Game of Thrones Recap Season 6 Episode 5: The Door
Sansa receives a message from Littlefinger and leaves with Brienne to meet him at Mole’s Town. Littlefinger is expecting a knight-in-shining-armor’s welcome, but Sansa asks if he knew about Ramsay prior to arranging their marriage. She dismisses his apologies and sends him away, turning down the Knights of the Vale in the process.
While discussing their options, Sansa informs Team Stark that the Tullys have retaken Riverrun under the leadership of her Great Uncle, Brynden. Jon asks where she got this intel, and she lies, leaving Littlefinger out entirely. The group rides south, hoping to gain the support of the lesser houses before working their way up to the larger ones.
Arya receives a new mission, targeting an actress in a street troupe. She watches a performance of the events in King's Landing from Season 1 and struggles with the unflattering portrayal of her father. She returns to the House of Black and White with a plan for the assassination, but asks more questions than a Faceless Man should. Jaqen warns her that she is running out of time to conform to the selfless identity of the group.
The Iron Islands
The Kingsmoot commences, with Theon lending his support to Yara’s claim. Euron disparages Yara for being a woman and Theon for being a castrated man, and appears to "win" the Kingsmoot with a plan to marry Daenerys and provide her with the fleet she needs to attack Westeros. Yara and Theon sneak off with the majority of the fleet, however, meaning Euron and the remaining Ironborn must build anew. The Damphair ceremonially drowns Euron, who coughs up the water on dry land, reborn in the faith of the Drowned God.
Jorah Friend Zone reveals his Greyscale and his love to Dany, who tearfully sends him on a mission to find the cure and return to her side. Daario Bone Zone watches as an awkward third wheel.
Tyrion and Team Targaryen discuss how to convince the populace of Dany’s role in their deliverance from internal strife with the Sons of the Harpy. Tyrion and Varys meet with a Red Priestess, hoping to use religion’s influence to curry favor with the Meereenese. Varys is intensely skeptical, but backs down when confronted with the Priestess’s seemingly impossible familiarity with the day he became a eunuch. They form an alliance for the time being.
Beyond the Wall
Bran wargs back into history and watches the Children of the Forest ceremonially stab a man with a piece of dragonglass, turning him into a White Walker. He asks what they did and why, and they tell him it was in response to the threat posed by Men.
Lore: The Children of the Forest
Bran ill-advisedly wargs on his own and finds himself surrounded by an army of wights. He comes face-to-face with the Night’s King, who grabs his arm; when he awakens, Bloodraven says Bran has been marked and is now in danger.
In the middle of another history lesson, the White Walkers and their army arrive, attacking the cave beneath the Weirwood tree. Meera tries to bring Bran back to the present, and shatters another White Walker with an obsidian spear. Hodor gains awareness and pulls Bran to the exit with the wights in pursuit. Summer leaps to defend their escape but is overwhelmed. One of the Children kills a swath with magic, buying some extra time. Bran, Meera, and Hodor reach the exit, and Meera pulls Bran into the storm outside. Bran sees past-Hodor succumb to a seizure, repeating Meera’s words audible through Bran's ears: "Hold the Door”.
I’ll be honest, I still haven’t figured out exactly what happened in the final scene. Hodor reacts as though he was taken over by Bran, but Bran never leaves the historical Winterfell scene he was watching with Bloodraven. It seems like Bran actually warged into past Hodor in his vision, prompting his seizure but allowing present Hodor to take action. Meera’s words then embedded themselves in past-Hodor's brain, using Bran as a conduit. I’ll hope to gain some more clarity before the podcast this week, but in the meantime, this suggests Bran could be far more powerful than we've seen.
Of greater immediate concern is the fate of Bran and Meera. Hodor held the door longer than anyone could have hoped, but the door itself was giving way as Meera pulled Bran out of sight. They’ll need to find shelter soon to escape the White Walkers and their army, but Bran was marked by the Night’s King. Without supernatural help of some kind, they’ll freeze to death or be overtaken by the enemy soon. RIP: Summer. He bought Bran precious seconds, but the Starks’ direwolves have had a rough go to this point, especially if Shaggydog was in fact executed by the Umbers.
In Essos, Arya is facing another identity crisis and Dany tasked Jorah with finding the cure to a disease that hasn’t been effectively curbed in the history of mankind. Tyrion is taking a solid approach to winning over the commonfolk, and the Red Priests have been strong (if complex) allies so far.
Action Sansa was on display again this week, serving a big slice of humble pie to Littlefinger before sending him on his way. Her lie to Jon was curious; she probably couldn’t tell everyone she turned away the Knights of the Vale, but she might have something more personal in mind for Littlefinger if she doesn’t want him on the group's radar.
The Iron Islanders can provide Dany with the transportation she desperately needs to effectively move on the Iron Throne. What I can’t figure out is 1) how Euron won the Kingsmoot if Yara and Theon left with enough men to sail the bulk of the Iron Fleet away, and 2) how they plan to build a fleet quickly enough to chase Yara and Theon down. The Iron Islands aren’t known for large supplies of lumber, and it takes time to build a fleet. Montage?
An episode as dark as this week's needs some glimmer of hope. Thankfully, we can turn to Tormund’s courtship of Brienne, maybe the best subplot since Arya and the Hound. How's it going so far, Tormund?