May 9, 2016
Does this Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, who was murdered for making peace with the Wildlings, have the same personality and character?
And what’s his mission after being granted a miraculous new lease on life?
These questions are answered to an extent in “Oathbreaker,” Episode 53 of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
Jon does seem humble, brave and noble, just as he was before his slaying at Castle Black. As for Jon’s mission, it looks like he’s destined to wage war against forces of evil.
After all, Jon’s Winterfell homestead is controlled by sadistic Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), the self-proclaimed Warden of the North. Ramsay just solidified power by killing his father, Lord Roose (Michael McElhatton), stepmother Lady Walda (Elizabeth Webster) and their infant son.
Furthermore, Ramsay is on the hunt for his wife — Jon’s half-sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) — after she made a harrowing escape from Winterfell. And Ramsay just acquired a valuable prisoner: Jon’s half-brother, Rickon Stark (Art Parkinson).
Then there are the lethal White Walkers marching south toward The Wall. Stopping these supernatural creatures sounds like a job for Jon, the Night’s Watch, Wildlings, dragons, etc.
“What do you remember?” Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) asks Jon upon his mysterious resurrection.
“They stabbed me,” Jon recalls in horror. “Olly (Brenock O’Connor) put a knife in my heart. I shouldn’t be here!”
So why is he here, Jon wonders?
“What does it matter,” Davos says. “You go on. You fight for as long as you can!”
First off, Jon attends to a gruesome matter. It’s time to hang young Olly and three other traitors, notably ringleader Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale). Alliser remains unrepentant, a Wildling hater to the very end.
“I fought, I lost, now I rest,” Alliser says. “But you, Lord Snow, you’ll be fighting these battles forever!”
With that, Jon executes the four conspirators. Then Jon hands his Lord Commander coat to loyal friend Edd Tollett (Ben Crompton), symbolically making him leader of the Night’s Watch.
“Wear it, burn it, whatever you want,” Jon says of the coat. “You are Castle Black. My watch is ended!”
Other important developments in Episode 53 include:
• Jon’s half-brother, Brandon Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright), peers back in time again with the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). They see Bran’s father, Ned Stark (Robert Aramayo), as a young man engaged in a deadly swordfight. Bran still has much to learn before he leaves a mystical cave beyond The Wall. Actually, Bran must learn “everything,” the Raven insists.
• Jon’s half-sister, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), regains her eyesight after passing a series of brutal tests administered by the Faceless Men assassin’s guild.
• Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is taken to a Dothraki temple, where her fate will be decided. Dany’s so-called wrongdoing was going “out into the world” after her warrior husband, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), died.
• Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) discovers who’s funding the Sons of the Harpy, a shadowy insurgent group that nearly killed Dany in Meereen. Turns out the money comes from wealthy families in three cities who want to bring back slavery to Slaver’s Bay.
• Queen Mother Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) plots revenge against her enemies. This includes the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), who wants Cersei to stand trial for her many sins. If Cersei’s twin brother/incestuous lover Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has his way, reanimated knight Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (Hafpor Julius Bjornsson) will “crush the High Sparrow’s head like a melon.”