Game of Thrones: Season 6 Episode 2 Review – Home
The primary strength of last night’s Game of Thrones was its willingness to provide two characters from the books that are crucial to both fandom adoration and to pivotal storytelling.
The first of these was Lyanna Stark, Ned Stark’s long-dead younger sister. The show has mentioned her in conversation before, but we have never seen her, until now. Last night, through Bran’s insight into the past, we got to witness not only a young Ned Stark and Benjen Stark, but also a young Lyanna Stark, and crucially riding in on a horse (in the books, she is called “half a horse herself” due to her adeptness with steeds). Although this moment wouldn’t have meant much to fans of the show, this was a striking and gratifying moment for A Song of Ice and Fire fans to observe. Lyanna is important, not only because of the manner of her death, but also because of her possible connections to Jon Snow (you know the theory that we are referring to).
The other character that this episode provided – and all too late for our liking – was Euron Greyjoy, otherwise known as The Crow’s Eye. Euron is pivotal to the entire Iron Islands plot and it looks like the show is finally getting around to tackling that.
We loved that this episode allowed us to witness the death of Balon Greyjoy. In the books, others only hear that Balon was blown off of a bridge, to his death, which we have always of course assumed is fabricated nonsense, to cover up the truth. The show strode one step farther here, by providing an answer to that suspicious-sounding death and for once it’s an answer that makes sense. Euron is the Greyjoy who most vehemently seeks the rule of the Iron Islands, and he is the contender with the most madness and daring to him, so it made sense to us to have him be Balon’s killer (and it makes you wonder if this was a choice pulled directly from The Winds of Winter itself).
We’re thrilled to be getting such a strong focus on the Iron Islands this season and we hope that they keep this up. Because (ignoring Theon) it is not only Aeron, Asha (called Yara in the show) and Euron who are interesting Greyjoys – Victarion is actually the most fascinating of the bunch and we hope that the show will get around to introducing him (though we see this as unlikely and his omission yet another source of future wrath from us).
Half-way through the episode, Tyrion goes on a mission of folly when he decides to visit Viserion and Rhaegal – the two remaining dragons still in captivity. Tyrion’s intent here is to free them and respect their intelligence, all the while without dying. We found this to be a vapid plot device, devised only to provide some dragon screen time. Even Tyrion himself remarks that is was a foolish idea, after he exits.
Despite the transparency of the mechanics, however, the scene did serve to present a very tense few moments, as Tyrion walked his way into the dragons’ chamber. Why the starving dragons didn’t snap him up though, seems a plot hole to us. Tyrion is not of Targaryen blood and however much respect he showed the dragons (his little curtsey included), there is evidence in the books to demonstrate that the dragons would have charred him immediately.
In A Dance with Dragons, Quentin Martell attempts to enter Viserion and Rhaegal’s chamber to tame them, but Rhaegal bathes Quentin in dragonfire and kills him. It could be argued that Quentin was closer to a coward than Tyrion and that Quentin respected the beats less, yet we feel that this should have happened in either instance.
The episode also gave us yet more highly disturbing Ramsey content. He not only kills his father, Roose Bolton, but he then chooses to feed Roose’s wife and new born child to his hounds, even after she begs mercy of him. The show seems to be building Ramsey up into a villain almost too large for life, whom is growing ever more unrealistic. It’s likely that – as with Joffrey – they are having Ramsey do such things only to fuel the hate in our blood even more, so that they can then gratify us by killing him off horribly later on.
As The Mountain walks around in Kingsguard attire, as a full and obvious reminder that characters can be brought back from the dead, in the North events took the exact turn that we was expecting and dreading this season.
Jon Snow returned, in the exact manner that most suspected – with Melisandre raising him from the dead. Whilst we enjoyed seeing Melisandre humbled about her connections to the Lord of Light, we didn’t enjoy seeing Jon rise from the dead (and so easily too, after Melisandre claimed it to be beyond her powers).
We can only hope that Jon will not come back exactly as we once knew him. In the books anyone who is returned from death, such as Catelyn Stark, will often not be the same as they were before they died. Once Catelyn is raised, she is called Lady Stoneheart for a reason – because once returned, she lacks mercy and compassion. This is one avenue that could be taken with Jon this season.
Another avenue – and we consider this to be more likely – is that Jon has not really returned at all. The opening episode for this season made it very clear that Melisandre can and does create illusions; ruses to make people see one thing, when in fact what is really there is much darker. It is possible that she has only made it appear as though Jon has risen from the dead, while Jon in fact still lays as cols as stone. This does raise the question, however, of why Ghost senses John’s rising (yet his whimper is an anxious one, which could indicate that something is amiss with Jon).
The title of this episode – ‘Home’ – likely refers not only to Theon’s answer about where he wishes to return, but also to Jon returning home in some sense. We suspect that both homecomings with prove as disappointing as each other, but at least this season is throwing a lot of mystery and intrigue our way. And at least the writers are finally addressing some characters and plots that they previously made the mistake of ignoring entirely.