Well, our biggest question from last week has been answered—Jon Snow has indeed been resurrected! Melisandre, despairing over having lost her way with the Lord of Light, struggled to bring him back but was ultimately successful. Our Lord Commander is back on the big screen and the mutineers who stabbed him have been captured thanks to the timely arrival of the Wildlings (giants included), now in Castle Black.
As Beric Dondarrion, another priest of the Lord of Light reminded us a couple of seasons ago, one can’t go through resurrection unchanged. It will be interesting to see how Jon Snow’s death and subsequent resurrection changes him. As in all fantasy literature, such a great change to a person isn’t only physical—it’s also spiritual and mental. As I mentioned in the last post, Jon’s death and resurrection frees him from his oath to the Night’s Watch, but I think that we will see even more changes from him. As much as I love this hero, his character has room for evolution as even the best characters do.
Upsetting? Yes, generally. But surprising? Not really.
Big things are happening south of the Wall as well—the beginning stages of generational turnover have been put in motion, which is a nice way of saying that people are killing off their ruling elders left and right. Ramsay Bolton stabbed his father, who had already declared Ramsay heir to the Dreadfort despite Ramsay’s bastard status, and I doubt anyone will dispute Ramsay’s claim either, as the Karstarks (who fought with Rob Stark) and other major northern houses didn’t bat an eye at his previous shenanigans. Upsetting? Yes, generally. But surprising? Not really. My guess is that Ramsay wants no heirs except by Sansa Stark to ensure his legitimate hold on the North.
The Lord of the Iron Islands, Balon Greyjoy, was also murdered. Balon’s younger brother Euron Greyjoy throws him off of a rickety bridge in the middle of a storm to disguise his death as an accident. Both Euron and Yara are vying for the throne (and now Theon is making his way there) but on the Iron Islands a Kingsmoot will determine the winner—Kingsmoot is an Old Way tradition where all captains vote to choose the Iron King. A Kingsmoot, although it can be called at any time, hasn’t happened for thousands of years.
These movements in House Greyjoy and House Bolton are part of what I appreciate in HBO’s adaptation of the books. George R. R. Martin writes detailed backstories on the seemingly “smaller” houses so there’s a sense that his epic is endlessly expansive—the reader never knows who or what is the next threat because the more obscure characters can suddenly become important. Even though as viewers we are more focused on the Starks, Lannisters, Tyrells, and Targaryens, every house and character can become a major player given the right set of circumstances.
Up next, I hope we’ll discover more about what Bran is seeing as he connects to the past through the weirwood. And Tyrion is evidently a man of many talents, one of them being dragon taming . . . who knew?