Title: Game of Thrones – “The Door”
Air Date: May 22, 2016
Before we begin – Yes, there are TV spoilers ahead. I will not celebrate every twist and turn, but if we are going to talk about what we like, we have to discuss the great scenes. Stop reading if you do not like spoilers. You have been warned!
It has been a long time since my viewing group sat silently through an entire Game of Thrones credits, but “The Door” did that to us. The episode names have been many layered this season, but this one stood out as a bit of an odd bird until the punchline, and that punchline was a powerful one indeed. Pour one out for your homie – he will be missed.
After an episode where NO ONE died until the last five minutes, I actually began to feel safe. But Game of Thrones came through with the gut punch it often delivers, and now we get to deal with Meera, pulling a wagon full of Bran through the snow, with an army of terror hot on their heels. Hold that door indeed.
We’ll come back to that climactic finale, but all the other information we got this week from Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven was fascinating as well. The White Walkers are a weapon created to stop mankind, which makes sense to why they have no mercy whatsoever. We discovered these elaborate symbols they create as part of the ritual of the Children of the Forest. We also saw the Night’s King has a unique window into the abilities of Bran, going so far as to physically interact with him and, therefore, break down some of the magical protection he is afforded. Watching the Night’s King kill the flames and walk through the circle, cutting down Bran’s protectors all the while, was a chilling moment that further enhances what a huge threat the White Walkers are.
Speaking of threats to the realm, how about Sansa becoming Littlefinger, Jr.? Forcing Littlefinger to detail what he thought Ramsay did to her, and hearing Littlefinger not even come close to the horrors she had to endure (that he almost assuredly knew would happen) was a classic buildup of Game of Thrones tension. Petyr Baelish, who has consistently been one of the “safest” characters on the show, was nearly murdered in a hut by two women, and probably felt more in danger than he ever has on the show before. Meanwhile, Sansa contributes to the war room discussion, albeit with Littlefinger’s information (which we know is often a lie). Finally, Jon Snow left the Wall in the care of the new Lord Commander with the ominous words of “Don’t knock it down while I’m gone.” Fear for Edd. We saw what’s on the way.
For our last visit on Westeros, the Iron Islands were a big ol’ cluster this week. Theon continued his journey towards redemption by endorsing Yara at the Kingsmoot, Yara nearly won the day, and then they both had to flee as Euron Greyjoy admitted to murdering his brother, claimed he would win Daenerys over, and then tried to kill his niece and nephew. Thankfully, Theon and Yara are not dumb and escaped with most of the Greyjoy fleet. Which begs the question: where will they go? The obvious answer is also the sweetest – seek refuge with Sansa, the only person Theon has faith in. The north may be reuniting in a bizarre fashion.
Across the Narrow Sea, the chess pieces continued moving. “A girl’s” training is progressing to the point where she is given an assignment, and it brought the Arya Stark back out as she had to watch a terrible portrayal of her father’s execution. Her argument with Jaqen about the death she was assigned really puts her at the crossroads. Is Arya going to continue killing the people she wants, or will she submit and begin killing for the Many-Faced God? Or will she find some way to work around the system entirely?
Daenerys opened the waterworks this week, commanding her Greyscale-infected bear to find a cure for himself. Jorah Mormont has been a beacon of loyalty for practically the entire run of Game of Thrones, so I imagine everyone is rooting for him. Which probably means Ramsay Bolton will kill him somehow. Even more important on this side of the world was the introduction of a new Red Woman: Kinvara. Her fervor and fanaticism were not that impressive, but anyone who can spook Varys can spook me. The eunuch actually appeared rattled, and I don’t know if that has ever happened throughout Game of Thrones. Tyrion and Varys may not trust her, but they have little choice but to acquiesce to her desires at this point. Hopefully, those desires are aligned with their own.
Finally, after an episode of plenty of movement but little action, we got that crazy finale. The wights moving through the tunnels like ants. Summer dying in an impact-less way. The Three-Eyed Raven and the Children of the Forest being savagely cut down. And finally, the origin of Hodor’s name revealed: Game of Thrones is delving into time paradoxes. As Meera shouted “Hold the door!” and the revelation set in, it opened a whole new can of worms for Game of Thrones. How many events has Bran (or the Three-Eyed Raven, for that matter) altered? How many things will he alter in the future? Could this be setting up some massive time paradox that ends the whole show, with Bran stopping the creation of the White Walkers, which leads to the annihilation of the Children of the Forest by mankind, which leads to Bran never learning his powers, which leads to [redacted due to lack of space]?
“The Door” featured a continuation of powerful women from last week’s episode, and it also featured a powerful finale with game-changing implications. This season of Game of Thrones seems to be flying down the path faster than most thought it would, and it has been exhilarating to watch. Maybe Ramsay will die next week after all.
- Characters: Varys got spooked for the first time ever, Sansa toyed with her former teacher, Arya reached a crossroads about who she is, and Bran is growing up faster than we thought he would. An important development for nearly every onscreen character this week.
- Story: The Hodor reveal was obviously the big one, but the new Red Woman in Meereen and the Kingsmoot also pulled the story in powerful directions.
- Cinematography: The finale was scary and adrenaline-filled. The swarming wights were an effective and terrifying visual.
- Acting: Sansa is becoming extremely like her former mentor. And Sophie Turner is killing it. Varys was also a standout in his only scene, visually shaken by the new Red Woman. Finally, one more toast to Hodor, who acted his way though six seasons with only one word.
- Heartwrenching Hodor reveal
- Arya, Theon, Sansa all at a crossroads
- New Red Woman is scary
- Probably the best episode of the season so far
- Ramsay is still alive