The title of this week’s Game of Thrones may have been a little misleading. The Door suggested to me that we might finally be getting a look through the door at the Tower of Joy, but no. Instead we got something far more heartbreaking.
But this week’s episode starts with a confrontation between Sansa and Littlefinger. She asks him if he knew about Ramsey, and really puts a lot of pressure on Littlefinger calling him either an idiot or a liar, and I think it’s fair to say she doesn’t think he’s an idiot. This is another episode of Sansa really being badass, she doesn’t want Littlefinger around and she makes it so. He leaves her with advice to seek out the Blackfish who has retaken Riverrun.
Arya’s training continues with stick fighting, being easily beaten by the waif. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m fairly bored of Arya stick fighting. Jaqen gives her a lesson on the history of the faceless men. Arya is thankfully given another chance to prove herself, this time assassinating an actress. The play mocks Ned and portrays Tyrion, not Jeoffrey as responsible for his death, which visibly trouble Arya, this is potentially a route for her to find herself again, now that she is a faceless one. Arya creates a plan to poison her rum.
Bran continues with his visions, this time learning how the children of the forest created the White Walkers to defend themselves from men who were slaughtering them.
Meanwhile at the King’s Moot Yara makes a claim to the Salt Throne. Many of the people do not want a queen and call for Theon. However he makes an impassioned speech in favour of Yara. Just as she appears to be winning the crowd Euron appears and claims the throne himself. He confesses to murdering Balon, and has no shame or remorse. Euron tells them he wants to create the fleet and give them to Daenarys. The crowd switch right round to supporting Euron and finally it may appear as though Dany has some ships coming her way. Theon and Yara flee with a fleet, to be pursued by Euron after he creates his fleet.
After successfully escaping Vaes Dothrak, Ser Jorah reveals his Greyscale to Dany, who is genuinely upset that he is going to die. He finally admits his love for her. Before he can leave Dany commands him to find a cure, because she need him by her side. As a huge Ser Jorah fan I loved this moment, this was so great for him, but I cannot see it ending well. Meanwhile Varys certainly believes that a fragile peace has developed, but Tyrion believes that they need a red priestess to tell the story that they want. This priestess believes that Dany is the one who was promised (setting her at odds with Melisandre who currently believes Jon is the Prince that is promised. Come on Jon v Dany.). Varys shows his distrust of the red priestesses, which brings back what we saw in series 2. The priestess clearly makes Varys more uneasy than anyone else I’ve ever seen in this world, and that is reason enough for me to question them.
Back with Bran and he goes out on his own vision, without the help of the Three-eyed Raven. He sees the army of the dead, and the huge scale of it, and then he encounters the Night’s King and the other Walkers. The Night’s King manages to touch Bran meaning that he will be able to find him. The Three-eyed Raven tells Bran that it is time to become him.
Jon, Ser Davos, Sansa discuss how to get more men. Sansa believes she can use her Stark name to gain support from most of the Northern houses. She mentions that the Blackfish has retaken Riverrun, but does not reveal that it was Littlefinger who told her. The budding potential romance between Brienne and Tormund is quite possibly the greatest thing to have ever happened on the show, it’s like the best ‘people from different world’ sitcom ever. The moment when Edd realises that he actually is Lord Commander was hilarious as well.
Bran, Hodor, and Meera prepare to leave the tree when the army of the dead, led by the Nights King arrive. The children of the forest prepare to defend them so as to make their escape, but Bran is still in his visions. We get a pretty short, but cool fight. As the dead begin to break in Bran hears Meera in his vision of Winterfell when Ned was young. He manages to take control of Hodor, whilst still in his vision, and all together they do kill a White Walker. Bran’s dire wolf is killed as they flee. The Night’s King strikes down the Three-eyed Raven. The final child of the forest who is fleeing with them managed to take a huge portion of the dead with them, just long enough that they can get out. We discover why it is that Hodor is only capable of saying Hodor, right at the end of his life. And this is one of the most heartbreaking and moving scenes in the history of Game of Thrones. There have been more shocking deaths, I did see this one coming, but I don’t think that any moment has been so beautifully constructed. I was genuinely openly weeping at the final scene, which is not something that I can say for that many other deaths. You have to give so much credit to Jack Bender for his direction of this scene, you would not believe that this was a guy directing his first Game of Thrones episode, just wow. Not only was this a great action scene, but it also packs that emotional gut punch right at the end.
Ok I hated this episode, apart from the fact that it was utterly incredible and I loved it as (that makes perfect sense right?). No other show gives you that kind of feeling where you’re left so devastated, but are also marveling at the quality of the television you are watching. The only other show to have ever brought me to tears like that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that wasn’t the only great moment in the episode, a lot happened, and some fairly stagnant storylines jumped forward. I really liked what was happening with Arya this week, it finally got interesting, especially with the actress she has to assassinate performing in a play about he father’s death. I do hope Tyrion isn’t making the same mistake Cersei did last season by inviting a religious group to have so much power, but the scene with Varys and the red priestess was terrific. We had the King’s Moot, which ended with Euron taking control, building a fleet and wanting to assist Dany. I absolutely loved Sansa’s meeting with with Littlefinger, it’s just another step on her journey to be the ultimate queen. And yes the North remembers!! Strangely the Winterfell storyline also gave the comedy in this episode. Who isn’t behind Brienne and Tormund (because if you’re not then get on board) and Edd’s moment of ‘I’m not the Lord Commander’ was brilliant. Obviously I’ve talked at length about that final scene already, so all I’ll say now is that it’s going to be hard for them to top. There was brilliant acting, directing, and writing all round, a great moment in the show’s history.