*Spoiler Alert*: We finally got closure on Jon Snow in Game of Thrones' latest offering
Published 02/05/2016 | 10:39
Oh my – now THAT was an episode. After the cautious place-setting of last week's season premiere, Game of Thrones ratcheted through the dramatic levers with this week's astonishing second hour.
You-know-who was resurrected by Melisandre while Dublin actor Michael McElhatton's winning run as super-villain Roose Bolton was brought to an end in the most GoT fashion imaginable, as he copped a knife to the belly and his wife and newborn son were fed to the hounds. Don't ever change Game of Thrones, don't ever change.
1: Jon Snow is…well you guessed it
As the dust settled around "Home", actor Kit Harington took to the internet to apologise for lying to us for all these months. It's okay Kit, nobody believed you anyway. In fact, the return of the Bastard of Winterfell played out exactly as predicted. Having overcome her nasty bout of being 400 years old, Melisandre got busy with a dripping sponge and, quicker than you could say "Valar Morghulus", Snow's eyes had snapped and he was wondering how the heck he got here. Are we surprised? Not in the slightest. Nonetheless, the resurrection scene was genuinely gripping and it was a relief, too, that show-runners Benioff and Weiss hadn't spun out the cliff-hanger any longer than required.
2: Familial strife hits Winterfell
The birth of a second Bolton boy was always going to drive Ramsay to extreme actions. But it was nonetheless a shock to see him cut down father Roose in a scene reminiscent of Kylo Ren offing Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What followed was a master-class in gruesomeness as Ramsay set his dogs on Walda Frey and her newborn baby – aka Ramsay's brother. Having had Myranda's corpse fed to the hounds last week, if nothing else you have to credit Ramsay for prioritising animal welfare. Next on his agenda: a march to Castle Black and war against the Night's Watch. Buckle-up, it's going to be epic.
3: We're back in the Iron Islands
Uh-ho… the land where decent story-lines go to die is back. Having run out of George RR Martin novels to adapt, Game of Thrones has pivoted to an earlier plot strand from A Song of Ice and Fire. So we saw Balon Greyjoy killed off by brother Euron, immediately plunging the kingdom into a succession struggle. As coincidence would have it eunuch-prince Theon is headed back to the old country. Will he and sister Yara face off over dominion of Game of Thrones's soggiest provence?
4: Jaime really, really wants to kill the High Sparrow
Yes, we're all sick of the Sparrow's smug, "we the many, you the few" shtick. But not nearly as fed up as Jaime, who was entirely up for cutting the leader of the Faith Militant down in Myrcella's funeral chamber. However, he had not reckoned with the cudgel-wielding acolytes the Sparrow had quietly secreted in the corners. Bloodshed is coming to King's landing - but not here, not yet.
5: Arya's story was incomprehensible - now it's just meh.
Season six trailers had confirmed Arya would indeed be accepted back into the House of Black and White after that nasty stabby-stabby business with Ser Maryn Trant last year. But the show has insisted on dragging the plot out with the Stark princess again tangling with the Waif only for Jaqen H'ghar to pop up at the end and extended an inviting hand. In an episode loaded with surprises this reveal barely had a pulse.
6: Bran…you remember Bran?
When last we saw Ser Brandon of the mystic visions, he was fending off wights and making the acquaintance of Game of Thrones answer to Yoda, the Three-Eyed Raven. Two years later, he and the Raven (Max von Sydow) were plugged into a mystical tree and journeying back to Winterfell when Ned Stark was but a lad. It was an endearing seeing Bran's dad mucking about in the family castle - and jolting to witness his sister Lyanna ride through. Soon armies would clash because of her. Yet here she was, just an ordinary girl joking about with her brothers.
7: Tyrion really likes his dragons.
Since boyhood Tyrion has dreamed of dragons. He finally got up close and personal with the mythic beasts as he descended into Daenerys's dungeon for a tete-a-tete with the non-Drogon members of her brood. They had stopped taking food and seemed quite miffed wasting away in the basement Tyrion's genius solution was to unchain them and generally make them feel valued. It worked in so far as they didn't immediately rip him from limb to limb. Chalk one up for the Imp.