All aboard the Hype Train! In preparation of Season 8 of Game of Thrones, Kelly is doing a rewatch for the greater good to refresh our memories, catch the things we might have forgotten, pick up the things we might have missed, and maybe make predictions! Hold onto your fur rugs from Ikea and AWAY WE GO.
Rules of this series: We’re deep diving into these episodes and I’m watching them on a per-episode base because I like digesting the episodes. Spoilers lie ahead. As you can tell, I’ve failed at keeping this episode/season specific. Onwards!
One of the vaguest titles the series has ever seen, Home refers to meaningful returns to places of birth for some characters, whether that’s literal birth or place where one came of age. We get Theon heading back to Pyke, seen in the opening credits, and “reuniting” with Yara and Balon, Bran sort of heads back to Winterfell, Ramsay takes his “rightful” place as the heir to House Bolton, and Jon… well. Jon.
And hey! Bran is back after a nasty bout of puberty! Long time, no see, buddy. Bran sort of goes back to Winterfell and the episode opens with him diving into the Pensieve with the Three Eyed Raven, now played by Max Von Sydow (who would have made an excellent Dumbledore, if you ask me- so pun intended). Even if it’s just memories and visions of his father when he was a boy, he’s on the start of unlocking a lot of secrets about House Stark.
Bran’s memory here is the childhood of Uncle Brandon, who he never met and was killed by the Mad King, his father Ned, and Uncle Benjen, who are practicing combat in Winterfell’s yard. Aunt Lyanna, who Bran also never met and was presumably kidnapped by the Mad King’s son Rhaegar Targaryen, rides in and in 5.2 seconds we see that she’s capable of riding a horse, pretty adventurous, and is a tom. Like Arya, but less murderous.
Bran mentions how Ned never spoke of her, but is immediately distracted by a fairly large stable boy and realizes it’s Hodor- his real name is Wylis and once upon a time, he was capable of saying more than Hodor!
The Three Eyed Raven pulls Bran out of the Mirror of Erised and warns him against lingering too long in happy memories and reminds him that he has an actual responsibility and needs to use these. Bran asks Hodor what caused him to stop speaking and Hodor just Hodors and this Hodor is actually relevant.
Bran approaches Meera, who is getting impatient because there is war coming and Meera can’t go into the memories with Bran, nor can she go out and hunt- she’s just waiting for him to wrap up classes. Leaf, the child of the forest who got a huge budget for makeup between Seasons 5 and 6, reminds Meera that Bran will need her at some point and she must absolutely be there to help him.
South in Castle Black, Alliser again implores Davos to open the door, as Davos is still locked up with Jon’s body and others who didn’t stab Jon in the heart. Davos s willing to die defending Jon’s body which might seem odd considering he’s known Jon for about a season; let’s remember that Davos is very much like Brienne- steadfastly loyal, recognizes good morals from bad behavior, and so he’s naturally compelled to align with Jon against a mutineer. Not only does he understand what Jon was trying to do and that Jon saw a bigger picture of the kingdom- but he actually went about the right way to do these things, without magic or manipulation.
Davos and the loyal men inside suit up, Alliser commands the door to be broken down, and just as the axe starts swinging, Wun Wun starts to beat down the gate of Castle Black and the Wildlings burst in led by Tormund, in the name of Jon Snow. There’s a pause as the Night’s Watch mutineers realize they’re outnumbered and throw down their swords after Wun Wun casually bashes one of them against the Wall.
Alliser spits out that Edd is a traitor, just like Jon, and then Edd reminds him that Alliser actually killed his own leader and Tormund also steps in to rub salt in the wound, reminding Alliser that he’s the only leader of the Night’s Watch that has allowed Wildlings to take over Castle Black. Alley oop!
Tormund is all ready to burn Jon’s body, but there’s still at least a few hours.
Down in King’s Landing, a peasant is bragging about how he banged Cersei Lannister, which is definitely a lie and when he goes for a pee, his head is exploded against a brick by the Mountain. Up in her chambers, Cersei is back in her mourning dress and casually pulls a thread out, implying that she’s gotten a lot of use out of this frock, more than when it was made for. Her life is falling apart around her and she only has one child left.
And that one child, who is also the King, has locked her away and barred her from attending her own daughter’s funeral. Tommen and Jaime have a father-son like conversation, where Jaime promises Tommen that no more harm will come to their family and casually steps in when the High Sparrow denies Tommen from seeing Margaery again. Jaime challenges the High Sparrow to make him atone for his sins- you know, killing his king, his cousin, setting bad people free, nothing huge. The High Sparrow reminds Jaime that he has a bigger penis and his little sparrows come out form the shadows- he has the strength in numbers and the Lannisters don’t seem to have many allies in the capital.
Cersei spies on the Sept from her balcony and Tommen interrupts her thoughts. Tommen lets her know that Myrcella was dressed in gold for the service, which fulfills part of Maggi the Frog’s prophecy. While Tommen apologizes profusely for allowing the High Sparrow to humiliate her, Cersei behaves in a very un-Cersei-like manner, keeping her sentences short and brief in soft tones- I think at this point, she has accepted that Tommen is going to die and that she will be forced to bury him.
In Meereen, Tyrion throws a raging party for himself in honor of the burned fleet and Varys drops that Yunkai and Astapor have fallen back- again- into the hands of the Masters. Tyrion plans to use Viserion and Rhaegal to help in their cause but Missendei reveals that they’re still locked up beneath the pyramid. Tyrion knows immediately that the dragons need to be released in order to grow to their fullest potential- once the Targaryens started locking them up like pets, they began to adapt to their surrounds and grew small and weak.
Dragons have high intelligence and will choose to attack people they don’t trust- basically, they’ll burn anyone who they sense means them harm or isn’t a good person. They don’t attack Tyrion outright and he becomes the second or third person on the show to successfully touch them. He eases them into a place of comfort, by explaining how much he loved dragons and wanted one badly as a child. This moment, mixed with seeing Dany fly off into the sunset, has made Tyrion a firm believer that she is the one meant to lead the people and he throws all of his eggs into the Dany Targaryen basket.
In Braavos, Arya is still blind and is still getting her ass kicked by the Waif who tells Arya that every time Arya replies, “No one,” literally no one believes her. Jaqan steps in and tries to bait her into saying her name- even offering her back her sight- and Arya fights herself to reply that she has no name even though she wants all of the things he lists very, very badly. Jaqan passes Arya and leads her back home.
Over in Winterfell, Ramsay and the new Lord Karstark report that the Bolton men sent after Sansa were found dead and Roose is displeased. Ramsay knows Sansa is on her way to see the last surviving Stark- no no, that’s a bastard, corrects Roose. Ramsay raises his hand and is like, uh, bastard right here. He’s a threat. Karstark reminds Roose that any kind of Stark is no good for the Boltons and Ramsay is all in favor of marching up to Castle Black and killing Jon right there and if only Roose had known that it was occupied by Wildlings because all of that could have really worked in his favor- Ramsay would have gotten taken out, he could have united the other houses against the Wildlings. This ignorance seems very un-Roose-like.
Roose is tepid about marching against the Night’s Watch, as it’s a neutral party and this would absolutely turn the rest of the North against him, just as they’ve been falling in line and Ramsay is like, hold on- all you need are the Umbers, Karstarks, and the Manderlys. Roose still isn’t convinced and is like, no, we still don’t need reasons to divide the North and this would basically be inviting people to rebel against us. Just then, their maester comes in to announce that Fat Walda has given birth to a boy- a natural born Bolton who challenges Ramsay’s claim as eldest son.
And so he stabs Roose, which kind of makes sense but also really doesn’t, because the Bolton storyline dropped the ball. Season 5 has a lot of moments that still seek that out in Theon’s and Sansa’s scenes and all their pain and suffering at the hands of House Bolton makes us crave for some sort of action to be taken- particularly in Ramsay’s behavior as well as Roose’s reminder of what a cold and cruel leader he is. I mean, we’ve always had an idea that Roose is a bad person, especially if he was very quickly and very willing to turn on his liege lord, but we’ve learned a lot that confirm exactly the kind of person that he is- rapes women, marries solely for wealth, doesn’t mind his daughter-in-law being subject to torture (I mean, the dude never steps in), is willing to sacrifice one of his own sons, is probably willing to off his own children if they don’t behave because he can just have another, doesn’t mind his own men being slaughtered. All of that in Season 5- plus the indications that people are still angry about the Red Wedding and staunch supporters of the Starks- makes him a character we really like to hate and can’t wait to see him get what’s coming to him.
I chalk the Roose death scene up to being a huge disappointment given its timing- it’s in the middle of the episode and Roose played such a huge part in the grief and anger we felt at the Red Wedding. To have him killed before the episode is over, without fanfare, without a Stark being the one to do it, feels wrong on so many different levels. It didn’t feel like the proper way to wrap up this Red Wedding participant. And everything that happened to the Starks in the first few seasons and all of their mistreatment starts to take a backseat from this point out, even though we still feel its effects.
Instead, the Stark feud passes onto Ramsay, who didn’t have anything to do with that- sure he’s a despicable, crazed person, but the Battle of the Bastards just doesn’t have that same emotional force to it that it could have had and its limited to Ramsay/Sansa and Ramsay/Jon, the latter of which has little to no weight to it. That’s a hell of an episode, but had it truly meant everything- retribution for stabbing Robb, vengeance for Cat, payback for mutilating their bodies, the burning of Winterfell, Ramsay’s treatment of Sansa- it wouldn’t have just been about spectacle. Imagine Roose being the one to write to Jon, taunting his heritage, Ned, Cat, Robb, calling the shots on Sansa and Ramsay, dangling Rickon, then showing the battle, then having Jon or Sansa just quietly telling Roose that the North remembers before stabbing him in the heart!? That’s the ending to this season and to THAT traumatizing event that we should have had. There’s just no payoff or closure to this Roose death and I’m still salty about it. NEXT.
Oh wait, Ramsay spreads the rumor that Roose was poisoned by his enemies (which would also not have happened, it’s cool) and Karstark is all on board, implying this has been in the works for a while. Then Ramsay kills Fat Walda and his baby brother by feeding them to his hounds, declaring that he’s Batman, because we need shock value at how crazed Ramsay is that he was willing to murder an infant and no actual story. It’s cool. I’m over it. Now NEXT.
On the outskirts of Winterfell, Brienne is updating Sansa on how she saw Arya at the end of Season 4 and how she wasn’t dressed like a lady and Sansa is almost proud to hear it. Surprisingly, Theon doesn’t want to take the black of the Night’s Watch because he doesn’t want to be forgiven for what he’s done- he’s not worthy of forgiveness, but Sansa seems to forgive him anyway- and says he plans to leave for home, meaning Pyke. For a split second, you think he’s going back to Winterfell, but good old Theon is on his Redemption Tour.
Speaking of Pyke, Yara notifies her father that the Glovers retook Deepwood Motte, the castle she had previously conquered. She’s annoyed that the Greyjoy invasions were basically dropped (us too, Yara, us too) and she doesn’t understand why Balon is so intent on conquering mainlands when the Greyjoys belong on the seas. Meanwhile, Balon blames all the loss on Yara since she abandoned Deepwood Motte in favor of rescuing Theon. Yara reminds Balon that the last time they tried to overtake something that wasn’t water, they were defeated relatively quickly.
Miffed that he’s the last of the Five Kings and was forgotten about (us too, Balon, us too), Balon STORMS outside (see what I did there), where he’s promptly knocked off a high footbridge by his brother Euron, played by Not Ewan McGregor. Apparently Euron is the greatest pirate and people quake in fear when they see his sails- he also declares that he’s Batman because we don’t do things by demonstrating on this show anymore, we’re all about the cheap dialogue! We leave Pyke as Yara declares she wants to be Queen of the Iron Islands but her priest tells her it’s up to a Kingsmoot to decide.
Back at Castle Black, Davos interrogates Mel, asking her if there’s any magic that would bring Jon back and she recalls meeting Thoros of Myr and Beric but that kind of magic isn’t meant for her. Davos recalls all the wacky things Mel has done, shadow baby and all, but Mel’s still not over her latest defeat and taking it as a sign that the Red God no longer believes in her. Davos asks her to at least try, because her actions have never been for the Red God- they’ve been for herself.
Cut to Mel bathing Jon’s wounds and performing a bit of a ceremony- weird, I don’t recall Thoros needing to strip down Beric and cut his hair. Maybe since he’s done it so many times, he just got really good at it? Or Beric adapted? Anyway, she completes the ceremony and… nothing. Nothing happens. Mel sighs and is like, I told you so, and everyone leaves the room except for Ghost. Some great cross-cutting as people leave and Jon’s still dead and few moments of quiet pass.
Ghost perks up. And Jon takes a gasp for breath. He’s alive!
Up next, we have episode 6.3 Oathbreaker