Game of Thrones: Home Review

****HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD******

***WE MEAN HUGE SPOILERS*****

**Seriously don’t read this unless you have seen the episode**

Still with us? Then we presume that you have watched the latest episode of GOT and, well, wow, just wow. We may have had a slow burner for episode one, but the second episode has delivered as much shocks and surprises as we normally would expect in the 9th episode of a season.

So where do we start? Well first off, after his absence last year, welcome back, Bran.The young psychic Stark returns, and he even has his own little character-specific flashback-catchup montage during the “Previously On …” segment before the opening credits. It’s a special homecoming.

Right away, though, things are weird. The first image we see of Bran is when he and the Three-Eyed Raven are tripping out together, journeying through time in their minds, witnessing his father, Ned, and his uncle Benjen (who was last seen in Season 1) as young boys, training in the courtyard of Winterfell. . Then Lyanna their sister, shows up,  and she enlists the help of a rather large boy named Willis. Bran recognizes him as a young Hodor, however. And young Hodor can talk!

The Three-Eyed Raven snaps him out of the vision warning him of getting lost in his visions. Now awake, Bran talks to Hodor by calling him by his old name, Willis, but Hodor only responds the way we know he can: “Hodor.” Outside the cave, Bran and Hodor find Meera Reed, who seems to be mourning her brother, Jojen. She can’t even be roused by Bran revealing their purpose for being that far up North: A war is coming. After Bran and Hodor leave her to her sorrow, Meera gets some advice from one of the Children of the Forest, who tells her that Bran needs her.

Back at the Wall, Thorne and the rest of the Night’s Watch traitors are about to break down the door to get Jon Snow’s body, but just as they break through, a large banging comes at the gates. It’s the Wildlings and the giant, who promptly knocks down the gate. One  guy decides to put up a fight and shoots at the giant, but the giant quickly grabs him and dashes his skull against a wall. The remaining Night’s Watchmen drop their weapons and surrender. Rather than kill them, they are sent to the cells (Jon would be proud) and Tormund Giantsbane, the leader of the Wildlings, goes to inspect Jon’s body. He calls for a funeral pyre.

We then move to Kings Landing where the mysterious Ser Robert Strong smashes the head of some guy on the street who’s been bragging about insulting Cersei during her Walk of Shame. The monstrous warrior returns to the Red Keep to stand at Cersei’s side, but she’s confined there, and she can’t leave to attend her daughter Myrcella’s funeral. It’s the result of King Tommen’s orders, and Jaime isn’t too pleased with this development. He challenges his illegitimate son, but poor young Tommen is feeling guilty that he can’t even protect his wife and mother from the punishment of the High Sparrows and his army of religious zealots. The High Sparrow won’t even listen to him when he demands that he see his wife.

When the old man shows up at the Sept where Myrcella is laid out, Jaime sends Tommen to see his mother. Alone with the one-handed Lannister warrior, the High Sparrow begins his gentle brand of taunting, which inspires Jaime to challenge him in turn, at one point exposing his blade to the faith leader. The High Sparrow, likewise, dares Jaime to kill him, but soon the walls are stirring with sparrows, all armed and ready to spring on Jaime if he makes a move.

Tommen goes to see Cersei, and he admits his shame for failing to protect her or exact vengeance against the Sparrows. “You raised me to be strong, but I wasn’t, and I want to be. Help me,” he pleads. “Always,” she responds, embracing him.

Conleth Hill and Nathalie Emmanuel in 'Game of Thrones.'

In Meereen, Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm are taking stock of their situation. It’s not good. The ships are burned, and the slave masters have started taking back the other cities in Slavers Bay. Their most valuable asset, Tyrion concludes, are the dragons, which are wasting away in the dungeons. They’ve been refusing to eat, and Tyrion urges their release. Dragons are smart, he reasons, so they’ll know a friend. Tyrion wants to be that friend in Dany’s absence. He goes to the dungeons and for a minute it looks like the two beasts are about to burn him to a crisp, but they’re curious. “I’m here to help,” Tyrion tells them. “Don’t eat the help.” For Tyrion, this is a dream come true. He has long hoped to commune with dragons. Not only does he get to do that, he earns their respect by removing their chains. Or at least it looks that way, for now.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow Alive

Over in Braavos Arya is still trying to become No One. That means another butt-kicking from the Waif, who again quickly vanishes. Arya erupts into a rage and flails about with her staff, only this time it’s Jaqen H’ghar who is there. He offers her food, shelter and her eyesight if she were only to speak her name, but she resists the temptation. Come, he instructs her. Her days of begging are done.

Back in Winterfell, Lord Roose Bolton looks to consolidate his power with the help of the Karstarks and other former Stark bannermen. While scolding Ramsay (again) he receives good news: His wife, Lady Walder, has had a baby. Ramsay, who stands to lose everything now graciously gives his father a congratulatory hug — which ends in Ramsay plunging a knife deep into the elder Bolton’s chest. With Roose dead (the cover story is poisoning at the hands of their enemies), it’s Ramsay’s turn to go all out. Ramsay then summons his “Mother” and “Brother” Just when you think, though, that Ramsay is about to leave them alone, he leads them both into the chamber where he keeps his bloodthirsty hounds. “He’s your brother,” Lady Walder begs. Ramsay prefers to be an only child, though. The beasts devour mother and child. (Off-screen, mercifully.)

With the horror of that scene lingering, the episode cuts to Sansa and Theon, Ramsay’s previous victims, as they camp with Brienne and Pod. Sansa urges Theon to journey to the Wall with them and take the black with the Night’s Watch. He refuses. “Where will you go?” she asks. “Home,” he says.

And Theon’s home is where we see next. Yara briefs Balon on the Ironborn loss at Deepwood Motte. “We can defeat anyone at sea,” but their holdings on land are much more tenuous, she explains. He doesn’t want to hear it, and storms out, running into his brother who’s been presumed dead and/or crazy for some time. “I am the first storm, and the last, and you’re in my way,” Yara’s uncle Euron tells Balon, then pitches him over the side of a swaying rope bridge in the middle of a storm.

At Balon’s funeral, Yara swears to find the murderer and feed him alive to the sharks. She assumes she’ll take over as ruler of the Ironborn, but an elder informs her that she’ll have to fight for it like everyone else.

Lord Beric Dondarrion (pictured above), who had one particularly unusual characteristic — he’d been brought back from the dead six times.

At the Wall again, Ser Davos seeks the counsel of Melisandre, who thankfully is in her less creepy form. He wants to know if she has any magical skills that could help bring him back. “If you want to help him, leave him be,” she says. Melisandre admits that she met another priest who had the power to raise the dead, but she’s reluctant to give it a shot. Davos is taken aback. He’s seen her do so many horrible magical things, but she has lost her faith after the demise of both Stannis and Jon. Davos has no time for this. All the gods are the same to him, but he believes miracles exist because of Melisandre. He asks that she at least try to bring back Jon.

And so the ceremony begins. The Red Priestess washes him, clips some of his hair, does some chanting, stroking and burning, then lays her hands on his chest and chants some more. When it doesn’t work, she whispers, “Please…” but nothing happens and everyone leaves except for Davos and Ghost. Finally, even Davos exits the room…

But… Ghost stirs. His eyes open and Jon breathes again.

Game of Thrones Jon Snow Alive

 

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, we have the trailer for next weeks episode “Oathbreaker”

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