We’re already at the halfway mark and Games of Thrones six season has delivered exhilarating, surprising and dynamic episodes. But here, we finally have an episode that will leave some viewers devastated.
But before that, let’s discuss the Kingsmoot. Despite seemingly ready to put Yara on the Salt Throne, the Iron Men have chosen her uncle Euron to sit that chair after he announces he not only murdered his own brother, but did so to offer his people the world via a well-known Targaryen and her dragons. As he is coronated, Yara and Theon are seen racing away from the Iron Isles with the best ships in the fleet.
Though Euron has murder on his mind — and the Driftwood Crown on his head — I suspect Yara will actually complete his campaign promise by sailing to Slaver’s Bay and giving Daenerys the thing she’s always needed: a means to move the Dothroki across the Narrow Sea.
But the Breaker of Chains still has to get her new Khalessar to Meereen. And it seems Jorah will not be joining her as he rides off to find a cure to greyscale. Children, like Stannis’s daughter, can survive the disease with some disfigurement. In men, it’s 100% incurable and eventually turns all who are exposed into the same sort of stone man Jorah fought in the ruins of Old Valyria. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Jorah. But maybe greyscale has an important part to play in the final round of the game.
Looking west to Braavos, a girl takes in a play that seems awfully familiar. It lampoons the goings-on in King’s Landing around the time the Starks arrived. Played for humorous effect, Ned Stark is portrayed as a boorish half-literate man who demands the Iron Throne following Robert’s death. His beheading is re-enacted, which would’ve made Arya fume. But a girl is there for another reason, to see the Lady Crane and determine how she will deliver the Gift to her.
Of course, it is once again unclear if a girl is still Arya as the play left her with a number of question for Jaqen H’ghar. None of which he is enthused to answer. Instead, he reminds her that she is a servant of the Many-Faced God … but as that deity also seems to be the God of Death, I wonder if a girl will ultimately tell him “not today.”
Meanwhile in Meereen, it was amazing to see Lord Varys off his footing when the Red Priestess Kinvara suggested that he heard the Lord of Light all those years ago when he became a eunuch. Varys is usually so secure that it makes me wonder if, perhaps, his rise to power wasn’t part of the Lord’s plan.
Crossing the Narrow Sea, we spend the rest of the episode in the North, where the new Stark coalition plans and one forgotten child of Ned and Catelyn learns more of the past.
And the key revelation is, of course, the Children of the Forest’s involvement in the creation of the Night King and the other White Walkers. One of the children mentions they were at war with men — presumably the First Men — and created the Night King as a weapon against them. Clearly, the Children of the Forest had no concept of Cylons as they would ultimately join with the First Men against the White Walkers in the Long Night thousands of years prior to GoT‘s time.
Sadly, Bran cannot do much with this knowledge for reasons we’ll get into in a bit. But in examining the scene, it leaves one to wonder if the power given to the Night King millennia ago can be removed under similar circumstances.
Heading south of the Wall, Sansa confronts Little Finger about his knowledge of Ramsay’s predilections. Lord Baelish worms his way out of the situation, but he clearly does not have the hold on her that he once did. His information about the Blackfish and the army of House Tully also proved useful when Sansa later discussed force strength with Davos.
And can I say it’s really satisfying to see Sansa talk war with Davos? I never knew I needed to see this group in one place. But now that it’s happened, I can’t imagine it any other way. Though, I imagine we’ll have a slightly different makeup of characters for the siege of Winterfell in The Winds of Winter. Should it ever come out.
Also, Brienne is not too thrilled with having Davos and Melisandre in their midst. She’s also quite distressed by Tormund Giantsbane … which is just too damned cute.
Sadly, that cute moment is dispelled as the Night King comes for Bran and we learn why Hodor can only say that one word. The sequence is marvelous with the Children trying their best to hold off the White Walkers and their wights, and Bran’s sudden flashback to Hodor’s youth at Winterfell. It seems like the Three-Eyed Raven was attempting to give Bran more info, but all we really know for sure is that Hodor spent decades repeating the most important command of his life: hold the door. One wonders if other commands can be sent back into time.
Our notable counter death counter ticks up by one as Hodor obeyed this last — and first — order. It enabled Meera and Bran to escape, but it remains to be seen how long they can outrun the Night King.
Sure would be a great time for, say, Benjen Stark or Coldhands to show up, wouldn’t it?
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.