[For Game of Thrones “Home” or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Home. Bran trains with the Three-Eyed Raven; Jaime advises Tommen; Tyrion demands good news.
The one-man catalyst of all the troubles between the Starks and the Lannisters hasn’t been on-screen for a veritable dragon’s age. But he opens up “Home” training with the immortal Max Von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven; warging into the past to see his father Lord Eddard as a boy, fencing with the currently-missing Uncle Benjen (First Ranger), and — get this — Hodor! All when they were little boys.
The Three-Eyed Raven ends the warging (which features Bran able to walk about the memories of Winterfell on his own two legs) stating that “it is beautiful beneath the sea but if you stay too long you’ll drown”.
By 9:10 EST we are back at the Wall. Thorne’s men are bashing down Ser Davos’s door with an axe, when… There is a mirrored knocking at the gates of Castle Black.
Wun Wun bursts through the gates alongside Edd and dozens of Wildlings. The Watch are hopelessly outnumbered. One of them takes a pot shot at Wun Wun with a crossbow but the annoyed giant casually turns the offending archer into a bloody streak.
Thorne calls Edd a traitor, and Edd retorts that the only traitors here are the ones who murdered Jon Snow.
In the sickest “feel the burn” moment of the episode, Thorne begins a monologue about how the Night’s Watch have held the Wall against the Wildlings for thousands of years…
“Until you,” cuts in Tormund Giantsbane. It is in fact the case that, whether Jon asked or no, it was Thorne who let the Wildlings through the gate.
Then in a flash, by 9:14 EST we’re down in King’s Landing.
A disgusting drunkard recounts the tale of flashing his allegedly gigantic manhood at a naked Queen Cersei during her humiliating walk in “Mother’s Mercy”. A few moments later he is pissing against the side of a wall when [Ser Gregor Clegane in Kingsguard armor] turns him into a bloody streak, much as Wun Wun did the crossbow archer four minutes earlier.
[The Mountain] returns to Cersei’s side; we learn she is not allowed to leave the Red Keep, by order of her son. King Tommen has forbidden Cersei from attending Princess Myrcella’s funeral because the High Sparrow has threatened to throw her back in a cell should her presence violate the sanctity of the holy sept. The funeral is just Tommen and Jaime. The High Sparrow appears and has a bit of a stare-down contest with the Kingslayer.
Jaime threatens the High Sparrow but is suddenly surrounded by Faith Militant. They cannot reach the High Sparrow before Jaime can kill him, but Jaime would be hopeless against so many. Unhurt, the High Sparrow points out that they are a room full of nobodies but that together they can overthrow an empire.
At 9:24 we are in Meereen, with Tyrion holding court with Dany’s remaining inner circle. The topic: the two remaining dragons.
The dragons have not eaten anything since Dany left; Tyrion says it’s because they’re chained up. Dragons are meant to be free or they will grow no larger than common housecats. He declares himself the dragons’ friend and ventures into their dungeon with Varys.
Down there Tyrion shows remarkable bravery, un-hitching the neck collars on by hand.
“Next time I have an idea like that, punch me in the face!” -Tyrion, to Varys
Still across the Narrow Sea we re-encounter Arya, begging blind in the street.
The waif attacks Arya again, but blind, she is hopeless against a trained fighter. After being bloodied superficially the waif, Jaquen appears (it is strongly implied that Jaquen is in fact the waif, wearing a difference face). “Jaquen” offers Arya a roof over her head, a full belly, and her sight back if she just tells him her name. Arya is adamant, though, that she is “no one” and Jaquen declares her no longer a beggar. They leave together.
Tormund’s line on Thorne was a heck of a second, but it is nothing compared to the “aw shit” moment starting at 9:34.
Ramsay Bolton (Snow), Lord Roose Bolton, and the current Lord Karstark discuss the pursuit of Lady Sansa. The Karstarks, remember, left the Stark side when Robb beheaded Lord Karstark for murdering young Lannisters several seasons ago. Winterfell’s Maester interrupts, declaring that Lady Walda — Lord Bolton’s fat wife worth her weight in glittering dowry — has given birth to a son.
Roose says not to worry, that Ramsay will always be his first born.
Ramsay thanks his dad… And immediately kills him!
He stabs his dad to death mid-hug!
The Maester is instructed to report Lord Bolton’s death as being poison by his enemies. Ramsay then tosses Walda and his newborn brother to his ferocious dogs, declaring that he prefers to be an only child. Ramsay is now officially Lord Bolton.
Did I mention “aw shit”?
Sansa and Theon part ways in a brief scene that gives this episode its name. Theon would have given his life to get Sansa to Jon at the Wall, but with Brienne and Pod with her, his presence is no longer necessary. Sansa says she will tell Jon that Theon didn’t actually kill Bran and Rickon, but he points out that the two boys he did kill were plenty innocent; and that he beheaded Winterfell’s castellan and betrayed Robb. While all a man’s sins are forgiven when he takes the Black, Theon does not want forgiveness. He wants to go “Home”.
“Home” for Theon is of course the Iron Islands. We haven’t seen Yara or King Balon (Theon’s sister and father) on camera in a long while; but here they are amidst the salt and storm of their island kingdom. The two Greyjoy nobles disagree badly over Ironborn strategy. The Ironborn hold no main land castles; Yara points out that Balon can’t keep hassling the main land or the Lannisters et al will come and knock his little kingdom down as Ned Stark once did. Remember, Theon was made a ward to Eddard largely to keep Balon behaving! Sending Theon back home as an ambassador during the War of the Five Kings was a huge mistake on the part of Robb (one of many).
Balon wants to reave and rape no matter the cost in Ironborn lives it seems, and tells Yara she can wage all the peace she wants when he is gone… But if she doesn’t do what she’s told now he will make another heir who will.
That’s not going to be a problem, though. On the way out of his conversation with his daughter, Balon’s own brother, reappearing after many years at sea, throws him off a bridge; killing yet another king. Aw shit again!
The next day Yara swears by “the Salt Throne” she will hunt down her father’s assassin then throw him to the sharks but it is pointed out she doesn’t actually have the Salt Throne. Yara would have been the first female to lead the Ironborn… but now the law says Yara might not be the heir after all.
At 9:47 EST we’re back at the Wall. Ser Davos gives the speech of the show to Melisandre, beseeching her to use her infernal magics to raise Jon from the dead.
Melisandre’s confidence, remember, has been shattered by the destruction of Stannis and his army, and all the terrible kinslaying, kingslaying, and child-murdering required to get them to that awful end. But Davos does her one better:
“Seven gods, drowned gods, tree gods… It’s all the same. I’m not asking the Lord of Light for help; I’m asking the woman who showed me miracles exist.”
She will at least try (Melisandre is back to being beautiful BTW).
In the final scene Melisandre attempts a ritual in Valyrian language, surrounded by Davos, Edd, Tormud, and a sleeping Ghost — Jon’s key friends and allies — to no avail. All of them leave when Jon doesn’t suddenly wake up or whatever.
At 9:55 EST Ghost kind of gets up and yawns, and then Jon does in fact suddenly wake up!
Was it Melisandre’s magic? Was it Jon warging into Ghost and then just waiting until he could jump back into his own body safely?
No one knows (yet)!
Theon got the one-word line that made the episode title, but the theme of “Home” was really on Ser Davos’s lips. This was an episode about the various religions of the Game of Thrones universe. Tommen is King; Margaery and Cersei Queens… But they are all subject to the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant of the Seven just now; it’s really hard to see the Lannister-Tyrell families as the military powerhouses who beat the Starks. In the Iron Islands the Drowned God’s mantra is on the lips of everyone, at almost any opportunity. Bran is tangled in the branches of an actual tree god up north of the Wall… And though Davos didn’t mention it, Arya’s current blind struggles with Jaquen (or whoever) are her own initiation into a dangerous religious order.
But despite the presence of not just these gods but the Lord of Light as an actual and proven source of magic and miracles, “Home” is really about human industry, not faith that some higher power is going to solve all of our problems. Davos didn’t want the Lord of Light; he wanted the woman who could make miracles. Jaquen gives Arya an easy way out… She chooses not to take it; rather, to keep taking lumps and living as a beggar if she must. And in the face of the most palpable magic of them all — the dragons — Tyrion ventures into the darkness to do something that almost no one is brave enough to (or smart enough to)… Un-hitch Dany’s children.
Season Six has us down three important rulers in only two episodes. Prince Doran Martell was assassinated by his own brother’s paramour and daughters; Balon Greyjoy was thrown from a bridge by his brother; and Roose Bolton was of course stabbed by his own heir. So much for family. Rather than being on the battlefield (or a Red Wedding or thereabouts) each and every one was safely at “Home” at the time of his end.