by Melissa Parkin
Grab some tissues and cover your eyes, because all of your tears and fears hit hard in “The Door.”
Sansa receives a message from Littlefinger who requests to meet with her. As per usual, he comes to her armed with an elegant speech, but she’s now smart to his trickery. When he tries to convince her that he means well, Sansa tells him that he’s either an idiot or her enemy for handing her over to Ramsay. She then threatens to have Brienne cut him down on sight, but decides to send him back off to Vale. He just so happens to give her one last parting gift, informing her that her uncle, Brendan Stark, has retaken Riverrun with strengthened forces. When Sansa returns to the Wall, Jon, Edd, Davos, Melisandre, and Brienne discuss possible strategies. With the North’s loyalty to the Stark name, Sansa believes that she and Jon can gain the allegiances of smaller houses. She mentions Brendan’s recent victory in Riverrun, but lies about how she received the intel.
At the Kingsmoot ceremony, Yara makes her pledge for Queen of the Iron Islands. The crowd shows initial skepticism, as Theon—being Balon’s remaining male heir—seems like the obvious choice for the throne. Theon addresses the issue, rallying the men together in Yara’s favor by declaring his sister to be the “rightful ruler.” Just when everything seems all fine and dandy, dear old Uncle Euron Greyjoy crashes the festivities and claims he’s the man for the job. Yara, wise to his ways, accuses him of murdering her father. Euron proves to be an honest man, albeit a bit loony, because he outright admits to it. He sells the men on the notion that he’ll build up the Iron Fleet and join forces with Daenerys to reclaim the Seven Kingdoms. Once the crowd starts chanting his name, Yara and Theon know they’ve lost their claim. As their uncle undergoes the baptism ritual, the siblings gather their loyal followers and commandeer the Iron Islands' best ships and set sail. Good thing too, because as all good GOT uncles do, Euron wishes to murder them. So…
Meanwhile, during the ongoing training sessions, The Waif declares to Arya that, “You’ll never be one of us, Lady Stark.” Jaqen agrees, as none of the previous Faceless Men came from royal blood. He tasks Arya with the mission to poison Lady Crane, an actress of a traveling comedic troupe. She goes to see one of her performances, laughing at the play that’s mocking the Lannister family. The amusement dies however when they make light of Ned Stark’s beheading. Arya goes backstage to observe the actress playing Cersei, noting she is the only one of the troupe who likes rum. She returns to Jaquen, informing him of the plan to poison her drink. Her curiosity gets the better of her, as she inquires to know who wishes Crane dead. “A servant does not ask questions,” declares Jaquen.
Daenerys is at a loss of what to do with Jorah, as he has yet again saved her life. “I can't take you back, and I can't send you away.” “You must send me away,” he informs her, revealing his infected arm. Dany’s hardened exterior immediately vanishes, as she tearily apologizes. He won’t have it, as all he’s ever wanted to do was serve her. “Tyrion Lannister was right… I love you. I’ll always love you.” He bids Dany goodbye, but she refuses to let him go. “I command you to heal yourself and then return to me,” she cries. “When I take the Seven Kingdoms, I need you by my side.”
In another vision, Bran witnesses the first White Walker being made by the Children of the Forest—who now in fact reside with the Three-Eyed Raven. Unable to resist his curiosity, Bran enters into another vision while the Raven sleeps. He finds himself standing before a frozen weirwood tree. Turning around, Bran then sees an entire army of Wights right in the clearing. They remain unaware of his presence as he weasels his way through the crowd, but he quickly realizes something’s wrong when he approaches the Night’s King. The White Walker looks right at him, and Bran sees that all the reanimated corpses have now noticed him. Frightened, he whirls around, suddenly finding the Night’s King standing directly in front of him.
The Walker snatches his arm, and Bran wakes up screaming. The Raven informs him that the Night’s King has marked him, allowing him to enter the Cave. “The time has come for you to become me.” The White Walkers now know where Bran is, making it only a matter of time before the army of the dead comes to kill him. Meera notices her breath fog and runs to the entrance of the Cave to see the Night’s King and his fellow soldiers approaching. The Children of the Forest do their best to fend off the army as Meera tries to get Bran to warg into Hodor, but he can't since he's trapped in a vision with the Raven.
Bran returns to the past with a young Hodor at Winterfell, but Meera’s desperate cries bellow into the vision. He manages to warg into Hodor and carries his body through the back tunnels with Meera on their heels. The Night’s King invades the Cave, killing the Raven as his army pursues Bran. Just as they manage to get outside, the Dead race after them, hitting the door that Hodor barely manages to hold close. Meera drags Bran’s body away, begging for Hodor to “hold the door,” as he’s the only thing stopping them from getting to Stark.
Bran watches in the past as Meera’s words echo in the air. The young Hodor stares at Bran and suddenly collapses on the ground, in what looks like a seizure. He starts crying out, “Hold the door! Hold the door! Hold the door, hold the door, hold the door! Ho…dor! Ho…dor!” The Wights manage to break through sections of the door and rip into Hodor bit by bit as he keeps guard, watching Meera and Bran disappear into the wintery storm ahead.