Our attention was successfully torn away from the anticipation of Jon Snow’s inevitable return during the drama-filled second episode of Game of Thrones on Sunday night with surprises around every bend.
The episode provided some key insight to some of the questions fans have asked themselves in the year leading up the sixth season. For instance, there has to be a reason for Bran’s quick glimpse at the young Lyanna Stark—if you ask me, the lively young girl riding horseback in a getup that wasn’t very ladylike didn’t seem the type to get herself kidnapped and raped—but more on that later.
In the meantime, there were other crucial moments that are worth a second look:
Melisandre’s faith finally paid off. Despite the many questionable things Melisandre has done based on premonitions she has seen in the fire—namely burning Shireen Baratheon alive and murdering Renly with her shadow baby—even Sir Davos cannot deny that her magic is real and powerful. The Red Woman’s faith has certainly been shaken, but apparently the Lord of Light either still believes in her or deems Jon’s life to be worth restoring. And we thank him dearly for that.
The Men of the Night’s Watch were always cowards. Back in the day, the Night’s Watch was made up of strong, intelligent men that felt it was their duty to defend the realm. This batch, apparently with the exception of Olly, is made up of criminals, rapists and cowards like Sam Tarly who just didn’t have anywhere else to go. Did Thorne really think that these men were going to rally against the wildlings when the free folk have strength, courage and giants on their side? Even if Jon hadn’t woken, Thorne angered the few that remain loyal to their oath as well as the wildings that owe Jon their life and it isn’t going to end well for him.
The Mother of Dragons has an optimistic new friend. I’ve been waiting six seasons for some form of an alliance between Tyrion and Daenerys because this is a dangerously invigorating team. We didn’t see Dany in Episode 2 but we did see Tyrion befriend her dragons and set them free to do what they do best: scare the living hell out of the people in Meereen and possibly rescue their mother from the clutches of the Dothraki.
Murders at Winterfell keep coming. Roose Bolton’s murder just went down in my book as one of the most surprising deaths of the series and Robb Stark’s short-lived reign as King in the North is still reaping consequences for the north men. The Karstarks, one of the Starks’ subject families, turned away from the Starks even earlier than the Boltons and are clearly still angry with Robb for beheading the Lord of Karhold. For one reason or another, the last remaining Karstark son supports Ramsay’s murder of his father and therefore becoming the new Warden of the North.
Meera and Hodor need Bran as much as he needs them. As Meera mourns her brother, Bran’s lessons are threatening to distract him from reality once again. It’s pretty clear that Meera needs to be the one to ground him now that Jojen is gone, and that probably scares her, but I think she also needs Bran’s companionship more than she realizes. This is also the first time we got a little peak into Hodor’s past and it seems like he may have an even deeper connection to the Starks than we thought. I can’t help but wonder if he, like so many others, loved the late Lyanna Stark and if her death had anything to do with his current state of mind.
The Many-Faced God could be looking down on Arya after all. A girl is down but she is not out just yet. I have faith that Arya is about to be just as good if not better with that stick than she ever was with Needle (which, as far as we know, is still hidden between the rocks at the House of Black and White). Who needs eyesight when you’ve been knocked down and gotten up as many times as Arya Stark?
Myrcella’s funeral gets some party crashers. Cersei may have been banned from the memorial, but the Sparrows made themselves perfectly at home—and Cersei knows it’s her fault. Jaime, however, has had just about enough of the High Sparrow’s taking advantage of the position Cersei gave him and is likely about to show him what becomes of those who threaten his family. (Or in this case, the entire empire.) Meanwhile, I have to wonder where the Mountain’s loyalty to the Lannisters comes from, because it seems like he’s on a mission to go after everyone who’s ever wronged them and that can’t be good news for anyone.
Margaery could be in better hands than she thought. Joffrey was merciless and violent and it got him killed. Myrcella was kind and gentle and it got her killed. Tommen could be the perfect balance between the two, which could not only lead to the devotion of his subjects but could also lead to his beloved wife’s freedom. Although Tommen admits that his mother has committed countless acts of treachery, he also knows that each of them was out of love for her family and he is ready to pay back the favor. Hopefully he will take a page out of Cersei’s playbook to help his newfound family in the Tyrells.
Once again, Game of Thrones left plenty of room for interpretation as to where each of the characters is headed. Previews for next week suggest a “present” for Ramsay, and I hope to all the Gods that it’s not Theon. His sister, Yara, could be the new leader of the Iron Islands now that her heartless father is gone or else she will be completely lost. Margaery and Loras are still locked up and supposedly awaiting a formal trial. There is still no word from Sam Tarly or Littlefinger, although we can probably assume one is off thinking Jon Snow is still alive while the other is up to no good in Gods know where. Only time and blood will tell.