Home is a concept full of layers. Your family, where you grew up, the land that should belong to youâ€”they all work together to define what your home is. Game of Thrones is about kingdoms after all. Hell, not just kingdoms, but houses. And what are these but homes?
In this episode, Game of Thrones highlights just how desperate we all are to get back to where we belong, and maintain once weâ€™re there. And as much as the gods are at play, itâ€™s men that make things happen.
As Davos says to Melisandre when he’s asking her to try to resurrect Jon Snow, â€œFuck â€˜em all. Seven gods, drowned gods, tree gods, itâ€™s all the same. Iâ€™m not asking the Lord of Light of help. Iâ€™m asking the woman who showed me that miracles exist.â€
The southern locations in Game of Thrones have suffered recently, namely due to Kingâ€™s Landingâ€™s main storyline â€”the reign of the High Sparrowâ€” acting as the proverbial wet blanket in our web of storylines. But the North has always felt like home. We all entered the Game of Thrones world in Winterfell, with Ned Stark, and it seems fitting that as we push toward the end of this series, the North is the epicenter for action.
Bran is studying with the Three-Eyed Raven, traveling back into time to see his home before he was born, when his father was just a child. Itâ€™s an exciting image for the audience as much as it is to Bran. We get to see Ned and Benjen Stark, as well as their sister, Lyanna, who we know very little but about, but enough to know that since she was abducted by the Targaryens, she may be more important than obvious. The experience is intoxicating to Bran; someone so removed from his home. But looking to the past isnâ€™t going to get him back, and it may just hurt more than it could help. The Three-Eyed Raven reminds us, â€œItâ€™s beautiful beneath the sea, but if you stay too long, youâ€™ll drown.â€
We also have Theon on a self-defeating journey back to the Iron Islands, deciding that his home isnâ€™t with the Starks, nor is it at Castle Black as a Brother of the Nightâ€™s Watch. Heâ€™s not willing to give up his name, or his right to his kingdom, even if it is the safest option. It certainly feels like an arrogant choice, but Theon has so little left of himself that all he seems to want is for his birth right to be recognized. Heâ€™s ironborn and a Greyjoy. As kind as the Starks were to him, he will never feel whole until he goes back to place he was taken from.
The Iron Islands is scene to one of the two power-changing assassination that happened in â€œHome.â€ With Balon Greyjoy killed by his estranged brother, the landscape is open to a new leader, whether that person is Yara, Theon, or someone else. When Yara tries to claim the throne, sheâ€™s told a kingsmoot, or a what can be considered a kind of electoral council, will choose the new leader, but it isnâ€™t as simple as that. Balonâ€™s death is orchestrated, and not by the divine, unless you considerÂ Euron Greyjoy divine. Heâ€™s a man who gleefully dismisses the Drowned God, announcing, â€œI donâ€™t mock the Drowned God. I am the Drowned Godâ€¦When men see my sails, they pray.â€ By killing Balon, he is the one manipulating the power structure of his rightful house, not destiny.
Similarly, Winterfell has turned upside down with the murder of Roose Bolton at the hand of Ramsay Bolton. Ramsayâ€™s only motivation is to maintain status within the Bolton line. He finally found his home when his father gave him his last name, and nothing will stop him from keeping his position. Somehow, the cruelty that lives inside of Ramsay is still jarring. But itâ€™s all for a greater goal for him, and heâ€™s the only one that can control his future. So Roose has to die. And Lady Walda. And his new brother. By dogs or otherwise. Considering his failure at capturing Sansa and Theon, Ramsayâ€™s only other option is being cast out of his house. Unfortunately for him, it seems his fatherâ€™s parting words will most likely come true if he tries to storm Castle Black. â€œIf you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, youâ€™ll be treated as a mad dog. Taken out back and slaughtered for pig feed.â€
And then of course we have Jon Snow. Jon never belonged, not in Winterfell, not North of The Wall, not even at Castle Black. But he was the true commander and Davos has taken it upon himself to make sure Jon Snow comes back to command. Weâ€™ve saw reference to the Lord of Lightâ€™s followers capabilities for resurrection back in season three, when Arya meets Beric Dondarrion, who has died a thousand times, but is brought back to life by Thoros, a red priest. Melisandre doesnâ€™t think she can raise the dead, and that it should never have been possible. And although she doesnâ€™t actually know she succeeded, she brings Jon back with utter grit for someone who has no faith, no path, no place. And so, as many predicted (though I was very skeptical until the moment it happened), we closed this episode with Jon Snow waking up from the dead, in an empty room, with only his direwolf at his side, leaving open the option to fulfill the vision MelisandreÂ had of him leading the battle, and winning the war.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
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