What is dead may never die.
You heard the rumours. You read the theories. You waited 11 months. Finally, it happened: an episode with no Dorne!
Game of Thrones S6E2 is titled ‘Home’, and you can tell why right from the off.
We start in Winterfell. Not the Winterfell where Theon burned two young boys alive, or the one where Ramsay raped Sansa, or the one that was, you know, on fire; it’s the Winterfell we called home in season 1.
In a role reversal from the pilot episode, where Ned Stark watched on as Bran shot arrows in all different directions, we’re watching a young Ned beat the shit out of a young Benjen, while Bran looks on from a high. Also Bran is back!
Lyanna Stark rocks up on a horse to remind us all that she’s dead and has absolutely nothing to do with Jon Snow, while we’re also introduced to a teenage Hodor, who says real life words for a change.
The Three-Eyed Raven pulls Bran out of his vision and back into their tree, outside of which Meera complains that she hates sitting around while Bran is greenseeing. I have a feeling she’ll be a little more grateful for Bran’s visions next week.
In King’s Landing, zombie Mountain squashes a dude for making fun of Cersei, who reunites with Tommen in one of those rare moments where she isn’t a bitch, and the High Sparrow hands Jaime his ass on a plate.
Over to Meereen, where Tyrion gets drunk and tries to make friends with some dragons, which is something only Tyrion could pull off. Varys watches on as Tyrion sets Viserion and Rhaegal loose, and the dwarf warns the eunuch to punch him in the face the next time he has a bright idea.
But Tyrion doesn’t give himself enough credit. Scared as he is, he knows how to win over those dragons, having explained that he read all about them as a child, and always wanted one of his own. Targaryen or not, I bet my life that Tyrion rides one of those dragons to Westeros. Eventually.
Staying in the east, Arya is still claiming that she’s no one, despite murdering Meryn Trant, who witnesses will tell you was on Arya Stark’s kill list. Still, she passes Jaqen’s test after another, wholly unnecessary beatdown from the Waif, and she stumbles off to get her eyes back.
At new Winterfell, Ramsay and Roose argue over the best way to get Sansa back. Ramsay suggests rallying the North, marching for the Wall and killing Jon Snow (joke’s on him), when they are interrupted by news that Lady Walda has given birth to a son.
Roose tries to smile but it obviously hurts his face so he stops. Ramsay steps forward to congratulate him, and by congratulate I mean stab in the chest and murder.
As soon as Roose is killed, you know exactly what’s going to happen to Ramsay’s brother and stepmother, you just don’t know how. Until the new Lord Bolton summons them to the kennels. Then you know exactly how.
Just up the road, Theon announces he is departing for home, and to Pyke we go, where Balon Greyjoy declares himself the victor of the War of Five Kings, before he becomes the fifth to be murdered.
Euron Greyjoy returns from banishment to meet Balon on a bridge overlooking the harbour. ‘What kind of an ironborn loses his senses during a storm?’ asks Balon, addressing the rumours that Euron cut out the tongues of his crew to keep them from talking after he panicked during a storm.
‘I am the storm, brother. The first storm and the last. And you’re in my way,’ is Euron’s reply, before he throws Balon over the bridge and into the harbour (which, to be fair, is probably how Balon would have wanted to go. The ironborn love them some open water).
The next morning, Balon is all wrapped up and sent out to sea (because of course he is) when Yara announces her intentions to replace her father, but there will be a Kingsmoot to decide who takes leadership of Pyke, now that Theon is presumed dead.
Something tells me it’s not a coincidence that Euron should reappear right now. His scene on the bridge tells me that he’s more than capable of winning over the other ironborn and taking control of Pyke. The question remains over his intentions, and what will happen when Theon returns?
At the Wall, the Wildings impede Alliser’s attempts to get to Jon’s totally dead body. The Night’s Watch loyalists are allowed time to mourn the loss of their Lord Commander, while Davos is free to appeal to Melisandre (necklace firmly back around her neck) before Tormund can burn Jon’s body.
The Red Woman channels her inner Thoros of Myr, and she casts a spell on Jon, but the Lord of Light has lost faith in Melisandre after the whole Stannis thing, and nothing happens.
As it turns out, the Lord of Light is just a bit of a drama queen. He waits as Melisandre, Tormund, Edd and Davos follow each other out of the room, and then Ghost stirs, and Jon breathes again.
We all had our own ideas as to how Jon would come back, this one being the most obvious, but my favourite theory – that Tormund and the Night’s Watch would burn the body, right after a Tower of Joy flashback sequence, and Jon would be reborn in the flames a legit Targaryen – is one I’m a little bit disappointed isn’t going to happen.
Still, we’re getting Tower of Joy next week, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it correlates with Jon’s return. Slightly underwhelming resurrections aside, it’s good to see Jon back at last, and it’s hard to complain when everything that came before was so good.
Euron’s introduction, Bran’s return and Tyrion’s drunk ideas more than cancel out the small disappointment that is losing Roose Bolton from the show. Only in season 4 did this much happen within the first two episodes, and if season 6 turns out anything like season 4 (still one of the greatest seasons of television), this is only the start.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO and Sky Atlantic next Sunday night.