In the latest Game of Thrones recap, Bran comes face to face with the Night’s King, Jon and Sansa look to build an army and Daenerys may have some new allies coming from the west…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The history of the known world that involves Game of Thrones stretches back thousands upon thousands of years. Many historical texts are read more as hints than actual fact because so much of what happened in the beginning of the world was lost or at least lost in translation.
One myth that has survived for generations are the stories about the children of the forest — the first creatures to inhabit a land that would eventually be known as Westeros. The children of the forest were a spiritual bunch, who lived off the land while also dabbling in powerful magic. The children were also known for being the first greenseers — powerful beings with prophetic visions of the past, present and future while also having the ability to control animals through “warging”.
In Game of Thrones, the children of the forest first appeared in season four when they helped rescue Bran Stark and his friends from the clutches of the Wights, who sprung up from the ground and meant to do them harm. They brought Bran, Meera and Hodor inside one of their Weirwood trees — the same trees with the carved faces that many people in Westeros, especially in the North, still worship to this day. Inside the tree, Bran and the others met the Three-Eyed Raven — the last known greenseer, who would then train the Stark boy to control and understand his powerful new gifts.
But one detail that was revealed during the latest episode might possibly be the most shocking revelation to date — the children of the forest actually created the White Walkers!
You see thousands of years ago, the children of the forest encountered the First Men after they traveled from Essos to a land bridge that connected to the southern most tip of Dorne. Over time, the First Men traveled further and further north, building towns and spreading into new areas. Eventually, the First Men made it to the home of the children, who were very protective of their land and a great war ensued.
The fight allegedly lasted for over 200 years until a pact was finally reached and the First Men along with the children of the forest eventually teamed up to stop an invasion of White Walkers, who came from the north to conquer all of Westeros and leave the world in eternal night.
But it appears during that initial war when the children were first trying to defend their home, they needed a weapon to destroy mankind and that creation was the White Walkers. At the heart of a great Weirwood tree, a man was strapped down and stabbed in the chest with pure obsidian — or Dragon glass as you may know it — and along with the magic imbibed on that dagger, a White Walker came to life with the sole purpose of wiping out humanity. Unfortunately as the children of the forest found out, they couldn’t control the White Walkers and their creation eventually turned on them.
“It was you — you made the White Walkers”
“We were at war. We were being slaughtered. Our sacred trees cut down. We needed to defend ourselves.”
“From you. From men.”
Now more than 12,000 years later, the White Walkers have returned to claim their kingdom and the only thing standing in their way is mankind once again.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of Game of Thrones titled ‘The Door’….
The North Remembers
To conquer the land they once called home, Sansa Stark and her brother Jon Snow are going to need a mighty big army but with only 2,000 Wildlings at their command, that’s a tall order against the Bolton forces numbering more than 5,000. So the goal now is to find men willing to fight for House Stark as they did for hundreds of years while that family sat on the throne in Winterfell.
Before an army could be raised, Sansa first receives a message from Lord Petyr Baelish, who has requested an audience with her at Mole’s Town. There Baelish tells her that he’s brought the knights of the Vail with him to help her destroy the Bolton army and take back Winterfell. What he doesn’t expect, however, is that Sansa has grown up a lot since they last saw each other.
Baelish married her off to Ramsay Bolton with promises of taking back the kingdom her family once ruled. What resulted was weeks upon weeks of torture as Ramsay treated Sansa as his play thing and what he did to her won’t be forgotten for ten lifetimes.
“Did you know about Ramsay? If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot. If you did know, you’re my enemy.”
For all of Baelish’s quick wit and fast talk to get himself out of trouble, there’s not much he can say to convince Sansa that he didn’t essentially send her into the lion’s den where she was pawed at and then devoured by an animal like Ramsay Bolton.
“You freed me from the monsters who murdered my family and you gave me to other monsters who murdered my family.”
In the end, Sansa tells Baelish to return to his army from the Vail and vanish from her sight forever. Before he goes, Baelish does leave one bit of knowledge for his favorite living Stark — her uncle Brynden Tully aka “The Blackfish” (Catelyn Stark’s uncle) — has raised an army and fought to take back the Riverlands from the control of Walder Frey. We haven’t seen “The Blackfish” since he made a quiet exit from The Red Wedding back in season three — he stepped out to take a leak and that’s when the doors were locked and the Starks slaughtered. He’s been hunted ever since, but it appears he’s found some friends and they’ve taken back the land that belongs to House Tully.
Back at Castle Black, Jon begins plotting a course of action to take back Winterfell while also recognizing that the White Walkers are still a threat coming from beyond the Wall. The Umbers have already turned their backs on the Starks after they handed over Rickon to Ramsay. The Karstarks won’t be much help either after Robb Stark beheaded their father during the War of the Five Kings and they’ve now pledged fealty to the Bolton’s.
The Manderley’s are the other most powerful (and richest house) in the North along with a dozen smaller houses, who Jon and Sansa believe would all raise their banners for the Starks once a real Stark is back to lead them.
Sansa: “The north remembers. They remember the Stark name. People will still risk everything for it. From White Harbor to Ramsay’s own door.”
Davos: “I don’t doubt it but Jon doesn’t have the Stark name.
Sansa: “No, but I do. Jon as every bit Ned Stark’s son as Ramsay is Roose Bolton’s. There’s also the Tully’s — they’re not northern, but they’ll back us against the Bolton’s.”
What’s strange is that Sansa lies to Jon about how she came to know about their great uncle taking back the Riverlands, which means somewhere deep down inside she still has some kind of loyalty towards Lord Baelish, despite what he put her through. In the end, Sansa charges Brienne to return to the Riverlands to ask her uncle to help her family reclaim the North in the name of the Stark family.
Brienne attempts to resist, but ultimately caters to Sansa’s wishes. She rides for the Riverlands while Jon, Sansa, Tormund, Melisandre, Davos and the rest of their men ride south to begin gathering houses to pledge loyalty to House Stark as they look to take back the North from the Bolton army.
As Arya continues her training at the House of Black and White, the Waif who has been in charge keeps beating on her while saying time and again that she’s not ready and doesn’t belong with the Faceless Men.
Jaqen H’ghar somewhat disagrees, but it’s clear that he’s fond of Arya and so he presents her with a second chance to redeem herself after failing his charge the last time she was supposed to be initiated into the secret order of assassins.
We also find out through a brief history lesson that the Faceless Men were first founded in the mines of Valyria by a slave, who was given the gift to replace his face by the many faced god. The first Faceless Men then traveled to this continent where they founded the city of Braavos and the House of Black and White. Now it seems to make sense why anyone and everyone from Braavos seems to cower in fear whenever any of the Faceless Men are around.
But now it’s time for Arya’s intiation, but this is her last opportunity to join the Faceless Men after her last blunder left one man dead and the intended target was still very much alive.
“A girl has been given a second chance — there will not be a third. One way or another, a face will be added to the hall.”
~ Jaqen H’ghar
Arya is charged with killing an actress named Lady Crane, who is part of a traveling troupe known as “mummers” throughout the known world. They travel from place to place putting on shows for audiences all over including a popular number known as “The Bloody Hand” — a story that clearly tells the tale of King Robert Baratheon’s death and the ascension of Joffrey Baratheon to the Iron Throne.
Arya watches at first with laughter and later with horror as she witnesses the death of her father played out for folly as scores of people smile and cheer the moment Ned Stark was beheaded.
Finally, Arya makes her move to the backstage area where she encounters the woman known as Lady Crane — an actress whom others are jealous and one that likes to take a taste of rum before and after her performances.
When she returns to the House of Black and White, Arya reports her findings to Jaqen and explains that by poisoning the wine, she’ll be able to kill Lady Crane. Arya does mistakenly ask too many questions about why they are killing this particular person, but so long as the price is paid, the Faceless Men are willing to sacrifice her to the many faced god.
So now Arya has her chance to prove she’s one of them — or risk losing everything all over again.
Sitting on the Salt Throne
With Balon Greyjoy dead, it’s time for the Iron Islands to elect a new ruler and so a “kingsmoot” is held where prospective kings put forth their name and all the captains from the longboats cast a vote for who they believe should be in charge. Yara Greyjoy is the first person to come forward and she stakes her claim while her brother Theon Greyjoy speaks up for her as well and says despite his rightful claim as Balon’s only living male heir, it’s his sister who should rule.
Just when it looks like she’ll run unopposed, Euron Greyjoy appears in the back of the crowd and puts his name into the hat to be king.
Euron claims responsibility for killing his brother Balon and admitting that he probably should have come back earlier to finish the job. On two occasions, Balon got the Greyjoys into wars they never had a chance to win and all it did was continue to crush the spirit of the Ironborn. So Euron has returned with a plan to give glory back to the Iron Islands.
But he’s not going to do this alone.
“Across the sea, there is a person who hates the great lords of Westeros just as much as we do. Someone with a large army. Three large dragons. And no husband. I’m going to build that fleet and I’m going to gallivant right over and give it to Daenerys Targaryen along with my big cock. I’m not going to seduce her — the iron fleet will seduce her and together we’re going to take the Seven Kingdoms. I wasn’t born to be king. I paid the iron price and here I stand!”
~ Euron Greyjoy
It seems Euron Greyjoy intends to take his fleet across the Narrow Sea to Meereen where he hopes to wed Daenerys Targaryen and bring her back to Westeros where they will conquer the Seven Kingdoms together. His rallying cry is exactly what the people of the Iron Islands want to hear and he is voted in as king.
During his coronation, Yara and Theon decide to take matters into their own hands as they gather up all the people loyal to them, they take the best ships in the Iron fleet and leave the islands behind. By the time Euron realizes what is happening, most of his ships are gone but he’s not defeated.
He tells every person on the Iron Islands to start gathering wood and steel as they will begin immediate construction on the biggest fleet the world has ever seen. Euron is going to sail across the world to find his bride and he’ll go ever further to murder his treacherous niece and nephew.
Find the Cure
Back in Vaes Dothrak, Daenerys is back in her queenly garb after burning down the Dosh Khaleen and killing all the Khals of the Dothraki as she now rules as their leader. She carries an audience with Jorah Mormont, who she has now twice banished and yet twice he has returned.
She’s ready to send him away again but Jorah has two things he needs to tell her before he goes. First, Tyron Lannister was correct — he’s been in love with her for years and that will never change. Two, Jorah has been stricken with greyscale and so he’s going to die anyways so being as far away from her as possible is probably best.
Before Jorah can wander off to his certain death, Daenerys commands him to stay because on the day he arrived by her side, he pledged to follow her commands from then until he dies. Because he’s not dead yet, Daenerys still has an order that Jorah must follow.
“Well I command you to find the cure. Wherever it is in this world. I command you to heal yourself and then return to me. When I take the Seven Kingdoms, I need you by my side.”
Jorah smiles back at his queen, but now he’s going to have to find a way to stop the greyscale from advancing beyond his arm, which will eventually drive him made and turn him into a “Stoneman”. Hopefully after everything he’s gone through to get back to her, Ser Friendzone will at least lop off an arm so he can spend some more time with Daenerys as she readies to conquer the Seven Kingdoms.
A New Ally
In Meereen, Tyrion and his council are discussing how the streets in the city have been peaceful ever since they made a pact with the slave masters from Yunkai, Astapor and Volantis. As much as they are enjoying the days and nights without murder in the streets and civil unrest, Tyrion knows they still need a voice to speak out to the people to convey the queen’s message about this new peace.
It needs to be somebody the people can trust and someone who will explain this new treaty to them in a way that they will not only understand, but embrace.
So Tyrion decides to call upon someone the former slaves in Meereen have flocked to ever since their chains were removed. Her name is Kinvara and she is a high priestess serving the Lord of Light.
It seems Tyrion wants Kinvara to pass along Daenerys’ message to the people of Meereen and she’s more than willing to comply. If you remember back to the first episode of the season when Tyrion and Varys are walking around Meereen, another priest who worships the Lord of Light has a flock around him as he preaches about Daenerys and her good deeds. It seems the people following the Lord of Light are all about the dragon queen.
But Varys is still very skeptical about this so called priestess and her powers. He brings up the fact that Melisandre is another priestess following the Lord of Light and she proclaimed that Stannis Baratheon was the “prince that was promised” until she figured out that he wasn’t and fled to the next man in line. He just doesn’t buy her spiritual hocus pocus, but he might after what Kinvara says next.
She tells Varys in terrible detail about his ordeal on the night where a second rate sorcerer cut off his man parts and burned them in the fire. She even remembers the name that cried out from the fire and asks Varys if he needs her to say it to prove she’s on the level. The stunned look on Varys’ face tells the whole story and it’s clear that Kinvara is a very powerful priestess following the Lord of Light.
“We serve the same queen. If you are her true friend, you have nothing to fear from me.”
We know the Lord of Light is a powerful being and now Tyrion has made a pact with one of his true believers — how much this pans out in his favor or Daenerys’ favor for that matter remains to be seen.
Hold the Door
Following the revelation that the children of the forest are responsible for creating the White Walkers, Bran wants to know more but the Three-Eyed Raven is resting and unable to travel with him through another greenseer session so he can learn more about the past and what is about to happen in the future. So Bran decides to take a trip himself and he ends up back at that same Weirwood tree where the children of the forest first created the White Walkers except this time instead of luscious greens and the colors of autumn surrounding the tree, everything is painted white. Winter has fallen on this sacred place and just past the tree are hundreds upon thousands of the Wights standing silently with weapons drawn.
At the back of the pack stands the four (dead) horsemen of the apocalypse — the White Walkers with the Night’s King leading the way. Bran’s vision continues until all of the Wights are facing him and the Night’s King reaches out and grabs his arm.
Bran wakes up screaming after coming face-to-face with the Night’s King and that’s when the Three-Eyed Raven realizes they are now in grave danger. See these prophetic visions are a look into the past or future but they have to be done very carefully and without proper training, Bran allowed himself to be exposed and when the Night’s King grabbed his arm, he marked him — and that means the White Walkers can not only find this magically hidden place, but they can knock down the front door.
A moment later, Meera Reed steps outside and she sees the White Walkers and an army of the dead standing there just waiting to come in and claim Bran and everybody else for that matter.
The Three-Eyed Raven realizes that he must rush to pass along all of his knowledge to Bran, whether he’s truly ready to take it all or not. So the two of them journey back one final time to Winterfell where he sees his father Ned Stark as he’s about to leave home to be fostered by Lord Jon Arryn at the Eyrie. It’s there where Ned would befriend Robert Baratheon and the two of them would train under Lord Arryn for several years.
But it’s there where Bran also spots his old pal Hodor — who we learned earlier this season was really named Wylis and seemed like a perfectly normal boy who knew a lot more than one word.
Back at the tree-cave, Meera tries to gather Bran and Hodor to make a run for it while the children of the forest hold back the Wights and the White Walkers as best they can. Meera even manages to use a spear made of dragon glass to kill one of the White Walkers, but it’s clear that they will soon be overrun.
Repeatedly, Meera begs Bran, who is still in his white eyed greenseer mode, to wake up and take over Hodor’s mind so they can all escape. Bran wakes up momentarily to take over Hodor as they jump in the sled and make a run for the back door. At the front, the children of the forest are defeated but Summer — Bran’s direwolf — stays behind to hold back the monsters so they can get away. Summer is eventually killed by the Wights — meaning only Ghost and Nymeria (Arya’s wolf that ran away in season one) are the direwolves still alive.
Meanwhile, Bran, Meera and Hodor make it out the back door but the Wights are right behind them and looking to crash through to kill their prey. The Night’s King also finally steps foot inside the Weirwood tree-cave where he finds the Three-Eyed Raven and with one swipe of his scythe, he kills the ancient greenseer dead.
At the back door, Meera tries to pull Bran away in the sled but only Hodor is left behind to stop the White Walkers and the Wights from pouring through and killing them in a matter of seconds. So Meera screams at Hodor over and over — hold the door!
In Bran’s fever dream, he’s still back in Winterfell and he hears the command.
Hold the door!
Hold the door!
Suddenly, Wylis looks directly at Bran as he hears the words and they “warg” together. Remember a few episodes ago when Bran encountered his father at the Tower of Joy and he said his name and at one point Ned turned as if he was looking back at his son? Bran was convinced that the people he spoke to in those visions could hear him — which means he’s possibly the most powerful greenseer of all, but it’s also a dangerously powerful gift. Altering the past can have a tremendous effect on the future.
So in this case as Bran hears the words “hold the door” over and over again as he’s still stuck in the past on the day his father left for the Vail, young Wylis is stricken by the “warging” powers and falls to the floor repeating one phrase again and again.
Hold the door!
Hold the door!
As his speech becomes slurred, hold the door becomes Hodor and back in present day, Hodor is holding the door with everything he can muster as the Wights and the White Walkers tear him apart while Bran and Meera escape.
A heartbreaking scene but now we know where Hodor came from — it was a greenseer trip that Bran was destined to take because he was always meant to travel to that exact day and time where those words would echo throughout history — hold the door — and Wylis became Hodor and his sole purpose in life was to save that boy’s life many, many years later.
The Game of Thrones show runners said this story came directly from George R.R. Martin so this was something that was always intended for Hodor in terms of his creation and his death and now he’s done his job. Bran passed along the message when he traveled to the past and from that moment forward, Wylis could only think about one thing. Holding the door.
Well, he held the door and now Bran gets to live.
Game of Thrones returns next Sunday night with a brand new episode and you can take a look at the preview below: