The Door

Children-of-the-Forest

This will be the EUGOTSOC Committee review of Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 5: ‘The Door’ written by myself – Alexander Petkov: Publicity Officer.

Back in Season 4 we had the huge revelation that the White Walkers are not born but made as we saw the Night’s King turn one of Craster’s sons at the end of Episode 4, ‘Oathkeeper’. In this week’s episode – ‘The Door’ this revelation was massively expanded on and potential context to a lot of the happenings in the series was given to the point that it would be a crime to not start speculating about the end.

Before I get to the big moments this episode, which were all part of Bran’s storyline, let’s explore the midseason points the other characters have reached this week and talk about what this means for the future of their arcs.

In the North Littlefinger has somehow travelled an impossible distance away from his position in the Vale during last week’s episode and requests to meet with Sansa in private. One thing I enjoyed about this scene is the parallel between Sansa’s and her mother Catelyn’s characters. Sansa has now definitely grown to the fierce and strong nature that her mother had whilst alive and now both characters have a history of being close to Littlefinger but ending up turning him away. His interest in those two women as well as his ultimate goals remain a complete mystery. There is, however, a possibility that his grasp on Sansa isn’t entirely lost as later when asked by Jon about how she knew about the Blackfish retaking Riverrun, she lies and does not mention her meeting with Littlefinger. The reason why she did that is unbeknownst to me and really since all the characters in the Northern storyline are suiting their personalities and allegiances to make the plot move quickly and smoothly it is expected that there won’t be any big surprises in this arc in the foreseeable future (until Littlefinger does some more scheming at least). In the end we have Brienne going to the Riverlands and Sansa, Jon and company touring the North to gain support.

In Braavos Arya’s dismissal of her identity is questioned once again as the Waif spectacularly defeats her in a sparring match. This can either mean that the show is inconsistent or that the Faceless Men are actually intentionally messing with Arya and testing her in ways that she doesn’t understand. The latter is somehow enforced by the new mission that Jaqen gives her – to carry out the assassination of Lady Crane, an actress who is playing the role of Cersei in the play ‘The Bloody Hand’. Even though Cersei herself is on Arya’s kill list, the killing of Lady Crane (who Arya judges to be a decent woman) goes against Arya’s personal sense of justice. This is a dead giveaway that Arya has not become No One despite all of the build-up in the previous episodes. And the Faceless Men certainly know that. This makes us question whether they want her to kill Lady Crane at all or are they expecting Arya to do something else entirely. (At least we know that Faceless Men services are extremely expensive and we’ve seen even the Crown hesitant towards contracting them in regards to the high price. And who would want Lady Crane dead so much as to pay a huge fortune?) My personal concept of where Arya’s character is headed was that at a certain point she will be contracted to assassinate someone on her kill list and she would choose to spare them. However, this scenario raises an even more interesting turn of events for Arya and may lead her in a different direction. The big question that I feel needs to be asked is, regardless of whether Arya chooses to kill or spare Lady Crane, will that experience make her cross Cersei off her kill list? This storyline thus far is heavily teasing some type of closure for Arya, also hinted at by the scene of her watching the beheading of Ned Stark in the play mirroring her actually witnessing of her father’s execution. Whatever is in store for Arya this season, I personally can’t wait to see it in full swing.

At the Iron Islands a Kingsmoot takes place. Yara has a hard time convincing the Ironborn that she’s suited to be their ruler but almost succeeds with a helping speech from Theon. Of course, then Euron arrives, throws a bunch of insults at his only family and admits to kin(g)slaying, which apparently wins him the crowd and thus he’s elected to be the new King of the Iron Islands. His plan is to build a fleet which is to sail to Slaver’s Bay so he can marry Daenerys. This is where things start to make little sense and to feel rushed. Theon and Yara leave Pyke before the ceremonial drowning, taking with them all the best ships, which they could only do if there were a significant fraction of people who do not support Euron. Then there’s the question of where they are going. They shouldn’t go to Slaver’s Bay as that’s what Euron wanted. After he is officially crowned as King Euron’s first concern is voiced towards wanting to kill his niece and nephew (which is fair enough) but as the ships are mostly gone he would need to build a new fleet just to peruse them. But ships don’t just get built that quickly. And what about Slaver’s Bay? Does he want to slay his kin or go with his plan? Of course, nobody would want the Ironborn plot to just revolve around Greyjoys trying to kill each other so someone has to go to Slaver’s Bay. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

Speaking of Daenerys, in the Dothraki Sea she’s hesitant as to what to do with Jorah after having banished him twice with him returning, the second time of which having saved her life in Daznak’s Pit. Jorah, however begs to be banished again as he reveals his greyscale and admits his love to Dany. In a very strange and almost opposite to her character development this season manner she demands that Jorah look for a way to cure himself and present himself to her free of greyscale because she needed him. Surely his safest bet is to stay with her, especially if she’s headed to Slaver’s Bay or Westeros – places where doctors and Maesters can be found. Any way Jorah is off on his own and maybe he’ll head for Qarth? Maybe we’ll see Quaithe again?

Back in Meereen Tyrion’s actions have brought a temporary peace to the city. However, he is not fully content and wants to gain the people’s favour through the path of religious extremism (which as the show’s demonstrated numerous times – can only lead to ruin). We are introduced to the High Priestess of R’hllor – Kinvara, who is a very fun new addition to the cast. In her confrontational scene with Tyrion and Varys she manages to somehow stumble the Spider by showing knowledge of his childhood mutilation and even teases him with the voice that he had heard from the flames that night (which from what we’ve seen from the other half of the episode looks like the voice might belong to either Bran or Bloodraven). We know that the plot in Meereen can only move towards chaos so we’re pretty much witnessing the calm before the storm. As to what and how it will go wrong – we’ll have to wait and see.

Everything this week, however is all very much on the side from what is undoubtedly the centrepiece of the episode – Bran’s storyline and it is presented at stages with each vision that he has. The first vision is of the Children of the Forrest inserting an obsidian blade into the heart of a man tied to a great Weirwood and thus creating the Night’s King as a weapon against humans in their war with them. We now know for certain that the White Walkers are nothing but humans twisted by the magic of the Old Gods. This also raises the issue that this vision goes completely against the accepted history of that time (which is to be expected as it has been recorded much later – after the Andal Invasion, so it’s very likely false). In any case we can see that the Children of the Forrest are not planning to help Bran save humanity and almost certainly larger antagonists than the White Walkers in the scope of the series. I think it’s safe to assume that they are the ones using Bran and Bloodraven to incite war between the People South of the Wall and the White Walkers in order to bring an end to humanity. In any case this vision raises a lot of new questions alongside answering some old ones and we can expect to get more similar revelations in the future (though probably not in this season).

During his second vision Bran enters the Weirwood net unsupervised and ends up near the same Weirwood as from his first vision but this time closer to the present, when it’s all covered in ice and surrounded by an army of wights. Bran soon sees a few White Walker horsemen, one of which is the Night’s King who not only sees Bran back but also manages to grab his arm, waking Bran from the green dream. This is a very good and exciting pay-off to the question raised in ‘Oathbreaker’ during the Tower of Joy flashback of whether or not Bran can interact with the past. Of course, the Night’s King’s touch now endangers everyone as it can help the White Walkers track Bran and get past the Children’s defences. However, this is not the only revelation about Bran’s powers that we get in this episode and that brings us to the final vision.

The White Walkers and their army of wights attack Bloodraven’s cave. Bran’s conscience is taken back to the time when Ned Stark is being sent away to be fostered at the Vale. Bran manages to warg into future Hodor in order to help him and Meera escape. Through Bran Meera’s words ‘Hold the door’ reach Willis(Hodor) in the past and this merge of past and present destroy his mind and end up leaving him repeating ‘Hodor’. And I have to say this is probably the most heart-breaking and perfectly executed reveal in the show. It is chilling, haunting and nothing short of absolutely enigmatic! It is a very dark turn of events – the realisation that Bran accidentally has become the cause for Willis’ destroyed future in the past as well as his death in the future. This completes the introduction to Bran’s overwhelming powers over the past and also has some very interesting implications.

In ‘Oathbreaker’ we hear the Bloodraven say: ‘The past is already written. The ink is dry.’ But surely this newly explored power of time-travel can’t just be an exercise in nihilism and futility. With the powers to send information back in time one has to ask whether all prophecies are not forced to become true by Bloodraven’s efforts. This notion is somewhat enforced by his words to Bran in this episode: ‘It’s time for you to become me’.

It is certainly interesting to find out where Bran’s story will take us next as he has no longer access to the Weirwood and yet we know there has to be more flashbacks before the end of the season. It is also curious whether the Hodor revelation will cause Bran to become more cautious and reluctant to change the past or encourage him to unleash his potential. The ‘Hold the Door’ reveal seems like a no causality paradox, which is something that I think the show should try and avoid at all costs and the only resolution to this that I can think of is if there is a timeline where Willis does not become Hodor and Future Bran purposefully goes back in time to change that (making the story that much darker). Another potential dark turn that this story could take is connected to the fact that now both Summer and Hodor – the beings in which Bran normally wargs – are dead. This leaves the closest candidate for warging to be Meera. In any case the biggest thing that waits to be addressed is how Meera and Bran are to escape the wights hunting them down, but for that we’ll have to wait and see.

As a whole this episode, I feel, will remain as one of the biggest and most memorable ones in the history of the show purely on the merit of its huge revelations and, of course, the incredible Willis/Hodor scene. In any and all senses this felt like an episode 9, which only underlines how fast this season has been moving. Here’s to hoping that there be more great and engaging stories and developments waiting for us in season 6!

Thank you for reading my review of ‘The Door’ and I hope you are as excited as I am for the coming episodes.

 

Alexander Petkov

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