Sometimes, when you watch an episode of Game of Thrones, a secret comes out unexpectedly and tragically in such a way as to devestate the viewer.
Jimmy and Tom discuss stuff like that in this week’s installment, covering the season six episodes “The Door” and “Blood of My Blood”.
tomk: With all the big moments and revelations of this pair of episodes, there is one obvious thing to discuss first, the one truly memorable thing that happens: Tyrion and Varys have that meeting with that Red Priestess.
jimmy: I have a feeling you are being sarcastic.
tomk: Did something else catch your eye?
jimmy: Oh. I don’t know. Hodor?!?!
tomk: Excuse me. I got something in my eye…
Quite the origin story. And quite the display of power by Bran.
tomk: And it’s all Bran’s fault.
jimmy: Yeah. and they always say that bran is good for you.
tomk: When I saw this episode for the first time, I obviously wasn’t expecting a big action sequence at the end, and certainly not one that revealed one of the story’s biggest standing mysteries. Hodor’s secret won’t affect the overall plot much, but it feels big and plays into the show’s greater themes.
But then the scene starts, Bran screwed up with the Night King; the Three-Eyed Raven, the Children of the Forest, and Summer are all killed, and then Hodor is sacrificed while completely terrified.
I was on my feet watching that scene play out. I couldn’t believe it was playing out that way.
jimmy: I wonder how much of that was planned all along by Martin. “Hold the door” = Hodor is quite the long con.
tomk: That was one of the plot points he gave the producers.
jimmy: Yes. But when did he come up with it? Do you think from the first mention/appearance of Hodor that he had that in mind?
tomk: My guess is he did.
jimmy: It seems like he would have, but man, that is a long set up and pay off.
tomk: You know, the thing that gets me here is Game of Thrones often deals with how the powerful treat the powerless. Is there anyone in all of Westeros more innocent than Hodor?
jimmy: Hmm…Pre-fall Bran?
tomk: Bran, as a Stark male, was due a major screw-up.
Wait, same answer.
But in seriousness, no.
tomk: Hodor, despite his size, was still essentially powerless.
We never really knew if he understood what was going on.
And it turns out the one word he knew was just him endlessly repeating the last words he heard before he died over and over.
jimmy: Sad. And Bran controlling Hodor will be missed. Even if it was a scary invasion of his mind/privacy, it was cool as hell in the show.
tomk: A co-worker who doesn’t mind spoilers asked me what happened because she heard stuff the next day. That time I wouldn’t tell her, but that didn’t stop her from sending me links for Hodor bookends and the like without her getting the reference.
jimmy: I knew there was an episode upcoming where Hodor died. But didn’t know how, or that it revealed the mystery of “Hodor”.
…assuming he died…
tomk: You have the advantage there in that I had no idea the guy was doomed.
And that’s assuming the Night King doesn’t resurrect him to die a second time.
jimmy: It was still pretty traumatic though.
tomk: The music, the setting, the other deaths, everything makes it extra sad.
jimmy: So, here’s a related question. If Bran doesn’t get pushed out the window by Jaime (which now seems completely out of character for him), does he become the Three-Eyed Raven? I suppose that was always his destiny, especially if the stuff with Hodor “already happened”.
tomk: Huh. I don’t know.
Considering before Hodor died we also saw the Mad King and the birth of the White Walkers, there sure was a lot of stuff to see in that cave.
jimmy: Yeah. Way to go, Leaf.
tomk: They should get some real names.
jimmy: And maybe not create the beings that are going to destroy the world.
tomk: The White Walkers are not going to destroy the world. They’ll just kill every living thing on it. Big difference.
jimmy: Oh. Sorry.
tomk: Though if the Walkers can ignore most fire, can Wild Fire burn them?
jimmy: I’m guessing yes or no.
tomk: Good guess.
And Meera Reed killed a White Walker. Put her on the list of people who have.
jimmy: It’s a short list.
tomk: Her, Sam, and Jon.
So, how did Ms. Impossible take Hodor’s death?
jimmy: Devastated. Same as everyone else.
tomk: It traumatized a lot of people.
But as we continue to run out of direwolves, we got to see the Mad King.
jimmy: For all of 10 seconds. If that.
tomk: More than you saw before. Plus, some old king shouting, “Burn them all!” tells you everything you need to know.
jimmy: Plus the wildfire. And Jaime killing him.
tomk: Well, that just left Bran and Meera’s escape then.
jimmy: Benjen’s back!
tomk: As Coldhands!
jimmy: He needs them to hold the flaming dealie he brandished.
tomk: Coldhands is a character that first appeared in the second novel, a mysterious figure whose dark hands are mistaken for gloves before it is revealed his hands are frozen.
Coldhands escorts Sam and Gilly to the Wall after Sam kills the White Walker, then escorts Bran and company to the Children and the Three-Eyed Raven.
Fan theory says he’s Benjen, but Martin says it isn’t. Coldhands’ real name hasn’t been mentioned yet, and it is suggested he is a very old dead guy.
jimmy: They don’t call him that here that I recall.
tomk: No, but that’s clearly who he is supposed to be.
jimmy: Well, Jon will he happy he’s alive.
tomk: Except he kinda isn’t.
And Coldhands can’t cross certain barriers because he is a wight. He’s just an intelligent one.
jimmy: Such as The Wall.
tomk: Or the Children’s cave before Bran screwed up.
jimmy: Bran. shakes head
tomk: Truly, he is a Stark.
But what about another Stark…Sansa is keeping secrets.
jimmy: She has other plans for Littlefinger.
tomk: And possibly the Blackfish.
jimmy: Pod will convince him to help.
tomk: Not if Jaime gets to the Blackfish first…
jimmy: Jaime. shakes head
tomk: The Blackfish plot this season is largely from the fourth book.
And we saw Walder Frey stand up. That never goes well for somebody. This time it’s Edmure.
jimmy: Ms Impossible watches a show called Outlander. I’ll catch bits and pieces of it, but don’t really watch it. One of the main characters is played by the guy who portrays Edmure. But in this case he is as vicious and nasty as they come. Edmure could use a bit more of that character in him if he’s going to make it out of this show alive.
tomk: But he shouldn’t turn into an easily-manipulated dope like he played on Rome.
jimmy: I can’t comment on that, but you’re probably right!
tomk: He played Brutus on Rome and helped kill Mance Rayder’s Julius Caesar.
jimmy: You can’t trust those barbers.
tomk: Elaria Sand was also on Rome.
But she sat out these two episodes too.
jimmy: Which pleases you I’m guessing. (And that was a great 80’s WWF joke if I do say so myself.)
tomk: I wouldn’t know about 80s WWF.
jimmy: Tsk tsk
tomk: And I think she’s a fine actress. Dorne could have gone much better if it felt like anyone involved in this show cared enough about the place.
Heck, Watson says he loved Rome.
jimmy: Watson. shakes head
tomk: I am sensing a theme here.
jimmy: Could be.
tomk: But Sansa met with Littlefinger, got some valuable intell, then lied to Jon about where she got that information.
That could be…significant.
jimmy: It does make you wonder why. Especially so shortly after reuniting with Jon.
tomk: Would Jon approve of Littlefinger?
jimmy: Likely no. But intel is intel.
tomk: Sansa learned how to do things the Littlefinger way.
Keep secrets and trust no one.
jimmy: She learned from the best.
tomk: As we will see going forward, Jon and Sansa will have very different ideas about how to proceed based on their respective experiences. Sansa has seen and experienced some ugly politics.
jimmy: And I don’t think she and Jon were overly close to begin with. I get the impression he was more of an Arya type of guy.
tomk: Arya would agree. If she can get away from the Waif for…not killing someone.
jimmy: The Waif. shakes head
tomk: At least Arya got to enjoy the show a few times.
jimmy: I don’t know if “enjoy” is the right word there.
tomk: She liked parts of it that didn’t involve making Ned look bad. Joffrey dying made her day.
jimmy: Well…maybe that part.
tomk: She said her target was talented.
jimmy: And seems to have also decided that she is not no one, but is Arya Stark after all.
tomk: Arya is a Stark. They have high ideals. Hers is justice. She doesn’t mind killing if the person deserves it. And she retrieved Needle. The Waif might need to watch herself.
jimmy: Good. You go, Arya!
tomk: Next she should find another great killer to train with. And I know just the person.
jimmy: It’s Waif season.
tomk: So, if we’re sticking to Starks, there is the adopted brother Theon.
I get the impression that the Iron Islands is the only place you can brag about killing the king who is also your own brother and still win the popular vote.
jimmy: And we all know that winning the popular vote makes you leader.
tomk: It helps when you have clear policy goals like “Let’s kill my niece and nephew!”
jimmy: The Iron Born don’t seem to be an overly intelligent lot.
tomk: They need to build a thousand ships on an island that has no trees.
jimmy: That can use something else that floats. Like a witch!
tomk: Euron Greyjoy is truly a master strategist.
So, does Melisandre float?
In either case, assuming they have the the supplies…how long does it take to build 1000 ships?!?!
tomk: I dunno. A week?
jimmy: Sounds about right.
tomk: It takes longer to convert Tommen to the Church of the Seven
jimmy: Tommen. shakes head
tomk: He did it for Margaery.
You might have to.
I know I would have.
jimmy: For Margaery?
tomk: Well, maybe I like her perpetual smirk.
jimmy: She’s cute and all, but Tommen. C’mon man!
tomk: Well, look at it this way: he prevented a huge embarrassment for his wife and prevented a bloodbath in the streets.
Or it was her idea to prevent a huge embarrassment and a bloodbath in the streets and he didn’t have anything better.
jimmy: That may be true, but this is not going to end well. At least they’ve got Jaime out of their hair for a bit.
tomk: Yeah, send him to the Riverlands where Walder Frey stood up again.
jimmy: That’s bad.
tomk: But we got our choice of toppings!
jimmy: That’s good!
tomk: Sam told us sad stories about his childhood.
jimmy: Can I go now?
tomk: Did you take the Impossible family Valyrian steel sword with you on the way out?
I’ll be honest. This story with Sam and the continued slog of the High Sparrow storyline is the first time I felt like this show was running out of steam and were a bit more ruddlerless than in the past. Can that be attributed to being past Martin’s books? I can’t say for sure.
tomk: Well, we won’t be seeing Sam’s family again this season.
And it looks like it really is just one jerk. Too bad it’s the one that counts the most.
jimmy: Sam taking the sword was awesome though.
tomk: And we should keep track of who has a Valyrian steel anything.
jimmy: Well, there’s Sam and Jon and Brienne and Jaime. And wherever that dagger is now.
tomk: Yeah. Maybe Sam will kill another White Walker before this is done.
But you are right about Sam and Gilly’s plot. The whole thing seems to be about just moving Sam to the Citadel for next season.
jimmy: At least they gave Sam something to do, and not have him disappear for a season like Bran.
tomk: True I suppose. Of course, the actors playing Sam and Gilly aren’t going to have a sudden growth spurt.
jimmy: That crossed my mind too. 🙂
tomk: But growth spurts happen. Imagine if you will we needed to end an episode that could both terrify and inspire at the same time. I don’t know what that would look like.
jimmy: Are you sure?
tomk: You have something in mind?
jimmy: …it seemed like you did…
tomk: Oh. Yeah.
Drogon shakes head
jimmy: There you go. 🙂
tomk: Let’s take all the Dothraki to Westeros! What can go wrong?
jimmy: She needs 1000 ships. Euron is building 1000 ships. Hmm…
tomk: Euron? Ugh. Let Jorah hug that guy.
jimmy: Lol. Finally something we can agree on!
tomk: I was unaware we disagreed on much.
But hey, Jorah was forgiven.
And Drogon is clearly bigger now.
jimmy: Jorah is like the cat that came back. At least this time he’s leaving on his own terms.
She still told him to leave. He’d just rather support that command.
jimmy: But also told him to find a cure and come back.
tomk: Well, yes.
Will he find a cure for an incurable disease? Who can say?
Can he hug Euron?
Can he catch a break in his life?
jimmy: Hugs first, then cure.
And someone cured Stannis’ daughter.
tomk: Yeah! He just needs to find…that unknown person!
jimmy: He could just ask someone in the Baratheon family. Oh. Wait…
tomk: There’s still Gendry! Theoretically…
jimmy: He knows less than Jon Snow.
tomk: Well, Jorah has his work cut out for him if he’s to live to see the finale.
So, between the loss of Hodor and Dany finally finding a big enough army to take to Westeros, is this a sure sign of doom for all the surviving characters we like?
jimmy: Well, not all of them.
tomk: Anyone else you want Jorah to hug? Cersei? The Waif? Negan?
jimmy: Oh yeah, I got a whole list I can send to Jorah.
tomk: Shall we see about moving on and sending it to him in the next pair of episodes?
jimmy: It seems like it might be about that time.
tomk: Then we should. Whatever happens next can’t be as much as a bummer as Hold The Door.
And so our Watch continues. Be back soon as Tom and Jimmy cover the episodes “The Broken Man” and “No One”.
Weekend Trek “Ship In A Bottle”
Vikings: Valhalla “Pieces Of The Gods”
Noteworthy Issues: The Amazing Spider-Man #52 (September, 1967)