It is rare for a Game of Thrones episode to disappoint me for non Dornish reasons, however it is not exaggeration to say Jon Snow’s storyline was the only one of interest this episode. The shellshocked Lord Commander’s discomfort upon his return seemed only natural – his last breathing moments had seen him riddled with wounds from the very men he sought to protect, anyone with those memories has got to feel just a tad non-plussed on returning to life’s battleground. Once again Davos (Westeros’ first Life coach) was on hand to provide a pep talk, and Jon’s reunion with his loyal friends brought warmth to the wall.
Elsewhere HBO’s lack of source material was beginning to show. Both Arya and Dany have had their current storylines spread over multiple episodes, when the scanty material was scarce adequate to keep pace and interest alive. Had Daenerys reached the dosh khasheen in the first episode momentum would have been salvaged, or had Arya had received more than a blink-or-you-miss-her moment in episode one, the restoration of eyesight would feel less hasty. Even though the training montage was a wondrous thing to behold (‘a girl sounds confused’ ‘a girl was confused’) it felt as if they were rushing to establish her role in a far shorter space of time than required.
In Mereen the wittiest dwarf in Westeros was reduced to making jokes about drinking games, and only Varys’ deceptively compassionate manipulation of the harpy’s foot-soldier proved of any interest. We got a brief glimpse of Olenna Tyrell, but no witticisms fell from her lips either, and Cersei’s temper seemed reduced to childish petulance.
We did finally glimpse the legendary Tower of Joy, only to be dragged away just when it looked as though the show’s greatest mystery would be solved (R+L=J anyone?). I think young Ned was superbly cast, and am suitably concerned about Bran’s meddling…
Ramsey get a new Stark to play with, however before I cry into my overused direwolf handkerchief I am putting all my hopes on a cunning northern conspiracy. After all: are we sure that was Shaggydog (I am in denial), and why would Lord Umber refuse to swear fealty?
It comes to something when the only moment you cheer is when the traitors meet there maker. Thorne died well, as expected, and members of the kill Ollie movement saw their dreams come true. It doesn’t say anything good, though, when your favourite moment of an episode is when a soldier kills a child…then you remember it was Ollie, and you feel ok again.
Direwolves: 2, but one was dead, if it was indeed Shaggydog (denial)
Deaths: Oh too many to count, but no-one important
Nudity: A newly risen Jon, and the hint of a stripped dragon queen who majestically retained her modesty.