After last week’s episode brimming with girl power and general female badassery, we all knew that something truly harrowing was in store for us this week. Game of Thrones has been good to us lately, too good. Sure, we briefly mourned the loss of Osha and poor Shaggydog, but in return we received Jon being reborn, which resulted in Ollie and Alliser finally getting their comeuppance (I’m still singing ‘fuck you Olly’ in my head). Arya got her sight back, Sansa escaped the Bolton Bastard and was reunited with Jon last week, whilst Dany reprised her role as the Unburnt and won the loyalty of like, a bazillion Dothraki followers. Then comes ‘The Door’. That bloody door.
First things first, Littlefinger is back to his slimy ways and trying to worm his way back into Sansa’s good books. Seriously, that man sure can move across the Seven Kingdoms with some speed. After meeting with him in secret, she discovers that her Uncle Brynden, of House Tully, has gathered those still loyal in Riverun and may be able to assist in retaking Winterfell. Known as ‘the Blackfish’, Brynden hasn’t really been mentioned since his last appearance, at the Red Wedding. Sansa is quick to dismiss Littlefinger’s attempt at earning her trust, asking him if he knew about Ramsey and what he did to her.
Despite his pleading, Petyr doesn’t seem all that sincere in his apologies, but offers to beg for his life after Sansa threatens to set Brienne on him. I certainly don’t trust him trying to weasel his way back in with Sansa and I was glad to see her stand up for herself. However, we know that he’s still a master manipulator and is currently working his magic with little Robben Arryn. Part of me also questions Ramsey’s letter to Jon, goading him into marching on Winterfell. Could Littlefinger have forged the letter? It might be a stretch, but it’s entirely possible. I’d have thought Ramsey would be more likely to send little Rickon’s right arm or Shaggydog’s head on a spike rather than a taunting letter.
Arya is still training and has been given a final test to prove her worth. She must poison Lady Stork, a member of a theatre troupe who are currently performing a show which is essentially the first season of the show. Poor Arya is forced to watch Ned Stark portrayed as a Northern fool (with a cameo from Kevin Eldon), along with seeing Sansa exploited on stage. The theatre troupe also brings a cameo from none other than Richard E. Grant, who I’m assuming we’ll see more of over the next couple of episodes in this new little story arc.
Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven travel back in time once again, but we’re not treated to more of the Tower of Joy sequence. This time we see how the White Walkers were introduced, with the Children of the Forest creating them to defend themselves from the First Men. Foolish tree folk, don’t you know that zombies are pretty terrible too?
Now it’s time to revisit Pyke, where the search for the new ruler of the Iron Islands has began. Yara claims the Salt Throne with the support of Theon, who many feel should sit on the throne himself as the true heir. Theon’s speech continues to redeem him a little, as he declares Yara as the true Queen and brings about the support of the rest of the gang. Enter Euron, who we saw murder Balon Greyjoy earlier in the season and actually admits to it when Yara accuses him. Euron makes a claim for the throne, mocking Theon in the process, suggesting that his lack of man-parts has made him believe that a woman should rule. His speech isn’t quite as good as Theon’s, mostly referring once again to the lack of man-parts, but is well received by the people.
Euron suggests that the Iron Islands should form an allegiance with Daenerys, by offering up the Iron Fleet and he himself wedding the Mother of Dragons. I’m not too sure she’ll take his offer of his ‘big cock’ too well (seriously, this guy’s obsessed), but we know that she’s been more than happy to make deals in the past to add to her army. As Euron goes through some sort of coronation ritual, Yara and Theon have the bright idea to escape, along with the Iron Fleet, which was definitely a good plan as the new ruler had plotted to have them both killed. He vows to make a thousand ships, or at least have his new subjects make them, and set sail for Meereen.
This conveniently moves us over to Dany and a touching scene with Jorah. He shows his Queen the greyscale and reveals his stoney fate, finally declaring his love for her. Despite Daenerys ordering him to find a cure and return to her, his goodbye feels like a death sentence, ‘I love you. I’ll always love you. Goodbye Khaleesi’. Yeah, he’s dead. I was slightly heartbroken watching this scene, I bloody love our besotted Lord Friendzone.
We’re back to Meereen now, where nothing too exciting is really going on. The deal with the Masters has created temporary peace, but not everyone is sure that it’s enough. We’re introduced to Red Woman 2.0 who we briefly encountered on Tyrion’s journey to Meereen many moons ago. She believes that Daenerys is the one that was ‘promised’ and that the Dragons are a gift from the Lord of Light, there to ‘purify’ and non-believers. Varys isn’t convinced, he’s heard it all before and questions the Priestess’ beliefs. However, he’s soon silenced when she speaks of his past and for the first time in forever, Varys is lost for words.
Bran decides to do some more exploring using the Raven’s mojo and gives the White Walker’s a visit. Bad move bro, but we don’t realise quite how bad just yet. As he walks through the army of zombies unseen, he encounters the Night’s King, who of course turns and looks straight at him. The horde all turns to gaze upon Bran as the King lays his hand upon him, jolting him awake. As Bran confesses to the Raven, we learn that the Night’s King will now come for him and be able to gain entry after leaving his mark. Bran, you bloody idiot.
There’s a final trip to Castle Black before all hell breaks lose, where Jon is preparing his army, doubtful of being able to fight both the Bolton’s and the Walkers. Those formerly loyal to the Starks have joined Ramsey, but Sansa believes that some of them may be converted now that they know there is another choice, uttering the famous words, ‘the North remembers’.
Brienne doesn’t like that Sansa didn’t tell Jon about Littlefinger and worries for her safety, but she delivers two of the best lines in the show. Firstly we get her description of Jon which is spot on, ‘bit brooding perhaps, suppose that’s understandable really’. Finally we get a mention of the smitten Tormund, who Brienne seems suspicious of, referring to him as ‘that Wilding folk with the beard’. Ahh Brienne, give in to the beard! What a beautiful romance that would be.
Finally, it’s time. Bran, you absolute bloody idiot. After a cute moment with Meera and Hodor, who is excited at the prospect of bacon, we realise that the White Walkers have arrived. It’s pretty inconvenient mind, as Bran and the Raven are stuck in the past, having a jolly old time watching a young Ned. Meera and the Children attempt to hold off the Walkers, but Hodor is sat terrified in the corner, unable to fight without Bran. Meera attempts to wake Bran, who can hear her plea for help but does sweet f all about it. Summer is the latest Direwolf to meet her horrible yet brave demise, bringing about my first tears. Leaf follows, along with the Three-Eyed Raven who is killed by the Night’s King, yet Bran is still stuck in the past.
Bran manages to reach out to Hodor who helps Meera to escape the cave, but that’s as far as our gentle giant gets. Here we’re finally given the origin of Hodor’s behaviour and it’s absolutely heart-breaking. As Meera and Hodor exit the cave, she calls out to him to ‘hold the door’. In the past, we hear ‘hold the door’ echoing, which is not only heard by Bran, but appears to be heard by a young Hodor.
The poor boy, Willis, hears the phrase over and over again and appears to have some sort of breakdown or fit. He begins shouting out ‘hold the door’ over and over again and we see where this is going. As present Hodor continues to hold the door, he is being torn apart by the horde, whilst a young Hodor continues to shout the phrase, which eventually becomes ‘Hodor’.
The tears stream and the screams continue in my head long after the credits begin rolling. Bran, I hate you. It appears that Hodor has been living the moment of his death since he was a child, unable to speak up for himself or have any control over what is to come. This is all Bran’s fault and I knew I’d have a reason to hate him soon enough. Well, here it is, in all its harrowing glory. Hodor’s death is without a doubt up there with some of the worst and it was absolutely heartbreaking. Sleep well my friend, your gentle comic relief will be greatly missed in an otherwise hopeless world.
Bran’s impact on the past could be a sign of things to come, with theories flying around then he was the one who sent King Aerys mad and has been affecting events in Westeros since before he was even born. Regardless, you’re on my list Bran Stark. For now, enjoy some of Hodor’s best moments from earlier in the show, I’m off to weep into oblivion.