Game of Thrones – 55

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“The Door”


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.

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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.






  1. David and Dan did say that the origin for Hodor’s name came from George R.R. Martin.

    Now I wonder if we will see a white-walker-Hodor…

  2. Also, thinking of all the implications of how Bran can actually “influence” the “past” is driving me mad.

  3. O

    You just earned a lot of brownie points in my book by comparing the play to the ember island players.

  4. J

    Slight correction: It was the children of the forest who created the white walkers in the wars against the first men.

    It would be nice if the show would expand on who that first guy truly was before he became the night’s king.

  5. A

    It seems pretty clear that Petyr got into Sansa’s head with the whole half brother comment. I don’t understand why she would have misgivings about Jon though, I guess she just has to much of her mum in her.

  6. D

    I was kind of curious at that scene. The easy explanation is Baelish wants to sow the seeds of chaos, which is his usual MO. I got a hint, though, that this was genuine advice – just totally misguided because all Baelish understands is backstabbing and political maneuvering.

    He’ll definitely be back at the end of the season to save Jon’s army from Ramsay. That puts Baelish back into a position of power with influence in Jon’s camp. I just don’t know how well his usual tactics would work in a group of genuinely good people like Jon, Sansa, Brienne, and Davos.

    I think Benjen Stark will save Bran and Meera. No clue how they can get out of there without somebody’s help.

    BTW, Rickon is done for. Don’t hold out any hope for his survival. It will be one last catalyst to motivate Jon. It will also be one last “fuck you” from Ramsay to the audience.

  7. I think it’s a near-given that Coldhands is going to save Bran and Meera. The real question is whether Benjen is Coldhands.

  8. S

    Now, I do not want to be the one who will have to translate this Hold the door – Hodor thing in other languages…

  9. In spanish they translate to “dejalo cerrado” (mantain it close) it was a total train wreck XD

  10. Ah, Bran. It happens. You make that mistake and then you pick up the pieces and live with it the rest of your life. Regret is life’s lasting gift to the cognizant.

  11. T

    I’m so sad over Summer and Hodor death that anything relevant for me in this episode was forgotten for awhile because I can’t. I’m tired of good people and direwolves dying in this show its making me lose hope that anyone with a decent soul will survive in the end.

    In Sansa’s defence (words I never thought I would say) Sansa has gotten used to be surrounded by terrible people who lie and manipulate others. Even though she is with good people now (while everyone in this new circle had different allegiances in the past the folks in this current circle were the only good folks in those past circles) She can’t completely trust everyone. I mean her own aunt tried to killed her while yes she grew up with Jon everything that has happened will cloud her judgement. Plus she know that being honourable and trustworthy is exactly what gets you killed without mercy. So even if she gets used to being around good people again she might use her new tactics in order to keep Jon and co. safe because she cant afford to lose them due to being the very things that will get them killed.

    Ultimately while I know we all want Stark reunions I questioned if they will be sustainable in the end. All the remaining Stark children have been surrounded by different people and different agendas used to survive. Like how we are starting to see with Jon and Sansa those different worldviews can clash and have potential negative consequences. I’m sadden to see the changing the dynamics of Jon and Sansa but they werent originally close to begin with so old tensions and new tensions are going to rear their ugly heads. I really just want Sansa to take winterfall and I want jon to eventually focus on the larger conflicts that are coming.

    Nope I’m still heartbroken over Summer and Hordor.

  12. When Bran got touched by the Night King the entire scene made me think a lot of that LotR moment when Pippin looks into the Palantír and unwillingly provokes Sauron. It’s not as disastrous there – in fact it’s sort of a lucky break as it allows them to both get a glimpse of Sauron’s plans and bluff him into looking out for attacks in the wrong direction – but there was a definite similarity.

  13. That whole sequence in the North had a very LoTR quality to it. Maybe too much for my taste, to be honest.

  14. Y

    You’re not a fan of Tolkien’s work, Enzo?

  15. I love Tolkien. I just think Tolkien does Tolkien better than anyone else. I think GoT is at its best when it’s singularly and wholly itself.

  16. Arya seems to be getting uglier from one week to the next. How soon before she gets her new job living under a bridge and taking tolls?

  17. Additional thoughts: as a TV only viewer and an occasional westeros wiki reader, my feeling is D&D haven’t delivered on making you care about death. In the TV series it’s just something that happens. Besides Ned, Oberyn and now Hodor, everything else has had very little investment.

    The deaths of wolves are forgettable and offhand. Leaf’s death could have been a moment of redemption even if it’s just a last gesture, but here since it was shorthand, it showed everything it could have been.

    In regard to the ToJ episode, I’ve read that both Ned and Dayne live and die on their honor. But both actors delivered their lines like trash talk. Those ill-fated momentous meetings should generally gut you, but when you’ve got two dudes WWEing their UFC call outs, the scene will only leave you feeling irritated.

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