I don't say that often, in fact I'm not sure I ever said it since the Red Wedding but last night's episode of Game of Thrones must have made even the book fans happy. Mind you, book fans like me who appreciate when the show is faithful to the book material and throws in familiar book lines our way, not book fans who go insane at every little change and seem to only focus on the negative.
No one is more surprised than me at how good this episode was. This was written by Dave Hill, that fucking intern who thought of Olly being the one who kills Ygritte and was involved in killing Jon which D&D liked so much they gave him a writing gig. I mean...these people are insane.
The episode included some of the most anticipated book events - the first vision Bran experiences and Euron Greyjoy introduction. And one event that Martin hasn't included in his published books yet, but was speculated to happen for a very long time.
The episode opens with Bran Stark, who was absent during entire season 5. He is in Bloodraven's (a recast - legendary actor Max von Sydow plays the part this season) cave. Bloodraven shows Bran a vision of the past - of Winterfell. We see young Ned Stark practice sword fight with his brother Benjen. And then in a moment that surely got all the book readers hearts to beat faster we see Ned's sister, Lyanna, ride in on a horse.
We also see Hodor who is young and talks normally. When Bran wakes up he asks Hodor what happened to him. Hodor just responds with "Hodor". In the books it is also not known what has happened to Hodor so it's a big mystery. What happened to him? What did he see?
Outside Meera sits on her own. Bran talks to her a little bit but Meera seems tired and depressed. A child of the forest tells Meera that once they leave the cave Bran is going to need her.
I thought that leaving Bran out of the show for a year was a good idea. If only Sansa was treated the same way instead of becoming plot device for mandatory Ramsay Bolton torture quota last season. Everyone remembers Bran so nobody was confused as to who he is. And I cannot wait to see more of his visions - it's a shame it took so many season for the showrunners to finally see what a great opportunity they are missing by not including flashbacks. The first one we saw in the show was last year with Cersei's prophecy but this year because of Bran we will see much more and it's such a good way to familiarize the show-only audience with the history of this universe and for the book fans to have some long anticipated moments finally adapted on the screen. I mean, we are seeing Tower of Joy next week!
Back in Castle Black, Thorne is ready to fight Davos and others but the wildlings and giant Wun Wun show up just in time. The traitors are captured including Olly to every single audience member's joy. Tormund sees Jon's body and tells the others he will prepare the pyre.
In King's Landing some asshole is making fun of Cersei on the street. Then as he is peeing Gregor smashes his head. Meanwhile Cersei is forbidden to see Myrcella's body. Jaime has a conversation with Tommen and gives him some advice. Once Tommen leaves to talk to Cersei, High Sparrow shows up and they have a heated conversation with Jaime who seems to finally grasp just how much power the Sparrows have.
Tommen talks to Cersei and asks her for forgiveness for not protecting her. Cersei embraces her last living child. She also is drinking again so hopefully very soon she goes full on ruthless. Everybody knows wine is Cersei's Gummiberry juice that brings in the madness.
In Meereen Tyrion and crew are talking about the situation in the city. Tyrion starts talking about dragons. He says that dragons are intelligent creatures and won't harm their friends. Tyrion and Varys go down to the hall were Rhaegal and Viserion are chained. In what I found to be a very sweet scene that Dinklage saved from being cheesy with his acting, Tyrion talks to the Dragons.
He tells them how much he admires them. He also says that he is friend of their mother and he is there to help ("Don't eat the help!"). As he softly speaks to them they seem to listen to him and he unchains them. Then he hauls ass out of there and tells Varys that when he has an idea like that the next time, Varys should punch him in the face.
In Braavos Arya still looks like shit and is getting beaten up by the mean girl. Jaqen shows up and offers Arya food and shelter if she tells him her name. Arya persistently claims to be no one, fooling not me but apparently Jaqen who tells her to go with him. She follows.
In Winterfell Ramsay wants to take his 20 good men to Castle Black since that's where Sansa is heading. He wants to kill Jon Snow. Roose scolds him for that dumbass idea - if they kill the Lord Commander the North will never back them up. Ramsay mentions how hey have Karstarks, Umbers and Manderlys. Karstark, the son of the asshole Robb beheaded in season 3, is present.
Maester comes in to inform Roose that Walda has given birth to a baby boy. Ramsay looks like he is dying inside and hugs Roose congratulating him. And he stabs Roose to death. Roose falls down on the floor, karmic justice for what he has done to Robb. Ramsay wipes his knife and tells Maester to send message that Roose died poisoned by his enemies. Karstark seems to be on Ramsay hype train immediately. Ramsay tells maester to get Walda and the baby. And we all know this is going to be terrible.
Walda meets Ramsay in the yard and shows him the newborn. Ramsay leads Walda, who keeps asking about Roose, to the kennels. He starts opening the cages and Walda, who is holding his baby brother, tells him she will leave, she will go back to Riverlands (yey Riverlands mention!). Ramsay says he is Lord Bolton, whistles and the dogs kill Walda and the newborn, fortunately that happens offscreen.
Somewhere near Winterfell Brienne tells Sansa that she saw Arya. She mentions that a man was with her but The Hound isn't name dropped which seemed odd considering what lies ahead in Brienne's storyline. Sansa mentions she should have gone with Brienne the first time Brienne offered her service. No shit, Sansa.
Sansa then talks with Theon. Theon tells her he cannot go with her to Castle Black because Jon will kill him for everything he has done to the Starks. Sansa hugs him. Theon tells her he wants to go home.
Cut to Theon's home, Iron Islands. Yara, his sister, is arguing with her father Balon. Balon then goes outside and starts walking on a bridge. A hooded figure is standing in front of him - it's the moment the series introduces a fan favorite people weren't sure was even going to be in the show, Euron Greyjoy, Balon's bother. Euron drops some epic lines Balon's way before tossing him off the bridge.
Now this should have happened waaaaay sooner. As you recall Melisandre threw three leeches in the fire. Robb died in 3x09. Joffrey died in 4x02. And Balon in...6x02. He died after Stannis. This makes Stannis willing to kill Gendry and sacrifice his daughter particularly moronic - why would he do that when Balon was still alive and Melisandre's magic wasn't proven to work in his eyes? In any case the scene, when it finally happened with 2 year delay, was very well done. The cinematography in particular was very impressive here.
Then we see Balon's funeral. Yara is there and the priest tells her that she may not be voted to be the new ruler of Iron Islands. Yara tells him this is what her father would want and that her men will back her up.
Back in Castle Black Davos comes by to talk to Melisandre who is back to her young form, thank God, and still looks defeated. Davos clearly doesn't know the details of Shireen's death because if he did he would choke her to death. Melisandre starts talking about how everything she saw in her visions is a lie. Davos asks her if she knows of any magic that can help Jon.
Melisandre mentions meeting with a man and a priest who brought him back (Beric and Thoros mentions!). She says she never did something like that and Davos asks her if she ever tried. Then we see Melisandre washing Jon's body. She chants some words in Old Valyrian as she cuts his hair and his beard and throws the hair into fire. She places her hands above Jon's chest and chants more and more desperately. Davos, Edd and Tormund are watching.
Melisandre finally says "please...." but nothing happens. Tormund, Edd and Melisandre leave, resigned. Davos leaves too and closes the door. Ghost is sleeping on the floor. Suddenly he wakes up and looks up. We see Jon lying on the table. And then suddenly his eyes open and he starts hyperventilating.
Kit Harington has been persistently saying Jon is dead, as did multiple people involved in the show. And yes, he was dead. But it was long speculated that Jon will return. It's interesting that the show is having that moment in the season where it seems Jon's parents will be revealed. The show only audience may think Jon is special because he has returned from the dead. But you need to remember Beric, whom Thoros brought back several times. The fact that Jon has returned is not what makes him special. It's who his parents are that does.
Jon's resurrection is not the first one if we follow the books. Other than Beric in the books Gregor actually died before Qyburn brought him back with his experiments - in the show it seems that Gregor didn't actually die. And in the books there is obviously Lady Stoneheart who I still hope is not cut but only delayed - Thoros is coming back this year but not Beric. So given how Beric was also the target of Red God's magic, it seems he must have passed that gift to someone on the show too. It just deprives the whole plot with Thoros of meaning if all it amounted to was bringing a minor character like Beric back. There has to be more purpose to Thoros being able to resurrect people.
Having Jon back before we see Stoneheart also has better effect when it comes to shocking the audience - everyone speculated Jon will be back and in his case we actually see the ritual. For the forth year in the row people are arguing whether Stoneheart is even gonna be in the show so even if you know all about her from the books when she shows up it's gonna be a massive shock. And since the book never showed us her resurrection, just had Thoros explaining it, it works in the show since we just saw Melisandre do the ritual.
There is a lot of speculation as to what kind of man Jon is gonna be now. Beric mentioned that every time he came back, he came back a little less like himself. Will Jon be ruthless? Will he be heartless? Who is Jon Snow now? We will see this Sunday.
But Special Snowflake Raven Locks is back and hopefully he is gonna end Ramsay.
Next episode Oathbreaker shows us the aftermath of Jon's resurrection. Arya continues to have pointless scenes in Braavos. Bran sees another vision of his family. Daenerys reaches Vaes Dothrak. And Ramsay is gonna get a gift and if fans' speculation as to what - or rather who - that gift is...it's gonna be fucking terrible.