Game of Thrones is seriously getting a move on. Over the past 3 episodes, the plot has moved forward at considerable pace, helped by in large part by more characters coming together. If this pace continues, I would wager several more character groupings coming together by the end of the season.
The writers fooled me yet again by giving us more Jon Snow immediately after his resurrection in ‘Home’. He’s back and mildly asthmatic by the sound of it but otherwise seems to be his old self. But even his mopey, constantly-looking-like-a-sad-puppy face now has a much more grown-up sense to it. Let’s face it, he did earn it. Plus he’s got a bitchin’ scar.
Old Mother Hubbard (in what has to be a bit of a stretch) cheerfully proclaims she was totally wrong about Stannis for the past 5 seasons and Jon must be the ‘Prince that was promised’. Good to check in with Sam and company this week though it did feel like it went on a little bit too long. It’s only purpose was a quick catch up and it felt like the message of keeping them safe had seen said many times before. BUT WAIT WHAT’S THAT?
Oh it’s the Tower of Joy – TOWER OF JOY YOU SAY. Just one of the most anticipated moments since the trailer for this season was released, and keen-eyed book readers caught a glimpse of this. Cue Ned Stark and his merry men coming to rescue (?) his sister Lyanna. Rhaegar Targaryen is dead at this point, killed at the Battle of the Trident, but Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, was conspicuously absent. He was guarding this tower.
Cue some great sword play as Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven watch everyone duke it out. Great to see some Targaryen soldiers in action. Ned Stark and Howland Reed win the battle in a manner most ungentlemanly but it gets the job done. Ned heads off to the tower but not before Bran shouts out to him and Ned….hears him? Are these ‘visions’ actually time travel? What kind of possibilities does this open up? Did anyone hear that baby crying? How old is Jon Snow by the way? “That’s enough for one day.”
Not much on the Dany front this week, she’s back at Vays Dothrak with the other ex-wives just having a bit of a chat and casually avoiding nudity. Expecting a bit more from her next week. At the rate this season is moving things along, who knows, she could end up in Westeros next episode for all I know. But it does lead into an all-time great scene where we get to see Varys operate, sourcing information via an impressive mix of charm, threats and bargaining. I do hope Dany and Tyrion get back together soon, so that Tyrion has a bit more of a conversational foil. The news that the ‘freed cities’ have banded together to fund the insurgency in Meereen is not surprising but welcome as an answer (finally), and hopefully this revelation will move things along a bit quicker.
Good to see Uncle Kevan and the Queen of Thorns back and put together with the Lannisters. In a rare bit of flat out humour, Grand Maester Pycell loses bowel control at the site of Ser Robert Strong (understandable). Cersei and Jamie literally try and muscle their way into the small council meeting, but are still pipped to the post. Only a mention rather than sight of Dorne this week, which I have to say felt like a huge improvement. At least Season 5 gave us some context of Dorne in our minds, and now we can simply refer to it and have a bit more of an understanding.
Next comes a long chat between the High Sparrow and King Tommen. I enjoyed seeing Tommen trying to stand up for himself and his mother (including imitating a pufferfish), but alas, it looks like the High Sparrow has talked him down. Moving quickly on to Arya and a Rocky-esque training montage, after which she has her eyesight restored. Seriously fast-paced, I was thinking Arya’s blindness and training would take half a season (if not a full one) to resolve. Very keen to see where this goes next.
The penultimate scene with Lord Umber and Ramsey was a treat to watch. Ramsey really gets put in his place by the no-nonsense Lord Umber (have we seen him before?). A shame that it ends with Ramsey seemingly getting more of what he wants with Rickon, Osha and poor Shaggydog! Direwolves just don’t have the best luck…
Finally, we get to see swift justice dispensed to the traitors (heroes?) of the Night’s Watch. A good close up of Olly’s dead face to satisfy the fans, and in one of the many “Oathbreaking” events of the episode, Jon Snow hangs up his cloak. His watch has ended. How strange will it be to see him in non-snowy locations? I’ll bet Kit is excited to be shooting on different sets and have a different wardrobe (rumour has it we are in for a man-bun). I hope we get more of him next week, though I have a feeling we might have a break from Jon for an episode or two. I watch too many trailers, but I think there may be a bit more soul-searching to be done by Jon before his triumphant return.
More like this please! With this many characters returning I expect Gendry to finish rowing next week!