We’re aware that we have included the word ‘spoilers’ when describing this review, but even with this insurance we don’t want to give away the ending of ‘Home’. So we won’t. There, we said it.
Meanwhile, Season 6’s second episode continues in much the same vein as last week: moving the chess pieces into position in anticipation of the more important events to come, albeit doing so in a bloody and haphazard way. This is chess with an R-rating.
Inevitably, this means we say goodbye to a few familiar characters. First up is Roose Bolton – a disappointment, since he’d grown on us, but unsurprising considering that the promotional material had all but given this away by showing Ramsay at the head of the Bolton army rather than his father.
Ah, Ramsay. The little psychopath is clearly being sold as this season’s big bad, and what better way to do so than by having him not only murder his own father, but also have his step-mum and half-brother brutally dispatched too. At this point, the darker-than-darkly comic jester of previous years has been left behind: now he has real power, and knowing what he has planned, the Night’s Watch should be very afraid indeed.
Also on the way out is Balon Greyjoy, who goes out in much the same way as he did in the books – although while it was left vague there, his assailant is confirmed as none other than his brother, Euron. Coming across as an older Theon in terms of mannerisms bravado (only this time with the chops to actually back it up), he’s another who has big things expected of him this year, although he’ll have to get past Yara first, who makes a welcome return in this episode.
Elsewhere, everything else is fairly by the numbers. A rote scene designed to move Theon along takes place; Tyrion somehow doesn’t get eaten by Daenerys’ dragons, and we get our first glimpse at what Ser Robert Strong can do. You don’t want to make him angry.
Yet all this fades against the episode’s highlights: the returning Bran getting a glimpse into the past at Winterfell in happier times (Young Ned! Young Lyanna! Young Benjen! Young… Hodor?), and all the continuing intrigue at the Wall, the best bit being the triumphant return of Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun (to be honest we just wanted to type his name). To find out why else this episode will linger in the memory, you’ll just have to watch it.