This review contains major spoilers for Game of Thrones season six, episode two “Home”. This is your only warning.
So. Last week left us all hanging on the edge of our seats with an action packed episode which promptly picked up on the hanging threads of last season. The second episode of Game of Thrones season six, simply titled “Home”, is a little slower than the first.
That’s not to say it’s boring, though. Plenty still happens even if it slams on the breaks a little from the previous episode. Plenty happens, with the usual mix of character plot and intrigue with a little action thrown in.
We get our first glimpse of Bran, who is still doing his vision thing. His section doesn’t really do much, other than to say, “hey! remember him?”, and to give us a little character development on Hodor. Yes, Hodor, of all people. But even though the glimpse into Hodor is small and fleeting, it still hints that there is something more to the lumbering giant than we have so far seen.
Thankfully, they don’t waste too much time here, as there’s not really much to see other than the brief glimpse into the past of Winterfell and Hodor himself. At Castle Black, time is up for Ser Davos and friends, who were given until nightfall to come out or face a battle they can’t win.
I think many of us were left wondering how exactly they were going to get out of the predicament they were in, but the answer to that question was extremely satisfying. I couldn’t help but cheer as the wildlings stormed the castle and promptly put the vile Alliser Thorne in his place, finally giving that character the just desserts he’d had coming for a long time. Not to mention the insufferably smug Olly.
Cersei continues her theme of last week of actually being not horrible, with a nice scene between her and Tommen. Again we are shown here that despite the horrible things she has done (and undoubtedly will do in the future), she loves her children and will do anything for them. Cersei demonstrates this even after Tommen doesn’t let her attend Myrcella’s funeral… for some reason.
The dragon scene with Tyrion was very well crafted, and had me sitting bolt upright, wide eyed with tension as he approached the two dragons chained up under the pyramid. While the dragons are far from mindless killing machines, they are still… well, dragons, and I half expected Tyrion to reach a fiery death down there. This scene plays on that, and creates the tension very well. I also found the little joke at the end to relieve the tension quite fitting as well: “If I ever have another idea like that,” Tyrion says to Varys, “punch me in the face.”
Arya’s story is also plodding along nicely, and it seems that we won’t see her languishing as a beggar for several episodes. While we don’t get even a glimpse at what’s going to happen to her now, things are thankfully moved along so we can expect more development there next time. While what we saw from Arya and friends this episode wasn’t particularly interesting, I was at least grateful they aren’t dragging out her storyline too much.
I think this episode won the award for “most pointless shocking violence because reasons”, at least so far. This has some tough competition in Game of Thrones, I know, especially when you remember the death of Rob’s wife at the Red Wedding. Yet, Ramsay and his general all out horribleness manages to ever so slightly out do that scene, and just continues his theme of being pointlessly vile and evil to the point of comedy.
You wouldn’t think the message of “RAMSAY IS JUST REALLY, REALLY BAD, K?” would need to be pushed anymore, but apparently so as we are, um, treated to a chain of events were Ramsay murders his father, tricks his mum and newly born brother into his dog pen, and gets them eaten alive. Yes, his mother and a newborn child eaten alive. Thankfully, we don’t see it, but the idea of it is enough. While this scene is fitting for his character, I think they need to cool it a little with how stupidly evil Ramsay is.
Finally, though, we see Melisandre again after last week’s shocking revelation about her true appearance. It seems that the theories about that being her true appearance were correct, as Jon still remains dead and we see her in her usual form, wearing her ruby necklace as normal. With that out of the way, we move on to what we all knew was coming: Ser Davos asks her if Jon can be brought back to life.
Melisandre, clearly shaken to her very core by Jon’s death, seems completely void of her old, seemingly unshakable faith in the Lord of Light. Yet Davos somehow convinces her to at least try to use her considerable power to bring him back to life. Here is the true gem of this episode, with tension and expectation building as Melisandre slowly performs some kind of simple ritual to try and bring Jon back.
You can almost see the last little shred of faith she has here, fraying as it begins to seem like it won’t work. She even whispers, “please”, after her spell is done, begging the Lord of Light to grant her wish. Yet, we see that last shred fray and snap as she walks out of the room. Davos and everyone else leave, leaving us alone with Ghost and Jon’s body.
The camera really plays with us here, slowly focusing on Jon as we wait, almost breathless, to see if the episode will end with him still gone. But, happily, the episode ends with Jon’s gasp back into this world before the credits roll.
I will admit, that scene was very well crafted, and I couldn’t help but go, “yes!” as he woke up, while at the same time going “noooo” when the credits immediately rolled. The guys over at HBO certainly know how to keep us hanging for the next episode. It will be very interesting to see what happens next and how Melisandre especially will react.
This scene is actually pretty fitting for not only the Game of Thrones universe, but also Melisandre as well. Book readers will know that Thoros of Myr, aka the Red Priest, can also bring people back from the dead. According to what we know, he was given this power when he reached his absolute lowest point, just as Melisandre was at her lowest point this episode.
She truly seemed like an empty shell of her former self before Ser Davos got her to try and revive Jon, sitting listlessly before the fire. So I had a theory that she would be able to bring him back after reaching that same low point as Thoros.
Our questions now point to Jon’s future. Will he continue on at Castle Black as Lord Commander? It is entirely possible that he won’t. Now that he has technically “died”, he is no longer beholden to the Night’s Watch oath. This might be the chance for Jon to become the character a lot of the fandom have long speculated on and wanted him to be. The main problem with this theory is that Jon is a very loyal man. He might not see his temporary death as enough to abandon Castle Black and leave as Lord Commander.
Hopefully we don’t still see him stuck at the wall, bound by his oath. What would be nice is if he remains as Lord Commander, but leaves for a while to retake Winterfell for the North as Melisandre envisioned.
Sadly, we will have to wait. Overall, though, even though this episode was slower and more plodding than last week, it was still a fine showing for Game of Thrones that brought up more questions as well as answering a few, and has seriously left me hankering for next week’s episode.