Game of Thrones Recap Season 6 Episode 2: Home
Beyond the Wall
Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are Warging out, reaching into the past to Winterfell when Ned and his siblings are children. Ned and Benjen are sparring and we get our first glimpse of their sister, Lyanna. An unusually large boy is revealed to be Hodor before losing the majority of his vocabulary. The Three-Eyed Raven pulls Bran back to the present and warns him that Warging too long can be dangerous.
Meera is understandably struggling to adapt to her new circumstances but receives encouragement from an unlikely source; one of the Children of the Forest tells her Bran will need her when his training is complete.
Before Aliser Thorne can break down the door where the Snowyalists have gathered, Edd and Tormund arrive with a host of Wildlings and a giant to destroy the gate. Aliser's men surrender and his group is arrested. With no apparent alternative, Tormund orders wood be gathered for Jon's funeral pyre.
With Castle Black under control, Davos approaches Melisandre for help. She's shaken by the failure of Stannis's campaign, but Davos convinces her to try in the end. She cleans Jon's body and wounds and repeats an incantation, to no effect. The Snowyalists leave dejectedly, but soon after Jon's eyes open and he gasps for breath. Jon Snow is back!
A man in the streets performs a ribald re-enactment of Cersei's walk of atonement for the enjoyment of a group of bar patrons. He steps away to relieve himself and is found by Zombie Mountain who abruptly splatters his brains against the wall.
Cersei attempts to visit Myrcella's body, but is stopped on order of King Tommen; he's struggling with his seemingly impotent King title. The High Sparrow arrives and Jaime encourages Tommen to talk to Cersei, partly to give him privacy with the leader of the Faith Militant. The tense showdown arrives with an ominous declaration from the High Sparrow, who seems to be threatening the Iron Throne itself.
Tommen visits his mother and apologizes for keeping her isolated, ultimately asking for her help to be a stronger and more assertive rule. Rampage Cersei readily agrees.
Tyrion and his advisors discuss current events. Astapor and Yunkai (Dany's earlier stops) have been retaken by the Masters and reverted to their slaving ways. To create some good news, Tyrion takes matters into his own hands: he visits Rhaegal and Viserion in the crypts and successfully approaches without being torn to pieces. He unchains them, and they retreat into the darkness of their cavern.
Arya is attacked by the girl from the House of Black and White again, and still being blind receives a good beating. Jaqen arrives shortly after and offers her a place to sleep, food, and restored vision in exchange for her name; Arya refuses, adhering to the anonymous existence of a Faceless Man. Jaqen leads her away to the next step of her training.
Roose and Ramsay plot their next move, guessing that Sansa will be headed to The Wall. Ramsay proposes attacking Castle Black and killing Jon Snow to remove another Stark from contention. His plan relies on the support of the three largest houses in the North: the Manderlys of White Harbor, the Umbers of Last Hearth, and the Karstarks of the Karhold. Roose rejects the idea as insane. A Maester delivers news of Roose's son's birth, and Ramsay embraces him before stabbing him in the side. He ties the loose end for good by leading Lollys and his new step-brother to the kennels where he sicks his hounds on them.
Brienne tells Sansa that Arya is still alive, and Theon declares his intent to leave on his own. He won't travel to Castle Black and face Jon's judgment, and he doesn't want to take the Black. Instead, he's heading back to Pyke on the Iron Islands.
Yara and Balon discuss their prospects. Yara advocates for a naval campaign, but Balon is convinced they can continue taking castles. As Balon leaves on a rope bridge between buildings, he encounters his exiled brother.
Lore: Euron Crow's-Eye
Euron has returned to take power, and throws Balon from the bridge to his death. The High Priest of the Drowned God (another of Balon's brother) informs Yara that Balon's successor will be chosen at a Kingsmoot.
Now that's more like it! Jon Snow is back sooner than I had feared, and Tyrion has moved quickly to make use of the single greatest asset of any party. I'm a bit worried that Arya will remain blind throughout Season 6, but only because I'm so excited for her to be finished training. New forces are at work in the Iron Islands, but their ultimate goal is hard to discern at this point. With Bran able to see into the past, we have an opportunity to learn more about the events that shaped the world we entered in Season 1. Rampage Cersei is warming up, and Jaime is drawing daggers on holy men. Even the action in Winterfell was eventful, but it comes at the expense of House Bolton's long-term prospects. Let's dig into that a bit.
I know I've expressed disappointment in Ramsay's occasional superpowers before, but it would be even more preposterous if he is able to maintain control over the Bolton troops, nevermind the rest of The North. I talked a bit about the stigma of kinslaying above, but we have a precedent in the recent past: Stannis burned his daughter alive and a meaningful portion of his army deserted overnight. After this murder spree, he could maintain control over the Bolton troops if A) they're all as psychotic as he is, or B) they don't find it suspicious that Ramsay's father, stepmother, and stepbrother were all killed in one day. There should be zero chance that Ramsay will have troops capable of holding The North after this, and I don't think he will. As he mentioned earlier in the episode, the Night's Watch doesn't have any defenses to the south. If he were to command a large host, attacking The Wall and killing Jon Snow wouldn't be particularly difficult. The Karstarks are on his side, but the Manderlys are not his friends (book knowledge) and the Umbers are loyal to the Starks (they loved Robb, they sent Stannis a raven confirming their allegiance to the Starks alone, and Rickon may be there). If, on the other hand, he only maintains the most loyal and least suspicious of his troops, an impending battle with the Night's Watch is much more evenly matched.
House Power Rankings
House Tyrell - We know Margaery is still awaiting judgment, but the resources of their house have not been diminished. Should King Tommen wage a war against The Faith, the Tyrells would be every bit as powerful as before.
House Lannister - We've seen a slight demonstration of Zombie Mountain's abilities, and the large host confronting Cersei seemed very nervous of his capabilities. Jaime has gained an edge and Tommen has gained some testicular fortitude. If someone can prevent them from going overboard, they're dangerous.
House Targaryen - Rocketing up the rankings this week thanks to Tyrion's successful engagement and freeing of the dragons. We've been waiting for them to be unleashed for some time, and if Dany can get back to lead them, history suggests they're worth more than anyone else's armies.
House Martell - They're sliding down with the imbalanced Sand Snakes now in command, but the houses behind them have lost more to date.
House Greyjoy - I don't think you can gain points from losing your King, but Balon never came across as a master strategist. We don't know what to expect from Euron or the Kingsmoot, so for now they hold their place.
House Stark - Jon Snow is alive again! Otherwise Arya is still blind, Sansa is still a fugitive with only two friends, Bran is still harnessing his Warg powers, and Rickon hasn't been seen since Season 3.