Game of Thrones: 605 “The Door” Review
Reviewed by Mark McCullough.
Logically I shouldn’t be giving this week’s outing of Game of Thrones a high score, yet for some reason I found it highly entertaining and one of those rare occasions where the discrepancies did not affect the enjoyment enough to warrant a poor score for the episode. Even after watching it for a second time I still stood by the sentiment that was a very good episode which could have potentially been right up there with the best of the show.
Let’s start with Bran’s storyline which this week managed to showcase both the best and the worst of the episode and without doubt gives us the most to talk about. So far this season Bran has been used as The Door to the past allowing viewers an insight into the history of Westeros. Last time out we seen him at The Tower of Joy which left us wondering if this week would finally hint to the origins of Jon Snow. Instead what we got was more than a hint about the beginning of his Hardhome rivals, the White Walkers. This, as arguably one of the biggest reveals in the history of the show features The Children of the Forrest pierce an ice sword into the heart of a human captive. The result: his eyes change colour to the light blue associated with The White Walkers. This revelation then sets up the rest of Bran’s story in the episode as eager to learn more, he wargs back to the location of the vision. This time however it is covered in snow and features an army of dead, there are tense scenes as Bran walks through these. Eventually he comes to the Night’s King (who can probably be considered as the main antagonist of the entire show) where he gets more than he bargain for. In a scene which confirms what he had expected, Bran can interact whilst in this state and here we see the Night’s King reach out and grab him and in doing so changes everything.
This gives away the location of the cave to the big bad who makes his way there with his army in tow. Thankfully Bran is aware of this and the urgency of the situation is emphasised by the Three Eyed Raven as Bran is told to escape. This is where the first flaw in logic occurs with Bran instead going back to the past to Winterfell, this is compounded by the fact that no reason is actually given. Obviously it was a necessity to be back with Hodor to facilitate what happened next, but one would have thought given the urgency an escape would have been of higher priority. This is excusable however as it could have been fixed by the omission of a single line that there was an important lesson for Bran to learn here that must have been delivered before the young Stark set off to discover things on his own. For the sake of enjoying the scene I’m going to assume the Three Eyed Raven was struck down before he could deliver this message and that the White Walkers arrived sooner than he had expected.
The scene that followed is undoubtedly one of the highlights of this series so far with a frantic dash for safety with the White Walkers in pursuit. This serves up not one but three tragic moments as we lose Summer, Leaf and Hodor all in the space of a few moments. Leaf’s death is somewhat ironic as she falls to her own creation. However it is Hodor’s death which packs the most impact. I suspect for many fans of the show, the words ‘Hold the Door’ will never be the same again. As for the White Walker attack itself, it certainly makes for a visual spectacle. Perhaps not quite on par with Hardhome form last year, but this is only episode five of the series.
Analysis of Hodor’s final moments is where things start to get complicated as there is involves time travel and at a pure guess some sort of predestination time paradox. Bran acts as a link between Hodor’s past and present, controlling his present from within his past: call this Event A. Hodor is then killed whilst trying to buy Bran and Meera time: Event B. I would assume this breaks off Bran’s signal and redirects it to the only source of Hodor, the one in the past. This results in Hodor’s disability: Event C. Which actually leads Hodor to accompany Bran in the first place taking him to the Three Eyed Raven in the earlier series of the show: Event D. Event A cannot happen without Event D having already taken place, but Event D is a direct consequence of Event A and therefore the entire thing is a predestination paradox. Mechanics of what happened aside, we also need to ask the question as to whether Bran simply affected the past, or actively changed it. The answer at the moment is unclear and will certainly cause a debate between fans. Either way, whatever the answer it is Bran’s importance in the narrative has never been higher. It should be interesting to see where we go from here!
Sticking with the Starks we see a resurgence in the North with Jon and Sansa discussing plans to rally the support of the other houses in order to march on Winterfell. Before this however we see a confrontation scene between Sansa and Littlefinger where the former questions the latter’s motives in giving her to the Boltons. There is some exploration into the effects Sansa’s Wedding night had on her, it is unfortunate though that this only ever seems to be explored for the reasons of guilt tripping another character. This still provides for a very interesting scene which shows a side to Sansa that we haven’t seen before: a vengeful one. Despite this she still acts on Littlefinger’s information and refuses to disclose him as a source to Jon. This is perhaps suggestive that the relationship between Sansa and Littlefinger is not totally destroyed and an army of the Vale pledged to Jon’s services might be enough to redeem him.
As for Arya, this week sees her consider her future as one of the Faceless men for the first time. She is given a second chance to redeem herself and carry out a hit, however her heart gets in the way as she feels the intended victim does not deserve it. This was something I welcomed as it was the first time this series her character has really shone through, I can’t help but feel the Faceless Men arc is somewhat stripping Arya of what makes her such a compelling character. With this storyline we are forced to watch a play that is a terrible adaption of the events of Series One, there’s a joke in there somewhere but I’m not going to make it.
With the bulk of the episode being Stark heavy there are only really two other stories this week. The first I want to comment on is Dany and Jorah’s farewell which is left on a bittersweet note as the Khalesi opts to cling onto false hope that Jorah might be able to find a cure. The other big event is the Kingsmoot in the Iron Islands which seems to abandon all previously established rules within the series. Until this week Theon had been referred to as the heir to the Iron Islands with this in mind, the necessity for an event like the Kingsmoot. On top of this we have the established rules about how Kingslaying and Kinslaying are viewed as extremely bad, yet when Euron admits to both, he is practically worshipped and chosen as the next King. One could offer an explanation though that the Iron Island’s worship the Drowned God rather than the Seven so their customs may differ slightly. Despite the obvious flaws within this scene I still really enjoyed the scene and feel that Euron could have the potential to be one of more interesting characters going forward. His delusional ideas will almost certainly be his undoing, either that or a danger to some of our favourite characters.
The rating this week comes mostly from the enjoyment of the episode. As I have already pointed out within the main text of the review, there were obvious flaws within the narrative and my rating has to represent that fact. Nonetheless the episode was still a top quality one and moves this series to a score of above average for the show at the half way point of the series. With a second half that looks set to only get better, we could be on track for one of the best series yet!