THIS WEEK ON ‘GAME OF THRONES’: Bran makes the biggest mistake in the history of Westeros; Arya watches a bad Off-Broadway production; Sansa owns Littlefinger.
SPOILERS through Game of Thrones 605: This is Game of Thrones. People die. It’s awful and heartbreaking but I recommend you watch it play out on screen before reading about it here.
Phew. What an episode, amirite? Season 6 has been insane and the latest episode, “The Door” has been the most heartbreaking yet. For much of the episode I thought, “Okay, where’s the door? What’s the significance of this title? Game of Thrones doesn’t take episode naming lightly.” Then the moment came and I wished it hadn’t. But we’ll get to that soon. For now, the rest of the episode.
I’m still not done basking my love for the Sansa/Jon reunion. Every scene they have together is blissful and though I know happiness doesn’t last long on Game of Thrones, I want them to hide away in Castle Black forever, reminiscing about a time when Winterfell wasn’t ruled by assholes.
Sansa gets a surprise visit from Littlefinger, who’s back to his old teleportation tricks. He apologizes to Sansa for handing her over to Ramsay and instead of accepting his apology like a “lady should” she lays into him. AND IT’S WONDERFUL.
That’s not Stark or Tully strength coming out in her. That is SANSA strength. I have been waiting for this moment from her for five years and to finally see her putting others in their place is a thing of beauty. There have been flashes of her strength, like against Joffrey and Tyrion, but this year is truly the year of Sansa and I, for one, welcome our new Queen in da Norf.
But things aren’t all Littlefinger slapdowns and stolen glances between Tormund and Brienne at Castle Black. There’s a war brewing for control of Winterfell and Jon and co. need all the help they can get. With the largest armies already pledged for House Bolton, Jon needs to petition for aid from the smaller houses. Then Sansa’s nose grows when she mentions that her uncle, the Blackfish, has rallied an army in Riverrun for their cause. With his aid, surely Jon and Sansa can take back Winterfell, so Sansa sends Brienne as an emissary to the Blackfish and the rest of the party heads to the different Northern houses to ramp up the excitement for new northern leadership.
Arya, now No One, is given a second chance to become a Faceless Man and J’aqen gives her a new target: an actress in a local theatre troupe. The play depicts King Robert’s demise and Joffrey’s rise to being king. As depressing as it was to watch Arya’s reaction to the fictional representation of her father’s death, I actually enjoyed the play. It was a simple reminder that not everyone sees the characters of Westeros as we do. Tyrion is shown as a villain, devious enough to get both Robert and Ned killed so that he can become Hand to the King. Cersei and Joffrey are innocent in the act, and poor Ned Stark is a bumbling idiot who only want to be king. It just goes to show that our perception of a certain character is not true for everyone in the world. (Kind of like how Cersei is the best and no one seems to realize it.)
[Backstage, Game of Thrones finally gives us a close up of a man’s penis, but it’s of a man who is showing off his genital warts and I’m concerned that HBO is just trolling those of us who want equal nudity representation.]
After studying the actors behind the scenes, Arya wonders why someone would want the actress who played Cersei killed. She seems nice enough, even if she doesn’t drink wine like the real Cersei. After a discussion with J’aqen about who could want her killed, Arya is all, “I bet it was the younger, angrier actress who’s jealous.” And J’aqen is all, “BE COOL SHE PAID THE MANY FACED GOD A LOT OF MON–I mean, there are rules, No One.”
On Pyke, there’s a Kingsmoot a’cooking, and Yara/Asha is running to be the first Queen on the Salt Throne. The men mansplain to her that there’s no possible way a vagina could lead such a burly group of men until Theon gets up and says, “She’s the best for the job.” And they’re all, “Ohhhhhhhhh he’s right. Ok. We’ll vote for her.” It’s at this moment that Euron decides to swagger on set to brag about how he killed his brother, Balon, and proclaim that his plan for Pyke is to cut down all the trees for boats because he read a story about Easter Island and thought that was a really good idea. Naturally, Euron is elected as the new King of Pyke because the Iron Islands is well-known for its eco-conservation.
While Euron is being crowned with the worst tiara in the seven kingdoms, Yara and Theon abscond with all the bastards who could have, realistically, voted her into power. But whatever. They have boats now.
Dany thanks Jorah for saving her life, once again, and instead of banishing him for a third time, she commands him to find a cure for his Greyscale because she needs the old bear in her life and Daario is all:
Jorah sets off to find the cure because there’s still a chance for her to love him back. Look, I know Jorah can be creepy. I know the whole, “old man who loves the gorgeous younger woman” is weird but I cannot help but root for him. I cannot help but ship the two of them together so hard it hurts. It helps that Iain Glen looks nothing like Book!Jorah, but my heart beats for the pair and for the kiss that was promised to me two season ago.
Tyrion continues to give diplomacy a shot in Meereen and hey! Crime is down. The complaint box is practically empty. And almost no one has been stabbed in like a day. It’s good to be Tyrion right now and he’s smug about the whole situation but he muses to himself, “What would make this situation even better for Dany? Ah, yes. Religious fanatics.”
Tyrion brings in a Red Priestess who says she’d do the the job for free because dragons make fire, R’hllor loves fire, so the Lord of Light obviously loves the mother of dragons. The Lord of Light especially loves when Dany sets people on fire to teach them a lesson. Coincidentally, a trait we as viewers also love about Dany.
The Red Priestess then talks to Varys and for the first time, we see Varys afraid. He doesn’t smirk at her knowledge, play cat and mouse like he did with Littlefinger. No, this is a woman who knows things and that terrifies him.
Sorry. I’m so sorry. I had to.
Beyond The Wall
Bran steps into another vision of the past and this time it, presumably, has little to do with House Stark and everything to do with saving Westeros from the white walkers. Bloodraven shows him a ritual of the Children of the Forest where a man is tired to a weirwood tree, their sacred tree, stabbed through the heart, and turned into what we know as a white walker. Bran gets upset and once everyone is asleep he makes the best decision ever and decides to surf weirwood internet without a parent or guardian present. In true internet fashion, a creepy older dude finds him, tags him, tracks down his GPS information, and shows up at the front door. Bloodraven is all, “I told you to stay away from those shady sites! Now they have all our money!”
Bloodraven pulls Bran in for one last data upload and it’s a repeat of one they’re already seen but Bran is all, “Aww baby daddy Ned” and doesn’t say anything. In fact, Bran doesn’t do anything even when Meera and Bloodraven scream at him to get off the computer. Instead, he wargs through the past Hodor in order to control present Hodor so he can have a couple more minutes inside his precious internet space. Meanwhile, everything is going to shit in the real world. All of the Children of the Forest have thrown themselves at the attacking wights, and you think at least Meera would be like, “We should have kept one of them alive.” But alas, no.
In the most horrific moment since we saw Shaggydog’s head slammed down onto a Bolton table, Summer jumps into the frey and dies. It seems HBO got tired of paying for the direwolf CGI budget (#saveGhost). Leaf sees this and thinks it’s a solid suicide plan and follows suit, using a grenade made of ice and fire (eh? EH?) to kaboom the wights for about 10 seconds.
Then we finally learn the truth of the lovable giant, Hodor. Through some magic even I don’t quite understand, Meera shouts at Hodor to hold the random ass door into Bloodraven’s cave, in order to give Bran and Meera time to get lost in the snowstorm. The repetition of Meera’s command echoes through present day Hodor’s memory into past Hodor’s mind and as Bran unsafely disconnects from weirwood.net, he causes past Hodor to seizure, frantically screaming, “Hold the door” over and over and over until it finally morphs into “Hodor.”
I have a few thoughts regarding this scene:
1. It was the best death sequence we’ve seen on the show in a long time, beautiful, poetic, and absolutely devastating. It was the death of a man who spent most of his life knowing how and when he died, and that knowledge makes him a cripple in his own right. His death had been decided long before the events of the series without any input from him whatsoever and for him to help Bran, knowing he’d be his downfall, makes him a hero.
2. Why was there a door there? The entrance to the cave was wide open, protected by magic, so why have a door down a long hallway like that? Not saying it changes anything, it’s just all I could think about once I’d processed my grief.
3. Bran is totally about to bring chaos into Westeros.
- Daenerys for Queen of Westeros
- Brienne for Lord Commander of the Queensgard
- Yara for Salt Queen
- Sansa for Warden of the North
- Margaery for Warden of the South
- Meera for Anything Not Involving Bran
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9pm EST.