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GAME OF THRONES Recap: Summer Has Fallen and Winter Is Here

Hello, fair citizens of the Realm! It’s that time of year again—the most wonderful of them all—Game of Thrones season. And, in addition to winter: spoilers are coming! As this is a recap, it goes over everything in crazy detail, so proceed at your own risk and don’t say we didn’t warn you in the comments below.

Alright, first thing’s first: anyone need a hug? A tissue? A pillow to scream into? Something soft but satisfying to punch? Because episode five of Game of Thrones‘ sixth season, “The Door,” was a real gut-puncher. Sure, there was some badassery to be had (yay Sansa!), and lore to be learned (goddamn KIDS!), but there was also a lot of heartbreak, particularly after the Night’s Kingdamort turned Bran into one of his horcruxes and stormed the Weirwood tree in which he and the Three-Eyed Raven (and Meera and Hodor) were chilling and effectively got winter off to an official—and terrible—start.

Summer is officially dead: both in a literal and metaphorical sense.

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Arguably, this episode was all about perception versus reality. It was about power and knowledge and control and where that takes you (literally speaking or not). Often, that place/answer is war. Information and how it’s received and interpreted as it moves down the line has always been a major part of George R.R. Martin’s story, and that was on full display in every storyline tonight. For example: many people believe the Night’s King came to be because he schtupped a very pretty undead lady and they decided to rule the North. Yeah, well, throw that one out with Old Nan’s bathwater, because we learned tonight that was clearly not the case. (He did look like a Stark, though, for what it’s worth.)

In arguably the biggest reveal in all of A Song of Ice and Fire history, we were shown how the White Walkers came to be. And it’s because The Children of the Forest—annoyed that all these Andals and First Men were faffing about on their land—put some dragonglass in the heart of a man and turned him into a weapon of mass destruction capable of raising undead armies to bring down those stupid, dumb men. Only it seems their Frankenchill-dren are now their enemy because OF COURSE THEY ARE. God damn it, Leaf! This is why war should be eradicated.


Which will probably never happen because power has a tendency to shift its place in order to keep balance. People like to have and hoard power, but when it leaves them they’ll fight like hell to keep it. Because with power comes control, and control is all, really, anyone really wants in the world (some people just get really, really egomaniacal about it). Chaos is a ladder AND a wheel (don’t think about it too much, y’all).

We saw that most notably in the brief moments in Meereen, when Tyrion and Varys—hoping to get a PR boost about all the good things and restored order that’s gone down under the rule of Dany the dragon queen—reached out to a new Red Priestess to spread the word about their glorious ruler. Only, it turned into a much bigger chess match than either dude was planning on. Turns out? Maybe there’s something to be said for all these “gods” and their rules and prophecies and all that: how else could Vinara the new Red Lady have known the real story of how Varys came to be a eunuch (also: what the HECK was said to him in the flames?). Could the “wars to come” be the fun of a couple of bored gods (aka the Drowned God, the Many-Faced God, the Old Gods, the Faith of the Seven, etc) looking to have control over the worlds of men? Honestly starting to think that could be part of the end game here. And oh, what a spooky reality check that would be.

Speaking of which: everyone we love (and hate) got a reality check tonight—from Bran to Dany to Yara to Littlefinger to Arya. Arya’s was one of the sadder ones to watch, given how NOT-AT-ALL-WHAT-HAPPENED the Braavosi theater troupe’s performance of the War of Five Kings was. Painted broadly as a man who had no honor and a hunger for power, Ned Stark’s interpretation was hard for us, and Arya, to watch. We know that Jaqen has harped ad nauseum on Arya choosing wisely about becoming Faceless for a reason, and we’re starting to think this moment might be what changes her mind on that front. She was ready, but there’s clearly still a pull to who she was that’s there. And something tells us Arya was born to be Arya. It’s like that Red Lady said, “Everyone is what they are, and where they are, for a reason.”

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What could be the reason behind the return of the Greyjoy storyline, you think? Will Euron manage to marry Dany and ride atop one of her dragons as he seems so sure he’ll be able? Uh, doubt it, especially with Yara and Theon back on each other’s side. (Which: a moment for Theon’s haircut and general cleanliness.) And what, do we think, is the reason behind Ser Jorah of House Niceguy being sent on a journey? Surely it isn’t just to find the cure for Greyscale. No doubt he’ll come back and be some sort of hero, but to what end we’re not sure.

The biggest, most incredible hero of the night, though? Sansa EFFING Stark, who proved badassitude beyond her years in her jocular chat with Littlefinger of House Worst. With Brienne at her side, Sansa’s got a new attitude and we are Not only did she prove her mettle with her political scheming (get those Karkstarks back on Team Stark, girl! Foster that alliance with your cousins at House Tully! Get it all togetherrrrr!), fancy emboss work, and killer dress-making skills, she also tore Littlefinger a new one for selling her off to Ramsay Bolton. Calling him out on his bullshit flawlessly—”Did you know about Ramsay?” “Would you like to hear about our wedding night?”—Sansa has proven herself, perhaps, the most capable Stark of all. Forcing Littlefinger to say aloud and confront what Ramsay did to her was the perfect power play—and show of strength—we’ve seen in any character, let alone Sansa.

It was the exact sort of moment a survivor of any sort of physical violence (sexual or otherwise) longs to be able to say to the people responsible, and it was thrilling to witness. “He did what he liked with the rest of me, so long as I could give him an heir. What do you think he did?” “I can still feel it … I can still feel what he did in my body standing here right now.” MARK ME: Sansa’s gonna burn it all to the ground.


And no, we didn’t forget about Hodor (obviously, he’s the featured image of the post!), we just aren’t really ready to talk about it yet, because the reveal that it was Bran and Meera in their escape from their wacky tree o’ time travel who turned Hodor into Hodor is still too fresh. It stings. And now he’s died (and oh GOD does that mean he’ll become a wight now?) trying to aid their escape. And we are devastated.

If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a million trillion times: NO HODOR? OH NODOR! We’re devastated and everything is garbage.

Want to know everything else that’s going to happen this season? Check out all the totally real, not-at-all-fake spoilers we got from the cast below:

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Still upset about Hodor? There’s a TON to unpack (and stuff we probably forgot to mention, so let’s discuss in the comments below.

Images: HBO

Alicia Lutes is the Managing Editor, co-host of Fangirling, and resident Khaleesi of House Nerdist. Find her on Twitter (@alicialutes).

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