‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6, Episode 5 Recap: The Door
Hodor — the name and the character have new meaning after the devastating climax at the end of this week’s episode.
Like many epic sagas, the plots and actions in Game of Thrones are steps on a ladder to help characters fulfill their ultimate destiny. We might focus more on prominent names — as we saw last week when Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) was reborn again from the flames, and previously with Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) rebirth as the alleged Azor Ahai — but even the smallest (or in this case biggest) characters have a purpose.
This week, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and his idle curiosity are at the heart of it all: the young Stark vision-quests unaccompanied to the snowy north, where the army of wights and White Walkers are waiting. Bran walks by them because, one, he can walk in his dreams, and two, they can’t see him — at least that’s what he thought. The Night King leaves his icy blue mark on Bran, undoing the magical protection of the tree cave. Bran’s lessons are kicked into hyperdrive because time is ticking and he must become the Three-Eyed Raven, whether he’s ready or not. So while they’re in the past with stable boy Wyllis, Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) and the odd Children of the Forest are left behind to deal with the White Walkers.
Perhaps the biggest revelation of this battle sequence is that the Children of the Forest are fighting and perishing at the hands of the very beings they created eons ago to help them fight humanity, who they’re now, rather ironically, helping. Detonator bombs and direwolves aren’t enough to stop their creations gone rogue, though (RIP Summer, we should have known your fate given your absence this season).
Once the Night King cuts down the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow), it’s only thanks to Hodor’s (Kristian Nairn) bravery and ability to “hold the door” that Meera can drag Bran’s body away into the snowstorm. How far they can get with the wights still on their heels remains to be seen.
Way to go Bran — his slip-up not only caused Hodor’s (presumed) death, but also sentenced him to his life as a simpleton. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but then again, Hodor was meant to be “hold the door” for a reason — time travel can make things confusing, but his destiny was finally revealed, and now we see this endearing giant in a heroic light.
One more thing: did anyone notice — after drying their eyes, of course — that Meera killed the White Walker lieutenant like Jon also killed a White Walker lieutenant at the battle at Hardhome? Her spear must have been tipped with dragon glass, which, like the Valyrian steel Jon’s sword is made of, is deadly to White Walkers.
This may have some significance — after all, is it coincidence that we just saw her father, Howland Reed, save teenage Ned Stark by stabbing Arthur Dayne in Bran’s vision at the Tower of Joy? Perhaps the two aren’t connected, but I suspect Meera will surprise us all as a key character in the great battle to come.
But before we can focus on the future, some characters are forced to deal with the past. Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) confronts Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) about abandoning her to Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon); Ser Jorah (Iain Glen) finally confesses his love for Dany; Varys (Conleth Hill) relives his childhood castration after the Red Priestess Kinvara (Ania Bukstein) gives a chilling recount of his abuse; and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) learns about the history of the Many-Faced God before doing recon for Jaqen H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha) and watching her own tragic family history play out on stage.
Her pained reaction watching her father played as a fool might mean that the Waif (Faye Marsay) is right after all: “You’ll never be one of us.” But is that such a bad thing? I often imagine what it would be like if Arya truly became “no one” and bumped into Sansa, Jon or Bran. She might pass by them like a stranger in the crowd and what fun would that be?
While Daenerys sends Ser Jorah on a lifesaving quest and gathers her new Dothraki followers, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) is in Meereen after his meeting with the slave masters trying to keep the peace. “We need someone the people trust. Someone they know who cannot be bought or influenced,” he says. He asks Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis, for help — given that she wears the same choker as Melisandre, it can be assumed that she’s probably also over 800 years old and can provide much needed wisdom.
In the Iron Islands, Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) declares herself queen during the Kingsmoot with her brother, Theon (Alfie Allen) — formerly Reek — backing her claim. “She is your rightful ruler,” he says. Unfortunately, their uncle Euron (Pilou Asbaek) dazzles the crowd with his penis jokes and a promise to seduce the dragon queen with his ships. But the brother-sister duo beat him to the fleet and set sail during Euron’s crowning — a smart move considering his first act as king was going to be to murder them. But Euron has plans to come after them with 1,000 ships and to keep this plotline interesting, finally — though building those ships is going to take a while.
Back on land, Sansa, Jon Snow, Ser Davos (Liam Cunningham) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) make plans to take Winterfell and unite the houses of the North. This might be easier than they thought now that Sansa’s uncle, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully (remember him? He left the Red Wedding early before things got bloody), has gathered the Tully forces and retaken Riverrun. She might gather even more troops if she accepts Littlefinger’s help, but she’s smart to reject his offer. After all, she learned from the best not to trust anyone and that there’s always a hidden agenda. (Littlefinger no doubt means to use her for some hidden plan of his own and capitalize on the war in the north.)
But then again the knowledge about her uncle did come from Littlefinger, did it not? So doesn’t she trust his word there? Sansa did tell Jon about her Uncle Brynden and sent Brienne on a mission to discuss joining forces, after all.
Still, her disdain for Littlefinger after he left her with Ramsay last season is apparent in their reunion at Mole’s Town, when she accuses him of either being an idiot or her enemy and repeatedly asks him about the abuses she suffered under this monster. “What do you think he did?” she asks him sternly. We all know what happened, more or less, especially after the controversial wedding night rape scene last season, so I’ll spare you the details of that conversation.
But the fact that she didn’t tell Jon about their secret meeting suggests that, conversely, she will use Littlefinger for her own ambitions. We can only hope she has worse plans for Ramsay…
Video courtesy of Game of Thrones.
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