Before we discuss last night’s Game of Thrones episode, a ***Spoiler Warning! This post will discuss events through Season 6, Episode 2, and there may also be ***Book Spoilers included. Read ahead at your own risk. Show and Book Spoilers Ahead***
At the risk of seeming ungrateful that our long awaited winter finally arrived, I’m going to call “Home” a mixed bag. Directed by Jeremy Podeswa (“The Red Woman, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, Kill the Boy”), there were parts of the episode that were glorious and funny, but others felt rushed and not entirely satisfying. That said, condensing GRRM’s huge Ice and Fire books is no easy task, so it’s easy to understand why certain things feel mere cursory glances, even when some of us are disappointed by such scenes. Of the episode’s great moments, Bran’s Three Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) assisted, all-too-short trip to the past (“home”) was glorious, highlighted by an unexpected Hodor (Willis!) appearance,
and a hint at next week’s Tower of Joy flashback, which will again feature Ned and Lyanna (in a different time period), and possibly — hopefully — address the R + L = J theory. I know that’s a lot to wish for, but wouldn’t it be lovely if Benioff and Weiss just flat out confirmed what they answered to Martin all those years ago?
Another two favorite — I’m calling them “I Am Groot” moments — scenes featured Wun Wun tossing a ranger foolish enough to aim the Giant’s way,
and a likewise foolish braggart incurred The Mountain’s wrath; one powerful head smash and dude was done.
By far the best lighthearted moments were unsurprisingly delivered by Tyrion, aka the Dragon Whisperer, and Varys. Tyrion momentarily forgets his audience — “If I lost my cock, I’d drink all the time…oh sorry (to Grey Worm); he (Varys) makes dwarf jokes, I make eunuch jokes.” Varys: “I do not.” Tyrion: “Well, you think them.”
The Dragon Whisperer (does this give rise to another secret parentage theory?) educates the gang on how to train Dany’s dragons (“That’s what I do; I drink and I know things”), and I’m not certain who was more shocked when Tyrion went down and unchained Rhaegal and Viserion,
but the priceless expression on Varys’ face was worth having to squirm through what followed two scenes later. “Next time I have an idea like that, punch me in the face.” Careful what you wish for, Tyrion!
I’m also unsure what it says about those of us who were able to almost skate past the Ramsay, Roose, Walda, baby scene; are we that jaded? It made perfect sense that Ramsay couldn’t allow even the possibility of a threat to his position, but this book diversion basically boiled down to: Oh, of course Ramsay will set the hounds on a newborn baby, and …moving right along. I don’t know about you, but my sick stomach was a little too easily bypassed for my own conscience. That said, this sets up a certain bastard vs. bastard showdown somewhere later in the season, and I’ve no doubt the new Lord Bolton will finally get his comeuppance. My one hope is that Sansa and Theon (“home”) will both be there to witness that moment.
Realizing there are many readers who don’t give a flip about A Feast for Crows and its many Greyjoys, I’m not entirely certain why Benioff and Weiss even bothered to include the Balon death scene (slightly changed from the book where it’s merely implied that Euron [Pilou Asbæk] had a hand in his brother’s fall). Euron’s introduction, the swift murder, and a shot of one of my favorite book characters — Aeron Greyjoy aka Damphair (Michael Feast) — leads me to believe the show version of a Kingsmoot (the Ironborn tradition of choosing a new king when the old one dies) won’t be much of a thing, either. On the other hand, maybe they’ll surprise us and again break from the book; I’d love to see Yara (Gemma Whelan) aka book Asha as victor.
Of course, the hour’s least shocking moment — HBO’s worst kept “secret” — was that long awaited resurrection. Though we all knew exactly what was coming from the moment Davos (still my favorite) wisely convinced Melisandre to give her magic another go, it was a relief to see it played out now (and kudos to Podeswa for those well-paced, eerie final moments). Thankfully, Benioff and Weiss are smarter than some of their peers (*coughWalkingDeadcough*) and didn’t drag out Jon’s return to the point of ridiculousness. Now, we’ve something to truly look forward to now, since even the readers don’t know exactly what Snow’s future holds.
Let it Snow, let it Snow, let it Snow!
Finally, we didn’t get much more than a few moments each with Jaime, Cersei, Sansa, Brienne and Arya, but Jaqen’s knowing smirk whenever Arry does good is my everything. Cheers to a girl finding her way home.