TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones - The Door


With the eventual denouement seemingly edging closer, it seems all bets are off concerning character survival, something which was underlined this week with the heartbreaking death of a fan favourite. It was a powerful ending to the episode, and the ripples will be felt in more ways than one.

But first, an important meeting between Sansa and Littlefinger (with Brienne in tow), where Sansa beautifully called him out for selling her to Ramsay and her making it explicitly clear what he did to her - "he knew he needed my face so he left that, but he committed horrors to the rest of me" (a paraphrase, but you get the idea). Baelish was in begging mode, but Sansa would not accept his please to allow her to have the army of the Vale, but cleverly keeping information from him for her own use. It turns out Brynden the Blackfish (hooray!) has been gathering forces to rally to the Stark cause, and with many other houses joining Bolton, they need all the help they can get.

Arya's story continues to make me sad, with her being given an assignment to assassinate an actress. No ordinary actress however; she is actually playing Cersei in a comedy dramatisation of the first couple of seasons, with Richard E. Grant as Robert Baratheon and the amazing Kevin Eldon as a supremely dimwitted Ned Stark. Arya is forced to watch this while in recon mode, and it's a heartwrenching moment, not least because she's seeing these events replayed but because it reminds her of her family in a time where she's trying to forget to be Arya Stark. And she may not be her, but I still want her to be, to fight with her sister and brother (half-brother).

In Mereen, Tyrion and Varys met up with Kinvana, another red priestess who believes Dany is the promised one. She agreed to help spread the word of Dany's involvement in the current state of peace, but had a lovely spar with Varys, who brought up Melisandre's role in Stannis' downfall. But it turns out she knows a lot, especially about Varys, and he seemed surprisingly unnerved considering his usual constitution. In Vaes Dothrak we saw a probable farewell to another character, as Jorah revealed his greyscale to a distraught Dany. She ordered him to find a cure and return when he did, but it felt more like an excuse for not saying goodbye, almost like an honourable discharge. Will we ever see Jorah again?

The Greyjoy story took an interesting turn at the Kingsmoot, where Euron won the salt throne thanks to a plan to meet up with Dany and offer her support and his fleet. Yara wasn't too happy about this, so scarpered with all the good ships, probably a good idea since Euron's post coronation words were "Where are my niece and nephew? Let's go murder them."

And then it came to Bran, the most consistently interesting story that here took an even more intriguing turn, with lots to unpack. Vision questing all over the place, he discovered that the children of the forest created the white walkers to protect their world against man, and went on a solo warg only to find himself in front of the Night's King. Unfortunately, he grabbed Bran and left his mark on him, allowing him to lead his army straight to the raven's lair, resulting in a fantastic action sequence reminiscent of Aliens, with a child of the forest doing a straight Vasquez to save an escaping Bran, Meera, and Hodor.

Hodor. Hodor. Poor Hodor. What a tragedy. In order to grab Bran to escape, Hodor needed a helping hand, but Bran was deep in a vision at Winterfell, seeing Ned sent to the Vale. But while Meera was able to get through to Bran, he didn't wake up, so warged into Hodor while being back in the past. While this was happening, we saw past Hodor drop to the ground in warg mode, and when they got out of the tree, Hodor needed to stop the remaining wight horde. Meera's words "hold the door" echoed through time, and were repeated by past Hodor to a point where they stopped being the phrase and simply became "Hodor". Thus we had an origin story and a death scene simoultaneously, but a heroic yet tragic ending for Hodor.

Bran's actions introduce a new dimension, something only hinted at previously, namely being able to affect the future through the past. It remains to be seen just exactly how this will come in to play from here on, but it was a fascinating cap to a great episode. There was excellent action, with a wonderful display of actual magic of a kind, with the children of the forest versus the white walkers (fire versus ice), as well as character moments like Sansa standing up to Littlefinger. But still no Lyanna - hopefully with the season at the halfway point they won't wait until the end to return to the Tower of Joy, but there's one question - will Bran be able to have the visions without the Raven?

Hodor, Hodor. Hodor.

- Charlie

You can read Charlie's look at previous episode, Book of the Stranger, here.

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