Jon Snow Took His Revenge -- Now What?
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The following article contains spoilers for "Oathbreaker," the third episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. Proceed with caution. Read our full "Oathbreaker" recap here.
As sequel trailers from the 1990s would say: Jon Snow is back... with a vengeance. But not even John McClane got a mic-drop moment like the one Jon had on tonight's Game of Thrones.
After jolting back to life at the tail end of last week's episode, the resurrected Lord Commander began this one, entitled "Oathbreaker," by going straight back to righting Castle Black's wrongs, specifically the puncture wounds that left him bleeding out on the ground and remain etched into his six-pack. Snow took a few deep breaths, grabbed his Lord Commander coat, reintroduced himself as a noble MFer who won't tolerate dishonor, then hanged his assailants -- including his aging rival Alliser Thorne and young Olly, the most detestable little twerp since Joffrey -- without so much as a "Et tu, Brute?" Snap went the ropes and the necks. When Jon's work was done, he was done.
"Castle Back is yours now," he tells Edd Tollett. "My watch has ended."
There's only one appropriate response:
Season six has been asking more questions than it's been willing to answer, which is infuriating for book-reading obsessives and catnip for those of us who live for creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff's twisted mind games.
Episode one had our imaginations racing at the possibilities of Melisandre's prophecies, the Lord of Light's true power, and old-lady costume jewelry. Episode two dealt with the Jon Snow is he/isn't he narrative (while giving the fallen hero the perfect reason to return -- someone needs to kick Ramsay's ass ASAP). "Oathbreaker" teases us with potential revelations, namely:
- What's in that tower where Bran witnessed a young Ned Stark slash it out with Arthur Dayne? (There's a theory.)
- How will Tyrion weave himself back into the grand tapestry of mainland Westeros? (There are theories.)
- Why did Maester Pycelle fart when he saw the resurrected Mountain? (We're theory-less on that one, but wasn't that a beautiful moment?)
And then there's Jon Snow. There's always Jon Snow.
The show's main man wraps up a few lingering questions from last season with a nice little bow, the biggest being that theory that posits that Jon "warged" into his direwolf Ghost is out the window. When he crossed over to the other side, he tells Melisandre, "there was nothing at all." That's not very direwolf-y.
As Weiss puts it in the post-show analysis, "to remember your own death, see evidence on your own body, is existential terror." If you've seen the darkness of the great beyond, that's enough to screw you up and set you on a path of violent grief. Jon is now Batman (dead parents), the Punisher (dead wife), and Arrow (dead self) all rolled into one. There's nothing stopping him from laying waste to any beady-eyed power player in his path.
Jon Snow isn't a god -- size matters in Westeros and, confirmed jokingly by that wacky wildling, Tormund Giantsbane, Jon's pecker is far too small for that -- but he is destined for greatness. When Melisandre gazed into her magical flame, she saw Snow riding into battle. "Oathbreaker" aligned the stars so the prophetic rumble could finally go down. In one corner, you'll have Jon, now storming off to... well, we can't imagine he'll get too far without Davos, the wildlings, or another inspirational character luring him back into the leader position.
That convincing force could very well be Sansa, who appears with Brienne and Podrick in the teaser for next week's episode arriving at the gates of some snow fortress that looks an awful lot like Castle Black. Will these Winterfell outcasts finally reunite?
If they do, they'll have a common foe. Now in cahoots with both the Karstarks and the Umbers, the Bastard of Bolton is in position to march on Castle Black and finally end Jon Snow. (Little does he realize the guy's already been to Hell and back -- and is sporting a fancy new 'do, to boot) If manhandling Sansa, flaying Theon, and being a foaming-at-the-mouth asshole to everyone in his path isn't enough to provoke Jon Snow into retaliating, the revelation that Ramsay now holds a Umber-delivered Rickon Stark might be the final straw. (And we imagine Ghost will want a piece, too -- poor Shaggydog!)
"Oathbreaker" does reveal that Smalljon Umber had captured Rickon and Osha -- last seen ditching Bran for Last Hearth -- and delivered them to the Boltons, along with the direwolf's head. The turncoat isn't a Bolton fan, but he does want to win this never-ending war. Will he come up short with Jon back in the game?
In the books, Ramsay tries to lure Jon to Winterfell with a message that fans refer to as "the Pink Letter," which claims that he's holding Arya hostage (who isn't even in the vicinity). Game of Thrones the TV show may riff on that by swapping in Rickon.
The hostage crisis, ultimately, could put Jon on a road that leads straight down to King's Landing, and the Iron Throne. If Game of Thrones is the story of Jon Snow learning of his true past and claiming what is rightfully his, as many (myself included) believe, then he'll have to kick the winter threads at some point. Slicing Ramsay's head off is step one. What takes him all the way?
Well, let's see what Bran finds in that tower first.
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment Editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He wants Jon Snow to light himself on fire, Human Torch style, when he eventually battles the White Walkers -- fire and ice, baby! Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.