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Home (Game of Thrones)

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"Home"
Game of Thrones episode
Game-of-Thrones-S06-E02-Home.jpg
Jon Snow gasps as he is revived by Melisandre.
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 2
Directed by Jeremy Podeswa
Written by Dave Hill
Featured music Ramin Djawadi
Cinematography by Gregory Middleton
Editing by Crispin Green
Original air date May 1, 2016 (2016-05-01)
Running time 54 minutes
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Red Woman"
Next →
"Oathbreaker"
Game of Thrones (season 6)
List of Game of Thrones episodes

"Home" is the second episode of the sixth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 52nd overall. The episode was written by Dave Hill and directed by Jeremy Podeswa.

The Wildlings arrive at Castle Black and force Alliser Thorne and his allies to surrender, allowing Melisandre to resurrect Jon Snow. Ramsay Bolton seizes Winterfell and the North for himself; Tyrion Lannister unchains the dragons being held in the catacombs of Meereen; Arya Stark proceeds to the next step in her training; and Bran Stark sees the past.

"Home" received high praise from critics, citing the return of Jon Snow, the reintroduction of Bran Stark with the Three-eyed Raven, and the unexpected death of Roose Bolton, as high points in the episode. Filming of the episode's closing scene, the director took inspiration from The Anatomy Lesson. In the United States, the episode premiere achieved a viewership of 7.29 million in its initial broadcast. The episode earned a nomination at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series.

Plot[edit]

In the North[edit]

Lord Harald Karstark arrives at Winterfell, bearing news of the death of the hunters sent after Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy. Ramsay Bolton deduces that Sansa would have gone to Castle Black where, as the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch and her brother, Jon would offer both her and Theon his protection. Ramsay proposes to Roose Bolton that they storm the castle from the unprotected southern side. Roose warns Ramsay that these actions would turn the entire North against them. Maester Wolkan then enters and announces that Roose's wife Walda Frey has given birth to a son, prompting Ramsay to stab Roose, killing him. He then lures Walda and his baby half-brother into the kennels, where he has them mauled to death by his hounds.

Sansa learns from Brienne of Tarth that Arya is alive, but that she hasn't been seen since her disappearance in the Riverlands. Theon then tells Sansa that he cannot accompany her to Castle Black, as he still fears retribution from Jon and does not deserve her or Jon's forgiveness. Confident that Brienne and Podrick can better protect Sansa, Theon states that he plans to return "home."

In King's Landing[edit]

In Flea Bottom, a drunkard boasts about having exposed himself to Cersei during her walk of shame. After he leaves to urinate, he is confronted by Gregor Clegane, who smashes his head in against a wall.

As the body of Myrcella Baratheon lies in the Great Sept of Baelor, Jaime Lannister is approached by the High Sparrow. Jaime threatens the High Sparrow in response to Cersei's treatment at their hands, and the High Sparrow responds that the Faith Militant is large and its soldiers have nothing to lose, and with their strength, the High Sparrow has the power to "overthrow an empire," which unnerves Jaime.

Meanwhile, Cersei Lannister is forbidden to leave the Red Keep for Myrcella's funeral by her son King Tommen Baratheon in an effort to protect her from the Sparrows. Tommen later apologizes to her and asks her to teach him how to be strong so he can protect the people he loves.

In Meereen[edit]

Tyrion Lannister converses with Varys, Missandei, and Grey Worm, and learns that Astapor and Yunkai have been retaken by the Masters, leaving Meereen the only free city in Slaver's Bay. Knowing that they need the power of the dragons, Tyrion heads to the dungeons to free them. While wary at first, the dragons do not attack Tyrion and allow him to undo their shackles before retreating deeper into the dungeon.

In Braavos[edit]

Arya Stark continues to train blind with The Waif, but still performs poorly in her duels. After one particular defeat, Arya is surprised when Jaqen H'ghar, whom she has not encountered for a while, appears and attempts to tempt her with food, bedding, and the return of her vision. Arya refuses all of Jaqen's offers, and Jaqen tells Arya to follow him, telling her she no longer needs to live as a beggar on the streets.

Beyond the Wall[edit]

Bran Stark continues his training with the Three-eyed Raven. He witnesses a vision of a young Eddard Stark, Benjen, and Lyanna Stark training together in Winterfell, and also learns Hodor's real name, Wylis. However, the Three-eyed Raven pulls Bran out of the memory, warning him that he risks "drowning" in old memories. Outside the cave, Meera Reed stands watch aimlessly, though Leaf, the Child of the Forest assisting them, remarks that Bran will soon need Meera's help when he is able to better use his visions.

On the Iron Islands[edit]

Balon Greyjoy speaks to Yara about their war against the North. Yara points out that the armies of the North have retaken all of the Ironborn strongholds on the mainland, and pleads with him to end the war. However, Balon refuses and vows to send more troops to stage another invasion of the North. As Balon heads outside, he encounters his brother, Euron Greyjoy, who has come to overthrow him. Balon attempts to stab Euron, who throws him off a bridge to his death. At Balon's funeral, Yara swears revenge against Balon's killer, but is reminded by her uncle Aeron, a Drowned Priest, that her position as successor depends on the results of the Kingsmoot, a ceremony where the Ironborn elect their new leader.

At the Wall[edit]

Davos Seaworth and the Night's Watch loyalists, who are guarding Jon Snow's body within a chamber in the castle, prepare themselves for battle when Alliser Thorne and his allies begin to break down the door. As they are about to break through, the outer gates of the Castle are breached by the giant Wun Wun, followed by Tormund Giantsbane and an army of Wildlings, who have returned with Dolorous Edd. Outnumbered, the Night's Watchmen lay down their arms, and Alliser and the mutineers are dragged off to the cells under Edd's orders.

Inside, Davos pleads with Melisandre to attempt to resurrect Jon, reminding her of her previous miracles. Though Melisandre's faith has been shattered by Stannis Baratheon's defeat, she is reminded of her encounter with Thoros of Myr, and attempts a ritual, but seemingly to no avail. Defeated, Melisandre, Davos, Edd and Tormund leave the room. Within moments, Jon suddenly awakens on the table.

Production[edit]

Writing[edit]

"Home" was written by Dave Hill. Some elements in the episode are based on the sixth novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter, which author George R. R. Martin had hoped to have completed before the sixth season began airing.[1] It also contains elements from the chapters "The Blind Girl", "The Dragontamer", and "Bran III" from A Dance with Dragons, as well as the death of Balon Greyjoy, an event referenced in "Catelyn V" in A Storm of Swords but unseen by the reader.[2]

In the "Inside the Episode" segment published by HBO shortly after the airing of the episode, the creators of the series and showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss spoke about the Winterfell scene involving Bran, stating that they had an aversion from the start of the series towards doing any sort of flashback. As such, they decided to keep it to a minimum, with only one flashback, in the fifth-season premiere "The Wars to Come", in the entire series prior to the sixth season. However, Benioff and Weiss decided that the re-introduction of Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven would provide the narrative ability to show a flashback, by that providing a better understanding for both the characters and the viewers.[3]

Casting[edit]

Kit Harington portrays Jon Snow in the series.

Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark), Ellie Kendrick (Meera Reed), Kristian Nairn (Hodor), Gemma Whelan (Yara Greyjoy) and Patrick Malahide (Balon Greyjoy) make return appearances after an absence of several years (Malahide since the third season, the others since the fourth season). The episode has the introduction of new recurring cast members Max von Sydow, replacing Struan Rodger, who briefly portrayed the character in Season 4, as the Three-Eyed Raven, Kae Alexander as Leaf, Pilou Asbaek as Euron Greyjoy, and Michael Feast as Aeron Greyjoy.

Additionally, several child actors were cast in order to portray young versions of well known characters within the show for Bran's vision of Winterfell in the past. These included Sebastian Croft as young Ned Stark, Cordelia Hill as young Lyanna Stark, Matteo Elezi as young Benjen Stark and Sam Coleman as young Hodor, or Wyllis as he is referred to in the scene.[4]

"Home" was the last episode for Michael McElhatton, who had played Roose Bolton since the second season.

Jon Snow was killed in the fifth-season finale, "Mother's Mercy", and in the lead up to the sixth season, actor Kit Harington, who portrays the character, stated that he would not be returning to the series except to play a corpse, and would not be resurrected despite rampant speculation.[5] Following the airing of "Home", Harington issued a public apology to fans of the show, stating that he would "like to say sorry for lying to everyone. I'm glad that people were upset that he died. I think my biggest fear was that people were not going to care. Or it would just be, 'Fine, Jon Snow's dead.' But it seems like people had a, similar to the Red Wedding episode, kind of grief about it. Which means something I'm doing—or the show is doing—is right."[6] Harington was simply referred to as "LC", for Lord Commander, in all scripts, call sheets, props or wardrobe materials, in order to maintain the secrecy involved with his eventual resurrection in the episode. It was also revealed that during production of the season, even verbal communication of the name 'Jon Snow' was disallowed, except in on-camera dialogue during actual taping of the series.[7]

Filming[edit]

Director Jeremy Podeswa stated that he took inspiration from The Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt for Jon Snow's resurrection scene.

"Home" was directed by Jeremy Podeswa. He had previously directed the fifth season episodes "Kill the Boy" and "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken".[8]

In an interview following the airing of the episode, Podeswa stated about the scene in which Jon Snow is resurrected; "I think just establishing the right amount of tension through the scene, so you really didn't know up until the last second which way it was going to go. That was the biggest thing, creating a sense of mystery and magic around the whole thing. We really wanted that scene to be very beautiful, but also fraught with tension. That's the main thing we were looking for." Podeswa also compared how he shot the scene to The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, continuing, "It had a very rich, textual, moody, atmospheric quality. I think we were all in that space for a long time for this scene — while we were shooting all the scenes involving Jon Snow's body, really, but particularly the one where he's resurrected."[9] In another interview Podeswa described how the resurrection would play out on screen, noting "There was much discussion about what that actually was: There's this sense of rebirth and whether it should be a big moment or a small moment. We tried a lot of different things, but it really felt to me, and I think we all agreed, this first gasp of life, like what a baby has when it's born, is kind of what it needed to be. And I just thought he did that so great."[10]

Carice van Houten, who portrays Melisandre, spoke about the resurrection, and how it was directed, mentioning "It was such an important scene, we shot it from so many angles. I think I washed his body 50 times."[11]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

"Home" was viewed by 7.29 million American households on its initial screening on HBO, which was slightly lower than the 7.94 million viewers for the sixth-season premiere, but which still made it the fourth highest rated episode of the series to that point.[12] The episode also acquired a 3.67 rating in the 18–49 demographic, making it the highest rated show on cable television of the night.[12] In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.482 million viewers on Sky Atlantic; it also received 0.079 million timeshift viewers.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

"Home" received highly positive reactions from critics, with many focusing on the resurrection of Jon Snow by Melisandre, which had been predicted by many, as well as new developments related to Bran Stark and the surprising death of Roose Bolton at the hands of his son, Ramsay. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 50 reviews of the episode and judged 90% of them to be positive, with an average rating of 7.9/10.[14] The website's consensus for the episode stated "Full of new revelation and one very anticipated resurrection, "Home" is a slow burn that finally sets the last pieces in play for a thrilling season six."[14]

Matt Fowler of IGN stated "'Home' was a super busy episode, but also one that didn't feel rushed. Two big lords of the realm fell while a new Iron Island character was introduced and a character we all worried about got brought back to life by an unsure-but-well-meaning priestess. Story flowed here like wine in a very satisfying chapter filled with death and resurrection."[15] Fowler gave the episode a 9.3 out of 10.[15] Reviewing for The A.V. Club, from the perspective of book readers, Myles McNutt gave the episode an A-.[16] McNutt also wrote about the showrunners going back to yet to be used story lines from the books, and transposing them into later seasons, such as the Kingsmoot plot, noting "It's a great example of the show's ability to adapt the books in a non-linear fashion, here wholesale moving a storyline where it serves a clearer purpose."[16]

With respect to Jon Snow's resurrection, Jeremy Egner of The New York Times wrote that it was "a mostly perfunctory resolution." He said "Jon Snow's assassination was astonishing immediately when it happened but, upon further consideration, seemed destined to be overturned on magical appeal. There were too many questions (his parentage) and teased confrontations (the White Walkers) that would be left unresolved, and the show's entire Wall story line would be left with a bastard-sized hole in the middle." Egner also referred to the previous plot in the show involving Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr, and speculated what it could mean in regards to Jon Snow's personality being changed, or becoming less of his former self, as with Dondarrion.[17] Sarah Larson of The New Yorker also reviewed the episode positively, saying, "Last night's episode, still catching us up on all the characters while continuing to move its armies of plot lines forward, was full of fratricide, patricide, head-crushing, infanticide, trompe-l'oeil eyeballs, eunuch jokes, and glorious returns."[18]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2016 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series Gregory Middleton Nominated [19]
MTV Fandom Awards Fan Freak Out of the Year Game of Thrones - Resurrection of Jon Snow Nominated [20]
2017 Visual Effects Society Awards 2016 Outstanding Animated Performance in an Episode or Real-Time Project Sebastian Lauer, Jonathan Symmonds, Thomas Kutschera, Anthony Sieben – Dragon Nominated [21]
Canadian Society of Cinematographers TV Series Cinematography Gregory Middleton Won [22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shetty, Sharan (January 2, 2016). "George R.R. Martin's Winds of Winter Won't Be Out Before Game of Thrones' Sixth Season". Slate. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2016. 
  2. ^ Noble, Matt (August 18, 2015). "'Game of Thrones' director Jeremy Podeswa dishes Jon Snow death, teases season six (Exclusive Video)". GoldDerby. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (May 1, 2016). "Game of Thrones season 6, episode 2: 3 winners and 7 losers from "Home"". Vox. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Game of Thrones' Ned Stark returns as a young boy played by Sebastian Croft - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. August 11, 2015. 
  5. ^ Robinson, Joanna (March 7, 2016). "Game of Thrones: Kit Harington Finally Admits He Did Film Some Season 6 Scenes". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on July 13, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  6. ^ Hibberd, James (May 1, 2016). "Game of Thrones: Kit Harington breaks his silence -- Exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  7. ^ Hibberd, James (May 2, 2016). "Game of Thrones: Kit Harington's secret code name revealed". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  8. ^ Hibberd, James (June 25, 2015). "Game of Thrones directors revealed for mysterious season 6". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2015. 
  9. ^ Wigler, Josh (May 3, 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Director Pulls Back the Curtain on the Jon Snow Twist". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  10. ^ Calia, Michael (May 3, 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Director Discusses Building Suspense Around Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 6, 2016. 
  11. ^ Hibberd, James (May 4, 2016). "Game of Thrones Carice van Houten: 'I washed his body 50 times'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Cantor, Brian (May 3, 2016). "Game of Thrones Drops from Season Premiere, Still Dominates Sunday Ratings Race". Headline Planet. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Top 10 Ratings (25 April -1 May 2016)". BARB. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "Home". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 2, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Fowler, Matt (May 1, 2016). "Game of Thrones: "Home" Review - IGN". IGN. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b McNutt, Myles (May 1, 2016). "Game Of Thrones invites Kingsmoot fever to sweep the globe (for experts)". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  17. ^ Egner, Jeremy (May 1, 2016). "'Game of Thrones' Season 6, Episode 2: Jon Snow, Dragons and Ramsay's Dogs". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  18. ^ Larson, Sarah (May 2, 2016). ""Game of Thrones": Glorious Returns". The New Yorker. Retrieved January 8, 2017. 
  19. ^ Prudom, Laura (July 14, 2016). "Creative Arts Emmy Awards Winners: 'Game Of Thrones' Leads Way On Night 1". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016. 
  20. ^ "MTV Fandom Awards: Game of Thrones, Hamilton among nominees". Entertainment Weekly. June 22, 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2017. 
  21. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (January 10, 2017). "'Rogue One' Leads Visual Effects Society Feature Competition With 7 Nominations As 'Doctor Strange,' 'Jungle Book' Grab 6 Each". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  22. ^ "CSC Awards 2017". www.csc.ca. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 

External links[edit]