Huge Stark family shakeups this week on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Arya Stark got her vision back. Bran Stark saw his father in action at the Tower of Joy. Rickon Stark has returned — but in Ramsay’s clutches. And Jon Snow just executed his enemies and quit the Night’s Watch.
Plus, season 6’s deadly major character kill streak continues — first we saw half the Dorne characters stabbed in the premiere, then Ramsay Bolton released the hounds on his family last week, and now the Night’s Watch mutineers have been executed, including the detestable, sniveling Olly and veteran bastard-hater Ser Alliser Thorne, who I eulogize heavily near the end of the recap (we also have an exit interview with Thorne actor Owen Teale that’s quite insightful and heartfelt, plus some thoughts from Kit Harington on why Jon Snow quit the Night’s Watch).
We start with…
Castle Black: Harrison Ford once defended his action-filled performances by saying, “I never accepted the notion that I was doing stunts — I was doing physical acting.” That quote often comes to mind while watching Kit Harington, who is rather terrific at physical acting. Like in this opening scene, where Jon Snow is breathing like he’s never drawn breath before and seems totally in shock. Watching googly-eyed Ser Davos is satisfying, and even icy Melisandre is pretty stunned.
Jon Snow tells them there’s no afterlife whatsoever, which is definitely a disappointment. But after seeing Jon Snow naked, I’m not entirely convinced he didn’t hit some CrossFit classes in purgatory.
Harington told us that line to Melisandre — that Jon Snow returns knowing nothing about any kind of afterlife — was crucial to his character this season, and I’m sure we’ll see a greater impact in future episodes.
Thankfully Ser Davos shakes off his shock and goes right into his standard Helpful Adviser mode: “You were dead, and now you’re not — that’s completely f—ing mad, seems to me; I can only imagine how it seems to you… What does it matter? You go on.” So yeah, buddy, shake it off; you’re fine.
Jon Snow goes down into the courtyard as his supporters stand there agape, though that might just be because Jon now has significantly shorter hair. Seriously, how much did Melisandre snip off during her impromptu resurrection ceremony? As he walks through the crowd I’m half-expecting somebody to try and kill him again, and each painful hug makes me wince. Tormund, who’s seen some magical stuff Beyond the Wall, is perhaps appropriately the least shocked and just makes a joke about Jon Snow’s johnson instead.
NEXT: Tower of Joy tease