WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the 'Game of Thrones' TV series and 'A Song of Ice and Fire' books. Do not read on unless you have seen Season 6, Episode 3, 'Oathbreaker.'
Another week, another drama-filled episode of Game of Thrones. "Oathbreaker" was packed with plenty of twists, turns, turmoil, and most deliciously, justice for a certain steward that pretty much ruined our lives last year. While I've no doubt you were fully engrossed in the world of Westeros last night, there was a lot going on and it's easy to get lost among the various subplots and references to previous seasons. Did you catch everything?
Here are five major things you might not have noticed in Game of Thrones, Season 6, Episode 3, "Oathbreaker."
1. The Promised Prince
Melisandre seems almost certain that Jon is in fact the reincarnation of Azor Ahai, the mythical hero, prophet and Lord of Light's savior, destined to (once again) save Westeros from the White Walkers.
If Jon is to fulfil the prophecy, he will have to carry off a few commitments first — perhaps most importantly of which is revealing his Targaryen blood. Another requirement is getting hold of a mythical sword called the lightbringer, famed for its ability to fight darkness. We last saw the sword with Stannis Baratheon, but even then, Melisandre was unsure of his legitimacy as it only glowed a little and didn't radiate heat.
The Red Woman has been somewhat lacklustre of late, after her initial suspicion that Stannis was the chosen one went to shit, but in last night's episode she was almost back to her old self.
2. Jon Will Never Be The Same... And He's Not A Warg After All?
As satisfied as I'm sure we all were to see Olly swing, let's face facts: The old Jon Snow would simply not have let it happen. No matter how horrendous Olly's betrayal, Jon has always been a proponent of peace — death sentences just aren't his style.
However, he is a man of honor and, just like Ned Stark, he may have just decided it was time to pass the sentence and swing the sword. We all know they deserved it. While his transformation may not be as extreme as some of us had predicted, this is definitely a darker Jon Snow.
As for the warg theory, Jon himself pretty much poured cold water over that when Melisandre asked him what he saw when he died. He replied:
"Nothing, there was nothing at all."
Kind of disappointing for those of us who thought Jon had warged into Ghost before his body was resurrected. Of course, it could just mean that he hasn't honed the skill yet, but on first glance it seems there may not have been anything supernatural about Jon's transformation after all.
3. Bran Can Interact With The Past
The highly-anticipated Tower of Joy flashback was excellently done and there's no denying seeing a young Ned Stark brought back all the feels. While it didn't answer all of our questions by any means and was more of a (highly frustrating) teaser, the most interesting revelation by far was that Ned showed some sort of reaction to Bran's calls.
While the Three-Eyed Raven insists that he cannot change the past, there are hints in the books that Bran has made some kind of contact with both Jon and Theon through his dreams, visions and connection to the Weirwood trees. Isaac Hempstead-Wright told Entertainment Weekly:
"[Bran is] starting to make use of the visions and starting to discover he can interact with the past — he’s like Doctor Who. It’s Doctor Bran!”
What could this mean for future flashbacks? Great things, possibly, but Bran could also do some serious damage à la Anakin Skywalker. One thing's for sure, he'll be back to the Tower of Joy and we're all praying it will be soon.
4. Is The Hound On The Horizon?
There's a long-running theory called 'Cleganebowl' which suggests that The Hound a.k.a. Sandor Clegane will return to King’s Landing to battle it out with his brother, The Mountain a.k.a Gregor Clegane, in a trial by combat for Cersei.
Last night's episode alluded to this in a big way, firstly by reaffirming the true danger of The Mountain at the small council meeting and secondly by having The Waif rather randomly questioning Arya on The Hound, his whereabouts and why he was removed from her Kill List. It could just be coincidence, right?
Well, new Season 6 cast member Ian McShane as good as confirmed The Hound's return in an interview earlier this year. He said:
“I bring back a much-loved character everybody thinks is dead."
When asked if it could be The Hound or Jon Snow, he replied:
“It’s not the latter, it might be the former.”
The title of Episode 4 has also been revealed as "Book of the Stranger", most likely alluding to The Stranger of the Seven Gods, a mysterious cloaked God from the Faith of the Seven. A plot point in the books features an unnamed character who matches the description of The Hound, hiding his face and hanging out on the Quiet Isle, a refuge for worshippers of the Seven Gods. As if there aren't enough breadcrumbs there for you, The Hound's horse was/is also called Stranger.
5. Lord 'Smalljon' Umber Could Be Smarter Than You Think
After rocking up with Rickon, it's clear that Lord Umber is going to have an important role to play this season. Just in case you'd forgotten, Smalljon is the eldest son and the heir of (Great)Jon Umber. After his father's death he became the new Lord of Last Hearth and head of House Umber. Although his disdain for House Bolton was pretty clear in the episode, he makes out like his contempt for the wildlings is stronger.
However, Rickon and Osha are hardly strangers — they went straight to House Umber under the instruction of Bran back in Season 3 under the belief that they would be protected by one of the Stark family's greatest allies. It seems suspicious that after living under their wing for a few years at least, Rickon and Osha would be so willingly disposed of. Yes, Lord Greatjon is dead and Smalljon could be just as cold-hearted as Ramsay — he did decapitate poor Shaggydog — but there's something telling me there's more to it.
He was smart enough to surmise that Ramsay himself killed Roose, rather than buying the party line that he was poisoned by enemies, and he also outright refused to swear fealty or even kneel. Could Osha and Rickon merely be bait as part of a bigger plan? It's perfectly possible that Umber could be faking the alliance to exploit House Bolton's resources and men in fighting the wildlings.
He may even have something much darker in mind for Ramsay, staying true to his house's age-old loyalties, and Sophie Turner has hinted that Ramsay could meet his end this season. Do you think his days are numbered?
Game of Thrones will return next Sunday, May 15 on HBO with Season 6, Episode 4, "Book of the Stranger." Watch the preview clip below.