The ball is round, and full of terrors. Throughout the sixth season of Game of Thrones, we will endeavor to produce a commentary, following each new episode, on what the show can tell us about the epic adventure that is NYCFC's second year, and vice-versa. CLICK HERE to read last week's article, "Villa Morghulis." (Dank image h/t Frederick Seddon)
As you may have guessed, this article contains spoilers concerning Season 6, Episode 2.
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Last week, following GoT's season premiere and New York City's defeat at Philadelphia, we examined the thematic relationship between two legendary Lord Commanders, Jon Snow of Castle Black and David Villa of Castle Bronx.
The rotten stink of death was in the air.
Just a day before the HBO drama returned for its sixth season, New York City had made it seven straight games without a win, thanks to a 2-0 beheading at Talen Energy Stadium. David Villa's tireless work went unrewarded, his brilliance unheeded. As with Lord Snow, every fan gazed at the winless-at-home Villa and thought the same thing: he's totally gonna leap right up and lead his men again. He has too, right? Because if he can't do it, there might not be a single soul who can.
(OK, OK, I understand that Villa's heart has been beating without interruption and Jon's hasn't. But forget the break between seasons and consider that plot-wise, Lord Snow was only dead for what, like, a couple hours? We've seen Villa go cold for longer than that. It is known.)
This weekend, however, we would be reminded in so many ways of that famous maxim from the Iron Islands:
"What Is Dead May Never Die."
Our first reminder came Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium: another army from north of The Wall -- the seemingly untamable Vancouver Whitecaps -- looked poised to pillage the South Bronx after stealing a first-minute goal following a howling error from NYC gatekeeper Josh Saunders. But Villa, perhaps by some mystical laying-on-of-hands by a local witch, took over the game for the first time in weeks. His opener leveled the score just six minutes before an impeccable flash of the supernatural arts put NYCFC ahead, 2-1.
A second reminder of the famous phrase oft-uttered in deference to the "Drowned God" of the Ironborn came Sunday evening, just as it it appeared that Ser Davos Seaworth and the decayed nucleus of the Night's Watch were condemned to remain on a winless streak of their own. Honorless mutineer Alliser Thorne and his band of traitors were quite literally beating down their door, looking to seize Jon Snow's ruined body and do away with the remaining few still loyal to him. As an axe swung over and over into the wooden door, Jack Torrance-style, we smelled the creeping stench of inevitability that accompanied Octavio Rivero's opening stunner for the Whitecaps on Saturday.
Are the good guys really going to lose again?
But then came the divine intervention.
Just as Andrea Pirlo's immaculately conceived corner met David Villa's backdoor run for an explosive scissor-kicked finish just minutes before the halftime whistle, the unlikely return of Snow ally "Dolorous Edd" Tollett to Castle Black, with
Nat Borchers Tormund Giantsbane and a horde of Free Folk by his side, smacked of the kind of unbelievable timing that may as well have been aided by magic. With Alliser Thorne and the blackhearted betrayers at bay, thanks in particular to a Pirlo-quality assist from Wun Wun the ice giant (he's a clinical finisher, that one!), Davos Seaworth pondered how the suddenly merciful gods might return Lord Snow from the frigid grip of death while they're at it.
Ser Davos is a bit like Patrick Vieira-- he's surprisingly calm in moments of incredible distress or even defeat, and he isn't afraid to try something unorthodox (the 3-2-2-3 formation is like the Red Lady's wild sorcery: it probably shouldn't work, but sometimes it does, and there's no earthly explanation as to how). His keen request that Lady Melisandre attempt something not strictly within her expertise -- the reanimation of Jon Snow's utterly destroyed, entirely lifeless body -- demonstrated the kind of non-conventional reasoning and radical open-mindedness that has made Vieira something of a sensation in his young MLS tenure.
Melisandre is Castle Black's Andrea Pirlo. Both are legendary magicians, and basically impervious to the ill effects of age. You won't see them fighting on the front lines; that's the distinct purview of the Villas and Snows of the world. But these two mystics are ingenious playmakers when given enough freedom to work. Nobody else in the land can do what they do.
When Pirlo floated that transcendent corner kick in for David Villa's finish, he couldn't have been sure it would work (sometimes, a sincere effort ends up in orbit instead). Before Melisandre laid hands on Jon Snow, cleaning his wounds and conducting an arcane ritual, she herself admitted deep ambivalence about whether or not she had the pure class necessary to resurrect the fallen Lord Commander.
In each case, however, the message turned out to be the same: even oblivion itself can't stop the captain.
After the 3-2 victory over Vancouver, Villa collapsed onto the pitch, positively drained. He looked a spitting image of Lord Snow laid out on that table-- no matter what, you knew he was destined spring back to his feet, didn't you?
Most fascinatingly, however, was the NYCFC captain's quote when asked about that emotional end to the day's hard-fought battle:
I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
I had already decided to try to continue the "David Villa is Jon Snow is David Villa is Jon Snow is..." narrative before I came across that absolute peach of a quote; after all, these two leaders of men both jerked back to life barely twenty-four hours apart. But this is the clincher. And really, we should have known already that El Guaje stood on the same cosmic wavelength as Lord Snow. The Ironborn had told us as much, dating all the way back to Season 2.
What Is Dead May Never Die. We just needed to see it for ourselves.
Welcome back, you crazy Captains. Now, hurry the fuck back to work. Your squads basically don't stand a chance without you.