Out of sheer laziness, I never wrote about Game of Thrones, one of my favorite TV shows. I love this show and I should have been writing recaps since season six premiered back in April, but I never did. But I plan to reconcile that lack of content with a new weekly series called “Game of Thoughts”!!! (Super original name, right? I’m wicked clever.) In this weekly series, I will write my thoughts about one or two key scenes in each episode, instead of delving into a full recap of each episode. I might shake up the format over the next few weeks and am thinking about revisiting the series as a whole and writing about each season, but for today, I’m writing about one big scene from Sunday’s episode called The Door. Obviously SPOILERS are coming. Be warned.
(to the tune of the GOT theme song) SPOILERS, SPOILERS SPOILERS, spoilers spoilers spoilers spoilers. SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Seriously, this is full of spoilers, if you don’t want to know, leave now and read my post about Bojack Horseman or my latest movie review on The Nice Guys. It’s good stuff, check it out. Also, SPOOOOOOOIIILLLLLEEERRRSSSS.
Ok, so, The Door. This will, in my humble opinion, go down as one of the best episodes of the series. I place this episode with the likes of Hardhorne, The Viper and the Mountain and Baelor. The Door, as written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and directed by the brilliant Jack Bender, is that good and deserves all of its praise because every scene is well told (even if they are rushing the Iron Islands story), from Sansa’s great confrontation with Littlefinger to Dany’s good-bye with Jorah, featuring Emilia Clarke’s best acting to date. This episode, before the final sequence, was wonderful storytelling and continued to move the plots forward in interesting ways. Then there was everything that happened with Bran.
RIP Leaf, Three Eyed Raven, random Children of the Forest, Summer (!), and of course, Hodor.
Everything that happened once Bran woke up and touched the root was beautifully told, even if the end results weren’t beautiful, and I’m so happy that Jack Bender was chosen to direct this episode, as he succeeded so creatively and amazingly with my favorite episode of LOST, The Constant. Bender has proven himself capable of handling big emotional moments all while dealing with a time warping plot with that episode of LOST. Bender has a wonderful way of focusing on characters and the emotions of the characters while filming great action and revealing story-changing moments. And Bender pulled it off so beautifully from Benioff-Weiss’ great script. All of the actors, effects and punches to the gut were incredibly well told. No matter how fantastic George R.R. Martin might write this scene, the emotion and awe I felt for this moment in the overall story will always be due to what the showrunners created at the end of this episode. When I read that future passage, I will only think of the pain in Kristian Nairn’s eyes as Hodor holds that door and sacrifices himself for his friend.
Bran, Hodor’s friend, has a history of not doing what he’s told, which ultimately led to him losing the loss of his legs when he climbed that tower after being told to stop. Bran is a teenager, and was impatient by the Three Eyed Raven’s somewhat poor mentoring, so naturally he would do something rash. Bran wanted to see more, and so, not knowing the consequences, grabbed a root of the weirwood and saw something terrifying, something I had never seen, a zombie horde perfectly still and waiting. As Bran walked through the motionless undead, I felt chills. I knew something bad was going to happen, but did not expect the level of travesty that was about to befall on me and my friends watching this episode. Bran saw the Night King and several White Walkers, and the Night King saw Bran, proving that Bran can influence the past/present/future while seeing through the weirwood trees. The Night King grabbed Bran and broke the magic that was preventing him from entering the Children’s and Three Eyed Raven’s cave.
And then, the shit hit the fan. A battalion of wights led by the Night King and White Walkers fell onto the cave and immediately attacked. The Children of the Forest used their magical grenades and defended as fast as they could. The Three Eyed Raven tried to download as much information as he could into Bran before it was too late. Meera grabbed resources. Hodor panicked. The wights broke through the ceilings. Some of the Children were slain. Meera killed a White Walker with the dragonglass spears that Sam Tarly gifted. Summer defended his Stark. The action that took place was exhilarating and suspenseful. Once Max Von Sydow’s character dissipated into a black cloud of feathers and smoke, I was scared. I was shocked when Summer died while holding off the wights as Bran warged into Hodor, while still in the past. And as Hodor dragged Bran off through the cave with Meera and Leaf in tow, I was still scared. I just witnessed another direwolf die and the demise of 3ER. I was tense. Then Leaf sacrificed herself like Summer just before. I didn’t think this could get worse. I thought that Leaf’s sacrifice would be the action hero moment and the three would be safe. I was wrong.
“Hold the door!” Meera’s screaming pleas literally echoed through time, through Bran, and into a young Hodor, known as Wyllis at the time. Hodor, was a character who was good in the truest sense. A big gentle sweetheart, who wasn’t always so simple. He cared for Bran and Meera and Winterfell, and that protective care and love was felt as he was sacrificed to save Meera and Bran. I like to think that Bran stopped warging into Hodor as Hodor was holding that door, but I can’t say that for certain. Did Bran force Hodor to bar it from the wights? Was it of Hodor’s own volition? I don’t know. Whatever the case, it was still tragic on multiple levels, particularly the fact that Hodor’s whole life was haunted by this one moment and led to this one moment. The quick edits between past Hodor’s seizure and the cuts and wounds inflicted on present Hodor were effective. His screams as “hold the door” became muddled into “hodor” still echo in my head. It is a devastating scene, one told effectively and wonderfully. A scene that added so much depth to an already beloved character. This reveal of the origin of Hodor will go down as one of the greatest moments in television, right up there with Ned Stark’s death back in season one. This ending was amazing to watch unfold, even if it was filled with tragedy. As much as this show makes me feel so sad at times, these moments and storytelling are why I love this show immensely. Hodor, you will be missed by all.