Last week’s episode, the fifth in the season, was both exciting and emotional. “The Door” featured revelations that had the audience gasping and, in the final moments, even weeping.
First, there was the scene in the North, wherein Sansa finally confronted Petyr Baelish regarding his hand on what she had endured at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. “You said you would protect me,” she said, and in those few words was imbued the blame she placed on him for breaking what he vowed to do when he offered her sanctuary after Joffrey Baratheon’s assassination.
Later, back at Castle Black, Sansa joined her brother Jon in going over the maps of the North and figuring out how many Northern houses could be persuaded to rally to their cause—that is, to bring down the Boltons and reclaim Winterfell. House Karstark’s defection, along with House Umber’s, presented quite a challenge in terms of gathering forces (and it should be remembered that the Karstarks’ abandonment caused Robb Stark his war, all things considered). However, Sansa told Jon that they could still get supporters somewhere else; Brynden Tully, the Blackfish, their uncle, had apparently retaken Riverrun from the Freys. The Blackfish earned his name from the War of the Ninepenny Kings, and he would prove to be a significant ally. (And perhaps Sansa was grasping on to the hope that the Blackfish did hold his family’s words—Family, Duty, Honor—in the highest regard and that it would therefore push him to help out his niece.)
Jon found rallying the Riverlands’s support a plausible plan, though he questioned how Sansa got this information. She lied to him then, telling him she heard it from Ramsay while discussing plans instead of admitting it was from Littlefinger. Afterward, Brienne expressed doubt on this action while arguing over Sansa’s safety; the young Lady Stark wished for Brienne to go to the Blackfish for the alliance while she herself remained at her brother’s side when they march to Winterfell.
Meanwhile, in Essos, Daenerys seemingly pardoned Ser Jorah after he risked his life to save her (though, to be honest, she didn’t actually need the help). She commanded him, as his queen, to find the cure for his greyscale and told him, “When I take the Seven Kingdoms, I need you by my side.” It was not a promise of romance, no, but it did drive home the point that Jorah knew her more intimately than anyone else, in all the ways that matter. And to see her uttering it in front of the rakish Daario, who had unabashedly boasted of his sharing her bed, well, it was indeed satisfying.
In Meereen, Tyrion called upon a servant of the Lord of Light to defuse the growing unrest among the Silver Queen’s people. Kinvara, Red Priestess, was supportive of Daenerys, calling her “The One That Was Promised.” At this, Varys pointed out that Melisandre, another Red Priestess, had dubbed Stannis Baratheon the same thing, and yet he was defeated in the Battle of the Blackwater—by Tyrion, no less—and then again in Winterfell, this time for good. He was reluctant to trust her word, and why shouldn’t he, when one of R’hllor’s servants had been wrong before? But Kinvara rendered him at a loss for words, something no one had ever accomplished thus far, when she called to mind his memories of the time he was made a eunuch. When she turned to leave, she gave Tyrion her promise that she would call upon her best priests to speak of the Dragon Queen in Essos.
In Braavos, the Kindly Man gave Arya Stark—or should she be called A Girl now?—her first assignment as a member of the order of the Faceless Men. She was to kill Lady Crane, a member of a traveling theater troupe. A Girl watched a play they staged, where everyone she knew was made fun of and mocked. She was enjoying it at first—with the ridicule for the Baratheons and the Lannisters displayed, it was quite difficult not to—but when it made a preposterous mockery out of her father and his death, she sobered up. The disgust and rage she felt upon seeing the way her father (and her sister!) was portrayed gave Arya enough resolve to murder Lady Crane (who played Cersei). She decided to poison her, she reported to the Kindly Man, through her rum, something only Lady Crane, out of all the troupe members, drank.
Back to Westeros, in Pyke, home of the Ironborn, the much-anticipated Kingsmoot storyline finally got underway. Yara laid claim to the Salt Throne (after being previously rebuked by Aeron Greyjoy, when she swore upon the throne and he reminded her that it wasn’t hers to swear upon—which, wow, rude). Of course, the proud Pyke men refused to let a woman lead them, especially not while Balon Greyjoy’s last son was there. At this, Theon stepped up and told them his sister had his support, in a very inspiring speech, until Euron piped in and ruined it. Euron Greyjoy, after being accused by Yara of killing Balon, admitted to crime, telling all present that he was weak and was leading them nowhere. He revealed his plan of sailing to Essos and ally himself with the Dragon Queen (whom he was sure would appreciate his ships). And when Euron was crowned king of the Iron Islands, his first order of business was murdering his niece and nephew, though Yara and Theon managed to get away before that happened, along with the Ironborn’s best ships.
Much farther north, beyond the Wall, Bran finally took up the mantle of the Three-Eyed Raven. He was not prepared for it, and the Three-Eyed Raven fully admitted to that, but there was no time; the Walkers were right outside their doors, for the Night’s King discovered their location when he touched Bran in a vision. (Bran also discovered that the Walkers were created by the Children of the Forest as protection against the First Men in their war thousands of years ago—and how ironic was it that their protectors were now their destroyers?)
Meera was stuck on protecting Bran, not an easy task especially as he wasn’t awake. The Walkers had breached their cave, and Meera had to resort to pulling Bran along herself; Hodor was panicking, and he couldn’t function.
It was here that a series of sacrifices were made.
First, Summer, Bran’s long-time dire wolf companion—arguably the sweetest of his litter, at least after Sansa’s Lady—refused to back out and instead attacked the Walkers threatening his master. Soon, though, the overwhelming forces of the undead became too much for him, and he was ripped apart.
Then Leaf, a Child of the Forest, told Meera and Hodor to go on while she herself stood between them and the Walkers. She let the rotting corpses reach her and kill her, and she, in turn, blew them up with the last stone she held in her hand.
This gave the running trio (well, duo, as Bran’s lying quite uselessly) time to reach the cave door, but it wasn’t enough. Getting out, Meera continues pulling Bran along and told Hodor, “Hold the door!” Hodor, ever loyal, complied and stood against the door, struggling to keep it close.
Bran, still lost in his vision of a past Winterfell, warged into Hodor, and this formed a link between past and present. Young Hodor—Wylis, his name was—seized on the ground, repeating Meera’s words that his present self was hearing: “Hold the door.” Over and over, Wylis chanted it, the words blurring together until all he could say was “Hodor,” and as he died on the present day, the Hodor of the past was born.
This powerful moment revealed how Hodor’s very existence was Bran’s doing and how his very purpose in life was to “Hold the door” for Bran, perhaps explaining the devotion he had for the young Stark scion; he had been protecting Bran from the first, and he was protecting him till his death.
The official synopsis for “Blood of My Blood” read, “An old foe comes back into the picture. Gilly (Hannah Murray) meets Sam’s (John Bradley) family. Arya (Maisie Williams) faces a difficult choice. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) faces off against the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce).”
Based on previews, it would appear the episode would pick up where the last ended—with Meera trying to get Bran to safety. But where was safety with the horde of the wights behind them and a cold, snowy unknown in front?
In King’s Landing, Cersei’s plan to rile the Tyrell matriarch into an alliance seemed to have paid off as hostility over Margaery’s walk of atonement brewed darkly between the Roses and the Faith Militants.
The Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea marched back to Meereen with her newly acquired Dothraki army.
Sam finally saw his father again, and Lord Tarly looked displeased that he was helping out a Wildling.
What is in store for them?
Would Meera be saved by another lost Stark? It was heavily speculated that Benjen Stark, the youngest of late Lord Rickard’s sons and uncle to Bran, was actually alive; his body was never found, after all, and it was possible that he was the mysterious man who came to Meera and Bran’s rescue in the original trailer for season 6.
Would Bran finally learn of what really happened in the Tower of Joy? (Would the R+L=J theory be finally confirmed?)
Who was the old foe? Would it be Walder Frey, who was instrumental for the carnage that was the Red Wedding? Given that the Blackfish had wrestled Riverrun from the Freys’ grasp, it stands to reason that the people of the Crossing wouldn’t be too happy at the moment and would demand revenge (something they had no right to, yes, but that’s neither here nor there).
What would happen to Gilly now that she’s in Horn Hill? Would she find safety? House Tarly was the strongest of House Tyrell’s vassals; would it tie up to what was happening in King’s Landing?
What choice would Arya be forced to make? Would she truly shed all that made her Arya now that she had been given a name to offer to the Many-Faced God? She might seem far from being a true No One as she had trouble controlling her emotions when seeing people making a joke out of House Stark.
Jaime had confronted the High Sparrow before, but would he achieve his desired results this time around? Or would he again fall back when faced with the man’s ever-loyal followers?
The phrase “blood of my blood” was used by the khal and his bloodriders when referring to one another. Daenerys had finally gotten the Dothraki behind her ever-growing people, but would she be able to control them enough that she could finally begin planning how to get the Iron Throne?
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