Warning: Spoilers ahead if you have not yet watched Season 6, Episode 5.
There’s really only one quote that matters from last night’s episode of Game of Thrones: “Hold the door.” In one of the more tragic revelations in GoT history (that’s saying a lot, we know), we finally learned the origin of good ol’ Hodor’s name. But we’ll get to that.
Season 6, Episode 5, "The Door":
DOWNTON ABBEY, Maggie Smith, 'Episode 2.3', (Season 2, aired Oct. 2, 2011), 2010-. photo: Nick Briggs / © Carnival Films for Masterpiece/PBS / Courtesy: Everett Collection
First, this week’s episode took us on a roller coaster ride around the Seven Kingdoms, beginning at Castle Black. Sansa Stark seems unstoppable now that Brienne of Tarth is on her side. She’s standing up to Littlefinger, who has apparently come to the Castle gates thinking Sansa will be happy to see him. Not a chance.
“Do you want to know about my wedding night?” she asks. Please, no, viewers everywhere plead as Sansa briefs Baelish in the most you’re-lucky-I’m-a-lady way. Still, she spares his life (better to keep him in her back pocket for now). In return, he throws her a nugget of valuable information. Fair trade. Sansa will use this later, as she parlays her Littlefinger intel and training to get an army on her side. But why does she lie to her bro, Jon Snow about it? After all, “he seems trustworthy. A bit brooding perhaps, which is understandable considering,” Brienne rightly observes.
At the House of Black and White, Arya is showing off her ninja training again. She’s got moves we’ve never seen but her frenemy the Waif is not impressed and tells her, “You’ll never be one of us, Lady Stark.” Jaqen H'ghar is no help. He thinks Waif-y’s got a point so he sends Arya on a pretty harsh assassination mission to test her commitment to the Braavos Bunch. The target is an actress in a horrifying play about that fateful moment in King’s Landing history where our story began: Arya’s father Ned Stark is being beheaded again and Joffrey et al. are torturing Sansa once more. It’s all happening, and then some (do we really need full frontal at this particular moment?).
Over at Warg Tree Hill, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are starting to really trip us out. Our minds are collectively blown when we discover that those adorable Children of the Forest actually created the White Walkers. Sure, they had their reasons but, come on kids.
Let’s hope things are going better over on the Iron Islands. It’s election day and it looks like we’re going to have our first female president, er, queen. Theon Greyjoy has endorsed his sister Yara as part of his attempt to make amends around the GoT world and things are going swimmingly. And then … Yarra gets trumped. Her irrational uncle Euron bursts in and steals the Salt Throne with promises of seducing Daenerys Targaryen and building an unstoppable army. Clearly, he’s never met Dany. But while Euron’s being inaugurated in a strange ritual drowning, the Greyjoys skedaddle with half of the Iron Fleet. How come no one saw that coming?
Speaking of Dany, Jorah Mormont finally confesses his love for her, and also the fact that he’s rapidly turning into a stone man. Her heart melts and she commands him to run off and get well. Good luck with that, Jorah.
In Meereen, Tyrion Lannister has put on his PR hat and devised a spin plan to get the city on his side. Unfortunately, that plan involves another Red Priestess of the Lord of Light, Kinvara (who happens to be a dead ringer for Rachel Weisz). She’s on Team Dany, but Varys “has a healthy skepticism of religion” as Tyrion politely puts it. Varys points out that other witchy women have been wrong before (ahem, Stannis). But Kinvara pulls out all her secrets and Varys is shut down when she brings up the moment his man parts went missing. Looks like she’s joining this motley Meereen crew after all.
Now, back to Hodor. In the cave, we see that trying to wake a sleeping warg is not easy. Bran attempts to throw pebbles at the Three-Eyed Raven. Useless. He crawls over and grabs the Raven’s limbs—literally, his tree limbs—and Bran is instantly transported to a winter wonderland. No, wait, it’s actually a snowy hell filled with White Walkers. Bran strolls around like it ain’t no thing and ... oh crap, they can see him. The Night’s King grabs hold of Bran’s arm. Everyone is screwed. This is apparently the kiss of death and allows the White Walkers to see and enter the once-protected cave. The Children of the Forest try to stave them off with magical fire bombs, but it’s a futile effort. Thank god Bran’s wolf Summer is still alive to help Meera fight the good fight.
Meanwhile, Bran is stuck deep in Warg World, this time back at Winterfell, watching his young father and friends, including Hodor. The world’s blur as Meera begs Bran to snap out of it and warg into Hodor so they can make a run for it. “Listen to your friend, Bran,” the Raven tells him. Bran looks at Hodor of past. He does it. The trio jet out of the cave. Bran’s wolf Summer makes a last stand and, WTF, GoT: Did she really have to die? That was a low blow. Then Leaf, our fave Child of the Forest, sacrifices her life and uses her final fire bomb to buy Bran some extra time.
Bran, Meera, and Hodor barely make it out as Meera yells for Hodor to “hold the door.” "Hold the door," he repeats over and over and over again. We flash back to Winterfell past and see young Hodor fall to the ground in seizures crying “Hold the door.” Bran watches, as we all do, as the muffled chant becomes “Hodor.” Past and present merge as we realize Hodor’s fate was written, if you will, all along. He is stabbed to death by the White Walkers as he dutifully holds the door and protects Bran to the bitter end. Our hearts break. Bran’s most of all. You were a gem, Hodor. Hold the door.