Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 3 recap
In the wake of Jon Snow’s resurrection, we’ve wondered what the “rules” are of his second life. Is he, like Beric Dondarrion, missing “pieces” of himself? Or is his resurrection somehow different? This week’s episode has a Stark-centric theme of the known and the unknown, and right now Jon Snow inhabits the space between the two. He says he thinks he’s himself, but already this is a harder Jon than we’ve seen before. Is he different because he left a piece of his humanity behind, or is it just that being murdered by his own men finally knocked some sense into him and he’s done trying to please everyone? Jon Snow 1.0 was always trying to find middle ground between warring factions, but Jon Snow 2.0 is basically the embodiment of the “f*ck you” scene in Half Baked.
Ghost isn’t much help. He just looks confused—truly, he is Jon Snow’s spirit animal. He doesn’t seem aggressive, though, which is maybe an indicator that the returned Jon Snow is the same. But at least one thing has changed, as Jon quit the Night’s Watch. Jon may not quite know who he is post-resurrection, but he does know he’s no longer the Lord Commander. The whole point of him dying was to get him to leave the f*cking Wall, and leave he shall, accompanied by an army of Wildings who think he’s a god. Just in the nick of time, too, as Ramsay Bolton has acquired Rickon—REMEMBER RICKON?!—thanks to House Umber. So Rickon is f*cked, and RIP Shaggydog. We’re down to two Stark direwolves remaining: Summer, with Bran, and Ghost, with Jon Snow. Not for nothing, these are the two magical Starks.
Where Jon is finding himself now that he’s returned to the living, Arya is embracing her role as A Girl. Her eyesight is returned, but only after she gives up her name. SNL did a solid sketch about dragging out the Jon Snow storyline, but for my money, it’s Arya’s journey that feels the most like filler. Two episodes into the season and Jon came back to life, quit the Night’s Watch, and is headed out on new adventures. How long has Arya been f*cking around in Braavos? Nine years? It feels like forever. But there is a nice parallel here as Arya gives up her old self just as Jon Snow starts discovering his new self.
The centerpiece of episode is the Tower of Joy flashback, in which Bran witnesses that one of Ned Stark’s most famous stories was quite different than believed. We don’t get to find out what’s inside the Tower of Joy, but we do see Ned and a group of rebels take on Arthur Dayne, and Bran observes a side of his father he never knew. We haven’t seen the whole Tower of Joy story play out yet, but the moment with Arthur Dayne and Ned feels a bit like foreshadowing. Bran is supposed to be learning through these flashbacks, and the lesson in this episode is that history is not the same thing as truth. You think you know a story because you’ve heard it a thousand times, only to find out you never knew the truth. Makes you wonder what other truths lie at the Tower of Joy. (R+L=J)
Daenerys isn’t a Stark, but she’s in the same boat, thematically, as her immediate future is a big fat question mark. She arrives at the Hag Home for Widowed Khaleesis, but because she left the khalasar after Drogo died, a council will decide her fate. Can we skip all this and get to the part where Drogon scares the sh*t out of the Dothraki and Daenerys goes back to Meereen?
Watching people argue when you know Daenerys won’t stay with the Dothraki—that’s no longer her path—is so boring. These are the parts of the show that feel dragged out, not Jon Snow, who is being decisive for once. In one episode he wakes up, settles some scores—f*ck you, Olly!—and quits the Wall. That is narrative progress. Daenerys arguing in the dirt for half a season is not.
Attached - Sophie Turner at BBC Radio 2 in London on Friday.