Beyond The Wall

'Game of Thrones' Recap: Starring Ramsay, Bran, and That Jon Snow Guy!

ramsay bolton game of thrones
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

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This article contains spoilers for "Home," the second episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones. Proceed with caution.

Have you ever figured out that one of your friends was throwing you a surprise party and, rather than say yes or no when you confront her about it, she just says, "Maybe..." in this high-pitched tone that sounds like a Kardashian sister making out with a baby seal -- as if that is supposed to make you unsure that there'll be a surprise party, even though you know the whole time that there will be? That is exactly how Game of Thrones and HBO handled the death and rebirth of Jon Snow.

As soon as the Lord Commander died in last season's finale, we all knew he'd be coming back, but then we spent months letting HBO and everyone involved with the series get away with telling us otherwise, because what if? What if Jon Snow was actually dead and wasn't going to come back, except as an inert corpse with multiple stab wounds in it? What if they were telling us the honest truth? So when Jon Snow came back to life in last night's episode, it was like all of our friends had jumped out to wish us a happy birthday, and we couldn't even pretend to be surprised or happy about it because we were so pissed that our friends had been lying to us for weeks.

All right, enough of this belabored metaphor -- let's take a tour of Westeros and see just who showed up to our re-birthday party, and what it all means for the future.

Castle Black: Heeeere's Jonny!

Ser Davos, some Jon Snow loyalists, and his red-eyed wolf are about to take their last stand with Jon's body, as Alliser Thorne is literally busting down the door to get to his lily-white corpse. At the last minute, there is a banging on the gate into Castle Black. Could that be the sound of a giant ex machina coming to save them? It's really a giant and a bunch of the wildlings, who have arrived to protect their friend Jon Snow.

All right, I have no idea how the hell Edd got them to show up so quickly. Maybe Davos sent a raven ahead with 20 knife emojis followed by an ambulance emoji? It's unclear, but seemed entirely out of the blue. The best part of their entrance, however, was the one Night's Watchman who shot the giant with an arrow. Please. That's like trying to poison the drinking water of Las Vegas by throwing one tab of LSD over the Hoover Dam. That giant took the arrow out of his coat, put it in his pocket, and saved it for later in case he needed a toothpick after he feasted on a dinner of crow.

Meanwhile, the ancient cuckoo bird Melisandre is lounging around her room waiting to start reading her copy of AARP: The Magazine. She's sad because the Lord of Light failed her and she doesn't know what her powers are for. Boo-freakin'-hoo. As Davos points out, this lady queefed a shadow monster and she's mad because Stannis Baratheon turned out to be the loser we all knew that he already was. She's like a Bernie Sanders supporter the day after a Democratic primary.

Davos convinces the Red Woman to give her magic a shot, because she saw a priest do it once in a cave. Remember way back in season three? Probably not. And we didn't even get a courtesy shout-out in the "previously on Game of Thrones." We all knew what was coming next, even though it seems like it should be far too long for Jon Snow to be brought back to life. He's been dead for hours at this point. Isn't there some sort of statute of limitations on resurrection? Shouldn't the five-second rule apply to more than donuts that you dropped on the carpet?

Melisandre visits Jon Snow's naked body (save for a modesty cloth over his Valyrian steel). With all the dirty things that we've seen on this show, we can't see what Jon Snow has lying south of the Wall? She gives him a bath, cuts his hair, throws some of it in the fire, and then mumbles the magic words desperately over and over. It's like when you're trying to find that one PornHub video that's going to get you over the edge, and no matter how many clips you scroll past under the "MILFs eat dessert" tab, you just can't find the right one. Finally, like so many of us when PornHub fails us, she gives up and leaves the room to go watch the end of SportsCenter and maybe play some Xbox. As we all knew he would, that is when Jon gasps back to life.

But what does his coming back to life mean? So far we've seen Khal Drogo come back to life, and he was duller than a raver at the bottom of a bag of ketamine. Then the Mountain returned, and he's like some sort of Frankenstein beast who can't speak, will only defend Cersei Lannister, and likes to kill drunks as they're taking a leak against a wall. Then there is Beric Dondarrion, that crazy dude who came back in the cave while Arya Stark looked on back in Season 3. He seemed to be fine, but he said he's "a little bit less" every time he comes back.

Which of these will Jon be? I was sort of hoping he'd be like Wesley in The Princess Bride, where his friends have to cart him around for the final act while he slowly regains the use of his limbs. I'm assuming he'll be back to normal, because he's Jon Snow and they're not going to bring him back just to kill him again like they did to Khal Drogo.

But what will he be lacking if he's a little bit less? Is it whatever was laying underneath that tiny cloth? Is he now in the same club as Theon, Grey Worm, and Varys? Or maybe his wolf Ghost is going to die? Or maybe Jon was a ghost all along? SURPRISE!

roose ramsay bolton game of thrones
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Winterfell: who let the dogs out?

Sansa and Brienne are in the woods on their way to Castle Black, and they're talking about how Arya dresses like a lesbian and they're cackling away like two girls who just discovered that Ellen DeGeneres likes to wear pantsuits to the Oscars. They should stop laughing because their plan to go to Castle Black is absolutely idiotic. It's the first place that everyone would think to look for them. It's sort of like if Arya decided to escape King's Landing by going to a Tegan and Sara concert. She'd still be locked in the dungeons now.

Inside Winterfell, the obnoxious Ramsay Bolton has already figured out Sansa and Brienne's plan, and tells his father Roose that he's going to storm Castle Black, kill Jon Snow, and take Sansa back. Roose thinks this is an awful idea because it will turn the North against the Boltons. Ramsay rebuts that they don't need everyone, just the Umbers, the Karstarks, and the Manderlys. Thanks to the handy reminder in the "previously on," we know the Karstarks hate the Starks because Robb murdered their lord. Thanks, "previously on." It seems like his plan should work.

Roose tells Ramsay, "If you acquire the reputation of a mad dog, you will be treated like a mad dog, taken out back, and slaughtered for pig feed." This, and the news of the birth of his new baby brother, pisses Ramsay off so much that he slays his father and then feeds his stepmother and half-brother to his dogs. What is up with Ramsay Bolton and dogs? I've heard of Crazy Cat Ladies before, but a Psychopathic Dog Man is a new one.

Things are looking bad for Ramsay. His stepmother was Walda Frey, and her grandfather Walder, the architect of the Red Wedding, does really rash things to people who make the marriages he's brokered. Just ask Robb Stark. Ramsay also doesn't know that Castle Black is not only protected by the Night's Watch, but it is now home to a ton of wildlings and at least one giant. Taking Castle Black is not going to be the cakewalk that he thinks it is. But at least he got the part right about Jon Snow being alive up there.

God, I can't wait for Ramsay to get a Bolton to the head.

yara greyjoy balon game of thrones
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Pyke: what is dead should die already

The only things worse than coal in your stocking, a burning sensation when you pee, or a John Kasich stump speech is Pyke in the opening credits. When the towers and the flimsy bridges grind their way to the sea during the theme song, I always want to shut off the TV, crawl under the covers, and search "MILFs eating dessert."

Who cares about Pyke? No one. Not one single person. Well, Theon does, I guess, since he's headed back there. So does his sister Yara, who doesn't want to keep fighting wars on land. So does their father, Balon, who brags that he's the only king left standing in the War of the Five Kings, a statement equivalent to "I am going to die in the next scene."

I was right. His brother Euron shows up, and they have this stupid fight in the rain that I can't possibly care about and contains so many words. Shut up and throw the guy over the bridge already! Good -- he did. Balon's dead. Are we done here? Nope.

What's up with the casting here, anyway? Balon is ancient. The actor playing him, Patrick Malahide, is 71 years old. Pilou Asbaek, the actor playing Euron, is 34. Are these brothers from another mother? And what about that old guy with hair just like Melisandre's when she takes off her magic necklace, who presided over Balon's funeral? He's supposed to be another Balon brother -- Aeron Greyjoy, nicknamed the Damphair (damp hair -- get it?) -- and the actor playing him, Michael Feast, is 69. The last time I was this confused was when I learned that Hodor is supposed to be older than Ned Stark.

WTF. Anyway, Yara thinks that she's going to be queen, but Damphair is telling her she can't because of some dumb law. Are we headed toward a world where women are in control of everything and the world is finally at peace? Will Dany have the Iron Throne, Yara have the Iron Islands, and Sansa, the oldest remaining Stark, have Winterfell and the North? That would be pretty rad.

Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

Meereen: half-brother of dragons

Daenerys is still MIA, and she's lost control of the cities that she'd previously freed. So it's up to Tyrion to try -- only his idea of trying is to go make friends with dragons. I would try to make friends with a Red Sox fan after a defeat to the Yankees before I tried to make friends with some dragons.

When the pilot light in that dragon's throat flared, it seemed like Tyrion was fixing to be a person-kebab. But then he undid their shackles and they decided to stay in their pen. It's sort of like those orcas that are raised in Sea World and can't survive in the ocean anymore. But if Tyrion can figure out how to use those dragons to get what he wants, everyone is doomed.

And he is almost certainly going to figure out how to use those dragons. Have you heard the theory that he's Daenerys' half-brother? They are totally going to be riding side-by-side atop two of those dragons by the time this series is over. But who will pilot the third? It better not be that thirsty AF Dothraki dude from last week!

arya game of thrones
Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO

Braavos: sticks and stones

Arya is still the worst at playing Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and that jerky intern from the House of Black and White smacks her face in yet again.

After the Stark girl gets the tar beaten out of her yet again, Jaqen H'ghar shows up and tells her to say her name and she can have shelter or food or her eyesight back. It's like one of those immunity challenges on Survivor where they try to tempt contestants into quitting so they can eat peanut-butter cookies. Arya doesn't fall for it because she has watched a lot of Survivor — well, not recently (#TooSoon). She is rewarded by being taken back to the White House Black Market store in the Braavos mall.

She's learning to remember not remembering her name. And she's training to be an assassin. If this keeps up, she may even forget to remember the names on her famous list and kill some other people instead. I just ate some peyote, so forgive me for theorizing the following: what if, after her schooling is done, someone hires a Faceless Man formerly known as Arya Stark to take out a certain newly resurrected brother of the Night's Watch, who just happens to be her half-brother (or cousin, depending on whether you believe in R + L = J)? Or a finally happy Sansa?

jamie lannister tommen game of thrones
Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

King's Landing: Sparrow escape

Cersei is pissed because people are talking about her naked walk of shame, and Tommen, her snot trail on a security blanket of a son, won't let her go to Myrcella's funeral. Cut to the sept where Myrcella is wearing a fierce dress and the fakest blue eyes since Cher got rid of her colored contacts. Tommen wants to take the power back from the High Sparrow, but he doesn't know how, especially because he prays to Lady Edith, the patron saint of sniveling middle children. Jaime threatens to kill the High Sparrow, but his supporters show up and make a show of strength.

The High Sparrow can't kill Tommen, though, because if the king were to die, then Robert Baratheon would have no living sons or brothers, and it would be unclear whom the Iron Throne would go to. There would be another war, and the High Sparrow would surely be overthrown. His best hope is to continue to control this administration instead of ushering in a new one.

Luckily, Tommen went to his mother to get her to teach him how to be strong. If there is one bitch in King's Landing who knows something about being fierce, it is Cersei Lannister. She might not be that smart, but she is one wicked queen. It's going to be poisoned apples for everyone.

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Helen Sloan/courtesy of HBO

The Life Tree: raisin' Bran


I saved the best for last because we saw Bran Stark back and all grown up this week, like one of those child stars you can't believe turned out to not be a crazy drug addict. He's chilling in this giant tree with the Three-Eyed Raven, and they're watching his father Ned Stark spar with his brother Benjen back in Winterfell long before Bran was born. They're like Bill and Ted and they're on an excellent adventure, only they can't do anything in the past but observe. Bogus, dude!

This is how we're going to find out that Jon Stark is really Ned Stark's nephew and that his mother is Lyanna Stark, right? Right.

The creepiest part was that weird woman who looked like the love child of Vanessa Williams and that giant spider from Lord of the Rings. What was going on with her, and why didn't they get Lady Gaga to play the part? She could have done it without any makeup and could have just as easily told Bored Meera Reed that she can't leave just yet because Bran needs her. Maybe the Spider Lady is the Great Goddess of Foreshadowing.

Also, Hodor! And Willis!

Bran's trip in the Life Tree was pretty awesome, but I thought he was going to get some real powers. I want some X-Men shit up in here, like shooting lasers out of his eyes, racing around at the speed of sound, and shape-shifting. Looking at the past is pretty cool and all, but I can watch old episodes of Supermarket Sweep on YouTube and there is less magic about me than there is about Magic Mike. We all knew that Jon Snow was coming back from the dead, and we also know that Bran is going to control one of those dragons with his warg powers, so why don't we just get the surprise party over with already?

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Brian Moylan previously ranked Real Housewives for Thrillist and misses Ser Pounce. Find him @BrianJMoylan.