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GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Door” (S6, E5)

GAME OF THRONES Re-Throned: “The Door” (S6, E5)

Winter is coming, but not soon enough. So to help pass the time until season seven of Game of Thrones, we’re doing a weekly re-watch of the series, episode-by-episode, with the knowledge of what’s to come and—therefore—more information about the unrevealed rich history of events that took place long before the story began. Be warned, though: that means this series is full of spoilers for every season, even beyond the episode itself. So if you haven’t watched all of the show yet immediately get on that and then come back and join us for Game of Thrones Re-Throned.

Because the next best thing to watching new episodes is re-watching old ones.


Season 6, Episode 5: “The Door”

Original Air Date: May 22nd, 2016
Director: Jack Bender
Written by: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

We’ll get to this column’s usual analysis in a moment, first we have to take care of something.


Seven bloody hells, nothing–not Ned’s execution, not the Red Wedding, not Oberyn’s head exploding–ruined me during this re-watch the way the end of “The Door” did. I was worried that last year, when I listed it as the show’s most devastating moment, I was guilty of recency bias when I put this number one, but nope. Nope nope nope. It’s the worst.


But I’m a professional, and it’s my job to wipe away the tears and overcome the shock of what I watched to try and understand what it all means. But I don’t like it.

The big takeaway from this is that Bran can impact past events, in what is best thought of as a time loop. The White Walker attack in the present, and Bran turning young Wylis into Hodor in the past, happen at the same time, and therefore have always happened at the same time. Hodor’s sacrifice seems to be a necessary one in the great fight against the coming Long Night. Because not only did Hodor save Bran during this attack, he (and Bran’s ability to warg into him) has kept Bran alive countless times.

And as we have discussed, Bran might be the only one who can defeat the White Walkers.


So if Bran can affect the past, what else has a future Bran done to shape the events we’ve already seen? Did he learn about Jaime and Cersei’s relationship and make himself climb that tower to catch them, specifically so Jaime would push him out and paralyze him, making younger Bran seek out the Three-Eyed Raven?

Did he send that flock of crows to warn Sam and Gilly of the White Walker, and in doing so teach Sam about dragonglass? And when his Uncle Benjen rescues them at the start of the next episode and tells them the Three-Eyed Raven sent him to help, was it Bran and not the tree-guy who did that?

Did/does Bran, knowing the existential threat of the White Walkers, whisper in the Mad King’s ear to “burn them all,” so it would set off a chain reaction allowing the living to find a ruler who can actually lead them to victory in the Great War?


Has every tragedy–every death, every horror–happened because Bran made it happen, knowing it was the only way to save the living from the dead? If so that’s a great responsibility, but an enormous burden to bear.

Bran’s unimaginable powers might make him the single most important person in the world, and we might still be underestimating how important he really is. Meanwhile, we can’t underestimate the sadness that can result from his powers. Not after what we learned about Hodor.


The worst thing that has ever happened.

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed this episode. Back in season five’s third episode “High Sparrow,” when Tyrion listened to a red priestess in Volantis preach about how the Mother of Dragons is the savior of mankind, we also talked about how it connected to the conversation he and Varys have in “The Door” with another red priestess, Kinvara.


Those two scenes have us worried about the danger the Lord of Light fanatics could pose to the living. They believe Daenerys, the woman reborn in fire, will “purify” the nonbelievers in dragon flame, which doesn’t sound like a much better fate than being killed by an ice-demon.

But there’s something else here also worth noting. Kinvara knows Varys’s darkest secrets, about what he heard in the flames when the sorcerer castrated him as a boy. She also knows Tyrion was there that day in Volantis listening to the red priestess. She could know all of that thanks to some red priestess’ gossiping, or because she saw it in the flames.


But this is a world where magic allows men and women to change their faces. Is it possible the Faceless Men of Braavos aren’t the only ones who can do this? Could Kinvara have been that same priestess Tyrion listened to on that bridge?

If so, that raises an even bigger question: is there a connection between the Faceless Men and the followers of R’hllor? They both believe in the “gift” (Melisandre believed she washed away the sins of the wicked by burning them alive), and they both can use powerful magic, magic capable of concealing their real identity.


If they are connected in some way, that could make them the most powerful force in the world. A force who can move in the shadows in a way not even the army of the dead can. And if that’s the case, Daenerys, who they believe is the Prince That Was Promised, and not Jon or Bran or anyone, might be mankind’s greatest hope.

But what do you think of this episode and what it all means? Or does it make you to sad to think at all? Either way, talk about it with us in the comments below.

Images: HBO

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