Episode 2 of season 6 of Game of Thrones, and we have some characters we haven’t seen for a while returning, no not you Gendry.
And we jump right back in with some of those returning character north of the wall. We start with Bran who has been training in his mystical powers with the Three-eyed Raven, now played by Max von Sydow. We see Bran travel back to see his father Ned as a child with his siblings, Benjen and Lyanna, not to mention your Hodor who can say more than just his own name like a human Pokemon. We may be getting to see a fair amount of the history of some characters, like Ned, through these flashbacks. Meera is told by a mysterious look girl that Bran will need her when he leaves, clearly hinting at more for Bran’s story than just sitting in a tree watching.
South, at The Wall Ser Alliser Thorne’s offer to Ser Davos and the other men expires. Just as they prepare to knock down the door Edd returns with the Wildlings, including Tormund and the giant. The giant absolutely destroys one guys and the rest surrender to the superior force. Alliser, Olly and the rest are thrown in jail.
The action then moves to Kings Landing and not much happens. Ser Robert Strong (aka the zombie Mountain) does kill a man who is telling Cersei and her walk of shame. Meanwhile King Tommen is keeping Cersei locked in the Red Keep, so she cannot attend Myrcella’s funeral. After encouraging from Jaime he finally visits Cersei, and we get a Tommen finally showing some kind of character. There is also a stand off between Jaime and the High Sparrow. As the High Sparrow points out Jaime could kill many of their order, but they are a nameless group who’s strength is in the many, not individuals, so it would not do him much good. Not much happened here, and it was probably one of the weakest parts of the episode.
Meanwhile the council of the four now running Meereen, that is Tyrion, Varys, Greyworm, and Missandei, discuss what to do about the burned ships. They learn that masters have retaken the rest of slavers bay. This essentially makes most of Danny’s previous storylines pointless. Tyrion wants to try and befriend Daenery’s two remaining dragons who are still chained up below Meereen. We do get a pretty tense scene where Tyrion goes down and unchains them, I love the design of dragons in this show, and they look especially cool down there in the dark, but I want to see them do something.
As Arya continues to beg in Braavos the other girl returns (I am being led to believe she is called ‘the waif’). This time she puts up more of a fight, but ends up swinging at nothing. That is until Jaqen H’ghar appears. He offers her food, shelter, and her sight back if she will just say her name, but Arya insists that she in no one, presumably passing this test.
We move back to the Boltons at Winterfell. Lord Carstark, who has joined them after Robb’s execution of his father during the war of the five kings, reports that the men sent after Sansa are dead. They are interrupted by the news that Roose’s wife has given birth to a son. He promises Ramsey that he shall always be Roose’s first born, but Ramsey murders his father anyway. This was a big grab for power, and he already made clear his intentions to attack Castle Black and unite as much of the North as he needs to make a grab for power. Ramsey also has his dogs kill Roose’s wife and newborn son, just to secure that power.
Wandering the frozen wilds of the north Brienne gives Sansa news of when she last saw Arya, which was in the Season 4 finale. They confirm that they are heading towards Castle Black, not knowing that Jon is dead. But Theon, scared of facing Jon after all he has done chooses to leave, to return to his family in the Iron Islands. He has truly had a redemptive arc, and has become a good character in my eyes.
After a couple is seasons we finally return to the Iron Islands. There is some tension between Lord Balon and daughter Yara over whether they should continue an invasion of the coast of Westeros. King Balon’s brother Euron returns. Balon accused him of being insane, and he is making claims like ‘I am the drowned God’, but he kills and Balon. A Kingsmoot will choose their new ruler, and Yara doesn’t seem all that confident of winning, and I don’t think that she will. My money would be on Euron, but Theon will be involved in some capacity as well. Regardless big changes are happening on the Iron Islands as well.
Like last week we finish back up at The Wall. And it’s actually Ser Davos who comes to Melisandre asking if Jon can be brought back from the dead. And Melisandre was certainly having a huge crisis of faith at the end of last week’s episode, but she agrees to attempt to resurrect Jon. When she goes to attempt the resurrection the show played out the classic trope where it appeared as though it failed, then we get the twist. After everyone else leaves disappointed ghost knew what was up, and perks up just before Jon opened his eyes with the last shot of the episode. Obviously this is a pretty huge moment, but it is one that everyone knew was coming ever since the end of last season, which did make the moment lose a lot of the impact for me.
Ok so a lot went on in this episode. Whilst a couple is storylines, such as Cersei’s at Kings Landing are moving very slowly, we’ve had some big changes up north. Jon Snow’s return will obviously be the big talking point, but this was also the most predictable moment of the episodes. We also got a little more of Bran’s powers, and we may be using it to learn more about the history of some characters, such as Ned or Lyanna. Some big power plays on the Iron Islands and at Winterfell. Ramsey’s grab for power in the North is interesting, whilst Roose Bolton may have been one of my least favourite characters for his role in the Red Wedding at least he was a good tactician and kept a level head. Ramsey on the other hand is completely psychopathic and is now in charge of most of the north, and wants to launch an attack on Castle Black. We also had some apparently less crucial changes such as Theon leaving Sansa, this will give us someone to really care about in the Iron Islands story. We also have Tyrion trying to win the dragon’s trust, and he managed to unchain them and get out alive. Overall some storylines still haven’t really progressed, but a few have taken some big steps forward, and I’m thankful they didn’t keep us waiting too long to bring Jon Snow back, another strong episode at the start of this season, without being truly exceptional by Game of Thrones standard.