The 5th episode of Game of Thrones season 6 was called “The Door” and while the gears kept turning on some major plot lines introduced in some of the earlier episodes, it was also packed with a ton of massive revelations. Where season 5 dragged on in a lot of ways, it seems that the producers realize that there aren’t many episodes left and that they need to take some large steps toward ending the story. On the other side of the door there are spoilers.
The episode begins with a secret meeting between Petyr Baelish and Sansa, guarded by Brienne. Interestingly enough, the last time something like this happened she was being protected by Baelish on her way to Winterfell when Brienne offered to help and Sansa refused. Now, Petyr Baelish is offering to help Sansa and she isn’t much interested given his track record.
Then we see Arya’s continued training against The Waif. She seems to be progressing, but after a clear beating it is suggested she will never be one of them, as in she is not capable. J’aqen then gives Arya a vial of poison and tells her that she has been given a second chance but there will not be a third. The vial is destined for an actor, who is part of an acting troupe putting on a play depicting the fall of Robert Baratheon and the beheading of her father, Ned Stark. This is a clear test for Arya, as the play is evokes emotions that she is not supposed to have if she is actually No One. Instead, A Girl begins to ask questions.
Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven (3ER) then watch the creation of the White Walkers by the Children of the Forest. This is a crazy reveal. They were created to destroy the First Men who had come to Westeros and started chopping down all the sacred trees.
We are transported to Pyke where they are holding the King’s Moot to select the new King (or Queen) of the Iron Islands. Yara makes a claim to the Salt Throne, to which Theon concedes and makes an eloquent defense of his sister’s claim. Euron challenges her, with great effect. He claims that he paid the iron price for the throne and he is more worthy of it. They choose Euron who goes through his coronation (read: drowning) while Theon and Yara steal off with his best ships. What is dead may never die.
Jorah reveals to Dany that he has greyscale, for which it is believed that there is no known cure. He also tells her that he loves her and always will. Dany commands him to find the cure, in her own way telling Jorah that she also loves him. Dany was bound by politics before when she had to repeatedly turn him away. Now, when she turns him away it feels entirely different. It could very well be a final goodbye.
This episode introduced a new red priestess to the show, Kinvara. It is interesting to consider the parallels with King’s Landing here. Basically, Kinvara has come to Mereen to lead a kind of religious fanatacism based on a connnection between Dany/dragonfire/Lord of Light. Varys responds with a kind of visceral skepticism and tells Kinvara that Melisandre chose the wrong Azor Ahai, why should he believe that she is any different. When Kinvara speaks about intimate details regarding Varys’ mutilation, Varys becomes obviously shaken. She shouldn’t know any of that information. She wears a glamour. I don’t trust her.
Bran decides to go rogue and enters a vision on his own. It’s difficult to say exactly when his vision takes place, but he is in front of a massive army of the dead near a weirwood tree that has been split in half. He wanders through their ranks, observing the decay, suddenly he comes upon the Night King who is clearly aware of his presence. The Night King reaches out and touches him in the vision, which breaks the magical barrier protecting the weirwood where Bran has been kept safe. The 3ER says that there is no more time and now Bran must become him, a very cryptic phrasing.
And then…we got Red Wedding’d, again. This time it was by a cascade of sacrifice. The Night King arrives with his army of the dead and descends on the weirwood to presumably capture or kill Bran. First, Bran’s direwolf Summer stands his ground to provide time for Bran and the others to leave. During the attack, Bran is forced to warg into Hodor to aid in the escape. Yes, Bran is both greenseeing the past and warging in the present. To me, this suggests that Bran’s skills are incredibly powerful. During the escape the 3ER is killed by the White Walkers, leaving Bran suspended in the vision of the past on his own. Leaf then sacrifices herself as the horde gets closer. What happens next is fairly complicated, and this is actually a place where I believe the show suffers with not having the accompanying text for fans to wrap their collective head around an event.
While warging in Hodor’s body he hears Meera scream the instructions to “Hold the door,” but this voice also bleeds through Bran’s greensight into the past when young Wyllas hears the voice on the wind, in the same way that Ned Stark did at the Tower of Joy. He also seems to actually see Bran during the past. This creates a kind of temporal feedback loop, in which Hodor/Wyllas is now suspended and Wyllas falls into a seizure screaming “Hold the door!” It seems that as a young man Wyllas experienced his death in the present. This essentially destroyed his mind and Bran is responsible.