Well, the cat’s out of the bag then. Yep, Jon Snow is alive, and death hasn’t changed him: he’s still morose, and he’s still miserable.
“I did what I thought was right and I got murdered for it” he moans to his mate Edd. Join the queue Jon Snow – behind Ned Stark, Robb, Stannis Baratheon, Doran Martell et al. Still, he’s back, and now he’s got his revenge on his conspirators (goodbye Alliser Thorne – another Season One survivor bites the dust) he’s off to parts new.
Exactly where he’s going isn’t stated, but it’ll be interesting to see him in a different location. He’s fulfilled his vows to the Night’s Watch down to the letter, and now he’s off – where he will presumably bump heads with the newly empowered Ramsay Bolton, who now has the returning Rickon Stark and Osha in his clutches.
As happy as we are to see Natalie Tena back as our favourite wildling, we can’t help but fear for her – exactly what use is she to Ramsay alive, especially now his father isn’t around to curb his wilder tendencies (not that he ever did a particularly good job of this anyway)? Still, any joy we felt at her return was quickly stamped all over by the revelation that Shaggydog had been killed. That’s three direwolves down.
But the highlight of the episode has to be Bran Stark’s latest flashback scene, which fans will recognise as Ned Stark’s assault on the Tower of Joy to rescue his sister Lyanna after the defeat of Aerys ‘The Mad King’ Targaryen. Unfortunately, it’s guarded by two of the most formidable members of the Kingsguard, one of which is Ser Arthur Dayne, who quickly solidifies his reputation by making short work of his foes even when it’s him versus four – only a sly knife in the shoulder from Howland Reed (Meera and Jojen’s dad) ultimately stopping him.
Annoyingly, we don’t get further confirmation of THAT fan theory, but it does show Ned in a different light: for while he apparently prized his honour above everything, he didn’t extend that to his own family, ruthlessly finishing Dayne off after Howland had sneaked up on him. Looks like Bran will have a few more illusions shattered.
The rest of the scenes are of varying importance, but they showcase a similar thing: the browbeaten getting back up again. Arya regains her sight, Cersei starts to get some of her old swagger back, and even Tommen gets some cajones. Solid week all round.