Game of Thrones Tower of Joy

Game of Thrones Recap: Tower of Joy to Behold, Plus: Now His Watch Is Done?!

Need to catch up? Check out last week’s recap here.

Damn, Braniel: Back at it again with satisfying the fans!

After last week’s sweet look back at Winterfell life (Benjen! Hodor Wyllis!), I eagerly awaited Bran’s next dip into the pensieve with the Three-Eyed Raven on Game of Thrones. And yes, I’d heard fans buzzing about the much-anticipated Tower of Joy scene, but the HBO drama wouldn’t go there so soon after its drop-the-mic-wake-the-Lord-Commander moment at the end of last episode… would it?

IT WOULD. This week’s hour finds Bran peering into the past to witness a moment that is legend among Thrones readers: Ned’s storming of the Tower of Joy, where Rhaegar Targaryen stashed Lyanna Stark and left her to perish after stealing her away from her betrothed, Robert Baratheon. After Ned and his men laid siege to the tower, a dying Lyanna made Ned promise her something… but what?

Everyone and their mother of dragons thinks the promise involves Lyanna’s infant, who is widely believed to be Jon Snow (making the “Ned’s bastard” thing just a cover). Innnnteresting, no? Read on for the major events of “Oathbreaker.”

HOUSE STARK-THAT-WAS | The scene in question takes place in the first half of the episode, with Bran quickly recognizing one of the men approaching the tower as his father. Another man with him, Howland Reed, is Meera’s father.

In a conversation between Ned and the men guarding the tower, it’s clear that at this point in time, Rhaegar is dead. A fight begins, with many of Ned’s men going down quickly. But soon, it’s Ned and one of the guards left; the only way Ned doesn’t die is that another one of Ned’s men stabs the attacker in the back, and then Ned finishes him off.

A woman’s cry comes from the tower, so Ned runs for the stairs. But Bran yells, “Father!” and it seems like the elder Stark hears him… and that’s when the raven decides that it’s time to go. Back in the tree, Bran is mad that he wasn’t able to see what came next. But the old man tells him they’ve got a lot more to do, and that includes teaching his young charge “everything.”

HOUSE STARK-THAT-IS | Arya takes a lot of hits playing the lying game with The Waif. During the pain game, Arya admits that she didn’t want The Hound to die and was confused about how she felt about him when she left him to his death. As the girls fight, Arya soon is able to best The Waif — even though she’s still blind — and J’qen sees all.

He gives her a drink from the fountain at the House of Black and White; when she pauses before swallowing, he says, “If a girl is truly no one, she has nothing to fear.” And when she opens her eyes, she can see again.

“Who are you?” he asks. “No one,” she replies.

THE MEN OF THE WALL: BACK-IN-BLACK EDITION | Our time at The Wall opens on Davos, looking like we all did last Sunday at 10:01 pm ET. Jon sits up, freaked out, and touches the stab wound in his chest. “What do you remember?” the knight asks as Melisandre enters the room. “They stabbed me. Olly put a knife in my heart,” he says, horror growing on his face as he realizes, “I shouldn’t be here.”

But the red priestess ignores all of that to question him about where he went while he was dead. The answer? “Nothing.” She starts spouting off about how he’s the prince that was promised, but Davos caps her crazy and sends her out of the room. “I did what I thought was right, and I got murdered for it,” Jon says, very upset. “I failed.” Davos proves he’s the best corner man in the biz when he replies, “Good. Now, go fail again.”

In the yard, Tormund makes a penis joke and clutches Jon close for a moment, which is about as close to touching as we’re gonna get from Big Red. Then Dolorous Edd rags on Jon for not being funny. Guys, he’s back!

Later, Jon has the men who betrayed him — including Olly and Alliser Thorne — set up to hang at Castle Black. Thorne is unrepentant. Olly looks like he’s sucking on a Lemonhead. And with the rest of the men watching, Jon draws his own sword (like Ned taught him) and cuts the rope that holds up the platform they’re standing on, killing all four.

Then, Jon hands his cloak to Edd and says, “You have Castle Black. My watch has ended.” AND WALKS OUT.

Meanwhile, a seasick Sam informs Gilly that the ship they’re on is taking her to his family’s home and not the Citadel, as she’d thought. “If you think it’s for the best, we trust you,” she says after thinking about it for a minute, and then she calls him the father of her son, and it’s really a beautiful moment until he pukes into a nearby bucket.

game-of-thrones-s6ep3-recap-insetHOUSE TARGARYEN | Daenerys is walked to the dosh khaleen, where she’s stripped of her clothes, necklace and notion that she’s anything special. “We were all young once. But we all understand the way things are. You will learn as well, if you are fortunate enough to stay with us,” an older woman informs her. Oh, and the fact that Dany “went out into the world” rather than coming directly to the Home for Grieving Khaleesi means her fate is far from certain.

Meanwhile, back at home base, Varys has a meeting with Vala, the woman who helped the Sons of the Harpy murder the Unsullied and the Second Sons in that massacre last season. He dangles freedom — a ship to Pentos and a bag of money — for her and her young son if she’ll give him intel on the Sons of the Harpy. (Remember when he did something similar to Shae? Remember how well that turned out?)

He learns that the masters of Astapor and Yunkai are funding the Sons of the Harpy with some help from Volantis. So Tyrion asks him to send a message. “Men can be fickle,” Lord Varys replies, “but birds I always trust.”

HOUSE LANNISTER | Back in Kings Landing, crooked not-quite-a-maester Qyburn is building his own flock of child informants. But they fly away when Cersei, Jaime and the Mountain enter the room. The queen regent tells Qyburn she wants little birds everywhere — not just the city. “I want to know where they are,” she says. Now that’s the schemer I know and love!

The trio then crashes the small council meeting, which Margaery’s grandmother is also attending. The Lannister twins make a big deal out of staying at the gathering, but then everyone else gets up and leaves, and then they’re just sitting in a room with a the World’s Strongest Undead Man.

King Tommen visits the High Sparrow, demanding that Cersei be allowed to see Myrcella’s grave. But the holy man says that the walk of atonement was only the beginning; she needs to stand trial before she can be exonerated of any charges.

I give the boy king credit here, because he’s really trying to do something good, and he’s kind of flying blind. But the High Sparrow gets Tommen to lower his guard a bit by talking about how Cersei’s love is for her children and wait a minute, he’s totally playing the kid, isn’t he? “A true leader avails himself of the wisest counsel he can, and nobody’s wiser than the gods,” the sparrow says, and if that isn’t a job application, I don’t know what is.

HOUSE BOLTON | Ramsay gets petitioned by a lord with property close to The Wall. He points out that the wildlings are going farther and farther south, and they need to work together. After an uneasy accord is reached, the man offers a gift: Osha and Rickon, with the head of Shaggydog as proof that the boy is a Stark. (Side note: Good lord, that actor has become a man since last we saw him, right?) “Welcome home, Lord Stark,” Ramsay says with that awful smile of his.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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80 Comments
  1. Sam says:

    Is it me or I just feel that the cry from the tower of cry was Lyanna having Jon

    • Joey says:

      I take it you’re completely unfamiliar with the now decades-old R+L=J theory.

    • TAA says:

      Good call. Somehow I never thought of that. Also, I’m deeply afraid about what’s going to happen when Arya and Jon Snow are reunited. Something tells me I’m not going to get the happy reunion I’ve been craving.

    • Mollymoo says:

      It was totally a woman yelling out during childbirth. . .and since that was Lyanna in the tower…..

    • Jax&Juice's Girl says:

      I was thinking the same thing…..like oh sh*t Jon Targeryen-Stark is born! Anyways so much for my Sansa and Jon Reunion prediction WTF. Where is Jon gonna go now that he quit the Nights Watch? Tyrion always cracks me up LOL.

      • Mollymoo says:

        He’s off to the Bastard-bowl. Jon ‘Stark’ Snow vs Ramsey ‘Bolton’ Snow. Ramsey is going down. Maybe after that Jon will make a bring the White Walkers to their frost knees plan.

      • But Daenaris’ brother was also a Targeryen but he burned with the melted metal. Even if Jon is technically a Tar how do we know he isn’t just another Viserys?

        • Mollymoo says:

          Because GRRM seems to like foreshadowing and prophesy. Oodles of clues that Jon is key in the real war – with the Night’s King.

        • DarkDefender says:

          Three dragons = three Tageryens. All killed their mothers in childbirth.
          .
          Danearys, Jon and Tyrion.
          .
          So far we know two ways to prove Trageryen blood. Riding on a dragon and not being harmed by fire. If it is a song of Ice and fire, my money is on the Targeryen Fire. White Walkers be damned.

          • letstalk says:

            Tyrion is Targarian?

          • Gaara says:

            @letstal – It’s been years that some people, me included, reckon that Tyrion is Mad King Aerys’ bastard son. I can’t remember if it was mentioned in the books I read long ago too, but in the companion book “The World of Ice & Fire” it is clearly implied that Aerys II had an affair with Tywin’s future wife. She kept her distance from the king after she married but they were both in King’s Landing in the year 272 DC – and she died giving birth to Tyrion in 273 DC. Tyrion’s grotesque looks (in the books at least) would make more sense tied with the centuries of Targaryen’s inbreeding than the Lannister genetics (Tywin and Joanna were first cousin, but aside from that there was no incest in the family before them). This theory was not as popular as R + L = J, but after we saw Tyrion touching the dragons without getting mauled, I think it’s pretty obvious by now.

          • Amelia says:

            I read another theory that Lyanna actually gave birth to twins and that the other is Meera (since her father was also at the Tower) and they were split up for their safety.

          • Mollymoo says:

            Amelia – I suppose they could go that route in the show, but the text doesn’t support it. Meera is actually older than Jon in the books. There’s a lot of attention paid to who looks like who – Meera is said to be very much her father’s child. She’s got physical traits and skills of the Crannogmen. There’s nothing at all about her in the books that would connect her to a Targaryen or a Stark. My guess is the rumor you are referring to got started because the actress that plays her on the show has similar coloring to Kit and that got tied to Howland is the only one other than Ned that survived.

        • Kansas Blutbad says:

          It is impossible to have another like Dany’s brother. No bigger asshole is possible.

    • Chol H Yoon says:

      That’s a story for another time, perhaps they’ll have a twist to the story. Also, did they just kill “Shaggy dog”. Noooo!!!

    • Jess says:

      I thought the same thing. They put a lot of hints in the episode semi proving R+L=J. I knew they were not going in the tower but the Raven said that they would come back. Damn, this is going to be one hell of a season.

  2. Lala.. says:

    I’m ok with characters dying but the direwolves *sniff sniff*….too far Game of Thrones, too far!
    Moving on…I definitely thought that was a baby cry up in the tower.
    Oli that treacherous little bastard…smug even in death!

  3. SW70 says:

    Oh, Lord Ramsay Bolton, as much as I love the actor who portrays you, you really need to be WHACKED and I hope it’s sooner than later…

  4. go to your safe space

  5. ninergrl6 says:

    LOVED the Castle Black scenes. Wish we had more of them! Jon’s mic drop walk off moment was perfect. Good to finally catch up with Sam too. The Rickon reveal was unexpected & utterly creepy. Cersi, Arya, Dany & Tyrion’s storylines are moving waaaaay too slowly, but Tyrion trying to spark a conversation was pretty entertaining. I can’t wait for Bran to see more of the past. Fill in those missing pieces!

  6. Brad Wilson says:

    “father said he was the best swordsman he ever saw,” Bran remarks to the Three-Eyed Raven… He was referring to Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword in the Morning; not Howland Reed. Dayne was the winner, but was backstabbed.

    • Next_Week_Cannot_Come_Soon_Enough says:

      They did a hell of a job picking an actor who really did look like a young Sean Bean.

  7. Kevin K says:

    Jon Snow coming back from the dead was really emotional. How would he ever going to redeem himself?

  8. Wezza says:

    Stop killing the Wolves off please

  9. HouseSnow72 says:

    I HATE when the direwolves are killed. It really upsets me. Am I the only one that thinks Jon Snow a Baratheon? He is Lyanna and Robert Baratheon’s son? Remember when Ned checked the book and all of the Baratheon offspring had black hair? Wouldn’t that make him the rightful heir since Cersei’s children were not the Kings?

    • JP says:

      Interesting thought.. But there needs to be 3 dragon riders for the three heads (three dragons)… Dany, Jon and Tyrion (my bet)… Worried about the random appearance of Asha and Rickon… Two known characters are to be burned on the flayed cross during the battle this year…. Thinking it’s them and Jon Snow goes nuts and re-claims
      Winterfell for Sansa and the Starks

    • Mollymoo says:

      Why would Ned hide Robert’s son from him? Robert godes Ned about the affair he believes Ned had and tries to pull the name of Jon’s mother out of him. Ned gets annoyed at the line of questioning and refuses to give a name – happens in book and show. Ned also has a visceral reaction to Robert’s decree that Dany be killed and his ire grows as Robert says he will kill any/all Targaryens. Ned wouldn’t need to hide a Baratheon from Robert….he would need to hide a Targareyen

    • Mollymoo says:

      Also worth noting – Lyanna and Robert were essentially engaged, not married. Not sure a child conceived prior to that marriage counts as a legitimate child. Also, Robert is the “Usurper” who over threw a legit monarch, had all the heirs slaughtered that could be found. Danny’s claim, as the daughter of Aeys is more legit than any Baratheon.

      • sterling says:

        If Robert wanted the child to be legitimate he only had to say so. He could have, and considering his feelings toward Lyanna, would have declared Jon his legitimate first born. Lyanna was dark haired and it is mentioned more than once the Arya and Jon look more like siblings that they look like any of the others. So much so that Sansa thought that perhaps Arya was a bastard as well when she was little.

    • HouseSnow72 says:

      It is possible Lyanna did not know who the father was. No DNA tests back then – lol. By the time Jon Snow got older Robert was already married to Cersei and a drunkard. Ned might have thought it was best to keep him a secret from the Lannisters. Would not be surprised if Tywin/Cersei would dispose of a young Jon Snow so any of her future children would inherit. I assumed that Robert’s true children could inherit. That is why Cersei had all of his bastards killed? Three-headed Dragon – that one has always confused me. If Jon Snow is a Targ and so is Dany, where does Tyrion fit? He is a Lannister? Just random thoughts.

      • Mollymoo says:

        There’s also the issue of timing. Lyanna’s abduction sparks Robert’s Rebellion. She was with Rhaegar the entire war and the war lasted just over a year. There is no way, at least in the books, Jon is Roberts unless Lyanna had one heckuva long pregnancy (13 months minimum)

      • DarkDefender says:

        Tyrion’ mom had an affair with Dany’s dad.

    • Beak says:

      I’m 100% irrationally convinced that that wolf’s head was too small to be Shaggydog and that Umber, Rickon, and Osha are planning on taking out Ramsey. I will believe until I see what’s up.

      • Next_Week_Cannot_Come_Soon_Enough says:

        Now THAT would be insane, but man, it’d be a lot of fun to see.

      • Amy says:

        I thought something similar. Lord Umber did not pledge his loyalty to Ramsay, which seemed significant.

      • CK says:

        I like your irrationality, and have decided to live there myself.

      • AnnieM says:

        I also thought the head looked too small, but didn’t think it out any farther than that – love your idea!

      • YouKnowNothing says:

        YES! Exactly what I said regarding Shaggydog’s head. I wish I had come up with the thought it was a hoax to over throw Ramsey! This would be epic. Or I am just as irrationally convinced as you?!

  10. Court says:

    Sorry if I am missing something obvious but what did Ned do that was so dishonorable? One of his men stabbed the Knight in the back and Ned finished him off. Weren’t they all involved in a war for years?

    • Kara says:

      Ned was about to expose Cersie for conceiving her children out of incest between her and Jaime, making it nog only an unspeakable crime, but entirely removing them from the crown. That’s why Jon Aryyn was killed!

      • Yes, I know that but I’m talking about the flashback – what did Ned do that was so dishonorable?

        • I guess it was just lying about killing Dayne. Ned wouldn’t normally ever lie.

        • Walkie says:

          They were pretty clear during the show why that was dishonorable. Ned told a lie when he said he killed Dayne.

        • Juniper says:

          Dayne was stabbed in the back. A no no in chivalry. Ned took credit for killing him in regular man to man combat. Sets Ned up as able to lie, thus able to lie about who Jon Snow really is.

          • Awesome, thanks for explaining. I didn’t know “stabbing in the back” was against the code of honor. Makes sense though that Ned would normally follow those rules. Though kind of surprising in the cruel world of GOT that there are even fighting rules, since people are so vicious.

          • Scott says:

            Ned never took credit for killing him in regular combat. That is not correct in book lore. It is asserted in the tv show, but Ned never actually said it was regular man to man combat, only that Howland Reed saved his life. Besides, all is fair in war.

  11. Next_Week_Cannot_Come_Soon_Enough says:

    We saw, I think, in the previous trailer, 6 X-crosses with people attached to them who appear to have been burned alive. Since that is something Ramsay would do, I’m terrified Oshe and/or Rickon could be on there (I originally thought it was Roose and Mrs. Bolton, but now …. I don’t know for sure. Sansa and Theon seem to be well ahead, at least I hope so. I figure Theon’s suffered enough for his crimes, even though he seems to think he has not.) It could be some members of clans who refused to fight/pledge to him, which would be fine. But not a Stark please.

    • Next_Week_Cannot_Come_Soon_Enough says:

      Tyrion’s being with the dragons, calming them, them listening to him intently, and not burning him alive certainly leds credence to the theory about Tyrion not being a Lannister, rather the child of the Khaleesi’s father and Tywin Lannister’s wife. Plenty of debate around if it was a rape or not (I’m thinking since the man was out of his mind with a love of watching people burn, that is was probably a rape.) So, if R+L=J is in fact correct, then yes, we would have the three with Targaeryn to ride the three dragons. Man, those 3 flying on their dragons into King’s Landing…what a sight to see. Just hurry up and show us it’s true! Can’t be soon enough. Kinda like Ramsey being killed. It can’t be soon enough …. or painful enough …. by Sansa’s own hand would be ……perfect.

    • Jeeves says:

      Not burned, FLAYED. Isn’t the Flayed Man the sigil of house Boltom. Digusting.

  12. Teja says:

    most important of all: Bran was able to talk to his father. That should explain how prophecies are made: some greenseer goes to the past and tells what he has seen in the meantime. He has to be very careful and unclear, not to produce a self-denying prophecy and a time-paradoxon.

  13. Ella says:

    Nooooo!!! Stop killing direwolves! :'( Please let that have been a decoy and not the real Shaggydog. I am so unhappy about this.

  14. Jeeves says:

    I’m down with the R+L=J idea,but I do think there are many more possibilites, all involving Rhaegar and Lyanna. 1. Jon Snow is actually Robert Baratheon’s bastard by Lyanna (black hair, genes are strong, possibly the “real” rape). 2. Jon is the child of Ned and Ashara Dayne (sister of the Sword of the Morning, Dayne, whom Ned just killed). 3. Daerneys is the child of Rhaegar and Ashara Dayne (Lord Beric, who loved Ashara, said they had the same eyes.) 4. Jon Snow is Rhaegar and Elia Martell’s son Aegon, who mysteriously survived the Mountain, and who Rhaegar thought was “the promised one.” We need Bran to go have a look at that Tourney where Rhaegar beats Arthur Dayne and crowns Lyanna the Queen of Love and Beauty, which kicked everything off.

    • Valerie says:

      You obviously didn’t read the books else you would know that most of these theories are chronologically impossible.

  15. AngelWasHere says:

    This episode was a little too slow for me. I haven’t read the books and I haven’t researched the theories too deeply, so maybe that’s why? Excited to see Jon outside of the wall fighting for the Starks. Hopefully he’s reunited with his sisters soon. Hmm..I think that’s it. Excited for next week as always. :P

  16. Travelgirl58 says:

    Is it just my TV or is 90% of the show shot so darkly that I can’t tell who is talking or what is going on? We could not see what was given as proof that it was Rickon Stark. My hubby and I get so frustrated that we can’t see. I come here immediately to read the recap just to see what we missed! Any suggestions?

    • Pamela Shirkey says:

      It’s your tv. I can see it all clearly. You need to adjust the brightness control or get a new tv. You missed seeing Shaggy-dog’s severed head.

  17. Whispergirl says:

    Ok, I haven’t read the books and I only started watching in season three, but why is it that the only character who consistently gets his way is Ramsay Bolton? Every other character encounters roadblocks and misery, but Ramsey appears to go gleefully on his way. There are other tv shows like this right now (nowhere near as extreme, of course), where the ‘good’ characters have only fleeting moments of happiness while the ‘bad’ characters carry on unscathed. Is this the new normal, or just the cheapest/easiest way for the scriptwriters to create drama?

    • Phoenix5634 says:

      It’s just truth basically. Bad guys don’t care who gets in their way or if they eliminate them or not. Good guys are always conflicted with doing the right thing, which isn’t bad, but doing the right thing often gets in the way of other people’s greed and insecurities, etc. So they take you down.