Jon Snow lives! Social media was abuzz with the excitement for days. It was terribly predictable, however, that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would choose to resurrect the only character who seems to be the “moral compass” of Westeros. Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) lives, yes, but to what end? Melisandre (Carice van Houten), the one who resurrected him, lurks in the background. The Wildlings believe Jon is a god. The loveable and rolly polly Samwell Tarley (John Bradley) and Gilly (Hannah Murray) know nothing of Jon’s death-by-stabbing and are on the high seas to Horn Hall, the home of Sam’s family. Jon Snow has his moment of justice and punishes those responsible for his murder, but, it left me feeling numb and empty. Why have Benioff and Weiss brought Jon Snow back from the dead? It doesn’t feel like it matters all that much, honestly.
Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) remain ever engaging as they attempt to steady Mereen as Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) is being dragged around by the Dothraki. Varys confronts a minor character from season five who may hold the key to Mereen’s salvation from the insidious Sons of the Harpy. Dany is introduced, rather forcefully, to the widows of the Great Khals of the past. She is being held captive in a ceremonial temple full of jaded widows. Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and the Three-Eyed Sparrow (Max von Sydow) explore pieces of Ned Stark’s youth (before he was Boromir…excuse me…wrong Sean Bean) in a subplot that remains confusing and not in a very pleasant way. I never cared much for Bran Stark and now, after his disappearance for an entire season, I am perplexed by the importance of his presence. Benioff and Weiss better have something damn good in the works for all of this.
Arya Stark (the extraordinary Maisie Williams) is one of the finest GOT characters and her story, although very strange, grows ever more compelling. The blind Stark sister is being trained to become “No One” by the mysterious dwellers of the temple of the Many Faced God. Arya is a character who is almost completely unrecognizable at this point, and yet, she remains fascinating and fun. I hope that Maisie Williams will go on to do great things with her career. Aside from Peter Dinklage’s obviously brilliant performance as Tyrion Lannister, Williams’s Arya remains the best of the GOT characters.
This episode was not very good, given the quality of past GOT episodes — It served as filler, really, and not much more. I will say, however, that Game of Thrones remains surprising and unpredictable in most of its settings and subplots. Perhaps the time has come to kill off more characters because, honestly, there are just too many at this point to do any of them enough justice. The big question we have to ask, as with any GOT season is, who do we believe we would be okay with losing?
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.