I guess I picked the wrong week to push Game of Thrones back a day, huh? Somehow, miraculously, I avoided being spoiled as to the ending of this episode. But only because I got wind of the fact that something really big had happened and went into lockdown mode, avoiding Twitter all day and threatening co-workers with flaying if they spilled the beans.
“The Door” already seems to be joining the ranks of GoT‘s most revered episodes, and it’s easy to see why – it was intense beyond belief and finished with one of the most emotional deaths of the series so far. Plus, no Ramsay. It’s one of those eps where it seems almost pointless to talk about anything but those last few minutes, despite the fact that some very important and compelling stuff happened. Among that other stuff:
- Sansa making (or at least trying to make) Littlefinger speak aloud the word “rape”. Who knows what Baelish knew, really – who ever knows but the man himself – but Sansa pretty much sums up the mood of the fans on this one. When it comes to knowing about Ramsay Bolton he’s either he’s a giant fucking idiot or a miserable scumbag. Now, which one of those two sounds more like Petyr Baelish?
- I fear Sansa may regret not accepting the petite digit’s offer to throw the Tully army in behind her Northern uprising (and it this point it’s clearly more hers than Jon’s), though it’s wholly understandable. Still – why lie to Jon about how she knew about the Blackfish re-taking Riverrun? I smell dissension brewing between Sansa and Jon, and that’s going to be a real shame.
- Seriously, I could watch Tormund making bedroom eyes at Brienne and her wincing like she’s severely constipated all day long. It’s the highlight of the season. Too bad Brienne is probably going to die on Sansa’s mission to ride to Riverrun.
- That play in Braavos wasn’t quite up the standard of “The Ember Island Players”, but it was a good one. That sequence in Braavos seemed to go on forever, though not in a bad way. Arya is facing yet another test next week- we’ll see how much of the Stark moral code remains in her.
- The Kingsmoot was a hell of a lot shorter than the one in the book, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. But it still felt pretty much like a foregone conclusion.
- I do feel some sympathy for Jorah, though everything he’s dealt with is as a result of his own choices. I think everyone has pretty much assumed he was a goner, but let’s remember that someone did manage to cure Shireen (much good it did her), so in theory at least it is possible.
- That staredown between Varys and the High Priestess of the Lord of Light, Kinvara (Ania Bukstein) was pretty intense all by itself. Varys is a character I have a deal of respect for – he has a set of values he’s been true to as far as we know for the entire series, and he’s a man who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I suspect he and Tyrion may find out as the Lannisters did that turning religious fanatics looks inside the capital is a bad idea.
- Bran, oh Bran… Why did you have to do it? Why drive the car on your own when you only have your learner’s permit?
Yes, that takes us up to that long, terrible and wonderful final sequence. It was a fantastic bit of filmmaking, though I always get a bit off-put when Game of Thrones goes all special-effects crazy. Funnily enough the answer to the Hodor riddle – or at least the name part – had been correctly guessed by a couple of fans years ago. And Kristian Nairnm when asked after Season Four how he might like Hodor to die, answered with what happened in “The Door” pretty much verbatim. I’m sure we’re going to get a flood of Bran-hate now, and that’s a shame. He certainly made a terrible mistake, and that terrible mistake led to Hodor’s death (and the death of the Three-Eyed Raven, Leaf, and (sob) Summer – just as Sansa’s mistake led to Ned’s death and indirectly, many of the terrible events that have followed. But Bran made an impatient, impulsive rash decision – which is what teenagers do. He had a lot of reasons to be frustrated and restless, but now he’ll have to (hopefully) live with the consequences.
We certainly learned some interesting tidbits before everything came crashing down, most crucially that it was the Children of the Forest that gave birth to the White Walkers as a weapon against mankind. How’d that work out? Well, they lost the war and now they’re trying to contain the evil they unleashed. We also got our first look at Ned’s father (he looks an awful lot like the man his son would become) but as of yet, not at what happened in the Tower of Joy.
As for Hodor, while I won’t pretend to understand the dynamics of how or whether any of it was possible, the “Hold the Door!” explanation certainly has a poetry to it. It’s interesting to speculate as to whether this was Martin’s idea (all signs point to yes). Hodor is yet another victim of decency in Game of Thrones – despite everything that’s been taken away from him as a result of what Bran did, he was still loyal in the end and threw down his own life to save him. You’ll be missed, Hodor – and what I really hope is that after so many others died to save him this week, Bran’s life ends up having a real meaning and purpose.