In the Game of Game of Thrones, everyone is what they are, and where they are, for a reason. The reveal of Hodor's big secret traverses time and space, and instantly threw Game of Thrones into the realm of the metaphysical. So much could be possible! What if the Known World is a parallel universe to our own? What if it's in our far future? What if it's 150,000 years in the past? What if they actually find Kobol? What if it ends with a robot montage?
I'll get to Hodor and the titular Door later. First, I want to acknowledge how nice it was to see Sansa Stark just excoriate Petyr Baelish, who hadn't seen her since selling her off as a goth bride for Ramsay Bolton (thankfully absent this week). "Did you know about Ramsay?" she asked. "If you didn't know, you're an idiot; if you did know, you're my enemy." (+10) She did just about everything she could to make Littlefinger verbally acknowledge that she had been raped, to make him at least intellectually confront what happened to her. The formal brothel owner suddenly got very delicate with words — "Did he beat you? Did he cut you?" he guessed, knowing full well what she was getting at. "Did he leave the toilet seat up? Did he forget to DVR the Billboard Music Awards?" Why Sansa didn't have Brienne kill Littlefinger in return for his negligence is a mystery to me; those knights of the Eyrie would probably show up either way. Instead she lets him know, in no uncertain terms, that their alliance is over: "I don't need you anymore. You can't protect me." (+10)
Sansa's character development is still brought to you by rape
All this development for Sansa is great, and most definitely a conscious correction after the outcry over her treatment last season. That being said, part of me wishes she could have had this growth and newfound independence without having to be raped. It would still be a plausible development; believe it or not, women have been finding inner strength and independence without getting raped for a long time. Sometimes it's just a part of growing up, sometimes it involves other forms of hardship or violation — of which Sansa has endured plenty. Her parents and brother were murdered, and she's been used as a pawn by half of the noble families in Westeros. She's got plenty of reasons to be mad as hell. It's a bummer that someone thought none of them would track as well as rape.
Let's turn to Arya Stark, who has successfully found non-rape reasons to excel personally and professionally. After getting a history lesson on the origin of the Faceless Men from Jaqen H'ghar (+5), she is sent to do some recon on Lady Crane, a grand dame of the Braavosi stage. You know what that means: it's time to go to the thea-tah, a magical place where saucy-mouthed bohemian types bare their breasts and scrutinize their warty scrotums with abandon (+25 to the thea-tah). First, of course, Arya must endure their crude reenactment of her family's plight, but when she sneaks backstage, she discovers that Lady Crane seems pretty okay when she's not playing Cersei Lannister. It seems that a younger, jealous actress wants Lady Crane dead. So is that what the Faceless Men do? Come in as hired guns for community theater squabbles? It's easy to forget, with all their religious solemnity and cryptic language, that these folks are just magical hitmen. Arya may be forced to abandon her own personal vendettas if she wants to join them, but that doesn't mean she won't be hired to engage in far pettier shit.
The Faceless Men: assassins of choice for the Braavos Community Players
Speaking of petty: in Bran Stark's first in a series of three visions this week (+60) we discover that the Children of the Forest are responsible for creating the White Walkers. When Bran asks what possibly could have possessed them to do such a thing, our main Forest Child is like, "I dunno, men." Which is a fine excuse for most situations, but not for creating an endlessly regenerating army of the dead. The Children of the Forest are the worst, but they still get +50 for surprise magic. Bran immediately slips into vision #2, where he finds himself staring down the Night's King — leading into a classic bit.
The Three-Eyed Raven tells Bran that now that the Night's King found him in his dreams, he'll be coming to find him IRL, according to magic. He says Bran has to get out of there ASAP, and then promptly sends him into a third vision.
"Stop all the gallivanting!"
While Bran visions away, let's talk about Pyke! I'm super into Pyke. It's a place we still don't know all that much about, so every new, weird ceremony and rite and tradition we see recaptures a lot of the sense of discovery we got from first couple Thrones seasons. When we were last in Pyke, it was about time for their election thingy, the kingsmoot. Theon Greyjoy has agreed to support his sister Yara Greyjoy, who gives a rousing campaign speech (+10) and is all but crowned when Euron Greyjoy shows up and makes his claim to the throne. Euron's platform is based on three main principles: a) Yara is a woman, b) Theon doesn't have a penis, and c) Euron's a world-famous pirate. Euron also has big plans to go marry Daenerys Targaryen, as do most people these days. Yara is like, "You killed my dad," and Euron's like, "You're welcome!" and Yara's like, "You have a point." Theon's like, "Stop all the gallivanting!" and Euron's like, "LOL GAY!" (+6 burn on Theon.) "Peas and carrots, peas and carrots, peas and carrots," the agitated Pykians whisper to one another.
Euron "wins" the kingsmoot, which earns him +25 and an inaugural drowning. I'll also throw him +30 for taking control of Pyke, kind of. I've been notified by our friends at Fantasizr that folks are already requesting that this lovely Ironborn tradition be counted as "coming back from the dead," but you all are taking their tough-guy posturing way too literally. The whole drowning thing is a floor show, a bit of religious theater borne out of culture of goth masochists. I'm no doctor, but I'm positive Euron was never "dead," any more than Michael "Squints" Palledorous.
I'm sorry I don't take Pyke's throne or death cult seriously enough to award points to it, but that doesn't mean Pyke drama isn't my favorite drama right now. As soon as Euron has that artsy driftwood crown atop his head, he stands up and realizes that — whoops! — Yara and Theon have left with the entire fleet (+15 for each of them). "That's cool, we'll just build another one," says Euron. "Great, how many ships would you like?" asks a guy. "Oh, I don't know, does a thousand sound right?" Sure, Euron. I hope Yara beats him to Meereen and marries Daenerys first.
Speaking of! Daenerys Targaryen, having just engaged in a bit of religious theater last week, is having a postgame chat with her would-be rescuers. Not a lot happens here, but Jorah Mormont does finally confess his love for his Khaleesi (+10). His exact words: "Tyrion Lannister was right. I love you." Romantic! But he can utter no more Tyrion Lannister-sanctioned sweet nothings before Daenerys sends him away to figure out how to get rid of his greyscale. Dany! That is ice cold. If a guy tells you he loves you and that he's slowly dying of your universe's version of cancer, your first response should not be, "Oh, dang, good luck with finding a cure!"
The Lord of Light eagerly anticipates this branding integration with the Mother of Dragons
Meanwhile in Meereen, Tyrion Lannister himself has hired a fire priestess to do some PR work on behalf of the Targaryen administration, which seems like a bad idea from the get go. Luckily, High Priestess Rachel Weisz is totally onboard with the proposed partnership between R'hllor and the Mother of Dragons, and has several ideas for brand integration strategies, most of which involve purifying infidels in the flames. Varys is skeptical of aligning with a religious group until Rachel Weisz narrates his entire childhood trauma back to him, and implies that he himself might have heard the Lord of Light speak to him as a boy. The unrufflable Varys is visibly ruffled. +25 to the Lord of Light.
I'm not sure why or where to, but a bunch of folks at The Wall hit the road. Sansa makes a cute dress with a direwolf on it for herself, and makes Jon Snow one of those fur shawls like Ned Stark had (+15 each for fun new outfits). I presume they're going to find the Blackfish, but I've watched this five times now and can't figure out exactly who is going where.
Guess who's not going anywhere: Bran Stark, who is still in visionland when an army of walkers descends on the Heart Tree. Meera Reed and Hodor can't wake him up, which makes getting out of there a whole lot more difficult. What is he visioning, you ask? An apparently unremarkable scene from his dad's childhood, where boy-Hodor (Wylis!) is also hanging out in the background.
The wights burrow through the ground and into the hollow under the tree. Meera kills a bunch of them (+50) and also manages to slay a White Walker for +25. The Night's King appears to dust the Three-Eyed Raven (+50 for White Walkers). That one awful Child of the Forest suicide bombs a bunch of wights with her magic blue fireball (+50 for Children of the Forest; my god, what is this show?).
And then we reach the Door. Oh, Door. Meera and Hodor manage to drag Bran through right before closing the door on a flood of wights. As Meera drags Bran off, she tells Hodor to stay where he is and get eaten by wights while she puts 20 or so more feet between her and them. It's a little harsh, but I'm not questioning Meera's judgement — it's clear that Bran is a timespace-hopping wizard who must be protected at all costs. We know this because at that moment Bran appears to warg into flashback-Wylis as a means of controlling present-day Hodor and making him barricade — er, hold the door. Hodor the door.
Yes, the secret of Hodor is revealed: as a boy he was incepted with a singleminded drive to one day hold a door so that a little magic boy could escape some zombies. Hodor isn't an ancient sacred name or a link back to his giant heritage, it's the name of his chief function in life. It's like being named "Hammer" or "Weed Whacker." And once he finally Hodored, his Hodoring was complete. He Hodored once, and he will Hodor no more.
(+50 to White Walkers for killing Hodor.)
(+50 to Bran for timespace-warging.)
(+50 to Hodor for being from the future.)
(+50 to Hodor for dying so memorably, his past self remembered it.)
The Verge's league rankings:
- Kwame Opam: 387 (Top scorer: Euron Greyjoy, 61)
- Loren Grush: 370 (Top scorer: N/A)
- Andy Hawkins: 355 (Top scorer: Bran Stark, 110)
- Kaitlyn Tiffany: 210 (Top scorer: Meera Reed, 75)
- Michael Zelenko: 175 (Top scorer: White Walkers, 100)
- Bryan Bishop: 165 (Top scorer: The Lord of Light, 25)
- Liz Lopatto: 120 (Top scorer: Yara Greyjoy, 25)
- Ross Miller: 80 (Top scorer: Jorah Mormont, 10)
- Jamieson Cox: 40 (Top scorer: N/A)
- T.C. Sottek: 25 (Top scorer: N/A)
For the full list of updated stats visit The Game of Game of Thrones on Fantasizr.