The Shroud of Turin is a spiritual mystery, one of those pieces of religious significance that supposedly provides unmitigated evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was a being of supernatural importance: a swathe of linen placed over Jesus’s face post-crucifixion/pre-resurrection that was forever marked with an imprint of his face by blood, sweat and holy magic. In 1988, it was disproved by carbon dating as a 13th Century fake, but in a religious orbit that periodically sees the face of God in a Cheeto, the Shroud of Turin’s relative ancientness still lends it some legitimacy.
As a person raised a good Catholic and, ergo, a pervert, all I could really think about last night, as Slay Queen Melisandre methodically washed the blood off Jon Snow’s good-looking corpse, was the Shroud of Ned Stark’s Bastard’s Loins. In fact, it’s a testament to fire witch’s flagging religious self-esteem that she didn’t try to cop a feel during her resurrection ceremony; if you recall, last season her thirst for Jon could have snuffed out the fire of the Lord of Light himself. And yet it’s also a testament to her vehement power that, despite her skepticism, she was apparently able to raise this dude from the dead nonetheless, as he gave his first post-mortem breath after everyone but Ghost the Direwolf had left the room. JON SNOW IS FUCKING ALIVE (YAASS QWEEN MELISANDRE) but WE HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER WEEK TO SEE IF HE’S SOME KIND OF MANIACAL ZOMBIE CORPSE/BLOODTHIRSTY GHOST BOD (NOOO).
The Jesus imagery was inevitable, and would have felt a little heavy-handed were it not for the, like, Pagan ritual needed to resurrect Jon; that said, the direction was simple and perfect, alternating long shots of Jon’s body, dead on the slab, with a sleeping Ghost and back again. You held your breath for a good two minutes waiting for him to be alive again, and the tense score—the dramatic crescendoing drums and violin stabs—only amplified it all. This dude Kit Harington’s all like, “Sorry! Sorry for lying!” FAM.
Jon Snow’s blood and hair went into the fire and he was alive once again after a few chants from Melisandre, though an earlier scene could have been a nod to the fan theory that freaking Bran is actually Jon Snow’s dad-brother, and Snow’s genetic makeup might possess a little magic of its own; before Jon wakes up, Bran’s having a time-traveling warg party with old dude in the tree, ending up in Winterfell when father Ned was a wee lad; aunt-we-don’t-discuss Lyanna is there, pushing dudes around, leading all your (okay, my) lizard brains to go directly to the ew-ew-ew notion that Ly, long thought to be Jon’s real mom, eventually hooks up with Bran (a little too fascinated by her presence) in an epic tryst across generations. Is it incest sex if it’s sex between a warg and somebody who’s been dead for a couple decades? Ugh, may the old gods and the new avail me of this notion at once.
Speaking of dads! For Jon Snow to live, the Game of Thrones writers rightly knew they had to snuff out some key characters, setting in motion the long march towards what will inevitably be a bloody battle between the maniacal branch of the Boltons and a united faction of Jon-loyal Watch and Wildlings. (Melisandre, so despondent that she was wrong about seeing a great victory in the fire, was very possibly just conflating Boltons versus Baratheons with Boltons versus whatever comes next. Pour some out for Stannis.)
At any rate, Ramsay Bolton was sick of his pops telling him to chill and so, as a certifiable rampager, he shoved a dagger in his belly, a wound mirroring Jon’s. You don’t need a fire ceremony to intuit that, now that Ramsay is the new Lord Bolton, people gonna get flayed; adding to the future chaos now set in stone is the death of Dad Greyjoy at the hands of his maniacal narcissistic brother Euron (previously discussed, but new this season as a character we see), who returned from a life of piracy at sea believing he’s transmogrified into the Drowned God. Sure, bruh. Yara Greyjoy is clearly her father’s most capable successor but the Ironborn misogynists don’t wanna let her be great; Theon/Reek, having regained his mojo as Theon, is clearly going back to run things. You know how this goes: a capable dude will often get promoted before an exceptional woman, but if Theon is as repentant as he says he is, at the very least they’ll do this together.
How are you feeling about Arya going back to the Many-Faced God? Her storyline is boring me, to be honest, because self-abnegation is boring (a Catholic narrative if there ever was one), and Arya as Arya is one of the show’s most interesting characters. Free Needle!
BONERS: 0, ugh
HEADS POPPED ON WALLS LIKE SMUSHED GRAPES: 2
Images via screenshot/HBO.