Everyone’s favorite brother-sister loving, skin flaying, backstabbing, dragon flying, dead walking, high adventure is back for season six! Come here every Monday morning for Pressure Life’s review and recap of HBO’s Game of Thrones season six! Make sure to let us know your favorite scenes in the comments section below!
Game of Thrones season six is officially half-started with the airing of its fifth episode, “The Door”. While perhaps not the best balanced episode, few others have proven as shocking in revelation as well as tragedy- but will get to that part in due time.
We open at Castle Black with Sansa receiving word from Littlefinger to meet at nearby Moles Town. She does so, but not without her sworn sword, Brienne the Badass. Stemming from his machinations from last episode, Littlefinger arrived with intentions of pledging House Arryn’s troops to her cause, thereby getting back in her favor. Not allowing for any of his easy smiles or quick deflection, Sansa refuses to allow him to play ignorant to the torture and rape she was forced to endure having been left with Ramsey Bolton. Despite an uncanny resemblance to her mother, it is Ned Stark that I was reminded of as Sansa spat the line, “If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot, and if you did know, then that makes you my enemy and I should kill you.” And most likely she should have because a spurred Littlefinger is one that has time to plot and scheme some more and a wandering House Arryn army is too big a variable when launching a siege on Winterfell.
The Stark war council continues to be the best thing of the season for me; such an eclectic table of strategists as they are. Facing a similar problem that his half-brother, Robb did when he was leading Stark troops into battle, Jon cannot find enough viable houses to draw to his side to bring a competent battle to Ramsey’s doorstep. Sansa devises a plan to parlay with her uncle at Riverrun where the Blackfish is raising an army. Given the decision that sees Brienne and Tormund hitting the trail together comes from Littlefinger, I have no faith at all that is not just another lie to lead Sansa to tragedy and neither should she. With Sansa giving Jon Snow the mantle to the family in the Ned Stark-style mane of animal pelts and sigil stamped leather, we’re either ramping up for a return to glory or a Red Wedding level catastrophe.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea on the island of Braavos, Sansa’s sister had a rare off-episode. Finally off her blind probation, Arya is tasked with taking the life of a traveling performer. Assumedly another test to see if she can shed her past persona, the performer’s show is a Monty Python-esque send up of King Robert’s death that sees Arya’s father portrayed as a country bumpkin that gets his head cut off, forcing her to relive the worst day in her life amid of sea of people laughing at the spectacle. For whatever effect the scene may have on Arya we were forced to sit with it way too long. In an episode that felt like it brushed past several monumental moments, this time-consuming play was an exercise in patience with no payoff.
Likewise with Meereen. Tyrion and Varys meet with a Red Priestess in efforts to use the local religion as a propaganda tool for the State and it goes easier than either expected. The Red Priestess and Vary exchange unpleasantries and she does the whole “spooky talk” like Melisandre did in the beginning but it is little more than a check-in with Peter Dinklage this week. Much the same with Daenerys who marches out of Vaes Dothrak with her new Dothraki legion in tow. While her army is impressive, I feel this is going to be another season where she says a bunch of cool stuff in Valaryn but accomplishes very little. I’m not sure if she sent Jorrah the Andal off to die and was just being nice about it or if she really expects this curmudgeoned exiled knight to cure a disease. Anything short of a heroic mortal sacrifice for his Queen is anti-climactic at this point, especially after confessing his unabashed love of her.
I have to admit, I’m liking this Theon 2.0. He’s still a broken shell of a person but his armor makes for a sweet action figure I’m imagining. Besides that, he’s one hell of a hype-man for sister as she makes her bid for the Iron Island Salt Throne. Good thing he did because it looked like Yara Grayjoy had suddenly no answer as to why she should be the first queen in a succession of old grizzled men. The stump speech was working until her (another estranged) uncle sauntered into the Kingsmoot and made known his bid for his dead brother’s sovereignty, even after admitting to murdering him to facilitate it. He’s got a scheme to “Make the Iron Islands Great Again” by giving a bunch of ships to Daenerys on the assumption that he’ll “take” her as his wife. Clearly he has no idea what he’s talking about.
But it’s one heck of a persuadable crowd and the “ayes” have it. As a visually captivating scene unfolds with Euron Grayjoy’s ceremonial drowning and crowning, Yara and Theon escape with most of the Iron Island’s ships in open rebellion of their new king. I’m curious to know which story we will be following from here on out, Yara and Theon, or Euron who still has to build ships before he can go anywhere. Perhaps Yara and Theon will beat him to the punch and we’ll have a Targaryen/Dothraki/Grayjoy invasion of Westeros by season end.
But let’s stop kidding ourselves; this episode was all about Bran’s plot. How often can you say that? Through the use of flashback we see that the Children of the Forest are responsible for the creation of the White Walkers and the abominable horrors that have been unleashed by them ever since. They were created in a desperate attempt to combat the invading humans that first sought to colonize Westeros from the indigenous forest people. While this is perhaps the biggest bombshell ever revealed on the show, it comes off clunky and unearned. We have not spent enough time with the Children of the Forest to adequately understand why they would go to such levels. Sitting with this revelation, watching the Children of the Forest resort to their nuclear option only for it to become their greatest fear would have been richly rewarding over several episodes.
Having been “Freddy Krugered” in a vision/dream, Bran has compromised the security of their magic tree fort and has to flee with the White Walkers now on to their scent. But not before the Three Eyed Raven has to take Bran on a final vision to the past of Winterfell so that he is conveniently asleep during the subsequent White Walker raid that falls upon the giant tree cave. Hundreds of frozen zombies siege the cave, killing a fair share of Forest Children as they provide cover for Bran and Meera’s escape.
All I can say is, “Another Direwolf!? Seriously?” R.I.P. Summer.
Locked in his vision of the past, Bran hears Meera’s pleas leaking in from the present, begging him to warg into Hodor to control his strong body in their escape run. They barely make it out alive, with hundreds of relentless zombies on the other side of a door held shut by Hodor’s strength alone. As Bran and Meera make their escape, they shout back, “Hold the door!” over and over again. It is Bran’s single, desperate, screaming command burning deep into the gentle giant’s head, over and over again. The stress is too great and while locked in his vision of the past, Bran’s warging has created a sort of psychic feedback upon the mind of the past young Hodor. As present-day Hodor holds the door moments before being devoured by the undead, his past self convulses on the ground repeating the words, “Hold the door, hold the door hold the door, holdoor, holdoor, holdor, hodor, Hodor!
Ostensibly since that moment in the past, Hodor has been reliving his final words on a loop. Which begs the question, if Bran had to go into the past mess up Hodor, does that mean the Three Eyed Raven knew he would lead the Night’s King there and be forced to warg into a doomed Hodor all along, and if so, where does he see a crippled boy and a small girl making it alone in the wilds beyond the wall at the mercy of the White Walkers?
Winner of the Week: Euron Grayjoy (Good news: you’re the new king of a seafaring island. Bad news: your niece and nephew have just gone rogue and stolen all of your ships.)
Loser of the Week: Hodor (“Hodor”)
Hodor: “Hold the door…”