Let’s talk Jon Snow in Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 2


Warning: Spoilers Ahead

C’mon now, you didn’t really think John Snow was really gone for good, did you?  In the “surprise” that surprised literally no one, Jon Snow is back. But is he better than ever?  That remains to be seen. As the big reveal at the end of last night’s Game of Thrones was limited to Jon’s sudden awakening and a single gasp of breath. Remember, Khal Drogo was brought back from the brink of death too, and we all know how that turned out.

But in the meantime, Jon Snow truthers, rejoice! The Stark bastard is reborn, and with him comes the hopes that maybe, just maybe, someone heroic can actually survive and thrive in this world of deception and dashed dreams. And Melisandre shows that Davos faith in her is not misplaced as she chants and incants her way to Jon’s resurrection.

But as we all know, George R. R. Martin does not give, without taking away. Fortunately, in this case, he takes away a few characters that, quite frankly, won’t be missed. The first is the devious and powerful Roose Bolton, who in a fitting bit of poetic justice is stabbed at close quarters by his recently anointed heir, Ramsey. You know, kind of like how he did his liege lord Robb Stark all those months ago. Karma’s a bitch.

Ramsey follows up his casual patricide/regicide combo by ordering his attack dog to kill his late father’s wife Walda and his newborn brother. The entire Bolton storyline showcased that even the most ruthless and cunning men can fall victim to their blind spots. In this case, Roose’s undoing was clearly his love for his bastard son. In Ramsey, he saw a younger version of himself. Someone who was absolutely merciless and cold-blooded, single minded in his thirst for power and control. As a bastard, Ramsey had no claims to the throne, and instead sought to do everything in his power to earn his father’s approval. But once Roose legitimized Ramsey’s birth through royal decree, it was inevitable that Ramsey would turn on his father. He went from a bastard with no prospects to next in line for House Bolton. Sadly, Roose never imagined that his own son would ever kill him. Though if he had paid attention to any of Ramsey’s series of increasingly sadistic pursuits, he would have seen that this outcome was inevitable. Pride leading to death is apparently not a trait limited to the Stark family.

The other major death of the episode is also the one that may leave all by the most diehard Thrones fans going, “Huh.” After starring in little more than a few random scenes interspersed throughout the first five seasons, Balon Greyjoy, Lord of the Iron Islands, is killed by long missing brother, Euron. This leads to yet another contested crown between Yara, Balon’s daughter, and Euron. This seemingly random sojourn to the Iron Islands may seem a bit out of place, but it does more closely hew to the novels, that spend a great deal of time with the Ironborn. It will be interesting to see how showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss integrate this storyline into the broader arc of the show without losing too much momentum.

Daenerys takes a hiatus from this episode, leaving only Tyrion and Varys to provide us with the goings on in Meereen. They learn that the other cities of Slaver Bay have been retaken by the masters, leaving Meereen as the sole city where masters are not in control. So Tyrion decides to do his best Hiccup impersonation, and frees Daenerys’ other two dragons from captivity. Meanwhile, Arya appears to be ready to take the next step in her training (with the first step apparently being repeatedly beaten with a stick), as she is approached by Jaqen h’Gar who takes her away from her begging spot, and leads her to her next lesson. Bran returns as well, having visions of Winterfell when his father was a child. There he sees his dad and uncle Benjen practicing swordplay, while also learning a little more about Hodor’s more verbose past.

But really, for all the small plot and character advancements we saw this week, all anyone really wants to talk about is the big ending. We’ve answered the big question of if Jon Snow is going to return. So now all that remains is the hundreds of new questions that spawn from this resurrection. Will Jon ally with the Wildlings to take on the White Walkers? Will he reunite with his brothers and sisters further south. Will he march south to recapture Winterfell from Ramsey? And most importantly, what is he going to do with the traitorous Olly? I vote for burning at the stake.

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