I’ve spent the last week just talking to people and trying to fully understand my own thoughts on last week’s Game of Thrones. My knee-jerk reaction was to say I didn’t like the episode, while it seems like the rest of the world latched onto the fifth episode’s final scene and considered it reason enough to love it. Upon further reflection, I still stand by my thoughts of the episode but there is plenty worthy to discuss here for both the future of Game of Thrones and fantasy television.
The title of this episode is “The Door”, and only really has any bearing on the final scene of the episode involving Hodor and a gnarly science fiction moment. I’ll get there, as I always do, but for now I just want to highlight the moments of the episode that I really liked. Most of which are confrontations. This is an episode where the two best scenes are characters who pine for another and are ultimately turned away (by their own hand or someone else’s). The first notable one is Sansa and Baelish who meet again for the first time since she was sent off to Ramsay. Sansa basically tells Littlefinger off for having no idea what would happen to Sansa (and what eventually does).
So in a sense, you could blame Littlefinger for one of the show’s worst scenes – Sansa’s rape by Ramsay, but with the camera’s focus only being on Theon’s face. There is a way in which this show tries to hate on men, and I think Sansa’s confrontation with Baelish is that done well. His loss for words and inability to talk himself out of the accusation is what makes that scene extremely powerful. We don’t really get to linger with it much though because there’s still a lot of chess pieces to move, including news of Riverrun’s army. It’s a good thing war isn’t on the horizon though, because Sansa still finds the time to make Jon a nice coat.
The other confrontation that stands out is the one between Jorah and Daenarys. Daenarys basically continues to say “You’re a friend” and Jorah says “I love you too much” and so Daenarys tells him to go find a cure for his greyscale and then return to her only if he finds the cure. I’m boiling it down to a less romantic way, but if you think about it like that, she was kind of a bitch to him again. The reason I like the moment though is because it is essentially Jorah saying he isn’t going to pursue her right now while having the infliction. I still have the smallest expectation that he will whittle away to nothingness still loving Daenarys completely. Which would be the predictable, but not terrible way to end that storyline.
BUT NOW IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT THE BAD STUFF! Let’s begin with Arya. This storyline has become the new Dorne, because Dorne is apparently no longer a concern according to the show. We’ve now gone three episodes without even a shot of Dorne. So let’s replace that boring and terrible place with the exact same plot every episode. Arya is still being tested of whether she can let go of her past and what makes her Arya. Every episode has essentially had her go through this and then realize she’s not ready. “The Door” is especially egregious on this front because it literally replays the events of season one right in front of Arya’s face – complete with close-ups of her not having any of it!
Why is this such an issue? Because either the show moves on from this plotline and makes Arya just a girl with no name, or it is doomed to make her arc forever tainted. It’s already at a point now where the show’s writers seem to be spinning their tires with no end in sight. There is only one conclusion this arc has and the show seems dead-set on having it, but not until they’ve hit the end of the season. This is a larger problem with Game of Thrones as a whole…remember Daenarys in season two? Her dragons locked up and the show could have resolved after one episode if it wanted to, but instead pushed it out for several more episodes than it needed to be.
Speaking of arcs that will likely go in one direction and nothing more: the Greyjoys. I firmly believe nothing substantial is going to result from this story. Yes, Yara might eventually become the ruler of the Iron Islands, but now she’s left with Theon and a gazillion boats. Hardly the ironborn way, because she literally did the one thing everyone yelled at Theon for doing: leaving. My major issues with this moment in the episode stem from the escape with every boat on the Iron Islands. How did Yara and Theon escape with all the boats and no one noticed? How you gonna make a bunch of boats in a quick amount of time, with far less people (there had to be quite a bit to leave and helm the ships, otherwise most of those are not gonna make the journey) and what seems like no wood on the island? I’m not even entirely sure how they made the boats in the first place because every shot of the Iron Islands has made it look barren.
Let’s just ignore all of that and follow me on a little brain exercise through what could even happen with the Greyjoy storyline. They’re not going to rule Westeros, that’s for sure. They’re not going to really rule anything other than the Iron Islands, once they get Euron out of the way. They are not a family that really does much other than fight. Soooooo, is it not safe to assume that the only way this story ends is with the Greyjoys all dying (seems unlikely, but potentially it could happen) or the more likely bet, they lend their ships to another army and either win or lose. They are never going to be more than just an aid to someone else’s fight. That is my issue with the Greyjoy story because while you might care about the nuance of Theon’s character and how he will redeem himself, it all still ends in one of two ways – he dies, or he helps.
I’m going to skip the Tyrion and Varys stuff for the most part. It’s clear the show is squandering its most popular character (Tyrion) and hardly giving him anything substantial to do. Introducing another Red Priest is just another potential foil for Dany’s plans to rule, because if we’ve learned anything from religion in Game of Thrones, it is that it does not mix well with politics.
Now, for the moment everyone has been waiting for: Hodor! It seems like everybody has forgotten about the rest of this week’s episode because they’re too preoccupied with the death of comedic relief. Because really, Hodor was little else in the show’s eyes. However, I loved every moment with him and I think that the sendoff for his character was extremely powerful in more ways than one. Yes, he died protecting Bran – a sacrifice that makes a lot of sense. But he basically died protecting Bran because of an order Bran gave him when he was a kid. That is the crazy part of this episode that makes me wonder what the hell else the show has up its sleeve.
If Game of Thrones is willing to essentially say that yes, there is time traveling too, then I don’t see why Bran doesn’t go back to the events of season one and try to change things there. I believe the show will establish that there isn’t any physical connection, but they’re now walking into a tricky spot with even voices being able to be heard. The White Walkers coming in to ruin everyone’s day simply because Bran was time-warging was pretty neat too because it does establish more mysticism with the icy foes.
Side note: I think it is neat that the Children of the Forest made the White Walkers. Not really sure where that will go from there, but it’s a neat piece of lore.
Really my questions for next episode are aplenty, though. Does Arya ever get out of the plot quicksand she’s clearly stuck in? How much suspension of disbelief do I have to suspend to see an army of boats summoned by the next episode, from Euron (answer: all of the disbelief)? Are they just gonna show us the magical forest they’ve been hiding on the Island? When does Bran go back in time and it turns out Ned died because of Bran’s advice? Will Jorah shrivel up and die in Daenarys’s arms just as she’s about to finally make love to him? Or will he find a cure and just die before he finally gets to be with Daenarys? I have lots of question, but we’ll see if Game of Thrones wants to answer them starting next week.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO
Game of Thrones "The Door"
- Sansa put Baelish in his place, leaving him speechless
- White Walkers were an evil created as defense, which is cool
- Wait a minute, Bran. Ah... Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a tree?
- Arya might as well just ditch Bravos, it's a trap
- The Greyjoys are smart to leave, but are they not just cowards now?
- Tyrion maintains being one of the more boring parts of the show