Another Sunday another Game of Thrones. Hey everybody, remember Brandon?
This episode starts off with the return of Brandon Stark, who we haven’t seen since Season 4. He’s pretty much where we left him, doing the vision quest thing with the Three-Eyed Raven. Brandon is taken back to see his father (Ned Stark) and aunt (Lyanna Stark) as children at Winterfell. We also get to see a husky young man named Willis, a stable boy whose taken away by Ol’ Nan for playing with swords–who is none other than Hodor! Only he can say thing other than Hodor! So what the heck happened to Hodor?
When Brandon comes back from his vision, there’s nobody to talk to it about except the Three-Eyed Raven and the elfish Leaf, one of the Children of the Forest. Deciding they’re no fun, he has Hodor take him outside to tell all the good news to Meera Reed–who is still mourning the loss of her bother Jojen. After she gives Brandon the cold shoulder, Leaf shows up (just sitting there, all weird-like) to tell her that Brandon is going to need her help. Because there’s a war coming.
At Castle Black, we also pick up where we left off–with the Onion Knight Ser Davos Seaworth, the direwolf Ghost and a few others, all guarding a room with the dead Jon Snow‘s body. Outside, professional hater Ser Allister Thorne and his henchmen begin to smash in the door, ready to complete their coup. Just when it seems all is lost, there’s a sudden pounding on the gates to Castle Black. The door swing open and boom! Surprise m-f’ers! It’s the giant Wun Wun with a whole mess of Wildlings, led by Dolorous Edd and Tormund Giantsbane. Ser Allister implores his men to fight anyway. But when one dude shoots Wun Wun with an arrow, and ends up getting giant-smeared all over the place, they drop their weapons and surrender. Ser Allister and his henchmen (including that punk ass kid Olly) are placed under arrest and taken to the dungeons.
In King’s Landing, the local commoners are recounting Cersei Lannister‘s naked jaunt through the streets and making lewd jokes about it. Woe to them, the zombified Mountain (once Gregor Clegane) is stalking the city and smashing in the heads of those who ain’t putting some “respeck” on the queen’s name. Only Cersei isn’t feeling being much of a queen, locked to the Red Keep by her son Tommen and barred from her own daughter Myrcella‘s funeral. Things almost come to blows between the Kingsguard charged with keeping her “kept” and the zombified Mountain, but Cersei backs down in acceptance.
From here, we see Myrcella’s body laid out at the temple as Tommen and Jaime look on. When Jaime asks why the young king hasn’t allowed Cersei to attend the funeral and why he hasn’t gone to see her since her “walk of shame,” Tommen reveals he is ashamed of his utter weakness before the Sparrows. His mother got hauled before them and was paraded through the streets naked. His wife Margaery Tyrell is even now in their custody. And he hasn’t done anything but look hella-weak.
Just about then the High Sparrow (looking like medieval Bernie Sanders) shows up to pay his respects. Jaime sends Tommen on and then decides to have a few words with the old man. He points out that the zealots seem fond of going after the highborn women of King’s Landing to atone for their sins, but they haven’t bothered to go after any well-armored, sword wielding men–like himself. Jaime steps up to the High Sparrow like now what, hand on a knife. When the old man asks if he’d spill blood in this holy house, Jaime right on cue answers, “The gods have spilled more blood than the rest of us combined.”
Then to Jaime’s surprise, the High Sparrow says–“Okay. Gon’ head and kill me. We’re all weak before the gods and deserve it.” Jaime’s taken aback by this and only then notices all the dudes dressed in black robes coming out of the shadows: Sparows, each holding sharp, pointy, bludgeon-y things. The High Sparrow points out that while each of those Jaime strikes down are nameless, and come from the poor and powerless subjects of Westeros, together they had forged the might to overthrow an empire. Point to Bernie on the revolutionary talk. Oh, Tommen goes to see Cersei, he apologizes, they make up, yawn.
More excitedly, somewhere in Meereen, our favorite half-man Tyrion is getting drunk while making a few eunuch jokes at Grey Worm‘s and Varys‘s expense, as a bemused Missandei looks on. Things aren’t great in the city. Daenerys is still missing. Her fleet is burned down. And what’s more, the rest of Slaver’s Bay has returned back to its namesake: “slaving.” Tyrion tells them they need to do something to provide a show of power while Dany’s gone–and mentions they have two dragons chained up below, Rhaegal and Viserion. Missandei points out no one has control of them, and that they haven’t eaten anything since Dany’s departure. Tyrion believes that they can’t remain in captivity, or they’ll simply waste away, as dragons are wont to do. He also says they aren’t simply beasts but intelligent: affectionate to their friends and furious against their enemies. They simply need to let the dragons know that they are their friends. When asked how he knows all this he replies: “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.”
Then, amazingly, crazily, Tyrion sets out to free the two dragons. He and Varys, torches in hand, make their way into the dungeons. It doesn’t take long to find Rhaegal and Viserion, chained up and massive and looking mightily pissed. Tyrion approaches them–caref-ful-ly. On account that they’re giant fire-breathing dragons. He tells them he’s friends with their mother and is there to help–imploring them not to eat the help! He recounts that when he was younger he wanted a dragon of his own, only to learn they had died out. But now, to his awe, here they are. Slowly, they let him remove the chains that bind them which fall away with a clang. They roar their seeming thanks for their freedom. And, most important, they don’t eat the half-man. Add “dragon whisperer” to the deeds of Tyrion.
Elsewhere in Essos, Arya Stark is still trying to join the worst sorority in the world. Creepy girl from the temple of the Many Faced God shows up to deliver another brutal ass-whooping with a staff. Arya tries, and fails, to defend herself or land a blow. She is still flailing about angrily at nothing when the priest with Jaqen H’ghar’s face shows up. He asks her name and she responds with the rote, “a girl has no name.” He asks if he were to offer a girl a place to sleep that night, would she tell him her name? Arya replies again, “a girl has no name.” What about if he offered her food? Arya gives the same reply. He asks if he were to give her back her sight, would she say her name then? She pauses, but responds again with the same answer. Seeming satisfied, the priest walks away and beckons for her to follow. Worst. Hazing. Ever.
At occupied Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton stands and listens as Daddy Bolton is informed on the non-progress of finding and recapturing Sansa Stark. Trying to prove himself after this royal screw-up, Ramsay deduces that Sansa is trying to flee to her brother Jon at Castle Black–and proposes that they take the fortress and kill the Lord Commander. Daddy Bolton looks at him as if he done lost his mind, pointing out that every House in the North would turn against them if they did so. Ramsay retorts that they don’t need every House, just enough to keep the others in line. Harald Karstark, still smarting at that time Robb Stark took off his daddy’s head (remember that? when Robb cut off his daddy’s head? Ha. Ha. Fun times…), agrees, calling for “new blood” to rule the North. Daddy Bolton however has heard enough. He stands up and rebukes Ramsay harshly, stating: “If you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, you’ll be treated like a mad dog. Taken out back and slaughtered for pig feed.”
About then a maester shows up to announce that Daddy Bolton is again a daddy. Walda Frey (now Walda Bolton) has just had a brand new baby boy. Oh oh. A baby boy means Ramsay (a bastard by birth) may be out of the running as heir to his father. He walks over and the two embrace in the most awkward father-son embrace in the history of awkward father-son embraces. “Congratulations father,” Ramsay says, “I look forward to meeting my baby brother.” Daddy Bolton accepts the embrace and replies, “You’ll always be my first-born.”
“Thank you for saying that,” Ramsay says. “It means a great deal to me.”
Then he shanks his Pops. Straight stabs dude. In the chest. Wow.
We watch in shock (not as shocked as Daddy Bolton tho’) as the elder Lord of the Dreadfort falls and dies. Harald Karstark acts like he ain’t seen nothing! The maester is all slow and gaping, when Ramsay tells him to send out ravens that Roose Bolton has been…um…poisoned, by their enemies. When the maester is still acting real slow like he don’t want to live no more, Ramsay has him repeat how Roose Bolton dies. “Poisoned by our enemies,” the maester mouths slowly. Harald Karstark snaps that he needs to add a m’lord at the end of that, which he does. Ramsay then asks that Walda and her newborn infant be sent to him. The maester hesitates, saying “she’s getting dressed.” Ramsay fixes him with a look like, “did you not just see me shank the f’ck out my Pops just 2 minutes ago?” The maester catches on, and goes to fetch Walda and the baby.
Well…we all know what’s coming next. So I don’t even need to rehash it. Hungry dogs. Bawling baby. Pleading Walda. Feeding time. And psychopath Ramsay assuring there are no more threats to his power. That’s a coup folks.
Nearby in the woods, Sansa and Brienne talk about their next course of action. Sure enough, they’re heading to Castle Black to see Jon. Brienne asks what happened at Winterfell. Sansa doesn’t respond directly, saying instead she should have went with Brienne when she first had the chance. Brienne points out they have all had to make hard choices–eyeing Theon in particular. Theon, formerly Reek, and formerly Theon, tells Sansa that he won’t be joining her to Castle Black. After all he’s done–betrayal, killing kids, etc.–he says he doesn’t want or deserve even the redemption of “taking the Black.” When a saddened Sansa asks where he’ll go then. He says it’s time to go home.
That home is somewhere out on the Iron Isles, which we haven’t visited in a while. The Lord Reaper of Pyke, Balon Greyjoy, listens as his daughter Yara Greyjoy points out they’ve lost their last foothold on the mainland since rising up against the North. When Yara criticizes the whole venture as foolhardy, Balon retorts sharply that it was actions such as hers (in disobeying his orders in an ill-fated attempt at rescuing Theon) that has led to these setbacks. Threatening that perhaps he’ll “make” another heir if she doesn’t obey his orders, he leaves and walks out into the stormy night to cross one of the many bridges connecting the Iron Isles. But when he reaches near the center, he sees someone else in his path. It’s his brother Euron Greyjoy, who Balon thought dead or missing. Euron calls himself the very incarnation of the Drowned God now, declaring “I am the storm…The first storm, and the last. And you’re in my way.” Before you can holler, “look out fool!”–Euron has thrown Balon off the bridge and to his death. Another coup. We next see the former head of House Greyjoy being borne on a funeral barge accompanied by the priests of the Drowned God. When Yara assures that she will get to the bottom of who carried out the murder, one of the priests rebukes that she isn’t ruler yet. And who that will be hasn’t been decided.
Say it with me now–KINGSMOOT!
Finally, back at Castle Black, Ser Davos seeks out Melisandre to do something about Jon’s umm, deadness. Ser Davos says he seen her do all sorts of weird ass sh*t–drink poison and live, give birth to a demon baby. But the Red Woman has lost her faith, saying she no longer believes the visions R’hllor had given. Ser Davos responds, F-k ’em. F-k all the gods that were or might be. He’s seen her do things, and she should at least try.
She does. In the next scene she is standing above Jon’s body. As Ser Davos, Tormund Giantsbane and Dolorous Edd look on, she begins wiping it clean of blood to reveal the stab wounds, trimming his hair and beginning the ritual of resurrection. She lays hands on him and chants the words. Nothing happens. She tries several more times, all the doubt she’s holding showing on her face. She even begs. Still nothing. Tormund is the first to leave, in seeming disgust. One by one, the others do as well, with Ser Davos leaving last.
In the end, it’s only Ghost who stays with Jon’s body, as it lays reposed in death. Then, in one final scene, the Lord Commander opens his eyes and takes the first deep breaths of life. Again.
Till next week. Is it time for Lady Stoneheart yet?