Last night, #HoldtheDoor was trending worldwide on Twitter. If you don’t know why, don’t read this yet.
Sansa and Littlefinger Talk about an evolution. I was pleased to see Sansa not only castigate and threaten Littlefinger, but speak aloud about what happened to her and force him to acknowledge her words. I have the feeling she’ll never be politely silent again on an important topic again. As she said: “If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot. If you did know, you’re my enemy.” Bang. Around season 4, I had the idea Sansa might transform into a master of duplicity like Littlefinger. Now I believe her long apprenticeship with him has simply taught her how to see through liars. More on Sansa later.
“Lady Stark” vs “No One” The pacing of the Arya-in-Braavos segments have been slow for me. I loved it when she was on the road with the Hound. Every time the story cut to those two, we got a dose of violence, humor, and/or character development. But the Faceless Men segments always seem to revolve around insults and getting whacked with a stick. Now it seems like Arya is looking down the barrel of her big choice: kill a total stranger because her organization was paid to do so, or defy the order and fail for the last time.
Until last night, I believed Arya would abandon her identity and live out her days as an assassin. Now I’m not so sure. Is it a coincidence that the actors caught her up on key developments like Sansa being forced to marry Tyrion? (And by the way, as much as I liked Ned, the play’s portrayal of him as an absolute buffoon was pretty funny.) Here’s another truly fearless prediction, since I am on a massive losing streak: Arya will take her skills and her sword back to Westeros to rejoin what’s left of her family.
Bombshell: The Origin of the White Walkers I never really thought about where the Others came from. I assumed they were merely this grim world’s grimmest reality. Now we know the Children of the Forest created them in their desperation to defeat the First Men. If the Others can be created, they can be uncreated. Bran, you have your assignment.
The Kingsmoot Seems Less Moot In the books, I found the Kingsmoot sections fairly tedious, but the show condensed and simplified them beautifully. As an aside, when Euron called on his subjects to cut down every tree and build a thousand ships, I couldn’t help wondering if the Iron Islands have enough trees to construct a hundred dinghies. But never mind. Can’t get bogged down on supply-source details. That’s a slippery slope which can only lead to noticing Olly went from a boy to a young man in the space of approximately two days, or that none of these folks have access to modern dentistry, yet most have perfect teeth.
Ser Jorah, the Khaleesi, Tyrion, and Kinvara I adore Jorah’s character and the way Iain Glen plays him. I could happily listen to him read the back of a cereal box. So it was lovely to see Danaerys admit her (unromantic) love for Jorah, and command him to “heal himself.” I doubt he’ll find a cure, but if he ranges far and wide enough, he might discover something that advances the plot. Heh heh.
Meanwhile, Tyrion and Varys befriend/empower a religious fanatic, just as Cersei did in season 5. Let’s hope it works out better. Kinvara seems like trouble. Am I the only one who was disappointed when she didn’t tell Varys who spoke from the flames, or what was said?
Sansa, Part 2 Ever since Sansa finally escaped from King’s Landing, I’ve dreamed up ways she can charm, lie, or marry her way into lasting safety. I never imagined her sitting in a council of war, deciding who is a potential ally and who “can hang.” Jon is looking more and more like Ned (the hair, the new cloak, the constipated expression) but Sansa is changing into something new: the Wardeness of the North, perhaps.
I also noticed some meaningful looks when Jon was referenced as her half-brother, and as a bastard named Snow. Will Sansa make him a Stark at last? And if she does, how will that fit into the long-expected revelation that he is… well, you know.
Hold the Door Bran does some unauthorized astral projection and ends up bringing the Others and an undead hoard right to his erstwhile safe house. (Safe tree?) Looks like his unpaid internship has wrapped and he’s become the CEO.
The death of the Three-Eyed Raven was expected (if early) but the demise of Summer hit me hard. Remember last week when I became fully delusional and spun a scenario in which Shaggydog was still alive? Well, scratch that. Summer was literally destroyed by the forces of eternal winter. I hate when that happens.
As for the truth about Hodor, it proved as startling, genuinely satisfying and mind-trippy as the film Interstellar did not. To think, ever since Bran was crippled, he’s been served by a gentle giant who is a simpleton because of Bran. I remember in the books, when Old Nan said Hodor wasn’t actually his name, but just something he started saying, and I thought it was a nice throwaway detail that proves how deeply George R.R. Martin imagines his world. Now we understand at last. This is what an earned, perfectly executed twist-reveal looks and feels like. Well played, GRRM.
Bizarre and Probably Dead Wrong Theory These are NOT spoilers, but simply theories. The Tyrion theory comes from a friend. The rest are mine, but I’ve discovered that anything I devise on my own has already been floated online by hundreds of other fans. So I don’t claim to be unique. But now that Meera and Bran are alone in the frozen wastes pursued by enemies, it begs the question: how can they possibly survive? I suppose Cold Hands (a character from the books) or the long-missing Benjen Stark might turn up. Or suppose, just suppose, one of Dany’s recently-freed dragons flies by?
After all, Bran is the most accomplished Stark warg, and he’s lost Summer. Suppose he takes control of a dragon? He’s been told many times that he will fly. I assumed that meant flying in the metaphorical sense, but perhaps not.
And if Bran rides a dragon, he’ll need another special saddle. Luckily, the designer, Tyrion, is still alive. And if Tyrion is actually a Targaryen, he might just decide to ride a dragon, too, leaving Drogon for Danaerys. Hmm? Hmm?
I know. It’s nuts. Let me get back to writing my own novel, where at least I know what happens next.