GAME OF THRONES 6.05 ‘The Door’ Review

GAME OF THRONES Season 6 Episode 05

Episode Title: “The Door”

Writers: David Benioff & D. B. Weiss

Director: Jack Bender

Previously on Game of Thrones:

Episode 6.04 “Book of the Stranger”

There are spoilers ahead for last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, but don’t pretend that you didn’t know that!


That may be one of the last times we hear that word in Game of Thrones after a shocking and intense ending. After a particularly bloody encounter with the White Walkers and their army of the undead, the direwolf Summer, the Three-eyed Raven, and numerous Children of the Forest are dead. But it’s the loss of Hodor that really stings. We can only assume that the reveal of Hodor’s origin was something that George R.R. Martin was going to save for one of his final novels in the series. But if Martin was really planning that from the beginning then it’s an impressive piece of foreshadowing.

Earlier this season, we briefly glimpsed Hodor’s younger self, Wyllis during one of Bran’s visions. Here, Wyllis suffers a seizure in the past as a response to Bran’s final command in the present to “hold the door” and give Bran and Meera a chance to escape. Somehow, Bran unintentionally destroyed Wyllis’ ability to say anything other than “Hodor,” his slurred combination of those words. The result is the most upsetting Game of Thrones death since the Red Viper’s duel with the Mountain.

Kristian Nairn deserves recognition for making his exit from the series so affecting. An earlier scene from the episode served as a reminder for just how much he could convey with “Hodor” when he and Meera fondly remembered what it was like to eat real food. Hodor/Wyllis is really going to be missed on this show, and it’s made Bran and Meera’s lives much more dangerous now that they’re on their own beyond the Wall.

There is also the inescapable conclusion that all of this was Bran’s fault. He went vision surfing without his mentor and drew the attention of the Night’s King and his White Walkers. Their subsequent invasion of the Three-eyed Raven’s sanctuary was one of the most exciting sequences that this show has ever done. Although Max Von Sydow should really avoid swords in his next role. That’s the second time in a calendar year that Sydow’s character has met his end that way.

The rest of Bran’s scenes also set up some unsettling revelations. For starters, the Children created the White Walkers as weapons against the First Men. And the other important moment is the confirmation that Bran can affect the past through his visions. Young Ned Stark may have heard Bran a few weeks ago, but young Hodor was definitely damaged beyond repair by Bran’s actions. Now, here’s a question for you: did Bran actually change anything in the past? Or were his actions preordained to close the loop of Hodor’s life?

Also: Emilia Clarke Speaks About Her Latest ‘Game of Thrones’ Nude Scene

Over in Braavos, Arya got an update on the situation in King’s Landing in an unexpected way: a parody play that recounted the deaths of King Robert and her father, Ned Stark. The new information to Arya was that her sister, Sansa was forced to marry Tyrion. But there was a lot lost in translation, including Ned’s characterization as a power hungry idiot and Joffrey as a well-meaning coward. If you recall, Ned confessed to the crimes he was charged with as a way to spare Sansa and possibly himself. So as far as the people of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond know, those charges were true. Outside of the North, this may be how Ned Stark is remembered.

Arya’s plotline is giving her a way to murder Cersei by proxy, as she has been ordered to kill the actress who plays the queen. But there are already signs that Arya is having second thoughts because she’s asking so many questions. We’ve seen Arya kill people who have deserved to die, but we’ve never seen her kill without justification. This is a test of Arya’s loyalties, but it’s less clear if the Faceless Men want her to obey without question or make a moral choice. Although I’m leaning more towards “obey” than the other option.

Back at the Wall, Sansa had a few moments of power when she wisely rejected Littlefinger’s aid and told him off for giving her to Ramsay to be abused and raped. But she showed a deceptive side of herself when she lied to Jon Snow about the intel that Littlefinger gave her. It does seem important that her great-uncle, the Blackfish, has retaken Riverrun from the Frays. That means old Walder Fray may finally be vulnerable at the Twins, if the forces loyal to the Starks ever come looking for revenge.

Also at the Wall, the non-verbal exchanges between Brienne and Tormund were very funny. He’s obviously interested in her, just as she is very obviously uninterested in him. But his facial expressions are just hilarious. Another very amusing moment came when Edd realized that he’s become the new Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch by default. Conversely, we only had a very brief check-in with Daenerys, who finally learned about Jorah’s seemingly fatal illness. We know that Shireen was “cured” from greyscale, with scarring, so it can be done. Emilia Clarke was really terrific when she ordered Jorah to find the cure and return to her. It was slightly underplayed in the episode, but this was the first time that she has openly returned Jorah’s love. Any chance of romance may have been lost years ago, but it means that Jorah’s exile will be over if he can survive the search for a solution to his current problem.

Varys and Tyrion also had a very strong sequence this week, as they attempted to recruit a Red Priestess to preach on behalf of the missing queen, Daenerys. Here’s where things get interesting: this Red Priestess is supporting Daenerys because she thinks that the Mother of Dragons is the prince, or rather the princess that was promised. Melisandre thought that the prince was Stannis, and now she believes that it is Jon Snow. Since both priestesses are followers of the Lord of Light, either one of those two is the so-called prince, or both of them are. Conleth Hill also had a particularly great performance as he conveyed Varys’ horror when the Red Priestess recounted the night he lost his genitals to a wizard’s sacrifice. That seems to imply that it was made to the Lord of Light as well.

I was less impressed with the Iron Islands segment, which saw Euron Greyjoy easily steal the throne from Yara by promising more than he could possibly deliver: a large fleet and the hand of Daenerys in marriage. Considering that Yara and Theon made off with most of the Iron Born’s fleet, that promise rings even more hollow now. Even on this show, it would take weeks and months to build new ships and enter into a new alliance. In the meantime, Yara and Theon may beat Euron to the punch by either aligning with Jon Snow and Sansa or possibly even sailing to Meereen and joining Daenerys.

On the whole, this was the strongest episode of the season to date, and by far the most affecting. Now that Game of Thrones isn’t tied down to any novel, the speed of the plot progression appears to be greatly increasing. We’re only halfway through the season and we’re already seeing the convergence of the characters. Perhaps the endgame really has begun.

Photo Credits: HBO