"Home" is the second episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones and the fifty-second episode of the series overall. It premiered on May 1, 2016. It was written by Dave Hill and directed by Jeremy Podeswa.
Bran trains with the Three-Eyed Raven. In King's Landing, Jaime advises Tommen. Tyrion demands good news, but has to make his own. At Castle Black, the Night's Watch stands behind Thorne. Ramsay Bolton proposes a plan, and Balon Greyjoy entertains other proposals.
Beyond the Wall
Bran Stark continues his training under the Three-Eyed Raven at the tree. He is shown a scene from Winterfell, watching his father and uncle Benjen training in the yard as young boys. He also sees his aunt Lyanna, Old Nan, and Ser Rodrik Cassel. He also sees a stableboy that he realizes is a young Hodor - and is surprised that in his youth he was not a lackwit but was intellectually normal and could talk, and his real name is actually "Wylis". Though Bran wants to stay, he is dragged out of the vision by the Three-Eyed Raven, who warns him that it is dangerous to stay too long in such visions. Outside the tree, Bran finds Meera Reed, who still appears to be in mourning over her brother's death. Though Meera questions the point of her presence during Bran's training, Leaf states that Bran will need her when he leaves the tree.
At King's Landing
In a tavern, a man drunkenly boasts of having taunted Cersei during her walk of atonement to the great amusement of the other patrons. After he finishes his story, he leaves the tavern to urinate against a wall outside. As he is urinating, he is confronted by Ser Gregor Clegane, who kills him by smashing his head against the wall. Ser Gregor returns to Cersei's side following the murder.
Myrcella's funeral is held at the Great Sept of Baelor but Cersei cannot attend. Tommen has ordered that Cersei be confined to the Red Keep since he is concerned that the Faith Militant will re-arrest her if she steps inside the sept. In the sept, Jaime and Tommen talk about Myrcella and Prince Trystane. Tommen believes that Cersei is to blame for Prince Trystane's death but tells Jaime that he isn't upset with her. Jaime convinces Tommen to go see his mother and apologize to her as the High Sparrow enters the sept. After Tommen leaves, Jaime begins threatening the High Sparrow and asks him why Cersei is being punished for her sins, but he isn't, considering he murdered the king he vowed to protect. As Jaime is about to kill the High Sparrow, the High Sparrow seems to be unafraid to die, which confuses Jaime. The High Sparrow explains that if Jaime chooses to kill him then many of the sparrows will die fighting him, but it wouldn't really matter since they have no names or individual power. He says that they mean nothing individually, but together they can overthrow an empire.
Tommen visits Cersei in the Red Keep and apologizes for not being more assertive during her imprisonment. He regrets letting the High Sparrow lock her away and says that he should have torn the sept down with the High Sparrow inside of it. He tells her that he needs her help in being a strong ruler. Cersei remains uncharacteristically silent throughout the exchange, but when Tommen is done speaking, she embraces him.
Missandei and Grey Worm tell Tyrion that Rhaegal and Viserion have not been eating ever since Daenerys left. Tyrion explains that dragons do not do well in captivity and they will probably start eating again if they are unchained. He also suggests that dragons are intelligent enough to remember their friends, and that they will probably not harm Missandei if they meet her again, since she spent so much time with them when they were little. Tyrion and Varys go down below the pyramid, with Tyrion advancing into the darkness alone. One of the dragons emerges from the shadows and Tyrion maintains eye contact. When the other emerges, Tyrion puts down his torch and gently advances. To calm them, Tyrion speaks gently, explaining that some say that dragons are more intelligent than humans, and tells about about a time when he was little and had asked his uncle for a dragon – not even a large one, just a little one like him. They all laughed, then Tyrion's father told him dragons were extinct, and Tyrion says he cried himself to sleep that night. At this point, Tyrion is finally close enough to release the locking pin on the second dragon's collar. The other advances on him, then gingerly turns his head to the side so Tyrion can free him as well. The dragons retreat, and Tyrion hastily returns to Varys. Tyrion instructs Varys to punch him if he ever suggests doing anything like that again.
Still a beggar on the streets, Arya is again approached by the Waif, who asks her name. Arya says she is "no one", at which the Waif hits her. The Waif retorts that she doesn't believe that and neither does Arya. She tries to fight back, but the Waif vanishes, replaced with Jaqen H'ghar. He promises that if she says her name, Arya will sleep under a roof that night, that she will eat, and he will restore her eyes. Each time however Arya says she has no name. Satisfied, he tells Arya to follow him, and that she is a beggar no more.
In the North
At Winterfell, Ramsay and Roose discuss with Harald Karstark what to do about Sansa and Jon. After Ramsay suggests storming Castle Black, Roose warns Ramsay that attacking the Night's Watch would turn the entire North against House Bolton, adding that if he does not act more sensibly he will be discarded. Maester Wolkan enters and announces that Roose's wife Walda has given birth to a baby boy. Ramsay, believing that the new son is a threat to his inheritance, stabs his father to death and, in his position as the new Lord Bolton, personally feeds Walda and his half-brother to the hounds.
In the woods, Brienne fills Sansa in on her encounter with Arya, while Sansa is reluctant to talk about her experiences under Ramsay Bolton's tyranny at Winterfell. She admits that she ought to have accepted her help sooner. Theon, wracked with guilt over his betrayal of the Stark family, decides to leave the group and go home instead of joining the Night's Watch. He tells Sansa that Brienne and Pod will do a better job of looking after her, though he tearfully states that he would have gone with her all the way to Castle Black if necessary. He asks to take one of the horses with him, and the two embrace.
In the Iron Islands
At Pyke, it is a dark and stormy night. Yara Greyjoy reads a letter to King Balon Greyjoy about how the Glovers retook Deepwood Motte and killed all of the Ironborn who held the castle. Yara notes that their invasion is now a definite failure since Deepwood Motte was the last stronghold that the Ironborn held in the North. Balon tells her that they will continue fighting, but Yara argues that invading the North is pointless since they are unable to hold the strongholds they conquer against the mainland armies and the strongholds in the mainlands aren't really valuable to the Ironborn because they are so far away from the sea. Balon says that one of the reasons that the invasion wasn't successful was because Yara wasted men when she attempted to rescue Theon, which she says she will not apologize for. Yara continues to try to convince Balon to end the rebellion, saying the only reason they were able to take strongholds in the North in the first place was because the Northerners were in the south fighting a war, and now that war is over. She reminds Balon that the last time they provoked the Mainlanders too far they were crushed and her two oldest brothers were killed. Balon tells her that when she rules she can be content with their current standing, but for now she needs to obey his commands or he will make another heir who will.
Balon starts walking on the swinging rope bridge that separates two of the towers of Pyke. Through the storm, he sees a man standing on the bridge who is blocking his way. He tells the man to get out of the way, but the man reveals himself to be Balon's younger brother, Euron Greyjoy. Balon tells him that he's surprised that he's still alive, and Euron mocks the Drowned God, telling Balon that he is the Drowned God. Balon inquires about a rumor that Euron lost his senses during a storm and his crew had to tie him to the mast of the ship to prevent him from jumping overboard. Euron doesn't deny the rumor, and explains to Balon that he cut the tongues out of all of his crew members because he wanted silence. Euron then says that Balon is too old to rule and that he's been ruling long enough and it's someone else's turn. Balon tells Euron that he isn't a true Ironborn because he lost his wits during a thunderstorm and tries to stab him, but Euron throws him off the rope bridge to his death.
At Balon's funeral, Yara tells the priest, Aeron Greyjoy, Balon's youngest brother, that she will find the person who did this and feed them to sharks while they're still alive. She swears to do this upon the Salt Throne and Aeron explains to her that she isn't the ruler yet, because the law says that the Kingsmoot chooses the next ruler. Yara argues that her father wanted her to rule, but Aeron says that he doesn't make the law.
At the Wall
At Castle Black, nightfall has arrived and the band of black brothers loyal to Jon have not yet surrendered. When Davos refuses a final ultimatum from Ser Alliser Thorne, the acting Lord Commander orders the door to be battered down with a sledgehammer. Before the mutineers can break in, however, Edd returns with Tormund Giantsbane and an army of wildlings. Though Thorne demands that the watchmen stand and fight, only one of them is stupid enough to try it and is almost immediately cut down by Tormund, enabling an almost bloodless takeover. One archer foolishly looses a crossbow bolt into Wun Wun's back, which only results in the angry giant seizing him from his perch and dashing him against a stone wall before throwing the mangled body at Thorne's feet. The watchmen, seeing this, quickly throw down their arms and surrender. No wildlings are hurt.
Thorne, plus Olly and the officers who mutinied alongside him, are led away to the Ice Cells. As Tormund inspects Jon's corpse, Davos visits Melisandre, who has donned her normal glamor but is still gripped by a crisis of faith. When he asks her if reviving Jon is possible, she admits to having seen it done, but insists that she cannot do it, having lost faith in the Lord of Light due to the failure of her predictions regarding Stannis Baratheon to come true. After Davos implores her simply to try, she agrees. After washing Jon's wounds clean and burning his hair, she attempts to revive him using murmured High Valyrian incantations, but it seems they have no effect. After a moment, Tormund leaves, and Melisandre offers a final "please" in the Common Tongue, but leaves the room, despondent. Edd and finally Davos follow her a moment later. Once the room is empty however, Ghost, who had been sleeping underneath the table upon which Jon was lying, perks up, and Jon suddenly awakens, gasping for air.
- Main: Home/Appearances
- Roose Bolton
- Walda Bolton
- Newborn Bolton
- Balon Greyjoy
- King's Landing boaster
- 2 unnamed Black Brothers
- 19 of 29 starring cast members appear in this episode.
- Starring cast members Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Aidan Gillen (Petyr Baelish), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand), Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Hannah Murray (Gilly), Michiel Huisman (Daario Naharis), and Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont) are not credited and do not appear in this episode.
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) is restored as a starring cast member commencing with this episode, having been absent since the season 4 finale.
- This episode is the final appearance of starring cast member Michael McElhatton (Roose Bolton) due to the death of his character.
- The episode's title refers to both Bran Stark enjoying a vision of the past at his home in Winterfell, and Theon, who decides to depart from Sansa and head "home" (to the Iron Islands). Theon's uncle Euron also returns home to the Iron Islands after a long absence.
- Pyke returns to the Title sequence for the first time since Season 2.
- Dorne does not appear in this episode. Daenerys Targaryen, captive among the Dothraki, does not appear though the characters she left behind in Meereen do. House Tyrell, the Small Council, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, and the Samwell Tarly/Gilly subplots do not appear either.
- Jon Snow has been resurrected by the Red Priestess Melisandre. His connection to his direwolf, Ghost, might have had something to do with the process.
- In prior seasons, actor Kit Harington was contractually obligated to not cut his hair shorter than a certain length, so he can play the long-haired Jon Snow. After the mutiny against Jon in the Season 5 finale, numerous news sites would regularly scrutinize photos of Harington taken in public to try to determine if he was returning to play Jon Snow in Season 6 (in which case he would retain his long hair) or would in fact not return (in which case he would cut his hair shorter). It apparently never occurred to such news sites that Jon Snow the character might simply get a haircut within the story itself - when Melisandre cuts his hair as part of the resurrection ceremony. Moreover, even if he did not cut his hair, other characters on the TV series in the past have died in one season but returned in the next season simply to "play" their character's corpse: Tywin died at the end of Season 4 but the actor returned in Season 5 to appear as his corpse - and even within this episode itself, Myrcella Baratheon died last season but the actress returned to play her corpse. The length of Kit Harington's hair could never have been an indicator of whether or not Jon Snow would stay dead, regardless of whether his hair remained long or short.
- By completing the resurrection, Melisandre becomes the second character to successfully resurrect a dead character back to life, after Thoros resurrected Beric Dondarrion multiple times - Melisandre in this episode mentions meeting both of them back in Season 3.
- Melisandre ritualized the process far more than Thoros did: she washes Jon's body, cuts and burns his hair, and utters the necessary prayers in High Valyrian and not the Common Tongue (aside from the end).
- Jon's body is shown with seven stab wounds, even though he was stabbed six times.
- Jon is the third character to be resurrected, following Beric and Gregor Clegane, and the second to be resurrected by a Red Priest/Priestess.
- This episode marks the return of House Greyjoy and the Iron Islands as a major subplot. After their introduction in Season 2, the Greyjoys were barely seen again in the subsequent three seasons - entirely absent from Season 5 (not counting Theon). In the books, the Greyjoys do not prominently feature in the third novel either, and because it was the longest novel it was split across two TV seasons (Season 3 and Season 4), so they were not predicted to appear prominently in those. Apparently to keep them on screen to some extent, the TV series invented the sideplot of Balon and Yara receiving a taunting letter from Ramsay (and a box containing Theon's severed genitals) in the Season 3 finale, prompting her to announce that she would mount a rescue attempt against the Dreadfort. When this actually came in Season 4's "The Laws of Gods and Men" it was a brief sequence that ended in failure as she was chased away by Ramsay's hunting dogs. While the Greyjoys didn't appear much in the third novel, they returned very prominently in the fourth novel with the major new Kingsmoot subplot, spurred by the introduction of Balon's younger brother Euron, and Asha (Yara in the show) herself becomes a POV narrator. This extended into the fifth novel. The showrunners, however, chose to condense both the fourth and fifth novels into Season 5, resulting in the Greyjoys making no appearance at all, until it was revealed that their subplot actually would be in the TV series, albeit pushed back to Season 6.
- Several reviews remarked that the ironborn characters seemed to have more screentime in this episode alone than in the past three seasons combined: at nearly six minutes, it is actually slightly less than in the past three seasons put together - but still close, and each a dialogue-heavy scene. The Yara and Balon scene at the end of Season 3 lasted only three minutes, while Yara's attack on the Dreadfort in Season 4 was a little under five minutes long but included less dialogue - for a total of eight minutes compared to the six minutes in this episode alone. This does not include Theon as his plotline was removed from the Greyjoys as a faction (other ironborn did appear with Theon in the Surrender of Moat Cailin sequence in Season 4, which lasted about five minutes, but Balon and Yara didn't reappear).
- This episode marks the introduction of Euron Greyjoy, Balon's younger brother and uncle to Theon and Yara. The TV producers were unsure if they would ever be able to introduce the large Iron Islands subplot from the fourth novel back when they were making Season 2, so even when Theon meets his family again at Pyke, mention of his uncles was simply omitted, rather than waste time setting up a subplot which might not ultimately get to appear. For Euron this was largely irrelevant because he wasn't in the islands at the time, but in the book version the baptism ceremony that Theon undergoes was conducted by his youngest uncle, the priest Aeron "Damphair" Greyjoy - thus when Theon's baptism ceremony appeared in Season 2's "What is Dead May Never Die", it was simply conducted by an unnamed Drowned Priest, not his uncle Aeron.
- On-screen dialogue in this episode doesn't actually state it, but the HBO Viewer's Guide and official promo photos for upcoming episodes confirm that the Drowned Priest that Yara talks to in this episode is indeed her uncle Aeron Greyjoy. There was a third uncle in the novels, Victarion - commander of the Iron Fleet - but he appears to have been adapted out and some of his actions condensed with Yara's.
- Theon's uncles were vaguely mentioned on-screen in the TV series at one point before this, way back in Season 1 episode 4 "Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things", in a scene invented for the TV show in order to introduce the backstory about the Greyjoy Rebellion. As Tyrion is leaving Winterfell (on his way back from the Wall) he encounters Theon near the stables, and mocks him for how the last living son of Balon Greyjoy has become a "lackey" (Ward) for the Starks. Tyrion remarks that he remembers the rebellion nine years before, and watching as the ironborn burned the Lannister fleet at anchor in the Raid on Lannisport. Tyrion says that Theon's uncles were responsible, but didn't mention their names (an intentionally vague line so the writers could keep their options open). Tyrion's exact words were: "I still remember seeing my father's fleet burn in Lannisport. I believe your uncles were responsible."
- Euron Greyjoy is called "Crow's Eye" in the novels because he wears an eyepatch over his left eye. It is unknown what is beneath the eyepatch, an empty socket or an eye.. His right eye is blue. In the TV show, Euron has no eyepatch and still has both eyes.
- Yara Greyjoy criticizes her father's overall war strategy: opportunistically attack the North while its army was away fighting the Lannisters in the south, with no long-term plan for what happens when the civil war between the mainlanders eventually ends and they aren't distracted anymore. Even Theon back in Season 2 criticized Balon for this, because it would gain little, and when the war on the mainland eventually ended, either the Starks or Lannisters would turn their full attention to the Greyjoys. Yara's remark about sending men to die for "pinecones and rocks" is part of a longer speech in the novels, in which she has her men dump treasure chests filled with actual pinecones and rocks at the feet of the assembled ship captains: a sarcastic display of the "riches" that trying to conquer the North has brought them, paid for with blood. Instead of trying to seize the foodstuffs of the Reach or mines of the Westerlands, they are losing men from attrition trying to hold on to poor, barren lands in the North simply because they were easy to capture at first.
- Balon's attempt to brush off that his failed strategies are his own fault and instead shift blame onto his own children is easily deflected by Yara herself. Both Theon's capture of Winterfell and Yara's assault on the Dreadfort to try to rescue Theon were lightning raids made with small forces which had only minimal effect on the total losses they have been taking: Theon only took one ship with twenty men (all dead except Theon), and Yara also only took one ship with fifty men (losing many). The losses Balon's children made in these raids only measured in the dozens - when at Balon's order hundreds of ironborn died trying to hold on to Moat Cailin and now Deepwood Motte. As summed up in their exchange, when Balon angrily asks where is Theon now (and the few dozen men she lost trying to rescue him), Yara retorts by asking where the entire kingdom he lost is.
- Yara angrily warns her father that the wars on the mainland are drawing to a close, and the mainland powers will soon turn their attention back to them - specifically reminding him what happened the last time they provoked the mainland powers too far in the Greyjoy Rebellion and they lost. She says that she watched from the castle tower during the Siege of Pyke as enemy armies broke in, and she lost two of her brothers that day, and Balon says he lost three sons, because after Theon was taken as a ward he considered the boy dead to him. The two older Greyjoy brothers who died in that war were Rodrik Greyjoy and Maron Greyjoy - but actually, in both the books and supplementary materials for the TV series, it is stated that while both of them died in the war, both of them didn't die "that day" during the Siege of Pyke. Maron died in the Siege of Pyke, but Rodrik died earlier in the war at the Battle of Seagard. Of course, given that Balon and Yara are outright shouting at each other about this, it is possible they are just speaking loosely about the fine details in their anger.
- Yara reads a letter informing that House Glover retook their castle-seat at Deepwood Motte from the ironborn who held it, and this was their last stronghold that they had captured in the North since the war began. Yara personally led the assault to capture Deepwood Motte back in Season 2. In the novels, Deepwood Motte is liberated by Stannis Baratheon, reinforced by the Northern Mountain clans, nearly all of Yara's troops are destroyed and she is taken captive, but there is one more stronghold still held by the ironborn in the North: Torrhen's Square, which was mentioned as being attacked by the ironborn in Season 2, and in the books was taken by Dagmer. As of the most recent novel, Dagmer still holds Torrhen's Square. Yara offers Stannis to have Dagmer yield, but Stannis has no interest in Torrhen's Square, and decides to march on Winterfell without delay. The TV series apparently just condensed this so Torrhen's Square was liberated off-screen, and officially the ironborn have no more presence in the North.
- In the novels, the liberation of Deepwood Motte is the one time so far that House Forrester has been mentioned in the main narrative - a minor House who serve as vassals to House Glover, who are the main characters in the tie-in video game Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series. After Deepwood Motte is liberated, Lady Sybelle Glover provides Stannis with guides and "hunters sworn to Deepwood with clan names like Forrester and Woods, Branch and Bole." A future "season" of the Telltale video game might tie-in with these off-screen events - though the first "season" of the game was set during Season 4 of the TV series, so these events around Deepwood Motte and the Wolfswood would correspond to a potential third season of the video game.
- Aeron and Yara refers to the ancient throne of the Iron Islands as "Salt Throne", perhaps as a parallel to the Iron Throne. In the novels it is called "Seastone Chair" - and was actually referred to by this name in the "Histories & Lore" videos for Season 2. It's possible that the TV writers thought the audience would be confused that it isn't just "a chair" but in fact a "throne" - in which case it is unclear why they didn't just call it the "Seastone Throne" (it's possible they disliked the fact that this would rhyme). Among the titles that the ruler of the Iron Islands claims, however, is indeed "King of Salt and Rock" (after the salt of sea water), so "Salt Throne" isn't out of keeping with their general naming scheme.
- In the novels, Theon isn't upset at all about any of his past misdeeds; he does not feel even the slightest regret or remorse. He nonchalantly dismisses the miller's sons he murdered - the only of his victims whom he considers as such - with "They were only miller's boys", and later mentally convinces himself that Ramsay (who was pretending to be a servant at the time) had made him do it - even though Ramsay only suggested it but didn't force him to; typically for a sociopath person, Theon never takes responsibility for any of his crimes, and blames others - Ramsay, his father, his sister, the residents of Winterfell, but not himself. Given that these chapters are presented from Theon's internal thought monologue, however, it's possible that this is meant to represent him still grappling with his guilt (if he didn't feel bad about killing the miller's sons he wouldn't keep thinking about it). He does not give any thought about all the other innocent people who were either killed, raped or otherwise harmed personally by him, at his command or as a result of his deeds - the residetns of Stony Shore, Kyra (whom he raped very brutally), Mikken, Farlen, septon Chayale, etc. He isn't sorry for Ser Rodrik's death in the novels, not simply because he didn't kill him in the book version (Ramsay did in battle - this was a condensation with a different Northern bannerman that Theon executed), but because he does not care.
- It is the second time, following "Valar Morghulis", that someone offers Theon to take the black, reasoning that once he does that - all his past crimes will be forgiven. Theon refuses for the same reason he gave as the first time - he is certain that Jon will kill him for the atrocities he has committed.
- This episode also marks the return of Bran Stark and his companions at the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, after their storyline took the year off in Season 5. As the showrunners explained, Bran's material largely caught up with the current novels by the end of Season 4: it had less material than other subplots so they adapted it at a faster pace relative to the other storylines. They felt that Bran finally meeting the Three-Eyed Raven was a very good stopping point, and combined with the large number of storylines being condensed into Season 5, it really made sense to just leave his subplot "on hold" and return in Season 6 once he had made more progress in his magical training.
- There was one chapter left from the fifth novel, after Bran meets the Three-Eyed Raven, in which he has numerous magical visions of the past. The TV series appears to be stretching this out through much of Season 6, also using it as a framing device to portray some flashback scenes which other characters (such as Eddard) had in the novels but which were omitted until now.
- The "Three-Eyed Raven" appeared only once before back in the Season 4 finale, played by Struan Rodger. For the character's return this season the role was recast, and is now played by veteran Swedish-French actor Max von Sydow.
- During the flashback scenes in Bran's vision of Winterfell, he states that the two young boys sparring are his father Eddard Stark and his younger uncle Benjen Stark. The young man overseeing their training is not their eldest brother Brandon Stark (Bran's uncle and namesake), but is a young Ser Rodrik Cassel, Winterfell's Master-at-Arms who appeared in Seasons 1 and 2 (Theon even recalls in this episode that he killed Rodrik in Season 2). The young Rodrik has the characteristic long sideburn whiskers which he will grow out even further as an old man when he appears in Season 1.
- It can be seen that the actor playing young Rodrik Cassel, Fergus Leathem, closely resembles Daniel Portman, who plays Podrick Payne. In real life, Daniel Portman is actually the son of Ron Donachie, who played the adult Rodrik Cassel in Seasons 1 and 2: the TV show cast Fergus because he resembles Ron when he was younger, and understandably, Ron's own son Daniel also looks like his own father at his age.
- Lyanna Stark first appears in flashback deftly riding a horse at a young age - a detail from the novels, in which other characters recall that she was a tomboy (not unlike her niece Arya) who was one of the best riders in the North, male or female. Lyanna even wears a boy's clothing and riding gloves (women don't dress like this when they are seen riding). Cordelia Hill, who plays young Lyanna, also resembles Maisie Williams to some extent - in the novels Eddard tells Arya that she very closely resembles what his sister looked like at her age.
- Lyanna remarks that young Eddard is soon going to have to leave Winterfell and go to the Eyrie. Among the nobility in Westeros, it is customary to send young boys of a certain age out to "foster" at an ally's castle as wards, where they live and train for several years. This is meant to help boys grow into young men, giving them a sense of the wider world and an opportunity to forge lasting friendships with members of other Houses and thus strengthen alliances. Eddard was sent to foster at the Eyrie under its then-Lord Jon Arryn, who became almost a second father to him, and it was there that he met fellow ward Robert Baratheon and began their lifelong friendship. In the TV series, Eddard and Robert previously mentioned how they fostered at the Eyrie back in the Season 1 premiere, and later in Season 4's "The Mountain and the Viper" Lord Yohn Royce recalled to Eddard's daughter Sansa how Eddard fostered at the Eyrie and became friends with Vale lords including himself.
- The scene where Young Ned spars with Young Benjen includes a callback to a scene from Season 5's "The Wars to Come" where Jon Snow trains Olly in sword and shield combat (in the books Jon tells that sentence while training Satin). Both Ned and Jon knock their sparring partners to the ground. Upon helping them up, Ned/Jon put their hands on the side of Benjen/Olly's heads, telling them to "Keep your shield up, or I'll ring your head like a bell," before tussling their hair. It is possible that Eddard later used the same advice when taking part in a training exercise with Jon, and Jon was thus repeating his father's words to his new trainees.
- This episode reveals that Hodor's real name is actually "Wylis", and he used to be able to speak normally. He suffered an accident in later years that rendered him a lackwit (mentally handicapped). "Hodor" is just a word he says, and because it is the only thing he can say it eventually stuck as a nickname.
- In the novels, Hodor's real name is actually "Walder", not Wylis. The TV series probably changed this to remove any confusion with Walder Frey - for the same reason Asha's name was changed to Yara, and Robert Arryn's first name was changed to Robin. However the two are not related. There are many Freys named Walder in the books, and there is at least one son of Walder Frey named for him in the show.
- The current novels have never actually stated how Hodor became mentally disabled - if he was born a lackwit or became one later through a brain injury of some kind. It is therefore probable that the revelation that Hodor could speak normally when he was a boy is actually a piece of spoiler information from a future novel.
- Actor Kristian Nairn, who plays adult Hodor, has a prominent tattoo on his right temple. As Hodor does not have a tattoo, the makeup department just applies fake scar makeup to his right temple to cover it up - apparently some injury "Hodor" the character took the in past. Notice that the actor playing young Hodor in the flashback has a matching fake scar piece applied to his right temple.
- Young Benjen's fearful remark about sparring with young Hodor because he's huge - "he's got giant's blood!" - repeats an earlier comment Osha made back in Season 1 jokingly wondering if Hodor is so large because he has some giant's blood in his ancestry. Similar comments are made in the novels, but it is has as-yet never been established that giants have ever actually interbred with humans.
- Old Nan reappears in flashback, though in the past she is called only "Nan". Her fears about her great-grandson Wylis/Hodor entering the dangerous life of combat later turned out to be warranted: two of her sons will later die fighting for Eddard in Robert's Rebellion, and her grandson will die fighting for Eddard in the Greyjoy Rebellion, until Hodor is left as her only living relative.
- In the novels, it is heavily implied but not outright stated that Hodor is in his late teens or early twenties, and that his father was Old Nan's grandson who died in the Greyjoy Rebellion. In this case, Hodor obviously couldn't have been a child at roughly the same time as Eddard Stark and his siblings. However, in the TV version, Hodor is played by actor Kristian Nairn, who was 38 years old when Season 6 was filmed: there probably weren't many seven feet tall teenaged actors to pick from at the audition, so the TV series cast Nairn. This being the case, TV-Hodor simply happens to be twice as old as book-Hodor - and therefore, unlike his book counterpart, TV-Hodor actually is roughly in the same age group as Eddard Stark (Nairn is actually 15 years younger than Sean Bean, but even so, due to his unusually large size it is unclear exactly how old young Hodor is supposed to be in the flashback scenes).
- The appearance of the Children of the Forest has been drastically upgraded since they were last seen in the Season 4 finale - apparently due to a combination of advances in CGI while they spent the year off in Season 5, along with a significantly increased budget (up to $10 million per episode in Season 6). The redesign brings their appearance much closer to how it was described in the novels, as well as in the animated "Histories & Lore" segments featuring drawings of them: glowing slit eyes like a cat's, nut-brown skin (spotted like a deer's), and overall less human-like facial features (the books also describe them as having four-fingered hands that end in claws, but they aren't visible in this episode). Some descriptions of the Children in the books imply that they look almost like humanoid squirrels (the name the giants call them literally translates as "little squirrel people").
- In the Season 4 finale, extensive CGI was actually used to soften the Children's appearances so they seemed much more rounded and infantile. Still, the previous episode didn't apply the other features that the Children prominently have in the books, such as their coloration - which somewhat implied at the time that the Children look white/Caucasian. This episode corrects this to portray them with the nut-brown skin and "dappled" (spotted) coloration described in the novels: the Children don't really look like any human ethnicity, as they are a non-human race altogether.
- Given that the Children were previously played by small child actors, but the characters themselves aren't supposed to age like children, the character Leaf has understandably been recast, and is now played by Kae Alexander. Again raising the issue that the Children aren't really any human ethnicity, original actress Octavia Alexandru is Romanian, but Kae Alexander is in fact Japanese.
- Roose Bolton is dead, killed by his own son Ramsay Bolton, who feared that due to Roose having a new lawfully born son with his wife Walda, he would disinherit him for his failures. Blaming the death on his enemies, this makes Ramsay the new Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North.
- In this episode, Ramsay massacres the rest of House Bolton - his own father, stepmother, and newborn half-brother - which might draw some parallels to the massacre of House Martell in the previous episode (which wasn't from the novels). Ramsay even brutally kills Walda and her newborn son with his hunting dogs. The similarities end there: while Ramsay's actions in this episode are certainly very violent and disturbing, they are likely not an invention of the TV series as the Dorne subplot is, and are a culmination of a plotline set up long in advance. While the Bolton storyline in the TV series has surpassed the current novels, it is implied that Ramsay might kill Roose in the next novel - for much the same reasons as in the TV show: Ramsay has proven to be short-sighted and impulsive, Roose has lost faith in him, and Roose might make any child he has with Walda his heir instead (Roose outright expresses his fear that Ramsay will try to kill any children he has with Walda).
- In the "Inside the Episode" featurette, David Benioff directly points out how this was not an impulsive spur-of-the-moment decision by Ramsay, citing that this was set up long in advance as a growing tension ever since Walda announced she was pregnant in Season 5's "Kill the Boy". Benioff further explained how this wasn't meant to be an unexpected or gratuitous "surprise" by pointing out how Lord Karstark doesn't even flinch when Ramsay stabs Roose in front of him: it had become obvious to characters around the Boltons that inevitably, either Ramsay would kill Roose and the rest of his family, or Roose would disinherit and/or kill Ramsay.
- In the books, Roose suspects Ramsay of killing Domeric, Roose's first trueborn son. If it is true, then Ramsay has committed four kinslayings in the TV continuity (though killing a stepmother isn't considered quite as severe as killing your own father). In cut (but recorded) dialogue from the Telltale video game, Ramsay (voiced by Iwan Rheon himself, his live-action actor) mentions Domeric, but it isn't clear if they coordinated with the TV writers about his existence, given that in this episode Roose says he still considers Ramsay his "first born". It's possible to reconcile this if Ramsay was simply older than Domeric in the TV continuity - which is entirely plausible given that they didn't even share the same mother.
- Benioff also pointed out in the "Inside the Episode" featurette that Ramsay was taught to betray Roose by his father's own example: that betrayal is always justified if it ensures your own survival in power, no matter what taboos you break. When Robb Stark started losing against the Lannisters, Robb became an obstacle to Roose's ongoing political survival (as he would have dragged Roose down in defeat with him), so Roose ruthlessly betrayed and personally killed Robb at the Red Wedding - even if it meant taking part in an unthinkable violation of sacred guest right and committing regicide. In direct parallel, by threatening to disinherit Ramsay in favor of his new infant son, Roose has made himself an obstacle to Ramsay's ongoing survival in a position of power - so by the example Roose himself set, his own son killed him, similarly not caring about breaking a grave social taboo (in this case, kinslaying). Adding to the ironic nature of Roose's death, Ramsay even kills him in similar fashion to how he killed Robb Stark: hugging him close and plunging a dagger into him (Roose into Robb's heart, and Ramsay into Roose's stomach), and Iwan Rheon, the actor who plays Ramsay, remarked that he was gutted upon reading about the Red Wedding as Robb was one of his favorite characters.
- George R.R. Martin himself remarked in the Season 5 featurette on "Bastards of Westeros" that Roose and Ramsay are something of a dark foil to the relationship between Eddard Stark and Jon Snow. Roose derided Ramsay for his bastard status, and through his actions taught him to betray anyone and break any rule if it meant securing power for yourself. In contrast, Eddard taught his sons about honor and the responsibilities of command, that "the man who passes the sentence must swing the sword" - a lesson Jon put into effect when he executed Janos Slynt in Season 5. Both bastards were molded by the lessons their fathers taught them.
- In the books, there is a common belief/superstition that Harrenhal is cursed. Jaime and Littlefinger, both of them rational and sensible, pointed out that the Lothston and all the other Houses whose seat was Harrenhal were destroyed one after another, and every individual who ever served as its castellan or lord was killed: Lady Whent, Janos Slynt, Tywin, Amory Lorch, Vargo Hoat (Locke in the show), the Mountain, and Polliver. One of the few exceptions in the book is Roose Bolton, who has somehow evaded the curse by the point the books reached. Roose's death in the show underscores the possibility of the curse. Another exception to this rule (so far) in both book and TV is Petyr Baelish, the current Lord of Harrenhal in both continuities. Of course, after being made nominal Lord of Harrenhal, Littlefinger never sets foot in the castle - hoping to avoid its ill repute - while Roose did command the garrison there for a time.
- Harald Karstark debuts in this episode as the new head of House Karstark, following Lord Rickard Karstark's execution by Robb Stark back in Season 3. Harald is actually a condensation for the TV series of several different Karstark characters who had a longer subplot in the novels. This episode confirms that Harald is Rickard's own son, rather than some other relative. In the books, Lord Rickard had three sons: Harrion, Torrhen, and Eddard Karstark. The second two were killed by Jaime Lannister. The TV series apparently thought it would be too confusing to have more than one character named "Eddard" like Eddard Stark, so it moved the names around, instead stating that Harrion and Torrhen were killed by Jaime. In the books Harrion was captured by the Lannisters (it is unknown where he is held, and whether he is still alive) while Rickard's old uncle Arnolf sides with the Boltons - not because he resents the Starks for his nephew's death, but because he seeks to take over Karhold. The TV series simply condensed this and moved around the names of the sons - thus "TV-Harrion" died like "Book-Eddard", while "Harald" in the TV version is like "Book-Harrion" merged with uncle Arnolf.
- Harald's actions in this episode are peculiar if not incomprehensible. While his lingering hatred for the Starks is understandable, it made no sense for him to just stand idle as Ramsay murdered the rest of his own family. In the first place, Roose was the one who killed Robb, and although his motive had more to do with his own self-preservation and the elevation of his house than avenging Harald's father, Roose still did Harald a favor by killing his father's executioner. Second, Walda and her baby shared blood with House Frey; killing them would have surely earned the North the ire of the Freys.
- Ramsay's suggestion of murdering Jon Snow in this episode is not the first time he has done this. In season 4's "The Lion and the Rose", while Roose orders Locke to infiltrate the Night's Watch and befriend Jon in order to find Bran and Rickon, Ramsay suggests that they kill Jon as well since he has Stark blood and may be a threat, even though he is a bastard in the Night's Watch and thus has renounced any possible claim to Winterfell (though this may also be based on Ramsay's jealousy of Jon). In that episode, Roose doesn't respond to Ramsay's suggestion. In this episode, Ramsay again makes the suggestion of murdering Jon, this time to get to Sansa, but this time, Roose completely shoots down the idea, claiming that Jon is a bastard and now the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, and murdering him is not only considered a heinous crime in Westeros, but would also turn the entire North against the Boltons. After murdering Roose, Ramsay is now free to pursue his vendetta against Jon, at the time unaware that Jon is already dead.
- Ramsay claims that they don't need the support of every major vassal House in the North, just the three with the largest armies: the Karstarks, the Umbers, and the Manderlys. In the books, they do indeed currently have the largest armies: the Karstarks returned back to the North after Robb executed Lord Rickard so their force were not present during the massacre at the Red Wedding, and as a result they are the only major House in the North (besides the Boltons) whose army is still relatively intact. The Umbers and Manderleys did have their main armies massacred at the Red Wedding, but even after this they still have the most remaining forces. The Umbers are the closest House to the Wall and have a strong warrior tradition of fighting wildling incursions: thus while their remaining forces are old men and young boys, they are a very capable fighting force disproportionate to their size. The Manderlys, meanwhile, rule White Harbor, the only city in the North, making them the most prosperous and wealthy of the Northern Houses - even with the losses they took in the war, Lord Wyman Manderly says he still commands more troops than anyone else in the eastern half of the North.
- While these are the three vassal Houses in the North with the most troops, it is unclear why Ramsay would think the Manderlys would fight for him. In the books, Lord Wyman's son Wendel Manderly was killed at the Red Wedding, and hates the Boltons for their role in the betrayal (Wendel even appeared in the TV version, albeit in a non-speaking role). The Karstarks in the books do support the Boltons (the TV series condensed this slightly, see the note on "Harald Karstark"). In the book version, the Umbers do "fight for the Boltons" in a sense: their forces are divided between two of Greatjon Umber's uncles, one half fighting for the Boltons and the others against them. The half composed of all the green boys too young to march south with Robb when the war began is led by Mors "Crowfood" Umber, which fights against the Boltons. The half composed of all the old men who stayed behind is led by Hother "Whoresbane" Umber - but even he only grudgingly marches his forces with the Boltons because the Greatjon is held prisoner by the Freys (who took him alive at the Red Wedding, explicitly so they could use him a political hostage). The TV series may have just condensed this to have all of the Umbers side with the Boltons, to make it less confusing and fit within time constraints.
- Brienne of Tarth's storyline was condensed in the TV series with the North/Bolton subplot, and on top of this she never actually ran into Arya Stark as she was leaving the Vale with the Hound, nor has she ever met Sansa. Thus in the novels, Brienne doesn't know that Arya is still alive, and even if she did know she isn't in a position to tell Sansa. In the fifth season, her role is merged with that of Mance Rayder, whose execution was actually faked by Melisandre so Jon could send him to rescue "Arya" from Ramsay (a disguised Jeyne Poole), and in the sixth, with that of Stannis Baratheon, who Theon and Jeyne run into after escaping from Winterfell.
- The scene between Tommen Baratheon and Jaime Lannister goes some way to explaining why the Sand Snakes waited to kill Trystane Martell until his ship was still in Blackwater Bay outside King's Landing: it was so everyone would suspect Cersei ordered it. While the Dorne/Martell storyline has been drastically changed from the novels by this point, at the end of the most recent novel Doran Martell (who was now working with the Sand Snakes after revealing he was plotting against the Lannisters the entire time) sends several of them to infiltrate King's Landing and stir up trouble between the various factions there, i.e. Cersei, the Small Council, the Tyrells, and the Faith Militant, probably by conducting various assassinations and framing different parties in the city for it. This episode also confirms in dialogue that Trystane's ship was still outside the city - the previous episode didn't make it clear in dialogue exactly where his ship was.
- In the books, under entirely different circumstances, Cersei actually does plot to assassinate Trystane - by having him attacked on the land route to the capital by outlaws, who'd be shouting "Halfman, Halfman", thus the blame would fall on Tyrion - but someone in King's Landing warns Doran ahead of time and nothing comes of it. The Sand Snakes are genuinely stunned and shocked to hear that Cersei intended to murder their cousin.
- Official promo images for this episode show that at one point King Tommen was going to meet with Grand Maester Pycelle, but ultimately this scene appears two episodes from now in "Book of the Stranger". It's possible the scene was moved, but given its context in that episode, it seems more probable that the promo image was simply mislabeled.
- Following her walk of atonement in the books, Cersei Lannister is actually not allowed to have visitors as she wants and is unable to continue her scheming: she is under surveyance, confined to her rooms and guarded, with a septa and three novices accompany her all the time. No one visits her except Kevan and Tommen (who has no idea about the humiliations his mother had to go through), and if she wants visitors she has to request permission from Kevan.
- In the books, Cersei does not "raise Tommen to be strong". Cersei doted on her eldest son Joffrey while ignoring her younger children - hypocritically playing favorites with her children just as her own father focused on Jaime while ignoring her and Tyrion. Even after Joffrey dies, she proves to be a very incompetent mother for Tommen, though in the opposite way: while Cersei could never bring herself to chastise Joffrey, no matter how ridiculous or outright murderous his behavior became, she becomes incredibly domineering towards Tommen. As if making up for her prior lack of control over Joffrey, whenever Tommen shows the least signs of backbone or will of his own, she ruthlessly suppresses him by having his whipping boy Pate beaten, or worse: she orders Tommen to whip the boy himself until he bleeds, otherwise she'll have Pate's tongue ripped out, knowing well this will break gentle Tommen's heart. Ultimately she barely raised Tommen, and after he became king she largely expects him to be her obedient puppet, not "strong".
- Of course, Tommen himself is saying this to her in this episode, and his view about her smothering behavior is somewhat skewed - even Sweetrobin Arryn thought that his mother Lysa was raising him to be "strong". Still, Cersei is troubled by Tommen's meekness, and outright wishes he were more like Joffrey. At one point she muses: "A king had to be strong. Joffrey would have argued. He was never easy to cow" - unaware that she is the one to blame for Tommen's behavior.
- Both Jaime and Kevan in the books, who watch how Cersei treats Tommen and recall what a monster Joffrey was, think that Cersei is unfit to be a mother. Kevan tells her that to her face "From what I saw of Joffrey, you are as unfit a mother as you are a ruler".
- Cersei's question to Tommen about what color Myrcella's corpse was dressed up in for the funeral, red or gold, was a reference to the prophecy Cersei was given in her youth. Maggy the Woods witch said that she would have three children, and "gold will be their crowns, gold their (burial) shrouds."
- When Jaime Lannister mentions some of his crimes to the High Sparrow such as killing the king he had sworn to protect (Aerys II Targaryen), killing his cousin (distant cousin Alton Lannister, a death invented for the TV series), and helping Tyrion escape (only for Tyrion to then kill their father), he doesn't give an exhaustive list of every morally questionable thing he's ever done - i.e. he doesn't mention that he pushed Bran Stark out of a tower window in the first episode of the TV series. Of course, Jaime doesn't want to reveal some of his most controversial actions, i.e. he's not going to outright admit his incestuous relationship with Cersei and that he is the father of her children.
- Varys states that both Yunkai and Astapor have been retaken by the slave-masters. Back in Season 4 Daenerys received news that the slave-masters had already retaken Yunkai (though later they were at least willing to enter a peace agreement with her in Season 5), while the council she set up to rule over Astapor was overthrown by a former butcher named Cleon who declared himself emperor (the books explain the details that Cleon leads an army of vengeful freedmen who re-institute slavery - just with the roles reversed and the former slave-masters as the new slaves). The political machinations with Yunkai and Astapor were a much longer subplot in the novels - culminating in the Siege of Astapor - but the ultimate end-point is the same. In the books, a plague breaks out in Astapor which decimates its defenses and it eventually falls to Yunkai's reformed army after a siege. Most of the population is killed in the ensuing bloody sack of the city, though afterwards Yunkai is devoting resources to try to rebuild Astapor.
- Tyrion Lannister's musings on the nature of dragons are given more time in the books and also by other characters, such as Daenerys and Barristan Selmy. In the novels, given that Tyrion doesn't have much to do on his long journey to Meereen after leaving Pentos, he spends time starting to write his own book on dragon-lore (he made the journey by river-boat in the books, by a ride in a wheelhouse in the TV series). As Tyrion mentions in the episode, he was fascinated by dragons as a child, and he read extensively on the subject, even reading several rare books and manuscripts in the Red Keep about them. As Tyrion explains in the episode, the first three dragons that Aegon I Targaryen used to conquer Westeros were massive, but his descendants started chaining them up (in the Dragonpit in King's Landing, as explained in the "Histories and Lore" featurettes), and subsequent generations grew smaller and smaller until the last two were stunted creatures that died young at only the size of cats. The discussion about chaining up the dragons in enclosures is had by Daenerys, Barristan, and Jorah in the novels, though Tyrion also muses on it: they disagree that this is necessarily what made subsequent dragons smaller, as by that logic men who live in small huts would be small and those who live in castles would grow to be giants. Others suspect it was the heavy inbreeding that harmed their health (there were only three dragons left when the Targaryens came to Westeros, and all descended from them), while Archmaester Marwyn suspected that the order of maesters was somehow responsible for the extinction of dragons, possibly poisoning dragon hatchlings as part of their secret goal to suppress magic.
- Tyrion's point about dragons being very intelligent and that they will respond well to perceived acts of kindness as a result are touched upon in the novels. Dragons do seem to be intelligent, moreso than dogs or horses, and some maesters speculate that they might even be as intelligent as humans - but no one has been able to successfully test this. Dragons are very fickle creatures, however, and their behavior is enigmatic - given that they are inherently magical creatures and magic is often beyond human comprehension. George R.R. Martin described it as an "alien intelligence" - possibly more in tune with magic/nature/fate, but ultimately inscrutable to humans. Tyrion's general point seems to be true, that it is wrong to think of them as just over-sized unthinking reptiles.
- Dragons in the novels are often most comfortable around people descended from the Targaryen bloodline, even Targaryen bastards - though many Targaryens were also roasted alive attempting to bond with dragons. In the books, Doran Martell's son Quentyn travels to Meereen and tries to free one of the dragons, hoping that the fact one of his ancestors married a Targaryen a century before gives him enough Targaryen blood for the dragons to trust him - he was wrong, however, and the dragon burned him alive. This has led to rampant speculation that Tyrion might not actually be Tywin's son but a bastard of the Mad King himself fathered on Tywin's wife Joanna - given that Tywin's dying words after Tyrion shoots are to spitefully say, "You are no son of mine!" This theory is very controversial despite its popularity because there is a lot of other evidence against it, such as that Tywin's wife Joanna hadn't even been living at the royal court anymore for years and had no contact with the Mad King around the time Tyrion was conceived.
- Tyrion recalls being told as a child by his father that the last dragon died over a century ago. The last Targaryen dragon died about 150 years before the TV series, and most died during the Dance of the Dragons 170 years ago. Of course, Tyrion was told this around 25 years ago when he was a child, and the last dragon died out around 125 or so years before, so "a century" ago was simply rounding down at the time.
- Tyrion says that "an uncle" asked him as a child what gift he wanted for his nameday. In the novels, Tywin actually had two younger brothers besides Kevan, the other two being Tygett and Gerion, but they haven't been established in the TV continuity (both died or disappeared without a trace years before the events of the main narrative). Tyrion did also have a maternal uncle, Stafford, who was killed off-screen by Robb Stark's army in Season 2. Given that it was already established that Tyrion had multiple "uncles" in the TV continuity - Kevan and Stafford - his intentionally vague line in this episode doesn't really establish/introduce that Tygett and Gerion existed in the TV continuity.
- The "Behind the Throne" featurette for this episode explained that when the crypts the dragons are being chained up in were introduced in Seasons 4 and 5, they were filming in the cellars of Diocletian's palace in Croatia - but filming in Croatia this season was minimal, so they couldn't film there anymore. The production team realized that they crypts are mostly just a large, empty cellar, so it was relatively easy to recreate it as a digital extension. The stairs in the front of the crypts which Varys and Tyrion stand on were real, and careful reproductions of the original on-location stairs. They noted it helped to have Tyrion walk into the crypts with only a single torch to light his way - as a result the rest of the crypts were kept in shadow, which makes it easier to hide that it's just a digital recreation and not the original stone cellar anymore.
- Viserion is the cream-colored (white) dragon, and Rhaegal is the green one. The darkness of the crypts in this episode makes it difficult to see their colorations and tell which is which. Storyboards were released for the sequence, however, with consistent labels which indicate that when Tyrion approaches them, Viserion is on the left and Rhaegal is on the right. As the scene continues, Rhaegal is the first one that Tyrion unchains, and Viserion the second.
- It is appropriate that Viserion is shown as the one who first comprehends that Tyrion is there to unlock them, and lowers his neck so Tyrion can release him: in the novels, Viserion is described as the most friendly towards other people out of Daenerys's three dragons. He's thus the dragon that would be most ready to understand a human's attempts at interacting with him.
- With Balon Greyjoy's death, all of the original five kings from the War of the Five Kings are now dead. In the books he is the second to die, following Renly, and Stannis is still alive.
- With Balon's death, all three kings against whom Stannis performed the leech-blood ritual for in Season 3's "Second Sons" are now dead.
- It's possible that the TV show intentionally placed Balon's death in this episode because Melisandre successfully resurrects Jon Snow at the end. Davos previously raised the criticism that even if the first two deaths were influenced by Melisandre, her magic didn't fully work because it didn't kill all three. After Stannis's defeat, Melisandre doubts her own faith and powers - but Balon's death finally matching up with her blood ritual apparently hints that her attempt to revive Jon will work.
- It is unknown whether the leech ritual had anything to do with the deaths of Robb, Joffrey and Balon. It is speculated by fans that Melisandre has foreseen their fates in her visions, and orchestrated the ritual in order to take the credit she did not deserve for their deaths, in hope to prompt Stannis into sacrificing Edric Storm/Gendry.
- It's possible that the TV show intentionally placed Balon's death in this episode because Melisandre successfully resurrects Jon Snow at the end. Davos previously raised the criticism that even if the first two deaths were influenced by Melisandre, her magic didn't fully work because it didn't kill all three. After Stannis's defeat, Melisandre doubts her own faith and powers - but Balon's death finally matching up with her blood ritual apparently hints that her attempt to revive Jon will work.
- Balon and Yara in this episode somewhat imply that the "War of the Five Kings" is considered to be over. In both the novels and TV series, many characters presume that it is over after the Red Wedding - "over" in the sense that the Lannisters have won. Their assumptions are later shown to be wrong, however: recall how Joffrey said he felt the war was over at the beginning of Season 4, even when Jaime urged that the war couldn't be considered truly over so long as Stannis was alive (even if his armies were mostly destroyed) and the ironborn rebellion hadn't been dealt with at all. In-universe historians, as it were, are still undecided on whether to continue to call the ongoing conflicts the second phase of "The War of the Five Kings" or something else. Compare this to the real-life Wars of the Roses in medieval England: there were several major phases during a decades-long conflict, with the Yorks seizing power from the Lancasters for some time, but ultimately the Yorks were defeated by the revived Lancaster/Tudor forces.
- In this episode, the show continues its pattern of killing off at least one king per season: Robert Baratheon in Season 1, Renly Baratheon in Season 2, Robb Stark in Season 3, Joffrey Baratheon in Season 4, Mance Rayder and Stannis Baratheon in Season 5, and now Balon Greyjoy in Season 6.
The Mutiny at Castle Black
- Ramsay's threat to brazenly attack the Night's Watch, even though Roose warns him that this is insane because the whole North would rise against them if they did, occurs much earlier in the novels, in which it was actually the direct motivation for the Mutiny at Castle Black.
- See the main article on the "Bastard letter".
In the books
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Storm of Swords:
- Chapter 45, Catelyn V: Balon Greyjoy is reported to have died after falling off a bridge in Pyke.
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Feast for Crows:
- Chapter 1, The Prophet: Aeron Greyjoy announces that the new king of the Iron islands will be elected in a Kingsmoot.
- Chapter 19, The Drowned Man: Asha ridicules the invasion to the North, claiming all they have is pebbles, pinecones and turnips.
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of A Dance with Dragons:
- Chapter 5, Tyrion II: Confronted with the apparent reality of Daenerys' dragons, Tyrion recalls how as a child he wanted a dragon as a gift for his nameday, perhaps not even a large one but a little one like him, yet his uncle laughed and told him they were extinct, so Tyrion cried himself to sleep that night.
- Chapter 16, Daenerys III: Envoys from Astapor beg Daenerys to save their city.
- Chapter 26, The Wayward Bride: Deepwood Motte is retaken from the Ironborn.
- Chapter 34, Bran III: Bran Stark uses the power of Heart Trees to look into the past. He sees his father and siblings when they were young in Winterfell.
- Chapter 45, The Blind Girl: After being rendered blind by the Faceless Men, Arya continues her training with her remaining senses. As a test, a Faceless Man hits her with a stick.
- Chapter 44, Jon IX: A Karstark expresses resentment toward Robb Stark for executing Rickard.
- Chapter 46, A Ghost in Winterfell: Theon is certain that Jon Snow will kill him if they meet.
- Chapter 51, Theon I: Theon tells Ramsay's wife that she will be taken to Jon Snow at the Wall.
- Chapter 68, The Dragontamer: Rhaegal and Viserion, the dragons in the catacombs in Meereen, are visited in order be them, and they are consequently set free.
- Chapter 69, Jon XIII: During the mutiny against Jon Snow, chaos ensues and Wun Wun kills someone by smashing him against a wall.
- The episode is adapted from the following chapters of The Winds of Winter:
- Chapter unknown, Theon I: Theon parts ways with Ramsay's bride and her helpers.
- The remaining material appears to be based on what will come in the sixth novel, particularly the resurrection of Jon Snow and the death of Roose Bolton.
Davos Seaworth: "I've never been much of a fighter. Apologies for what you're about to see."
<hr width="50%/>Alliser Thorne: "You fucking traitor!"
Eddison Tollett: "The only traitors here are the ones who shoved their knives into their Lord Commander's heart!"
Alliser: "For thousands of years, the Night's Watch held Castle Black against the wildlings."
Tormund: "Until you."
Jaime Lannister: "You imprisoned and humiliated my sister."
High Sparrow: "Your sister sought the gods' mercy and atoned for her sin."
Jaime: "What about my sins? I broke a sacred oath and stabbed my king in the back. I killed my own cousin. When the gods judged my brother guilty, I helped him escape their justice. What atonement do I deserve?"
High Sparrow: "You would spill blood in this holy place?"
Jaime: "Oh, the gods won't mind. They've spilled more blood than the rest of us combined."
Maester Wolkan: "My lords. Lady Walda has given birth. A boy. Red-cheeked and healthy."
Harald Karstark: "My congratulations, Lord Bolton.
Ramsay Bolton: [Embraces Roose] "Congratulations, Father. I look forward to meeting my new brother."
Roose Bolton: "You'll always be my firstborn."
Ramsay: "Thank you for saying that. It means a great deal to me." [Flesh squelches as Ramsay stabs his father, making him groan. Roose looks his son in the eye as he slowly falls to the floor and dies.] "Maester Wolkan, send ravens to all the northern houses. Roose Bolton is dead. Poisoned by our enemies. How did he die?"
Wolkan: "Poisoned by his enemies."
Harald: "You're talking to your lord. Use respect."
Wolkan: "Forgive me, my lord."
Ramsay Bolton: "Send for Lady Walda and the baby."
Walda Bolton: "Ramsay, where is your father? Ramsay. Where is Lord Bolton?"
Ramsay: "I am Lord Bolton."
Walda: "Ramsay. Ramsay, please. I'll leave Winterfell. I'll go back to the Riverlands. Please. Ramsay. He's your brother."
Ramsay: "I prefer being an only child."
<hr width="50%/>Theon Greyjoy: "We shouldn't be lighting fires. It's not safe. He won't stop hunting us.
Sansa Stark: "We just have to make it to Castle Black. Once we're with Jon, Ramsay won't be able to touch us."
Theon: "Jon will have me killed the moment I step 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 Ser Rodrik, 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 never make amends to your family for the things I've done." [Turns toward Brienne and Podrik.] " They'll keep you safer than I ever could."
Sansa: "You're not coming with us?"
Theon: "I would have taken you all the way to the Wall. I would have died to get you there."
Yara Greyjoy: "I won't apologize for trying to rescue Theon."
Balon Greyjoy: "Then where is he!?"
Yara: "Where is your kingdom? We took those castles because the Northerners marched off to war. That war is over. The last time we provoked them too far, I watched from that window as they breached our walls and knocked down our towers! I lost two brothers that day!"
Balon: "And I lost three sons! The "War of the Five Kings", they call it, well the other four are dead! When you rule the Iron Islands, you can have all the peace you want, but for now, shut your mouth and obey, or I will make another heir who will!"
Balon: "I thought you'd be rotting under some foreign sea by now."
Euron Greyjoy: "What is dead may never die. Has the custom changed since I've been gone? Aren't you supposed to repeat the words?"
Balon: "You can mock our god without my help."
Euron: "I don't mock the Drowned God. I am the Drowned God. From Oldtown to Qarth, when men see my sails, they pray. You're old, brother. You've had your time. Now let another rule."
Balon: "I heard you lost your mind during a storm on the Jade Sea. They tied you to the mast to keep you from jumping overboard."
Euron: "They did."
Balon: "And when the storm passed, you cut out their tongues."
Euron: "I needed silence."
Balon: "What kind of an ironborn loses his senses during a storm?"
Euron: "I am the storm, brother. The first storm and the last. And you're in my way."
Davos: "I assume you know why I'm here."
Melisandre: "I will after you tell me."
Davos: "It's about the Lord Commander."
Melisandre: "The former Lord Commander."
Davos: "Does he have to be?"
Melisandre: "What are you asking?"
Davos: "Do you know of any magic... that could help him? Bring him back?"
Melisandre: "If you want to help him, leave him be."
Davos: "Can it be done?"
Melisandre: "There are some with this power."
Melisandre: "I don't know."
Davos: "Have you seen it done?"
Melisanre: "I met a man who came back from the dead, but the priest who did it...it shouldn't have been possible."
Davos: "But it was. It could be now."
Melisandre: "Not for me."
Davos: "Not for you? I saw you drink poison that should have killed you. I saw you give birth to a demon made of shadows."
Melisandre: "Everything I believed, the great victory I saw in the flames, all of it was a lie. You were right all along. The Lord never spoke to me."
Davos: "Fuck him then. Fuck all of them. I'm not a devout man, obviously. Seven gods, drowned gods, tree gods, it's all the same. I'm not asking the Lord of Light for help. I'm asking the woman who showed me that miracles exist."
Melisandre: "I've never had this gift."
Davos: "Have you ever tried?"