8 talking points from Game of Thrones 6.02 ‘Homeward Bound’
Considering the let down that ‘The Red Woman’ was, nobody really expected the tour de force that was Game of Thrones‘ second episode ‘Homeward Bound’. It moved forward the action at an acceptable rate, confirmed fan theories and set Twitter wild. From Bran’s visions to the resurrection of Jon Snow, here are eight talking points from ‘Homeward Bound’:
1. Hodor was once able to speak, and knew Lyanna
An early surprise reveal is that simple stableboy Hodor was once able to speak more than just his name. Bran witnesses a vision of the past where Lyanna and Ned suggest Hodor – real name Wyllis – spar against their little brother Benjen for training.
The A Song of Ice and Fire novels confirm that Hodor wasn’t always incapable of normal speech, but just as elusive as to the reason why. Could Bran and Hodor’s stories reveal a chilling parallel? Bran, after all, was crippled after seeing something he shouldn’t have seen – the naked antics of Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister – in season one. Perhaps Hodor saw something he shouldn’t and was rendered incapable of talking about it. Perhaps the sister Ned rarely talked about – Lyanna – was involved.
2. Bran will leave the Three Eyed Raven, and Meera must help him
Where Bran can go next after his training is still a mystery. Bran remains unable to walk, and the Three-Eyed-Raven has confirmed he will never walk again. It would seem much safer to warg into his visions from the safety of the Three-Eyed-Raven’s cave, rather than venture out into the harsh climate of Westeros. Book fans have even questioned if he will ever leave.
Fortunately, a child of the forest cleared up the speculation on Bran’s future in conversation with a depressed Meera. Bran will leave this place, she says, and Meera will be important after he does so. Where are Bran, Meera and presumably Hodor heading off to next? Perhaps to visit a resurrected Jon at the wall?
3. Can Ramsay really unite the Northern Houses?
We’ve seen Ramsay’s powers of persuasion first hand, and they usually involve sadistic torture and/or brutal murder. His skills may be effective when dealing with Theon Greyjoy, but hardly a technique likely to win the allegiance of the Northern Houses he wants to rule over.
Can Ramsay maintain the grip of his calculated father? He is less disciplined and less predictable than Roose, and it seems unlikely prominent families would want to rally behind a hated madman.
Ramsay believes he has the Karstarks, Umbers and Manderlys on side – and Lord Karstark’s nonchalant reaction to the murder of Roose seems to suggest he at least approves – but will they stay on side during Ramsay’s reign of terror and impulsive battle tactics? And what of the other families Ramsay has not convinced?
4. Is Tommen becoming the new Joffrey?
Tommen revealed some troubling thoughts to mother Cersei in ‘Homeward Bound’ before asking her to help him be strong. Cersei’s idea of strong is destroying her enemies in an efficient fashion, so will we see a change in Tommen after all?
Cersei is now convinced that Tommen will die as per the prophecy she learnt as a little girl, will this infuse her with a sense of hopelessness? Will she try to protect him, or retreat further inside herself as she accepts the fate of her youngest? What if Cersei murders Tommen to have some semblance of control over the death of her child? She could guarantee a quick, kind death the way the world of Westeros would not.
5. Who is Euron Greyjoy?
The brother of Ironborn King Balon received a rushed introduction in ‘Homeward Bound’, belittling his brother and coming across as a bit of a religious nut before shoving Balon off a bridge in a storm.
The death means the Ironborn must elect a new leader in a ceremony known as the ‘Kingsmoot’. Theon’s sister Yara will be campaigning for the honour, and surely Euron will now be too – once he decides to reveal himself to the peoples. We know little about Euron so far, apart from his fratricidal tendencies, so what could his agenda be? There’s also a third brother in the novels – Victarion – will he be showing up in the series or has he been cut out completely?
6. Tyrion’s connection to the dragons
Some people are desperate to talk about Tyrion’s apparent connection with the dragons, especially since book fans will know that Viserion and Rhaegal made a quick barbecue of the character who tried to feed them in ASOIAF. A simple answer could be that Tyrion is smart enough to demonstrate to the dragons – also smart – that he means no harm and he is an ally of Danaerys.
It could also be – as some have speculated wildly – that the dragons sensed Tyrion had Targaryen blood and thus trusted him. The theory is that Tyrion is the bastard son of Joanna Lannister and the mad king Aerys Targaryen, after Joanna visited Aerys nine months before Tyrion’s birth. It was made all the more convincing a theory by Tyrion’s tear-jerker story about a little boy who wanted a dragon, which was either heavy foreshadowing or a mega red herring. Fans have also pointed out that Tyrion knows how to custom-make saddles, as we witnessed in season one.
7. Did Melisandre really resurrect Jon?
Was it really Melisandre’s elaborate prayer and ritual that brought Jon back from the dead? It seemed long-winded, and also like it wasn’t working at the start. Some fans have speculated that it was not the prayer that resurrected Jon Snow but Melisandre losing all hope and uttering the word “please”.
Others have suggested that Jon spent the entire ‘dead’ period in the body of his direwolf Ghost, who awoke from his sleep moments before Jon gave a gasp of breath for life. They believe that he possesses the same mind-controlling abilities as his brother Bran, though they are less developed. This doesn’t really explain why Ghost seemed perfectly normal in ‘The Red Woman’, and relies on the fact that Melisandre brought his body back to life in order for Jon to switch back into it. While Jon can warg in the books, he has not shown any ability to do so in the TV show – but it’s always a possibility.
8. Will the resurrected Jon Snow be the same man who died?
Here’s the big question poised by ‘Homeward Bound’. We caught a fleeting glimpse of Snow brought back to life, but has a trip to the afterlife changed the Night’s Watch Lord Commander? I’m thinking about the mental trauma suffered by Buffy Summers after her friends foolishly resurrected her from the dead. We don’t know what happens after you die in Game of Thrones, but there’s no guarantee the Jon Snow who has returned is the same honourable spirit we came to love in the first five seasons.
Even if he is still the same person at heart, the experience of his murder will certainly have had an impact on him. His men mutinied against him and stabbed him repeatedly. It’s not something that will be easy to forget, and one might suggest that this new Snow will be more brutal and vicious as a result. Thorne looks certain to meet his maker, and we all wish bad things to happen to Olly.