Game of Thrones: The Door review S6, Ep. 5

So that’s what he was saying…

Not that any fan had forgotten the seemingly unbeatable onslaught of the White Walkers, The Door once again reaffirmed their threat as the most dangerous threat in Westeros while providing an unexpectedly tragic origin.

But, geesh what a heartwrenching way to learn the tale of Hodor. Or how poor Willas became a guy even Groot thinks needs to expand his vocabulary. Bran and The Three-Eyed Raven were doing a little flashback tree tripping and Bran witnessed a very important origin.

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The Children of the Forest were tired of losing ground in the forest to humanity. Clearly taking a more aggressive approach than the Ents, they create the White Walkers. This is the massive overkill equivalent of building a mousetrap, filling it with razor blades, laser beams and mines and the nuking the trap just to be sure. To recap, the White Walkers are a massive problem for the entire realm over trees. Even more astonishingly, it kind of works.

Bran decided to do some late night visioning and stumbled across the White Walkers assembled. So far so good until The Night’s King actually sees Bran and grabs hold of him. Unintentionally serving as the most ironic GPS, Bran has led the White Walkers right to The Three-Eyed Raven’s springtime hangout.

Knowing what’s to come, the TER takes Bran to one final vision. Back at Winterfell where the young Stark boys are hanging out. The Starks are unimportant though in this vision. While TER and Bran are visioning, the White Walkers have stormed the gates. The Children try and hold them off with fire bombs, which obliterates the surrounding walkers. Only problem: The Night’s King has about a billion soldiers at his disposal. With his three lieutenants, The Night’s King advances on the Raven’s chamber. Meera and The Children try to hold them off while Meera frantically screams at Bran to wake up.

Interesting note to remember for later on. Meera is able to kill one of the three lieutenants using the same spear one of the Children had bounce off him. What made Meera’s blow so effective? And why was only one person able to manage that exact same feat?

The White Walkers are advancing and Summer tries to defend his master, but quickly gets engulfed in a sea of White Walkers. Another direwolf down. This season has been a killer for fans of the Starks’ loyal companions. In fairness though, it seems like only Ghost and Grey Wind were the only two worth a darn in a fight.

Meera finally gets Bran to control Hodor — not to fight a losing battle against the Walkers, but to carry Bran out of the cavern. The Night’s King kills the Raven, but Bran remains in the vision. Like we’ve seen previously this season, the vision visitors can be heard if not seen. Willas hears Meera’s pleas and gets overcome by a seizure and one desperate command — Hold the Door!

It’s crazy how one segment can completely turn an opinion on a character. Rewatching this series again with the virtue of hindsight for a lot of these characters is going to be fascinating. Long considered the big lunk, Hodor is now recast as a hero just awaiting for the moment of his destiny. This was a really powerful scene that shows deaths can still be surprising and emotional even in a series that relies on weekly shocks and tragedies. So often the heroes have meaningless deaths, but Hodor actually got to go out saving his friends. Hardly a bad ending.

Beyond Hodor’s sad fate, there was some decent advancement in other subplots.

We looked in on Arya continuing her stick battle training and given her make good assassination mission of killing an actress. Considering the play ridiculed her beloved father, Ned, and Sansa, it was highly likely Arya would have done this assignment pro bono. Arya’s subplot badly needed some direction and even if it’s just killing some actors who would make light of the fall of the Starks it’s at least some progressive movement.

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Unaware of her sister’s fate, Sansa (with Brienne in tow) met with Littlefinger, who pleaded ignorance about Ramsey’s psychotic tendencies. Littlefinger remains curiously unreadable here. Typically, he’s been a character who’s five steps ahead of the other players in the game, but he either completely misread the Boltons or failed to consider the traumatic event would snap Sansa into adulthood. Either way for the first time in the series, Littlefinger doesn’t seem to have an edge.

The showrunners seem to know they can get away with letting Tyrion and Varys rattle on about anything and fans will be moderately intrigued. It’s the strength of the characters’ chemistry that once again all this political talk doesn’t get completely boring.

Daenerys finally learned of Jorah’s disease that’s slowly turning him into a stone man. In easily one of the most genuine moments Daenerys has had since the first season, she orders Jorah to find a cure and return to his queen. This wasn’t the typical haughty Daenerys assuming her word is law, but a woman very concerned about the plight of her friend. We need to see more of this side of Daenerys. game of thrones - the door review -daenerys and daario-min

Just as she was ready to assume the throne of the Iron Islands — complete with Theon’s emphatic backing — Yara gets another challenge in her uncle, Euon Greyjoy. Euron freely admits to killing his brother and is only apologetic for not killing him sooner, which gets the crowd behind him even stronger. Should he get the crown, Euron plans on wooing Daenerys with his fleet and ruling Westeroes with her as his queen. Smartly seeing the writing on the wall, Yara and Theon don’t wait around for the coronation and take the fleet’s best ships before Euron can kill them. The Iron Islands’ whole let’s drown them and lets see if they survive method of inaugurating their ruler probably needs a little rethinking.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10

The Door proved especially rewarding for longtime fans with two major origins and a heartfelt, noble death.

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO