Another week gone by, another Game of Thrones episode recap! Remember, folks, if you haven’t seen this week’s episode yet, this post is dark and full of spoilers. Maybe take a little look at some other posts brimming with geek culture tidbits instead, eh?
A lot happened in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, entitled ‘The Door’. It was my favourite episode so far, for all the reasons I’m going to assume it’s yours too, if you’re reading. So we’ll get right into it, shall we?
Here’s looking at you, Sansa Stark
Since Game of Thrones first appeared onto television screens worldwide, audiences have almost constantly witnessed Sansa being passed around from pillar to post, as a perpetual pawn and unrelenting victim. However, since her escape from the clutches of Ramsay Bolton, and in particular since she reunited with her brother Jon Snow at Castle Black, there has been a huge shift in Sansa Stark’s character arc – there has been so much more to her narrative in these last two episodes, than there has been in the entirety of Game of Thrones, and she is reminding me more of a rational, determined version of Catelyn Stark with every passing episode.
In this week’s episode, Sansa seems to have established a routine within the walls of Castle Black, and is becoming a crucial element within the ranks of Jon Snow’s budding army. The two of them are, ultimately, representing the entirety of House Stark, and it is exciting watching them interact with each other. While some elements aim to reinforce their newly appreciated familial bond – i.e. Sansa making Jon a really great looking fur coat, complete with house emblem, matched by her own wolf embroidered dress – other elements show them as a genuine force to be reckoned with – i.e. the family that gave Rickon to Ramsay can, as Sansa eloquently put it, ‘go hang’. Get in, Sansa lass.
We also see Sansa come face to face with Littlefinger for the first time since he gave her to Ramsay Bolton. His presence throughout the entire scene made my skin crawl; I simply don’t trust him and whatever he was doing with his mouth was vile. However, it was a powerful scene, in which audiences were able to witness Sansa dictate the entire conversation, with the powerful support of Brienne behind her; Baelish seemed somewhat at a loss for words, and her disdain for him shone through – it was a really great scene and I can only reiterate that I’m really pleased with Sansa’s recent transformation.
I can’t quite work out what the purpose of Baelish’s revelation regarding Sansa’s Uncle Brynden is about though – I understand that familial backing from Riverrun (it can only be assumed at this point, though) would be advantageous, but I don’t understand why Littlefinger didn’t mention that his army at the Vale would also be there to help Sansa reclaim Winterfell – didn’t he mention that he was going to use the army to save her from Ramsay in the previous episode?
I can’t work out if this revelation about her uncle was to atone for his behaviour in the previous season, or if there is a slightly more sinister reason for him to negate telling her about his own army, or offer his own backing…
There was also another moment between our new favourite TV power couple, which I hope gets explored further in the episodes to come.
Ser Jorah’s heartfelt, yet unfortunately flippant, Game of Thrones goodbye
Following the explosive conclusion to last week’s episode, this week’s Game of Thrones didn’t offer any real Daenerys screen time. The short scene we were privy to, saw Daenerys and Ser Jorah share a really touching moment, delivered through a truly poignant soliloquy from Game of Thrones most unlucky in love knight.
“I love you, I’ll always love you,” was met by Daenerys with genuine tears of sadness, as the realisation of Ser Jorah’s situation truly hit her; without this fatal disease, Jorah would never have uttered his true feelings towards his Khaleesi; he was a man with nothing to lose.
Instead of saying goodbye, and in her signature indignant style, Daenerys ordered him to find a cure for Greyscale. I’m not sure if this is proffered as another example of how hot headed the young queen can be, or if there is some suggestion that the incurable Greyscale disease is actually curable. If not, then I feel as though Ser Jorah’s exit from Game of Thrones was inappropriately cavalier – for someone who has made such an enormous impact on the show, if this was his final exit, I’d have preferred it to be less flippant. Then again, given Osha’s and Roose Bolton’s deaths at the hands of Ramsay, it seems that Game of Thrones writers are forgoing any room for emotion in their quest to whittle down the cast to more manageable numbers, so that may have been our final goodbye to Ser Jorah, which is a shame.
Arya has her eyes back, not much else
After being given her eyes back in a previous episode of Game of Thrones, you’d have expected her storyline to change, or at least get better, but instead, audiences are watching Arya perform the same tasks she has been performing for the past two seasons: getting slapped about by the po-faced teacher’s pet and being told off for asking too many questions.
This week saw Arya tasked with planning an assassination; a second chance which proved to be slightly bittersweet for the girl with no name trying valiantly to forget her history and focus on her new mission. In preparation for the pending assassination of an actress, Arya was required to sit through a rather bawdy and insulting rendition of her father’s death. Having witnessed it first hand as a spectator, causing her to flee King’s Landing, it was obvious that those moments had a clear effect on her.
Also, as an aside, I thought it was hilarious that there was an actual penis displayed on my TV screen, owned by the pantomime Joffrey. Admittedly – and quite embarrassingly so – I had absolutely no idea what it was, sat forward and frowned, twisting my head in confusion like a puppy, before realising that it was an actual dick on my screen. However, once I realised, I did laugh at the Game of Thrones attempt at equal opportunistic full frontal. Not sure a wart infested penis has the same effect on women as the perpetual full frontal and breasts have on a male audience, but it’s a start, I suppose?!
Power struggle on the Iron Islands
After complaining about Theon Greyjoy and his boring family for what feels like an eternity, it was interesting to discover that there is a somewhat interesting narrative developing within House Greyjoy, executed quite excitingly in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones.
It’s nice to see both Yara and Theon Greyjoy re-forging their somewhat broken sibling relationship, as Theon stands beside her during her claim for the salt throne. Although her claim was denounced upon the arrival of her uncle, Euron Greyjoy, who not only admitted to murdering Yara and Theon’s father, but also outlined a rather legitimate and interesting sounding plan involving House Targaryen.
Euron’s plan, while legitimate, does have a few holes in it, and while I think it would be something for Khaleesi to think about, I really don’t think that she’ll accept a proposal from a man – a Greyjoy at that – in order to cross the Narrow Sea into Westeros, especially seeing as she now has command of the entire Dothraki race. The most likely outcome to this plan, in my opinion, would see Euron Greyjoy lying blistered and lifeless on the ground, following a run in with one of her dragons… hopefully.
It will also be interesting to see the developing narrative between the now warring Greyjoy family; upon waking up from his indoctrination as King, Euron’s first words were, ‘where are my niece and nephew? Let’s go murder them!’ a highly amusing zinger that gave reason for Yara and Theon fleeing with a bunch of people in boats – admittedly, I didn’t understand what was happening at first.
Hold the door…
It would be a bare faced lie to tell you that I’ve never cried at an episode of Game of Thrones before, given that we’ve been faced with some truly tragic scenes over the past few years (and I am the human equivalent of a leaky tap). I think the only time I haven’t cried during a season finale, for example, was last year, when Jon Snow was betrayed. Instead, I offered a somewhat inappropriately disgusting expletive filled rant, while cat sitting for my boyfriend’s parents and stormed upstairs in a huff, locking myself in the bathroom of an otherwise empty house.
However, this week’s episode of Game of Thrones made it impossible not to weep profusely. ‘The Door’ offered some of the most poignantly devastating scenes that we have witnessed so far in the Game of Thrones journey. In ten minutes, at the instruction of George RR Martin, writers ensured our hearts were in our mouths as The Night King returned to our screens, with his legion of undead warriors.
While Game of Thrones usually proffers death in a shock-and-awe type manner, this week’s tragedy was somewhat of a slow burner, and an incredibly powerful television moment. I think the particular agony surrounding Hodor’s death lay in the fact that it wasn’t simply executed as a heroic sacrifice, or even a sad moment in the Game of Thrones narrative – but also, because it was connected to Hodor’s actual origin story.
In Bran’s final vision of the episode, where he begins to hear his name being shouted from his reality, he is told to ‘listen’ to his friend, thus taking control of Hodor in real-time, propelling him to take action and flee the terrifying and deadly scenes emerging in the cave. While both the leader of the Children of the Forest and Bran’s Direwolf (getting pretty sick of Direwolf murder, might I add) sacrificed themselves, in order to allow Bran, Hodor and Meera to escape, it is reliable and trustworthy Hodor who makes the final sacrifice.
With Meera repeatedly screaming ‘hold the door,’ the audience were able to acknowledge that Bran can actually interact with the past, and in the moment where his and young Hodor’s eyes meet for the first time, we realise that this youngster can also hear Meera’s screams, forty years in the future; it is this moment – the exact moment in which he is helping Bran escape from White Walkers – that caused him to collapse and his own reality to snap. Ultimately, Bran was the cause of Hodor’s origin, as well as the cause of Hodor’s final sacrificial moments.
I feel that Hodor’s origin story and ultimate sacrifice were captured tragically, but beautifully by the Game of Thrones team. There was a somewhat desperate and sad poignancy to the finale moments of this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, but it did offer Hodor, the long-time, faithful companion to the heir of House Stark, a truly fitting end.
It also opened up the future exploration of Bran’s new found abilities, but at the moment, it doesn’t really seem to matter, now that Hodor is gone and the Night King and an army of undead are after him and Meera.