Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 5 “The Door”

Intro: I’m watching Game of Thrones for the first time. I don’t know anything about it more recent than this episode.

Mereen: Tyrion and Varys have a discussion with Grey Worm and Missandei. Tyrion asks how many people have died since they struck the deal with the masters of Astapor and Yunkai (last episode). Only two, and those on the same day, not long after the deal was made. Since then (several days ago, judging by their conversation), there has been no violence in Meereen. Tyrion declares his plan a success. But Grey Worm and Missandei are nervous, and someone suggests they need more support to reinforce the peace. Tyrion asks to meet one of the local priestesses.

A woman looking very similar to Melisandre, also dressed in red, appears before Tyrion and Varys in the audience chamber of the pyramid. Tyrion asks her for assistance in maintaining the current peace, and she kind of agrees. Varys doesn’t seem to trust her, but she looks at him and starts recounting graphically the scene when he was castrated as a boy. Varys is clearly unnerved by this display of clairvoyance. The priestess smugly leaves.

Okay, so Melisandre isn’t a one-off then. There must be some entire cult of priestesses of the Lord of Light who all dress in red and speak in cryptic riddles and vaguely threaten people. And it seems they all have their own agenda, so it remains to be seen if she’ll really help Tyrion and the others maintain their hold on Meereen.

Vaes Dothrak: Daenerys now leads the combined Dothraki hordes. They begin a march out of the city of Vaes Dothrak. Daenerys goes ahead with Jorah and Daario, and they climb a rock outcrop to get a dramatic overview of her new army leaving the city. She tells Jorah that twice she has dismissed him, and now twice he has come back to help her. She can not dismiss him again.

Jorah admits that he loves her, and has always loved her. But he has to now dismiss himself from her service, as he reveals the greyscale infecting and spreading up his arm. Daenerys is on the verge of tears. Jorah begins walking away, a defeated and downcast man, but she stops him, saying she hasn’t yet dismissed him. He stops, obeying. She asks if there’s a cure; he says he doesn’t know. She asks how long he has; he says he doesn’t know. Then she orders him to seek a cure for the greyscale, and to return to her once he is cured. He promises he will try his hardest and departs, in better spirits, riding off on a horse.

Is this the last we’ll ever see of Jorah? It could be. Although as we’ve seen in Stannis’s daughter, it is possible to halt the greyscale and make it non-contagious. So maybe he’ll find the cure. But I don’t know where he can go to start looking. Presumably a big city, for information? Pentos? Volantis? Is one of those the nearest city? (I think they might be, but not sure.) Jorah’s been very careful to to touch anyone for fear of infecting them with greyscale, but he’s fine riding a horse. I guess horses are immune? And now is Daenerys leading the Dothraki to Meereen? Or where is she going with them? Presumably she’ll want to return to Meereen, but maybe she can tell the Dothraki to wait somewhere else.

Braavos: Arya spars with the older girl, trading blows with staves. With her eyes back, Arya is more of a match, but still able to be bested by the older girl. Even when the older girl discards her staff and fights Arya bare handed. She disarms Arya and knocks her down, then tells her she’ll never be good enough. Jaqen appears and takes Arya away. He gives her a bottle of poison, and Arya asks, “Who”? Jaqen says the assassination victim is an actress named Lady Crane. Arya asks who wants her dead. Jaqen says it’s not her place to ask. She has failed once and this is her second chance. She won’t get a third.

Arya goes out into the city and attends a play, which is a re-enactment of the death of Robert Baratheon, and the subsequent betrothal of Sansa to Joffrey, followed by the execution of Ned Stark. Having watched the real events first hand Arya is visibly disturbed by the play. Afterwards, she heads backstage, and learns that Lady Crane is the actress playing Cersei. She watches Crane have a drink with the actor playing Tyrion, and notes that Lady Crane has her own personal bottle of … rum I think she says it is when she tells Jaqen later. Arya reports to Jaqen that she will poison Lady Crane’s rum bottle. But she says that Lady Crane actually seems like a nice person, implying it’d be a shame to kill her. Jaqen says that not only wicked people die, good people die too.

It looks like Arya will go through with this assassination. She really wants to become a Faceless One. I guess we’ll see next time.

Iron Islands: The lords of the Iron Islands meet to proclaim the next king. Yara stands forward and states her claim, as the daughter of Balon, and commander of a fleet. She proclaims a bold and inspiring plan to raise a huge fleet and conquer the mainland. But someone points out the Iron Islands have always had a king, never a queen, and what’s more, Balon’s son Theon is standing right here. This prompts Theon to step forward and address the crowd. Yara immediately assumes he’s going to betray her and state his own claim to the throne, but Theon announces that Yara is capable and competent and a strong leader, and she should be queen. The crowd cheers…

And then a man walks up. It’s Balon’s brother, Euron, who pushed him over the bridge the other day. He announces his claim to the throne. Yara accuses him of returning only recently after being away for years, and murdering Balon to claim the throne. Euron doesn’t even deny any of it! He admits the whole thing, and says he did it because Balon was weak, but he, Euron, has travelled far and wide and learnt the ways of the world, and is now ready to lead a force of Iron Islanders to ally with Daenerys Targaryen (and marry her, he says, wink, wink, and sire a crop of heirs) and conquer Westeros! Now among any decent folk, this wouldn’t go down very well, but it seems the Iron Islanders aren’t decent folk, and they love brother-murdering, lusty ladder climbers who promise them the world. Euron is acclaimed the new king!

Later, an old priest performs the coronation ceremony. Being an ocean people, this involves dunking Euron’s head underwater in the surf for a good minute or more, until he inhales the ocean. Then they drag him ashore, and wait to see if he’s strong and worthy enough to survive and be crowned king. After a few seconds, Euron coughs up the water and staggers to his feet as the priest crowns him with what looks like a circlet of driftwood.

But meanwhile, Yara seems to have found enough followers to board and launch the entire fleet and sail off into the distance with them! Euron looks out to see and sees the fleet vanishing over the horizon. He orders his new subjects to chop down every tree they can find and build a thousand ships.

Will Euron also burn the topless towers of King’s Landing? How did Yara manage to find enough people to follow her when it seemed like everyone was on board with Euron? Where is she going and what will she do when she gets there? This is a surprising new turn in things. Does Euron really have any chance of joining forces with Daenerys, or is he just dreaming? We’ve never seen Daenerys talking to this guy (as far as I remember… maybe I missed it?). This is all a very interesting development. It’ll be fascinating seeing where this part of the story is going.

The Wall: Sansa is wearing new clothes that she has sewn, heavy with furs and more suited to the climate of the North. She also presents Jon with a new cloak, made with wolf fur and blazoned with wolf insignia.

A messenger delivers a letter to Sansa. She looks at the seal: a mockingbird. Petyr Baelish. She asks the messenger how far it is to Molestown. The scene cuts to her entering a barn or something in the town near Castle Black, where Petyr is waiting. He is pleased to see her, but she is not so happy. She accuses him of lying to her, and trading her to Ramsay Bolton, and mentions all the awful things he did to her. Petyr flinches at each tongue lashing by Sansa. It looks like he’s sincerely sorry and upset by everything, but I’m not sure I trust his appearances any more, and it’s obvious Sansa doesn’t. He offers to take her to safety, saying she isn’t safe at Castle Black with Jon, who is after all only her half-brother. She tells him to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. All right, go Sansa!

Petyr takes his leave, but suggestively drops the fact that her uncle, a guy apparently by the name of “the Blackfish”, has retaken Riverrun with the help of the Tully army (Catelyn’s family). Sansa returns to Castle Black. There is a meeting with Jon and Edd and some others where they discuss plans to march on Winterfell. They count off the families allied with the Boltons, and the those they can likely recruit. Jon isn’t happy with the numbers. Sansa mentions that Blackfish has captured Riverrun, and the Tullys might join them too. Jon says that could turn the tide, and asks Sansa how she knows this. She looks aside and says she heard it just before she escaped from the Boltons.

Jon starts making plans, while Sansa walks off with Brienne. Brienne asks Sansa why she lied about where she learnt the news. Sansa avoids the question and orders Brienne to go off and recruit the Tullys. Hmm. I don’t like whatever it is that Petyr’s up to. I have no idea what it is, but I know I don’t like it. I wonder if he lied about the Tullys, to get Sansa to make a stupid mistake.

North of The Wall: Bran is having another vision with the Three-eyed Raven. They see the dryad and some others of her kind in the snow. They have a man captive, tied to a tree. One of the dryads – I think it’s the same one who is there in the cave with them in the present – approaches the man with what looks like a blade of dragonglass. She pushes it… slowly… into the man’s heart as he screams. The man metamorphoses… becoming the King of the White Walkers!

Bran drops out of the vision. Bran drags himself over to near the dryad, and he accuses her of creating the Night King. She shrugs and says her people were at war with the humans – it was either that or be wiped out. Bran tries to wake up the Three-eyed Raven, who seems to have fallen asleep, by throwing stones at him, but fails. So Bran decides to go into a new vision by himself, to check the Night King, and his army of White Walkers. Bran sees a vast army of undead in the snow, and walks through them – safe in the knowledge that he is only in a vision and they can’t see him. He walks up to the Night King… and suddenly the Night King grabs him!

Bran pops out of the vision in a panic, waking the Raven, who asks what happened. Bran explains, and the Raven asks to see Bran’s wrist, where the scar of the Night King’s hand is visible. The Rave says they must leave the cave, as now he is marked, the Night King can find them and will be coming. They need to leave, but the Raven still has some knowledge to share with Bran, and takes him into another vision. In the vision, they are in Winterfell again, with young Ned Stark and Wylis (young Hodor).

But then the Night King and his army arrive, bursting into the cave. Bran’s wolf tries to hold them off, but gets ripped apart. Meera tries to get Bran’s immobile body onto a sled and to get Hodor to pull him out of the cave, but Hodor is in a panic and non-responsive. Meera urges Bran to possess Hodor, but he’s already in the vision in Winterfell. Then a White Walker kills the Raven, and the Raven in Bran’s vision dissipates into a cloud of black plumes. Bran in the vision realises something is wrong, and hears Meera’s call. He possesses Hodor in the present, but this has the side effect of possessing Wylis, the young Hodor, in the vision as well. Present Hodor drags Bran away through the cave, followed by Meera, and the dryad. The dryad sacrifices herself with a grenade-like object, in a scene highly reminiscent of Vazquez’s sacrifice in Aliens.

Hodor, Bran, and Meera race down a tunnel, barely ahead of a horde of undead crawling along the ceiling, walls, and floor. They reach a wooden door leading out to the snow, and Meera takes over dragging Bran’s sled as she yells at Hodor to hold the door. He backs his weight onto the door and holds it shut against the tide of undead battering the other side. Their claws begin to rip through the wood, but Meera yells at him as she runs off, “Hold the door! Hold the door!” In Bran’s vision, young Hodor is collapsed on the ground, repeating, Hold the door! Hold the door!” over and over again as he twitches violently. In the present, the undead claws start tearing through Hodor’s flesh, but he maintains his block on the door. In the vision, Wylis’s words start to slur, “Hold the door! Hold the door! Hold door! Hold door! Hold door! Hodor! Hodor! Hodor!” In the present Hodor is ripped to shreds as Meera and Bran escape into the flying snow.

Oh my god. That’s a real kicker of an ending, right in the guts. Poor Hodor. And finally learning how he came to be as he was… what a gut-wrenching story. I thought last episode was one of the best, but this one might just top it.

Story-wise, this is actually significant in a major way. It shows that Bran’s actions in his dream visits to the past can affect and change the past. So what the Raven said about history being written and the ink being dry is blatantly false. Bran can go back and change events. Well, maybe not deliberately or for the better, but he can certainly have some effect. Whether he realises that or actually uses it for anything remains to be seen.

And now what will Meera and Bran do? They can’t outrun the White Walkers forever, and their safe haven is gone. It seems only a matter of time before they’re caught and killed. Presumably something will come up before that happens. I guess they’re ready to head south again now, so maybe they’ll go back to The Wall and Castle Black. Team up with Sansa and Jon – yeah, that’d be cool. Hopefully, but then in this story anything can happen.

Oh, one more thing. Yeah, Sansa!!

3 Responses to “Game of Thrones, Season 6, Ep 5 “The Door””

  1. Robin says:

    Melisandre isn’t the only red priest(ess) we’ve met before. Thoros, one of the Brotherhood Without Banners, who we met in season 3 while holding Arya and the Hound, is a red priest. He resurrected his leader, Beric Dondarrion, multiple times – including after the Hound hat killed him in a trail by combat.

    We’ve also have seen Blackfish before when Catelyn went to her father’s (Blackfish’s brother’s) funeral in Riverrun in season 3. He’s the one who set fire to his brother’s funeral boat with a flaming arrow after his nephew failed multiple times.

  2. Richard Ingram says:

    I am not sure that it is certain that Bran can change the past, since Hodor’s story never changes, Bran is just the cause of the way things already were. Interesting to see if he can affect the future, rather than the present, by interacting with the past.

  3. Richard: Mmm, yes, good point. It’s a stable time loop.

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