“The time has come … For you to become me.”
“Am I ready?”
Game of Thrones has always been about becoming, hasn’t it? Yes, it’s about the politics and the play for the throne. It’s about brutality and violence and power. But it’s also been about fate, about accepting it or rejecting it, and about the growth that occurs when you either decide that life is happening to you or that you are bending life to your will. Think of Cersei, terrified of Maggy the Frog’s prophecy about “gold shall be their crowns, and their shrouds.” Think of Dany, and “the dragon has three heads.” Think of Jaime, and his “fuck prophecy.” Do things have to happen, or do we just let them happen? What is our choice?
And so, amid all this, consider Hodor: A man who saw his fate decades before it happened, whose entire existence of living became tied up in what he knew about dying. If we are in charge of who we are and who we become, where does that leave Hodor? The task becomes his name. His heroism becomes his identity. In an argument about fate, let’s never forget Hodor. “Hold the door”? No, hold my tears. There are too damn many of them.
What else happened in “The Door”? Let’s talk about it. Gather your tissues and join me in this sadness.
Second, so how does this damn greenseeing work? In the books, and to a certain extent in the show, the greenseeing is tied to nature—what the Three-Eyed Raven and Bran are doing is using the weirwood trees to spy on areas throughout Westeros, through other trees, by using their consciousness to travel through the roots and leaves. The weirwood tree they’re under has clearly been there hundreds of years—is it the one from Bran’s flashback, even?—and Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven clearly need it to travel through time and space, because they’re touching the roots whenever they do this. But whenever Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven show up places, there aren’t necessarily trees around—not near the Tower of Joy, and not in the parts of Winterfell they wander around—so that’s a mystery.
Also, props to Meera Reed for killing a White Walker, and pour one out for Summer, who gives his life protecting Bran. First Shaggydog, and now this?! NOT OK, GUYS.
“Did you know about Ramsay? If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot. If you did know, you’re my enemy. Would you like to hear about our wedding night? He didn’t hurt my face. He needed my face, the face of Ned Stark’s daughter. But the rest of me, he did what he liked with the rest of me. As long as I could still give him an heir. What do you think he did to me? ... I can still feel what he did, in my body, standing here, right now. … You said you would protect me. I don’t believe you anymore, I don’t need you anymore. You can’t protect me.”
Well! Hard to argue with that, especially since so many of us—me included—wondered last year what Littlefinger was playing at when he engineered Sansa’s wedding to Ramsay through collusion with Roose. Truly, will we ever find out what Littlefinger knew? Doubtful. Was he actually sorry for Sansa? I think so, given his total infatuation with her and what she represents: both the child he could have had with Catelyn Stark, and the way Catelyn Stark was back when he loved her in their youth.
But it was foolish of Sansa to reject the Knights of the Vale, right, and to then lie to Jon about meeting Littlefinger in Mole’s Town? Any sword in this fight to reclaim Winterfell is necessary, and while Sansa obviously wants to stand on her own—without Littlefinger but with Jon, dressed in gear that proclaims to everyone and anyone that they’re Starks—the Knights of the Vale probably would have been useful.
The Starks have a tangible plan, though, possibly the first time ever that the siblings have worked together: Brienne is going to the Riverlands to meet with the Blackfish Brynden Tully, Sansa’s great-uncle, on her behalf, while Sansa and Jon are traveling to some of the Northern families (“The Umbers gave Rickon to our enemies; they can hang” = !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) to see if they can sway them to declare for the Starks instead of the Boltons. I think that means a scene with the Manderlys in our future, right? (And perhaps we’ll get a recreation of the Davos/Wyman Manderly altercation from the books, too, if we’re lucky.)
So yeah, don’t know if you knew, but—the North remembers.
No one could have guessed how Arya’s story would progress after she watched her father die in King’s Landing, and if we’re talking about fate, then Arya is constantly working to be in charge of hers—but only up to a point, only within the confines of becoming no one. And week after week in this very long, very tedious journey, we see reminders of who Arya Stark is, from her stiffness when the mummers portray father Ned as a bumbling, power-hungry idiot, to her wondering about who would want to kill Lady Crane, the actress she’s tasked with poisoning.
“A servant does not ask questions,” Jaqen says. But while the show keeps placing Arya in subservient roles—Tywin’s cupbearer, the Mountain’s charge—that’s not who she is. And how much longer Jaqen and the Waif will humor her is anyone’s guess.
But this felt like a hurry-up-and-wait scenario, didn’t it? Because while Euron is getting baptized/drowned in the sea as the Ironborn’s new leader (“What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger”), Yara and Theon are stealing the Iron Fleet, taking all the best ships with them. Where are they going? Maybe to Meereen, to divert Euron’s plans of marrying Dany (ahahhahaa) and overthrowing Westeros with the help of her dragons (ahahahhahahahaa, you dumbass). “I’m not going to seduce her, the Iron Fleet is going to seduce her,” Euron scoffed at Yara when she questioned his stump speech during the Kingsmoot, but if Yara and Theon get to her first, what advantage does Euron have?
Also a question: If the Ironborn have to make 1,000 new ships from scratch, HOW LONG WILL THAT TAKE? Euron has promised them “this world,” but I’m wondering what liberties the show will take with time here. If we check in with the Ironborn next week and they suddenly have 1,000 ships built already, that will be fucking ridiculous.
Oh wait, another question: Yara and Euron basically had the exact same agenda for the Ironborn, right? Both of them want to invade Westeros, which is the opposite of what Yara wanted in the books, actually; she wanted peace, and to stop tangling the Ironborn with matters that had nothing to do with them. But here, Yara and Euron have the same plan, and Euron is the one who adds the wildcard by introducing Dany into the mix. I mean, I’d probably vote for him, too, if I was a chauvinistic idiot who only prioritized violence and dominance. The man knows how to play to the Kingsmoot crowd.
Still, I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more detail to Yara’s plan—she’s been helping Balon rule for years, but didn’t have a grander vision? And I was also let down by Euron, too—he should be MORE CRAZY. “Where are my niece and nephew? Let’s go murder them!” is a fine line, but does Euron really feel like a pirate who has terrorized half the world? Ehh.
But he doesn’t, and so we have this uneasy altercation between Tyrion, Varys, and Kinvara, who like Melisandre wears the red choker and worships the Lord of Light, but who unlike Melisandre thinks that the Prince That Was Promised, Azor Ahai, is actually Dany. As Varys notes, Melisandre also once upon a time thought Stannis was the Prince That Was Promised, but how do you respond to “Everything is the Lord’s will”? You can’t reason with fanatics. Varys knows that already, but how long will it take Tyrion to learn it, too?
And some odds and ends:
+ The advice from Rickard Stark, Ned’s father, given during that flashback Bran was in fully captures the Stark ideology: “If you have to fight, win.”
+ “Whatever you ask that is in my power, I will do. … I will die.” This seemed like such a teenager mentality from Petyr, right? “If you don’t like me, I’LL JUST DIE!” is basically a quintessential adolescent whine. But in a lot of ways, it’s clear that Littlefinger is operating with the same mentality of that teenage boy who asked for Catelyn’s hand and ended up embarrassed by the Starks, and who slept with Lysa because he couldn’t get Cat. Get your shit together, Carcetti.
+ BOOK READERS ONLY: A few seasons ago, I would have thought Brienne finally going to the Riverlands meant that we would meet Lady Stoneheart, and I’ve read some rumors that Jaime will end up in the Riverlands later this season, too. Jaime/Brienne reunion? I don’t think the show did a good enough job depicting their relationship, but whatever, I’ll take what I can get. And no, at this point, I don’t think we’ll ever get Lady Stoneheart. Le sigh.
+ Anyone else notice this line from Lady Crane-as-Cersei: “I feel the winds of winter as they lick across the land”? FINISH THE DAMN BOOK, GEORGE.
+ While we’re talking about the mummers show, let’s discuss seeing that guy’s package backstage. I’ve read some commentary online about how the show’s producers are finally listening to all of our complaints about the inescapable female nudity and were throwing us a bone, but the actor playing Joffrey was complaining about warts on his penis. NO THANKS, I don’t want to see that, and it doesn’t make up for naked woman after naked woman—in fact, there was a topless woman EVEN IN THAT SAME SCENE. This is not #winning.
+ So apparently the Ironborn priest IS Aeron Greyjoy, according to HBO’s subtitles, and it’s annoying to me that the show would do nothing to address that Aeron is both Balon’s and Euron’s brother. It’s fine if the show didn’t want to include all of the details of Aeron’s backstory (that he was sexually abused by Euron when they were children, for example), but how are you going to cast the role but then never acknowledge that the character is related to Euron, Yara, and Theon—the three most important members of the Ironborn right now? Ugh.
+ Your weekly castration joke comes to you from Euron Greyjoy in his mocking of Theon: “‘Gallivanting,’ is that the sort of thing you say when your dick gets chopped off?”
+ Loved Tyrion trying to smooth over Kinvara’s zealotry: “The dragons will purify nonbelievers by the thousands.” “Ideally, we’d avoid purifying too many nonbelievers.”
+ And finally, in clips for next week’s sixth episode of this sixth season, “Blood of My Blood”: Meera is still running away from the White Walkers with Bran; Jaime is leading that attack on the High Septon, who still has Margaery; “I take what is mine,” says Dany to Daario; and Sam and Gilly arrive at House Tarly at Horn Hill.