Season Six, Episode Five — “The Door”
By Jarrod Jones. Let’s take a moment and say farewell to dear, departed Wyllis, the wonderful and brave man-mountain known to all simply as “Hodor.”
Stricken down in a heart-thumping display of heroics, Wyllis fulfilled his destiny on Sunday night protecting Bran Stark, the boy we now know was responsible for putting the damn word “Hodor” in his head in the first place. (It was Bran who done the deed, in an act of narrative gymnastics so byzantine it may as well have taken place on The Flash.) There was nary a dry eye this week as Game of Thrones gave us one of its most revelatory episodes in recent memory. As the Three-Eyed Raven’s cave underneath the weirwood tree was besieged by wights, “The Door” proved that nothing, not even the ancient things of this world, are safe.
Safety is a relative term anyway. The Children of the Forest likely felt safe against the First Men when they created the White Walkers eons ago, and look how that worked out. With last night’s episode, and “Hardhome” last season, we are getting a clearer picture of what happens when the safety of a select few are put before the well-being of the world. Take, for instance, the developing situation over at The Wall this week: Sansa Stark once felt safe under the tutelage of Petyr Baelish, a sheep blithely awaiting the slaughter of what remained of her innocence. And no doubt Littlefinger felt safe cooing in her ear at one point, but those days — for both people — are at an end. “Did you know about Ramsay?” Sansa asked Littlefinger with Lady Brienne quietly gripping her longsword. “If you didn’t you’re an idiot, and if you did you’re my enemy.”
Sansa’s immediate safety requires that Petyr make like the wind for the South as soon as possible, but he’ll be taking the armies of the Eyrie with him — something the Starks are very much going to need. (This development is going to put poor, put-upon Brienne at the mercy of the Karstarks, still smarting over a little beheading a few seasons back.) Sansa’s decision was an easier one to make than that of the Children of the Forest, primarily because Sansa isn’t defending her realm or her people, she’s taking her life back. The harder decisions are often made when you have nothing left to lose, a sentiment Sansa definitely shares with Ser Jorah, who finally articulated what was always in our hearts: “I love you,” Mormont told Dany this Sunday, to the surprise of no one. “I will always love you.”
With all this honesty running around, The Sparrow would do well to make like a Baelish and get the fuck outta King’s Landing.
WHAT WORKED: The drums of war are beating again, louder and with more brio as this sixth season continues its march towards hideous conflict. Consider the imagery of Davos pouring over maps of the North in an attempt to build an army for Jon Snow and Sansa Stark — does this not echo the image of Robb Stark and his mother Catelyn considering their next moves against the Lannisters in Season Two? It’s the cyclical nature of epic storytelling that brings us back to the beginning of conflict, and after a long season’s worth of place setting, the return is a welcome one. No doubt Ramsay has some sort of October Surprise waiting for the neo-Starks once they march what remains of their bannermen to Winterfell, but for the first time in perhaps forever, Game of Thrones finally feels like it’s setting the path of victory before the good guys.
Varys gets to throw some shade at another religious fanatic — his way of coping after being mutilated by a penny-ante sorcerer as a child. But this is no common fanatic: she is Kinvara, a red priestess who is set before Tyrion Lannister to galvanize the people of Meereen to appreciate their absentee Queen. Why is Kinvara so keen on backing Dany? “She is the one that was promised,” The (Other) Red Woman says to our favorite eunuch. Ah, Varys retorts, but your people tried to sell us that line with Stannis Baratheon. And it’s true: if Melisandre’s meddling has led her to believe that Jon Snow is the promised hero, and her Essos-located colleague thinks it’s the Mother of Dragons, then… huh? Is the show giving us a little hint as to Jon’s true parentage with this development? Oh, I certainly hope so.
WHAT DIDN’T: Euron Greyjoy is an artifact of his time, a loud, opportunistic lout who wouldn’t blink an eye to kill his own kin. The sheer ego at play, over-confidence to say that he can manipulate a woman like Daenerys Targaryen into matrimony.
“Does death only come for the wicked and leave the decent behind?” – Jaqen.
“I’ll always love you. Goodbye, Khaleesi.” – Ser Jorah.
“He seems trustworthy. A bit brooding, perhaps.” – Brienne, on Jon.
BEST MOMENT: The finale. Just when I thought discovering the truth about the White Walkers would make them out to be little more than a hive-minded nuisance, Game of Thrones showed me all sorts of terror I’ll be taking with me wherever I go from this day forward. What will become of Bran (that wee li’l eejit) and Meera now that their stalwart protector — and *sob* and dear Summer — is lost to the unknown? *sob* I — I just need a minute, people.
EPISODE’S MVP: Don’t even.
– I’ve been trying to track the passage of time in this season, as things are happening rather quickly. Sansa’s needlework seems to have yielded a lovely green dress and a lordly pelt for her brother Jon, which means that a matter of weeks have passed since Sansa arrived at The Wall — at the very least.
– That makes it easier to accept how Littlefinger got his ass to Castle Black all the way from the Eyrie in-between episodes. (You gotta cut through the Mountains of the Moon, up through the Riverlands, and then head as far north as you can.) If it takes a month to get to Winterfell from King’s Landing, then I suppose I place Sansa at the Wall for about three weeks.
– Where are Theon and Yara heading? My best guess? Meereen.
– A recreation of Robert Baratheon’s loss of the crown was performed by Essie Davis (The Babadook) and Richard E. Grant (Withnail & I), and holy shit do I hope we see more of them this season.
– So how does Jorah cure his grayscale? If precious Shireen were still with us (*sniff*), perhaps she could offer some advice.
– The children of the forest created the White Walkers with dragonglass — obsidian, the one item that kills the Walkers and could presumably kill the Night’s King.
– Not present for this week’s skirmish: Elaria, Bronn, Cersei, Jaime, Tommen, Margaery, Sam, Ginny, Ghost.
9 out of 10
Next: “Blood of My Blood”, soon.
Before: “Book of the Stranger”, here.