Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven stand at the balcony where his father and mother stood in the first episode seeing two boys spar with each other with wooden swords and shields. One of the boys is addressed as Ned by the Master-At-Arms, who commends him for his movement. Ned meanwhile tells Benjen that he should be careful using his shield. Bran smiles when he realizes that he is seeing his father's childhood, noting how happy he was. The Three-Eyed Raven notes that Bran himself had a happy childhood, but stops when he turns around to see his young charge walk below to the courtyard. As Bran walks nearer to Ned and Benjen, he hears the sounds of a horse marching into the courtyard, as do Ned and Benjen. They turn around to see a young girl with long brown hair and a brown tunic enter the courtyard and circle the boys. Ned calls out to Lyanna and tells her to stop showing off. Bran is amazed to finally glimpse his aunt, the one who he had only ever known as a statue in a crypt, who his father never discussed once. Lyanna drops down in the middle of Ned and Benjen's sparring session, to Little Benjen's irritation. Lyanna wonders who he'll spar with when Ned is off to the Eyrie as a ward of Jon Arryn. Ned and Lyanna turn around and seem to look straight at Bran, much to his shock, however they were looking at the boy behind him— a stable boy called Wyllis, who Bran recognizes as Hodor. Benjen is shocked at the size of Wyllis, noting that he has Giant blood and he's a little boy; Ned says that this is all the more incentive for him to hold his shield well. Lyanna walks to Wyllis and talks to him, surprising Bran even more than before with the revelation that Hodor was once a normal boy capable of normal speech. Lyanna tells him to hold the shield and how to spar while Wyllis tells her that he knows what to do. As Wyllis marches forth to spar with Ned and Benjen, a not-so-Old Nan appears and carries Wyllis away by his ear, telling him to leave the fighting to little lords. Ned notes that with proper training Wylis will be unstoppable, but Nan insists that Wyllis will remain a stable boy.
The Three-Eyed Raven tells Bran that it's time to go, but Bran wants to say. The Raven then grabs his wrist and plugs them back to the Present. Bran complains that whenever the raven shows him something he finds interesting, he brings him back. The raven tells him that the more he stays in the past, the greater the risk that he lose all direction and remain stuck there. Bran then looks at Hodor and calls him Wyllis. Hodor however refuses to respond to that and merely says "Hodor!" Bran then notes that Meera is missing from the cave: Leaf, a Child of the Forest, tells him she's outside.
Meera Reed stands seated outside the cave staring moodily at the sunset, still mourning Jojen's death from Season 4's finale. Bran is carried by Hodor to the entrance where he finds Meera. He tells her it's not safe outside and that she should get back in. Meera says gloomily that it's not safe anywhere. Bran tries to tell her the cool vision he had about Hodor's secret origin, but Meera wonders how useful or relevant these and other visions are. Bran, realizing that he's losing, signals to Hodor who drags him back into the cave. Meera is left alone, but finds Leaf spying on her. Leaf tells Meera that Brandon Stark needs her. Meera wonders why, since all she does in the cave is sit there while he has his visions. Leaf insists he won't be in the cave forever, and when they leave, he'll need Meera.
We return to Castle Black. It's night, and the deadline offered by Ser Alliser Thorne for "safe passage" has drawn to a close. Ser Alliser insists for one last time that he's really, totally, good for it. The Night's Watchmen inside will be spared and welcomed back into the fold. Ser Davos will go South, and they plan to release the direwolf North of the Wall from where it came from. Ser Davos and the loyalists steel themselves with their swords held high. Ghost growls at the door before his master's body, with his teeth bared. Ser Davos then moves towards the scabbard of Longclaw and unsheaths the Valyrian blade and joins the loyalists by the door. At the sound of the blades unsheathed and drawn, Ser Alliser signals his men to charge at the door with the axe to break it down. A big showdown is in the air, and both sides wait on either side of the door for the battle. Suddenly, a huge noise draws everyone's attention away just as the axe creates an opening in the door.
Someone is knocking on the gate of Castle Black. Someone huge.
The Night's Watch guardsmen turn their weapons to the South in panic, and realize too late that Castle Black is undefended on the South Side. With great force, Wun Wun the Giant breaks through the door. Through the wreckage, a legion of Wildlings march in, led by Tormund Giantsbane and accompanied by Dolorous Edd. The watchmen freeze up at the realization they are greatly outnumbered, their bows and swords pointed but unmoving. Both sides face each other in a standoff. One Night's Watchman marches forth and ends up swiftly dispatched by Tormund. Ser Alliser orders his men to fight but nobody else seems to follow his orders, discipline entirely collapsing with the shocking belated realization that Jon Snow and Thorne had already let the Wildlings south of the Wall. A crossbowman on the rampart above the gate aims at Wun Wun when his back is turned to him. He fires at his shoulder, but it barely makes a dent. The Giant turns around, marches to the elevated platform and picks up the guard like a kid removing a doll from a shelf. With one hand, Wun Wun smashes him against the wall, splattering blood against it and the yard on impact and then throwing him away like a ragdoll. At this, every other Night's Watch conspirator lays down their arms and surrenders. Ser Alliser and Olly and some others still hold their swords, even if the others lay down their arms.
Ser Alliser declares Dolorous Edd a traitor. Edd reminds him and everyone else in the yard that the only traitors are those who betrayed their elected Lord Commander. Ser Davos and the other loyalists step out of the office now that the Castle has been retaken from the mutineers. Angry, Ser Alliser tells everyone that for thousands of years the Night's Watch preserved the realm from the Wildlings. "Until you", taunts Tormund. At this, Olly screams a battle cry and charges forward but is caught and disarmed before he even reaches Tormund. Ser Alliser and the other traitors are physically restrained, and Dolorous Edd orders the scum to be rounded up and sent to the cells. The traitors stupid mutiny failed in one day! Tormund and Edd enter Jon Snow's office: Tormund sighs as he glimpses Snow's body, noting that they need to cremate him.
At King's Landing, a Lower-Class Lout is commanding an audience on the street, relating to everyone Cersei's unforgettable Walk of Shame. He makes snide references to Cersei's breasts and boasts about flashing himself to her. Later he is alone in the corner in a thin corridor by the side of the street. A big shadow looms over him as he relieves himself, only to turn abruptly in the middle of his business to face the newest member of the Kingsguard, the Knight formerly known as Gregor Clegane. After a small pause, Strong bashes the man's skull against the wall with a single punch from his giant armour plated fist, leaving the man a ruined corpse. In her private quarters at The Red Keep, Cersei stares at the city below resting at the Great Sept of Baelor across her view, the site of her greatest humiliation. The Mountain enters her quarters and Cersei stares at him and notes the bloodstains on her armour. She is not in the least bit surprised and she and her Giant Mook march out of the room with Strong trailing her. Cersei means to attend Myrcella's funeral at the Great Sept but she is stopped before she leaves the castle by a retinue of Lannister Knights, they tell her that the King explicitly insisted she remain confined to the castle for her own protection. Cersei insists that she has a right to attend her daughter's funeral but even if they are leery at the Mountain, the Knights stick to their orders and Cersei, having grown cautious, decides to pick her battles another day and walks back inside the castle.
At The Great Sept of Baelor, King Tommen and Ser Jaime Lannister, his "uncle", stand vigil over Myrcella's body laid on the same pedestal as her brother Joffrey in Season 4, and her grandfather Tywin in Season 5. The funeral eyestones crafted by Trystane are placed atop her eyelids. Tommen asks Jaime if they found out who killed Trystane. Jaime says that they don't have a real idea who did it. Tommen wonders if his mother ordered it out of revenge for Myrcella. Jaime is surprised at hearing this, noting that this is not something Cersei did or was capable of doing considering she was confined at the Red Keep at Tommen's command no less. Jaime then chides Tommen for not allowing Cersei to see Myrcella but Tommen says he did it for her own protection. Tommen then launches into a desperate monologue about how he's been a failure as a king. He didn't do anything when Margaery was arrested, and nothing when his mother was arrested and humiliated. A king is supposed to protect his people but he can't even protect his family. Jaime lays a hand on his shoulder and tells him to go see Cersei and ask her for forgiveness. At this moment the High Sparrow enters the room and greets the King and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. King Tommen demands to see Margaery but the Sparrow insists that the Queen must confess to her crimes and seek forgiveness from the gods. And even the King must wait in line before the judgment of the gods. Jaime looks at the Sparrow with increasing rage, and he tells Tommen to go see his mother.
As Tommen leaves, Jaime notes that the Sparrow is a bold man. The Sparrow replies that he's not really as courageous, he has the same fears as the rest. He then reflects on the many aspects of the Seven and on seeing Myrcella's body, he digresses on the funeral eyestones noting that it's a symbol of Don't Fear the Reaper, that one closes one's eyes in this world and opens it in the next. "You must really love the next life," sneers Jaime and remarks that he humiliated his sister. The Sparrow says it was not intended to humiliate her, she confessed her sins and the Walk was simply her act of atonement before the gods. Jaime then asks why the Sparrow doesn't do anything about Jaime's sins. He has murdered his King, killed his cousin Alton Lannister, and, most brazenly, he confesses to releasing Tyrion, adjudged guilty before the Gods after his champion lost his Trial by Combat. He then moves his left hand to his sword hilt. The High Sparrow asks if Jaime will spill blood in the holy place. Jaime replies that the gods won't mind since they kill more people than everyone combined. The Sparrow then shows real boldness by telling Jaime to Get It Over With, noting that he deserves death as much as anyone, that Humans Are Bastards and that they only live thanks to the Mother's Mercy. However, Jaime also notices a retinue of sparrows surrounding the heptagonal chamber. Jaime tells the Sparrow that they need to be closer if their intention is to save the leader. The High Sparrow admits that they'll never reach him by the time Jaime kills him, and what would that accomplish anyway. The High Sparrow is a nobody, poor, without name or family, not any more special than the other Sparrows, who are far larger in number, and together, they can overthrow the Empire. With another passive-agressive intimidation session ended, the Sparrow ascends out of the central pit, with Jaime not halting him in any way.
At Cersei's quarters, Tommen meets his mother and apologizes for barring her from seeing Myrcella's body. Cersei doesn't look at Tommen at first, merely staring at the Great Sept coldly. Tommen then confesses tearfully that he's weak and that he's failed to protect the family. Now he asks for Cersei's help. Cersei finally turns back and hugs her son.
In Meereen, Dany's Small Council exchanges a series of grim reports. They have no idea who burnt the fleet in the previous episode. Outside Meereen, Astapor and Yunkai have completely fallen to the deposed masters, and slavery has returned. Meereen is the only abolitionist city in Slaver's Bay in the wake of Daenerys' absence. Tyrion clamors for some good news and asks about the dragons. Missandei informs him they are chained below and when they last checked, the dragons were starving themselves and refusing to eat. Tyrion listens as Grey Worm and Missandei tell him about the dragons' history and behavior. When they finish, Tyrion then states that the dragons are their best hope and it's important to unchain and feed them. He tells them what he knows from reading about dragons. The first dragons under Aegon the Conqueror grew to giant size, but the later dragons were bred in captivity and grew smaller and smaller until the last dragons were no bigger than a cat. He believes that the dragons need to be unchained from their cell below the pyramid and that there are other ways of taming them. They are intelligent creatures, if what he read in his books is correct.
Varys and Tyrion then walk to the dragon pit carrying torches, and enter the cave. Tyrion walks alone into the dark, only hesitating slightly from what is undoubtedly the riskiest stunt he has ever pulled. Out of the dark the dragons, sensing Tyrion, move forward. One of them, Rhaegal, opens his mouth wide and illuminates the cave with the blue flame burning in his throat. Tyrion gazes down and somehow holds his nerve, laying down the torch to the floor and walking forward to the two chained dragons. He tells them that he's a friend of their mother, even putting his hand on their skin, silent in awe. He then does what he does best.
He talks to the dragons.
Almost like telling them a bedtime story, he discusses how as a boy, a little dwarf, he had yearned for dragons. He asked one of his uncles to get him one, but he only made himself the family laughing stock with his impossible fancies, with his father disabusing him of any hopes that dragons were real. "But now," Tyrion says, "I know otherwise." He then reaches his hand to Viserion's neck and removes the shackle from his neck, freeing him. The dragon roars happily. Tyrion is thrilled that he's not burned for his mad act of benevolence and backs away, only to bump into Rhaegal who roars at him and then indicates his neck collar. Tyrion obliges and the two Dragons slink back to the dark, cuddling each other. While Tyrion walks out of the tomb with Varys, he orders the eunuch to punch him in the face the next time he thinks of doing something that insane.
We return to Braavos, where a blind Arya Stark is still begging with her bowl. The Waif returns again and it's Training from Hell time again. This time Arya puts up more of a fight than last time. But the Waif still gets several hits on her. Arya is more fierce and desperate this time, and flails like a girl at the end of her tether. "Jaqen H'ghar" finally catches her and halts her with his voice. He calmly asks the girl who she is-Arya replies "No one". "Jaqen" tests her, telling that all she has to do is say who she is, and she can 1) be brought back inside the House of Black and White, 2) be fed and finally 3) have her sight restored. Arya insists she is "No one" each time. "Jaqen" smiles and then tells her that he'll let her back in. As they are walking away, Arya hobbles her way back to her begging spot seeking her bowl, but "Jaqen" tells her to leave it, she's not going to be a beggar anymore.
We go to Winterfell in the present day, still under Bolton occupation. In Roose's chambers, Lord Harald Karstark confirms that the party Ramsay dispatched to capture Sansa and Theon were found dead in the snow by his soldiers accompanying him on his visit to Winterfell. Ramsay shrugs and says that she had help. Roose sneers at this obvious remark, noting that he didn't think Sansa Stark killed half a dozen men on her own. Ramsay then shrugs saying that they know she's heading to Castle Black so let's just storm the Castle, which is undefended from the South, march in and murder Jon Snow. Roose is appalled at the idea of assassinating the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, a bastion of Northern tradition which would pretty much make it clear to everyone, if they ever had any doubt, that the Boltons were upending the order of the North, which would turn most of the North against them. Ramsay then states that they don't need most of the North as long as they have an alliance of the Karstarks, the Umbers and the Manderlys, who have more troops then the rest of the North put together. Harald Karstark chips in, stating that they are totally with the Boltons, since Robb Stark killed his father and they think the North is ready for new blood. Roose walks away from his desk and tells Ramsay that if a mad dog gets sick the only thing to do is to take it out back and feed it to the pigs. At that moment, Maester Wolkan enters the room with joyous news: Lady Walda has given birth to a healthy baby boy! Roose on hearing this responds with an imitation of a smile and looks at Ramsay's response. Ramsay takes a moment to digest this and congratulates his father. Roose reassures his former bastard that "he'll always be the firstborn." Touched, Ramsay thanks him for these kind words...
To the shock of the Maester, but the indifference of Lord Karstark, the Warden of the North collapses to the floor as Ramsay wipes the blood from his knife. He instructs the Maester to send word that Lord Bolton has been killed: "poisoned by their enemies." He also asks to send for Lady Walda and the baby. In the courtyard, Ramsay feigns joy at seeing his new brother. Walda, still not catching on about how crazy he is, willingly follows him to meet with Roose. In the kennels. While Ramsay unlocks the cages. Unnerved, she asks where Lord Bolton is, while Ramsay says that he is now Lord Bolton. Too late, she begs to be let go; she'll return to the Riverlands and never trouble him again. But that's not good enough for the Bastard of House Bolton. She tries to appeal by saying that she's holding his brother. "I prefer being an only child," replies Ramsay. With a whistled command, the hounds dash out of their kennels and proceed to have quite a feast while Ramsay watches.
Far in the North, near The Wolfswood, Sansa, Theon, Podrick and Brienne are rested at a small camp. Brienne updates Sansa on Arya's last known location. Sansa asks how she looked, and Brienne tells her that she looked good but she did not dress like a noblewoman. Sansa smiles in recognition at this, accepting that it was definitely her sister that Brienne met. She tells Brienne that she's sorry she turned her offer down when she and Baelish ran into her at the Inn last year. Brienne demurs, saying it was a hard choice for her, and then turns to Theon gathering wood. We all have to make hard choices, she notes. Brienne then turns to Sansa and asks her what happened at Winterfell, to which Sansa stays silent and refuses to answer. She walks to Theon, who complains to her about Pod's campfire, noting that it risks attracting attention. As they talk, Theon doesn't share in Sansa's happiness about going back to Castle Black, noting that Jon will want him dead. Sansa says she will appeal for him and tell Jon he didn't kill Bran and Rickon. But Theon insists that it just doesn't excuse the two farmer's children he murdered, and betraying Robb, and that what he has done is unforgivable. Sansa suggests joining the Night's Watch as atonement, but Theon doesn't want to be forgiven. He then tells Sansa that he can't be with her, and that he should leave, though he would have liked to have accompanied her to Castle Black. He tells her he's going "home". They hug and part ways, with Theon satisfied that Sansa has Brienne and Pod as escort to take her to Castle Black.
After an absence of three seasons we return once again to Pyke, in the presence of Balon Greyjoy, self-proclaimed King of the Iron Islands and the last of the original five kings claimant in the recent war. Yara tells Balon that the Ironborn have lost their last holdout in the North: Deepwood Motte has been reclaimed by the Glovers, and the Ironborn who have held it have fallen in battle. Balon sulks on hearing this. Yara then wonders about the futility of their entire rebellion. The Ironborn are naval raiders with little experience as a land army, lacking the numbers and supplies to properly garrison and hold defenses in the many Northern forts they have occupied, and with little in the way of grand strategy other than raiding and pillaging while the main Northern host is down South. Now that they have returned home, the Ironborn has inevitably lost and have nothing to show for themselves. Balon states that it was not his fault, that things would have been fine if some people (Theon and Yara) didn't go gallivanting on pointless endeavours that cost extra manpower. Besides, it's only a setback. "What is dead may never die!" Yara points out that the Ironborn did die in the North. Balon dismisses her comments and tells her that they will go North again because he commanded it, and if Yara has a problem... well he's not too old, he can still make new heirs.
Balon then walks out of his room and goes to one of the many bridges connecting the many towers of Pyke, a fortress built on cliffs over a lagoon dotted with jagged rocks. A storm is raging across the night as Balon crosses the ricketty bridge over a raging sea. As he is reaching midway, Balon pauses, noting someone at the other side of the bridge. A hooded figure walks forward, and Balon demands to know who he is. He finally removes his hood, and Balon recognizes him as his brother Euron. Balon wonders what brought his brother back home. Last he heard he was still sailing and pillaging ships on some foreign shores. Euron replies "What is dead may never die!" and smirks when he realizes that Balon didn't respond to this invocation. Balon notes that his brother never cared for the Ironborn traditions and even now is unrepentant, mocking the ideas and beliefs of the Drowned God. Euron however insists that he doesn't mock the Drowned God— He is the Drowned God.
Balon grows appalled at this blasphemy. He then relates an anecdote that Euron apparently ordered his crew to tie him to the Mast while sailing over the Jade Sea because he was afraid that he'd jump over. After surviving that ordeal, he then cut out the tongues of his crew. Euron smiles. "I needed silence". Balon draws closer to Euron, noting that no true Ironborn would lose their mind in the storm, conveniently unaware that Balon is holding the support of the railing while Euron is walking forth firm and composed, indifferent to the wind rocking the bridge. Euron tells his brother that "I am the Storm, brother. The first storm and the last. And you're in my way." At this, Balon unsheathes a knife and rushes at Euron, but his brother is too quick and he hurls Balon off the railings and sends him falling to the sea, his body going beneath the waves to the Drowned God. Euron stands back and looks below and then holds his cheek, noting that his brother made a small cut in his final lunge. He laughs. Balon died as he lived: with a great deal of effort and bluster, but leaving a small mark before sinking into the void.
The next morning, a retinue of Ironborn is preparing the funeral of Balon Greyjoy. His death is still a mystery, though Yara suspects foul play. Aeron Greyjoy, brother to Balon and Euron, officiates the funeral rites and commends Balon's body to the Sea, floating over a paddle of driftwood and net. Yara then swears on the Salt Throne that she will avenge her father, but Aeron calls her out, noting that the Throne is not hers to swear on. That depends on the election of the Kingsmoot. Besides, even if she is a woman, if she truly thinks her claim is right, all she has to do is convince the Ironborn to elect a Queen for the first time in their history.
We return again to Castle Black. The Red Woman, now back to her youthful appearance, continues to have her crisis of faith. She's met by Ser Davos. In a reverse of his earlier skepticism, the Onion Knight asks there's anything she can do for Jon Snow. She recounts how she once met a Red Priest who could resurrect the dead, but she doesn't believe she has the power. Naturally, it won't hurt to try.
In the presence of Ser Davos, Ghost, Edd, and Tormund, Melisandre snips away pieces of Jon's curly hair, throwing them into a fire. She cleans his wounds as best she can. Placing her hands on his naked body, she chants the words to restore life to him. After several tense moments, the Lord Commander is still stiff as a board. She shakes her head. Tormund scoffs and leaves. Mel also walks out, despondent over her failure to even raise someone from the dead, and Edd follows after. After a moment of contemplation, Ser Davos also leaves, with only Ghost to watch over his dead master.
To the gentle sound of a crackling fire, Ghost rests easy next to his body, being the first direwolf to outlive his Stark master. Then, something grabs his attention and he raises his head up.
On the table, the body of Ned Stark's bastard, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, suddenly gasps for air, eyes opened wide in astonishment.
This episode contains the following tropes:
- Actually, I Am Him:Walda: Where is Lord Bolton?
Ramsay: I am Lord Bolton.
- Adaptation Name Change: For some reason, Yara swears by the "Salt Throne" rather than the "Seastone Chair" or even the "driftwood crown" that would be more in keeping with the books.
- Hodor's real name is revealed to be Wyllis; in the books, it was mentioned that his real name was Walder, though none of the characters were really sure.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Roose Bolton. He keeps practicing his relatively reasonable class of Pragmatic Villainy until the end, and is killed by a much worse villain, making his demise somewhat sympathetic, especially because his last words were "you will always be my firstborn." Whether he was trying to reassure Ramsay that he was not going to be disinherited, or whether he was trying to protect his wife and newborn by suggesting they were no threat to Ramsay, either way he dies during a Pet the Dog moment.
- All There in the Manual: The recap in the show's official viewer's guide reveals that the Drowned Man conducting Balon's funeral is Aeron Greyjoy, who had been Adapted Out in Season 2. Promo pics for episode 6.3 outright label him as "Aeron Greyjoy".
- Alternate Animal Affection: The first thing Viserion and Rhaegal do once their annoying chains are out of the way is to cuddle.
- Art Evolution: The prosthetics and CGI for the Children of the Forest have been drastically upgraded since they first appeared in the Season 4 finale.
- Ascended Fanboy: It turns out Tyrion longed for a dragon when he was a child, and was utterly heartbroken when Tywin bluntly told him dragons had been extinct for a century. When he goes down into the cellar to release Viserion and Rhaegal, he's understandably petrified but also utterly elated that, holy hells, he's actually petting a dragon.
- Asshole Victim:
- The vulgar man killed by The Mountain for insulting Cersei. Admittedly, he was quite humorous.
- Balon Greyjoy returns as callous, belligerent and unreasonable as ever, and is immediately killed in the next scene. He will not be missed very much.
- For many, Roose Bolton is this, since he betrayed the Starks (and personally killed Robb) to further his own ambition. Still, it's downplayed in his case, since while it's hard to be outright sad about his death, the fact that he was killed by somebody even worse also makes it difficult to feel truly satisfied by it.
- Back for the Dead: Balon Greyjoy returns after sitting out 2 seasons, only to be killed in the scene following his re-introduction.
- Back from the Dead: Jon Snow is risen from the dead.
- Badass Boast:
- Euron gives two: "I am the Drowned God. From Oldtown to Qarth, whenever men see my sails, they pray." and seconds later "I am the storm, brother. The first storm, and the last."
- From the High Sparrow: "We have no names, no family. Every one of us is poor and powerless. And yet together, we can overthrow an empire."
- Bait-and-Switch: It briefly seems like Bran really is physically in the past, until he realizes Lyanna was talking to someone behind him.
- Be All My Sins Remembered:Sansa: We just have to make it to Castle Black. Once we're with Jon, Ramsay won't be able to touch us.
Theon: Jon would have me killed the moment I stepped through the gate.
Sansa: I won't let him. I'll tell him the truth about Bran and Rickon.
Theon: And the truth about the farm boys I killed in their place? And the truth about Sir Rodrick who I beheaded? And the truth about Robb who I betrayed?
Sansa: When you take the Black, all your crimes are forgiven.
Theon: I don't want to be forgiven. I can't even make amends to your family for the things I've done.
- Belated Backstory: There's a flashback to Ned and Lyanna's childhood which also showed the late Ser Roderik and Nan.
- Big Brother Mentor: Ned Stark, being older and a much better fighter than Benjen, finds little challenge and joy in their sparring, but all the same, he's patient and affectionate towards his little brother.
- Big Damn Heroes: Tormund and the wildlings arrive in time to save Ser Davos, Jon's body, and the loyalist Watchmen.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Jaime ends his scene surrounded by the Faith Militant. He notes he has seen worse odds, but that was with his good hand.
- Book-Ends: The episode begins with a Stark (Bran) lying with his eyes open thanks to a magical entity (The Three-Eyed Raven). The episode ends with a Stark (Jon) laying and opening his eyes thanks to a magical entity (Melisandre).
- The Bus Came Back: After being absent in Season Five, Bran, Hodor, Meera and the Greyjoys return.
- But I Read a Book About It: Tyrion enlightens his new companions on his knowledge of dragons. His education on history leads him to release the two they have so they will eat. Thankfully for him he doesn't make out as bad as others on the trope pages.
- During Cersei's walk of shame, a man exposed himself to her. This episode, a man boasting of having done that — played by a different actor — is killed by the undead Gregor Clegane.
- Lord Karstark refers to when Robb chopped off his father's head. Any lingering loyalty they had to the Starks died that day.
- Sansa suggests to Theon that he take the black, just as Maester Luwin had done.
- Theon recaps the atrocities he committed when he occupied Winterfell for the Ironborn several seasons ago.
- Melisandre brings up how she met Beric Dondarrion, who she still says shouldn't have been possible for Thoros to bring back to life.
- A nicely subtle one: Jon's resurrection is preceded by Melisandre's blood curse finally being completely fulfilled with Balon's death, foreshadowing that more of her magic might still have some life in it.
- Balon mentions Yara's failed attempt to rescue Theon.
- Brienne tells Sansa how he encountered her sister Arya in "The Children".
- Lyanna enters on a White Stallion and rides in a circle around her brothers, the same stunt Yara did to upstage her brother Theon.
- Jaime brings up that he killed his own cousin (Alton Lannister, whom he killed back in season 2).
- Call-Forward: Young Ned tells young Benjen to keep his shield up, or he'll "ring [his] head like a bell." Much like Jon did last season to Olly (presumably quoting his father).
- Young Lyanna is introduced interrupting her brother's training to show off her superior horseriding skills...just like Arya was introduced breaking into her brother's archery practice to best Bran.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Yara frankly has had enough of Balon's attitude and tells him to his face that the war was a waste and the only thing The Ironborn got from it was pines and rocks and losing men.
- Composite Character: Lord Harald Karstark, whose status as son and heir of Rickard Karstark stems from the novels' Harrion Karstark, while his duplicity and alliance with House Bolton comes from Arnolf Karstark, castellan of Karhold and uncle to the late Rickard.
- Continuity Snarl: Ramsay mentions that Castle Black is defenseless from the south. This is in line with the books, but not the television series. (See the "Adaptation Expansion" entry in the recap for 4x09 for details.)
- Curb-Stomp Battle: As soon as Wun Wun breaks through Castle Black's southern gates and many Wildlings pour in, the Night's Watch traitors are so frozen with fear that they don't dare fight back (likely knowing that any attempt to fight back will result in them all being slaughtered). With the exception of two (due to both suffering from a case of Too Dumb to Live), they all promptly surrender.
- Death of a Child : This is Westeros. Did you really expect Ramsay to allow his baby brother to live?
- Debut Queue: We are finally introduced to Euron Greyjoy, and Lyanna Stark is finally introduced via flashback.
- Devoured by the Horde: With a simple whistle, Ramsay commands his dogs to eat Walda and his baby brother.
- Didn't Think This Through: Alliser Thorne's stupidity comes back to bite him in the ass. He finally remembers far too late that he let the Wildlings through the Wall; they arrive in time to save Davos and those holding out with Jon's body, and their sheer presence before the Night's Watch, with no defenses on the South and the Wall behind them, forces all of them to surrender.
- Disney Villain Death: Balon Greyjoy is pushed by his younger brother Euron off a bridge.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Naturally, Cersei sends her newest Kingsguard to find the lowborn man who showed his genitals to her and then bragged about it in public. Said commoner is swiftly killed by having his head shoved into a wall. Even worse, the man killed wasn't the guy who actually flashed her; he was just a drunken braggart who couldn't even convince his fellow commoners of his acts.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Inverted in a very literal sense; Balon Greyjoy gets dropped off of a bridge by his brother Euron.
- Exact Words: Ramsay wasn't lying when he said that Lord Bolton summoned Lady Walda and her child- the line of succession means that he is Lord Bolton now.
- Fan Disservice: Jon is Naked on Revival, but the scars caused by his multiple stab wounds are highly visible.
- Fanservice: Jon is Naked on Revival with nothing but a carefully-placed Modesty Towel.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Tywin gave Tyrion a reality check as a child for thinking he could have a dragon for his nameday, when at the time dragons had been extinct for about a century and rare, small, and sickly for some time before that.
- Forced Meme: Tyrion's line "I drink and I know things". First they used it in the Season 6 trailer itself. While it was meant to be self-referential many critics felt it was too on the nose by the TV writers - and multiple critics expressed the view that "it was written to be put on a t-shirt". Sure enough, the HBO Store started releasing t-shirts with this line on it the instant this episode aired, long before they could have judged if it gained true memetic status or not. They did use the line months before in the season trailer, but there were similar complaints then, and when actually seen in context it wasn't much better.
- For the Evulz: Walda very believably assures Ramsay that she would leave and stay out of his affairs if he just let her and her newborn son live. Ramsay prefers, well, being Ramsay. And even if his ambition was the main motivation for these particular murders, he could have stuck with a cleaner, more discrete method like poison or a pillow. Walda had just given birth after all, and Westerosi women and their newborns die in childbed all the time. Instead he has them finished off in a really messy, unnecessarily cruel way that will take more effort to conceal.
- Fourth Wall Psych: In-universe. During Bran's flashback, there's a brief moment where it looks like Lyanna is directly addressing him, but she's calling over the stable boy behind him.
- Generation Xerox: Ned's comment that Arya was a lot like her aunt Lyanna is proved to be true, as Bran's flashback shows her as a spirited tomboy who treats lowborn servants like equals.
- A God Am I: Euron gives his brother Balon a Blasphemous Boast when the former declares himself the Drowned God.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Part of the reason the Faith Militant gained power was because the small folk rose up against the mistreatment and neglect caused by the Lannisters. Cersei still thinks it's a good idea to send her personal guard out to murder anyone who mocks her.
- Hope Spot: Subversion. Mel works her magic... and Jon Snow is still dead as a doornail. Luckily, his body just needed a few more seconds to reboot, and he takes his first breath once they all leave the room.
- Hourglass Plot:
- The last time Tormund and Ser Alliser faced each other in the courtyard at Castle Black, Jon Snow, Olly and Edd were fighting alongside Thorne against Tormund and the Wildlings to protect the Watch. This time, Edd and co. summon Tormund to restrain and capture Thorne and Olly to protect the Watch. Both of them have exchanged positions in light of the bigger conflict.
- For most of S2-S3, Ser Davos mocked the fundamentalism of Melisandre and expressed distaste for her magical abilities and was horrified at her shadow baby creations. Now that Melisandre has lost her faith, humbled and declares that Ser Davos is right, the still skeptical Knight calls her magic miracles and encourages her to pull off her greatest trick.
- Hypocrite: Alliser Thorne has the gall to call Dolorous Edd a traitor for cooperating with Wildlings when he murdered the Lord Commander. Edd, of course, immediately calls BS.Edd: The only traitors here are the ones who shoved their knives in the Lord Commander's heart.
- I Am the Trope: Euron Greyjoy gives a two-fer:Euron Greyjoy: I don't mock the Drowned God, I am the Drowned God. From Oldtown to Qarth, when men see my sails, they pray.
Euron Greyjoy: I am the storm. The first storm and the last.
- I Could A Been A Contender: Young Ned suggested that Wylis had a potential to be an Acrofatic Mighty Glacier, if not Lightning Bruiser, and Lyanna saw and encouraged said potential. However, Wylis' guardian, Nan, politely brushes off her little lords' suggestions.
- Ignored Expert: In relation to the above trope, the Starks are a renowned clan of Proud Warrior Race Guys. So if they or at least a member of them say that someone has a potential to be a great warrior, better heed their advice.
- I Knew It!: So far, Jon's resurrection in the novels is only a speculation among fans based on some signs from the novels.
- Important Haircut:
- Downplayed. Some of Jon's beard and hair are cut off so Melisandre can burn them for her resurrection spell.
- Played straight with both Bran and The Tree-Eyed Raven. Both had their hair trimmed considerably with the latter even had his Wizard Beard shaved.
- Inheritance Murder: Ramsay murders his newborn half-brother to eliminate any potential rival to his claim.
- Insane Troll Logic: Balon proclaims himself the winner of the War of the Five Kings because technically the other four have all died by now. Not only was he by far the smallest player in a war in which he didn't actually do anything dangerous by himself, it also becomes obvious that all of his bigger conquests have already been retaken by their original lords. Not to mention he dies about five minutes of screentime later.
- Intellectual Animal: Discussed by Tyrion. Lucky for him, he's actually right, as the two beta dragons allow him in their crypt once they realize he's there to unshackle them.
- It Can Think: Tyrion suggests that the dragons are more intelligent than simple beasts, and goes down to talk to them. It's not clear if they understand what Tyrion says, but they don't hurt him, and Rhaegal calmly offers his neck to Tyrion after he removes Viserion's collar. They also don't hurt Missandei, as she's a friend of their mother.
- GRRM has remarked that dragons are very intelligent, but it's an inscrutable, "alien" sort of intelligence more in tune with magic and nature, difficult for humans to understand. They do things in their own time for their own reasons. Loosely, think of if you try to give an order to a cat and it ignores you - that doesn't mean that cat doesn't recognize (or perhaps even comprehend) your command, it doesn't see the point in going along with it.
- Karmic Death: Roose Bolton, murdered by his son in the exact same way as he had killed Robb Stark. He's the second of the Red Wedding conspirators to die in a way that mirrors their role. What's more, because pretty much the whole North hates him for what he did to the Starks, it's highly unlikely anyone's going to try and avenge him.
- Klingon Promotion:
- Ramsay kills his father to become the new Lord Bolton and then his stepmother and half-brother to secure his claim.
- Euron Greyjoy kills his older brother Balon for the same reason as above.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: The moment they see Wun Wun smash one of their brothers against the wall after firing an arrow at him, every member of the Night's Watch drops their weapons and surrenders.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Ramsay and Roose discuss the dangers of Jon possibly being legitimized, unaware that he's already dead (at the time, at least). They're also unaware that Jon let hundreds of Wildlings through the Wall and they all owe Jon their lives.
- Looks Like Jesus: Jon Snow, laid on the table, has his hair cut by Melisandre which makes him look more Jesus-like than ever before. Cue the Resurrection and the Life.
- Mama Bear: When Ramsay unleashes his dogs on her, Walda instinctively tries to use her body to shield the baby.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": Understandably the mutineers don't feel like fighting anymore once they see what an angry giant is capable of.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Ramsey's hands shake as he wipes the blood of the knife he used to kill his father. Being Ramsey however, it doesn't bother him for long.
- Mysterious Animal Senses: Ghost sleeps peacefully throughout Melisandre's ritual, but wakes up and looks expectantly at Jon moments before he comes back to life.
- Mythology Gag:
- Yara Greyjoy reads a report of Deepwood Motte's recapture by the Glovers and scornfully asks, "Why? For more pinecones and rocks?" when told her father intends to continue fighting. In the books, her counterpart Asha is herself defeated at Deepwood when Stannis recaptures it. Prior to that, at the Kingsmoot (which happens earlier in the book version), the "pinecones and rocks" are from a longer speech she gives: instead of presenting the Kingsmoot with the customary treasures of gold and jewels, she has her men dump out chests filled with pebbles, pinecones, and turnips, and sarcastically points out that these are the only "treasures" they have won by attacking the North, paid for with blood. They only attacked the North because it was undefended at the time, not because it has the gold of the Westerlands or the crops of the Reach. Asha's brazen but very accurate point wins over a surprisingly large number of the assembled ship captains to her side.
- Balon Greyjoy dies falling off a bridge like in the books, except there it happened completely off-page and is considered an accident, though many fans suspect that it was the work of a Faceless Man hired by Euron. The show goes a step further and has Euron do the deed himself (in a preview chapter from the sixth novel released soon after this episode aired, Euron in fact admits that he hired an assassin to kill Balon).
- When confronting Balon, Euron's left eye is completely obscured by shadow. In the books, he wears an eyepatch over that eye, and what is underneath is apparently horrifying, though so far the reader is never shown it first hand.
- Wun Wun smashing a black brother like a rag doll looks similar to the description of how he kills Ser Patrek of King's Mountain in the novels.
- Ramsay killing his brother is adapted from the character's backstory in the books. In the novels Roose Bolton had a trueborn son named Domeric who was poisoned by Ramsay, leaving Roose with no other option but to accept Ramsay as his heir. So far the only mention of Domeric related to the show continuity has been interviews to Iwan Rheon, GRRM statements in a behind the scenes video, and a line from Ramsay in Game of Thrones Telltale game, which takes place in the series continuity.
- A subversion occurs with Tyrion's attempt at freeing the dragons; in the novels, Quentyn Martell attempted to take them by force and suffered a horrific death by dragon fire. Tyrion uses non-forceful methods and avoids the same fate.
- Naked on Revival: Jon Snow. Technically, there's a Modesty Towel placed on his groin but the trope principle is there. In a behind the scenes video the episode director said he was specifically invoking this trope, linking revival with birth.
- Never Trust a Trailer: In the second Season Six trailer, when Tyrion meets the other two dragons, one of them breathe fire at him. But in the actual episode, one of them was about to breathe fire on Tyrion but stopped itself.
- No, You:
- Thorne calls Edd a traitor for allying with the Wildlings to attack the Wall. Edd fires right back that the only traitors here are the ones who assassinated the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
- Averted when Tyrion claims that Varys has been making dwarf jokes in response to his eunuch jokes. He hasn't.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Bran has one during his vision of Winterfell, when Lyanna seems to be looking in his direction and addressing him. Luckily, she's talking to the stable boy.
- The mutineer archer takes a shot at Wun Wun, who completely brushes it off as though he'd just been pinched. Then he looks at where the arrow came from and the watchmen visibly soils himself.
- The Lannister guards trying to bar Cersei from leaving the Red Keep when they see The Mountain. The lead guard lets out a sigh of relief when Cersei decides to comply.
- One Steve Limit: Hodor's birth name got changed from Walder to Wylis. Considering the connotations attached to the former name, this isn't terribly surprising.
- Orcus on His Throne: Balon hasn't been doing much of anything since season 3. According to him it paid off, as he believes himself to be the winner of the War of the Five Kings by default.
- Passionate Sports Girl: Little Lyanna Stark is shown riding a horse around her two brothers, which is accurate to the books.
- Patricide: Ramsay killing Roose Bolton is the second notable instance of father-slaying in this series so far.
- Pensieve Flashback: Bran's visions into the past. Unlike the books where Bran glimpses his vision through Weirwood trees (and only sees events that take place before a Weirwood tree as of A Dance With Dragons), here Bran walks and moves through other places.
- Playing Gertrude: Euron Greyjoy is played by Pilou Asbæk, who's actually a year younger than Gemma Whelan who plays his niece Yara.
- Posthumous Character: Every single named character in Bran's vision sans Hodor and possibly Benjen.
- The Purge: Second episode in a row to feature one. Ramsay kills his father, Walda, and his newborn brother.
- Reality Ensues:
- Thorne and Olly's coup doesn't last long, since not only has Edd come back with plenty of Wildlings who owed Jon their lives and are pissed now he's dead, most of the Night's Watch itself were undecided about Jon's assassination in the first place, needed to be persuaded to follow Thorne, and are quick to surrender once they see they're outnumbered and outgianted.
- Roose Bolton taunts his son Ramsay, a known psychopath with no qualms about killing on a whim, that his status as the heir to House Bolton is in jeopardy. Of course Ramsay does exactly what you'd expect to stay in power.
- Refuge in Audacity: Tyrion, a small dwarf, marches into the dragon's den, chats with them, and then removes their shackles, and the dragons never harm him in any way. As he walks out, he tells Varys that the next time he comes up with a plan like that "punch me in the face."
- The Reveal: Hodor's real name is Wyllis, and there was a time that he could talk and was an ordinary stable boy.
- Revenge Before Reason:
- Lord Karstark becomes an in-direct accomplice to Roose's assassination. While he knows full well that Ramsay is unhinged, he dislikes the Starks more for killing his father and decides to throw his lot in with Ramsay since the latter wants to kill Jon Snow.
- Olly attempts to charge at the army of Wildlings on his own, even in the face of the rest of his brothers surrendering. Fortunately for him, the Wildlings settle for just restraining him.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Much less bloody than most examples, but Edd is clearly delighted to pay back the traitors who killed his friend, if only by deposing them and sending them to the cells.
- Rule of Symbolism: They're really piling on the Jesus metaphors for the last minutes of Jon's failed (and then successful) resurrection.
- Second Episode Introduction: Euron Greyjoy makes his debut in the series, while Lyanna Stark is finally officially introduced via flashback.
- Secret Test of Character: "Jaqen" tries to get Arya to call out her real name with promises of shelter, food and, at last, her eyesight. After she insists she's "no one" for the third time, he invites her back to the House of Black and White.
- Self-Deprecation: Tyrion's comments on what he does.
- Self-Made Orphan: Ramsay adds to the ever-growing list of horrific crimes he has committed by eliminating his father and stepmother— his birth mother is implied to be no longer among the living.
- Ramsay killing Roose is staged very similarly to Commodus' murder of Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator.
- Jon Snow laid out on the table with only a small loin cloth is a direct allusion to the painting of Dead Christ◊ by Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna.
- Bran's Pensieve Flashback has quite a fair bit in common with Harry Potter's many memories of him seeing his dead parents in a realistic simulation.
- Balon mentions that he heard that Euron commanded his sailors to tie him to the mast in the middle of a storm in the Jade Sea because he was worried that he would be driven to jump overboard, similar to a famous episode in The Odyssey.
- Skewed Priorities: With the kingdom falling apart around her, Cersei is seemingly most concerned with having her personal guard slaughter anyone who mocks her. (And given the number of people who witnessed her walk of atonement this could pretty much be half of Kings Landing by now).
- Strong Family Resemblance: Young Ned looks a fair bit like Bran, and Lyanna bears a resemblance to both Sansa and Arya.note
- Stupid Evil: Roose Bolton calls out Ramsay for thinking he could have the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch assassinated; even setting aside the animosity many of the Northern houses hold already, this act would be enough in and of itself to turn the entire North against him.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: Roose Bolton's death is perhaps the least dramatic of all major character deaths. There's no Famous Last Words, no confrontation before the end, and no dramatic buildup, as compared to the deaths of Tywin, Robb Stark, the Martells or even Balon Greyjoy. One minute Roose is Warden of the North and proud father, the next minute he's dead on the floor.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Not to death, but Tyrion manages to convince Viserion and Rhaegal to not cook him alive by making use of his best trait: his silver tongue.
- Take Up My Sword: Despite being a terrible fighter, Davos takes up Longclaw as he and the loyalists prepare to defend Jon's body.Ser Davos: I've never been much of a fighter. [Draws Longclaw] I apologise for what you're about to see.
- Teeny Weenie: When Jon leaves the room for the first time after being brought back, the Wildlings are staring at him.Tormund Giantsbane: They think you're some kind of god. The man who returned from the dead.
Jon: I'm not a god.
Tormund: I know that. I saw your pecker. What kind of god would have a pecker that small?
- The commoner bragging about exposing himself to Cersei claims Jaime has one of these.
- Tempting Fate:
- Balon Greyjoy mentions that of the five kings, he's the last and thus the winner. And then he dies, and the War of the Five Kings has no winner.
- Roose Bolton makes one too many Spare to the Throne jabs at Ramsay. Ramsay not only kills his father but his little brother as well, to eliminate any possible competition for the title of Lord Bolton.
- Played with by Tyrion. He is very confident that by using his knowledge of dragons he can get on their good side and get them to feed by freeing them. His last words before doing so makes it look like he will pay for his arrogance. And Tyrion lives to scheme another day, but asks Varys to stop him if he ever has another similarly risky idea.
- Tomboy Princess: Lyanna Stark is introduced wearing boy's clothing and riding circles around her brothers, cementing her similarities to her niece Arya.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Lady Walda is a very sweet girl married into a house filled with sociopaths. Naturally, she's killed in a horrific manner.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- The poor crossbowman who shot Wun Wun gets only a few seconds to realize how stupid an idea that is before being splattered across the wall of Castle Black.
- Even without Euron throwing him over the bridge, Balon must've had a death wish for walking across an unstable rope bridge during a massive storm.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm:
- Inverted with Castle Black, as the mutineers are usurped by the Wildlings and Dolorous Edd.
- Played straight in Winterfell. Ramsay becomes Lord Bolton. To be more precise, an even worse tyrant takes the helm in Winterfell.
- If Euron gets his way, in the Iron Islands too. Balon was a crotchety, petty old man, who attacked potential allies and tried to hold onto seized territory on the mainland long after it was a strategic failure, because he was so beholden to his Viking-like people's traditions of honor and raiding. The Ironborn themselves greatly respected Balon. In contrast, Euron is half-insane but cunning in all the ways that Balon was not, and he has no respect for the Ironborn's hallowed traditions. That last point is a two-fer: unlike Balon, he isn't going to let traditional Viking values restrict his actions, making him far more dangerous to the mainland. On the other hand, this is also bad news for the Ironborn themselves, because Euron doesn't even share their own Blue and Orange Morality - blaspheming the Drowned God and murdering his own brother.
- Urine Trouble: The Mountain comes across the man who bragged about flashing Cersei while he's urinating on the walls. The guy ensures he won't be living out the next five seconds by pissing all over the giant Kingsguard.
- Villain Team-Up: Ramsay proposes an alliance between Bolton and the larger remaining Northern houses: Umber, Manderly, and Karstark. Of the three, the only one that has appeared villainous so far is the latter, whose former patriarch was executed for killing young hostages and whose current house head wants revenge against the Starks.
- Wham Episode: Not only are Roose Bolton and Balon Greyjoy killed, but Jon Snow is resurrected. This is very notable in a series where Anyone Can Die and most deaths are final.
- Wham Shot: Once Ghost suddenly gets up, you know what is about to happen. For those who missed this clue, Jon suddenly gasping for air.
- Would Hurt a Child: Ramsay has no problem with letting his dogs kill not only his stepmother, but also his newborn brother.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Varys is exasperated at Tyrion's insistence on releasing the dragons. When Tyrion actually succeeds and runs back to him, Varys has a priceless look saying "Seven hells, did you actually just do that?"