Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 2 Debrief: The one in which that thing we knew would happen, happened
Valar Morghulis, dear readers, and welcome to our Game of Thrones debrief series.
Here are some context on where my perspective is coming from before we get to the actual episode debrief/review:
I’m the resident editor for all things screen-related on IN (check out some of my review of a season 5 episode here; check out my recent film review here. ), and a psychologist-in-training. Like many of you, I’m an avid television enthusiast/addict (some current non-GoT obsessions include: Fargo, Penny Dreadful, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Veep, House of Cards, Daredevil, Rick and Morty etc). More importantly, I am a show-fan of Game of Thrones; I have never read any of George R. R. Martin's books, but have occasionally succumbed to wikipedia-ing plot points and character descriptions from the books during some cold, dark, winter nights.
!SPOILERS FOR SEASON 6 EPISODE 2 of GAME of THRONES BEYOND THIS POINT!
HOWIE: So Angie, it's finally happened. The show finally answered the question we've all been asking for a while now: Who let the dogs out? Who? Who? Who? Who?
HOWIE: Poor attempt at a 2000-and-late joke aside, Ramsay sure was a real cheeky bastard this episode.
ANGIE: I can hardly believe that Roose is no longer on the loose, he was a cold and scheming flayer that's for sure. It will be interesting to see if Ramsay can be as unstoppable or if his almost one dimensional cruelty will be his downfall. I almost feel that his father's statement that "mad dogs are slaughtered for pig feed" will be a prophecy for Ramsay's downfall. In fact, I have a theory that Reek/Theon's redemption arc will lead him back to Winterfell (his true home) rather than the Iron Isles to give Ramsay his just desserts
HOWIE: Exactly, wishful thinking aside, I think without his dad to keep him on his leash, Ramsay's batshit crazy antics will definitely lead to his ultimate defeat. Him killing Roose was this week's shocker for me, but I found myself chuckling at the whole sequence of events, because OF COURSE he would kill his dad. OF COURSE he would set his dogs on his stepmom and his 5-minute old baby brother. It's interesting that you frame what Roose said as a prophecy, as that has definitely been a prominent theme on the show since last season. Like Cersei's speech about how she can't escape the prophecy that all three of her children would die.
ANGIE: I breathed a sigh of relief when he handed the child back but even then... it is Ramsay, he isn't beyond killing his half-blood brother on his birthday, literal birthday. But doesn't it speak to the jam-packed nature of this episode that people won't be talking about a baby being ripped to shreds by rabid dogs? Yes, prophecies certainly hold power in the GoT universe! I do think that the exchange between Tommen and Cersei was an interesting one, it's almost like King T was saying "OK ma, I'm ready to be your puppet again". Perhaps the thing I liked most about the King's Landing story line this week was the teasing of Robert Strong (Queen Cersei’s silent, head-crunching bodyguard), what a big sweetheart.
HOWIE: Yes! And from Lena Headey's wonderfully subtle performance, it almost seems as if she's now trying to distance herself, since, if she fully believes the witch's curse, the T-man ain't long for this world anyway. Also, I am shocked to find the Lannister family drama surprisingly moving. I think this is one the show’s greatest strengths - that we would find ourselves sympathizing and rooting for characters that were introduced as hateful antagonists at the beginning of series. But then again, on the flipside we have cardboard cutout villains like Ramsay and thinly-drawn faux “strong woman!” stereotypes like everyone from the mess of a storyline that is Dorne.
ANGIE: Oh GOD don't get me started on Dorne, it is truly abysmal.
HOWIE: We'll save the Dorne trash-talk for another time, but I'm hoping what happened in the premiere is the showrunner's way of sweeping that whole mess under the rug.
ANGIE: Yes possibly a way of ditching Dorne, but it also forgoes some really juicy plot (frown emoji). Oh well, I'd prefer them to cut off the infected limb rather than let it spread like Greyscale on Jorah Mormont (#relevantmetaphor). The Iron Isles, on the other hand, is making me super hyped for the Kingmoot! I’m really enjoying the incorporation of Yara (or Asha for the book-readers), I think she is such a badass pragmatist (almost at the level of general all-around top bloke Ser Davos). I was smitten with the bridge scene that introduced us to Euron. I feel that “I am the storm/I am the Drowned God” line is SO reminiscent of Walter White's demeanor. Euron is "the one who knocks”... brothers off bridges. Anyway, I'm very excited for show watchers to see this character.
HOWIE: Right, it definitely felt like that introduction was more for the book fans. I felt that was clumsily done, since we have not visited the Iron Isles for a while now, and then to have Balon Greyjoy/Argus Filch so unceremoniously killed off, it felt a little clunky. But I love Yara, so I'm intrigued to see how this Kingsmoot thing is going to turn out. Speaking of which, can you explain abit about what exactly is Kingsmoot (as foreshadowed by that guy sassing Yara when they buried her dad)?
ANGIE: Yes it was definitely for the readers then because I loved it, I feel that the Iron Isles have been neglected and they hold some fantastically interesting plot. A Kingsmoot is kind of like an election, so it's very topical for Aussies. Yara has a claim but the system of governance in Iron Isles is a bit more democratic and less about direct lineages or blood claims than the rest of Westeros; also gender isn't seen as something that prevents you from ruling.
HOWIE: Very topical indeed! I've missed the political intrigue on this show, which as been sidelined due to the emergence of magic in most of the major plotlines.
ANGIE: Well that seems like a perfect segue to talk about Bran!
HOWIE: Yes! What did you think about the flashback scene? We get to see Ned, Benjen, and Lyanna as kids, which I suspect will play an important role in illuminating certain things about certain characters in the future...
ANGIE: Well to me, Bran’s storyline will be the best if it is used as a portal to the past, there are some questions that many book readers want answers to… (pls pls let us see the Tourney at Harrenhal and the Tower of Joy next week) I don’t love Show-Bran as a character mainly because I feel that D & D have neglected possibly the coolest, nay coldest, character related to his story line, BUT if he’s used purely as flashback justification from this point forward I’ll be happy. I was overjoyed to see Lyanna because it's about bloody time.
HOWIE: It was also very bittersweet to see the "good ol days" of Winterfell.
ANGIE: Ah yes, the good ol' revolution.
HOWIE: I like show-Bran just fine, but I've always been more invested in the Meera and her brother more. Why are they so loyal and committed to helping Bran? Also what is Meera going to do now that her brother is dead?
ANGIE: Perhaps flashbacks will show us more about those siblings... maybe we might meet their father. WHO KNOWS?! Anyway! I'm not going to spoil anything, what are you thoughts around Meereen and the Dragons?
HOWIE: hmm. Sneaky. I resent how book fans still have things to lord over show fans, even now when they've supposedly gone off-book. I'm very excited to see what old girl Dany gets up to at the Widow-Khaleesi fan club. Making sweaters for her dragons maybe? But serious talk, I love that Tyrion is going to do something with the dragons. #fatherofdragons
ANGIE: I think that the Mereen storyline is so much better with Tyrion and Varys at the helm, Danaery’s arc has somewhat stagnated over the last season so I’m glad things are being shaken up on that front!
HOWIE: Also, great CGI acting from the dragons there, that "yo take my chains off bro" scene was totes adorbs
ANGIE: Yeeeeeeeeeeeees very happy about this interaction! From memory the little anecdote he told about wanting a dragon as a child was part of his inner monologue in the books so it was lovely to see it brought to screen. Although showrunners D and D are going off script to some degree, the nods to book fans will continue, I'm sorry to say but you are but you are doomed to be lorded over. Talking of CGI, I was VERY concerned about the lingering shots of Ghost paired with the knowledge that with some magic, death pays for life....
HOWIE: Whoa okay, so we're jumping to Jon Snow talk now are we? That was a pretty exciting scene, even though it was basically exactly what people have been saying will happen. I think we all knew that Jon Snow was going to come back, but the question was how... and well, it turned out to be pretty straightforward really. I have to say, I find Melisandre's arc so fascinating to watch, and the actress Carice Van Houten totally kills it with the portrayal of her losing faith in the Lord of Light and basically spiraling into depression.
ANGIE: Yes the Red Woman is being texturized so well, she's gone from being a monodimensional religious fanatic to an actual human being (albeit magical one).
HOWIE: What do you think will happen with Jon next? Will he just be back as normal? You mentioned the "death pays for life" thing, but what about that time when the red priest from the band of brothers resurrected his old pal like, 50 times, and he was just all good (albeit with some permanent scar)?
ANGIE: That is true, Dothraki magic is certainly in a league of its own, but I don't rely on past knowledge or traditional tropes with this show, anything could happen! Jon warging into Ghost was a very real possibility too.Where Jon goes from here is a very exciting mystery, and that's all I'll say on the matter. (winkface emoji). I really like the incorporation of the Wildings into that scene and the cataclysmic burn Tormund Giantsbane gave Alliser Thorne. The traitors' fates will be an interesting one for our LordSnow2.0 to decide.
HOWIE: Giant Wun Wun's very dismissive "Hulk Smash" moment was glorious. Also Human Garbage Ollie remains a big piece of human garbage as usual.
HOWIE: What are your predictions for next episode, and what would you like to see? I personally want to see Arya either complete her ninja training or get the fuck outta No One dodge, cause I can't take any more of this blind-beating! Also, I'm not so sure that I want Arya to let go of her thirst for vengeance and identity just to become a nameless assassin. And my prediction is this: Jon Snow 2.0 is so going to be the one who murders Ramsay at Winterfell, per Melisandre's flamin' visions. She was right about all the four kings dying, so I'm 100% on board with her fire magic, even if she herself isn't at this point.
ANGIE: SNOWBOWL will happen but I really hope that it's one of Ramsay's victims (or even a dog/wolf) who is the one to kill him - that would be true justice in my eyes.
Predictions for the next ep:
- Tommen will try to use force to get his way with the High Sparrow, and maybe that won't work too well.
- Arya will just keep on training to be a medieval Jedi.
- Sansa and Jon will be reunited and Jon will receive a Pink Letter from Ramsay (who is set to receive a 'gift' next ep and I'm praying that our long lost little Stark, Rickon, is somewhere safe...)
- We will see a bit more of the Iron Isles (hopefully)
- Danaery's will find out truly what the widow of a Khal is set to become.
- OH, and we're going to see a bit of Young Ned through Bran's visions which will HOPEFULLY make explicit Jon Snow's true lineage after all of this years 🎉
What I hope to see on the other hand is Wun Wun and Hodor form a dance troupe that tours the land bringing joy to the children of Westeros, but hey, if Game of Thrones has taught me anything it's that you can't always get what you want.
HOWIE: I think you mean *Wylis. Speaking of Hodor AKA Wylis, lets wrap up this scintillating discussion with the "Hodor Award" to our MVP of this episode. Shout outs to the Louis CK of Westeros, the comedian in Kings Landing who killed it with his hilarious "I showed Cersei my balls!" bit. He's really a comedian's comedian, and I was devastated at his untimely mid-piss death via wall-smash.
ANGIE: Wylis would surely let out a bellowing 'Hodor' of a chuckle at our inebriated and late bard's dickish tale. Thanks for chatting Howie!
HOWIE: This was fun. Let's do it again next episode! I'm going to break the fourth wall here and thank the readers for reading this drivel, we would love to know what you thought of our recap and the episode! Do you agree with us? Do you think that Jon Snow and Ghost just Freaky Friday-ed, and the rest of the season will just be Kit Harrington barking the whole time? Let us know in the comments section below!