rallying cry just before drawing his sword and preparing for a battle to the death is very funny.
4) GIANT GOES SMASHY (Moment 2 of 2) and defends Cersei’s honor
If the Queen Regent has a Murder Monster as their personal bodyguard who has sworn an oath to hunt down all of the Queen Regent’s enemies, it’s not a good idea to talk crudely about the Queen Regent.
5) Jaime and the High Sparrow exchange words
The Mountain Murder Monster smashing skulls isn’t the only thing going on in King’s Landing.
King Tommen orders his mother to stay away from Myrcella’s funeral for her own protection and, in uncharacteristic Cersei fashion, she obeys.
In the sept at the funeral, Tommen gets whiny and worries that he is a weak king who won’t be able to protect the realm if he can’t even protect his own wife or mother. Jaime tells him to go speak to Cersei.
Next, the High Sparrow enters the sept and approaches Jaime as he grieves over the body of his incest-daughter and the two exchange some very testy words.
High Sparrow: You would spill blood in this holy place?
Jaime: Oh, the God’s won’t mind. They’ve spilled more blood than the rest of us combined.
High Sparrow: Go on, then. I deserve it. We all do. We are weak, vain creatures. We live only by the Mother’s Mercy.
At which point a dozen armed Faith Militant brutes emerge from the shadows. No blood is spilled today, but a Lannister vs Sparrow showdown is brewing.
Real quick, one last thing before we move on from the High Sparrow storyline:
6) The High Sparrow is Bernie Sanders?
An old white man with crazy hair who is fighting for the poor and mad at the rich and who somehow gets lots of young people to join his movement despite the fact that it might be against their material best interest? The High Sparrow is the Westerosi Bernie Sanders! Plus, he’s dropping quotes like this:
— The High Sparrow, season 6, episode 2
No doubt many of us would fall. But who are we? We have no names, no family. Every one of us is poor and powerless. And yet together, we can overthrow an empire.
As it turns out, I am not the first to make this comparison:
6) Tommen and Cersei exchange words
Cersei is fragile. She asks Tommen which dress they put Myrcella in, and is glad to hear it was the gold one. But her voice is somber, her sentences clipped, and she can’t seem to bring herself to look Tommen in the eye. When she tells Tommen it’s good to see him, but pointedly faces away from him? Ooh, what a moment!
Tommen finally gets through to Cersei, though, when he shows her a bit of the Lannister strength, telling her that he should have executed all of them before letting the High Sparrow and his lackeys do what he did to her.
Tommen concludes his apology speech which is presumably the thesis statement for his character’s growth arc this season:
— King Tommen, season 6, episode 2
“You raised me to be strong, and I wasn’t. But I want to be.”
Can lil’ Tommen rule Westeros? Can sweet Tommen be as strong as his mother Cersei, as cunning as his uncle Tyrion, as effective as his beuracratic mastermind grandfather Tywin, all without succumbing to being as cruel as his brother Joffrey? Time will tell.
7) Tyrion unshackles the dragons!
So, things aren’t going well in Meereen (all those places where Dany freed the slaves? The slave masters are back in control). Tyrion decides to focus on a strength they do have: dragons.
Tyrion fancies himself a dragon expert because at some point in time he read a book about dragons, hence his very Tyrion-esque quote “That’s what I do: I drink and I know things.”
But does Tyrion have dragon street smarts in addition to his dragon book smarts?
He tests out his dragon-whispering skills and goes into the Meereen pyramid warehouse where they’ve been keeping the two non-Drogon dragons locked up in chains.
He unshackles them, and they disappear back into the darkness.
My memory of the books is that this scene plays out very differently, very badly, very immediately, but it looks like the show is either taking a different direction or breaking up the action here. In either case, I shall say no more for now.
8) Jaqen H'ghar is back!
Everybody’s favorite multi-color haired, speaks-only-in-third-person-non-proper-nouns-and-riddles character is back! Just as the Waif is set to kick Arya’s blind beggar ass again, Jaqen shows himself and offers Arya a chance to return to her training, provided she correctly acts out this Vaudeville Comedy Sketch:
Jaqen: Who are you?
Arya: No one.
Jaqen: If a girl says her name, a man will let her sleep under a roof tonight.
Arya: A girl has no name.
Jaqen: If a girl says her name, a man will feed her tonight.
Arya: A girl has no name.
Jaqen: If a girl says her name, a man will give her eyes back.
Arya: A girl has no name.
That last one was tough, huh Arya? But she passes whatever mindgame being played by Jaqen / the Man With No Name / simultaneously The Waif? / maybe he is, like, ALL of us, ya dig?
9) Ramsay kills his father Roose, confirming once and for all that he is a mad dog who needs to be put down!
After Lord Roose Bolton makes it clear that he isn’t fond of Ramsay’s plan to kill the Lord Commander of Castle Black in order to get Sansa Stark back as a way to clinch their hold on the North, Ramsay looks pissed to be spoken down to.
Then, Ramsay gets pushed too far. We knew Ramsay felt threatened by the possibility of his father having a boy with his new wife Walda, so when their Maester came in with the news that she’d had a boy, a shiver went down my spine.
Ramsay congratulates his father, draws him close in an embrace, and then stabs him. As he bleeds to death (as Lord Karstark watches and does nothing, so we can assume he was in on the plan), Ramsay orders the shocked Maester to send ravens to the other Northern houses that Roose had been poisoned by his enemies.
I wish the Ramsay storyline ended there for this episode. But it doesn’t. It gets worse.
10) And the award for this episode’s hardest to watch scene goes to, “Ramsay Releasing The Dogs On Walda And Her Newborn Son”
Ramsay killed his own father. Was there any chance he wasn’t going to kill his step-mom and his new baby brother?
Ramsay has said some scary ass shit since we’ve known him, but him saying to Walda, “May I hold him?” is somehow the scariest.
As Ramsay released the hounds on them, as Walda pleaded for her life, saying she’d return to the Riverlands, begging Ramsay to take mercy on his own baby brother, as Walda asked “Where is Lord Bolton?” and Ramsay replied “I am Lord Bolton,” before opening the doors of the dog cages, I actually found myself screaming at my TV “Cut away to the next scene! Cut away!”
Also, who am I kidding, I wasn’t screaming at a TV, I was screaming at a small laptop monitor while using my parents’ HBO Go password; it’s not like you get paid in Gold Dragons to write TV recaps…
11) Sansa, Theon, Brienne and Podrick … haven’t done a darn thing?
Huh. It appears that the Damaged Quatro haven’t done a single thing since we saw them last.
Look, I guess when you’ve got a show with one thousand characters, sometimes those characters only get 30 seconds an episode to advance plot, so sometimes you gotta take babysteps. That’s fine, I get it.
In a heartfelt scene, just as Jaime recounts his sins to the High Sparrow, Theon recounts his sins to Sansa. Then, the one piece of plot advancement we get here is that Theon tells Sansa that he would have died in order to bring her to Castle Black, but instead he is going to trust her to Brienne and leave them, leading to this exchange:
Sansa: Where will you go?
Ding ding ding! That’s the second time we’ve heard a character say the titular “Home” in the “Home” episode.
And, oh goodie, it means we’re going to have an extended Iron Islands storyline this season…
12) Balon Greyjoy is murdered by his pirate brother Euron, and the Iron Islands are going to have a Kingsmoot. Yay?
No Khaleesi in this episode and no sign of Littlefinger yet this season, but at least we get some … Balon Greyjoy. Come on, you remember Balon! He looks like this:
All clear? Anway, in this episode Balon Greyjoy and his daughter the warrior sea captain Yara (Theon’s sister) have a conversation that recaps a few things that happened last season like Yara unsuccessfully attempting to save Theon, and Balon making clear he still thinks Theon is a wimp.
Then Balon meets his brother Euron out on a very precarious rope bridge and he is thrown to his death. So, who is Euron? He’s been away from the Iron Islands as a feared sea pirate. The sails of his ship are all black, and he cut off the tongues of all of his crew, so their ship is always silent.
The next morning they have a Boring Viking Funeral for Balon (which is similar to a regular Viking Funeral in that they build a ship pyre and put the body out onto the sea, but more boring because they don’t set it on fire with an arrow or anything).
Yara assumes she will be the new Lord, but as some old guy with a white beard reminds her, that’s not how they do things in the Iron Islands. When a leader dies, they hold a Kingsmoot.
Basically, each of the minor families that make up the Iron Islands will get to send a sort of champion to make their case for why they should be the new leader, which will most likely become a showdown between Euron and Yara (she would be the first woman to ever be the leader of the Iron Islands).
13) Jon Snow is resurrected!
Just because you’ve got a feeling something is going to happen, that doesn’t mean it’s any less great when it does. Yes, Jon Snow being back takes up both the first and the last items on this list, because it’s just that epic of a moment.
As we were all rooting for, and most of us suspected would happen, Jon Snow is back. And all it took was a pep talk from Ser Davos delivered to a disconsolate Red Lady whose spirits are down ever since she started doubting her ability to read the Lord Of Light’s messages in the flames. His encouraging words:
— Ser Davos to Melisandre, season 6, episode 2
Fuck him, then. Fuck all of them. I’m not a devout man, obviously. Seven gods, drowned gods, tree gods, it’s all the same. I’m not asking the Lord of Light for help. I’m asking the woman who showed me that miracles exist.
Melisandre has never performed the resurrection trick herself, but she alludes to the fact that she knows it has been done by a Red Priest (meaning Beric and Thoros, who have actually done it like six times and, just like the rules of Multiplicity, each time you do it, the version of the person comes out a little worse).
Melisandre performs the ceremony, which appears to involve the same steps of going to a fancy hair salon:
1) Hair cut
2) Beard trim
3) Shampoo and rinse
4) Burn all the hair trimmings in a nearby torch
Melisandre begins to say a prayer in Valyrian. She is increasingly unsure of herself, like a girl at her Bat Mitzvah slowly forgetting the words she is supposed to recite from the Torah. After repeating the prayer a sixth time, she says “Please” under her breath, and gives up. One by one, they leave the room.
All but Ghost. Because Ghost and Jon have a connection, and Ghost knows something is up. And what is up are Jon’s eyelids, because Jon is back.
The credits roll moments after Jon Snow wakes up, so we have yet to see other characters react to the news of his return.
Will there be any repercussions for using the magic of R'hllor to bring back Jon Snow? I’m guessing yes. But in the mean time, I’m happy to see Lord Commander Snow breathing again. Very excited to see this storyline play out.
Some fans are speculating that Jon Snow is not back as Jon Snow, but rather as the reincarnated Azor Ahai, the hero who is prophesied to return to Westeros to save the Seven Kingdoms from times of darkness? You might recall that previously Melisandre thought that Stannis could be Azor (that theory did not pan out…). Read more about the Azor theory here.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. We’ll see you next week for another recap.
In the mean time, you can check out my recap of episode one here, or if you need a fun video refresher of last week’s season six premiere, check out Funny Or Die’s own “Gay Of Thrones”:
Come back on Tuesdays all season long for the next installment of Gay Of Thrones!