The best episode so far this season, The Door, featured several shocking revealsincluding solving the mystery of the White Walkers. [Warning: Spoilers] “>
Early in The Door, Game of Thrones best episode so far this season, Jaqen the Faceless Man asks Arya if death only comes for the wicked and leaves the decent behind. Of course, we all know the answer too well. But of the dozens of good people (and direwolves!) weve seen cut down, its hard to argue any had an exit as anguishing as poor Hodor.
Brans curiosity meddled with the present and the future affected the past as he reached into the network of weirwood trees (with the Three-Eyed Ravens training, he can now see what the trees have seen throughout time) and witnessed first-hand the answers to two of Westeross biggest mysteries: Where White Walkers came from, and why Hodor isalas,wasincapable of saying anything but his own name.
It was mens destruction, of course, that birthed the White Walkers when the Children of the Forestthe imp-like beings that inhabited Westeros long before the First Men came alongfound themselves and their sacred weirwood trees being cut down by humans. We needed to defend ourselves, says Leaf, the one who speaks to Bran.
This has huge implications that require a bit of knowledge about the past. Quick history lesson: In George R.R. Martins books, the Children and the First Men warred for around two thousand years but reached a pact another four thousand before the Long Night, the extended winter in which White Walkers first appeared. (Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised that Red Women like Melisandre are always going on about, led both the Children and the First Men in the battle that drove the White Walkers back into the Lands of Always Winter.)
Leaf doesnt specify exactly when Brans visionof a man being turned into the first wighttakes place, so its difficult to straighten out the timeline the show is going with here. But we can presume the Children created White Walkers in retaliation against the worst of the First Men, failing to foresee the pact that would eventually bring peace to both. Perhaps they underestimated how long it would take the Walkers to build an army strong enough to defeat the menor perhaps they simply lost control of the Walkers during the Long Night.
Either way, this is all fascinating stuffa littletoofascinating for Bran to resist sneaking back to the scene of that first wights creation when the Three-Eyed Raven isnt looking. But without the Ravens help, Bran, still relatively inexperienced, ends up not in the past, but in the snow-covered presentwith the Nights King and his army of Others staring right at him.
It brings havoc to the Three-Eyed Ravens tree in a breathtaking siege that rivals the startling beauty of Hardhomethose magical blue-glowing fire bombs!and the nail-biting spectacle of Blackwater Bay. Most of all, its utterly terrifying. Wights tear into the sacred tree like a horde of termites, claiming Summer (protective of his little lord to the end), the Three-Eyed Raven himself, Leaf (who goes out in a blaze of glory that would make Vasquez fromAliensproud), and the other Children while Meera struggles to drag Branstuck warging in the past, watching his young father and uncle at Winterfelloutside.
The grisly deaths shock and titillate the way allGame of Thronesdeaths do, but its Hodors demise that hits a note so shrill, so grindingly heartbreaking, that I truly dont know anyone could watch without bursting into tears. (I certainly did.) Meeras shouts to Bran to warg into Hodor become screams for Hodor to hold the doorthe slurred, anguished phrase that, as it turns out, became the last thing young Wylis ever said.
In this moment, Bran is both greenseeing into the past and warging into the Hodor of the present daya unique set of circumstances that allows young/past Hodor to hear Meeras shouts in the present. (Brans powers are such that he can somehow affect events of the past, as we almost saw him do at the Tower of Joy when young Ned Stark heard greenseeing Brans shouts.) Young Hodors eyes go milky white, the way they do when Bran wargs into him, and he begins convulsing. His fate is set even as his future self is torn apart. And its the most gutting scene of this show I can recall.
Tearjerker moments abound in The Door. Another comes when Daenerysnow positioned by a new Red Priestess as Essoss answer to the reincarnated Prince(ss) Who Was Promisedgives Jorah as explicit an expression of love as hell ever get from her. He shows her his decaying arm, a sight that pushes her to verge of sobs. Just as Iain Glen promised us last week, Jorah declares his love again. (I love you, Ill always love you, aThe Bodyguard-esque moment so stirring even Daario Broharis knows not to interrupt.) Dany commands him to travel the world and do the near-impossible: find a cure for greyscale.
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