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Monday, 23 May 2016

Game of Thrones S6E5: The Door

Game of Thrones
Series 6, Episode 5
The Door.

Okay, wow, Benioff and Weiss really hate the direwolves, don't they? With Grey Wind and Lady having already dead, courtesy of their dying in canon, and Nymeria nowhere to be seen (again, courtesy of canon), this series has now also seen both Shaggydog and Summer dying (not courtesy of canon). I can see why, a little bit, because ever since the dogs have grown up, they've been CGI, and that's expensive and awkward. Still, though. Dogfaces.

In this week's episode, we focus on the North and Essos. At Castle Black, Littlefinger arrives with the Knights of the Vale, only to be turned away by Sansa. Going off advice he gave, though, Sansa tells Brienne to ride to Riverrun and ask the reformed Tully forces to join them, while she and Jon set out to try and recruit Northern houses not already in bed with the Boltons. Beyond the Wall, Bran learns the origins of the White Walkers, and later encounters the Night King in one of his dreams - and is quickly marked, allowing the Night King and other White Walkers to descend upon the Children's den. In the Iron Islands, the Kingsmoot begins. In Braavos, Arya is given the task of assassinating a popular actress, Lady Crane, who is currently performing in a bawdy rendition of Joffrey's ascension to the throne. At Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys gives Jorah a command, while in Meereen, Tyrion and Varys meet with Kinvara, the High Red Priestess of Volantis, to ask for her aid in keeping control of the city.

Everyone's talking about Bran's storyline - in what is probably a first in six years - so we'll get to that one last.


Daenerys' plotline made me a little irritated, because god knows I don't want Jorah to stick around. I would like him to die soon. Whether it's from greyscale or just tripping and falling off a cliff, I don't care, I'd just like him to exit the show as quickly as possible. But no, he's now got his 'discovering a cure for greyscale' storyline, and whether we actually see him doing that or if he'll just show up triumphantly in series seven, I don't know.

Meereen, meanwhile, was interesting? Kinvara is clearly being set up as a major power player in episodes to come, with a role that kind of contrasts Melisandre (since Melisandre is seemingly becoming softer and gentler and more human, even though it was only, like, a week ago in show time that she advocated sacrificing a small child) and is seemingly setting up some kind of internal struggle in the red priests, where Kinvara thinks Daenerys it the Prince That Was Promised, and Melisandre thinks it's Jon?

Varys' skepticism was nice, especially since he basically said what everyone was thinking, but it's a little out of character for him. This is a man who's meant to be cunning and a smooth talker, and he just suddenly starts interrogating someone who they're meant to be allying with like that? Obviously, there's meant to be something deeper going on here. Maybe Varys is a Faceless Man and doesn't approve of people worshipping other gods, I don't know.

Also awkward.

Braavos gives us more interesting stuff for Arya, as she struggles with having to poison a seemingly completely innocent actress, because, you know, assassins (and the Faceless Men are just assassins for hire, even if they do have their death cult schtick as well) don't just target bad people. We also get to see how Braavosi see the political conflict in Westeros, although I admit, I'm a little bit bewildered that they care. They're not Westerosi, after all, and the people of Braavos and Essos in general seem to see Westeros as a land of savages, so why do they care enough to put on bawdy plays about it? With surprisingly good casting, I might add, because Joffrey's actor does a pretty solid Joffrey impression at times there.

Going to Castle Black: I really loved the conversation between Littefinger and Sansa. Both Aiden Gillen and Sophie Turner do some astounding acting work in that scene, and I could literally watch an entire episode of Sansa threateningly making Littlefinger answer for his crimes. The one thing that did frustrate me was that she then turned away the Knights of the Vale, the only intact army left in Westeros. Look, we all know that the Vale's going to be joining Sansa and company sooner or later, may as well do it now instead of trying to force some suspense out of it.

Even given how horrible Littlefinger is, it doesn't make much sense for Sansa to turn him and the knights away, because Ramsay is worse and Rickon is being held hostage.

It makes the strategy meeting scene incredibly frustrating, because as they're talking about stopping by Riverrun to get the new Tully army (good plan), and asking the Manderlys and Karstarks for help (also a good plan), along with a bunch of smaller houses (bad plan), Sansa deliberately doesn't mention the massive army that they could be using to end this war.

Actually also kind of awkward, since they're stabbing someone in this scene.

In the Iron Islands, meanwhile, we get the Kingsmoot, with Yara appearing to have it in the bag before Euron appears and tells everyone his super-great and definitely doomed to failure plan to marry Daenerys. That storyline ends with Euron becoming king and Yara and Theon fleeing with a bunch of Ironborn, so they'll presumably have joined the Stark army by the end of the series.

Which leads us onto Bran, beyond the Wall. While we discover that the Children made the White Walkers (which is kind of disappointing), most of the fan focus has been on the final sequence, where the Night King marks Bran and then almost immediately shows up to wreck things, while Bran's still exploring the past in his dreams. Carrying on from the theme of Bran being able to sort of influence the past, because he's apparently literally time-travelling, not just seeing events as an observer, we find out that Hodor's inability to say anything except 'hodor' comes from - actually, what was going on there? Bran was in the past, and heard Meera yelling for Hodor to 'hold the door', and then Young Wylis (later to become Hodor) appears to be warged into by Old Hodor or something of the like, and starts thrashing and convulsing, screaming 'hold the door' over and over again, only stopping when Hodur dies in the future.

Please die immediately.

It's a heartbreaking scene, but it's also incredibly confusing. Obviously, this is some kind of side effect of Bran's time powers and his warging powers, but it's never really explained exactly how the two are interacting here, so all we know is that Bran managed to screw things up for everyone twice in one episode, got his own direwolf killed, and is now being dragged through the snow, soon to freeze to death.

Good one, bro.

Also, wow, they're cutting out a lot of supporting cast members this series.

Next week, it looks like Cersei and Jaime are putting their 'rescue Margaery' plan in action, although I have a sneaking suspicion that it'll also involve killing Margaery, and that Tommen might die in the struggle. Also, Meera and Bran are still fleeing the White Walkers, Samwell and Gilly get to Sam's home, and Daario's still flirting with Daenerys. Good, well, I think that's everything.

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