Game of Thrones “The Door”

Game of Thrones S6E5 “The Door”

It’s always a risky move to end a story line early just when it’s getting good. It’s all the more risky when in the case of Bran, the story line was rather boring beforehand, making season six the only time his story line was exciting at all. While Bran’s actions in “The Door” have grave consequences for him and his group, the show greatly benefits from his mistake as we get an emotional and powerful moment that ranks just as highly as the ones before it. Hodor’s tragic origin story highlights an excellent episode that also features Jon and Sansa’s plan of attack, a new king being crowned in the Iron Islands, a new mission for Arya, Jorah’s possibly final order from Daenerys, and Tyrion looking to spread the word. And now we begin.

Season six sure loves opening up episodes at Castle Black and you can add “The Door” to the list of episodes that does so. It is very brief though, as Sansa is given a letter from Littlefinger, asking her to meet him at Mole’s Town. Accompanied by Brienne, Sansa travels to the nearby town and confronts Littlefinger. Sansa has so rarely been in power and has been abused a lot for not being in power, so it all makes this scene so great as Sansa finally is in complete control of the situation. She asks Littlefinger if he knew about Ramsay and why he would ever give her to the Boltons in the first place. The usually clever Littlefinger really has nothing good to say in his defense here so he deflects the question and tells Sansa he has control of the Knights of the Vale and is ready to use them at her request. Sansa is appalled at the notion that Littlefinger thinks he can still help her, doubting his ability to even protect himself if she orders Brienne to strike him down. Sansa shows mercy to him though, and tells him to leave and never return to her. Before he leaves though, Littlefinger offers one piece of advice. Her great-uncle The Blackfish has retaken Riverrun and has an army at his disposal, he recommends Sansa seeks him out. Sansa says she already has an army, her brother Jon’s army. Littlefinger makes his exit after correcting her (and likely trying to create doubt) and saying it’s her half-brother’s army.

While Sansa’s distrust of Littlefinger is more than merited, you wonder why she lies to Jon later on during a war council. After running through the numbers, Jon comes to the conclusion that they have to recruit all the small houses they can get as the two largest Northern Houses after the Boltons, the Karstarks and the Umbers, have already declared for the Boltons. Trying to contribute, Sansa makes mention of the Blackfish having an army down in Riverrun but when Jon asks her how she knows this, she lies and says she heard it from Ramsay back when she was at Winterfell. In her defense, telling the truth would have been tricky because the fact that Littlefinger was offering the Knights of the Vale probably would have come up and Jon would be upset that Sansa declined an army. It’s still a lie, but for now it’s not a huge one. If the time comes that this recruitment mission isn’t working and she still doesn’t tell Jon she’s got an army potentially at her disposal, then that would be bad. After the council, Jon, Sansa, Davos, Melisandre, and Tormund depart Castle Black to start recruiting the other houses while Brienne and Podrick ride for Riverrun to recruit the Blackfish at Sansa’s request. The road to Winterfell starts now.

On the Iron Islands, it’s Kingsmoot time and Yara is the first to throw her name in the hat. Her speech is pretty convincing and gets a lot of approval but there remains doubters who refuse to back her, considering Balon has a male heir here. That male heir, as well all know is Theon and he makes a big step in fixing his relationship with his sister by announcing to everyone at the Kingsmoot that he is supporting his sister and he gives a rousing speech to the Ironborn to convince them to do the same. Things take a turn for the worst though when Euron Greyjoy returns and announces his intent to claim the salt throne. Yara tries to discredit his claim by correctly assuming he killed Balon, but this tragically backfires. Euron owns up to killing his brother and admits that he wishes he’d done it sooner as Balon was only good at leading the Ironborn to failure and embarrassment. Euron announces he will build the largest fleet they’ve ever seen and that he’ll sail it to Meereen where he will offer it to Daenerys Targaryen in a marriage alliance. With his fleet and her dragons, Euron promises that they will take Westeros. That’s enough for the Ironborn who formally elect Euron Greyjoy as their new king. During his coronation though, Yara, Theon, and Yara’s loyalists (which is a pretty large group) steal all of the Iron Fleet’s best ships and sail away. An unfazed King Euron orders every single Ironborn get to work on building a new fleet, saying that Yara and Theon will be killed and that the Ironborn will rule the world when this is all done.

All the way over in Vaes Dothrak, Dany prepares to go back to Meereen with her brand new Dothraki army. There’s unfinished business to take care of first though and his name is Jorah Mormont. Dany questions what she can do with him seeing as he’s saved her life every time she’s exiled him. Jorah tells him she must send him away one last time and shows her his greyscale, which has quickly worked its way up Jorah’s arm. Jorah admits that he doesn’t know of a cure and that he’ll take his own life before the disease turns him into a stone man. Jorah finally confesses his love to Daenerys and tries to leave afterward, but Dany stops him. Dany tearfully orders Jorah to go and search for a cure and to return to her when he finds it. Jorah accepts the order and the two share what very well could be a final goodbye as they go their separate ways.

In Meereen, diplomacy seems to be working as Grey Worm announcers to their small council of sorts that it’s been two weeks since an attack has occurred, and it’s been precisely two weeks since Tyrion’s proposal was accepted. Peace isn’t enough though, as Tyrion turns his attention to making people believe that this peace was achieved through Dany. To do this, Tyrion turns to a strange ally, one you might not think Tyrion would go for. Tyrion brings in the High Red Priestess, Kinvara, to ask her something. Tyrion asks Kinvara to spread the word that this newfound peace was made possible only because of Dany and Tyrion is rather surprised to find out that she seems to already be on board. Kinvara is convinced that Dany is the Prince That Was Promised, but Varys seems very skeptical. Varys points out that Melisandre is a red priestess and she declared that Stannis was the Prince That Was Promised and all that accomplished was Stannis being defeated in two battles and being killed in the latter one. Kinvara sort of scares Varys into submission by stating her knowledge of how he was cut and knowing what the voice in the flames said during Varys’ castration. A flashing of power really as Kinvara quickly changes the mood and insists to Varys that they’re on the same side here. Kinvara announces that she will tell her priests and priestesses to spread the word about Dany and then exits the temple, ending this odd check in with Meereen.

In Braavos, Arya has more of the same, until she doesn’t. More of the same being the Waif continuing to beat her up when they spar with each other. The new thing being Jaqen giving her a new mission. Jaqen tells Arya that an actress by the name of Lady Crane is her next assignment and she can be seen performing in a play with her troupe in town. Arya goes to the play and actually has a good time watching it, as the troupe performs a crude rendition of the events leading up to the war of five kings. Things are cool until Ned’s part in the play comes up and it turns out he’s being painted as an idiot villain in the play. After the play wraps up, Arya sneak into backstage to see if she can find an in to poison Lady Crane. She finds it by noticing that Lady Crane is the only one in the troupe that drinks rum. Reporting back to Jaqen, Arya tells him that she’ll poison the rum, but begins to have second thoughts. Arya tells Jaqen that she seems like a nice person while Jaqen quips that death does not just come for bad people. Arya enquires as to who wants Lady Crane dead but Jaqen reprimands her, saying servants don’t ask questions. So the obvious question is will Arya go through with it? Arya better watch out if she decides not to do it because Jaqen warned her this is her second and final chance, and that either way, someone will die, implying she’ll take Lady Crane’s place in dying if she doesn’t go through with it. Choose wisely Arya.

Beyond the wall, Bran did manage to learn a very fascinating piece of information before his woeful mistake. Through another history lesson with the three eyed raven, Bran learns about where the white walkers came from. It turns out that the white walkers were originally made by children of the forest. After leaving the vision, Bran confronts Leaf about this and she defends herself saying that they were at war with the humans and needed a weapon to help their cause. Walkers are pretty good at killing people as we know. Unfortunately for the children of the forest, the walkers grew way too strong and the children’s ability to control the walkers faded away until the walkers were in complete control of their actions. The more you know.

During the night hours, Bran finds himself struggling to get to sleep while everyone else is sound asleep. Bored, he tries to wake up the three eyed raven so they can go back to the past again but he isn’t able to wake up his teacher. Instead of just trying to get back to sleep, Bran decides to warg without the three eyed raven, very bad decision. Bran finds himself facing the army of the undead. He walks to the center of the army where he sees a group of white walkers, including their leader, the Night King. Something is clearly amiss and before Bran can realize that he’s sharing a tangible vision with the walkers, the Night King reaches out and touches him on the arm. Bran wakes with a shout, waking everyone back inside the cave up. Bran selectively tells the truth, saying the Night King saw him, but neglects to say he touched him. Trying to lie to an all knowing being is probably a waste of your time though and the three eyed raven immediately knows that the Night King touched Bran. The contact left a mark on Bran’s arm that allows the Night King to locate and enter the cave now. The three eyed raven tells Bran that their time is up and that he must now become him. When Bran asks if he’s ready for that, the three eyed raven simply replies “No”. Hey Bran, I wonder whose fault that is?

Meera and Hodor begin to pack their things while Bran is getting a crash course on his remaining lessons. Both of these things end up getting cut short though when the Night King, three other walkers, and the army of the undead arrive at the cave. Meera and the children retreat further inside the cave to have more room to hold off the undead army but their numbers are ridiculously high. There’s no way that they can fight them off and win so their only choice is to leave the cave through the back entrance. Meera desperately tries to wake up Bran, who’s in another vision, so he can warg into Hodor and get them out of here. The three eyed raven draws Bran’s attention away from the vision which is of Winterfell in Ned Stark’s youth and tells him he needs to listen to his friend. Still inside the vision, he hears Meera’s yells and splits his consciousness into two so he can stay in the vision and warg into Hodor in the same time. In the present, the now Bran controlled Hodor carries Bran in his sled all the way to the exit, the army of the dead very close behind them. Due to years of unuse and a snowstorm outside, the door is stubborn and Hodor has to try with all his force to get the door open. After doing so, he gets Bran outside and Meera takes the sled from there. Meera tells Hodor to “hold the door” as it’s her only shot at getting out of here with Bran alive.

Back in the vision, Bran’s dual consciousness proves to be too much and he accidentally wargs into Wylis (young Hodor) from the vision. Wylis becomes linked with present day Hodor and Wylis goes through the traumatizing experience of seeing his own death unfold. Wylis hits the ground and begins to seize and shout “Hold the Door” over and over again. As present day Hodor makes the ultimate sacrifice by holding the door even as wights tear apart his face, the camera cuts back to Wylis whose shouts of “Hold the Door” begin to slur until all he can say is “Hodor”. Through Bran’s creation of a stable time loop, Wylis became Hodor by seeing Hodor die. This origin and death two for one scene was emotional and gut-wrenching. Bran’s face when he realized he was responsible for the creation of Hodor was one of complete agony and for us at home, it may have been just as tough for us to watch it all unfold. Rest in Peace Hodor. Your life’s goal came down to holding a door, and you did it.

Other Thoughts

I would like to acknowledge how awful it sounds to have to live your life knowing how you’re going to die. It’s no wonder Hodor was so scared of any violent confrontation, any one of those could have been the moment he would have to hold the door.

Few things on Meera. She’s now on the list of white walker killers after killing one with a dragon glass tip spear. She also may be in possession of another white walker killing weapon. If you noticed, she grabbed a sword from the entrance of the cave before they left. I think it might be Valyrian steel. What else would you need protection from this far north? It has to be for killing white walkers. Hopefully this gets addressed at some point. I could be wrong but I get the feeling that sword was Valyrian steel.

You just know there has to be someone out there close to Meera and Bran. Meera is a lot of things, but strong enough to carry Bran on a sled while the army of the undead is behind you is probably not one of those things. Even if you avoid the immediate threat of the wights, you’re still a long ways to the wall. Someone is coming to help them for sure, the question is who.

Bad season for direwolves, first Shaggydog and now Summer. I always figured Summer would die sometime shortly before Winter starts so look out for that. The symbolism there is too strong to pass up.

I liked the nice bit of continuity starting the episode with Sansa sewing and finding out later on that she was sewing a new coat for Jon, just like the one their father wore. How sweet of her.

If you didn’t notice, the scene between Littlefinger and Sansa took place in the destroyed remains of the Mole’s Town brothel. Littlefinger sure loves meeting Starks inside brothels.

I am deeply saddened Brienne doesn’t seem to reciprocate Tormund’s feelings. Tormund gave Brienne another look but she quickly turned away. Come on Brienne! You know you want him.

Jon jokingly tells new Lord Commander Dolorous Edd to not knock down the wall while he’s gone. The thing is, the night’s watch is pathetically small now. I don’t know about someone tearing down the wall, but when the walkers get there, Dolorous Edd and friends won’t be enough to stop them.

I shouldn’t be surprised considering how drab the show has made everything about the Iron Islands look, but Euron’s crown is just awful.

Game of Thrones survival tip, don’t travel with Bran. Bran’s group that left from Winterfell at the end of season two was comprised of himself, Rickon, Hodor, Osha, Summer, Shaggydog, and Jojen and Meera who joined shortly thereafter in season three. Meera and Rickon are the only of Bran’s travelling companions still alive, and Rickon is Ramsay Bolton’s hostage, so that probably won’t turn out well.

“The Door” delivers a gut-wrenching origin/death scene and offers plenty of satisfying moments elsewhere in an excellent episode. 

Grade A

 

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