Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones Season 6, Episode 2
More than ever Game of Thrones is at a pivotal point in the series. In its sixth season, not only have a majority of the story lines surpassed the books but the finish line is within sight. The show runners are considering to make about thirteen more episodes after this season is over (HBO wants ten seasons). Knowing the estimated number of episodes remaining to wrap up the saga is going to impact how the final stretch of the story is told.
For example on ABC’s Lost, the pace became less meandering and there was a more concerted effort to address long-standing mysteries once the show runners determined the number of seasons left. For Game of Thrones, many story lines are moving quickly. Roose Bolton, Balon Greyjoy and Prince Doran are killed off early this season. These characters, if they lived, would have kept the status quo. With them out of the picture, the political landscape is shifting. And those that fill their shoes will prove to be more volatile and dangerous ie. shit is going down.
Usually Game of Thrones seasons starts off slowly, so in a lot of respects, I do appreciate getting to the meat of the story faster in Season 6. At the same time, I appreciate how George R.R. Martin intricately plans these shocking moments in the books that are earned and have substance behind them. The way the Sand Snakes took over former House Martell did not feel like anything George R. R. Martin would hastily write.
Roose Bolton, plus sized Walda and their baby son’s death was in the cards once Walda’s pregnancy was revealed. Balon Greyjoy’s death is a long time coming even more than Roose’s. Balon’s death scene served as a solid introduction for Euron Greyjoy who should shake things up and is already more intriguing than his older, cantankerous brother. A quick side note is that the storm scene on the bridge is incredibly shot as is the cinematography of the Pyke Islands.
Of course the big news that’s everyone is buzzing about is that Jon Snow is back from the dead! If the show wanted to stretch it out they could have had Melisandre research/prepare for the spell and get her mojo back over an episode or two. Then it could be presented as if Melisandre’s belief would be the crux of the spell that brings Jon back and make the resurrection spell appear less easy to do. So it was interesting to see her despondent while trying to pull off a powerful spell she didn’t even have faith in. This is assuming that Jon came back because of the chanting and hair cutting, which wasn’t explicitly explained. I do like that the writers aren’t dragging things out.
For many fans, it wasn’t a question of if Jon is coming back but which episode he will come back. There was plenty of tension in that scene, keeping things understated worked for me. The absence of magic-like special effects may have also played on the doubt that Jon wasn’t coming back just yet or that maybe he’d be reborn in the funeral pyre instead. I also noticed that Ghost was chilling at the start of the scene so it was nice to see it pay off when he got up and sensed Jon’s return.
Character Power Rankings: Who’s stock is Up and who is Down?
Up: Jon Snow. As power ranking moves go, you can’t beat coming back from the dead! The question is in what ways will the resurrected Jon Snow be different? Beric Dondarrion said that a little piece of him is lost every time he comes back. To resurrect a person: body, mind and soul, one would imagine it should come at a cost or consequence as this is the way magic seems to work in this fantasy world. Like when Dany gave birth to her dragons on the funeral pyre, it can also be viewed as a sacrifice; a life for a life.
It’s only been a couple of episodes since Jon died but he’s awakening to a new, advantageous scenario. Sure the Night’s Watch are the protectors of the Wall and the realm, but Jon can now turn his full attention to getting back Winterfell and uniting Westeros against the White Walkers. Jon also has allies in the Wildings (and that giant!) who have proven their loyalty. Jon’s enemies in the Night’s Watch have been exposed and apprehended. Melisandre is probably itching to burn them alive, at least that’s what I’m hoping for since a quick death for Ser Thorne would be too merciful.
One of the reasons why the internet is celebrating Jon ‘s return is because he represents good and righteousness on the show. So many terrible things have happened to good people, his return signifies something hopeful.
Up: Melisandre. After saying ewww to Melisandre’s old wrinkly form in the premiere, she was essentially exposed to be at her most frail and vulnerable state. She wasn’t experiencing a crisis of conscience per se, meaning she’s not losing sleep for getting poor little Shireen killed. But she is doubting that the Lord of Light has belief in her. I’m not ready to sympathize with The Red Woman yet even if she did do something good for a change. She is arguably one of the most powerful game changers in Westeros and once she learns she revived Jon, she’ll back to her
old self tenfold; assuming she lives for a while longer.
Down: Ramsay Bolton. Ramsay made himself a Lord by killing his father so theoretically that should increase his power rankings right? But I can’t help but to think that this is the beginning of the end of House Bolton. Ramsay lacks an inhibition switch inside his psychopathic head. It’s Roose who tried to keep Ramsey’s impulses and cruelty in check when possible. Ramsay may know how to seize power, but Roose knew how to play the game. In particular, Roose believed in building alliances and stability through marriage. With his bride Sansa gone, Ramsay’s hold on the North is tenuous. Add to the fact that Walder Frey won’t be pleased to find out Walda is dead. The same way that Robb got stabbed by his trusted right hand man, Roose got stabbed by his first-born son. Although they are united in their disdain for the Starks, what’s to stop the Karstarks from backstabbing Ramsay at some point when it benefits them?
Up: Tyrion Lannister. Dragons are the most powerful creatures around. They can take out whole armies and burn a castle inside out. That is if they grow big enough and if they can be controlled. Tyrion gambled with his life going into the dragon’s tomb. It was a gamble that paid off. He’s made a connection with two of Dany’s dragons and they won’t forgot who freed them. Would love to see Tyrion ride a dragon at some point!
Up: Bran Stark. Bran’s powers extend to seeing the past. Like any form of power it can be abused and have its downsides. For now, I really like using this device to flash back to events that’ll be important to know for future plot points. Bran has always been fond of Old Nan’s stories and it easy to see why he’s engrossed in these places and people. This could get really interesting if this power will allow us to eavesdrop in on The White Walkers through Bran’s perspective and whether Bran can effect things across Westeros beneath the tree.
“Home” seems to be well received by fans and critics. I enjoyed it too. However, I do feel like Game of Thrones is becoming more like what you’d expect from a cable television show. This isn’t necessarily a big criticism. The writers know what makes for entertaining television and there is a formula for what works on Game of Thrones. Who doesn’t love it when a giant smashes a guy against a wall? Or when Ser Robert Strong splatters a guy’s head on … a wall. Or when hounds feast on a big lunch and a tasty small dessert. Add in a warm fuzzy flashback to the beloved Starks and a How to Train Your Dragon scene. Loved those scenes by the way. But I also feel like the rich, complexity of the stories and how the events unfold are better handled when the books were used as a source material.
What are your reaction and thoughts on Jon Snow’s return? Which is your favorite story line at the moment?