The first episode of the sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which aired last week, was a well-made episode of catch up. We know where all of our characters, or the bodies of our characters, ended up at the end of the fifth season. Last night’s episode two, “Home,” begins by catching up with Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and his crew of marginalized outcasts. We last left the youngest Stark boy at the end of the fourth season. He is living in an icy cave with an old psychic wizard who is called the Three-Eyed Raven (the great Max von Sydow) who is a Yoda/Obi-Wan of Westeros, training Bran to control his psychic gifts, or so we think. There is very little offered except for an interesting psychic revelation into Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn) childhood. All that I will appropriately say about that is, “Hodor.”
The wayward Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) does not make an appearance, sadly, but fan favorite Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) has a bigger piece of this episode. Tyrion’s notorious impatience gets the better of him and he encounters Dany’s imprisoned dragon’s for the very first time. This is one of Tyrion’s bravest, or most foolish, moments in GOT. Tyrion, who is known for his wit and worldly wisdom, delivers his best line of the series in this episode: “That’s what I do. I drink and I know things.”
Cersei (Lena Headey), the once great Queen Regent, was thoroughly disgraced by the High Sparrow (Jonathon Pryce) and his nefarious band of religious zealots at the end of the fifth season. It becomes clear that the resurrected Mountain aka Ser Gregor Clegane (Hafbor Julius Bjornsson), akin to a large armored Frankenstein’s monster, is willing to do her every bidding as was promised last season. Although Cersei has been the villainess we love to hate, we cannot help but feel deeply for her now. Jeremy Podeswa, in his direction, may very well be tricking his viewers into falling for Cersei’s sadness. Perhaps it’s for good reason. She has, after all, lost her husband, her father, her oldest son, and her daughter. She has been raped by one brother and despised by the other. Her other son is the fourteen-year-old King Tommen of Westeros (Dean-Charles Chapman) and he orders her to be locked away following her public disgrace at the hands of the High Sparrow to “keep her safe.” The narrative of church vs. state that has been developing in King’s Landing since the beginning of the fifth season remains captivating and unpredictable.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and the newly restored but deeply damaged Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) are under the protection of the beautifully badass Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and remain somewhat uninteresting in the grand scheme of the overarching Thrones narrative. I, for one, am happy, however, to see Theon free of the castrating Ramsay Fucking Bolton (Iwan Rheon), a character who is turning out to be possibly more evil than the late Joffrey Baratheon, whose death we all cheered.
Two key characters die and Ramsay demonstrates that he is not above, once again, the most inhuman form of torture and violence. Our beautiful Red Woman, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) shockingly revealed herself to be more than a sexy, magic seductress in the last episode. We know that she is depressed and giving up. The noble Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) cannot hold the wicked Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) at bay for much longer and he calls upon Melisandre for help, which she does reluctantly.
And what of Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), dead now for three days? Somehow, once again, the creators of one of HBO’s greatest series to date, now moving away from George RR Martin’s storyline, are going to brilliantly tie all of these stray pieces together. Right when it feels like everything is moving farther apart; someone’s death…or resurrection…brings everything back together, but, as we must always ask with this series, for how long?
Josiah Richard Armstrong is a hospital chaplain from Western New York. He is also a playwright and amateur cartoonist. Follow him on Twitter @JosiahArmstrong and Medium, where he writes more reviews for film and television.