Game of Thrones – 52

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The night is dark, and full of spoilers.

OK, so…  This should go without saying but if you keep reading I’m going to spoil the hell out of you.  If you didn’t watch this episode, for God’s sake STOP SCROLLING NOW.  I mean it, I’m not going to warn anyone again and I’m not apologizing if I ruin your evening.




Now, then – that may just have been the most eventful Game of Thrones episode of all time.  It’s almost as if they’re trying to test my resolve not to write long opera (it’s the plural of opus – look it up) on this series.  There were at least five or six things this week that could easily have been headliners in a normal episode, but the main event is and always will be the return of Jon Snow.  It simply blows every other bombshell out of the water.

It ended the episode, but obviously you can’t talk about other stuff before acknowledging the titanosaur in the room.  He’s back, and it actually happened faster than I expected.  There were a couple of new clues – for example, the unmistakable wolf pattern in the blood beneath Jon’s body.  And Matteo Elezi, the boy who plays Benjen Stark, let it slip that he was getting his hair cut on-set next to Kit Harrington.  It’s not like we didn’t know this was coming, but I thought they’d drag it out a few more weeks.  I’m glad they didn’t.

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So what actually happened?  The most simple answer is that Melisandre managed to work her magic in spite of her self-doubts and bring Jon back (at Davos’ pleading).  But I’d bet dollars to donuts that Ghost is directly involved.  Perhaps Jon warged into Ghost’s body and only came back after Miracle Mel revived him.  Perhaps he was just mostly dead.  What we know from the Beric Dondarrion chapters is that those who come back from the dead “lose part of themselves” in the process – memories, feelings.  Who will this new Jon Snow (or Jon Stark) really be?  Perhaps there will be unique circumstances (Ghost’s presence as a vessel, some connection to the Azor Ahai myth) that will allow Jon to be more or less whole.  But for now, all we know is that he’s able to blink fast and gasp.  And we can finally top asking the fucking question (that was for you, Maisie).

It would take a big matzoh ball to bump the return of Brandon Stark after a too-long absence off the front page for me, but Jon’s revival was a huge matzoh ball.  Still, I’ve been waiting for Bran to return and finally become an active player in the story, and that seems finally to have happened (and Max von Sydow is here as the Three Eyed Raven.  There was lots of good stuff here, just seeing Bran and Hodor again for starters (Isaac Hempstead-Wright grew a foot during his hiatus, as poor Kristian Nairn knows all too well).  I almost choked up a little seeing the look on Bran’s face as we enjoyed the freedom of walking under his own power, even in a vision.

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The big takeaways from the Bran scenes were the fact that Hodor was once called Willis, and quite capable of speech, and Meera Reed getting a comment from one of the wood sprites that Bran “won’t be here forever”.  It’s also a dead-lock cinch that we’re going to be seeing more of young Ned, Benjen and Lyanna Stark – their story has obvious implications for the present day.  If indeed Jon is connected to the Azor Ahai myth, it seems certain his path and Bran’s will cross.

So many other headlines, too many.  Must summarize.

  • Not just one, but two major Northern lords dead at the hands of family.  Wow.
  • Wun Wun is a badass.  I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to Thorne that the Wildlings might move against him in revenge for Jon’s death, but he doesn’t seem to have seen it coming.
  • Davos when he’s about to fight and die: “My apologies for what you’re about to see.”  Seriously – how can you not love this guy?
  • Tommen telling Cersei he wants to be strong, and he wants her help.  Poor boy.  Jonathan Pryce is fast becoming a major standout in this standout cast – he’s a riveting presence.
  • Tyrion with the other line of the episode: “That’s what I do.  I drink, and I know things.”  He really has balls of steel, this guy.  There’s no question now he’s throwing his lot in with the Targeryn legacy as the hope for Westeros.
  • The Karstarks are fully on-board the Bolton hype train now.  And they seem to have the Manderlys and the Umbers too – WTF?
  • OK, Ramsay is way worse than a mad dog, Roose.  No sympathy there – he had to know what he was doing in turning this sicko loose on the land, and he got what was coming to him.  But Ramsay – he’s beyond the pale.  And he’s going to commit more atrocities before the season is out, bank on it.
  • Rather touching seeing Theon and Sansa hug after he told her he was going home.  He seems to have fully redeemed himself, but I fear it’s too late for Theon as a character to do anything but hope for a noble death.  I wonder if he’ll make it back in time for the Kingsmoot?
  • Yes, Kingsmoot – it’s really happening, and Euron is back for it.  Let’s hope Game of Thrones doesn’t butcher this far-flung locale as badly as it did Dorne.  Book readers have few advantages these days, but we did know more or less what was about to happen when Balon walked out onto that bridge.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all that “What is dead may never die” talk was happening just before the climactic scene at Castle Black.







  1. Am I the only one who thinks Ramsay is worse than Dorne? Dorne is kind of entertainingly bad while it feels like we’ve seen the same uncomfortable thing hundreds of times with cruel Ramsay Bolton. The writers really love to drag it on too with the reaction faces and snarling…

  2. More Onion Knight is always a good thing.

    But yeah, this series is sprung from the bad decisions made by the heads of houses. The people beneath you pick up the pieces.

  3. D

    Ok, I’ve got a question. I’ve never read the books, but the show itself has always been profusely unapologetic about not only killing off characters both big and small, but making sure the finality of such events is both tragic and clear. So why the sudden change in atitude? I’m curious why Jon was worthy of being brought back? Or, better yet, why did he have to be killed in the first place? I understand that it’s not going to be simple (nothing in GoT ever is), but the whole thing seems off to me. In GoT pacing terms, the whole thing happened awfully quickly and left a certain “ha-ha, just kidding” sort of vibe, more than anything else.

    Also, I think Thorne’s reasoning made quite a bit of sense. His prejudice is beyond reason, that much is obvious. He probably didn’t think the Wildlings would come for Jon because he doesn’t see them as more than rabid animals, incapable of displaying loyalty or honor, even to someone that was their outspoken comrade. Not sure if the show has any implication of exploring his character further, but it would be interesting to see if Thorne finally realizes the error of his ways.

  4. S

    There are reasons why book readers (Enzo) are not so surprised of the revival of Jon. One of them is that the White Walkers are also undead, and have always been part of the story, but a lot of magic started to reappear in the story around when dragons reappeared in the realm, it seems.

    That said, I hate it. When an author does this it feels really cheap. All these guys who just died in this episode, are they coming back? How much of an impact does that do now? I hope the TV series doesn’t make a habit out of bringing back main character, because you’re right: In the series, everything feels very final and clear. The books… not so much.

    And at the same time, bringing back Jon might have been the only thing that would persuade me to read another book. When you get to book 6, the story you’re left with is a poor one, with a million of characters you don’t give a shit about, because all the good ones are dead. Think Dorne times ten. I had three characters left that I truly cared about in the end of book six: Tyrion (who was an irrelevant figure on a boat on the way to Daenarys), Arya ( who is blind, and always irrelevant to the main plot), and Jon, who had just been murdered by his allies. Fuck Dorne, Fuck the KingsMoot, fuck the Boltons, fuck Sansa, Fuck Tommen. Daenarys has been on her way to Westeros for six whole books and haven’t moved for four books, fuck that. Also, fuck that crippled kid in the North, his story is incredibly boring.

  5. Jeebus, man – if you hate everything so much, why are you still reading? ;-P

    As for reviving Jon, I call BS on most of the criticism for Martin here. He’s clearly established that this is a thing in this mythology – not just the White Walkers, but Beric Dondarrion too. Plus all the business with Rattleshirt and wargs. So this is all accepted as part of the deal – and he’s also made it clear that it’s not something that happens easily, or without a cost. So this notion of “bringing every main character back” is nonsense. And the proof is in the pudding – have any of the other million major characters he’s killed off come back?

    Incidentally I also call BS on the “book readers weren’t surprised” thing, because every clue that Jon was coming back was in the show as well if you were paying attention.

  6. D

    I have no problems with it froma lore perspective. In fact, I think it was handled quite well given the situation. My problem is that this seems vastly uncharacteristic for the theme the show (and presumable the books) has worked so hard and long to build up. People die. Good people die too. Hell, they die in a ratio of 10 to 1 in the show. The world devours them and the message is always clear – no one is above becoming worm food, no matter how great and powerful they are. And yet, out of the blue, someone, apparently, is. Why? Why the complete change of tone? The fact that it happenes so very quickly makes the the whole thing stick out like a sore thumb. A show that took the better part of 4 seasons for Bran to just barely reach his destination and kind of, sort of start unraveling his deestiny suddenly decides that Jon can come back to life after being dead for less than 2 episodes? It feels like it undermines a lot of what has happned so far.

  7. It’s not out of the blue, though. Beric Dondarrion. Plus Azor Ahai, for that matter. It is known.

  8. S

    I ask myself that every time.

    On Beric Dondarrion, I didn’t want to mention him due to the massive spoiler that is there (which is the reason book readers remember the utterly forgettable character that he is in the series!), but that’s your pudding proof and it feels extremely cheap. Yes it’s canon (even though not so prevalent in the TV series), but it just feels like Martin around book 3 is a bit high on his reputation of killing everyone’s darlings, and arrogantly killed a few that he later regretted.

    I’d also say there were pretty few clues. There was no known mechanism to revive him close (save for white walkers), the Worging for Jon is purely in the books IIRC, not in the series. The red priestess connection to Dondarrion is almost unknown. I get why Dein is surprised. You’re allowed to disagree, but I think knowing what’s going to happen means that you pick up seemingly minor details in the series much easier, and see the story in a different light.

    The red priests’ power doesn’t even fully make sense in the world of Westeros. If it had been such a canon thing, the kings would’ve just kept a red priest nearby just in case. Revive Robb, Renly, Joffrey(dear lord), why not? Why are there no stories of kings being reanimated again and again? Not even in the time of dragons? Extra life for everyone, why not? The price doesn’t even seem that great. It’s BS.

  9. e

    You didn’t sneak any GeK ref in this post (DEM FEELS) but that Princess Bride one will do :p. Also there are times where and when I’d just say ‘spoil us rotten Enzo’ >D. Btw… talking of rotten/rotting/what is dead may never die… can’t remember a thing about Balon’s stabby brother D,: . Where who when how did this fellow last/previously popped up?

    That said…
    – Mah boy Brannnnn D
    – I like pensive weary Mel. God job by the actress there.
    – Can we anticipate a Tyrion Rider Of Dragons? Loved the sequence of course. And dragon #2 just showing him its neck as in ‘ok now free me as well, dude’ . Toasting, not toasted! Cheers!
    – Aw Davos :,). Onions are the best thing after garlic after all.
    – The meticulous manscaping of/on Jon is bothering me. I get that it would be in the way of the messianic associations ( no hairy Jesus!) but still… do they find time and resources for waxing at the Wall? :p
    – That was rather restrained as Ramsay’s villany display goes. *insert cautious relief here*

  10. Feeding a baby to the dogs – indeed, very restrained.

    Euron has never appeared in the TV series, though he had briefly popped up in ASoIaF by this point.

  11. e

    Personally I appreciated they spared us the onscreen details of death by dogs at least, thank you very much. The script bar average tend to be pretty low when it comes to Ramsay gorn after all… Plus I turned off the sound.

    Thanks for that Euron nugget 😀 .

  12. M

    Why are you so fixated on the Bran story arc?

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