Wow, what a Game of Thrones episode that was. Longstanding characters wiped off the board, others brought back into the action and some completely changing the landscape of Westeros as we know it.
But what comes next for our heroes? What secrets were hidden in tonight’s episode? And will we ever be able to take seriously anything Kit Harington says ever again?
To these and some other questions, we have some answers.
1. Is Jon Snow alive?
Yes! The murdered Lord Commander burst back into life at the end of this week’s episode thanks to some magic from Carice van Houten’s Melisandre. Whether this is Jon (Kit Harington) as we used to know him remains to be seen, of course – other resurrected characters in the source novels and TV show often came back with rather different personalities, so we may have some changes to look forward to next week.
2. What’s Ramsay playing at?
In a scene swiftly demoted to the second most shocking moment of a packed episode, Iwan Rheon’s sadistic lordling Ramsay stabbed his father Roose (Michael McElhatton) this week before feeding his stepmother and baby brother to his dogs.
Now it seems that the new Lord Bolton has designs on attacking Castle Black to reclaim his runaway bride Sansa (Sophie Turner), and we can’t help but hope that he runs into that massive giant somewhere en route.
3. But will Ramsay get away with murder?
Funnily enough, even if he survives the attack on Castle Black it might not be the murder of his father that gets the younger Bolton into trouble –because it’s the family of his erstwhile stepmother Walda who have the real history of dastardly revenge.
Remember the Freys, who murdered King in the North Robb Stark (Richard Madden) in season 3 after he backed out of an arranged marriage? Well, they were Walda’s family too, and we can’t imagine they’ll take to kindly to this latest insult.
4. Who was the man who murdered Balon Greyjoy?
First off, well done for remembering who Balon Greyjoy is. Patrick Malahide’s King of the Iron Islands has been mostly absent from the series in recent years, perhaps robbing his simultaneous reappearance and death of a little impact. However, his murderer is definitely an interesting new addition – Pilou Asbæk’s Euron Greyjoy, a pirate and younger brother to Balon with a ruthless attitude and a God complex.
Now Euron looks set to challenge Yara (Gemma Whelan) for Balon’s throne, and while we won’t spoil what happens (this election storyline is one of the few yet to be adapted from the books) it’s safe to say the results have massive consequences on the future of Westeros.
5. What will happen to Theon when he gets home?
Leaving Sansa to find Jon on her own (albeit with Pod and Brienne in tow), Theon decided this week to head back to the Iron Islands, quite possibly finding himself a pawn in the election due to his own claim to the throne.
Will he try and win the Seastone Chair for himself, or find himself used by more powerful forces? And how can his precarious mental state hold up to the challeneges? We can’t wait to find out.
6. Is Tyrion going to ride a dragon?
Well, he certainly seemed friendly with Daenerys’ offspring this week, doubtlessly fanning the flames (see what I did there) of certain fan theories that suggest Tyrion could be a secret Targaryen family member rather than a Lannister (and thus genetically linked to dragons).
Then again, if the fans had their way literally every character in this show would be a secret Targaryen, including Hodor. Speaking of which...
7. Can Hodor speak?
We’re not sure if this is quite as shocking as Jon Snow returning from the dead, but it’s up there. In a flashback witnessed by Isaac Hempstead-Wright’s Bran Stark, we saw a younger version of the simply-spoken gentle giant conversing easily with young Lyanna Stark, suggesting some accident later reduced his mental abilities and vocabulary to the word “Hodor”.
Unless of course this is all part of his long game to seize the Iron Throne, which honestly isn’t the least plausible theory we’ve heard.
Game of Thrones airs on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 2am and 9pm