Jon Snow is alive, again. Credit the Lady Melisandre. Even with her faith seemingly in limbo, she was able to conjure up some sort of voodoo capable of resurrecting everyone’s favorite know-nothing bastard who had sex in a cave that one time. I don’t care how it happened. I’ve officially given up on trying to understand the supernatural and spiritual elements to this show. Doing so was always a wasted exercise. Nowhere, not in the books or the show, have the people who write the damn thing made even the slightest effort to reel in the magic, or at least set limits to what it can and can’t do. Game of Thrones is tiptoeing dangerously close to Harry Potter levels of “whatever, if there’s a plot hole or something that makes no sense, we’ll invent a new form of magic” cover up. I appreciate the relative struggle they showed with Melisandre trying to resurrect Jon –they broke it up into two scenes so to emphasize this struggle- but it’s not enough to disguise how bland everything about this resurrection really was.
Didn’t EVERYONE expect Jon to be brought back, and not only that, brought back at The Wall by Melisandre? Predictability wouldn’t been an issue if Jon’s death wasn’t set up as the key event of season five and the critical cliffhanger going into season six. I’ve been complaining about the decision for a year now, how killing him the first place made no sense but also how reviving him forces the viewer to take every major death with a grain of salt moving forward. I complain too much as is so I won’t really get into that now. It’s in the past, just know, the “death” of Jon will haunt this show to at least some extent for the rest of its run.
It was nice to see Edd return to The Wall with Tormund and the rest of the Wildlings, even if it logistically was a bit too convenient (Edd leaves to gather them as the last hope, then they storm The Wall JUST as the bad guys are kicking down the door. Really?). The resurrection of Jon never happens if the Wildings don’t show up, and seeing as Jon died as a martyr for their rights, there’s poetry in there somewhere.
It was also very cool to see the giant smash that dude against the wall. $10M episode budget at work!
Checking in with Bronn of the Blackwater, week 2
Bronn was (again) not seen. He’s likely returned to King’s Landing, where he’d surely be frequenting brothels had the goddamn High Sparrow not made it so you can’t have fun.
There were many non-Snow “oh shit” moments this week. If you can’t make a good episode you sure as hell better make a jam-packed one, damnit. The first one came with Bran, who we haven’t seen since season four, continuing to train with the Three-Eyed Raven. That part has gone to the great Max Von Sydow, and he does a fine job capturing the wisdom and mystery surrounding the character. It’s great that Bran finally has something to do besides whine, though I’d like to know a little bit more about the actual purpose of the training. I found the set they used to be perfect. We got to see a bit more of it than we did in season four. It seems almost removed from the rest of the world. In no man’s land.
The memers were surely glad to get a glimpse of Hodor, or Wylis, in Bran’s vision/flashback. He can talk! The show actually recycled camera angles used at Winterfell way back during the scene when Bran’s brothers were clowning him for being a bad archer. This was a nice motif. It’s unclear whether or not this specific vision (where we saw a young Ned and Benjin) holds any particular significance or was just a glimpse at what Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are working on.
Sansa is headed North with Breinne and Podrick, unaware that the Jon Snow they come across may not be the same Jon Snow who Sansa knew growing up. Most viewers would say Theon has redeemed himself with the rescue of Sansa, but he still carries the death of those farm boys as a heavy burden. I’m not sure what heading to the Iron Islands to see his real family has to do with that, but that’s what he’s decided to do. Theon arguably has hit lower lows than any other character, both in terms of what he’s done and what’s been done to him. Wouldn’t it be something to see him take command and become a major factor in the impending wars?
Speaking of the Iron Islands, we returned to check in with some of our old Greyjoy friends (Lord Balon and Yara) as well as meet a new one (Euron, Balon’s brother). The two brothers have beef and they try to kill each other, with Balon eventually falling to his death. I don’t really get it. Though that’s mostly due to how little time we’ve spent with the Greyjoys, and I assume their dynamic as a House will be explored further moving forward. Having Balon meet his demise so soon after being reintroduced is probably intended to serve as a reminder of Melisandre’s creepy “false king’s/leaches/king’s blood” ritual from awhile back. Robb Stark, dead. Joffrey Lannister, dead. Balon Greyjoy, also dead. Even Stannis is dead. The prevailing theory seems to be that it’s Mr. Snow who really is the one.
The “Daenerys Sucks” Diaries, week 2
Nothing from homegirl this week, which is better than whatever they’d have had her doing.
In Meereen, Dany’s former domain, Tyrion & Co. learn the unfortunate truth that the other two cities in Slaver’s Bay have returned to the practice that nickname is based on. Dany’s noble albeit naïve ambitions have been a factor for a while now. She thought herself capable of changing an entire city’s mindset on multiple occasions. It’s been made clear that Dany’s power is entirely reliant on her being in control of her dragons. Tyrion recognized this from the rip, and was willing to take a seemingly suicidal act to ensure that the two dragons that are in Meereen aren’t in chains. The image of someone in chains, whether or a human slave or a dragon, is something meant to churn your stomach in this storyline. The CGI with the dragons has gotten better each season. Their heads looked remarkable up close. There were those little facial movements that imply they used some sort of motion capture, likely completely artificial, to shoot the basis for the animation. Very cool scene, just the whole framing of it, with Tyrion and his torch illuminating the shot from the foreground, Varys overlooking, and of course the actual dragons.
My favorite scene of the episode involved Jaime and the High Sparrow. First off, having the two converse over Myrcella’s corpse instantly created tension. Remember what went down when Jaime and Cersei were conversing over Joffrey’s corpse in the same setting? The more Lannister children that go, the more the Jaime-Cersei bond becomes the only thing that matters to the two (Tommen is still kicking, but c’mon, do you really think he’s making it out of this season?). It was a neatly paced scene. Jaime appeared to be the dominant one as he slowly unsheathed his weapon, insisting that the Sparrow heed his warning shot. But the Sparrow, played with a perfect sense of subtle cockiness by Jonathan Pryce, never waivers. He had a few goons in the cut and he treats them just like bruddas. For the first time, we really got to see just how fearless these religious dudes are, and how powerful they can be. I mean, Margaery has been in a cell for a minute now, huh? And they cut Cersei’s beautiful Lannister locks.
Was there any peen this week?
I don’t recall any peen from the episode. Perhaps some will expose itself on second viewing. For those expecting Jon Snow peen when Melisandre was cleaning him, it just wasn’t meant to be. The peen giveth and the peen taketh away.
On top of the aforementioned Balon Greyjoy, there was another significant death this week. Ramsay is as Ramsay does and this time that meant killing his father immediately after learning he now has a new baby brother. The way they shot the stabbing was interesting. At first, it wasn’t clear who did the stabbing, and even when you realized it was Roose who took one in the gut, the image brought back memories of that time Roose did a stabbing at an event referred to in folklore as “the Red Wedding”. This death was predictable. Ramsay is a sick fuck who wants to be THE Bolton. His father, and his father’s new son, were threats to that. It’s within his character.
What I have a gripe with is the manner in which Ramsay killed Walda and the baby. What purpose did it really serve, implying they were ripped apart by the hounds? Ramsay is sadistic, we get it. Do the showrunners really think anything he does is going to come as a shock after he castrated Theon and further tormented him by enjoying phallic foods, including a succulent sausage, right in from of him? A show that draws intrigue from its players not having the clearest moral compasses doesn’t need one villain who’s shown to be so much more depraved than everyone else. It’s as if they decided that someone needed to fill Joffrey’s shoes, a decision that makes Joffrey’s actions seem a bit tamer. Everyone is rooting for Ramsay to get his. He probably will. Hell, it’ll probably happen this season. But there’s zero nuance to him as a character. Since his very first appearance he’s served no purpose beyond being unlikable. This show is at its best when likability doesn’t apply to the construction of ANY character. This has long been my biggest personal complaint. Season One was structured to make you love the Starks and hate the Lannisters, but it was NEVER that simple.
Nothing to speak of in Dorne this week, and unfortunately there was no Daario/Jorah banter.
Tweet of the week
I must say, for an episode that was loaded with “big” moments, I was underwhelmed by “Home”. Snow’s resurrection felt more obligatory than anything else. Predictable, boring, choose your own adjective. Ramsay’s depravity is no longer shocking. It’s hard to think much of Balon’s death given how little of him we’ve seen. The most effective moment was when Tyrion was in the dungeon with the dragons, and even that was more of a setup for upcoming events. It has not been a great start to the season, and I’m starting to worry about the showrunners’ ability to piece this all together without clear direction from George R.R. Martin.
Arbitrary Ranking of the Week
Characters most likely to be fans of Drake:
Bonus Ranking: characters who I expect to die real soon, ranked:
- Alliser Thorne (obvious reasons)
- King Tommen (it was written)
- Ser Jorah (I mean, he is becoming a rock zombie)
- Brienne (let’s say she gets Sansa to The Wall, isn’t her journey sort of over?)
- Ramsay Bolton (think of the fanfare!)
- The High Sparrow (maybe he’s getting a bit ahead of himself)
- Meera Reed (feels like her arc is pushing her towards sacrificing herself to save Bran, right?)
- Jaime (I have an uneasy feeling that the religious nuts doing something to him is going to be the final straw that leads to Cersei giving a one-hundred name list to The Mountain).
Five Random Tidbits
- No Samwell Tarly yet, who’s supposedly off training to become a Maester. He’ll be in this season at some point.
- What happened to Hodor that made it so he can only say “Hodor”? Surely, it’ll be addressed. Chekhov’s gun, ya know?
- How much longer can they keep Margaery locked up for? Too many characters saw the fifth season bring them to frustrating stagnancy. Let’s maybe not add another?
- Who the fuck is in charge of military tactics for the White Walkers? Are they just chilling at Hardhome? Makes zero sense. They had the Night’s Watch on the ropes and now they’re just going to let them regroup? Frustrating how the show gives them no clear organizational structure. They just pop up here and there. They’re the ultimate battle, right?
- This season has MUCH more humor than we’re accustomed to, no?
Until next week.