Jessica Morris ‘19 / Emertainment Monthly TV Staff Writer
There is nothing boring about the second episode in season six of HBO’s Game of Thrones, entitled “Home:” Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) returns to the screen and has visions of his father, uncle Benjen, and aunt Lyanna as children; Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) befriends Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) dragons; and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) becomes Lord Bolton. And, of course, after months of viewers theorizing, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is revived by Melisandre’s (Carice van Houten) magic. The episode itself seems to foreshadow that a few common fan theories may soon be revealed true — at least in the show, if not in George R. R. Martin’s books. As a whole, the episode is fast-paced and interesting, though at times predictable. And with Ramsay’s annihilation of the rest of House Bolton, “Home” is at times gratuitous with its show of violence.
Knowing what happened during Robert’s Rebellion, a pre-series civil war, is imperative to understanding many of the key plot points and feuds of Game of Thrones. Aerys Targaryen, known as the Mad King, once sat on the Iron Throne. Rhaegar Targaryen, Aerys’ son and heir, kidnapped Lyanna Stark, which understandably angered the Starks as well as several other noble houses. When Aerys executed Lord Rickard Stark of Winterfell and his son Brandon, he added further fuel to the fire, no pun intended. As the story goes, the vast majority of House Targaryen was killed during the uprising that followed, including Aerys, Rhaegar, and Rhaegar’s wife and children. The remaining heirs of the House, notably Daenerys and her brother Viserys, were exiled. Lyanna Stark was killed near the end of the Rebellion under mysterious circumstances, and Robert Baratheon ascended to the Iron Throne, becoming king.
It seemed obvious that Jon Snow would be revived, especially considering the hints of his true parentage throughout the series. Fans of the show and books alike have long believed that Jon is the child of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, and that he was taken in as Ned Stark’s “bastard” in order to protect him from those who would be quick to kill a surviving Targaryen. This would make Jon the “song of ice and fire” for which the book series is named, as he would have both Northern ties through House Stark and dragon blood via House Targaryen. If this theory is true, Jon Snow has a hero’s story that has yet to reach its conclusion. Since Jon Snow did rise from the dead in this past episode, it is evident he has a greater role to play in the series.
Bran Stark’s visions of his father, aunt, and uncle may be telling. In the same episode that Jon Snow is revived, we see our first flashback depicting Lyanna, Jon’s rumored mother. It is possible that as Bran’s visions continue throughout the season, viewers may see the entirety of Robert’s Rebellion play out. If the show does go this route, it would be very interesting indeed. Many fans have voiced their desire to see Robert’s Rebellion depicted on either the large or small screen. Perhaps the end of Bran’s visions will reveal once and for all who Jon’s parents are, by showing what exactly Lyanna asked her brother Ned to “promise” her.
Jon isn’t the only character who may be a secret Targaryen. The scene featuring Tyrion with Daenerys’ dragons in this most recent episode may imply that Tyrion has some Targaryen blood as well. This points back to another popular fan theory, that Tyrion was somehow fathered by Aerys Targaryen. While this doesn’t seem to make complete thematic sense, the show now has free reign from the book series and can come to its own conclusions. It will be exciting to see how this plays out, and if the TV series decides to have Tyrion be part-Targaryen after all.
One thing is certain; Game of Thrones has managed to create an effective villain in the character of Ramsay Bolton. He is perhaps more vile and despicable than even the late King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) was. Roose Bolton made for an interesting villain as well, but was, of course, killed by his son’s own hand in this past episode. With Ramsay and the show’s fascination with him, however, there comes the question of when television violence becomes gratuitous. In this episode, viewers witnessed Ramsay not only kill his father, but also his stepmother and his newborn brother. While any gore regarding his stepmother and brother was not directly shown, the audience was wholly aware what was happening, when Ramsay released his hounds and sicced them on the mother and infant. Many of the things Ramsay does seem like they only occur for added shock value, not to further the plot. It was obvious to the viewer what Ramsay was going to do, without them being forced to watch the scene in question.
But, Game of Thrones has pushed the envelope before, and this season should not be expected to be any different. If anything, this season so far is proving to be even more shocking and surprising than seasons previous, as the show is beginning its move away from the George R.R. Martin’s book series and there is no telling what will happen. This episode overall worked well and raised many interesting questions that will keep viewers on the edges of their seats until next Sunday.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8 c on HBO.
Episode Grade: A-