Game of Thrones Opens the Door

Birth of the Night's King

Did Game of Thrones out zombie the Walking Dead?

(Turn back now, friends, if spoilers aren’t your thing.)

The history of Game of Throne’s history has taught us a great episode is usually followed by a mediocre, slow episode. There are a few  reasons why this happens.  Storywise, it makes sense in the overall narrative. One, it’s difficult to follow up an intense episode with another episode equally as awesome as the one that followed. Second, slower episodes let the audience catch its breath. Last, a story needs its valleys, the low points, to move the story forward to the next high octane moments that will either end a story line or bring a story line closer to and end. This was not the case with “The Door.” “The Door” hit the ground running and only paused a moment to let us catch our breath.

The talk will surely be of Bran and Hodor. Rightfully, so. These moments will have far reaching ramifications in the Game of Thrones world. However, we should not ignore the other equally as important moments.

Blind Arya
I was blind, but now I see.

The total amount of time Arya has been on screen, rounded up, comes to about five minutes. That’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but it helps prove my point. Arya is not a mother to dragons, she hasn’t risen from the dead, and she can’t pull a Vulcan mind meld with animals. Arya is, however, one of the most dynamic characters on Game of Thrones.

Arya Stark has always been the spunkiest of the Starks. When we first met her at Winterfell she was the tomboy who thought girls had just as much right to learn how to use a sword and shoot a bow as a boy. Indeed, she was better at it than Bran.

After Ned’s execution she became hell-bent on revenge. What child would memorize a hit list and then recite it to one of the people on the list? Arya. That’s who. Her ambition led her on a journey to the Faceless Men, only to be blinded when she disobeyed their orders.

“The Door,” particularly the play scene where Ned Stark’s death was reenacted, showed us what  Arya has become since her with Jaqen H’ghar. The Arya before would have shouted, puffed up, and tried to do some damage to someone before the play had even started. After six seasons we may have forgotten that Arya has been out of the loop since Ned’s death. She learned some things she hadn’t known before and had she stayed longer Arya may have learned more about what happened after she left Westeros. What makes it understandable when she jumped a little and shot looks around the audience. However, this new Arya remained in control of herself and her emotions. It would appear Arya has become the girl with no name.

Euron claims the throne of the Iron Islands.
I spy with my little eye.

During Yara Greyjoy’s short-lived acceptance speech she said the other kingdoms use the Iron Islands only when they need them. Afterward, the Ironborn are forgotten. It’s true the other kingdoms forget about the Ironborn. It’s also true Game of Thrones has forgotten the Iron Islands. We saw more in the last episode than we had seen in previous seasons yet everyone talked about seeking their help (Remember the Red Wedding?), there were hints and teases we would get more from the Iron Islands. However, we never got more than a few moments here and there.

“The Door” has made it so Theon, Yara, Euron, and the rest of Iron Islands won’t be forgotten. When the credits rolled on the episode Yara, Theon, and the fleet were sailing towards destinations unknown. Euron, the new king of the Iron Islands, had pledged to build a fleet unlike any other seen and sail it to Daenerys Targaryen. A massive fleet? For Daenerys? Convenient that The Sons of the Harpy had burned her fleet episodes before. Eventually he’ll build that fleet, but first he’ll hunt Theon and Yara. The eventual meeting with the Mother of Dragons will have to wait. While we wait we’re bound to get some more minutes with the Greyjoys.

It may be yet another yarn weaving through the story, but it’s one that makes more sense than some of the other decisions made in Game of Thrones. If Daenerys is going to move on Westeros she will need a fleet. A lot will happen between now and then.

Jorah looks at Daenerys
Ordered to find the cure.

Daenerys didn’t have much to do in “The Door.” She appeared long enough to forgive Jorah Mormont. In Meereen, Tyrion’s treaty with the slavers seemed to be holding steady. It remains to be seen how things will play out when Daenerys returns to learn Tyrion has allowed the return of slavery. Tyrion has gotten out of some tight spots in the past, but this may the toughest spot he has ever been in.

We’ve discussed how Sansa has changed in past articles. Her change to a strong woman was cemented during her confrontation with Petyr Baelish. Baelish appeared humble at the end. However, Baelish has proved himself a master of deception. He does have Robin’s ear and, for all intents and purposes, controls the army of the Vale. Don’t forget, he played a pivotal role in murdering Joffrey.  Odds are we’ll see him again because Jon and Sansa are going to need the army when they move on Winterfell.

Petyr talks to Sansa
Don’t count him out.

A lot occurred at the Weirdwood cave that left us speechless by the end of the episode. Up to this point in season six Bran had been limited to a few minutes of screen time. Granted those few minutes were very interesting. The Three-Eyed Raven showed Bran the past where he saw his father, aunt, and even Hodor. Bran saw a lot more in “The Door.”

We learned the Children created the Night’s King to protect them from the First Men. Bran showed us the army of dead the Night’s King was massing in the frozen lands. We learned why Hodor can only say “Hodor.” It could be argued that Bran’s sight is more than a sight. It could be argued Bran traveled back in time. How else can we explain what occurred in the past leaving Hodor traumatized? It was a revelation of epic proportions, but not as epic as his final act to protect Bran and Meera as they made their escape into the snow storm.

Night's King looks at fire
A little fire can’t stop evil.

Hodor was holding the door against an army of wights. Game of Thrones has had some incredible visuals and scenes. However, none of them compared to the wights chasing the Children, Hodor, Meera, and a zoned out Bran. The Walking Dead couldn’t create a scene like the chase scene in “The Door.” It ended an episode just as, if not more, high octane as the one before and left Bran out in the wilds again.

Will we see Hodor again as a wight? Stranger things have happened in Game of Thrones. Bean asked The Three-Eyed Raven what would happen that the Night’s King knew where he was at the Weirdwood cave. His answer was a cryptic, “You will become me.” What did he mean? Will Bran be able to see across the Seven Kingdoms? Will he be something more than human? The next few episodes should be very interesting.


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