This episode will be one of the harder ones to write about as quite a bit was emotional. The title The Door is pretty appropriate but that part will be revealed later.
First, we encounter Sansa sewing and receiving a letter from Littlefinger.
She goes to meet him in Mole’s Town in a decrepit building. There, Littlefinger appears elated in seeing Sansa physically looking well but the moment Brienne walks in he knows that the game is slowly coming up for him with his antics with Sansa. Sansa now sees Littlefinger for whom he truly is and even looks down upon him the way she denotes him as a brothel keeper.
Still, it’s a game of chess the two play where Sansa ultimatley tells Littlefinger that she wants him to die. Yet he accepts that fate while Sansa doesn’t follow through, implying that Littlefinger successfully called her bluff for now. He talks about how he is now in possession of an army to help her stomp out the Boltons in the form of the Knights of the Vale. However, Sansa says she has her own army, to which Littlefinger further counters in saying it’s her brothers. Here, we can see Littlefinger continuing to play Sansa and planting the seeds of doubt in terms of their connection as brother and sister, calling out Jon’s half-heritage to her. Because of Sansa and Jon’s past, which Sansa admitted to treating him poorly, the divide may resurface down the line between the two.
However, before he leaves, Littlefinger offers one extra piece of information in that her great uncle, Brynden “Blackfish” Tully has retaken Riverrun.
From there, we travel to Braavos where Arya and the Waif fight. The Waif beats Arya with stick and Arya, kipping up, wants to challenge her again. This time, the Waif beats her own without weapons. The Waif sees Arya for whom she is, saying that Arya will never be one of them. Jaqen enters then takes Arya to the Hall of Faces, giving Arya history lesson of the Faceless Men and how Braavos was founded. Also, Jaqen gives Arya a second chance, but not be a third, echoing what Doran told Ellaria.
In turn, Arya goes to witness a poorly recreated play about the War of the 5 Kings which was more of a parody.
There’s a few moments where Arya, having known more of the truth about the situation, finds the play to be distasteful and reminds her of her heritage as a Stark. Of course, the play is just propaganda as “history is written by the victors.” She learns of her target, the actress playing Cersei named Lady Crane.
When Arya sees the actors and actresses behind the scenes, she concludes that Lady Crane isn’t a bad person but actually a good actress.
In turn, she deduces that the one who sent the order to kill Lady Crane is the jealous younger actress playing Sansa Stark, who was given just two lines. Jaqen reminds Arya that she still is a servant despite how Arya continues to question the decision.
In a way, the scene is interesting in that it swaps the roles of who is good vs bad in Arya’s eyes. Cersei, who is on Arya’s list, ends up receiving some level of compassion while the one playing Sansa is seen as the actress. I think the scene is an allegoryof the story itself where the real Sansa is acting around people while Cersei, despite the role she is given, quite possibly has a decent heart because of her genuine love for her children. Perhaps, Arya is seeing this so she learns to judge people by what she experiences about them rather than what she may falsely perceive. Also, because she has received her sight back, this revelation may foreshadow how she no longer is blind to the truth and she can now learn the real motives of people.
We turn back to a vision where the Three Eyed Raven takes Bran to see the creation of the White Walkers. The scene shows a green area next to a weirwood tree with a familiar spiral pattern emanating from the center where the tree exist.
Nearby the Children of the Forest gather as one takes up what looks like an obsidian dagger and goes to human tied up to the tree. There, she plunges the dagger into him and his eyes becomes the familiar glowing blue.
At that point, Bran wakes up and accuses one of the Children of the Forest that they created the White Walkers.
When he asks why the female replies that men were cutting down their sacred trees and they were being slaughtered during that war. We do not get further information to understand what they were at war about nor whom that person tied to the tree was or if that person still exist. Obviously though, that situation backfired on the Children which is ironic considering that they now have come to Bran, a human, for help apparently.
Next on the Iron Isles is the King’s Moot where a new ruler is being elected.
Yara is supported by Theon where Yara’s claim is her ability as a reaver, warrior and veteran of the seas. However, Euron interrupts and slams Theon. As Yara accuses Euron of murdering their former ruler/brethren, Euron openly admits and accepts responsibility and counters the situation by illustrating how Balon was a failure. Instead, he has a different plan to use the Iron Born fleet in marrying Daenerys Targeryen and helping her conquer the 7 Kingdoms. He will provide the fleet for her army to cross into Westeros, which is why he believes she will accept his offer as husband.
While Euron gets baptized by water, Yara and Theon take Yara’s fleet and set sail. However, after Euron awakens from the Iron Born custom of rebirth by drowning, he notes that both have left and vows to slay them. When he sees that they have taken the best ships, Euron says that it won’t be enough as he orders the people on the Iron Islands to build a new fleet and create a fleet of 1000 ships.
Most of this scene of the King’s Moot is from the books in terms of general direction. Obviously, Theon’s appearance isn’t around but Euron’s plan certainly is. One theory this does kill (at least in the show) is the connection of Euron to Daario. Yet with Yara and Theon teaming up finally it’ll be interesting to see where that direction goes. From what I’ve heard they too will be racing towards Daenerys, possibly to give her aid and warn her of Euron’s crazy plan.
Outside of Vaes Dothrak, Jorah confronts Daenerys and Daario. Here, Daenerys wonders what to do with Jorah but Jorah ironically is the one to desire to be sent away. He reveals his Greyscale to her, which is the first honest thing he has done with her.
Also, he admits his absolute love for Daenerys. Just as Jorah goes into self-banishment, Daenerys orders him to halt and commands him to heal himself. It’s a very touching scene one where we see how Daenerys can be a good queen and one where Jorah finally deals with his weakness of having confidence for how Daenerys would treat him. Essentially, it plays out the way Tyrion describes both should handle each other in season 5, but this time both listen. Daenerys wants Jorah to be around when she conquers the 7 Kingdoms but more importantly she needs him. That little part gives Jorah the motivation to find a cure.
Over in Meereen, Tyrion gets help from a different Red Priestess, Kinvara.
Essentially, Tyrion is looking for help getting some propaganda in spreading the news of Daenerys’ name as the savior. Yet Kinvara is similar to Melisandre in that being a fanatic, she sees far more about Daenerys being a savior. Varys questions Kinvara but gets put in his place once Kinvara unveils a lot of secret information about Varys. it’s the first time we’ve ever seen Varys uncomfortable but it also harkens back to his utter distrust of magic.
Back at the tree, Bran becomes bored (being stupid, impatient Bran Stark) and goes towards the Three Eyed Raven to grab onto one of his branches. He sees the army of the dead surrounding the tree and spots the White Walkers, particularly the Night’s King.
However, the Night’s King grabs Bran and “marks” him.
Bloodraven reveals that Bran’s new mark will allow the army of the dead to penetrate the tree’s magic defenses, so he has them pack up to leave.
At The Wall, Jon discusses strategy with Davos, Brienne, Sansa, Melisandra, Tormund and Podrick in terms of the Northern houses, their army sizes and those that would back the Starks.
Davos provides some advice and explains to Sansa about why the Karstarks sided with the Boltons. However, there’s enough forces beyond those backing the Boltons for which Jon suggests rallying those. Sansa mentions her secret information from Littlefinger about the Riverlands and Riverrun without giving away the true nature of where she gained that information.
Privately, Brienne questions Sansa’s motives in not trusting her own brother. Right now, our best guess is that she too might not completely have 100% faith in her brother because he is just a half. Perhaps, she is reserving her judgment in case the time comes when someone needs to challenge for the right over Winterfell and that she wants to err on the side of caution.
From there the group leaves Castle Black with Edd taking over as Lord Commander. It’s obvious that Edd is out of place as Lord Commander and with Jon giving him a hug, you have to question if Castle Black’s faith is left with a reliable person in charge.
Back inside the tree, Meera and Hodor pack up while Bran remains under Bloodraven’s control in gaining more knowledge. Bloodraven told him that Bran must “become me,” meaning getting as much information as possible within those limited minutes. However, Meera detects that they are under attack and rushes outside to see the army of the dead headed by the White Walkers about to invade.
The Night’s King shatters the tree’s defenses and the children make a defense through fire bombs and creating a fire wall. However, the White Walkers easily extinguish enough of a path to let them through while the rest of the army circle around the tree and penetrate through other openings.
Meera runs back to try and awaken Bran who is still having a vision of being in Winterfell and seeing his family. As the children of the forest die off, Meera grows more desperate in trying to wake Bran. Bloodraven tells Bran to leave him so that he can warg into Hodor to get him onto the sled. They charge off as Summer sacrifices himself so the trio can make their getaway.
Bloodraven tells Bran that his time is up as he sees the Night’s King come for him and end his existence. Bloodraven evaporates into a dark wind while the army charge through the tunnels towards Bran.
The last of the children makes a last stand, igniting herself in a fiery explosion that terminates a large host of undead. It buys the group enough time for Hodor to push open the exit. Meera takes the sled and drags Bran out while Hodor uses his full weight to block the door. As Meera screams “Hold the door!”, Bran hears her in the past visions and because of how he’s warged as Hodor in the present the young Hodor gets warged as well. Young Hodor falls to the ground hearing the words “Hold the door!” ringing through his head as Bran helplessly watches how Hodor came to be.
Overall, this episode was emotionally packed and we learned quite a bit from the origins of Hodor and the Children of the Forest to a few key demises in favorite characters. At the same time, it established new character arcs such as Sansa becoming a dubious character with her lies being told to Jon while Bran appearing as a little shit who essentially has been fucking the realm up because of his impulsiveness.
The last scene of Hodor sacrificing himself juxtaposed to the young Wylis screaming out in a epileptic fit particularly was heart breaking as it showed how a simpleton could perform a noble deed. That scene reminded me of another tragic scene in Krull where the cyclops had already seen his fate and went out to meet it. I think what’s emotionally traumatizing about that scene is how a lowborn yet kind hearted soul like Hodor becomes a heroic figure in saving the life of a high born whose main fault is not listening.