'Game of Thrones' (Finally) Reveals Jon Snow’s Fate

Game of Thrones-snow- H 2016
Courtesy of HBO

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from episode two, season six of HBO's Game of Thrones.]

Welcome "Home," Jon Snow.

After months of speculation and hope, amid constant denials from star Kit Harington and everyone else involved in HBO's Game of Thrones, the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch finally returned to the realm of the living — but not before an extensive conversation between Melisandre (Carice van Houten) and Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) that mirrored the internet speculation over the better part of the past year.

In the end, it's all thanks to Melisandre, whose crisis of faith mirrored that of Thoros of Myr, the other red priest who successfully brought a dead friend back to life. No one except for Jon's direwolf Ghost was around to witness the Lord Commander's resurrection, but expect the news to travel quick.

Here's how the episode played out.

Beyond the Wall

Before the Jon of it all, we begin with another Stark: Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), deep enough into his training with the mystical Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) that he's able to travel back in time to Winterfell, to witness his father, Eddard, and Uncle Benjen sparring as young boys. He even sees his Aunt Lyanna, dead long before Game of Thrones begins, and potentially a pivotal player in the show's lore. 

An even more pressing reveal: Hodor, as a young teenager, speaking in full sentences and going by the name Wylis. Understandably, Bran is intrigued by the sight of his bodyguard, and wishes to engage him. Instead, the Three-Eyed Raven wakes Bran from the vision: "It is beautiful beneath the sea, but if you stay too long, you'll drown."

"I wasn't drowning," Bran sighs. "I was home."

Moments later, Hodor (Kristian Nairn) takes Bran to see Meera (Ellie Kendrick) outside of the Three-Eyed Raven's lair. He tries to share the details of his vision, but Meera wants nothing of it. When Bran tries to convince her to return to the cave because it's not safe outside, she wearily replies: "It's not safe anywhere." Bran reluctantly leaves, and within seconds, one of the Children of the Forest appears to convince Meera to change her attitude. "Brandon Stark needs you," she says, not in the cave, but "out there." With this bit of wisdom, Meera stares out at the great expanse of bleak, white nothing.

At the Wall

Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) and his men return to Davos' chambers, and what they lack in mutton, they make up for in means of breaking in. Just as the battle is about to ensue, there's a big knock at Castle Black: Wun Wun the giant, as well as other wildlings led by Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), finally arrive, all thanks to Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton).

Thorne tells his men to fight, but Wun Wun shuts that notion down by swiftly smashing an archer into the Castle Black wall. Edd immediately takes charge and orders Thorne's arrest, alongside the other mutineers. It's a kinder fate than Thorne offered Jon Snow. 

At King's Landing

Wun Wun isn't the only giant smashing people into walls in this episode. In the streets of Fleabottom, the man who flashed Cersei (Lena Headey) during her season five walk of shame drunkenly brags about the encounter in public. He interrupts his stand-up set for a urination break in the nearby alleyway, yielding a surprise visit from Robert Strong (Hafthor Bjornsson), who promptly smashes the jokester's skull into the wall. The Strong man nearly smashes some others, too, when members of the City Watch arrive at the Red Keep to bar Cersei from attending her daughter's funeral, at her son King Tommen's request. Cersei protests, but eventually relents.

Meanwhile, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman) stand beside Myrcella's body, and the young kid bemoans his own weaknesses: "The King is supposed to be the protector of the realm. If I can't protect my own mother or my own wife, what good am I?"

The conversation ends abruptly and shifts tone when the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) arrives. Tommen leaves, and Jaime confronts the pious man, hand on his dagger, talking about his own past sins — killing the Mad King Aerys, for one — and implying that murdering the holy man in a holy place wouldn't keep him up at night. The potential assassination is foiled when several members of the Faith Militant arrive, making the High Sparrow's powerful position quite clear: "Every one of us is poor and powerless, but together, we can overthrow an empire."

Later, Tommen returns to the Red Keep, finally visiting his mother for the first time since her incarceration. He expresses his insecurities and feels he's let down the family name. "You raised me to be strong, and I wasn't," he says. "But I want to be. Help me."

"Always," Cersei whispers, embracing her last living son.

The Meereenese Knot

At a council meeting, Tyrion learns a lot about the state of Slaver's Bay, including the fact that Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) doesn't tolerate eunuch jokes nearly as well as Varys (Conleth Hill). Long story short, the situation is bleak, but Tyrion sees a silver lining: dragons. He studied the fire-breathing creatures in his youth, and he feels they should not be left cooped up inside a dungeon. 

"The last dragons were no larger than cats," he says, referring to the Targaryen kings who penned their beasts up. "They must be unchained, or they'll waste away."

Based on his book knowledge and further confirmation from Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Tyrion believes dragons are smart enough to recognize friend and foe. With that, he travels to the dungeon to release Viserion and Rhaegal himself — which, much like Ron Burgundy hopping into the bear pit, is an immediately regretted decision.

"I'm friends with your mother. I'm here to help. Don't eat the help," Tyrion says in a soothing voice. "When I was a child, my uncle asked me what gift I wanted for my name day. I begged for one of you. It wouldn't even have to be a big dragon. It could be little like me. Everyone laughed like it was the funniest thing they'd ever heard. My father told me the last dragon died a century ago. I cried myself to sleep that night. But here you are."

With that, the dragons are released, left to roam around the dungeon. For Tyrion's part, he remains unburnt — and more than a little surprised.

"Next time I have an idea like that," he tells Varys, "punch me in the face."

In Braavos

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) remains blind, but for how much longer? She suffers a routine beating, but eventually the brawl turns into a teachable moment from Jaqen H'Ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), who arrives and continuously asks Arya her name.

"A girl has no name," she repeats over and over, even when he says that if she says her name, she'll regain her eyesight. Clearly, Jaqen's impressed with Arya's resolve: "A girl is not a beggar anymore."

In the North

Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) meets with his son Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) and the late Rickard Karstark's son to discuss the best course of action moving forward, now that they no longer have Sansa (Sophie Turner). Ramsay proposes raiding the Night's Watch and killing Jon Snow so the realm doesn't rally behind him; little does he know, the job's already taken care of … for now. 

Roose barely has time to balk at the pitch before he receives pleasant news: Walda, his wife, has given birth to a boy. Ramsay, clearly shaken by the news, offers his congratulations to his father… and then a blade, which he shoves into Roose's heart, killing him instantly. Ramsay commands the maester to send ravens to all the great houses of the North that Roose was poisoned to death by their enemies … and he summons Walda and the newborn's presence as well.

Needless to say, Ramsay has no interest in welcoming his new brother to the world. Instead, he wishes to send him back to the abyss, in as quick and brutal a manner as possible. He does this by trapping Walda and her son with the hounds, and making his feelings on the matter quite clear: "I prefer being an only child." With that, the dogs rip Walda and the baby to shreds, and Ramsay cements his place as the show's worst nightmare.

Outside of Winterfell, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) tells Sansa about meeting up with Arya in the Riverlands some time ago, and how the youngest Stark daughter rejected her help. Sansa regrets not accepting Brienne's assistance sooner, but at least they're together now. But the group loses a member in Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), who says Sansa's in the safest possible hands now with Brienne. He requests a horse so he can ride back home and be with his family on the Iron Islands.

The Iron Islands

Little does Theon know, his family is about to suffer through its own share of tragedy. Balon Greyjoy (Patrick Malahide) and his daughter Yara (Gemma Whelan) argue over the merit of their quest for the Iron Throne, with Yara calling it a fruitless exercise. Balon storms outside in anger.

So many stories begin with "it was a dark and stormy night," and for Balon, that's how his story ends. He walks across a bridge connecting two towers, and on the other side stands a hooded man: Euron (Pilou Asbaek), Balon's brother, who brags about his fearsome reputation on the open seas, "from Oldtown to Qarth." Euron announces himself as the Drowned God, and after a contentious conversation, he proves his ability to smite Balon, throwing the current ruler of Pyke over the bridge and down to his death.

In the morning, the Iron Islanders set Balon's body off to sea, and Yara swears by the Seastone Chair that she will avenge her father. But her uncle Aeron Damphair says she's not the ruler of the Iron Islands yet; first, she must win the kingsmoot, essentially an election to name Pyke's new commander. "Perhaps you'll be the first woman to rule the Ironborn," he tells Yara, "and perhaps not."

Back at the Wall

Finally, the moment arrives: Jon Snow's resurrection. The notion comes from Davos of all people, who asks Melisandre if she's ever used her powers to bring someone back from the dead. She recalls Thoros of Myr's ability to resurrect Beric Dondarrion back in season three, but says such an act should not have been possible.

"But it was," Davos says. "It could be now."

Melisandre concedes that it might be possible for some, but not for her. She reveals her current lack of faith, that everything she thought she knew was a lie: "You were right all along. The Lord never spoke to me."

"F— him then," says Davos, in a scene mirroring Jaime's words to Cersei in the season premiere. "F— all of them. I'm not a devout man, obviously. Seven Gods, Drowned Gods, tree gods — it's all the same. I'm not asking the Lord of Light for help. I'm asking you to show me that miracles exist."

And so she does. Melisandre performs a resurrection ritual with Davos, Tormund, Edd and a sleeping Ghost as witnesses … but nothing happens. One by one, Jon's dejected allies leave the chamber … all except for Ghost, who saddles up next to his master, and becomes the only one to witness Jon Snow gasping back to life — the only witness except for millions of elated Game of Thrones viewers, of course.

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