Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 5 “The Door”: Discussing how Bran’s time travel power will impact the show and going in-depth on Hodor’s origin.
Spoilers Ahead on Game Of Thrones “The Door”
The connective tissue throughout “The Door” is about explaining origins. It’s a common thread between many scenes: The children of the forest created the Night King. Jaqen H’ghar explains that the faceless men were once Volantis slaves. The red priestess sheds light about the night Varys became an eunuch. Hodor’s origin and why he repeats the same word is finally revealed. Some of these exposition points serve to deepen the mythology and address long-standing mysteries, while some may also prove to be significant in setting up future events.
Let’s Discuss Three Big Scenes
#1. The Night King Arises
The White Walkers are feared not only because they are a powerful, supernatural threat who command an undead army but there’s also fear in the unknown. Where does this mysterious threat come from and why do they want to wipe out all life? They can’t be bargained with, they can’t be reasoned with. They are the boogeyman in children’s night-time stories.
Because it’s not within George R.R. Martin’s approach to paint things in strictly black and white terms, learning that the White Walkers were created by the Children of the Forest adds nuance to their origin without diminishing the ultimate threat and fear they pose. Martin is a well known conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and many of his musings on the nature of war are referenced in Game of Thrones. The parallels are pretty clear here. The White Walkers are weapons of mass destruction which were created to end the war between man and the indigenous Children of the Forest. They are a weapon specifically designed to destroy mankind but is now intent in killing all life, including their creators.
After watching “The Door” we all know what happened. Hodor heroically held the door so that Bran and Meera could escape from the undead. But how is more puzzling to piece together. Here’s how I try to make sense of it. The Three-Eyed Raven is all-knowing. He knew that the Night’s King left its mark on Bran’s arm. He knew his time was up. He purposely brought Bran to the flashback at Winterfell so that Bran could warg into young Hodor (aka Wyllis) to give instructions to “hold the door”. The warging messed with Wyllis’ mind, like wiping out most of a disk drive and leaving only bits of information.
The Three-Eyed Raven knows that everything that has happened and will happen is meant to be. You can make the point that if the Three Eyed Raven didn’t bring Bran into that flashback, Bran would have been awake and able to warg into Hodor to make an earlier escape out of the cave. But if you take it a step further, the “Hodor” that we know and the events leading up this moment, would not have happened like this if Bran didn’t affect the past.
Bran has clearly demonstrated that he can time travel and affect the past. But Bran cannot retroactively change the past to prevent a present day event from occurring the way it happened. The Three-Eyed Raven said a few episodes ago that the past is written, the ink is dry. For example, Bran can’t save Ned from getting beheaded, but his interference with the past could have inadvertently caused it to happen.
This puts into question to what extent does free will exist in Game of Thrones if events are predestined? Did Hodor selflessly choose to hold the door because he was willing to sacrifice himself for Bran? Not exactly, Hodor’s action was as a result of Bran and it’s Hodor’s predestined fate. This loosely relates to what The Red Priestess told Varys that “Everyone is what they are and where they are for a reason”, except she adds that it is the Lord of Light’s will that these chain reaction of events are occurring ie. her God’s will, not Varys’. In Bran’s previous green dreams he foretold the future where a dragon’s shadow is seen flying over King’s Landing. Is this a self-fulling type of prophecy whereby Bran will make certain things happen that will result in this predetermined event?
#3. The Greyjoys and the Kingsmoot
The Kingsmoot scene is the proving ground for Theon Greyjoy. It’s one thing to say behind closed doors that he supports his sister to be the queen. It’s another to put those words into action by publicly campaigning for Yara when the opportunity, however slim the chances may be, to snatch the power for himself as the last living son of Balon. Yara looked like she wasn’t sure if Theon was going to keep to his word. It’s also unfortunate the discrimination Yara faced as a woman. She does have her loyal followers but she needed the support of Theon to sway the Ironborn over to her side. Because Yara is quite stern and dour on the show, it makes it harder to root for her. She does have one endearing quality which is her soft spot for her little brother, even if she tries not to show it too much.
The Greyjoys were a non-factor last season. This episode explained why the show runners are bringing them back into to the mix. If Euron Greyjoy combines forces with Daenerys they would be a powerful threat to take over the seven kingdoms. It’s interesting that the show didn’t mention Euron’s dragon horn which is said to be able to control dragons, something that would be highly of use to Dany. But a thousand ships would be useful too since the ships in Meereen burnt down and Dany needs to bring her Khalsar over the sea. If anything, Euron is a dangerous man and far more interesting than Balon the grouch Greyjoy.
• Dany’s scene with Jorah had touching moments without the physical touching. Jorah literally had to take two steps back when Dany wanted to get closer. Poor guy. It’s a bittersweet moment when Jorah professed his love for Dany in no uncertain terms. This is likely the last time we see them together, it’s a fitting farewell with Dany commanding him to find the cure for grayscale and rejoin her in Westeros.
• Sansa is fast developing into the character I’ve wanted her to become. I loved how Sansa put Littlefinger on the hot seat. My only worry is that Littlefinger is a treacherous liar who is playing the game steps ahead of everyone. I’ve read some speculation that it’s Littlefinger who wrote the letter to Jon, not Ramsay. Sansa is playing her game too, holding her cards close to her chest about her meeting with Littlefinger. She seems to really want Jon to embrace his Stark heritage, she even made the same clothes that Ned use to wear for him with the Stark sigil.
• Ned’s beheading is the most horrific moment in Arya’s life which is played for laughs by the theatre act. It reminds her of all the wrongs she must make right and she can’t do that as a “no one” with no desires. She must be Arya to do that. It’s in Arya’s nature to be feisty, headstrong and want to make her own decision. If she becomes a faceless assassin for hire, she’ll have to give the “gift” to people who may or may not be deserving. I’m really curious if she’ll actually put the poison in the pretend Cersei’s rum or if she has a clever alternative plan. How much of this is a test or perhaps Arya sees this as practice run for the real Cersei?
“The Door” is an excellent episode. There’s so much going on and so many plot points to go into which I haven’t even covered. Who would have thought Hodor would be a beloved character who’s death is felt by many fans? It’s ingenious of GRRM to have planned out Hodor’s fate so far in advance. I really liked how Bran’s story line is pushing forward when I expected the writers to keep the status quo until season’s end. My gripe is that Summer is dead especially so soon after Shaggydog. But each of the scenes in this episode are well written and engaging. The other reason is that they’re aren’t any King Landing’s scene to interrupt the flow. It’s also interesting how Sansa has become a focal point at Castle Black story line, where Jon, in terms of his point of view, has taken a back seat here. But I’m sure we’ll get more of Jon in the coming weeks. Lastly, I’m liking how these episodes are ending on a great moment which develops the story and characters. Can’t wait for more.
What do you think about the Hodor reveal? Do you think Tyrion is making the right or wrong decisions in Mereen?