By James Hancock May 1st, 2016
Fans of the show Game of Thrones have been speculating for a year about whether or not Jon Snow would somehow survive his betrayal at the hands of his brothers of the Night’s Watch, but I’ve been burning with curiosity over the same question since 2011 when I first read George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons. Never once did I assume that we had seen the last of Jon Snow but I had no idea in what form he would continue to participate in this epic saga. While I would have preferred to have learned his fate in the much-delayed novel The Winds of Winter, I am beyond fired up to learn finally that Jon lives thanks to one of my favorite characters, Melisandre. While she may have suffered a slight crisis in faith after her visions of Stannis Baratheon proved to be false, she is back in fine form in the latest episode ‘Home’ with a spell that she did believe possible until persuaded by Ser Davos, a man who has witnessed her power firsthand many times before. Now with the North in complete turmoil due to the abomination Ramsay Bolton and the murder of his father Roose, my hope is that we’ll see Jon Snow and Sansa Stark form an alliance that will right the many wrongs inflicted upon their family ever since the beginning of this incredible story. With the help of Davos, Melisandre, an army of Wildlings, a Giant and Ghost, this looks like a season where Jon will finally assert himself as one of the most important figures in all of Westeros.
While Jon’s resurrection will likely break the internet over the course of the next 24 hours, episode 2 of season 6 offered a variety of twists and revelations that held my attention the entire episode. Max von Sydow is proving to be an excellent addition as the Three-Eyed Raven as he helps Bran explore his abilities. Together they explore Bran’s family history in a vision of Bran’s father Ned interacting with his brother Benjen and sister Lyanna, a character I am always eager to learn more about due to her mysterious death after being abducted or perhaps falling in love with Rhaegar Targaryen. My suspicion is that she and Rhaegar are Jon’s true parents making Jon yet another rival to Daenerys’s claim to the throne. Given that she is a Targaryen, however, they could very well end up married. That’s how they roll. Another interesting secret unveiled from this vision is the fact that Hodor was once capable of speech as a young man working at Winterfell. How that will impact his character moving forward remains to be seen.
More great scenes came at a rapid clip from beginning to end in this episode. Jaime Lannister’s verbal confrontation with the Sparrows leads to his capture. Cersei’s giant zombie continues to be the most terrifying person in King’s Landing. Arya graduates from her beggar status and seems on the cusp of learning a variety of new skills from her mentor Jaqen. Balon Greyjoy is murdered by his brother throwing the rulership of the Iron Islands into question (remains to be seen which brother was responsible but my money is on Euron). But best of all is seeing Tyrion throwing caution to the winds in an effort to befriend the two dragons that have been imprisoned in Meereen. He explains to Daenerys’s advisors how in King’s Landing captivity is what drove the dragons into extinction. Dragons are smarter than men and need their freedom to thrive. When asked how he knows this, he replies in the best line of the show so far, “That’s what I do. I drink and I know things.” Tyrion proceeds to free the two dragons perhaps earning their loyalty for the battles ahead where they will inevitably play a role.
So in the final analysis, Game of Thrones has served up another solid episode. I’m having a blast so far and if the teaser to episode 3 is any indication we have plenty of excitement in store for us next week. Jon’s men apparently react to his return as a sign of godhood. With Alliser Thorne now dead, for the first time we have the chance to see Jon run the Night’s Watch as he sees fit, completely unopposed from forces within their ranks and my curiosity is raging over what he will do with this freedom. Winter may be coming but my bet is that this season is only getting started with the surprises it has in store for us.
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