23 May 2016

Game of Thrones "The Door" Review

This post includes spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 5, "The Door".

This week, Jon makes plans to go south. The Greyjoys have a family reunion. Daenerys sends Jorah on a mission, while Sansa does the same to Brienne. As always, I shall split up my review by focusing on each location/storyline.




Pyke

We finally got one of the most anticipated book scenes! Aaaand... it was disappointing? The Kingsmoot had much more buildup in the books. You see, this event isn't really that common. The last one before the War of the Five Kings was about 4,000 years ago. And this scene from the book went on for a while and really showed a great amount of tension between the different Ironborn. I loved it. In the show? Not so much. It was a three minute scene where Theon is like "my sister is your queen" then Euron is like "nah fam I claim the Salt Throne." There's just no emotion there. I felt that the relationship of the Greyjoys has been one of the show's strongest assets, but the Kingsmoot was just disappointing. Euron has had very little time on screen and I don't feel like the drama was caught perfectly. The Greyjoy chapters in A Feast for Crows were the best part of the book. Not as cringeworthy as Dorne (four episodes without any mention of the Sand Snakes!), but definitely a weaker part of the season.

Essos

We bear witness to Jorah's inner conflict between serving Dany and not wanting to harm her. This scene was the highlight of the episode for me. He's a man broken by his own will to serve those he is loyal too, and Iain Glen conveying this struggle was a spot-on performance. You can even see Dany's internal struggle between wanting nothing to do with him and to give him the best help he can get. I hope the guy pulls through, Jorah is awesome.


In Meereen, Tyrion and Varys meet with Kinvara, a priestess from the same order as Melisandre. Kinvara reveals that she believes Dany to be "The Prince that was Promised". Make sure you note the parallel to Jon here - both characters now have a red priestess by their side, who believe each of them to be the Lord's Chosen. Ice and Fire. Their journeys are on a mirror course. One particular thing I also found to be interesting was how unnerved Varys looked when Kinvara offered to repeat the words spoken by the sorcerer that cut his balls off. It was subtle, but a great performance.

In Braavos, No-one is given a task to prove herself: kill an actor from a travelling theatre troupe. The play itself was comical but might have gone on a little too long. Make note of the parallels between No-one watching Ned Stark's beheading in the play to Arya watching her father die in King's Landing. This storyline moves along at a snail's pace but if we're lucky we might get to see some badass faceless killing going on soon.

Also, was that Richard E. Grant?

The Wall

It's still crazy how ambiguous Petyr is. Like, what the hell is that guy's plan? Whatever it is, Sansa will definitely be the one to tear it apart. Littlefinger's weakness is his compassion, which is only found in one person. He is torn between his master conspiracy to control the realm and his love for Catelyn Stark. After six seasons of this, I hope we soon get to see more of what this guy is about. We've fucking earned it.


We're also getting some hype for a returning character. Apparently the Blackfish has retaken Riverrun (remember him?) and will be aiding Sansa to fight back against the Boltons. It also looks like Jon plans to unite the minor Northern houses until they outnumber and outpower the Bolton allies. In a past review, I mentioned that I believe the Umbers to be secretly plotting against Ramsay. I still believe it, and that means the Boltons are going to be in trouble when they realise how many enemies they have. The North Remembers.

Brienne being sent to the Riverlands also opens up the opportunity for a major exciting plot from the books. But this isn't the place for those spoilers.

Beyond the Wall

We learn that the Children of the Forest created the White Walkers to defend themselves against the First Men, a war that is still being fought to this day. It should be noted that the actor playing the sacrifice is the same actor who plays the Night's King, so I guess that proves he was also the first White Walker? I'm really torn on this scene. The final fifteen minutes of the episode are spent on Bran's vision and escape from Bloodraven's lair. But I posit that this scene was arguably the weakest part of the episode. Where shall we begin? Why does Bran go into that vision alone? I mean, sure he's a stupid teenager who will make mistakes, but surely he must have realised that warging away from the tree without Bloodraven would be a foolish mistake. And then he just so happens to be facing an army of wights. You know, he has all of Westerosi history to go and finds himself in the one place he can fuck up. I don't buy it.


Another thing I don't understand is why they would waste time fucking around in another vision when they knew the undead were on their way to slaughter them. There was absolutely no reason for Bran to be there. It's only there so they can set up a cheap death. But Olly, what do you mean by cheap death? Hodor's death was really emotional. Yes, it was. But it will also come to be pointless. Here's why:

Bran has been marked by the Night's King. This is serious business; it means that any magic keeping the White Walkers away will cease to work. It's how they managed to gain access to Bloodraven's chamber. What do you think is going to happen once Bran goes south of the Wall? Well, the White Walkers are going to be able to break through is what will happen. Remember the Wall is the only other place with magic to stop them from getting through. I believe that the Night's King let Bran escape so he could fulfil that. Remember that only one White Walker entered Bloodraven's chamber, and gave Meera and Hodor plenty of chances to get Bran to safety.

So what does this mean for the poor halfwit? What does his death serve? Shock value, honestly. It's stupid when you think about it. Why would the wights kill Hodor if they wanted Bran to make it past the Wall? You'd think they'd let him escape too so he can help him get there. Instead, D&D opt for a heart-wrenching climax to win the viewers over, but once you begin to de-construct this whole scene you realise that it makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

Now, obviously that last part is mostly speculation. Next week's episode should provide further insight into how exactly Hodor's death fits in with Bran's story. But until I get a good reason for it, I'm going to continue criticising this scene. I'm also really against time travel in A Song of Ice and Fire, but I don't have the energy to rant about that this week. I think I'll wait until the season has finished before I make judgement on it.

Summary

With no King's Landing this week, the focus is placed on the Northern conflict. There were loads of flaws with the writing, but some really intense scenes too. Jorah continues to be awesome. I hope something good comes from the Ironborn; wouldn't want my favourite faction from the books to receive another Dorne treatment.

Overall I'd give this episode a 5/10.

In Memoriam

Bloodraven
Summer
Leaf and other nameless children
Hold-the-door

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