Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 2 – ‘Home’
Hodor speaks and Stark kids receive different kinds of Jedi training
A whole bunch of spoilery things happened in this week's episode that we won't mention in introduction because we're sensitive, nice respecting content producers here and don't want you-know-what appearing on social media previews for this post. So read on to find out what The List's resident Game of Thrones nerds Rebecca Monks and Scott Henderson thought about the latest espisode of season six, 'Home', as they break down episode with wry observations, crackpot plot theories and healthy doses of sarcasm...
****SPOILERS FOR SEASON 6 EPISODE 2 FOLLOW****
I'm just going to start this off with a 'told you!' Except, it doesn't really need to be said, because approximately everybody knew that Jon Snow was coming back. I like that it happened the way that most people expected (Meli getting magical), but kudos to them for complicating it: they continued with the 'crisis of faith' theme, and it wasn't all as easy as 'say some words, wipe a flannel over his punctured torso and hope for the best'. Also, it's nice she gave him a little beard trim. One should always look one's best when rising from the dead.
Now, you know I loathe Brandon, Son of Eddard, Heir to the Most Boring Plotline in the Series. But the flashback scenes with Ned and Lyanna were excellent, and the children of the forest were looking much, much better this season. Less like extras from the film Elf, more like the omniscient hippies I imagined from the books.
And as for Tyrion, 'I drink and I know things'. Suggested edit: 'I drink and I know things and I tame wild dragons because I am simply that excellent.'
I'll come back to the Jon Snow Lives plot in a bit because there's so much to unpack there and questions still to be asked. The episode opened with Brandon and his dream warrior training (nice parallel with Arya receiving her faceless man training, by the way), and probably the happiest I've been with his plot in a long time was being whisked back to ye ol' Winterfell with young Ned teaching young Benjy how to fight while young, mutton chopped Ser Rodrik watches (loved the call back to Jon teaching Olly with the 'keep your shield up or I'll ring your head'). Happier times eh? But two significant introductions in this flashback were the arrival of Lyanna Stark, who we meet for the first time and see immediately what a forthright, confident sister she is, and the revelation of Hodor as Wylis, the talking stableboy. Regarding the latter, I'm betting this will play out with some plot significance – I'm at a loss for what that might be, but have a feeling a clue might be in the name.
Max van Sydow was a nice addition as the three eyed crow, but otherwise, like Brandon, I think our time spent with this crew will be best served in the plot driving flashbacks that are certain to come.
Regarding the other Stark plotline in the episode, it was a little annoying that Brianne didn't mention The Hound was Arya's companion to Sansa – it's a frequent bugbear of mine when characters in television shows only give half a story. Regardless, the moment between Sansa and Theon was really touching and I'm pretty sad they are going to go their separate ways. Surely this spells doom for Theon though, hard to imagine his own adventure leading him anywhere but straight back to Ramsey. Could Reek be the one to kill the Bastard of the North?
Like I said, I thought the flashback scenes were the highlight of the episode (especially since I basically already knew that Jon was coming back, I saw it in the flames). There were rumours Sean Bean has been filming scenes, which would mean some adult Ned flashbacks. Gods, I hope that's true. Lyanna's introduction in the same episode as Jon's resurrection is significant for me, as it suggests that the L+R=J theory may have some merit. If we learn more about Lyanna as we learn more about Ultra Lord Snow, that could be the writers slowly setting up the revelation we've all been waiting for.
As for Hodor/Wylis, my guess is that he saw something he shouldn't, and was told to keep quiet about it. And by 'told to keep quiet', I mean physically forced into silence. They made a big deal in that flashback about Wylis never being allowed to learn to fight because he would destroy a man. Perhaps he saw what really happened with R+L, and they had to silence him, lest he do some damage? The whole thing was so distressing that he chose to speak only one word: 'Hodor'.
Another theory is that Hodor is actually The Great Other: the God in charge of the White Walkers. We know from Bran's warging that Hodor's body can be used as a host, though Bran notes that it is always a noticeably different experience than when he embodies animals (he cannot sense Wylis/Hodor's thoughts like he can with others). This theory suggests that Wylis is possessed, becomes Hodor, and brings Bran North of the Wall because their fates are tangled up with those of the White Walkers and their God. That would explain why he stopped being able to string a sentence together – I bet it's tricky when you're possessed by an evil power.
Huh, that's something I've never come across before. It's going to take me a bit of time to wrap my head around that theory, however I'm glad you brought up warging because it brings me nicely back to Castle Black and the resurrection of Jon Snow, so I may as well go there now. Aside from the various awesome bits of both scenes here (Dolores Edd to the rescue! Don't make Wun Wun angry! Traitor Thorne to the cells!), I got the sense there was much going on between the lines with Melisandre's magic, and I'm not even including the fact that Tormund's dirty glances might have more to do with contemplating ways he should kill Stannis' underlings for setting fire to Mance than the hocus pocus on show. But it seemed like for a brief moment Melisandre felt something in Jon early in the spell before she gave up, and then later just before he came to life, Ghost woke up. Now, something that's people mention is Beric Dondarrion saying each time he was brought back to life by Thoros of Myr he was a little less – so what if Jon was able to avoid this by warging into Ghost before his body died (a hugely popular book theory), then warging back in after the Melisandre reanimated him? Perhaps more importantly, how is Jon going to reveal himself as alive to his brothers? 'Wassup bros, I'm alive! Check out my sweet loincloth.'
There is definitely something more going on with Ghost, Mel and Jon. I smell a warg. I don't know how it will tie together, but I am betting it will be something to do with Bran. It will be interesting to see how the brothers react to Jon now. I suspect that the rebels will try to convince the others he is a White Walker, and that he is the enemy. Perhaps by the time Sansa arrives at the Wall he will be viewed with too much suspicion to rule, and she will lead him back to Winterfell?
This is all I can think about for a Tuesday morning, but next week I would like Arya's storyline to pick up some pace. A girl needs a punchy character-driven plot line, no?
Yes, well I think this was still a lot of table setting for action to come, whether in Mereen, King's Landing or the North. Jeez, we didn't even talk about Ramsey and Roose – an anticlimactic ending for the former Lord Bolton. Kinda feel a bit robbed of some Stark revenge for the murder of Robb, but I guess there's always Walder Frey. Not sure how he's going to feel about his daughter and newly born grandson's demise either. Nice though to get some call backs to the other Northern houses here, Karstarks are still being dicks, but Umbers and Manderlys got a mention for first time in long time, which basically means we should be expecting an appearance soon. Whether we'll learn the fate of the Greatjon Umber or see what's in those Frey pies, is anyone's guess.
I think they built tension really well with quick, fast-paced scenes, and set up some intriguing plotlines: Tyrion and the dragons, Jon as a warg, Bran knowing more about Ned, Hodor. Hodor. Hodor. Much better than last week's. I'm excited to see what happens next.
I loved all the parallels in this episode: Arya and Bran training; Wun Wun and Zombie Mountain smashing heads; Zombie Jon and Zombie Mountain; family murders by Bolton's and Greyjoys. And I'm really glad we've moved on from the whole Jon Snow is dead thing fast, I think more than two episodes would've been hard to justify. Episode MVP: Dolores Edd (boy done good).
Correction: article headline has been changed to reflect correct HBO title for episode. Sky Atlantic in UK has title name as 'Homeward Bound'.