WARNING: Do not – seriously – continue reading unless you have seen Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones or unless you don’t care about spoilers.
“Home” is an interesting name for this episode, where most of our characters are wandering around, far from home. Home is more of an idea or a memory than a physical place for our heroes (and villains) this week, and even for the people who are technically home, things aren’t quite the way they should be. Let the deconstruction begin…
We open with Bran. Oh, hey, Bran! Nice to see that puberty caught up with you. He’s in the middle of a vision guided by the Three Eyed Raven. He’s at Winterfell, watching his father, Ned, as a child, sparring with his brother Benjen. Lyanna shows up, too – this is our first appearance of Ned’s sister. She teases Benjen – who is he going to spar with when Ned’s gone? Maybe … Hodor? That’s right, as a child, Hodor was known as Wylis and could talk. Bran wants more info, but the Three Eyed Raven pulls him out of the vision. “You finally show me something I care about, and then you take me away.” The Raven warns him about staying in the flashbacks too long – if you stay too long, you could drown in it. Meanwhile, Meera’s sulking outside – understandable. I mean, remember when her brother was killed by wights? The Child of the Forest is still hanging out with them and tells Meera that once they leave this place, Bran is going to need her.
Back at the Wall, Alliser’s trying to get Davos out of the building. Jon’s body is still looming in the background, and Ghost is still very angry. Davos decides to be brave and stupid and take on the rest of the Night’s Watch, but before they can actually start fighting, there’s a loud thudding at the Wall – Dolorous Edd got the Wildlings! Most of the Night’s Watch who had sided with Alliser quickly surrender once the giant shows up, but Alliser and his few cronies are thrown into the cells of Castle Black.
We take a short visit to King’s Landing which isn’t very exciting except that THE MOUNTAIN IS BACK! He brutally kills someone, just so we know he’s back and crazier than ever. Cersei’s still under house arrest, basically, unable to visit Myrcella’s body. Tommen and Jaime have a lovely father-son chat next to the deceased princess, where Jaime basically tells Tommen to man up and to visit his mother. Tommen does, telling Cersei that he knows he’s not strong, but he wants to be, and he needs her help. I’m less interested in Tommen and more interested in the consequences for Cersei. If he’s admitting he needs her guidance and Margaery is still in prison, control of the city is essentially falling back into her hands. I like it.
In Mereen, we learn that the other cities in Slaver’s Bay have returned to the slavers. Mereen has no fleet left, but you know what they do have? Dragons. Tyrion warns them that the dragons need to be unchained to thrive. How does he know that? “I drink, and I know things,” he replies. I need that on a t-shirt. Tyrion decides that he’s going to feed the dragons and become best friends with them. I liked this scene, because even though I knew that they wouldn’t kill Tyrion, it was still nerve-wracking as he approached the dragons. He talks to them and releases them from their chains, and luckily, they don’t kill him. Hmm. Interesting. (see below for the crazy theory of the week) He says to Varys as he leaves, “Next time I have an idea like that, punch me in the face.”
Arya’s still blind in Braavos and still getting her ass kicked by this girl on a daily basis. But today, after her daily beat-down, she gets another visitor – Jaqen! “Who are you?” he asks. “No one,” Arya replies. You sure? He tells her that if a girl tells him her name, she will sleep in a bed, be fed, have her sight returned – after each question, Arya responds, “A girl has no name.” Jaqen decides this is sufficient and tells her to follow him – “A girl is not a beggar anymore.”
Winterfell. Ugh. We find out that Walda, Roose’s new bride, has given birth to a son. I saw the crazy in Ramsey’s eyes, so I figured that he would try to kill the baby, but I was surprised at what actually happened. He pulls his father into a hug, telling him congratulations… and proceeds to stab him, killing him. He tells the two other men to send ravens that Roose Bolton is dead – poisoned by his enemies. And obviously, these guys are going to go along with it, because they know that Ramsey’s nuts. After killing his dad, he also sends his dogs to tear apart Walda and the baby. Walda tries to talk him out of it, appealing to emotion – this is your brother, Ramsey. “I prefer being an only child.” My closed captioning told me that the sounds off-screen were “flesh tearing.” Lovely.
Sansa is still stuck in the camping trip from hell, discussing Brienne’s sighting of Arya. Theon tells Sansa that he doesn’t want to go to Castle Black because he’s worried Jon will kill him. Dude, Jon has bigger issues right now (like being dead). His mind is made up – he’s not going north with them. He and Sansa hug, and I roll my eyes. Can you leave forever now, Theon? I still remember what you did.
We move to a new location this season – the Iron Islands! Cool, I’m really excited for this. (/end sarcasm). Yara Greyjoy (that’s Asha to all you book readers) is arguing with her father, Balon, about strategy. Balon is kind of a jerk and dismisses her thoughts, leaving the safety of his warm castle to cross a rickety, extremely high bridge in windy, rainy weather. We know where this is going, right? He encounters a stranger on the bridge who won’t let him pass. But he quickly learns it’s not a stranger – it’s his crazy brother, Euron, who’s been off sailing around the known world. Euron wants the throne and has decided the way to get it is to throw his brother off the bridge. At Balon’s funeral, Yara is angry, determined to both find her father’s killer and take over his rule, but her uncle Aeron quickly reminds her that the Iron Islands don’t follow normal rules of succession. The death of Balon demands a Kingsmoot. Book/TV note: the circumstances surrounding Balon’s death aren’t as explicit in the book. We know that he falls off the bridge, and it’s suspected that he was murdered, but we are never told for sure that Euron did it.
Back to Castle Black, finally. Davos visits Melisandre, who looks like she’s having a tough week. He goes the direct route and asks her if she can resurrect Jon Snow. She’s like, “LOL, no.” She tells him that she saw a priest raise a man from the dead once, but “it shouldn’t have been possible.” (Is this a reference to Thoros of Myr?) She also tells him that she’s doubting her own power and the Lord of Light – everything she saw was a lie. “The Lord never spoke to me.” Davos gives her a slight pep talk, telling her that he thinks all the gods are the same, and even if he doesn’t believe in them, he believes in her power.
Melisandre goes to Jon’s body and starts her magic. She chants in Valyrian as she cuts snippets of his hair and beard, throwing them into the fire. Nothing seems to happen. She leaves the room, frustrated. Davos stares at Jon’s lifeless body for a moment before also leaving. It’s just Ghost and Jon. Seconds pass as the camera pans between the two of them. The last shot is Jon’s face – as his eyes open and he takes a deep breath.
I am torn on this resolution. Obviously, I’m excited that Jon Snow is back with us in the world of the living, but this seemed too easy. Melisandre was so doubtful of her abilities and said she had never done this before – but it worked without a lot of effort. Perhaps we’ll see the consequences on Melisandre’s abilities in upcoming weeks?
(Okay, I went back to re-read stuff about Thoros of Myr’s ability to resurrect people, and his ability also just seemed to come out of nowhere, so maybe it’s not that unusual?)
Speaking of next week, DO YOU SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT WEEK????? We’re finally going to get a glimpse of what happened at the Tower of Joy! (*See crazy theory of the week, below) Odds are that the Three Eyed Raven shows Bran what really went down, and I’m curious to see why he chooses to reveal this moment.
I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING: RIP, Roose Bolton. Roose was a despicable villain, for sure, but I never loathed him the way that I loathe Ramsey. Roose could have died in battle, and I would think, meh, that’s fine. But Ramsey? Ramsey needs to be seriously tortured at his end. I think we all knew Ramsey was crazy, but it still surprised me that he would kill his father, who’s his greatest ally.
BUT WHAT ABOUT…: Dany, Jorah, and Daario? This is a problem with the multiple storyline. I would have rather have gotten an update on Jorah and Daario’s quest than hear Tommen whine about being a bad leader. Also, no Dorne this week, which is a bummer, because I wanted to see what crazy scheme Ellaria is up to.
OUTRAGEOUS THEORIES OF THE WEEK: This week is special – you get three for the price of one- one that’s about to become canon, one that’s up in the air, and one that’s been debunked.
Who exactly is a Targaryen? It is a widely accepted belief that Jon Snow is not actually the bastard son of Ned Stark but, in fact, the son – legitimate or not – of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The theory suggests that Rhaegar didn’t kidnap Lyanna, as everyone believed, but that Rhaegar and Lyanna loved each other. (In blunt terms, the Tower of Joy wasn’t a place where Lyanna was held captive so much as it was a location for their illicit sex romps.) When Ned Stark arrived at the Tower of Joy to rescue Lyanna she died giving birth – to Jon Snow – and the promise Ned dwells upon throughout all of his chapters is the promise to keep Jon safe by passing him off as his own, so Robert doesn’t kill him. This is known as the “R+L=J” theory, and so many people have expounded on it that I really don’t need to redo it completely here. Read this for more info, or check out this fancy video. There is an abundance of evidence for this in the books, and the show has dropped some hints, too. Most notably, this season, we’ve just been introduced to Lyanna, which makes a lot of sense if they’re going to show us what happened at the Tower of Joy. And why show us the Tower of Joy if it’s not important to the overall narrative? If Lyanna simply died at the Tower of Joy, why does that matter at this point? Now that Jon is a resurrected savior-like figure, it makes sense to finally reveal his true parentage. *Please note there are still some people who don’t believe that R+L=J is correct and believe instead that Jon’s parents are random secondary characters with no importance in the history of the Seven Kingdoms. These people are insane.
If correct, that would mean that both Dany and Jon are Targaryens. Ah, but wait! As the prophecies have foretold for centuries, the dragon has three heads – the number three is pounded into our brains over and over throughout the novels. There are even three dragons born of the fire – might there also be three living Targaryens, one for each dragon?
Another “secret Targaryen” theory is that Tyrion might actually be the son of the Mad King and Joanna Lannister. There is less support for this in the books, but it’s not unfounded. There are references to the fact that Aerys loved Joanna – er, perhaps love is too strong a word. Barristan Selmy hints to Dany that Aerys slept with Joanna on the night of her wedding to Tywin Lannister, a fact that Tywin never forgot. Tyrion has an obsession with dragons that is unmatched in Westeros, and as seen by this episode, is able to connect with them on some level. Tyrion’s appearance, as described in the books, is also suspect – he is described as having white blonde hair, while Lannisters typically have more golden blonde hair, and different colored eyes – one green, one black, almost like the purple eyes of the Targaryen lineage. Further, Tyrion isn’t merely described as a dwarf in the books – he’s described as grotesque, practically deformed, which is something that one would expect from a family line that has practiced incest for centuries. This is reiterated in the companion book, A World of Ice & Fire, where we learn that the Targaryens have a history of “deformed” babies. Finally, there’s the fact that Tywin hated Tyrion and made multiple references to him not “really” being his son. This could be because Tywin suspected that Tyrion was really Aerys’s son – or, let’s be honest, it might just be because Tywin was kind of an asshole.
What’s the likelihood of this theory being correct? Unclear. I believe there needs to be a third character to fulfill the prophecy, and it would make the most sense for this person to be Tyrion, since he’s arguably the most important character, along with Dany and Jon. Also, how awesome would it be to see Dany, Jon, and Tyrion riding dragons together? They could take over Westeros and then have family picnics, chatting about the good ol’ days of Aegon the Conqueror. Someone write this story for me, please. On the flip side, it does sort of undermine the coolness/surprise of Jon being a secret Targaryen if there are other secret Targaryens also lurking around Westeros. (SPOILER ALERT: I, too, am a secret Targaryen. I will take what is mine with fire and blood.)
Bonus theory – Are Euron Greyjoy and Daario Naharis the same person? The show just answered this question for us – no, they’re not. Euron and Daario are clearly played by different actors, and Daario’s searching for Dany while Euron is throwing his brother off a bridge. Regardless, I’m sure there will be stubborn viewers/readers who insist that the books might be different, so we should still entertain this theory. This theory relies on a critical assumption, however – that the chapters in the book are not necessarily happening in temporal order. George R.R. Martin advised that we should assume books 4 and 5 are happening contemporaneously – they just focus on different characters. Believers in this theory argue that if you suspend belief/twist your understanding of time in the novels, it’s possible for Euron to be in the Iron Islands for the Kingsmoot and then travel over to Mereen to hook up with Dany. In the books, Euron promises his people that he will take over Westeros with dragons and then sends his brother, Victarian, to find Dany. But this theory posits that Euron actually snuck over to Slaver’s Bay and showed up in disguise, as Daario, to get closer to Dany. The support for this largely rests on similar (vague) physical descriptions and general personality traits. In other words, it’s not founded on specific evidence, and let’s be real, it’s a little crazy. And as we’ve seen, we know it’s not true. But if you’d like to go down this rabbit hole, watch this video.
Readers, what was your favorite part of “Home”? Did you think Jon Snow’s resurrection was too easy? Are you, like Jon and Tyrion (and me), a secret Targaryen? Do you think that Jon is actually the son of Brandon Stark and Ashara Dayne (LOL, he’s not)? Leave your thoughts in the comments!