The following recap contains massive spoilers (DUH). Please don’t read ahead unless you are perfectly ok with that fact or have seen the episode.
This week’s Game of Thrones begins with Sansa receiving a message from Littlefinger instructing her to meet him in a town called Mole’s Town. Littlefinger says that he has come to her aid, but Sansa won’t have it. She doesn’t forgive Littlefinger for leaving her with Ramsay Bolton. Sansa says that either Petyr knew what Ramsay would do, which would make him her enemy, or that he didn’t which still makes him incompetent to help her. Petyr tries to apologize, but Sansa doesn’t believe him. When Baelish sees that Sansa is not going change her mind, he informs her of an army, built by her uncle, that would help her take Winterfell. Sansa says that she already has an army, but Littlefinger doubts that Jon’s forces will be enough.
In the House of White and Black, Arya is continuing her training. The Waif betters her and then tells her that she is not ready. Arya gets back up and tries to go at the Waif again, anyway. The Waif throws her staff to the side and is still able to better Arya. (I’m telling you… it’s really hard to see Arya get her butt handed to her over and over again.) While Arya is on the ground from the second beating, the Waif tells Arya that she will never be one of them, since she is a Lady. Jaqen enters and confirms that the Waif might be right. None of the Faceless have been born to nobility before, they all came from meager beginnings. He then gives Arya a vial and an assignment. He lets Arya know that this is her second chance, but that there will not be another.
Arya’s assignment is an actress, so she arrives at a play where the actress is performing. The play is a reenactment of the death of Robert Baratheon. Arya’s father, Ned Stark, is not portrayed as the nobleman he was, but as a bumbling idiot. This is clearly a test for Arya, to see if she will allow her emotions to take over. The play is a comedy, and she is not amused. After the play is over, Arya makes her way backstage and sees her target. Upon learning what she needs, she returns to the House of Black and White and tells Jaqen that she will poison the actress’s rum, since no one else drinks it. She asks to use one of the faces, but Jaquen says she is not ready. Arya wonders why the actress needs to die, and offers forth some explanations. Jaqen tells her that if she wishes to serve the Many Faced God, she will not care, as a servant does not ask questions.
Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are in another dream state. They see The Children of the Forest putting one of the obsidian daggers into the chest of a man. The man then turned into the first White Walker, the Night’s King. When Bran awakes, he questions one of the Children as to why they created the Walkers, and she tells Bran that they needed to defend themselves against men somehow. Men were cutting down their forests and the White Walkers were the only way they knew how to fight back.
On the Iron Islands, the Iron Born are choosing who will sit on the Salt Throne. Yara puts in her bid for the throne, but there are those in the crowd who do not want a Queen, especially when Theon, the male heir, has returned. Theon steps forward, and expresses his support for his sister, though. He makes a very moving speech and is able to sway the crowd to support Yara as queen. However, just as Yara seems to have won victory, Euron steps in and claims the throne for himself. Yara figures that Euron is the one who killed her father, and says that her first act as queen will execute him. Euron, however, brings up all the failures that Theon, Yara, and their father have had in the past few years. Euron also declares that he is going to build an iron fleet, and take it to Danaerys, and that together they will take the Seven Kingdoms. With this declaration, the crowd agrees that Euron should be king, and he is baptized in the way of the Iron Born (as in drowned and revived). As his coronation is taking place, Theon and Yara flee the Iron Islands along with some of the best ships. This proves to be a good choice, since after his coronation, Euron declares he wants to murder them both. He instructs everyone on the Iron Islands to begin building ships, so that he can give them the Seven Kingdoms.
Jorah shows Danaerys his stoneskin, and tells her that she must send him away. However, he does not leave before declaring his love for Danaerys. As his is walking away, Danaerys commands him to find a cure for his condition. She says that when she takes the Seven Kingdoms she will need him by her side. Danaerys then takes up her new Dothraki army, and begins the march back to Meereen.
In Mereen, Tyrion, Grey Worm, Messandei, and Varys are all discussing how affairs have been since Tyrion made the deal with the Masters. Peace has been returned to Meereen, but Tyrion does not want to claim victory yet. Tyrion wants the people of Meereen to know that Danaerys is the one who brought them peace and security. He wants to find a representative of the people, someone that they can trust, in order to help spread the word of Danaerys’s story. He calls in a priestess of the Lord of Light. At first, Tyrion feels that he will need to persuade the lady in order to gain her help. However, she is more than happy to help, as she believes Danaerys to be the one promised by the Lord of Light. Varys calls out the mistake that Melisandre made with Stannis, and wonders why this lady will be any different. The lady is able to defend herself by brining up details from the moment when Varys was separated from his man parts, and then she takes her leave.
Back in the cave, Bran has awoken from sleep and goes into a dream state. He sees the tree where the White Walkers were created, and a massive army of Walkers. He walks through the crowd until he eventually reaches four of the White Walker leaders on horses. The Night’s King turns and sees Bran and touches him, causing Bran to wake up screaming. The Three Eyed Raven knows what has happened, and tells Bran that since he was touched, he is now marked, and the White Walkers will be able to enter the cave. The Three Eyed Raven then tells Bran that it is time for him to take his place, even though Bran is not ready.
In Castle Black, plans are being made to overthrow Winterfell. Davos doesn’t believe that they have enough support to take Winterfell, but Sansa has more faith in the other houses of the North than that. When Davos continues to push, Sansa reveals that her uncle has retaken an army. When Jon asks how she knows, this, however, Sansa lies and says that Ramsay received a raven telling him of the news. She doesn’t want Jon to know that she got the information from Littlefinger. Sansa then asks Brienne to go to Sansa’s uncle to ask for support. Brienne doesn’t feel comfortable leaving Sansa alone at Castle Black, but Sansa eventually convinces her that it will be ok.
Jon is getting ready to leave Castle Black, and Sansa gives him a cloak that she made herself. She tried to make it as close to the one their father used to wear as she could remember. Sansa takes up a horse with him, along with Melisandre and some others as they go to find support to overtake Winterfell.
Hodor and Meera are getting ready to leave the cave, when Meera suddenly seems scared and runs off. She exits the cave to see that the White Walkers have already made their way to the cave. The Night’s King touches the ground, causing a crack to form in the ground. The leader of the Children orders Meera to get Bran and run, but Bran won’t wake up from his dream state. The Three-Eyed Raven is still trying to show Bran what he will need to know in order to replace the Three-Eyed Raven. Outside, the Children start a fire in order to try to hold the White Walkers back. It works against the lower walkers, but the four knights are able to walk right through it. Inside the cave, the Walkers begin to enter the cave. Meera is still trying to wake Bran up, but she is unsuccessful. Hodor is too upset to help, and Meera is shaking Bran screaming for him to worg into Hodor, as they will need Hodor in order to escape. Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are in the past where Hodor was still able to speak. Bran hears Meera calling to him from the present, and the Three-Eyed Raven instructs him to listen to her. Bran then worgs into Hodor and has Hodor carry him to safety. The Night’s King approaches the Three-Eyed Raven, and kills him. Hodor with Bran in tow, Meera, and the leader of the Children are running away, when a horde of the walkers begins chasing after them. The leader of the Children tells Hodor and Meera to keep going, and she makes a suicidal last effort to take the Walkers out. Hodor, Meera, and Bran are able to make it out of the cave, and Hodor struggles to hold the door closed so that the Walkers cannot chase them. Meera begins to carry Bran’s stretcher away as she screams for Hodor to “hold the door.” Bran can hear this in the past. Hodor in the past then falls to the ground and begins to have a seizure. The words “hold the door” echo and past Hodor begins to say “hold the door” as he lies on the ground seizing. Bran realizes that this is the moment that caused Hodor to have his current verbal affliction. Meera carries Bran to safety as Hodor holds the door shut for them. We are taken back and forth between Hodor in the past seizing on the ground and shouting, to Hodor in the present trying to hold the door closed as the Walkers rip him apart. In the past, his speech slowly degrades from “hold the door” to “hold door” and eventually to “hodor.” It’s implied that the moment that Hodor is killed by the Walkers in the present, is the moment that he degrades into Hodor in the past.
I’m really not ok with the truth behind Hodor. Mostly because Hodor is now dead. I know, I know… I should be used to beloved characters dying by now… but HODOR… UGH. Other than that this episode was pretty slow. We got a little more information about the state of the North, and we now understand the origin of the White Walkers. I also can’t help but be worried about what it will mean for Bran since he is not ready to replace the Three Eyed Raven, and yet is having that responsibility thrust upon him regardless. This episode gave me more feels than I was looking for, but I guess I shouldn’t expect any less from Game of Thrones at this point. Any episode of television that can give me the emotional response that this episode gave me, is clearly well written. However, I’m still going to be bitter for a while about the fate that has befallen my beloved Hodor.
Game of Thrones airs on HBO and simultaneously streams on HBO Go on Sunday nights at 9PM ET.