Hold The Door
The fifth episode proved to be the most heartbreaking episode of this season yet. Maybe even of the entire show. Those final ten minutes were one of the most gut wrenching episode finales, and this is including when Stannis burned his own daughter alive last season. Sadly, the High Sparrow and King’s Landing drama were absent, but we do finally meet Euron Greyjoy, who claims the Drowned Throne. Sansa and Jon plan for the war ahead, while Tyrion and Varys continue to play politics in Meereen.
The episode opens with Sansa confronting an apologetic Littlefinger. It’s strange seeing Littlefinger in a situation where he is clearly not in control. Usually he’s the smartest man in the room, the man who holds the ace up his sleeve. But he looked utterly lost as Sansa berated him for abandoning her to the monster that is Ramsay. Her repeated question, “Do you know what he did to me?” while Littlefinger just stammers apologies was a fantastic scene. It highlighted Sansa’s continued growth and ability to play the game of thrones.
Tyrion and Varys continue to play the game in Meereen. Tyrion knows that the temporary peace with the slave masters, while being a great achievement, is not enough. The people of Meereen need a strong leader to rally around in the fight against the insurgent Sons of the Harpies. His and Varys’ alliance with the Red Priestess was not surprising. The priestess will continue to proclaim the prophecy that Daenerys is chosen by the Lord of Light to lead the people in the coming wars. Varys’ conversation with her was interesting because, like with Littlefinger, for once Varys was not the smartest man in the room. While rightfully skeptical of religion and fanaticism, the priestess stands her ground and is only person in the entire show to verbally defeat Varys.
Daenerys assembled her Dothraki horde and began returning to Meereen, but not without one final conversation with Jorah. Jorah continues to show his never-ending devotion to Daenerys, finally admitting he loves her. Emilia Clarke does an excellent job of showing Daenerys’ conflict over Jorah. She loves him, but not in the way Jorah does, and she can never forgive Jorah for his betrayal. Her command for Jorah to find a cure for his greyscale was an emotional and well done scene.
We finally meet Euron Greyjoy. He surprisingly admits to murdering his own brother and proposes a bold plan for the future of the Ironborn. While Yara simply wants to make a large fleet and raid, Euron suggests allying with Daenerys and her dragons. Using his fleets as marital leverage, he would marry Daenerys and ally with her to reconquer Westeros. There was also a glimpse of the strange Drowned God religious practices. The priest legitimately drowned Euron to test his strength and see if he was fit to be king. Yara and Theon managed to escape before Euron could reach them, but assuredly Euron is coming after them.
Jon, Sansa, Brienne, Davos, and the others at Castle Black continue to prepare to recapture Winterfell. Sansa sends Brienne to ally with Blackfish and the reformed Tully army. If you don’t remember, Blackfish was a renowned warrior and Catelyn Stark’s uncle; he was the only man to escape the Red Wedding. Jon and Davos are headed to the many smaller houses in the North to ally against the Bolton, Umber, and Karstark alliance. Sansa refused Littlefinger’s help, but I fully expect Littlefinger’s Vale army to intercede on Sansa’s behalf in a future episode of Game of Thrones.
Finally, Bran’s storyline received a much needed adrenaline jolt. Two very important things were revealed through Bran’s warging. One: the origin of the White Walkers. Two: how Hodor became Hodor. Bran’s memory showed that the Children made the White Walkers. The White Walkers were not some evil force of nature that reappeared to slaughter all of the world every millenia. Rather, they were made as a weapon. A weapon that went significantly out of control. The Children created them to fight against the humans that were warring against them. It’s an interesting twist because it shows that nothing is absolute evil. The Game of Thrones universe is truly morally relativistic. Nobody is pure evil, not even the White Walkers. There’s a side to every story, even the White Walkers.
Poor Hodor. Many had predicted that Hodor was a shortening of “hold the door,” but all theories had assumed that Hodor’s traumatic incident occurred in the past. I was fairly convinced it occurred defending Lyanna at the Tower of Joy. But it occurred in the both the present and the past. The memory sequence at the end is fairly confusing, but because Bran is in both the Winterfell memory and warging Hodor in the present, this leads to a blending of the two timelines. So Meera’s continual shouts to Hodor to “hold the door” against the White Walker’s thralls reaches not only the present Hodor, but the past Hodor in Winterfell as well. The blending of the times gives the Hodor in the past seizures and he shouts “hold the door” over and over again, because it’s what he’s hearing in the present. Truthfully, it only make sense if you watch it.
In conclusion, this was the best episode of this Game of Thrones season. One of the favorite characters, who’s been with us since the first episode, sacrificed himself to save the lives of everyone around him. We finally saw the traumatic event that turned Hodor into Hodor. It was a nice twist that the event was in the present, not in the past. It was a worthy sendoff to a lovable character.
We certainly can’t wait to see what Game of Thrones has in store for us next week.
This post was originally written by Patrick Dodd.