Hello friends and welcome back to our Game of Thrones coverage. Wow!! What an episode! These big ones always seem to happen when I'm out of town and even more limited with time. But I'm going to jot some thoughts on the key points down and then open the floor for discussion! Let's dive in.
- Arya's Assignment - Arya got a little history on the foundation of Braavos and the many faced god religion. She is the first highborn to try and become no one. And she is getting one more test. She has to kill an actress. She deduced that a younger actress wants the older one dead. Arya was conflicted because the actress (can't remember the name sorry) seemed to be a decent person. But, she knows how she will kill her if she decides to follow through with it. The Waif is convinced Arya will never be no one and referred to her as Lady Stark. I've already spoken my feelings on the matter. There's a reason she didn't throw away Needle. Anyway, the play setting is actually reminiscent of a chapter called "Mercy" from the unreleased "Winds of Winter" (book 6). And it was no coincidence that one of the actors actually mentioned "The Winds of Winter" in their line reading. The play itself was different though and was basically a recap of some of the King's Landing antics of past seasons. But told from the perspective of the playwright and possibly the public perception. I had noted before (in recap or comments) that the Stark Name is in need of redemption due to how Ned Stark was taken off the table. This play reaffirmed that notion that the perception of Ned is that he was power hungry and tried to usurp the throne after his friend Robert Baratheon died. It also portrayed Theon in poor light too. We'll see if Arya honors her assignment to kill Actress Cersei to please Actress Sansa.
- Meereen Stuff - We had a small council meeting of sorts with everyone discussing how Sons of the Harpy attacks and Master slayings has been decreased since their agreement forged by Tyrion. Tyrion still wants to make sure that word gets out that Dany is behind the peace. He enlists a red priestess (who he actually made eye contact with in Volantis last season) to help spread Dany's message. This priestess indicates that Dany is the one who is promised (i.e. Azor Ahai, the one to lead the people out of the dark night and in direct contradiction with Melisandre who thinks Jon Snow is that same person). Varys is skeptical as he knows Melisandre once thought Stannis was this person. But then this woman got creepy knowing Varys history of being castrated and the scream he heard in the fire. It's possible this woman is a lot older than she seems as well. But how does she know all of this stuff? Anyway, the woman is inclined to help them as they both want to serve Dany. We'll see how this progresses.
- Dany and Jorah - Long story short. Dany is bringing her hoard of Dothraki out of Vaes Dothrak and had to figure out what to do with Jorah. Joran reveals he has grey scale. This deeply affects Dany and she charges him with finding a cure and then returning to her side to take the 7 Kingdoms. Awwwww. Good luck Jorah!
- Pyke - We finally got our Kingsmoot! Yara put in her claim for the throne with Theon's support but Euron Greyjoy showed up and staked his claim. The people ended up supporting him since they never had a queen before. And he also promised to lead them to Meereen to meet Danaerys Targaryan who has a huge army and is unmarried. He will woo her with his ships and forge an alliance to take the 7 kingdoms. (I told you that fleet was burned for a reason!) This is very much in line with what happened with the books. Even the ritual to essentially kill the new king by drowning and then have them rise again (What is dead may never die) stronger. But, it's taken on a new twist with Euron trying to kill Yara and Theon as they fled with the entire fleet that are loyal to Yara. Where will they go? I have my speculations but I'll keep that to themselves. But Euron is going to build a bunch of new ships and go after her and kill his niece and nephew. That shouldn't take too long right? Maybe they can hire Floki from Vikings.
- Castle Black and Molestown - Sansa reunited with Littlefinger in Molestown and gave him a piece of her mind. He still claims to not have known how bad Ramsay was. She pretty much spoke for the audience in how poorly conceived that plot line was. Either he is a liar or incredible stupid! He knows everything else! Anyway she kept pushing him to tell her what happened to her. She pretty much recapped her experiences to the audience's discomfort. But he did bring news with him of Blackfish (You may remember him from season 3. He escaped the Red Wedding by having to take a piss) regrouping forces in Riverrun. I'm not sure if he promised him the knights of the Vale or not too. But this could certainly help in their quest to take back Riverrun. Later they meet with Jon, Davos and Melisandre and go over the state of things. Sansa thinks they can get the Karstarks back on their side even if Robb Stark beheaded their father. She lies to Jon and says she found out from Ramsay about Blackfish. Anyway, she wants Brienne to go on a quest to recruit him. This is a twist on events in the book. Blackfish does come back into the story but it's Jaime Lannister that goes to meet him. Brienne does have additional stories in Riverrun in the books so I'm hoping this is a possibly a return to that story! In the show though, Brienne has reservations against leaving her with Davos and Mel. And she comically made comments about Tormund, to which we got eye rolls when he made some looks at her too. Loving this subplot! Anyway, she says she trusts Jon with her life. We also finally see everyone depart Castle Black and Dolores Edd assume the post of 999th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch. It looks like Edd and Jon left on semi-good terms too. And awwww Sansa made Jon a coat like Ned Stark's!
- Origin of the Night's King and the White Walkers - This is brand new information to Book readers and Show watchers alike. (I think) We follow Bran into the past and see the creation of the Night's King. This is confirmed by EW as the actor/stunt double that plays the Night's King played the man who got stabbed by Dragonglass by LEAF, one of the children of the forest. Apparently, the White Walkers were created to protect the children of the forest from MEN many many years ago. The threat has gotten much worse since then and it would seem they have turned on the children of the forest. But, it does present a possible eventual twist with the White Walkers' purpose in the show. We have discussed such twists in our "book spoiler" commentary in past recaps. Everything on the show is pretty ambiguous and doesn't really come down to Good vs. Evil so maybe the same will be true with the GREAT BATTLE TO COME.
- Hold The Door!!! - We finally see Bran sneak in a peak in the greenseer network without the 3 eyed Raven and he is taken to what I'd have to assume is the present day with the wights and white walker army amassed somewhere North of the Wall. Bran walked right up to the Night King and the king reached out and grabbed Bran. This essentially marked him and eliminated the magic protecting the Weirwood Tree from the White Walkers. The 3 eyed Raven said it's time for Bran to become HIM even if he isn't ready. They go back into green seeing mode for some last minute learnings, but their time is short. The Night King is on his way. Apparently, this vision was really to fulfill a destiny. It needed to happen, because it already had happened (ahhh it appears we did go the LOST route of time travel with Whatever Happened Happened.) We go back to Winterfell where Ned Stark is receiving advice from his father Rickard Stark to keep pushing on when all hope is lost. Wyllis (Hodor) is there too. In the present day, the White Walker and Wight army has arrived. Leaf and Meera are trying to fend them off. They create a fire wall with their crazy magic grenades. This keeps the wights out but the walkers come through. Meera kills one with a dragon glass spear (must've been the children of the forest's spear). But she calls out for Bran that they need Hodor to pick him up and get them out of there. Summer defends Bran as well but ends up getting killed by wights coming in through the top of the tree. COME ON HBO! Stop killing dire wolves!!!! RIP SUMMER. Bran starts hearing the calls of Meera in his vision. The Raven tells him he should listen. Meanwhile the Raven gets slayed by the Night King and he disappears from the vision. His destiny is fulfilled. Bran stays too long in the vision and connects with Hodor in the past and present. They are escaping in the present but there are too many wights. Leaf sacrifices herself to give them more time. They get out the door but there are hundreds of wights behind them. Meera and Bran both tell Hodor to HOLD THE DOOR. And he does. He keeps yelling Hodor. In the past Wyllis starts yelling "hold the door" and going into seizures. Hold the Door is repeated many times until it morphs into HODOR and we see the origin and end of Hodor. Bran was the one that cause his condition due to his evolving powers and meddling with time. Bran and Meera escape to head out to who knows where. Amazing and crushing scene. RIP Hodor. You will be missed!