We begin where the previous episode left off. It's all dark at first, then we fade in and hear gasps of breath and we see Ser Davos staring in shock. Melisandre's ritual worked after all. Jon Snow lives again, staggering to his feet, gasping for air like a drowned man, freezing in the cold air. Ser Davos rushes to him with a coat. Jon, still shivering and confused, gazes at the knife wounds on his chest, questioning how he can still be alive after being stabbed through the heart. He remembers being stabbed by Olly, Thorne and others. Meanwhile, Melisandre enters the room in the meantime and her eyes open in shock at seeing the fruit of her magic. She rushes to Jon Snow and asks him what he had seen in the hereafter (answer: nothing). Melisandre mentions that the Lord of Light brought him back to the living, and that Stannis wasn't the Prince That Was Promised, which means that Jon is. Davos, having had his fill of magic for one evening, moves her out of the room and discusses practical matters with Jon Snow. It's absolutely insane that he's back, and it must obviously be more insane to the resurrected man. Jon laments about his betrayal, noting that he has failed in uniting the Night's Watch behind his agenda. He tried to do the right thing and he ended up getting stabbed for it. Ser Davos tells him that it's good he accepts that, now it's time to fail again at doing the right thing. Jon then descends into Castle Black accompanied by Ser Davos. The crowd gathered outside the cabin, Wildlings and Watchmen both, stare at him in shock, not believing their eyes. They make way as Jon Snow clad in his Lord Commander's robes wades into the crowd, with the people making way for him as he reaches Tormund Giantsbane. Tormund tells Jon that the Wildlings think Jon a god. Jon says he's not a god, to which Tormund says that he knows he isn't and he's glad that Jon agrees. After all: "I saw your pecker. What kind of god would have a pecker that small?" The two of them hug each other. Jon moves forward and glimpses loyal Dolorous Edd and heads straight to him and the two hug it out, with Edd expressing gladness at postponing the cremation.
Somewhere on a ship, Gilly looks out a porthole, happy to see the ocean for the first time in her life. Sam is having somewhat less fun, being wretchedly seasick. He admits that he's planning to take Gilly to Horn Hill, his father's keep, so that his mother can look after her and little Sam. He cannot bring her to the Citadel, as there is no place for women there. Gilly points out that there was, theoretically, no place for her at Castle Black either, and yet she still managed to thrive. She promises that wherever Sam goes, she will follow.
We move to a castle of brown sandstone located on an open plain with flat pale grass. Two knights of the Kingsguard in silver plate armour with the Targaryen sigil stand before the Castle which has a large square tower looming over the landscape. One of the knights glimpses six horses coming in their direction, leading them to gather their gear and face them. Bran and the Raven, observe this during another Pensieve Flashback to the past. Bran recognizes the markings on the armour of the tall knight and his sword and notes that he is Ser Arthur Dayne, the Raven confirms "The Sword of the Morning". Bran notes that Ned told him he was the greatest swordsman he ever saw. The riders are led, as Bran recognizes by a young version of his father, and the Raven points out that the small man next to him, with a Lizard Lion clasp on his brown tunic is Howland Reed, father of Meera and Jojen Reed. The other men aren't identified. One of them however wears Dornish headgear over his standard tunic, in the manner of Jaime and Bronn last year. In addition the two horses beside the Kingsguard have Martell yellow caparisons, implying that the scene is set in the Red Mountains of Dorne.
Eddard and his Northmen face off against the two Kingsguard. Ser Arthur recognizes Lord Stark.
Ser Arthur: "We were not there".
Ser Gerold: "Your friend the usurper would lie beneath the ground if we had been."
Ned: "The Mad King is dead. Rhaegar lies beneath the ground. Why weren't you there to protect your prince?"
Ser Arthur: "Our prince wanted us here."
Ned: "Where's my sister?"
(The Knights put on their helmets)
Ser Arthur: "I wish you good fortune in the wars to come. [Beat] And now it begins. (Unleashes two swords)
They fight. It's six on two. But these two knights were members of the Kingsguard at a time when the office meant something. Ser Gerold and Ser Arthur fight against all six men evenly. Ser Arthur cuts down one of Ned's number immediately. Ser Gerold kills one Northman in a fit of rage, but Ned eventually avenges his comrade and slays him. Ser Arthur with his double swords fights all four remaining Northmen with impeccable timing. He's far and away the most skilled and invincible swordsman glimpsed on-screen. The Northmen try to circle him but Ser Arthur slips out and uses his dual swords to kill one man in a single blow. He stabs and knocks out Howland and kills another un-named Northmen in a scissor cut across the neck. Finally it's only Ned against Ser Arthur Dayne. Bran recalls his father claiming that the Sword of the Morning was the toughest Master Swordsman Ned ever faced; and as they watch, it becomes clear that Ned is about to lose. Bran is puzzled since he knew obviously that his father won this duel, otherwise he would not have been born. Ned matches Ser Arthur to the best of his abilities, but Ser Arthur is far beyond his own impressive skill. Finally, Ser Arthur locks blades and disarms Ned. Arthur pauses before raising his sword to deliver the killing blow, but at that instant Howland Reed climbs behind him and stabs him in the neck with a single dagger. The Sword of the Morning collapses to the ground and loses his grip on his swords, and - while bleeding profusely - looks up at Ned with an expression most easily described as "get it over with, then". Ned is amazed and shocked at this sudden reversal, and his expression even suggests sympathy for a Knight of such stature to be defeated in such an anticlimactic way. He delivers the killing blow to Ser Arthur. He looks in silent sadness at the fallen knight for a moment. During the death of Ser Dayne, Bran has been looking on, and is upset with the truth. "He stabbed him in the back." he says, with disgust in his voice.
Ned then addresses the tower, hearing cries of pain from the highest window. Bran wants to know what's inside it. So does the audience. But the three-eyed raven warns Bran from rushing forth. Bran ignores him and calls out to his father, who amazingly stops at the step of the tower and looks back. Bran is shocked and thrilled that he is seemingly interacting with the past, but at that moment, the Raven appears and pulls him out. The Raven reminds Bran that he can become trapped in the past if he uses the Mental Time Travel of green-seeing too much. But Bran shouts at him and wonders what exactly is he supposed to do, become a withered old tree like him? This disrespect shocks the Children of the Forest in the Cave, and the Raven then sighs that he has been waiting a thousand years for the likes of Bran to arrive. No, Bran won't become an old man in a tree like him. He will leave the cave one day but not before he has finished learning. Learning what, asks Bran. "Everything."
At Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys is turned over to the dosh khaleen, the corps of widowed khaleesi ("khaleesis?"). After making her change into their standard attire, their leader, the high priestess, tells Daenerys to abandon her dreams of making something of herself. She also points out that her fate is by no means secure; a great meeting of the Dothraki has been called, and they must judge what will happen to the upstart wife of Khal Drogo.
In Meereen, Varys paces, waiting for a woman to be delivered him. Her name is Vala, familiar to viewers as the prostitute who masterminded the deaths in the early episodes of the 5th Season. Varys knows she is collaborating with the Sons of the Harpy. She admits after Varys carefully picks apart her story, that she's caught between a rock and a hard place: Varys will have her killed if she doesn't talk, and the Sons of the Harpy will have her killed if she does. Even worse, she has a son to worry about. Varys offers her A Third Option — passage out of the city, and enough money for a new start. This gets him the names of the people behind the Sons of the Harpy: the governments of Astapor, Yunkai and Volantis. The former two are cities Daenerys sacked. (The latter is following the profit motive. It's hashed out in more detail in the books — GRRM is on record as wanting to see a lot more practical politics in fantasy — but in short, the slave trade is the foundation of the global economy, and Volantis is protecting its monetary interests.) When Varys brings the news to the small council that rules Meereen, Tyrion asks if he can use his "little birds" to pass a message to those governments. Varys says he can. "My little birds are always trustworthy."
After an ironic cut, we next see Qyburn, making himself in King's Landing, co-opting Varys's network of little birds. He is making himself useful as Cersei's new master of whisperers. He also refers to "Ser Robert Strong" directly as "Ser Gregor Clegane," all but confirming a theory that had yet to be made explicit in the books. Cersei and Jaime have bigger fish to fry: they barge in on the Small Council, currently consisting of Ser Kevan Lannister, last surviving son of Tytos Lannister, Lady Olenna Tyrell, called the Queen of Thorns, Grand Maester Pycelle, and Lord Mace Tyrell. Jaime declares that is a part of the small council in his office as Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, but Uncle Kevan is having none of it, moving the meeting away from the twins.
In the Great Sept of Baelor, King Tommen Baratheon, the First of his Name, is confronting the High Sparrow. Though in prior episodes he had shown concern for his wife, today he wants the Faith to let the Dowager Queen Mother visit her daughter's burial place. The High Sparrow deflects him with a touching speech about a mother's love, which in no way has anything to do with the fact that this episode aired on the same day as the American holiday known as Mothers' Day. His theology is sweet — something about a mother's love being a divine gift from the gods — but he isn't budging.
In the House of Black and White, Arya continues her Training from Hell while still blind. A Training Montage shows several different activities: Arya combining powders and liquids by touch and smell alone, Arya learning to defend herself against the Waif, staff to staff, the Waif asking her history as Arya Stark. The Waif asks her: Why did she spare the Hound? Didn't she want him dead? "I did and I didn't," answers Arya truthfully. The Waif notes that she's confused. She asks about Arya's list. Arya admits that she had taken The Hound off her list when she left him to die. Later, Arya succeeds in combining a mixture by smell when "Jaqen H'ghar" summons her. He asks Arya who she is, and Arya replies "No one,", which is either the truth or a sign that Arya has learnt to lie. Finally, Jaqen H'ghar (or at least the man wearing his face) tells her to drink from the pool of water at the center of the temple, which people drink from if they wish to die. "If a girl is truly No One, she has nothing to fear," he says. Apparently, Arya is truly No One, for when she opens her eyes again, she is no longer blind.
Up at Winterfell, Ramsay Bolton is attempting to negotiate with Lord Smalljon Umber. They want help: they are the house furthest north, and most preyed on by Wildlings... which Jon Snow let come south of the Wall. However, the Umbers have no interest in swearing fealty; they saw where it got Robb Stark, and for that matter Roose Bolton after him. They offer a different token of their loyalty: a woman, a young boy and a head. One is named Osha. The other is Rickon Stark. The head was, in life, called Shaggydog. Ramsay, though now even further away from his dream of being in charge of the North, hoists as polite a smile on his face as he can and welcomes Lord Stark home.
We return to Castle Black, where Jon Snow is sitting alone brooding. He looks down at his old and ruined peascod which he wore while he was assassinated. Dolorous Edd pops in to tell him that it's time, and Jon straps on Longclaw and his giant shaggy cloak and descends to the yard. The four remaining conspirators — First Builder Othell Yarwyck, First Steward Bowen Marsh, master-at-arms Ser Alliser Thorne, and Olly the steward — await hanging, all have their nooses wrapped around their necks and stand above a gibbet in front of a large crowd of Wildlings and watchmen. Ser Davos and Melisandre watch from the ramparts. Jon Snow addresses his four killers and asks if they have any Famous Last Words. Bowen Marsh notes that it isn't right that he came back from the dead. Jon points out that them stabbing and killing him wasn't right to begin with. Othell Yarwick apologizes and asks Jon Snow to tell his mother he died fighting the Wildlings, Jon Snow doesn't respond either way. He then confronts Ser Alliser Thorne, his nemesis since the day he first arrived at Castle Black.
Ser Alliser says that he has no regrets and did what he thought was right. Jon Snow let the Wildlings through the Wall (again forgetting his involvement in said action) and that if it were to happen again, he only hoped that he had the courage to do the right thing again. This time he lost but he's going to a place of rest now, while Jon Snow will continue fighting for a very long time. The Lord Commander moves to the last condemned man, Olly, the boy he had once saved, mentored, promoted and who he now has to kill. Olly merely gives him a Death Glare.
Jon walks to a rope tied to a lever holding the platform. All he has to do is cut it and they all hang. He hesitates before cutting them. Having been to the void he knows precisely where he is sending them. But he finally does cut it, the ledge slides back and all four conspirators gag and hang till they are dead. After he's done, Jon moves to Dolorous Edd and he gives him Castle Black, and his cloak, to Dolorous Edd. "Wear it. Burn it. I care not." He walks away from the plinth, out of the yard, announcing for all to hear, "My watch is ended."
This episode contains the following tropes:
- The Ace: Ser Arthur Dayne, "The Sword of the Morning", holds this reputation In-Universe, and when we see him in action through Bran's flashback he does not disappoint.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Even Ramsay can't hide his smile when Smalljon justifies why his house didn't pledge loyalty to the Boltons.Smalljon: Your father was a cunt.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Howland Reed seems to be a normal-looking man that's just a little smaller than Ned, rather than being noticeably smaller (as he's described) and looking like a Crannogman. This is likely a Pragmatic Adaptation, as the peoples of the Neck have not been described in the show even by the resident Reeds, so it may have looked silly to have Reed appear like that.
- Adaptational Badass: In the books, 3 Kingsguard stood guard outside the Tower of Joy. In the show, Oswell Whent is absent yet they manage to kill just as many men.
- Adaptational Heroism: This episode confirms that Show!Varys does not employ child slaves with their tongues removed as his little birds and that he's actually something of a Friend to All Children.
- Likewise, the little birds seem like normal, if poor, children instead of the silent Creepy Child vibe they have in the books.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- Ser Arthur Dayne doesn't give Eddard a "sad smile" before the fight. He was also a Knight in Shining Armor and its hard to imagine Book!Arthur fighting against any single-sword wielder with dual swords, even against multiple opponents since he was especially strict about chivalric fairness. For example, during his famed duel with the outlaw known as the Smiling Knight, Ser Arthur gave the Smiling Knight time to get a new sword after breaking the previous one.
- Minor one: in the books, Ned tells Bran about Howland Reed saving him from Arthur Dayne, never telling Bran he was the one who killed Dayne. As Ned was able to deliver the killing blow due to the help of Howland Reed, this might be a From a Certain Point of View kind of truth.
- Book!Smalljon died an honorable death at the Red Wedding when he shielded Robb from the attackers, albeit unsuccessfully. The Lord Umber we meet 1. is willing to sell out Rickon Stark to the Boltons, and 2. seems like quite the asshole.
- Adaptational Wimp:
- Shaggydog was building up to be the most ferocious of the direwolves. Here, he's killed off-screen.
- Arthur Dayne's sword, Dawn. In the books, it's a massive BFS made of meterorite that's all but stated to be as strong as Valyrian steel sword. Here it's just a normal long sword.
- Adapted Out: In the books it's 7 Northerners against 3 Kingsguard. There's also no mention of Arthur Dayne wielding Dawn, nor the names of Ned's other Northern Companions. From the books .
- Armor Is Useless: Two of the Northmen get stabbed by the Kingsguard despite wearing a coat-of-plate over mail and a shirt. As noted by a medieval combat specialist this is impossible to achieve even with a straight thrust.
- Art Evolution: Vaes Dothrak looks considerably more epic than in season 1. The distinctive horse statues now overlook a massive canyon instead of serving as a mere gateway.
- Ascended Fanon: Look at the lizard-lion clasp wore by Howland Reed: it is shaped exactly like fan depictions of the House Reed sigil.
- Asshole Victim: The mutineers who murdered Jon, particularly Thorne and Olly, thoroughly deserved to be hanged by the resurrected Jon Snow.
- Audience Surrogate: Bran complaining when the Three-Eyed Raven stops him from following his father into the Tower of Joy because what happens inside is "for another time". Thus, the Three-Eyed Raven becomes the surrogate for the showrunners.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Cersei commands Qyburn to spread his little birds to all parts of the Seven Kingdoms, not only to find out who's plotting against House Lannister, but to report anyone who's mocking her Walk of Shame.Cersei: Don't stop in the city. I want little birds in Dorne, in Highgarden, in the North. If someone is planning on making our losses their gains, I want to hear about it. If someone is laughing at the queen who walked naked through the streets covered in shit, I want to hear. I want to know who they are. I want to know where they are.
- Blatant Lies:
- Sam can deny being seasick as often as he wants, but if he keeps throwing up shortly after that, nobody buys it.
- Ramsay insists that Bolton died of poisoning to Lord Umber. Umber easily sees through it.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Pycelle is midway through condemning the Frankenstein's monster that is Gregor Clegane when it walks into the room, flanked by Jaime and Cersei. It takes him a moment to notice, but when he does, he farts in the squeakiest most fear-laden way.
- Brutal Honesty:
- The new Lord Umber has no patience whatsoever for Ramsay's bullshit and doesn't mince his words with anything he says.
- As usual, Lord Kevan Lannister has no issues telling off his niece and nephew, and even calls them out on the Paper-Thin Disguise they have for the reanimated Ser Gregor.
- Book-Ends: Alliser Thorne was first introduced in season 1 episode 3, and mockingly called Jon "Lord Snow". Come season 6 episode three, he is hanged for treason, but not before calling Jon "Lord Snow" one last time.
- The Bus Came Back:
- Vala, the previously unnamed Honey Trap prostitute, gets interrogated by Varys.
- Osha and Rickon appear at Winterfell, having been forcibly taken, where they are held hostage by Ramsay and his forces.
- Lady Olenna Tyrell is invited into the Small Council.
- Bus Crash: Greatjon Umber has died of natural causes. Shaggydog was also killed by the Umbers.
- Bring It: Albeit with some implied sadness.Ser Arthur Dayne: [Kingsguard don helmet] And now it begins.Eddard Stark: No. Now it ends. [[Northmen draw their swords]]
- Broken Pedestal: Bran was always led to believe that his father defeated Dayne fairly. He's disappointed that the duel was a good deal less elegant than he was held to believe and that Dayne was only brought down thanks to a stab in the back by Howland Reed, with Ned then finishing him.
- Tyrion wants to play the drinking game with Missandei and Grey Worm that he played with Shae back in Season 1.
- King Tommen mentions to the High Sparrow that Tywin also tried to manipulate him into doing as they bid.
- For that matter, their scene clearly shows that Tommen is not (yet) truly a king, just as Tywin Lannister commented about anyone who had to declare "I am the King!" (at least, unlike Joffrey, Tommen didn't end up being sent to his room...)
- Cersei has lost the support of the Small Council, due to her previous attempt at stripping them of power.
- Jon gives Melisandre the same description of the afterlife (that it's "nothing") as Beric Dondarrion did.
- Back in season 1, Robb promised to hang Greatjon Umber for being an oathbreaker if he refused to fall in line, and the Greatjon ends up backing down, becoming Robb's biggest supporter. In this episode, his son the Smalljon irrevocably betrays the Starks by handing Rickon to Ramsay Bolton.
- Just before the fight at the Tower of Joy, Arthur Dayne gives Ned Stark the same benediction that Mance Rayder gives to Stannis Baratheon in S5E1, which takes place 20 years later:
- Ned kills Ser Arthur Dayne with his own sword. He eventually would die at the end of his own sword.
- Came Back Wrong: At first, Edd uses it seriously, as he had to be sure Jon was not an agent of the White Walkers after his resurrection, though he dismissed this notion on seeing that Jon lacked Glowing Eyelights of Undeath. Afterwards, it is jokingly invoked when he asks again after Jon makes a joke.
- The Chosen One: Discussed by Melisandre, who says Stannis was not the Prince That Was Promised, but "someone must be", while looking at Jon, implying she thinks it's him and the reason the Lord of Light let her resurrect him.
- Combat Pragmatist: Both sides at the Tower of Joy. The six Northmen dishonourably (but sensibly) attack the two Kingsguard all at once and avoid Mook Chivalry. Faced with difficult odds, Ser Arthur Dayne has no problem using two swords at once (presumably Dawn and another blade) to fight back and then uses both swords (unfairly) against the last man standing, Ned, who only has one sword. Dayne is ultimately undone by a backstab from Howland Reed, who seemed to go down first and most likely faked being killed or mortally wounded.
- Composite Character: The nameless Kingsguard gets some actions and lines of Ser Oswell Whent, but the actor states he's Ser Gerold Hightower.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: In the end, the four Northmen that attack Ser Arthur Dayne do little more than buy time for Ned and Howland Reed. Ned has more success fighting Ser Gerold Hightower with only one other companion, then has a longer one-on-one duel with Dayne before Reed helps him.
- Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Howland Reed to Arthur Dayne.
- Cross-Referenced Titles: With season four episode "Oathkeeper".
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Although they hold their own for a short time, Arthur Dayne clearly has the upper hand against Ned and his three companions. He cuts them down one by one without receiving a single wound himself and was a second away from killing Ned before Reed snuck upon on him.
- Death by Adaptation: In the books, Greatjon Umber is still alive, albeit a hostage of House Frey - soon to be sent to King's Landing under Jaime's orders — to keep House Umber in line.
- Likewise, Shaggydog is in Skagos with Rickon and Osha.
- Death Glare: Gregor's default look since he came back, but after Jaime makes a joke about on his expense it seems that it's not because he is stuck like this, but more that he is always pissed.
- Defiant to the End: Of the mutineers, Olly has no last words, just a Death Glare for Jon. Thorne also takes his death with dignity, and states he would've done it again and believes he did the right thing.
- Depraved Homosexual: Smalljon Umber accuses Harald Karstark of this, saying that the captured boy is nice and young "the way Karstark likes 'em."
- The Determinator: A blinded Arya spends weeks — possibly months — getting the shit beaten out of her as part of her "training" and refusing to admit her true name in exchange for her sight returning. In one training montage, the Waif actually walks away from their sparring sessions to let a bloodied and beaten Arya recover... only for Arya to stand up and face her for another round. Even the Waif looks amazed.
- Dissonant Serenity: Until the moment he gets stabbed, Dayne maintains a calm gaze and isn't breathing hard, despite being outnumbered.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Gilly explains the sea = see joke to Sam. Given that he's 'sea'sick, he really can't 'see' the funny side.
- Dragon Ascendant: Ser Kevan Lannister has assumed the title of Hand of the King previously held by his older brother and liege Tywin Lannister, making him the highest authority in Westeros besides King Tommen.
- Dual Wielding: Sir Arthur Dayne wields two swords in his fight against Ned Stark and his men.
- Enemy Mine: The Umbers clearly have no love for the new Bolton regime, but seek an alliance anyways to deal with the Wildlings.
- Ephebophile: Lord Karstark is implied to be the homosexual version by Smalljon Umber, to his immediate ire.
- Exact Words: In the Night's Watch, your watch ends upon death. Since he died, Jon realizes he can leave.
- Everyone Has Standards: Pycelle gives yet another rant about Qyburn that falls under this trope, expounding his view that Varys was the lesser of two evils and reminding them all that the Citadel doesn't kick people out on a whim.
- Evil Overlord: Having secured the support of Houses Karstark and Umber, the sadistic, abusive Ramsay is now the most powerful man in the North.
- Face Death with Dignity: Ser Alliser, who says that he did what he did for the Watch, and he'd do it again. Of the four mutineers, he's also the only one who holds his head up high while waiting to be hanged.
- The Fagin: Qyburn is shown offering sweets to street urchins to recruit them into his spy network.
- Fate Worse than Death: Ser Alliser invokes this to Jon Snow, saying he fought, lost but now he rests, while Jon will be battling for the rest of his life.
- God Guise: Apparently, some of the Wildlings believe Jon Snow to be a god because he came back from the dead.
- Go-Go Enslavement: While lecturing Daenerys that her old titles and positions are meaningless, the dosh khaleen strip her of her clothes and jewelry before handing her their standard attire.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Most of the Northmen who fight the Kingsguard don't wear helmets. One of them wears a Northern helm, another puts on Dornish headgear (the only visual hint that the action takes place in Dorne in the sequence concerned), while Ned, Howland and one other combatant fight with their heads bare. Ser Arthur and Ser Oswell put on helmets before fighting the heroes. It can be justified because of the high temperatures in Dorne.
- Hope Spot: Meta. When it becomes obvious that Bran is watching what happened in the Tower of Joy, it looks like we'll find out the answer to one of the biggest WMGs in the history of literature... but Bloodraven pulls Bran out before we get to see it.
- How Is That Even Possible?: First Steward Marsh tells Jon, in disbelief, that he should be dead.
- Vala calls Dany a foreign invader leading a foreign army, except she admits that the Sons of the Harpy are funded by foreigners in Astapor, Yunkai, and Volantis. Of course, she says that Dany and her army are there to destroy Meereen and its culture, while the foreign slave lords want to save it (from their perspective).
- Thorne tells Jon that he considers the latter a traitor to the Watch because by letting the Wildlings past the Wall, Jon brought in "an army of murderers and raiders." He seems to have forgotten that description easily matches the Night's Watch as well.
- Implied Death Threat: When the Waif and Arya discuss the people on her list, the Waif pushes her luck and asks if that's all the names on her list. To which Arya replies, "What name would a girl like me to repeat?", the implication being that the Waif is only missing because Arya doesn't (yet) know her true name. This results in a rare moment of fear on the part of the Waif.
- In the Back: Howland Reed saves young Ned by stabbing Ser Arthur Dayne through the back of his throat.
- I Regret Nothing: Before he's about to be executed, Thorne states that he does not regret a thing he's done and would do it all over again if he had the chance.
- Irony: In Season 1, Thorne once told Jon, "You'll hang for this, bastard," after Jon attacked him for insulting his father. Now, five seasons later, Jon is executing Thorne as a traitor by hanging him.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Ser Jaime and Cersei gatecrashing the Small Council seems petty, but Jaime the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard has in the past had a seat there, and he raises a valid concern about the death of Princess Myrcella and the effective secession of Dorne from the Seven Kingdoms.
- For all his own faults as a maester, Pycelle raises a valid point about Qyburn's experiments, noting that the Citadel wouldn't have kicked him out without good reason.
- Karmic Death:
- The Night's Watch mutineers, especially Ser Alliser Thorne and Olly, are executed by hanging.
- Ser Arthur Dayne fights dishonorably with double swords against Ned, who held a single sword, and gets stabbed In the Back.
- Retroactively, this makes Ned's own death karmic, as he gets slain with his own Valyrian steel sword, as he did to Dayne.
- Kneel Before Zod: Lord Umber refuses, knowing such gestures of fealty are meaningless when all concerned suffer from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder. He makes a more pragmatic gesture of loyalty instead.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Cersei's previous treatment of the Small Council comes back to bite her. When she and Jaime seek their help regarding the uprising in Dorne, they all refuse to cooperate with her.
- Last Request: First Builder Yarwyck asks Jon to write to his mother and say he died "fighting the Wildlings."
- Mook Chivalry: Refreshingly averted. The Northmen have no issue all attacking the Kingsguard simultaneously, which lets Ser Arthur Dayne show off how badass he is at taking on 4 opponents at once. Ser Gerold Hightower fares worse against two opponents, but manages to slay one before being killed by Ned.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: The Kingsguard knights refuse to back down even after the war is over, even after Aerys and Rhaegar have died.
- Mythology Gag: Tormund in the show doesn't jest about the (alleged) size of his member, but he still takes a shot at Jon's too-small-to-be-a-god dick.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Starks lose the support of House Umber due to Jon letting the Wildlings through the Wall.
- The Nothing After Death: What Jon explains he experienced this after his assassination. It seems that this, on top of the death and rebirth itself, is what terrifies him so much.
- Oh, Crap!: Vala visibly flinches when Varys says her son's name, fearing that he'll threaten him so she'll talk.
- Jaime pokes fun at Gregor Clegane while asking what modifications Qyburn made on the knight, asking if Gregor can understand what they're saying, or at least to the extent that he ever understood complete sentences. At this, Gregor whirls round to glower at Jaime, who hastily takes a step back.
- Pycelle gets two in rapid succession; the first upon realising Gregor is right behind him and was within earshot of Pycelle's rant that the resurrected knight is an abomination that should be put down immediately, and the second when he has to walk past Gregor to exit the Small Council chamber, Gregor having clearly heard every word and thus giving Pycelle a look that quite clearly indicates how much he wants to crush the Grand Maester's skull.
- One-Man Army: Ser Arthur Dayne at one point fights with two swords against four opponents at once. And then it became three opponents. Then two. Then one.
- Open Secret: Ser "Robert Strong" is openly identified as being Gregor Clegane by Cersei, Jaime, and the rest of the Small Council. Evidently they see no reason to keep up any deception over it among themselves.
- Pet the Dog: Qyburn seems genuinely affectionate to the little birds, having treated one little boy's bruised eye and his mother's jaw (as well as imply that he took care of the boy's abusive father). He also assures the children that they have nothing to fear when they all catch sight of Gregor entering the room.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Just so casual or show-only viewers understand their allegiance, Ser Arthur and Ser Gerold bear the Targaryen dragon instead of the traditional three-pointed crown or three swords shown on the Kingsguard armor so far.
- Howland Reed is portrayed as a regular man instead of a shorter-than-normal man, because the show has made no mention of the Crannogmen's particular physiognomy.
- The Quiet One: Grey Worm and Missandei are rather quiet, serious individuals, so Tyrion's attempts to make small talk fail miserably.
- Rape as Backstory: Missandei heavily implies that she was sexually abused by her former owner, along with other slave girls which he owned, possibly by making them have sex together.
- Rasputinian Death: Downplayed compared to other examples, but Ser Arthur Dayne survives being stabbed in back of the neck and needs to be finished off by Ned.
- Reality Ensues:
- Melisandre's religious fervor is back and good as new after her successfully conducted resurrection. After all the mishap with Stannis wasn't enough to break fanaticism that was cemented over what we learned to be centuries.
- While Tyrion is a charming and charismatic person in Westeros, he's still a foreigner in Meereen and his attempts to strike up a conversation with two people who were slaves and are used to a culture in which they do what they are told without any further small talk or banter doesn't automatically work on them.
- Being the greatest swordsman in the world won't save you from a sneak attack.
- The news of Wildlings makes the Umbers side with the Boltons as the lesser of two evils. After all, it's an army of people that raided their lands every time they passed the Wall.
- After five seasons of hearing of Varys' "little birds" as if they're an elite team of trained operatives, it turns out that he's been using street children for his spying. Qyburn is able to turn them in no time flat by simply offering sweets as street urchins could care less who's in power in the city but will do work for anyone who offers some food.
- Reality Subtext: The borderlands of Last Hearth are now in large parts inhabited by thousands of wildling refugees, a folk they usually associate with raids and savagery, partially even with valid justification. As a response the Umbers now have formed an informal alliance with hands down the most sinister house of the North to keep the apparent threat in line, even though most of them are probably just glad to be away from the even more sinister forces beyond the Wall. If you follow current European politics, this may sound familiar.
- Refuge in Audacity: Smalljon Umber called Ramsay's father a cunt and Karstark a pedophile while siding with them. It works.
- Retcon: Apparently the direwolves have been massively downsized, with Shaggydog's severed head looking no bigger than an ordinary wolf's head. Naturally, this has already been stuff for wishful-thinking-fueled speculation.
- In "Two Swords", it's shown in the Book of Brothers that Ser Gerold Hightower, Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Oswell Whent were defeated by Ned Stark's forces, yet in this episode Whent is absent from the battle.
- The Reveal: In the book, Ned barely remembers what his companions at the Tower of Joy looked like. Here they are finally revealed. Now it's only a matter of distinguishing one from the other.
- Revival Loophole: The Night's Watch oath says it "will not end until my death." Jon has died and come back, therefore he declares his watch has ended.
- Right Behind Me: Played for Laughs. Pycelle is busy insulting Qyburn and what had been done to Ser Gregor when the latter, being called a monster at the time, walks into the room. The rest of the Small Council looks to him in horror, and Pycelle only realizes what happened a few seconds into his rant.
- Running Gag: Once again, Mace Tyrell is interrupted mid-sentence. As soon as he starts to explain to Cersei why his mother is on the Small Council, Olenna takes over the conversation.
- Scars Are Forever: Despite being resurrected, Jon still has all the scars on his body where he was stabbed.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- Jon Snow is done with the Night's Watch. Once he executes the mutineers, he hands his cloak to Edd and just walks away.
- The Small Council becomes even smaller once Kevan and the other councilors walk out on Cersei and Jaime's attempt to force themselves onto it.
- Shame If Something Happened: Varys is a master of this, which he uses to get Vala to spill the beans.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Why Jon declares, "My watch is ended" and walks away. After a cumulating series of horrible events - the latest being betrayed and murdered by a group of the Night Watch's brothers with whom he once fought alongside, coming back to life only to realize there is nothing after death, and having to hang the aforementioned mutineers - Jon is broken.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Jon gives a small but effective one to one of the condemned.Bowen Marsh: You shouldn't be alive! It's not right.Jon Snow: Neither was killing me.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Smalljon Umber has more usages of swear words than perhaps even The Hound.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the books, Smalljon Umber died in the Red Wedding.
- Sword Plant: By Ser Arthur Dayne when confronting Eddard Stark.
- Take a Third Option: Varys offers this to Vala, a Harpy conspirator: rather than get killed for giving up information, start anew in another city.
- Teeny Weenie: Tormund jokingly comments Jon couldn't possibly be a god because his cock is too small. In fairness, it was rather cold on that slab.
- There Are No Therapists: In his attempt to get Jon back to leading the Night Watch, Ser Davos completely overlooks that Jon is going through some form of PTSD (with Jon remembering being stabbed in the heart, dying and then discovering there's no after-life.) Of course, the concept is likely not very well known (if at all) in Westeros.
- Took a Level in Cynic: Pretty much everyone — Jon is done with the Watch after being killed by some of them, the Northern alliance is based on Teeth-Clenched Teamwork and revenge instead of honor, Tommen is starting to be willing to use force and sees that his grandfather's speech was to manipulate him and Missandei want to kill all the masters for good.
- Torture Is Ineffective: Varys believes this, saying that torture will always get you an answer, but it's usually the wrong one.
- Training Montage: Back at the House of Black and White, Arya gets progressively better at both fighting and lying. As a reward, she regains her eyesight.
- Turn in Your Badge: Jon Snow turns in his Lord Commander's cape and states that his watch has ended.
- Ungrateful Bastard: The Umbers complain about Jon letting the Wildlings settle on the Gift, yet they did nothing to help the Watch when the latter needed it the most. They didn't respond to Maester Aemon's call for aid against the White Walkers and Mance Rayder, nor did they respond once the previous season after Lord Commander Jon Snow sent many letters calling for men and supplies. Jon only settled the Wildlings in the Gift (which is land belonging to the Watch) to counter their poor situation.
- The Un-Reveal: Invoked, as the Three Eyed Raven deliberately prevents Bran from discovering what Eddard finds in the tower.
- Wham Episode: The Umbers refuse to show any sort of fealty to Ramsay, but they do hand over Osha and Rickon Stark, along with the head of Shaggydog to prove that he is who they claim.
- Wham Line: Jon Snow gives command of Castle Black to Edd, and because he died, he walks away from the Watch saying, "My watch has ended."
- Wham Shot: Prisoners for Ramsay Snow? One's probably Theon — wait a minute, Osha?
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Thorne in his Famous Last Words points out that his watch is ended, but Lord Snow is going to be fighting his battles forever.
- Worse with Context: When Tyrion suggests to Missandei and Grey Worm they play games to pass the time:
- Worthy Opponent: It's subtle, but Ned and Dayne clearly have respect for one another. Both men show a small amount of regret before the fight begins.
- Would Hurt a Child: Jon must have one of his murderers, Olly, hanged for treason along with the rest of the men who murdered him. This weighs heavily on him though and greatly contributes to how utterly destroyed he feels after this and everything.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Vala, the Meereenese prostitute working with the Sons of Harpy, is afraid Varys will hurt her son if she doesn't talk. He insists he would never hurt a child, but notes she can hardly take care of him if she's put to death for conspiracy to kill Daenerys's soldiers.
- "X" Makes Anything Cool: The sigil of House Umber (four chains forming an X pattern) is seen on a banner passing an actual flayed man on a cross (sigil of House Bolton) outside Winterfell, which highlights a subtle Not So Different moment between the two northern houses.
- You Are in Command Now: Jon gives Edd command of Castle Black and the cloak of the Lord Commander before leaving. It's evident by how he says he can burn or wear said mantle that this is partly because he has completely lost faith in the organization and doesn't care anymore.
- You Must Be Cold: Once he's overcome his shock at seeing Jon Snow back from the dead, Ser Davos rushes to put his own coat on the shivering man.
- Your Head Asplode: Invoked. Jaime tells Qyburn to order Gregor to march into the Sept of Baelor and "crush the High Sparrow's head like a melon" but Cersei intervenes, telling Jaime that even Gregor can't kill the hundreds of Faith Militant fanatics surrounding him.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: At least eight men of the Night's Watch had stabbed Jon last season, and BTS images show at least fourteen men were assembled in the group that killed him. Only four are hanged this episode, leaving the fate of the other 4-10 men unknown.