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Recap: On GAME OF THRONES, Castle Black’s Forecast Conjures Snow

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Episode 52 “Home”
Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Directed by Jeremy Podeswa     

Finally we have our answer!

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Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is ALIVE! However, before we get into the delicious details of his revival, let’s talk some Thrones first, after all, his living status wasn’t the only important thing to have happened in this week’s episode. We begin our tale with a crippled boy, laying in a dark cave with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) entwined among the roots of a Weirwood, or as more commonly known as a Heart Tree. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) stares milky eyed, as he and the Three-Eyed Raven  transport their thoughts to the past. While he can see the past, he cannot change it.

He looks on as his father, a young boy, trains with Benjen (Matteo Elezi) You may remember him from the first season. Benjen (Joseph Mawle) brought Jon Snow to Castle Black, and then promptly disappeared, leaving us to still wonder what happened to him, but that’s neither here nor there. As Ned (Sebastian Croft) trains with his brother, in rides a beautiful young girl strapped in boys clothing, Lyanna (Cordelia Hill). Immediately this young girl reminds us of Arya (Maisie Willaims), she appears to be one of the boys, able to ride a horse, and possibly wield a sword. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to possibly seeing more about her through Bran’s eyes.

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Then we come to an even happier reveal: Hodor. Or should I say young Wyllis? (Sam Coleman) Not only was he there, but he could talk! The Starks treated him kindly, and looked to him as more than just a stable boy; Benjen went so far as to invite him to train. Seeing more of Hodor’s past only intrigues us more as to why he no longer is able to speak. It is my opinion, from seeing the kindness Lyanna showed him, that when she died, his poor heart couldn’t take it, and it broke him, rendering him speechless and dumb. Bran revels in seeing the past, able to be home again, until the Raven cruelly pulls him out.

Whilst Bran trains with the Raven, Meera (Ellie Kendrick) sits outside the cave, her displeasure at being unneeded evident. She has always been useful, with her brother Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) at her side. Now that she has reached their destination, she feels lost and hopeless, only able to watch as Bran learns. Leaf, (Kate Alexander) one of the Children of the Forest consoles her, telling her that Bran needs her out there, as she looks south, towards the wall. Could Meera become the eyes that Bran needs to use? This could be how Meera helps to fight the war that is coming.

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Back at the wall, it is sundown, and Thorne (Owen Teale) stands outside of Davos’ (Liam Cunningham) door, ordering him to come out, and admit defeat. Davos turns to the men in his room drawing his sword and apologizing for not being much of a fighter. We know they will die; it’s just not possible for four men and a direwolf to defend themselves against forty trained fighters. Thorne has his men begin to hack down the door with an axe, when the chopping noises are met with larger booms, and crashes. Knock, knock. Who’s there? Oh hello Giant, come right on in.

Those of us on couches, clutching our pillows in fear of Davos’ life, whoop with joy as the Wildlings stream in and the traitors drop their swords almost immediately. We just witnessed the shortest uprising to date, and we aren’t mad about it. You have to love the clichéd storming in to save the day at the last moment ploy, no matter how overused it is. It stills begs the question however, how has Jon not turned into a wight yet? Back in season 5, at the battle of the Wildlings versus White Walkers, those who were killed instantaneously turned, so why didn’t Jon?

While we ruminate on that plot hole, down south in King’s Landing, drunkards boast of their encounter with the shamed and naked Cersei (Lena Headey). One man in particular goes so far as to proclaim that Cersei licked her lips at his member. While all of King’s Landing did get away with throwing their feces, and piss at her, as well as showing their own parts, I wouldn’t have dared to continue blaspheming her. She’s back in her castle now, she has a little bit of power and say in the judgement of her people, and she uses this. In this case exactly, the Mountain (Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson)
meets up with this overzealous drunk and bashes his head into the wall with one hand. Lesson learned, I guess.

Cersei, however, remains secluded in her quarters, practically held prisoner by her son, King Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman). She isn’t even allowed to her daughter’s funeral. Tommen confides in Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) as he overlooks his deceased sister, that the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) wouldn’t allow Cersei in the Sept. This seems a bit much. Cersei has atoned for her sins, so why continue to punish her? She is a mother first and foremost, and she has every right to be present to her daughter’s burial.

As for Tommen, he starts to realize how weak of a ruler he truly is, and finally, at the behest of his father/uncle Jamie, he apologizes to his mother and asks for her help in becoming stronger. This is the spark that could fuel Cersei’s fire once again. It’s evident she had become broken. If this were last season she would have used cunning words, and sharp wit to tear down the guards that kept her from her daughter. Instead she bows her head, tucks her tail and retreats. Very unlike the silver tongued woman that she is. Now, she has her purpose again, now she can raise Tommen to be the ruler her kingdom needs, with her whispering into his ear. What is interesting though, Cersei was punished for her sins, and yet Jamie remains in the castle. It takes two to tango there, High Sparrow. It makes you ponder what he has in store for Jamie.

All the way in Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) plots among Varys (Conleth Hill), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson)and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), casually throwing eunuch jokes, which surprisingly Grey Worm doesn’t care for. Meereen has been overtaken once again by the Masters, and Tyrion’s solution is to release the dragons. At one point Missandei asks him how he knows this, and if we all know Tyrion, he is full of quotable phrases, meets her question with, “I drink and I know things.” It is refreshing to see that the smallest man has the biggest balls of the group — well, really he’s the only one with balls if you think about it.

Finally Tyrion gets to live out his dream of meeting a real dragon. It is his belief that they are intelligent beings, capable of differentiating between friend and foe. He boldly walks into the dragon’s lair, and we all hold our breath, swearing to all the gods that if a dragon eats him, we riot. It would just be poetic justice for Game of Thrones to do that; after all, it’s all Tyrion ever wanted, to be able to befriend a dragon, and it ultimately costs his life.  Thankfully that is not the case. Instead his theory proves to be true, and the beasts willingly let him release their shackles, all because of a story he told about when he was a little boy and was laughed at for wanting a dragon. If we thought we couldn’t have loved Tyrion anymore, we were wrong. His name should be changed to Tyrion, Soothsayer of Dragons, Releaser of Shackles.

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In Braavos, Arya still remains blind and penniless. Every day Waif (Faye Marsay) comes and beats the tar out of her, questioning her name. Arya continues to hopelessly defend herself, proclaiming that a girl has no name. In frustration she beats wildly at the air, until Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) grabs her staff. He tells her, that if she says her name, he will provide her shelter, food, and eyesight. She keeps to her ‘a girl has no name’. This seems to please the man, and he allows her to come with, telling her she is a beggar no more. That seemed a little short lived in my opinion. Honestly, I feel that she should have remained, to learn how to use her senses, to become the ultimate fighter, to become the Daredevil of Braavos.

Winterfell still remains under the Bolton’s rule. Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) listens to his father berate him on the lose of Sansa(Sophie Turner). Roose (Michael McElhatton) even goes so far as to call his son a mad dog. Hold on there, Roose, are you just now realizing how crazy this kid is? You made him into Lord of Winterfell! You took away his bastardom and made him your heir and you are just now figuring out how messed up he is? Well, I guess you deserve what’s coming to you.

Ramsay isn’t too pleased with his father getting on his case, and only after finding out that his father has just had another son, decides to kill him. Chills creep up our spines when Ramsay tells his father ‘how much he is looking forward to meeting his baby brother.’ Oh Game of Thrones you wouldn’t kill a baby, not on screen at least. You’ve done some messed up things, but you haven’t shown a baby actually being killed. You’ve alluded to it, but it never packed that punch in the gut since we never saw the child. Of course, Game of Thrones has to be that envelope pusher, and Ramsay sicks the hounds on Lady Walda (()Elizabeth Webster) and her baby. At least they were merciful to spare us the screams from the child as it died; still, as a mother, that was hard to stomach.

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On to happier things, Sansa has gotten away! She admits to Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) that she should have listened to her, and they plan to go to Castle Black to seek aid from Jon Snow. I guess it will work out for them after all. Or I may have spoken too soon, as this show has proven many a time, that just when it seems like the good guys are going to win, the Lannisters send their regards. Who knows, maybe this time will be different? Theon (Alfie Allen), on the other hand, will not join them to the Wall. He plans to split ways and go back to the Iron Islands to reunite with his sister and father.

Speaking of Yara (Gemma Whelan) and Balon Greyjoy, (Patrick Malahide) back at the Salt Throne, Yara and her father get into a heated debate about their losses on land. King Greyjoy refuses to listen to his daughter and threatens to make an heir that will obey him. He leaves her to sulk and has a romantic meeting on a swaying bridge in the middle of a storm. It is his crazy long lost brother Euron (Pilou Asbæk). After some catching up, they lovingly embrace with knives, and King Greyjoy is thrown from the bridge to land to his death. What is dead may never die.

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Yara gets all butt hurt and swears to find her father’s killer, even though he basically told her shut her mouth and stay in her place. Her plans to rule are quickly cut short when she is reminded of the King’s Moot and it is up to the people to erect her to the Salt Throne. She is not too happy about that, and I wouldn’t be either. Aren’t kingdoms supposed to keep their bloodlines pure in their rulers? Could this be the chance for her to make the changes she has been dying to make? I think Theon will arrive just in time for the King’s Moot, and win the throne from his long lost uncle and power hungry sister.

Not that we are all caught up to speed, we can at long last talk about the biggest reveal! Jon Snow lives, and it’s all thanks to Davos and his fatherly words. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) sits pouting, in her youthful guise, staring into her fire. Could she be willing them to show her the way? Or does she glare in hatred? Davos breaks her from her reverie and asks her the question we all have been thinking. Can we undead Jon Snow? She waves it off, saying she knew of a priest able to, but she didn’t think it was possible. Meanwhile we are all sitting on the couch thinking to ourselves, so you’re saying there’s a chance? (Thank you, Dumb and Dumber).

When she mentions this priest and the man he brought back to life, could she be referring to Thoros (Paul Kaye) back in season three, when he revived Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) through the power of the Lord of the Light? Speaking of him, where is he and his band of Brotherhood without Banners? Could we possibly be seeing them this season, and could they be accompanied by a familiar face known as Lady Stoneheart (Michelle Fairley)? These are characters we will want to keep in the back of our minds.

Now back to Melisandre. It is rumored she is over four hundred years old. That is really really old, especially if she has been faithful to the Lord of Light all that time. It would seem surprisingly that she would lose faith so quickly due to the death of one man, even after birthing a shadow king, and surviving poison. But it’s not actually. She has never seen this Lord of Light, only in idea has he existed to her. Else wise you have Ser Davos, a physical man, who is the first to ever fully doubt in a god, and after all she has seen and been through, it turns out he could possibly have been right. Her doubts are valid to say the least.

Leave it to fatherly Ser Davos to get her out of her stupor. He may not believe in a god but he believes in her magic. After his rousing pep talk, Melisandre gives it a go. She washes Jon’s body, cuts and cleans his hair, almost as if to purify him, and it is almost reminiscent of biblical resurrection. She chants some words, growing louder and louder each time, but it doesn’t seem to work. Jon Snow remains dead, and one by one the men leave, downcast and forlorn that their Lord Commander will remain deceased. Ghost is the only one to remain in the room. We all hold our breath, refusing to blink in the hopes that we will see a finger twitch, a rise of his chest, anything to signify that he lives. Seconds pass what feel like hours, when Ghost raises his head and whines and Jon Snow’s eyes spring open as he takes a painful gasp.

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Finally, oh finally, we have our answer. We know that he lives, but we don’t know if Jon will stay the same. When someone dies, a little bit of them goes away forever. Now we must wait to see if he will remain the good and true Lord Commander, or if he will be changed forever. Melisandre did tell Ser Davos, if he wished to help Jon, then it was best to leave him be. Could this be her hint that what is dead, should remain dead? All this fan knows is that the real story has only just begun.

 

Game of Thrones airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on HBO.

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