Game of Thrones 6.2: “The first storm and the last”
Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 2 recap
SPOILERS, THESE WILL ALWAYS BE SPOILERS
So, it happened. The single most important thing on Game of Thrones happened. Tyrion let the dragons go. But they didn’t leave the pyramid! Get off your lazy asses, dragons! There are enemies to eat and things to burn down! The dragon sound design is PHENOMENAL—it would have been so easy to borrow pre-existing sound from, say, Jurassic Park dinosaurs, but the dragons sound unique, and they have never sounded better. And that story Tyrion told about wanting a dragon of his own and crying himself to sleep when he was told they were extinct is a great character touch. And it’s a little…prophetic, non? He wanted a dragon. Now he’s technically in charge of two. And he can touch them, and they don’t eat him. That seems important and worth filing away.
While I could talk about dragons forever, I know what you’re all wanting to discuss, so let’s get to it. The balance of power in Westeros is shifting all over the place, as Roose Bolton and Balon Greyjoy are murdered, and Tommen and Cersei, in a more passive way, reconcile to crush their enemies in King’s Landing. King’s Landing has usually been one of the most interesting places in Westeros, but now it’s last on the list. Last week we saw Ellaria Sand change things down in Dorne, and this week Ramsey Bolton and Euron Greyjoy fundamentally alter the dynamics to the north.
Ramsey throws the absolute worst baby shower in the world after Lady Walda has a son, I mean he really redefines “going to the dogs”. And Euron Greyjoy shows up and promptly murders that old fart Balon, which makes Euron the most interesting Greyjoy in the history of the show. (Sorry, Yara, I had to google your name.) But these dynamics, though significant—like Ramsey can hold the North, bitch please—pale in comparison to what happens in a small room at Castle Black. The most important shift happens in relative privacy, with only a direwolf to witness it.
We all knew Jon Snow was coming back. I didn’t think it would happen this soon, but Jon Snow lives again, thanks to Melisandre. That hag nap must have worked wonders, because she burns Jon Snow’s hair and recites an incantation and nothing happens until it does, and Jon Snow takes a breath. I thought they’d chuck his body in a fire and he wouldn’t burn, like Daenerys, but it would seem he’s been resurrected in the same way as Beric Dondarrion. Maybe? Beric’s resurrection is a little different.
But Melisandre references Beric when Davos asks her if she knows of any way to bring people back from the dead, so it bears asking—does this mean that, like Beric, Jon Snow comes back different, with “pieces chipped away”? And if he does, how does that affect his priorities? Jon Snow was ten times more interesting dead, and now that he’s back, if he turns into the same know-nothing pouter with stupid hair I will scream. Besides, now that he’s died, he’s technically free of the Night’s Watch. Please let him leave the Wall forever, but not before he drop-kicks Olly into oblivion.
And as Jon Snow returns, we have Bran Stark back as well, still with the Three-Eyed Raven, getting history lessons, apparently. We see Bran in a vision, in what is part one of the “Tower of Joy” story, about Robert’s Rebellion and the events that set all this into motion a generation before. We meet Lyanna Stark, who seems like Arya would have been had all this sh*t not happened to her family, and even though Lyanna doesn’t do a whole lot here, she comes across at first contact as strong-willed and bold. No wonder Rhaegar Targaryen loses his head over her.
History matters, and as Westeros falls further into chaos, its history is playing out in unexpected ways. Through the Tower of Joy story we’ll see how a big act changed the course of Westeros forever, but this episode focuses on relatively smaller moments. Tyrion’s childhood love of dragons, for instance, leads him to make a choice that will, eventually, have drastic consequences. And Jon Snow’s resurrection has a humble beginning at Castle Black, as far from centralized power in Westeros as can be, attended by no one and witnessed only by Ghost. In this moment, no one knows how history is changing. Across Westeros, for twenty years they’ve told the story of Robert’s Rebellion. The next great story people tell around the fire is the story of the Stark Uprising.
Attached - Kit Harington arriving at his new London West End Theatre play Doctor Faustus in London last week.