It's rare, sure, but people have been coming back from the dead since the first season of Game of Thrones. Whether or not this kind of thing can happen has never been the question. Rather, since Jon Snow finally laid down on the blood-spattered snow at the end of season five to pose for countless season promo shots, the issue has been how it would happen. Resurrections are rare; resurrections without a hitch are even rarer. Would he come back as an ice zombie? A drooling black-magic shell of his former self? A Frankenstein-esque killing machine? Or just a seemingly-okay R'hllor-worshipping renegade knight?
Until this week, it was still up for debate, but in the Game of Game of Thrones, you always put your money on the bastard. We'll get back to Snow in a bit, but let's just take a moment to appreciate a pattern: last week, we saw the Sand people down in Dorne take out House Martell. This week, it's the legitimized (but truly bastardly at heart) Ramsay Bolton coming in rather hot with some fratricide on dad Roose Bolton (+40), his sweet wife Walda, and his newborn half-brother (a combined +40.) I'm gonna give Roose a parting +20 for dying in a way that made me genuinely shriek, but I really do loathe giving points out to Ramsay when he pulls these kinds of shenanigans. I take no joy in being the one recapper on the internet who, rather than rant and rail against the decision to even aurally depict an attack dog tearing a part a new mother and her baby, must award imaginary points to the young man doing the siccing. But alas, this is Game of Game of Thrones, not Game of Game of RuPaul's Best Friend Race.
Ramsay is now the North's Most Murderable
And if you're looking for silver linings, there are plenty — by Ramsay effectively seizing Winterfell, it now makes him the North's most murderable. Ramsay's always been protected by his dad and his own bastardry; he's awful, yes, but not worth killing for anyone not immediately affected by or aware of his awfulness (i.e., an HBO Go subscription to borrow). But once word gets back to the Riverlands, you can bet Walder Frey won't be terribly happy about the murder of his granddaughter and ally (who's going to believe that poisoning story, even if the Maester sticks to it?). We've also got Theon Greyjoy running back to Pyke with all sorts of nasty Bolton tales to tell. Ramsay might have just hastened his undoing, and even those of us who have him drafted probably feel okay about that.
Speaking of Pyke — it's still as soggy and grumpy as we left it; the most grunge of the seven kingdoms. Yara Greyjoy (nice to have you back, Yara!) is arguing with her dad Balon (who I totally forgot to add to the draft, but that's probably for the best) about whether or not to go storm another castle. He says if she doesn't obey him he'll make another heir, which seems like a stretch, but Yara lets it slide. (It's that point in a Facebook exchange about foreign policy with your crazy uncle where you just have to unsubscribe.) Balon goes outside for a peaceful stroll across a rope bridge in a typhoon, when he runs into a different heir altogether.
Hello, Euron Greyjoy! I'm into this guy. He's Balon's brother, and is as big of a lunatic as all the rest of the Greyjoys with their salty death cult ("I don't mock the Drowned God, I am the Drowned God," +10) but he's also gotten out there, and mixed it up across the known world (shoutout to Qarth!) and has possibly gone genuinely insane in the process. He easily tosses Balon (+20) from the bridge and then disappears... for now. Balon gets slapped with a nice kelp-wrap facial before being sent out to meet his maker. ("Feed the creatures of your kingdom on his flesh. Pull his bones down to your depths to rest beside his ancestors and his children" — goddamn, I kind of love how hardcore these guys are; singlehandedly keeping seagoth alive.) I'm feeling strangely amped for Greyjoy family intrigue. Theon can take his sweet time getting back there.
What is this Bablyon 5-looking nonsense
Some other minor developments this week: we finally meet up with Magical Bran Stark, who has spent the entire last season hanging out watching old tape with The Three Eyed Raven, much to the annoyance of Meera. The Raven is now being played by The Max Von Sydow, who is cool enough to negate the New Actor penalty, and net a +10 for the new look. We get to see baby Ned and Benjen Stark, but the most interesting revelation is of course our glimpse of Mega Teen Hodor, whose real name is
Willis Wylis and he used to be able to speak! This is all interesting and great fodder for terrible, hoary jokes that you should probably delete from your Twitter, but no points were made by anyone in the Heart Tree this week. In fact, The Children of the Forest lose -15 for their awful new Bablyon 5-looking makeup jobs. The Children used to be truly unsettling little soot babies; their new look had me wondering if they were the subject of a challenge on a minor SyFy reality competition show. Unfortunate.
We also hang for a while with the gang in Meereen, who are bumming because their fleet has been thoroughly burnt and, as Missandei reports, their two remaining dragons aren't eating. Tyrion, of course, gets the line of the night ("I drink and I know things," +15) and then gets the drunk idea to go down with Varys and free the dragons from captivity (+25 to Dragons for being free!) Maybe they can start causing some mayhem in Slaver's Bay and wake up what is quickly becoming a snoozy little plot. Zero word from Danaerys this week, FWIW.
Things are snoozy in King's Landing as well, even with Cersei Lannister getting shut out of her daughter's funeral and The Mountain bashing in the odd head who dares to speak ill of his lady (+10). Jaime Lannister has a bit of a sparring with The High Sparrow and continues to just destroy with the nihilistic one-liners ("The gods spill more blood than the rest of us combined," +10) but holds back from any real avenging. The Faith Militant show up and assume tough guy wide stances in their black robes, like a bunch of Matrix cosplayers. Nothing happens. At least Tommen realizes he's been a pretty bad king and a pretty bad son to Cersei — two things that are probably mutually exclusive, but his grace managed to bungle jointly. Cersei gets the king back in her corner, though, which is a not-small development.
Jon Snow's famous dead body is still lying around
But it's all about The Wall this week, just as last week, because that's where Jon Snow's famous, totally dead body is still laid out, and where Davos Seaworth anxiously awaits the arrival of some Wildlings to lay siege to the Night's Watch. Do the Wildlings come through? Of course they do! And they've got Wun-Wun with them! Our lovable giant friend takes out a nameless watchdude (+10), as does Tormund Giantsbane (+10) but otherwise it's a pretty clean takeover — these guys are no Boltons. Anyway, +30 to the Wildlings for that operation, and -15 to the totally-not-yet-voted-Lord-Commander Alliser Thorne and Olly because they are now in jail.
With the Night's Watch out of the way, it's time for some MAJICK! Davos (who as I suggested last week, is totally Us this season) goes up to Melisandre and is like, "Hey, uh... so I'm really bummed Jon Snow is dead because he was like, one of my favorite characters, and I know you do some magic sometimes, and I just Googled Berric Dondarion even though I knew I'd probably get spoiled, and I feel like your god can maybe bring him back?" Melisandre, whose hair is kind of messed up to show how much she's given up on life, is like, "I remember that episode." She strips down Jon's corpse because it's good to have an inspirational object to fixate on while doing majick, and then gives him a haircut while saying spells. (Between this and that funeral in Pyke, this episode equals one entire spa day.) She waits for about five seconds before deciding it hasn't worked, and then she and Davos and the Wildlings leave the room. The camera trolls us for about 8,984 seconds before Jon's eyes pop open. (+50)
Did I scream? Of course I screamed! But then I took note of Jon's not-blue eyes and the very human gasp he let out. Jon Snow is alive via the Lord of Light, so far proving to be the realest of any gods currently in business in the known world. I'm splitting a surprise magic award between Melisandre and her super-solid religion (+25 each) for getting the job done.
This final scene wasn't my favorite kind of GoT final scene — it was far too hyped, and lacked the left-field subtlety of world-expanding WTF moments like last week's de-necklacing. But it didn't annoy me either, perhaps because I haven't watched enough Walking Dead to be sick of this kind of thing, and more importantly, it's still very early in the season. "Is Jon dead?" was a red herring from the beginning, merely a setup for more interesting developments to come. And I'm very interested to see what Jon 2.0 gets up to next week. What will he remember? What will he have seen in the flames? Exactly how long does Alliser Thorne have to live?
The Verge's League Rankings
- Loren Grush, 135 (Top scorer: Ramsay Bolton, 80)
- Kwame Opam, 118 (Top scorer: Jon Snow, 50)
- Liz Lopatto, 80 (Top scorer: Melisandre, 25)
- Bryan Bishop, 80 (Top scorer: Lord of Light, 25)
- Ross Miller, 65 (Top scorer: Tyrion Lannister, 15)
- Kaitlyn Tiffany, 50 (Top scorer: Wildlings, 30)
- T.C. Sottek, 20 (Top scorer: Dragons, 25)
- Jamieson Cox, 15 (Top scorer: Jaime Lannister, 10)
- Andy Hawkins, 10 (Top scorer: Davos Seaworth, 5)
- Michael Zelenko, -10 (Top scorer: N/A)
For the full list of updated stats visit The Game of Game of Thrones on Fantasizr.