HBO's "Game of Thrones" is famous -- perhaps infamous -- for killing its stars. This includes well-known actor Sean Bean, whose Ned Stark character lost his head in a Season 1 shocker.
Now this lethal trend is temporarily reversed in "Home" (Episode 52). Because Ned's son, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), lord commander of the Night's Watch, returns from the dead. It's joyous news for Jon fans worldwide.
At the end of last season, treasonous Night's Watch "crows" led by Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) murdered Jon because he made peace with the hated Wildlings.
In danger of being murdered this season are Jon's friends, notably Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham). They stand watch over Jon's corpse while his direwolf Ghost growls nearby.
Lay down your arms, Thorne offers, and no one else will die. He's a liar, of course, for his men have their crossbows at the ready.
"I've never been much of a fighter," Davos admits while drawing his sword. "Apologies for what you're about to see."
What they see is rescuer Edd Tollett (Ben Crompton), who slipped out of Castle Black and returned with Wildling reinforcements. They include red-haired Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and an actual giant who brushes off arrows like he's swatting flies.
Thorne and his fellow conspirators are soon captured or killed.
While Tormund prepares a funeral pyre for Jon, Davos beseeches Lord of Light priestess Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to raise Jon from the dead.
"There are some with this power," Melisandre says. But not her, for she's filled with self-doubt.
"Everything I believed, the great victory I saw in the flames, all of it was a lie," Melisandre sadly tells Davos. "You were right all along. The Lord never spoke to me."
"I'm not asking the Lord of Light for help," Davos clarifies. "I'm asking the woman who showed me that miracles exist."
So Melisandre bathes Jon's body, drops hair cuttings into a fire and recites incantations. All to no avail, it seems, until Ghost awakens. And then Jon awakens, bolting upright and gasping for air.
Here are some other key developments:
• Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) hones his "warg" abilities under the tutelage of that Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) after it assumes human form. They travel back in time to see Bran's father, Ned (Sebastian Croft), as a lad. They also see massive Hodor, whose real name is Wyllis (Sam Coleman), when he was a stable boy.
• At King's Landing, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) is prevented from attending the funeral of her daughter, Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free). It's for Cersei's protection, since the High Sparrow (Jonathon Pryce) and his religious zealots are out in full force.
• In Braavos, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) may not be blind for much longer. Her shape-shifting mentor, Jaqen H'ghar (Tom Wlaschiha), promises to restore her sight.
• Arya's sister Sansa (Sophie Turner) heads north to Castle Black, believing her half-brother Jon is alive. Well, suddenly he is, thanks to Melisandre.
• Sansa's husband, Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), adds patricide and infanticide to his list of heinous crimes. Lord Roose Bolton (Michael McElhatton) and his wife, Walda (Elizabeth Webster), just had a son. And because Ramsay is a bastard, his new half-brother could one day rule House Bolton. So Ramsay stabs his father and feeds Walda and baby to the dogs.
• Finally, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) befriends Rhaegal and Viserion, the fearsome dragon brothers that haven't eaten since their mother Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) fled Meereen. Tyrion gingerly frees the dragons from their chains. "Next time I have an idea like that," Tyrion tells Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), "punch me in the mouth!"