Review: Game of Thrones (Season 6, Episode 5)

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80%
80
Gripping

Not suitable for those with heart conditions

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Warning: Spoilers!

Last week’s episode “Book of the Stranger” was all about reuniting siblings – Jon (Kit Harington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) at the Wall; Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Loras (Finn Jones) in the clutches of the High Sparrow; and Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who finally seemed to form a plan. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) organised a fragile peace, Theon (Alfie Allen) went home, and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) did her awesome ‘I can walk through fire bitches’ thing again to become Khaleesi of all Dothraki.

“The Door” is considerably different, although it does initially open with one half of our reunited sibling pairings. Sansa receives a letter from Baelish ‘Littlefinger’ (Aiden Gillen), and, of course, decides to go meet him. She takes Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) but fails to tell Jon Snow diddly squat. Around Littlefinger you always have to be careful, and although the young Lady Stark grows a backbone and issues a few threats, I have to wonder if he hasn’t somehow secretly gotten the upper hand. He lets her know about her uncle Brynden ‘Blackfish’ Tully, who has reclaimed his land, and she suggests sending Brienne to ask for help during the upcoming ‘Stark vs Bolton’ battle. Erm, so you want to send away your guard? Even though you’ve just threatened Baelish with her? I think Sansa’s still a little naive. While the white-haired warrior hasn’t quite fallen for Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) yet, we can only hope for the future.

We then move on to a short flash in the life of Arya (Maisie Williams) – mostly just to remind you she’s still alive. At the House of Black and White, she is tested once again with the task of killing someone. This time it’s an actress, who happens to be in a play all about Season One of Game of Thrones! The humorous little performance includes Robert Baratheon’s death (move over Mark Addy, he’s played by none other than Richard E. Grant), Ned Stark’s execution, and of course the annoying Lannisters. Cue a random penis shot of the actor playing an actor playing Joffrey, who happens to have genital warts. When we asked for equal nudity, we were thinking more along the lines of a reincarnated Khal Drogo, not a prepubescent twit!

Image via HBO

Image via HBO

We move swiftly on to another one of Bran’s (Isaac Hempstead Wright) history expeditions. If you’re not a fan of this plot line, this episode may change everything for you. In this first vision, Bran witnesses the creation of the first White Walker, the Night’s King (Vladimir Furdik). He discovers it’s all the fault of the weird plant people living North of the Wall, the ‘Children of the Forest’, who were fighting back against the humans – go figure, it obviously backfired on them! Although, humans look pretty sure to die because of it, so technically it’s successful, even though they’ve now changed their stance. Basically, it’s is a massive foreshadowing technique from Benioff and Weiss to show how clever they are, and hint at this pivotal villain making a reappearance.

On the Iron Islands, they’re getting ready to proclaim a new ruler – and Yara (Gemma Whelan), with the support of Theon, steps forward in the hope of being the first queen in Ironborn history. Unfortunately, the return of the slightly mad Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) puts a damper on things, and he sadly survives his drowning to put on his silly seaweed crown. The only really important part of this is that the two siblings flee, who knows to where (please let it to be North to aid Jon). Euron offends every female viewer by claiming he’s going to ‘give his cock’ to Daenerys. I think we all know she’s had bigger and better – cough – things.

Image via HBO

Image via HBO

Talking of our wonderful invincible queen, we visit our Khaleesi having a heart to heart with the epitome of unrequited love – Jorah (Iain Glen). Shockingly, he reveals his greyscale, and she orders him to find a cure and return to her. So basically, that’s the last we’ll see of him, I’m sure. Say hi to Gendry for us! We then skim across Essos to Tyrion and Varys (Conleth Hill), who want to spread propaganda about the new fragile peace that has been negotiated with the Slavers and the Sons of the Harpy, saying it is all down to their queen. We are introduced to another creepy red priestess, Kinvara (Ania Bukstein), to help with this cause. She proclaims Daenerys to be the prophesied Azor Ahai: she’s born from ash and fire, she has cool dragons, she’s freed the slaves. No flaming sword as of yet though!

We finally return North of the Wall to Bran, who is ignoring the Three Eyed Raven’s instruction. Did you learn nothing when you were told not to climb and lost the use of your legs? Apparently the kid doesn’t learn, as he enters a vision alone, and is confronted by the army of the dead and the four horseman of the apocalypse – aka, the White Walkers. He is touched by the Night’s King, which unfortunately means the creepy army now know where he is, and can enter the cave. Magic in Westeros is weird.

Image via HBO

Image via HBO

In ambushing the cave, the Night’s King, his Walkers, and hordes of wights, kill the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow), several Children of the Forest, as well as Bran’s direwolf Summer. Another wolf bites the dust. As Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) attempts to reach Bran in the vision and escape with a warged Hodor (Kristian Nairn), Game of Thrones grants us with arguably one of the most intense and heart-palpitating scenes yet. We’re held in suspense as we desperately hope they’ll escape – but unfortunately this is at the expense of another dead hero, Hodor. We witness the emotional struggle Bran feels at seeing young Hodor having a fit, replicating real Hodor’s death, repeating over and over ‘hold the door’ which slowly turns into ‘Hodor’. It’s bittersweet – while we’ve been granted the knowledge of where his strange saying came from, we have now lost the only gentle giant in Westeros. Now excuse me while I go cry in a corner.

“The Door” grants some gut-wrenching moments. We’ve lost some of our most beloved characters (yes, the wolf is included), and we are reminded just why the show is so good. Expertly handled with plot progression for all, and a nice little hint at the importance of Bran, Episode Five provides entertainment, and even perhaps a few tears.

Game of Thrones airs at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, every Monday. It is also available to buy through NOW TV. See a preview of Episode Six below.

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BA English student at University of Southampton and Editor for The Edge (2015-16). A deep love of reading, theatre and all things entertainment.

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