The episode opens up with the immediate aftermath of Jon Snow waking up, as Davos is looking at the formerly dead Lord Commander breathe and sit up. Jon Snow seems to remember what happened to him, as he is in shock, and goes as far to look down at his wounds to make sure they were real, before really freaking out. As Davos comes over to wrap a cloak around him, Jon staggers forward, his legs not really supporting him just yet. Melisandre walks in, shocked that it worked, and they ask him what he remembers; which is everything but what happened after he died, as he says he saw nothing after he died. Melisandre tells Jon he essentially can be the prince that was promised. Davos asks for privacy, and talks to Jon about how this feels for him, and they both wonder why he is back at all. Davos encourages to go on, and not worry about why. Jon walks out of the room to the courtyard where both the Watch and the Wildlings see him, clearly not dead anymore. They all part way as he walks, and Tormund comes over for a brotherly hug, and a pecker joke. Jon then walks over to Edd for another hug, who wonders if Jon is some sort of walker, but Jon asks not to burn him just yet.
In the Sea
Gilly and Sam are traveling, and Sam does not agree with the water. Much in line with what was to happen in the book, Sam intends to leave Gilly behind at Horn Hill where his mother will protect her and the baby, as he goes on to Old Town. Gilly reluctantly agrees, and even claims the baby to be Sam’s.
Flashback – Tower of Joy
This is probably part of the most awaited scene in the entire season: Ned Stark vs Arthur Dayne. Pretty sure, if they wanted to, they could have filmed just this scene, and people would have gone to a movie theater to see it. It is one of those legends we have heard and read, and been told about, but never really figured what it could have been like. Similar to our interest in Rhaegar Targaryen, or in Aegon and his sisters; you always have enough curiosity to wish they show you the past. Thanks to Bran’s education, we might get to see some of it.
In this scene, Ned and his companions, which include Howland Reed (Meera’s dad), arrive at the Tower of Joy, where two Kingsguards are standing in their way: Ser Gerold Hightower the Lord Commander of Aerys II’s Kingsguard, and Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, the greatest swordsman according to Ned Stark. In the conversation before the battle, we get clues as to when this is happening (For those not having read the books, or the theories), and it is after the Battle of the Trident where Rhaegar Targaryen died, and also after the sack of King’s Landing and after Jaime stabbed the Mad King, and Ned found him in the throne room. One could assume, Ned left King’s Landing and rode here to save his sister. The only important conversation point here is that Arthur Dayne, Rhaegar’s closest friend according to the books, sent them to guard Lyanna here, as opposed to helping them defeat Robert. Without going too deeply into it, he sent the best swordsman in the world, and his most trusted friend to guard a girl… not his father the King, nor his wife and children. Just leaving that there.
The battle ensues, and Hightower is killed by Ned, and Howland Reed injured by Arthur Dayne. Arthur Dayne takes a few moments to show us how incredible he was, by fighting 4v1, and summarily dispatching 3 people in about 3 minutes, without taking one hit. As Bran and the three eyed raven comment on the side, Ned vs Arthur is an unmatched fight as Arthur Dayne is clearly more skilled than Ned. Bran is confused, as he is under the believe that Ned won this particular fight. Bran then learns a difficult truth: When Ned Stark was about to die, Howland Reed stabbed Arthur Dayne in the back, and Ned then dispatched him. A woman’s yell distracts them from what just happened, and we see Ned run towards it, to be seemingly stopped by Bran calling out to him. As Bran tries to follow, the Three Eyed Raven appears before him, and wakes him up.
Under the Weirwood
Bran wakes up angry. He says that his father heard him, but the Raven tells him otherwise, and reminds him that the past cannot be changed, since it is already set in stone. Bran asks what is in the tower, but the Raven reminds him of the peril of staying in a memory too long. Bran does not care, he does not want to return to the real world where he is a cripple. They have an argument about Bran not wanting to end up tied to a tree, but the Raven reminds him that this is not his fate, but that he is here to learn.
While the Flashbacks have brought quite the aspect to the story telling this season, when it comes to Bran I am actually way more curious of why he is learning all this history. What is his purpose? Where would he go once he is out of the tree? He has been told he is going to fly; do you think he will warg into animals… like a dragon? Could he be a Dragon’s head? Will Bran join the advisors for the new ruler of the Iron Throne?
Daenerys finally arrives to the Temple, and is met with the High Priestess and all the other widows. She demands to be let go, and gives out all her names, before she is told what will happen. When Khal Drogo died, she was supposed to go to the Temple right away but didn’t; and now, as all the Khal’s gather, they will decide her fate.
For one of the biggest characters of the show, Daenerys’ arc has been a little boring and slow moving on the start of this season. One has to hope that once it picks up, it’ll essentially move really fast.
In the throne room, Varys has brought in the prostitute that helped killed the Unsullied, to offer her a deal and learn about the Sons of the Harpy. He has found the leverage he needs to make her talk, and uses his own brand of manipulation to try and get answers.
In another room, Tyrion is bored out of his mind, waiting for Varys, and trying to find conversation with Greyworm and Missandei. Tyrion’s face as Greyworm talks about patrol is hilarious. Tyrion tries to play a game with them, and it all backfires.
When Varys finally walks in, he comes to report who funds the sons of the Harpy: the master in Astapor and Yunkaii, and their friends in Volantis. As Tyrion says it, they do not have to worry about local stuff, when three of the world’s richest cities are the ones who truly are their enemy, Tyrion makes sure to let warmongering Greyworm that they cannot leave Meereen defenseless to go conquer the other cities, and asks Varys to send messages to those leaders. Varys ends the conversation with saying he trusts his little birds.
Qyburn has finally convinced Varys’ little birds to now work for him (so much for loyalty to Varys), as the Queen and Jaime walk in with the Mountain. The plan the Lannister’s have is that when the faith levels charges, they will demand trial by combat, which means they can send the Mountain to fight. Cersei then asks Qyburn to get little birds on every possible place in the world.
As the Small Council discusses their issues, the Lannisters walk in followed by their guard. As Kevan tries to have them removed, Jaime tells them that as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard he has a place in the council, and Pycelle cannot dismiss that. As they both take seats, and open the discussion with Myrcella’s death and the coup in Dorne; Kevan expertly points out that he cannot make them leave, but nor can they make them stay. The Council takes their leave, and the Lannisters are purposely kept out of the proceedings in the Small Council.
Sept of Baelor
Tommen grows something as he storms into the Sept while the High Sparrow is in prayer. He comes to demand his mother be allowed to visit her daughter. Tommen is angry that apparently Cersei has not completed atoned for her sins. The High Sparrow talks his way out of Tommen having him killed, and for some reason Tommen is still accepting his counsel.
Arya is in the middle of training when she is asked to talk about her family. It is a great montage scene, as she talks about her family; her sisters, her brothers, and her half-brother. In the training they fight with the sticks, and Arya learns to use her senses. Touch to find things, smell to figure out what they are, hearing to find where people are. She talks about the people on the list, and how she had taken the Hound of the list, and how she left him to die. In the final fight montage, she actually stops the hit from the waif, and manages to hit her as well.
Jaqen then leads her to the pool room, and again asks for her name in exchange for her sight, which she refuses. He gives her a cup from the pool to drink, and she does so, with only one hesitation. She drinks the water, and finally Arya has her sight back, and she is no one.
Ramsay is trying to recruit his allies, and at the moment he is talking to an Umber. The young Umber is highly similar to Ramsay it seems, and holds no allegiance for the Starks. The Umbers are in the farthest north, and likely to encounter the Wildlings first, because he does not have enough people, he has come to join Ramsay and the Karstark to fend off the wildlings. Smalljohn Umber believes that if Jon leads the wildlings, he can take the North with them, and they need to unite to stop that. In lieu of tradition and swearing of loyalty, the Umber has brought Ramsay a present: Osha and Rickon Stark! To prove it, they bring the head of Shaggydog with them. Ramsay has found himself a great leverage.
This seems to flesh out a lot of things for us: Jon is likely going to rescue Rickon in Winterfell (doubt the kid dies), and Sansa seems to find herself either with them, or on her way to the River lands, to where the Blackfish will be. It is only a matter to see where the Eerye and Petyr Baelish will fall into all of this.
In the Second scene at Castle Black, we see Jon Snow return to his duties as Lord Commander, and sets out to execute the traitors who killed him. The first two are cowards who are afraid of him, and want him to lie to their families. Alliser Throne stands a man who believed his cause and standing by it; it almost seems that Jon understands that. He says to Jon that he is meant to fight forever. Olly says nothing but looks at Jon with all the hate in the world. Jon takes a moment when it seems like he might forgive them (not really), but then swings his sword, and executes them.
Once they are dead, Jon turns away from them, and takes off his cloak only to hand it over to Edd. He walks away as he claims his watch is ended.
OVERALL: 9.5 AMAZING! While some portions of the story seem to be going at Snail pace (Tyrion and Dany), all the other ones seem to be moving towards the end in spectacular fashion. Among the standouts of the night were Arya’s training montage, the Tower of Joy flashback, Ramsay getting a valuable gift, Rickon’s return and everything it means, and Jon’s final moment. The only drawback, which isn’t even a bad thing, it is just that it was so much of a tease to leave us where they did was cutting off the Tower of Joy scene before the big reveal; which is understandable, but oh so mean.