“The Door” marked the official halfway point of Game of Thrones’ sixth season, and it did so with emphatic exclamation. We’ll get to the somber ending north of The Wall in a bit, but first, I want to give a standing ovation to the wonderful troupe of actors who perfectly summarized the entirety of Season 1. Give me them over the Sand Snakes any day of the week.
At the wall, we watched Sansa (Sophie Turner) first dismiss a submissive Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) and then later channel his duplicitous ways in lying to Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) about where she found out about the Blackfish’s rebellion at Riverrun.
In the Dothraki Sea, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) offered Jorah (Iain Glen) a glimpse into a post-friend zone life, but only if he can figure out how to cure his incurable disease. Sounds about right for Jorah.
At the House of Black and White, Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Waif (Faye Marsay) dropped the gloves, much to Arya’s chagrin, and Jaqen H’ghar explains that the Faceless Men were once slaves in Valyria before going on to found the Free City of Braavos. He then sends Arya out with a vial of poison meant for Lady Crane, the actress playing Cersei in a reenactment of The War of the Five Kings. After watching the seemingly clever and decent actress, Arya grows unsure if the woman deserves the Many-Faced God’s gift.
In Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) hold court with Kinvara (Ania Bukstein), a High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis. Tyrion, forever a believer in the power of positive press, urges Kinvara to deliver to the commonfolk the powerful story of Daenerys: mother of dragons, breaker of chains, and all that. Varys, on the other hand, is doubtful of the priestess's preachings…at first.
And finally, we dropped our anchors in Pyke to watch Yara (Gemma Whelan), with the help of Theon (Alfie Allen), attempt to take a seat on the Salt Throne. There’s only one problem, and he calls himself the storm.
Riser of the Week: Euron Greyjoy
True to his house words, Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) rose harder and stronger than any other character did this week. After cutting off Yara’s Kingsmoot pitch, Euron sets his sights on Theon, mocking his military failures and emasculation. Euron admits he killed Balon (which not a single person gave a fuck about) and doubles down on the surprises by declaring his intentions to sail east and marry Daenerys Targaryen, thus carrying her army and dragons back to Westeros. This proves too much for Yara to overcome, and Euron is declared the king.
Sensing their impending doom, Yara and Theon smartly get the hell out of Dodge before it’s too late and end up stealing the Greyjoy fleet in the process. Never one for pessimism, Euron demands 1,000 new ships to be built right away. He may not be a likeable man, but he sure is interesting, and I, for one, will support anyone who makes Daenerys’s storyline more interesting.
Honorable Mention: Meera Reed, for proving not only competent, but downright badass. She’s only the third person to ever kill a White Walker.
Faller of the Week: Hodor
Not since “Not Penny’s Boat” have three words from a television series saddened me the way “Hold the Door” did in last night. Forever the embodiment of pure innocence, Hodor spoke his final Hodor last night in an episode that was easily the best of the season so far.
In the middle of the night, Bran enters a vision without the guidance of Bloodraven (Max von Sydow) and stumbles onto a massive army of wights and their leaders, the White Walkers. In his Warg dream, the Night’s King reaches out and touches Bran. Instantly, Bran snaps out of his greendream and back to the cave, where his screaming wakes the rest of the group. Bloodraven, sensing Bran’s been touched, tells the group that the White Walkers will now be able to enter their dwelling – something that up until now had been magically impervious. It doesn’t take long for the Night’s King’s army to arrive, and the results are disastrous for our heroes. Bran’s direwolf, Summer, is killed within seconds, and shortly after, Bloodraven is slain as well. Bran, who happens to be in the middle of a greendream when the attack begins, hears Meera’s frantic screams from the cave for him to enter Hodor’s mind and use him to help aide their escape. Eventually, Bran proceeds to enter Hodor’s mind, and the remaining trio races out of the cave’s tunnels just before they’re overrun. As Meera pulls Bran into the night, she yells back at Hodor to “hold the door.” What follows needs no retelling. We lost a hero last night, and the implications are far reaching. I’ll save all the “time-travel” questions for a later post, half because I don’t want it to overshadow Hodor’s death, and half because time-travel is freaking confusing.
Rest easy, Hodor. You held the door.
Honorable Mention: Petyr Baelish, for being as Sansa put it, either an idiot or an enemy. Here’s to hoping it was his last misstep.
Backstory of the Week: Brynden “The Blackfish” Tully
There were a few different instances in “The Door” where the Blackfish was referenced, and I want to make sure everyone remembers exactly who he is. The Blackfish’s name is Brynden Tully, and we haven’t seen him since the Red Wedding, when he snuck out of the dining hall for one of the most fortuitous bathroom breaks in television history. Since then, there had been precious little information about the Blackfish until last night. As Littlefinger states, Brynden has re-gathered the Tully forces and has taken back Riverrun – the home of House Tully. In the books, Brynden was at Riverrun all along, refusing to back down to the Lannister and Frey armies, and it looks like we’re in store for some similar scenes in the coming weeks. It’s about time the Freys received some comeuppance.
Item of Power: Dragonglass and the Birth of a Monster
With very little buildup, we learned that Leaf and the other Children of the Forest created the first White Walkers during their long-ago war against the First Men. Just like the scientists who never envision the robots rising up and rebelling, the Children of the Forest had no idea how potent of a monster they were creating when they plunged a piece of obsidian into the heart of the man. I guess if there’s one thing to be thankful for, it’s that the Children of the Forest didn’t make the White Walkers completely invincible. So, at least we have that going for us.
- I’m pretty sure that Arya learned about Sansa’s marriage to Tyrion only just now through that play. Now that’s a twist I’m sure she didn’t see coming.
- After the murders of Roose Bolton, Doran Martell, Jon Snow, Khal Moro, and Balon Greyjoy, remind me why anyone wants to be in charge? It just doesn’t seem worth it.
- The Kingsmoot was so much cooler in the books. I understand why the show couldn’t dedicate the necessary time to replicate the book’s scene, but it just felt underwhelming.
- Looks like we will have to wait a little while longer for the Tower of Joy reveal. Not sure if it comes before Episode 10.
- The necklace that Kirvana wore seemed awfully familiar.
- I’m really hoping we don’t see a wight version of Hodor. I don’t think I could handle that.
- A cool bit of continuity in the shot of the stones surrounding the Weirwood tree in Bran’s flashback. That was the same design we saw in the very first episode after the White Walkers kill the ranging Night’s Watchmen.
- Seeing Jon Snow rocking a Stark cloak was awesome. Time to see if the North truly remembers.
- I like to imagine Hodor and Grenn are up in Westeros Heaven enjoying a nice meal and reminiscing about how they both held their ground. As evidenced by Ned Stark’s portrayal in last night’s play, history is clearly written by the victors. But sometimes, it’s the unknown heroes who are forgotten altogether.
Joe Brosnan works at St. Martin's Press and manages Criminal Element. He’s a New York Giants fan, a Petyr Baelish supporter, and is only now realizing how weird it is to write in the third person. You can follow him on Twitter @joebro33.
Read all of Joe Brosnan’s posts for Criminal Element.