Previously on Game of Thrones: Jon Snow got dead, Walda Frey got pregnant, Ramsay got told off by daddy, Sansa and Theon got free, Arya got beaten up, Daenerys’ fleet got burny, the dragons got chained up and Bran got his warg on.
Cue the music: Nyaah, nyaah, nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah–nah-you get the drill.
We open on Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven in the caverns beneath the weirwood tree. Well, their bodies are there. In terms of consciousness they’re at Winterfell, observing a young Ned and Benjen Stark training under the watchful eye of a young Sir Rodrik.
‘Keep your shield up or I’ll ring your head like a bell’ Ned tells Benjen, and now we know where a certain Lord Commander picked that one up. Lyanna Stark gallops in on her horse; it’s the first time we see Lyanna personified, as opposed to crypt-Lyanna. We also meet young Hodor, whose real name is…Wylis. Okay then. Anyhow, this is all apparently before whatever made Hodor Hodor-ish, because he says other stuff too.
Bran wants to hang out with the ghosts-of-Winterfell-past for a bit longer, but the three-eyed-raven ruins all his fun. So Bran returns to his body and goes to see Meera, who is apparently in a bit of a funk. She’s still grieving Jojen but also seems bored shitless, as if she’s just been forced to read the script pages relating to Dorne. Bran doesn’t understand what the problem is; she gets to sit in a dark cave and watch while he rides the weirwood-high all day and frolics about with his dead ancestors. What more could a girl want? God, she’s so high-maintenance. Bran leaves and a Child of the Forest tells Meera Bran totally needs her…laters.
Castle Black! Alliser Thorne has had enough and wants Sir Davos and friends to come out RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Sir Davos grabs Longclaw and it’s the scene from the season preview: ‘Apologies for what you’re about to see’. He draws his sword and the other men follow suit. We cut outside the door to see Olly, the little shit, standing with the other traitors. You’re direwolf meat, kiddo.
Thorne’s men start breaking down the door. Ghost gets ready to take names. But just as Thorne’s men are about to break through there’s a knock on Castle Black’s gate, and it isn’t a Jehovah’s Witness or Energy Australia wanting to offer Castle Black 15% off their electricity bill. It’s Wun Wun the giant and the rest of the wildlings.
The wildling theme music kicks in as they storm the yard. Awesome. Tormund takes down a crow and Thorne motivates his men with ‘FIGHT YOU COWARDS!’. This guy seriously needs to do one of those management training courses. Anyhow, one moron obeys and shoots Wun Wun in the shoulder with his crossbow. Just imagine his thought process beforehand: Fuck it, I’m just going to shoot the giant. What’s the worst that could happen?
Wun Wun brains him against the wall and tosses his body aside with the casualness of someone who just slapped a cockroach with a thong. Checkmate; the rest of the Night’s Watch drop their weapons and surrender. Thorne has a strop, and Olly lunges at Tormund (who admittedly played a large part in the murder of the kid’s parents…but my sympathies are fickle and have long since changed). Jon’s killers are sent to their cells without any supper. Tormund takes a look at Jon; yup, still playing dead.
King’s Landing, where some overacting twat is spinning a yarn about Cersei wanting a piece of his arse during her walk of shame. Cut to see Zombie-Mountain smash his head against a wall. Boring. You might be big and tough, Zomnie-Mountain, but Wun Wun’s party tricks put yours to shame.
Zombie-Mountain arrives at the Red Keep to escort Cersei to Myrcella’s funeral, but Tommen has sent his guards to ensure she doesn’t leave the castle. Cut to Tommen and Jaime in the Sept of Baelor, hashing out Tommen’s many inadequacies. I’m distracted from their conversation because i’m trying to see if there’s any hint of Dean-Charles Chapman’s Essex accent evident in his dialogue. Nope – perfect, init? (Side note…I now sort of understand why Prince Trystane was painting an eyeball on a rock last week. His rock was similar to the ones Myrcella’s corpse is wearing. But why he was painting one while on his way back to Dorne, I don’t know).
Jaime’s endearing character development as a father figure continues; he urges Tommen to visit his mother and apologise. The High Sparrow arrives and he and Jaime face off. Jaime wants to kill him but finds he’s surrounded by the High Sparrow’s henchmen. The High Sparrow alludes to the imminent overthrow of an empire and smugs off. Please can someone get stabby with this guy soon.
Cut to Tommen emotionally caving in to Cersei and opening himself up to future manipulations that will no doubt lead him to his own golden shroud. Basically he promises to be more Joffrey, and rule with selfish and violent impulsiveness. Good boy, Tommen. But someone might want to find Ser Pounce a foster home, because I think your days are numbered.
Now to the Great Pyramid in Meereen, where Tyrion is pouring himself wine. Missandei, Grey Worm and Varys watch on with evident disapproval. Varys tsk tsks, and Tyrion responds with ‘If I lost my cock, I’d drink all the time’. My husband – nursing his own glass of wine – laughs and nods ‘ah…so true’. Okay. Good to know.
Talk in the Pyramid turns to dragons. Tyrion tells them that dragons can’t be cooped up like cage hens if you want them to help you conquer a realm. Missandei is all ‘how the fuck would you know?’. Possibly the best Tyrion quip ever: ‘That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things’. My husband is never, ever going to stop using this quote.
Evidently one thing Tyrion doesn’t know is what happens in the books when people just drop in on the dragons, because he decides to visit their underground den himself. The show diverges from the books here…I don’t want to drop spoilers irresponsibly, but suffice to say that when the dragons get unexpected visitors in the books, they decide to have an impromptu Dornish-style barbecue.
But I digress, and this is a lovely scene regardless. Tyrion cautiously makes his way into the dragons’ den. Rhagal and Viserion clock his approach and come out to investigate. Tyrion tells them he’s friends with their mother and implores them ‘don’t eat the help’. Then he tells them a story from the books that I’ve been hoping would make it onscreen, about how Tyrion cried himself to sleep as a boy when he found out all the dragons were dead. As he tells the story, Tyrion reaches for Rhaegal (or Viserion…not sure who is who) and there’s this lovely moment from Peter Dinklage where you see Tyrion’s glee at getting to touch an actual dragon. Seriously, only Peter Dinklage could share a scene with the dragons and still manage to steal it.
Tyrion then unchains the dragons – who willingly submit – and gets the fuck out of there while the going’s good. It’s an awesome scene, but it’s also one that will have the Tyrion-Targaryen theorists in a frenzy. Having watched this scene and read the books, I’m leaning towards that camp myself. Assuming Jon is the second dragon rider, there’s still a position open and no one else (yet) who fits the secret-Targaryen bill as well as Tyrion does.
To Winterfell, and Roose is most disappointed in Ramsay’s failure to retrieve Sansa and Theon. Don’t worry Roose, your discomfort is very, very temporary.
Ramsay knows they’ll head for Castle Black, so suggests launching an attack and also killing Jon Snow. Roose’s expresses contempt for this idea, telling Ramsay it will unite all the houses in the North against them. Ramsay thinks they already have the ones that matter; Karstarks, Umbers and Manderlys (Manderlys! White Harbour! Manderlys!).
At this point Roose jettisons all pretences that Ramsay isn’t complete fuck-up, and warns him that acting like a mad dog will see him getting taken out back and fed to the pigs. Um, that’s still too good a death for this guy.
The maester interrupts this tense moment to inform everyone that Roose’s wife Walda Frey has given birth…to a boy. Uh oh. I think I’d rather be a boy born into Craster’s family than this one. Roose is chuffed. Ramsay comes in for a hug *shudder*. Roose tells him he’ll always be his firstborn son. Ramsay is all ‘awww, that means a lot Pops!’ before plunging his dagger into his father’s ribs. Bye bye, Roose. Should have worn the good Red Wedding chainmail today.
Roose drops to the floor and dies, and even Ramsay seems momentarily appalled. Now that they no longer have the books to guide them, the writers apparently just hit CTRL-ALT-STABBY-STABBY when they want to get rid of a character that has passed their use-by date.
But compared to what’s in store for Walda and baby Bolton, Roose’s death was merciful. I don’t even know how to recap this next scene. It’s probably the most sickening in GOT history. I’m trying to remember if even the gruesome death of the Red Viper was this confronting…I don’t think so, because 20 minutes after that episode ended I was attempting to (playfully) re-enact the Mountain’s thumbs-in-the-eye-sockets move with my husband (too soon, apparently).
Anyhow, I’ll recap the specifics using the least amount of words possible so I can thankfully move on: Walda. Baby. Ramsay. Kennels. Feeding time. Capiche?
We escape to the woods somewhere North, where Sansa and Brienne are having a girly catch up about Arya. Brienne then asks what happened at Winterfell, and Sansa’s silence says it all. Oh, you know…I married the rapey son of the creep that betrayed my family and murdered my brother, and he made Joffrey look like Fozzie Bear. Brienne looks mortified, and Sansa tells her than she should have gone with her when she had the chance. Nevermind, Sansa – you were going through your (admittedly short and somewhat pointless) Dark Phoenix phase.
Next, Sansa and Theon discuss the Wall, and how Jon will want to kill Theon the moment he walks through the gate. Sansa says all crimes are forgiven when you take the black, but Theon doesn’t want forgiveness – he knows he can’t redeem himself. He tells Sansa he would have died to get her there. She realizes he’s not coming and hugs him. Theon cries. Cut to see Brienne looking choked up. I’m choked up. Theon asks if he can have one of the horses, and for some reason that makes me even sadder. You’re killing me, Alfie Allen. Sansa asks Theon where he’ll go. ‘Home’ he replies.
Which leads us right to the Iron Islands, where Balon Greyjoy and Yara have apparently spent the last couple of seasons in a room dithering over invasion strategy. Jesus. I almost miss Dorne. Anyway, this scene is really just a segue into the real action; Balon’s brother Euron Greyjoy arrives home after years abroad, and decides to celebrate by tossing Balon off a bridge. Meh. After Roose and The Thing That Happened in the Kennels and Theon leaving Sansa, my emotional fuse has shorted out and I might as well be watching the Greyjoys play Badminton.
Back to the Wall, where Melisandra is in her room, emo-ing out in front of the fireplace. Ser Davos comes in all sheepish, as if he’s about to hit her up for a loan. Melisandre asks him what the fuck he wants. He’s all ‘Erm…whaddya say we make Jon Snow not dead?’. There’s a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of Game of Thrones fans suddenly cried out in agreement. But the Red Woman is still suffering a crisis of confidence, and you know what that means: it’s time for one of Ser Davos’s rousing motivational speeches. Alliser Thorne should take notes from this guy.
Cut to Jon Snow’s naked body. For the sake of modesty and Kit Harington’s no-nudity clause, they’ve given him a tiny, hilarious loincloth.
The Red Woman gives Jon a sponge bath and a haircut while Ser Davos, Tormund and Edd look on. She then places her hands on Jon’s chest and chants a Valyrian spell over and over. Nothing happens.
Tormund gives Davos stink-eye and storms out. Melisandre gives up and leaves too. Ser Davos lingers a little longer, admiring Kit Harington’s ability to keep his six-pack flexed for hours at a time. Then he leaves too and closes the door behind him.
Now there’s only Ghost, asleep on the floor. Seconds pass before the direwolf’s ears suddenly prick up. We cut to Jon Snow. Wait for it….wait for it…BINGO! Jon Snow rises again! Azor Ahai reborn! Melisandre back in the game! Twitter in meltdown!