TV Review: Game of Thrones, Season 6 Episode 2 “Home” (USA, 2016)

If last week’s episode began to build up the idea that the showrunners of Game of Thrones might have what it takes to pull off an ending to Martin’s saga, this week’s episode continued this – delivering an impressive episode with plenty of big moments that are sure to clog up social media over the next week.

It’s hard to imagine many episode of Thrones more jam-packed with as many major plot points as “Home”, especially when it came to The North.

Last we saw him, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) was just beginning his training with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) but it appears the young seer has made significant progress. The episode opened with Bran and Bloodraven ‘warging’ into the past  and observing a young Ned and Benjen sparring in the courtyard of Winterfell.

While this sequence did suggest a tragic origin story for Hodor (Kristian Nairn) is on the cards, the real reveal was that their sanctuary within the cave is only to be temporary – and that Bran’s real trials are yet to come.

When it came to the watchers on the walls, “Home”  picked up right where “The Red Woman” left off with Dolorous Ed (Ben Crompton) and Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) overwhelming Alliser Thorne’s (Owen Teale) forces and taking control of Castle Black. There was a lot to like here from the triumphant return of Wun Wun (the giant from “Hardhome”) and Tormund’s spiteful retort of “until you” when Alliser insisted that no lord commander had ever let the wildlings take Castle Black.

And then, of course, you had the final scene. The hypnotic, nail-biting sequence that kept you wondering up until the last second whether or not HBO would delivering on the resurrection of Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) –  though the circumstances of his revival suggest it may have more to do with direwolves and Stark blood than it does Melisandre (Carice van Houten).

Further to the South, “Home” saw the growing discontent and division between Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) and Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) reach a breaking-point when Walda (Elizabeth Webster) gives birth to a son. The subsequent death of the elder Bolton here was a sudden turn and one that doesn’t bode well for anyone in the north.

As well as reining in Ramsay’s own ultraviolent tendencies, Roose also brought a cold, calculated sense of strategy to the Bolton’s position. While it’s true that without him, Ramsay is sure to be more dangerous to those around him, he’s also in a much more vulnerable position.

“Home” also brought with it major (and some would say overdue) plot movement to the Iron Islands, introducing Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) and promptly murdering Balon (Patrick Malahide). As if getting to watch the death of Balon play out (instead of only hearing of it secondhand) wasn’t enough of a treat for book readers, the episode also saw the introduction of the “Kingsmoot”, the event through which the Ironborn elect their leaders.

Elsewhere, tensions between the royal houses and the sparrows continued to rise. Like Cersei before him, Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) underestimated the threat posed by The High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce). At this stage – a confrontation feels all but inevitable, with the fallout sure to shape the rest of the season.

Lastly this week, a few short-but-sweet scenes in Meereen saw Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) befriend and release Viserion and Rheagal. It’s sure to be the first of many moves Tyrion makes to fix the mess that Dany has made of Meereen and one that had me, as a book-reader, briefly wondering if the show was about to make good on its cryptic teasers and see Tyrion roasted in the same manner as Quentyn Martell does in the books.

Though it’s likely to be remembered most for its ending,  “Home” was an episode of Thrones that did a good job of impressing throughout. Season 6 of Game of Thrones is going from strength to strength, shifting up both the dynamics of the show in bigger ways that go far beyond just bringing Jon Snow back to life.


Game of Thrones airs at 11AM on Monday through Foxtel.

Headline Image: HBO.


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