Spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones!
We’re now just a couple weeks into the new season of Game of Thrones, and already fans are going positively bonkers. The season premiere closed out with the stunning reveal of Melisandre’s true age (most guesses have her pegged around 400 years old), and that was only the ending to an episode packed with shocking reveals. What it didn’t give us though was the answer to a question on everyone’s mind since Season 5’s cliffhanger: Is Jon Snow well and truly dead?
We’re now onto the second episode, and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have wasted no time in diving headfirst into the Jon Snow dilemma. Before we can get to that though, let’s unravel all the other insanity of “Home,” an episode that by itself may be the craziest second episode Game of Thrones has ever aired. The series has developed a reputation for being as deliberate and slow-moving as George R.R. Martin’s writing. Now that we’re officially off-book, it looks like we’re finally getting some significant early plot movement. Here’s what we saw.
1. Bran solves a Hodor-related mystery while hanging out with Max von Sydow
Yeah, we want to know if the White Walkers ever do march on the Wall. Or if Dany and her dragons end up taking the Iron Throne to rule over Westeros. But in our minds, all roads lead back to Hodor. Or something like that. When we last saw Bran, he was looking about three years younger, having just stumbled upon the mystical Three-Eyed Raven he’d been seeing in dreams since Season 1.
He’s now being taken on a series of It’s A Wonderful Life-esque flashbacks, where he sees his father and uncle Benjen sparring as children. Wedged in there is a young Hodor, whose name we discover is actually Wylis. Wylis/Hodor also wasn’t always the simple-minded single-word-uttering giant we know him as, forming complete sentences and thoughts in Bran’s vision. We can only hope that the tale of Hodor continues as the seasons rolls forward. Hodor, indeed.
2. Sweet, sweet justice is enacted at Castle Black
Game of Thrones has seldom been a show that’s cared much for wish fulfillment, but without Martin’s books to drag us down into misery, the series seems to be indulging just a smidge. Evidence of this can be seen in the latest from Castle Black. Our murdering mutineers are ready to beat down the door to snag Jon Snow’s body. But then, a freaking giant busts down the doors, leading an army of Wildlings in to apprehend the stab-y faction of the Night’s Watch. And as you may have guessed, this is only the beginning of the action at Castle Black in this episode…
3. Cersei goes on a revenge tour of King’s Landing
Over at King’s Landing, Cersei is quietly enacting her own unique brand of justice on the flashers of King’s Landing. One unlucky man who exposed himself to the Queen Mother on her shame-walk last season was the victim of this justice, and it wasn’t pretty. After telling the “brave” tale of how he whipped out his junk in public, he finds his brain bashed against the bricks by Zombie Gregor Clegane. There’s a bunch of other stuff about King Tommen and Jaime later on, but let’s not let that overshadow the fact that Cersei is surgically clearing out the drunk flasher population with a 7-foot zombie.
4. Hi Balon! Bye Balon!
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on Balon Greyjoy. It’s worth noting that in the books, Balon is long-dead, having been blown off of a rope bridge during a storm. Game of Thrones sets up a far more satisfying death for the ruler of the Iron Islands, utilizing Balon’s insane brother Euron as a far more believable murderer than a strong gust of wind. Balon encounters his brother (you guessed it) on a rope bridge in a storm, before he’s unceremoniously tossed over the edge to his death. Soon, we’ll get what the Iron Islanders call a Kingsmoot, where they’ll choose a new ruler. Worth noting, Theon/Reek is on his way back home, so things are about to get as interesting as they’ve ever been in what looks like the Seattle of Westeros weather-wise.
5. Ramsay Bolton is still a grinning little monster who needs to die
Game of Thrones really wants to you to hate Ramsay Bolton more than anyone else on a show with eminently hatable villains. Lately, he’s made Joffrey’s reign of terror look like a relative joy, with a list of sins that includes the nightly rape and beating of Sansa Stark, the severing of Theon Greyjoy’s man-parts following extensive physical and psychological torture, and now, patricide. After putting a knife through his father Roose, he then proceeds to sic his hounds on his step-mother and infant brother, and soon he’ll be marching on Castle Black in an effort to recapture Sansa. If that Wildling giant doesn’t throw him off a cliff this season, we quit.
6. Tyrion drinks and knows things
With Daenerys otherwise incapacitated right now, Tyrion Lannister has been left to rule over Meereen. It’s a welcomed change of leadership featuring an infinitely more competent and interesting character. Tyrion’s reign begins with a visit to the dragons being stashed in the basement, as he seeks to undo at least part of the mess Dany left in her brief rule. After a heartbreaking story about how he always wanted a pet dragon, Tyrion unchains them before making a mad dash for the exit. The road to our favorite Lannister victoriously riding into Westeros astride a dragon has officially begun.
7. All of our Jon Snow questions are now answered
And now for the grand reveal: Jon Snow is alive as hell. His Wildling buddies have taken Castle Black from the mutineers who tried to kill him, his sister Sansa is on her way up to visit, and Ramsay Bolton is delivering himself up on a silver platter. Needless to say, everything’s coming up Jon Snow right now. What could possibly go wrong? The answer is probably “everything” knowing what we do about Game of Thrones, but let’s savor this rare moment of joy, however brief it may be.
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