Blog of the Dragon

Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire news, theories, and other nerdy goodness

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Liebster Award Q & A

Liebster

I was on vacation last week, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I was nominated for a Liebster Award by baitkinblog; make sure to check out his site. Thank you so much for the nomination!

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your own choosing
  • Give them 11 questions
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them

Here are his questions to me – I finally got around to answering them (better late than never)!

  1. Least favorite movie and why?

This is a tough one – I haven’t bothered to watch many movies unless I have heard good things about them. I guess I’d say The Mist. I love Stephen King and enjoyed the story, but the end of the movie was quite depressing.

  1. How long have you had a page on WordPress?

Three months.

  1. What inspires you to keep writing?

I find it’s the easiest way for me to communicate and to organize my thoughts. I love sharing my ideas with people and getting their feedback as well.

  1. Favorite superhero?

Probably Iron Man – mainly because I love Robert Downey Jr.

  1. Do you like video games? If so, what’s your favorite?

I don’t have much time for video games, but I do enjoy watching my husband play Assassin’s Creed on occasion.

  1. Favorite book?

This is another tough one… My favorite book series would have to be George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, hands down. If I have to pick just one book though, it would be The Stand by Stephen King.

  1. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

I’ve always thought that flying would be the best superpower.

  1. Who’s your favorite TV/movie character and why?

Jon Snow (Game of Thrones) because he’s not only handsome, honorable, brave, and a good fighter, he’s also humble, conflicted, and unsure of himself at times. He’s a real, relatable person.

  1. Do you have a tip for people who would like to start writing on WordPress?

Pick a topic that you’re passionate about, and that you can write about consistently. It’s easy to get bored after a while unless you really care about the subject matter.

  1. If you could travel to any point in time and live there, where would you go?

I’m fascinated by the Roaring 20s and always imagined it would be an exciting time to visit. I’d have to leave before the Depression hit though!

  1. Social media outlets (so people can follow you)

https://twitter.com/blogofthedragon

https://www.facebook.com/blogofthedragon/

My Nominees are:

  1. Pat Sponaugle (https://patricksponaugle.com/)
  2. Lady Gwynhyfvar(https://ladygwynhyfvar.wordpress.com/)
  3. Adam Feldman (https://meereeneseblot.wordpress.com/)
  4. Saria (https://theprancingponyblog.wordpress.com/)
  5. Chelsea and Sariann(http://www.innatthecrossroads.com/)
  6. Steven Attewell (https://racefortheironthrone.wordpress.com/)
  7. Talk Stephen King(http://talkstephenking.blogspot.com/)
  8. hot2molly(https://hot2molly.com/)
  9. Rachel Howden(https://rachelhowdenblog.wordpress.com/)
  10. Blogs of a Bookaholic(https://beckysblogs.wordpress.com/)
  11. BookReaderUSA (https://bookreaderusa.wordpress.com/)

Here are my questions to you:

  1. What is your favorite book and why?
  2. What made you want to write a blog?
  3. What do you like to do in your free time?
  4. Do you have any favorite podcasts?
  5. If you could meet any celebrity, living or dead, who would it be?
  6. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
  7. Are you planning any other writing projects?
  8. Who is your favorite author?
  9. What is your favorite TV show/movie?
  10. If you could visit any country, where would you go?
  11. Social media outlets (so people can follow you)

 

Game of Thrones Episode 8 Play by Play (Dark and Full of Spoilers)

We begin in Braavos, and Lady Crane has been able to rewrite her final speech – it seems to be a hit. She goes backstage for a drink (uh oh…did the Waif poison it?). She hears a sound and finds Arya hiding behind some costumes, bleeding. Lady Crane patches her up – a skill she learned from stabbing boyfriends in a jealous rage and then feeling sorry for them. Ok…

Arya asks about the other actress – Bianca – and learns that Lady Crane got rid of her, ruining her face as a souvenir (apparently you don’t want to mess with her). She prepares milk of the poppy for Arya, which Arya doesn’t want to take – it’s hard to sleep with a trained killer after you. Lady Crane tells her she must rest in order to heal, so she relents and drinks.

Over in the Riverlands we see some outlaws (part of the gang that killed Sandor’s commune I assume). They are talking and displaying some raunchy behavior, so obviously they will die shortly. And here comes Sandor, right on cue. He dispatches them in short order – pretty brutally – and asks the last survivor where to find the leader (Lem Lemoncloak). Sandor doesn’t get an answer, only curses.

In Meereen things seem to have stabilized after Tyrion’s deal with the slavers, and with the red priests singing Dany’s praises. Varys is wary of allying with fanatics (ask Cersei how well that worked for her), but he feels comfortable enough to leave Tyrion to handle things while he heads back to Westeros. Varys wants to drum up support for Daenerys – hopefully that means they plan to go back there soon after she returns to the city.

Speaking of Westeros, the Faith Militant arrive at the Red Keep to take Cersei to see the High Sparrow. Lancel tells her the High Sparrow has commanded her to come to the Great Sept, but she refuses, saying she chooses violence. One of the more foolish Faith Militant swings his weapon at Zombie Mountain, and it gets stuck in his armor. Zombie Mountain is not pleased and rips the idiot’s head off, as Lancel and the others look on, horrified. Cersei walks off, saying the High Sparrow is always welcome to visit.

At Riverrun, the siege is ongoing which Captain Obvious (Pod) helpfully points out to Brienne. Brienne sees Jaime in the distance, and informs the Lannister soldiers that she wishes to speak with him. As she and Jaime are meeting in his tent, Bronn jokes with Pod about Brienne and Jaime’s attraction and Pod’s prowess with the ladies. Inside, Jaime tells Brienne he thought Sansa was dead and says he’s proud of Brienne for finding her and fulfilling her vow to Catelyn. Awww…

Brienne informs Jaime that Sansa is preparing to take back Winterfell, and she is there to recruit the Blackfish and the Tully forces to her cause. Brienne asks permission to speak with the Blackfish and persuade him to give up the castle peacefully; she will take the Tully forces north, and Jaime can return home. Jaime agrees to let her try but doesn’t seem optimistic about her chances.

Brienne offers to return Jaime’s sword, saying he gave it to her for a purpose, which she has fulfilled. Jaime refuses to take it, saying it will always be hers. Before she leaves, she tells Jaime that if she fails to convince the Blackfish and the Lannisters must attack, she will be forced to fight them on the side of the Tullys. Jaime replies they should hope it doesn’t come to that, and the way they look at each other makes me want to get back on board the Braime ship (sorry Brimund).

The Blackfish is as stubborn as Jaime promised he would be, telling Brienne he doesn’t know her and can’t trust her word, or the letter she carries from Sansa. Brienne tries to convince him that they can’t withstand the Lannister and Frey forces. The Blackfish accuses her of being on Jaime’s side, wondering why he let her into the castle and why she has a Lannister sword. Brienne retorts that Jaime entrusted her to protect the Stark girls, to honor his promise to Catelyn. The Blackfish finally reads the letter, stating that Sansa is just like her mother. He understands she wants her home back, but Riverrun is his home, and he won’t go without a fight. Brienne reluctantly tells Pod to send Sansa a raven informing her of her failure.

Back in King’s Landing, Cersei enters the throne room, where there is to be a royal announcement. She tries to take her place at Tommen’s side, but Kevan sends her to the gallery with the other ladies of the court (something tells me Zombie Mountain will be ripping his head off soon). Tommen announces the date for Loras’s and Cersei’s trials and says that trial by combat is now outlawed. Instead they will be tried by seven septons, and Cersei looks crestfallen at this news. Qyburn cheers her up a bit by saying that he has looked into the rumors she told him about, and they are much more than rumors. I see wildfire in King’s Landing’s future…

Over in Meereen, Tyrion is having another awkward conversation with Missandei and Grey Worm. He tries to get them to drink with him (to avoid feeling like an alcoholic I suppose). Tyrion tells a joke – which they don’t get – and encourages them to tell jokes of their own. Luckily all of this awkwardness is cut short by the arrival of a fleet of enemy ships. It appears Tyrion’s truce with the slavers didn’t last long.

At Riverrun, Jaime meets with Edmure (who finally gets to speak!). Jaime apologizes for the Freys’ treatment of him and vows to have him clothed and fed. Edmure says the Blackfish will never surrender. Jaime talks of Edmure’s wife – and a son whom Edmure has never met – and says he can arrange for Edmure to be with them. Edmure insults Jaime and asks how he can live with himself; Jaime tells him nothing matters to him but getting back to Cersei. He threatens to kill Edmure’s son and every Tully to do it.

Edmure is allowed into the castle, where he orders the Tully forces to surrender. Since they recognize him as the true Lord of Riverrun, they do as he commands. Meanwhile, the Blackfish slips away and helps Brienne and Pod escape. They try to convince him to come with them, but he resolves to die fighting for his home (which is a real waste of his character in my opinion). The Lannister forces take the castle (apparently killing the Blackfish offscreen – a disappointing end), and Jaime stands at the ramparts watching Brienne and Pod row away.

Back to Meereen, and the slaver forces are attacking the city. Grey Worm and Tyrion argues about what the army should do, and Grey Worm convinces him that they should stay in the pyramid and let the slaver forces come to them. Something hits the top of the pyramid… Drogon has landed, and Daenerys has returned (looking none too pleased with this turn of events).

In the Riverlands, Sandor has found Lem Lemoncloak, who is about to be hanged for his crimes by Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr (the true leaders of the Brotherhood Without Banners). Sandor demands vengeance for his friends, and Beric agrees to give him two of the three. Sandor goes to use his axe, but they won’t allow him to butcher them. Sandor must settle for making them hang. He does so, then takes Lem’s boots.

Later they sit down to eat (unfortunately not chicken, much to Sandor’s disappointment), and Beric and Thoros try to convince Sandor to join them. They tell him that the Lord of Light allowed him to live for a reason. They say he’s a fighter, and the real fight is against the darkness. Perhaps he will head north with them – is a Sandor/Sansa reunion on the way?

Arya is still resting in Braavos as Lady Crane watches over her. Suddenly a young man appears (surely the Waif in disguise). Arya wakes to find Lady Crane murdered, and the Waif unmasked. She tells Arya she should have done her job, and Lady Crane would have died painlessly. The god of death has received his due, and he has been promised another name – Arya’s. Arya runs (pretty well for someone recovering from stab wounds to the gut) with the Waif in hot pursuit. Arya ends up in her room at the temple, where she pulls Needle from its hiding place. As the Waif enters, Arya cuts the top off the burning candle, plunging the room into darkness.

We cut to Jaqen, who sees a trail of blood leading to the Hall of Faces. There he finds the Waif’s freshly removed and bloody face on the wall. Arya confronts him, and he admits ordering the Waif to kill her. He is impressed with Arya, telling her she is finally no one. Arya corrects him, saying she is Arya Stark of Winterfell, and she is going home.

There were a few bright spots in this episode (Brienne/Jaime, the Brotherhood, Cersei getting denied her trial by combat), but it definitely wasn’t my favorite. The scenes in Meereen fell flat, and the whole situation in Braavos was farfetched. Are we really supposed to believe Arya was that stupid to be out in broad daylight after failing her final test, that the Waif was so inept as an assassin, and that Arya could be out running and leaping after her wounds (expertly patched by an actress!)? Oh well, at least we have a big northern battle to look forward to next week.

What did you think about No One?

 

 

 

Game of Thrones Episode 7 Play by Play (Spoilers Ahead)

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We start off in what looks to be the Riverlands, where a group of people are building something – possibly a sept? It must be – there is a man wearing a seven pointed star who seems to be in charge. And who do we have carrying a log, seeming to struggle a bit? Could it be who I think it is? Yes – the Hound has returned!

The septon comes over as the Hound (or is he just Sandor now?) is chopping wood. He asks how many men it took to cut him down, and Sandor admits it was only one. The septon says he must have been “some kind of monster” forcing Sandor to reluctantly admit it was a woman. The septon laughs at that. He hasn’t seen Brienne though – she’s no ordinary woman.

They ring the bell for supper, and as Sandor is eating the septon tells him some of the men are afraid of him; that’s nothing new to Sandor. The septon says he thought he’d been dead for days when he found him, and that he would die several more times after that; he asks Sandor what kept him going. “Hate” is his response (for whom I wonder? Brienne? Arya? His brother?). The septon tells him there is a reason he survived – the gods aren’t done with him. Sandor asks if the gods are real, why haven’t they punished him? “They have,” the septon replies.

Off to King’s Landing where Margaery has been cleaned up and looks very modest for a change. She is reading from the Book of the Mother as the High Sparrow comes to talk to her. Margaery looks very pious as she talks about her past – how she pretended to love the poor, but she only pitied them.

The High Sparrow gets awfully personal, asking why she hasn’t attended her husband in the marriage bed (poor Tommen). Margaery replies that her desires have changed, and the High Sparrow tells her she doesn’t need desire to do her duty – she must give the king an heir. The High Sparrow says she has made great progress, and that he hopes her grandmother will follow her lead. She is an unrepentant sinner, and Margaery must teach her the new way (good luck with that!).

Margaery goes to visit her grandmother Olenna, and the Queen of Thorns is as thorny as ever as she insults the prune-faced Septa Unella and berates Margaery for falling into the clutches of the Faith. Olenna asks about Loras, and Margaery says he will be freed once he repents, but stripped of lands and titles. Olenna is livid, saying he is the heir to Highgarden and the future of their house. She tells Margaery to leave for Highgarden, but Margaery refuses as she has a duty to the king. Margaery says Olenna should go home however, and secretly presses something into her hand – a drawing of a rose, the sigil of House Tyrell (I knew Margaery was faking!).

Back in the North, the wildlings are reluctant to fight Jon and Sansa’s war for them. Tormund tells them they’d all be dead if it weren’t for Jon. The other wildlings reply that their numbers are so few now, and if they lose, that’s it for them – all the free folk gone. Jon counters, saying if he and Sansa lose, they’re done. The Boltons will wipe them out. Jon says he knows it’s not their fight, and it’s not the deal they made, but they need each other to survive. Tormund adds that Jon died for them, and they are cowards if they aren’t willing to do the same. Wun Wun the giant stands and says “Snow,” appearing to support Jon – the rest of them fall in line (because who wants to cross a giant?).

In King’s Landing, Olenna is writing a letter and preparing to head home to Highgarden. Cersei walks in with Zombie Mountain (hopefully not planning to use him right now!) and tells her she can’t leave with Loras still a prisoner and the Faith in charge. Olenna replies that all of this is Cersei’s fault – her stupidity put both of their houses in jeopardy. Cersei swallows her pride and accepts the blame (surprising Olenna, and the rest of us), but says they need each other if they are going to win. Olenna wonders if Cersei is the worst person she’s ever met, and says she is leaving before the High Sparrow can throw her into a cell. If Cersei is smart, she’ll do the same. Cersei says she’ll never leave her son, but Olenna tells her she has lost and is surrounded by enemies. Is she going to kill them all herself? The look on Cersei’s face tells me yes, yes she is.

Over in the Riverlands, the Lannister forces approach Riverrun. Bronn observes the sorry attempt the Freys have made at a siege, and Jaime tells him he should instruct them on the proper way to do it. Bronn laments being a knight, as a sellsword at least he got paid. Bronn asks about the castle and highborn lady Jaime promised, and Jaime says he’ll get them – a Lannister always….yeah yeah we know the rest.

The Freys are attempting to lure the Blackfish out by threatening to hang his nephew Edmure outside the castle walls. The Blackfish appears on the ramparts and gives them a challenging look. The Freys take the noose off and threaten to cut Edmure’s throat. The Blackfish just stares, then says to go on and do it and walks away. He has called their bluff, and they put down the knife.

Jaime and Bronn walk up and berate the Freys for allowing 8000 men to come into their camp unchallenged. Jaime tells them to feed and bathe Edmure (and hopefully let the poor guy talk – he hasn’t had one line since he’s been back). The Freys say that he is their prisoner, and Jaime gives them a smackdown (physically and verbally). He tells them he is now in charge of the siege, and if they don’t like it they can go home.

In the North, Jon and Sansa visit Bear Island and House Mormont (and the cutest, fiercest little warrior maid – Lady Lyanna). Sansa unsuccessfully tries to flatter her, and Jon attempts to use her uncle, Jeor Mormont, to win her trust. Lyanna isn’t having any of it and demands to know what they want. Jon reminds her of the letter she wrote Stannis, that House Mormont know no other king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark. Jon says House Stark need her support and allegiance more than ever.

Lyanna confers with her maester and guard, and replies Jon is a Snow and Sansa is a Bolton (or a Lannister). Sansa says she did what she must to survive, but that she will always be a Stark. Jon adds that Ramsay Bolton has their brother Rickon, but Lyanna wants to know why she should sacrifice any more men for someone else’s war.

Davos jumps in to save the day, by telling her that the real war is between the living and the dead, and the dead are coming. Lyanna’s uncle knew it, and so does Jon. If the Boltons hold the North, it will remain divided and they will never survive. Lyanna finally relents and pledges 62(?!) men to their cause, but each one fights with the strength of ten. Davos replies with the best line of the episode, “If they’re half as ferocious as their lady, the Boltons are doomed.”

Back at Riverrun, Jaime parleys with the Blackfish. He asks if Jaime is there to fulfill his vow to Catelyn by bringing Sansa and Arya, and Jaime is forced to admit he doesn’t have them. The Blackfish then asks if he wishes to resume his captivity. Jaime replies that he is there to take the castle back for House Frey. The Blackfish sneeringly asks if they will kill Edmure if he doesn’t surrender, and says Edmure is marked for death no matter what he does. Jaime tells him they will storm the castle if necessary and hundreds will die. “Hundreds of mine…thousands of yours” is the Blackfish’s response.

Jaime tells him to surrender and he will spare the Tully men, on his honor. The Blackfish retorts that “bargaining with oathbreakers is like building on quicksand.” Jaime says the war is over and there is no point in fighting for a lost cause. The Blackfish says the war isn’t over as long as he lives, Riverrun is his home and he’s prepared to die there, and that they have enough provisions to withstand a siege for two years. Jaime asks why he bothered to treat with him if he had no intention of making a deal, and the Blackfish responds that sieges are dull and he wanted to get the measure of Jaime. “I’m disappointed,” he says (and the book readers all agree).

Jon and Sansa are still making the rounds up North, this time at House Glover. Lord Glover has no interest in helping the Starks, as the Boltons helped them win back their castle from the Ironborn. Jon says the Boltons are traitors, and Lord Glover interrupts asking who else is fighting with the Starks. Jon reluctantly admits that wildlings form the bulk of their force, and Lord Glover refuses to fight with them. Sansa reminds him that they were pledged to the Starks – Lord Glover admits they served the Starks and followed Robb as King in the North, but Robb was no help to them when they lost their home. Robb got himself and his men killed – House Stark is dead.

Over in Volantis, Yara and Theon are in a brothel. Theon looks miserable, and Yara appears to be a lesbian now? Or bisexual at least? She is enjoying the company of one of the whores, and jokingly asks Theon if that doesn’t interest him anymore (which is pretty cruel of her). She then apologizes, saying she’ll never hurt Theon. Theon asks if Euron is hunting for them, and Yara admits he will as long as they live – they are a threat. She urges Theon to drink, and stop cowering. Yara needs the real Theon to man up and help her win the support of Daenerys to take back the Iron Islands.

Jon, Sansa, and Davos are still camped in the North – apparently where Stannis once made camp (uh oh Melisandre, I think Davos will find out what happened to Shireen soon). Jon says they won’t stay long; they need to march on Winterfell before the snows come. They discuss the small number of men under their command, and Davos assures them they still have a chance if they are careful and smart.

Davos walks off to break up a fight, and Sansa questions Jon about Davos being his most trusted advisor. Jon replies that Davos served Stannis for years and Jon wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for him. Sansa argues that Stannis lost his battles and his head, and they need more men. Jon tells her there is no time, and he goes to help Davos (who isn’t being very successful with the men – not a good sign). Sansa looks over at the raven cage and decides to send a letter – to whom, we don’t know. Littlefinger perhaps?

Down to the Riverlands again, and the septon is talking to his flock. He tells them he used to be a soldier who blindly followed orders, no matter how despicable. He wasn’t brave, he was a coward. He recounts a story about killing a young boy as his mother screamed, and how ashamed he was. He says he will hear her screaming for the rest of his life. Sandor is listening intently, and he seems to understand how painful that can be.

The septon goes on to say he can never bring the boy back, but he can do some good with the time he has left. It’s never too late to turn your life around. He looks directly at Sandor and says it’s never too late to come back. He tells everyone that they shouldn’t wait for the gods to answer their prayers, but to start answering them on their own.

Just then some men ride up (outlaws? Members of the Brotherhood Without Banners?) and demand to know if they have horses. The septon says no, and no gold or steel. They ask for food, and the septon invites them to stay for supper but that they have hungry mouths as well. The men tell the septon to stay safe, and that “the night is dark and full of terrors.”

As Sandor is chopping firewood, he talks to the septon about the danger they are in from the Brotherhood. The septon asks what Sandor wants to do – fight them? Kill them? He says his people don’t know how to fight. Sandor says the septon can fight, but the septon is done with fighting – it’s a disease that you don’t cure by spreading it. Sandor replies that “you don’t cure it by dying either.”

We head over to Braavos, and Arya finds a Westerosi sailor. She requests passage home, and shows him two bags of coins. Arya demands that they leave at sunrise and takes the money with her. As she stands on a bridge, an old woman walks up behind her. Arya turns and is slashed across the belly and then stabbed by the woman, who turns out to be the Waif. Arya fights her off and jumps into the water. The Waif looks over to see blood in the water and no sign of Arya. Appearing satisfied, she walks off – which doesn’t seem to be a good technique for an assassin. Shouldn’t she have made sure Arya was dead? Jaqen probably won’t be happy with no face for the hall either.

Arya isn’t dead (yet), and gasps as she surfaces. She climbs out of the water and walks down the street, bleeding heavily. She looks around at nothing but unfriendly faces. No one wants to help her. I have a few questions here: Why is Arya walking around undisguised, broad daylight, knowing she’s now a target of the Faceless Men? Jaqen told the Waif not to let Arya suffer, but she did – and shouldn’t she have made sure Arya was dead? Won’t Jaqen be angry that the Waif didn’t take her face for the hall? Something tells me this is either bad writing, or not all is as it seems…

Back in Westeros, Sandor is still cutting wood. He finally takes a break, and hears screaming in the distance. When he returns to the camp, he sees everyone has been slaughtered. The septon is hanging from the sept, dead. Sandor grabs an axe and walks away. I suppose he isn’t done with fighting – and killing – yet.

All in all, this was a decent episode. I wish there had been more dialogue from the books for the septon (especially the Broken Men speech given the episode title). I enjoyed Riverrun and the North however, and Lady Olenna is always a pleasure to watch. What are your thoughts about The Broken Man?

 

Visions and Prophecies – Deciphering the Mysteries in the House of the Undying

I am following up my previous post (analyzing Bran’s vision from last week’s episode of Game of Thrones) with a look at another vision – Daenerys in the House of the Undying. Since I have already touched upon the show version, I will focus on the book version from A Clash of Kings (book 2 in A Song of Ice and Fire). I discuss information from a sample chapter of The Winds of Winter, so please don’t read if you don’t wish to be spoiled.

Daenerys enters and passes a series of rooms which depict various scenes (past, present, and future):

  • A beautiful, naked woman being ravished by four little men (believed to be the War of the Five Kings – reduced to four as Renly has been killed by this time)
  • A feast of slaughtered corpses below a dead man with the head of a wolf, sitting on a throne and wearing an iron crown (the Red Wedding)
  • The house with the red door in Braavos where Daenerys spent her childhood
  • A throne room with dragon skulls where an old king (assumed to be Aerys II) sits on a towering throne, preparing to burn the city
  • A room where a man with silver-gold hair and indigo eyes (presumably Rhaegar Targaryen) names his son Aegon, calls him “the prince that was promised” whose song is “the song of ice and fire,” and says there must be another because “the dragon has three heads”

Daenerys ends up in a room with a “splendor of wizards” who claim to be the Undying. They tell her they have been waiting for her and offer food and knowledge. She begins to doubt this vision, and finds a hidden door which takes her to the real Undying, withered creatures in a dark room where a rotting blue heart floats over a long table.

The Undying Ones call Daenerys “mother of dragons…child of three” and echo Rhaegar’s assertion about the three heads of the dragon. Then then whisper prophecies to her: “three fires must you light…one for life and one for death and one to love,” “three mounts must you ride…one to bed and one to dread and one to love,” “three treasons will you know…once for blood and once for gold and once for love.”

It’s unclear whether these are all predictions for the future or if some have already come to pass. However, if you put them in the context of the earlier scenes she witnesses and the visions that are shown later, they are likely a mix of both. There has been much debate over the meaning here, but my thoughts are as follows:

Three fires

I believe the one “for life” was the fire which hatched her dragons. The one “for death” probably hasn’t happened yet, but it could be related to the “pale mare” – the wasting plague that is spreading through camps outside Meereen. I’m not sure about the one “to love” – the wording is a bit different, implying this fire will be something she will take pleasure in. Perhaps she will have Drogon burn Euron? If she has been forced to marry him (which is certainly his goal and the reason his sent ships to her), his death would free her and would definitely be something to love.

Three mounts

Some people believe the “mounts” are lovers or husbands, but I think they are actual mounts, as in methods of conveyance. One “to bed” would be Dany’s silver horse that carries her to consummate her marriage to Drogo on her wedding night. One “to dread” could be an Ironborn ship that takes her to Westeros (possibly to Euron himself – definitely someone to dread), as we know Victarion is headed to Daenerys with a fleet. One “to love” is more difficult, but I’ll get into my opinion shortly – I think there may be a connection between this set of prophecies and three visions she is shown later.

Three treasons

The one ”for blood” was probably Mirri Maz Duur who sought vengeance for the slaughtering of her people by Khal Drogo’s khalasar. One “for gold” is sometimes assumed to be Jorah, but he betrayed her for a pardon and for home. I think it’s more likely Brown Ben Plumm – he’s betrayed her once already and may do it again, possibly selling a dragon to her “nephew” Aegon. One “for love” is harder to determine. I believe Daenerys is taking a darker turn at the end of A Dance with Dragons – and likely on Game of Thrones as well – but that she will eventually do what’s right for the realm. Perhaps someone who loves her will have to betray her in a way that forces her to realize she’s on a wrong path.

Daenerys is then shown a series of visions – each in sets of three – accompanied by titles given to her by the Undying:

Daughter of death

Daenerys sees Viserys with his molten crown of gold, a lord with copper skin and silver-gold hair in front of a burning city (most likely Rhaego if he had lived), and Rhaegar’s death at the Battle of the Trident. All of her close family has been killed.

Slayer of lies

She is shown a blue-eyed king who casts no shadow holding a red sword (Stannis – the false Azor Ahai Reborn), a cloth dragon on poles in a cheering crowd (“Aegon” – the possibly false prince and Blackfyre pretender), and a stone beast flying from a smoking tower, breathing shadow fire (possibly Jon Connington who has greyscale and whose sigil is a griffin). These are presumably lies that she will expose once she returns to Westeros. I’m not sure about the stone beast, since Jon Connington’s support of the false Aegon seems to be tied to the cloth dragon vision, but I don’t have another interpretation at the moment.

Bride of fire

I believe this series of visions may actually tie in with the three mounts prophecy. Daenerys sees her silver trotting to a stream beneath the stars (where she and Drogo consummated their marriage – a mount to bed). She was his bride of fire – she had to burn him upon his death.

Next she sees a corpse at the prow of a ship with grey lips smiling sadly (this appears to be Euron’s ship, the Silence – a mount to dread). In the new Aeron Greyjoy sample chapter that George R. R. Martin read at BaltiCon over Memorial Day weekend, we find out Aeron is now Euron’s prisoner. By the end of the chapter, Aeron is lashed to the prow of the Silence before they set sail, so there is a strong likelihood he is the corpse in this vision; that would mean Daenerys does indeed marry Euron. Bride of fire here may support my prediction that Daenerys will kill him with dragonfire.

Finally Daenerys sees a blue flower growing from a chink in a wall of ice (a blue winter rose representing Jon at the Wall, as he is almost certainly Lyanna’s son – the “chink” may be an ice cell where his body will be stored before his resurrection). I believe Jon will find out about his parentage during his death, as he may have warged into Ghost. If he did, Bran may be able to contact him in this state and share the truth about his birth (Bran will likely see a vision of the Tower of Joy). If these visions do relate to the three mounts, then that would mean the mount to love would take her to Jon, to be the bride of fire to his ice.

Perhaps she rides Drogon to the Wall because King’s Landing has been destroyed, and she has heard of the threat from the Others/White Walkers. If the House of the Undying vision as portrayed in Game of Thrones relates to her end game, it lends even more credence to this idea. In that episode, she enters a ruined throne room and reaches for the Iron Throne, but changes her mind and leaves. When she goes through the door, she appears at the Wall.

There is definitely evidence and foreshadowing which suggests that Daenerys will embrace violence, and the “Fire and Blood” mantra of House Targaryen. George R. R. Martin has stated there will be a second Dance of the Dragons, and it will probably be as destructive – maybe even more so – than the first. However, we also see throughout her arc a desire to be a just and benevolent ruler, with a peaceful and happy kingdom. The question is, which path will she ultimately choose? I believe there is enough evidence to support her making the right decision – hopefully before it’s too late.

 

An Analysis of Bran’s Vision from Game of Thrones Episode 6

At the beginning of Sunday’s episode, Blood of My Blood, Bran is still unconscious. We see that he is in vision mode, and a series of images flash rapidly across the screen. Many of the images repeat, but there seems to be importance to what Bran (and also the audience) is shown.

Here is a slowed down version:

The beginning contains several quick flashes that repeat throughout:

  • Jars of wildfire in some kind of storage room
  • A dragon flying over King’s Landing
  • Mad King Aerys
  • The Night King raising the dead at Hardhome
  • Bran falling
  • A winter landscape
  • The Red Wedding
  • Daenerys after hatching the dragons
  • The Night King turning a baby into a White Walker

Aside from these quick repeating flashes, we also get a few longer moments:

  • Ned Stark’s beheading
  • A flock of ravens
  • Alchemists pouring wildfire into jars
  • The Mad King yelling “burn them all”
  • Jaime Lannister killing the Mad King and then sitting on the throne
  • Young Ned at the Tower of Joy asking for his sister
  • A bloody hand over a bloody female body (Ned and Lyanna)
  • Leaf creating the first White Walker
  • Several scenes of the wights and White Walkers at Hardhome
  • Bran walking through the wight army and being touched by the Night King

Presumably these are all important moments that should tell us something about where the story is headed. Obviously there is a heavy focus on the wights and White Walkers, as that is the biggest threat to Westeros at the moment. Some of the other scenes – involving the Starks (Red Wedding and Ned’s execution) and the Mad King – have a common theme of betrayal. The Mad King’s plan to burn King’s Landing and Jaime subsequent killing of him sowed the seeds of discontent between the Starks and the Lannisters, which boiled over into outright war.

That conflict has ravaged and divided Westeros, making it woefully unprepared for the threat of winter and the White Walker invasion. They need to unite to survive, and perhaps Bran will later find out who could unite them (possibly the son of a Stark and a Targaryen). If Jon is Lyanna’s and Rhaegar’s child, he may be able to convince Daenerys to help him. Her dragons would be quite useful against the wight army.

Unfortunately, I think there will be more destruction ahead of the White Walker invasion – the wildfire explosion looks to be a future event, and I think Cersei will be responsible. In a previous post, I predicted she will use wildfire to burn down the Sept. If so, it will likely get out of control and kill many prominent characters – possibly including her son Tommen.

Perhaps if Daenerys arrives in a ruined King’s Landing, that will be more of an incentive for her to head North and try to salvage the rest of the realm. This may even have been foreshadowed in season three, during her visit to the House of the Undying. In the vision she has while inside, Daenerys walks into a ruined throne room with snow falling through the destroyed ceiling. She reaches out for the throne, but then turns away. As she exits, the door takes her to the Wall.

 

Game of Thrones Episode 6 Play by Play (Spoilers as Always)

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Episode 6 (Blood of My Blood) resumes where it left off last week, with Meera pulling Bran through the snow. She is looking pretty tired – she needs to pick up the pace if she expects to outrun the undead army. Bran is still in his trance, and the visions are coming fast and furious. It appears he is seeing the past (events that have happened on the show in the last 5 seasons, the Mad King preparing to burn the city, Jaime becoming the Kingslayer, Ned at the Tower of Joy) as well as the future (dragon flying over King’s Landing, possible wildfire explosion?).

Meera finally collapses, and things aren’t looking very good for them. Bran is still unconscious, and the wights are coming. Bran awakes – he seems to know what has happened, and he appears sad but not frightened. A figure on a horse appears, and he takes out the approaching wights. He pulls Bran and Meera onto the horse, and they flee from their undead pursuers.

Down south, Sam and Gilly are in a carriage headed to Horn Hill, Sam’s family home. Gilly remarks how green everything is, and Sam proceeds to make awkward conversation about trees. Gilly calls him out, saying he’s a nervous talker. Sam admits he is apprehensive about seeing his father again (understandably since the guy threatened to kill him – what an uncomfortable family reunion this will be). Sam stresses the importance of Gilly sticking to the story that little Sam is his child, and warns her against telling them she is a wildling.

They finally arrive at the castle, and Gilly is awestruck. Sam’s mother Melessa and sister Talla greet him, and they are warm and welcoming to both Sam and Gilly. The women are taken with little Sam as well, and we see now why Sam is such a kind and helpful person. Sam asks about his father and brother, and his mother says they are on a hunt but will join them for dinner (Sam looks less than thrilled at the prospect). Talla offers Gilly a bath and a dress – finally she’ll get to take off that sack she’s been wearing for five seasons.

In King’s Landing, Tommen discusses Margaery’s walk with the High Sparrow. Tommen is concerned for her safety, but the High Sparrow assures him she will be protected the entire way, and that the smallfolk love her (in contrast to their hatred of Cersei).

The High Sparrow allows Tommen to see Margaery, and she tells Tommen the High Sparrow has helped her see who she really is – a pretender who only put on the appearance of being a good person. She seems changed and relieved at the chance to repent her sins. Tommen asks about Loras, and she says she loves him, but he needs to atone – the gods have a plan for them all (I’m sure Margaery does at least – I don’t buy the repentant sinner act).

Back at Horn Hill, Gilly meets Sam for dinner. She is clean and dressed in finery – this scene reminds me of so many teen movies where the nerdy girl gets a makeover, and the guy swoons over her (she needs a little practice walking in those shoes though). As they sit at the table, we get our first look at Randyll Tarly – he seems unlikeable before he even says a word.

They discuss the meal, and Dickon (Sam’s brother) talks about the hunt. He asks about hunting at the Wall, and Sam stammers on about hunting squirrels and rabbits and admits it’s mostly his friends doing the hunting. Sam also says Gilly is a hunter, and Melessa talks about Northern lords teaching girls to hunt. Talla tells Gilly that Randyll could learn a thing or two from Gilly’s father (ugh, I would certainly hope not).

Randyll says that’s enough, and Melessa offers Sam more bread. Randyll asks if he isn’t fat enough already, and Sam declines the food. They then discuss Sam going to train as a maester, and Randyll continues making everyone uncomfortable by complaining that the Night’s Watch should have made a man out of Sam, but that he’s still soft and fat. Gilly sticks up for Sam saying he’s a greater warrior than either his brother or his father – he killed a Thenn and a White Walker. Dickon then laughs, responding that there’s no such thing (oh you sweet summer child).

Gilly slips up by saying they were on the way down to Castle Black, and Randyll gets her to admit she is a wildling. Randyll is furious to have an enemy of the realm in his hall; he had taken her for a Mole’s Town whore. He points out their ancestral sword Heartsbane and says the sword should go to his heir, but that Sam will never have it. He’s a disgrace to their house and dishonors them all by bringing a wildling whore to their table.

Melessa has had enough and leaves with Gilly and Talla, telling Randyll he disgraces himself (well done mama Tarly – please give Sam some of your backbone). Randyll continues to berate Sam, but says he will take Gilly and little Sam in to please Sam’s mother. However, Sam is never to come back to Horn Hill.

In Gilly’s chambers, she tells Sam she isn’t angry with him but at his father for treating people the way he does and getting away with it. Sam says his goodbyes, and Gilly tells him that his father doesn’t know him, that Sam isn’t what his father thinks he is. Sam leaves… but only for a few seconds before returning to take Gilly and the baby with him. He also steals Heartsbane, and something tells me Randyll won’t let his prized sword go so easily.

Over in Braavos, Arya is watching the play once again. This time it’s the Purple Wedding, which grossly distorts the actual events. Arya seems to be amused by watching “Joffrey” die, but she is also moved by Lady Crane’s portrayal of Cersei’s despair. Arya notices “Sansa” offstage mouthing “Cersei’s” lines (likely practicing to replace her).

We then see “Tyrion” kill “Tywin” as Arya makes her way backstage to put the poison in Lady Crane’s rum. As the actors come backstage, Lady Crane stops Arya, getting her to admit she’s been sneaking in to watch the play without paying. She tells Arya she used to do the same before running off to join a mummer’s troupe.

Lady Crane then complains about her final speech, and Arya suggests she change it. Arya says Cersei should be angry that her son was taken before she could say goodbye. Lady Crane compliments Arya and asks if she likes pretending to be other people. Arya seems to be considering this (something she will have to do forever if she wants to be “no one”) before saying she has to go.

As Arya walks off, the other actors praise Lady Crane’s performance. Lady Crane mentions she has some ideas for the play, but she is shot down by the troupe leader who tells her she has no right to an opinion. Lady Crane raises her glass to take a sip of her rum, and Arya runs up to smack it out of her hand. Arya points at “Sansa” and tells Lady Crane to be careful of her, because she wants her dead. As Arya leaves, we see that the Waif has witnessed the entire scene (looking quite smug – look out Arya).

Arya goes to retrieve Needle – which she had stashed away after joining the temple – while the Waif informs Jaqen of Arya’s failure. He seems disappointed but not surprised, and he tells the Waif not to let Arya suffer. The Waif looks much too pleased with this assignment for someone who is supposed to be a dispassionate assassin – perhaps Jaqen is testing her as well?

Back in King’s Landing, the Tyrell army is marching through the streets. Mace Tyrell (looking magnificently oafish in his feathered helm) gives a less than rousing speech – while Jaime looks embarrassed in the background – before they head on to the Sept to free Margaery and Loras. They arrive – along with Lady Olenna – just in time to see the High Sparrow on the steps with Margaery, recounting her crimes.

Jaime demands that the High Sparrow free Margaery and Loras by the authority of King Tommen. The High Sparrow says none of them have the authority to release them, that it’s up to the gods. Jaime says they will all die if they don’t do as ordered, and the High Sparrow responds that it’s an honor to die in the service of the gods (cut to Lancel giving Jaime the crazy eye – when is anyone going to tell Jaime that Cersei slept with that creep?).

The tension mounts, but then the High Sparrow proclaims that there is no cause for anyone to die – there will be no walk of atonement. Margaery has already atoned by converting Tommen to their cause. Jaime looks confused and angry as he watches Tommen walk out with his Kingsguard in new armor, featuring the seven pointed star of the Faith (that’s some quick work by whatever armorer is responsible).

It looks like we now have a theocracy on our hands, as the High Sparrow announces a (un?)holy alliance of the crown and the Faith. Poor Mace doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, so Olenna has to tell him they’ve lost the battle against the High Sparrow.

Back in the Red Keep, Tommen dismisses Jaime from the Kingsguard, saying he attacked the crown when he attacked the Faith. Jaime asks if he has to walk naked through the streets (I don’t think the female watchers would object) or if he will be sent to the dungeons. Tommen tells him he will continue to serve his house and his king, but not in the city.

We cut over to the Twins(!), and old Walder Frey makes a reappearance (this can’t be good). He has a new young bride it seems – poor girl – and he is berating his sons for losing Riverrun to the Blackfish, Brynden Tully. Walder blames them for losing him at the Red Wedding and not being able to capture him afterwards. He tells them to take Riverrun back; he won’t bow to the Tullys ever again. They say they don’t have enough men – the Mallisters and Blackwoods have risen against the Freys, the Brotherhood without Banners attacks their supply trains and camps, and that Riverrun could withstand a siege for a year.

Walder replies that everyone is laughing at them, and that he isn’t dead yet. He won’t die until everyone chokes on that laughter. His sons counter by saying the Blackfish won’t yield. Walder tells them to remind him what happened at the Red Wedding and who it was that got married there, as Edmure Tully is brought before them in chains.

One last visit to King’s Landing, as Jaime and Cersei discuss Riverrun. Jaime is being sent with an army to help break the siege. Jaime refuses to go – he want to pay Bronn and other sellswords to kill the High Sparrow and his minions. Cersei tells him they can’t do that, that if Jaime tries to kill him he will die in the process. She tells him to go take Riverrun back and show the world who the Lannisters are.

Jaime doesn’t want to leave before her trial, but Cersei tells him she will be fine with the Mountain at her side. She then tells him they are both stronger now, and I can’t watch anymore what with her ridiculous wig, the incest-y makeout session, and the destruction of Jaime’s character arc. Ugh. Yes Jaime, please go and remember who you are without your crazy sister around.

Back beyond the Wall, Meera and Bran’s mysterious savior is butchering a rabbit. He squeezes the blood into a cup (gross), and Meera asks why he saved them. He says the Three Eyed Raven sent for him – when Meera replies that he’s dead, the man tells her that he lives again.

Bran wakes, and the man remarks that he last saw Bran when he was a boy climbing the castle walls and frightening his mother. Bran asks who he is, and he reveals himself to be Benjen Stark. Benjen recounts that they found White Walkers on a ranging party and that he was stabbed and left to die, and then to turn. The Children of the Forest found him and stopped him from turning by using dragonglass, similarly to how they created the White Walkers in the first place.

Benjen tells Bran he is now the Three Eyed Raven. Bran replies he can’t control it, but Benjen says he must learn before the Night King comes. He then orders Bran to drink the blood, which he does (as Meera looks on disgustedly). Benjen warns that the Night King will find his way to the world of men, and they must be ready.

Over in Essos, Daario and Daenerys discuss the logistics of getting to Westeros. She needs a thousand ships which no one has (give it time – Euron is building them on the Iron Islands with their nonexistent trees). Daenerys doesn’t seem worried – she’ll get there and take what is hers. Daario tells her she wasn’t made for ruling, but for conquering. She looks off into the distance and orders him to wait as she rides off.

Daario prepares to go look for her, but then Drogon flies overheard. He lands before them with Daenerys on his back, and she gives a stirring speech in Dothraki – recalling Khal Drogo’s speech back in season one – about sailing to Westeros and killing her enemies. The khalasar is fired up, but I’m not. This scene felt a little out of place, and although I am a fan of Daenerys, I hope she realizes what she is asking them to do. Unleashing a barbarian horde to savage Westeros isn’t going to win the people to her side.

This wasn’t one of the stronger episodes this season, but I suppose we needed a break from the tension and action after last week. There were some nice (re)introductions, and they seem to be setting us up for exciting things to come. What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Sources for Game of Thrones Analysis and Discussion

Can’t get enough of Game of Thrones on Sunday night? There are some great podcasts and videos available after each episode to help you through your weekly withdrawals. I’ve included my favorites here.

History of Westeros puts out two fantastic reviews every week – one on Monday (show only review), and one on Wednesday in collaboration with Radio Westeros (for book readers). You can visit their YouTube channel or find them on iTunes. Radio Westeros also has a YouTube channel and podcasts available on iTunes. Both are great sources for not only reviews, but also book discussion – including characterization, theories, history, and predictions.

If you prefer short, succinct reviews and explanations, Alt Shift X is a great resource. His YouTube videos are under 20 minutes, and he not only recaps each episode but has several videos detailing popular theories. His R+L=J video is one of the best at summing up all of the evidence:

If you’re interested in learning more about how each episode is put together, HBO has a website called Making Game of Thrones. There you can find behind the scenes information like storyboards, interviews, and in depth videos on the filming process. Last but not least, the official Game of Thrones YouTube channel publishes clips, interviews, and an “Inside the Episode” series that allows the producers to elaborate on the storylines and the choices they make for portraying them onscreen.

What are your go-to sources for Game of Thrones information? Please feel free to share your favorites!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will the White Walkers Breach the Wall in Season 6? (Spoilers and speculation)

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After watching the latest Game of Thrones episode, “The Door,” I’ve been thinking about the implications of Bran’s actions. In the episode, Bran enters a vision on his own only to encounter the White Walkers and their army of the dead. The Night’s King grabs his arm, leaving an icy blue mark. When Bran awakes, the Three Eyed Raven tells him that the White Walkers can now find Bran because of it, and that the magic surrounding the cave will no longer protect them.

When the White Walkers reach the cave, the Night’s King touches the ground and appears to send a shock wave toward the cave which “breaks” the magic. Now that Bran and Meera have escaped (assuming they will be able to outrun the White Walkers and their army), where will they go? The logical choice would be the Wall and the safety of Castle Black.

With Bran being marked, does that mean the Night’s King can find him anywhere? We know that the Wall is supposedly infused with magic to keep the White Walkers from passing; if Bran is on the other side, will the Night’s King be able to break that magic as well? I think it’s very likely we will see this happen, and that the Wall will come down by the end of the season.

Along these lines, did the Three Eyed Raven see that this would happen and purposely allow Bran to go into the vision on his own and be touched? Are he and the Children of the Forest really on the side of Men now, or were they using Bran all along? I’m not sure if we will get answers to these questions anytime soon. However, I do believe Bran and Meera will be allowed to escape, and that they will be intentionally driven toward the Wall so the White Walkers can use Bran to break through.

The possibility of the Wall falling is foreshadowed earlier in the episode, as Jon is leaving Castle Black. As Jon says his farewells, he walks over to his friend and acting Lord Commander, Dolorous Edd. Jon jokingly tells him, “Don’t knock it down while I’m gone.” I just hope Bran will give them enough of a warning to give them a fighting chance.

Game of Thrones Episode 5 Play by Play (Chock Full of Spoilers)

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“The Door” opens – pun intended – on Sansa doing some sewing. She receives a letter with a mockingbird seal; apparently Littlefinger has used his teleporter (how else does he travel so fast?) and is awaiting her in Mole’s Town. She arrives with Brienne, whom Littlefinger doesn’t look too thrilled to see.

He tells Sansa he’s happy to see her unharmed. She scoffs at this and asks what he’s doing there. Littlefinger tells her he’s brought the Vale army to her aid, which he left encamped at Moat Cailin. Sansa asks if he knew about Ramsay – “if you didn’t know, you’re an idiot, and if you did know, you’re my enemy.” Sansa then goes on to vaguely hint at the abuse she suffered. She asks him what he thinks Ramsay did and forces him to guess. It’s a very uncomfortable conversation for both Littlefinger and for us watchers, but Sansa is hardened now and doesn’t flinch from the truth.

Littlefinger tells her he didn’t know, that he made a mistake and underestimated Ramsay. Sansa continues to give him disturbing hints about what she suffered – she’s not letting him off the hook for this one. Littlefinger says he’ll protect her, but she’s done with his lies. She says he can’t even protect himself if she orders Brienne to cut him down. Sansa doesn’t need him anymore.

Littlefinger tells her he will do whatever she wants, even die. Sansa orders him to go back to Moat Cailin, but he gives her one more bit of information – her great uncle, Brynden Tully (the Blackfish), has retaken Riverrun and suggests she needs his army. Sansa says she has an army to which he replies “your brother’s army…half brother.” Leave it to Littlefinger to sow the seeds of discontent on his way out.

Over to Braavos, and we have yet more stick fighting in the House of Black and White. Arya’s eyesight doesn’t seem to be helping much as the Waif continues to beat her down. She tells Arya she’ll never be one of them – calling her Lady Stark – and Jaqen enters, saying the Waif has a point.

Jaqen takes Arya into the Hall of Faces, telling her about the origin of the Faceless Men. They were not highborn, but slaves in Valyria. The Many Faced God told their founder how to shed his face and give the gift; he in turn told others and eventually the masters and overseers were gone. The Faceless Men fled and founded Braavos and the temple.

Jaqen tells Arya she is one of them, if she desires. Arya says she has no desires, and Jaqen presents her with a vial of poison. She asks who and is told it’s an actress (Lady Crane). Jaqen tells her this is her second chance and there won’t be a third. “One way or another, a face will added to the Hall.” Arya had better tread carefully.

Arya goes to watch the play, which parodies the events that kick of the War of the Five Kings – King Robert’s death, Ned’s “treason,” and Ned’s beheading (with a nice reference to The Winds of Winter thrown in for fun). Arya initially seems to be amused but quickly appears distressed at the portrayal – Robert and Ned are idiots, and Cersei and Joffrey are sympathetic. There is also a scheming Tyrion and naïve and exploited Sansa. It’s interesting to see her once again in the crowd, unable to affect the events that are playing out before her. It seems she hasn’t really become No One.

We are taken backstage and treated to a close up of “Joffrey’s” penis as he laments finding warts (not sure I really needed to see that…). “Sansa” is criticized for her unconvincing performance and is told to do better. Arya sees Lady Crane sharing a drink with “Tyrion” as they flirt and compliment each other. Arya returns to Jaqen with a plan to poison the rum, which only Lady Crane drinks; she wants to use a face from the Hall but is told she isn’t ready. She observes that Lady Crane is a good actress and seems a decent woman, to which Jaqen responds, “Does death only come for the wicked and leave the decent behind?” Unfortunately not, as we’ve seen since season one.

Arya wants to know who wants Lady Crane dead, and deduces it must be “Sansa,” who is jealous of her talent (I’m not sure how a lowly, mediocre actress can afford to hire a Faceless Man, but I digress). Jaqen tells her she must decide if she wants to serve, and Arya says she has decided. Jaqen states that a servant doesn’t ask questions. Somehow I don’t see Arya being a servant – perhaps she’ll kill “Sansa” instead?

Another day, another vision courtesy of weirwood.net, and this time Bran sees the Children of the Forest back when the lands beyond the Wall were green. They are in a stone circle spiral around a weirwood, where a man has been stripped to the waist and lashed to the tree. It seems to be some kind of ritual/sacrifice, and Leaf steps up with an obsidian dagger in hand. She slowly drives it into the man’s chest, and we see his eyes turn White Walker blue…

Bran awakes to find Leaf looking at him. He accuses her of creating the White Walkers, and she defends it by saying they were at war and being slaughtered, their sacred trees cut down. They needed a weapon to defend themselves from men. Unfortunately, it seems their creation got out of hand and away from their control.

Time for the Kingsmoot on the Iron Islands, and Yara stakes her claim to the “Salt Throne” (it’s the Seastone Chair! I just can’t get on board with this name change…). The ironborn men say they’ve never had a queen, and Yara reminds them of all the other things they never done – which basically boils down to never being successful at much of anything. They tell her a woman will never lead them, not when Balon’s male heir has returned.

Theon (looking much more Theon and less Reekish), steps up to step aside and throw his support behind his sister. He tells everyone that Yara is true Ironborn and the rightful ruler. The men start chanting her name but are interrupted by Euron, who has conveniently arrived just in time. Euron claims the throne for himself, blasting Theon for his blunders and saying that since he has no cock that explains his support for a woman.

Yara suspiciously wonders when he arrived, and states that her first act as queen will be to execute Euron for Balon’s murder. Euron has no qualms admitting his deed, saying that Balon was leading them nowhere and that he should have done it long ago. Theon says that would have been hard since he has been gone for so long, and that Yara has always been there and being a leader. Euron makes more jokes about Theon’s castration and says he will build a fleet to take him to Daenerys. He will win her over and take the Seven Kingdoms.

As the crowd chants Euron’s name, Yara and Theon apparently see the writing on the wall and take off – heading for a fleet of ships anchored off the coast (hopefully heading to Meereen to warn Dany about their crazy uncle). Meanwhile, Euron is baptized the Ironborn way – drowned and revived in homage to the Drowned God. The priest (Aeron – Balon and Euron’s brother although the show never makes note of it) crowns him with driftwood, and Euron tells his men it’s time to murder his niece and nephew. Euron’s a real family guy… Maybe Aeron is better off not being mentioned as his brother. He sees the ships taking sail and doesn’t let it bother him – he commands his men to start building him a fleet, and he will give them this world.

Over in Essos, Daenerys overlooks Vaes Dothrak with Daario and Jorah. She tells Jorah she banished him twice, and he came back both times and saved her. She can’t take him back and can’t send him away. Jorah tells her he must, revealing his greyscale. Dany asks if there is a cure, and how long he has – Jorah doesn’t know either answer. She tells him she’s sorry, but he says he’s only ever wanted to serve her and that he loves her and always will. He says goodbye and begins to walk away, but she stops him. Dany gives Jorah an emotional command to find a cure and heal himself, so he can return to her. She needs him by her side when she takes the Seven Kingdoms. Cue the tears…

In Meereen, Varys talks to Grey Worm about the status of the city, and it seems a fragile peace has taken hold. Tyrion doesn’t think it’s enough – they need to know that Daenerys is responsible for the peace (and makes a nice dig at her long string of titles). He needs to find someone trustworthy to convince the people. Varys asks where they will find him, and Tyrion responds with Varys’s line from season 5: “Who said anything about him?”

In the Great Pyramid, Tyrion and Varys meet with Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis. Tyrion entreats her for help, but Kinvara had already planned to help – Daenerys is the One who was Promised, her dragons a gift from the Lord of Light. She tells them she will spread the word that Daenerys will lead the people against the darkness.

Varys isn’t buying it, and throws Stannis Baratheon in her face, saying a red priestess anointed him as the Chosen One, and he was defeated. Kinvara is undeterred, telling him that everything is the Lord’s will but that people making mistakes. Varys asks why they should trust her, and she says that everyone is what and where they are for a reason.

Kinvara brings up Varys’s castration, and tells him that terrible event made him become the powerful man he is. She asks if she remembers the voice from the flames when his parts were thrown on the fire, and if he wants to know what it said and the name of the one who spoke. Varys is clearly horrified at her knowledge, but she says they serve the same queen, and if he is her true friend he has nothing to fear. It’s too bad Tyrion doesn’t know about his sister’s issues with trying to ally with fanatics…I don’t see this turning out well.

Back to the cave, and Bran is lying awake. He decides to take the opportunity to plug back in to the weirnet alone while everyone else is sleeping (big mistake Bran). He is taken back to the weirwood and stone spiral from his earlier vision, only this time it’s covered in snow. It appears he is in the present, and there is a large army of the undead waiting there.

Bran walks through them to find White Walkers on the other side. The Night’s King turns to look at him (he actually sees Bran!), and Bran turns around to see the wight army has followed suit. Brans looks horrified and turns back around to see the Night’s King standing right beside him. Bran panics and tries to get away, but not before the Night’s King grabs his arm.

Bran awakes in a panic, waking the others. He tells the Three Eyed Raven that the Night’s King saw him, but the Three Eyed Raven knows Bran has been touched. There is a mark on Bran’s arm, and the Three Eyed Raven tells Bran the Night’s King will come for him, and the magic will no longer protect the cave now that his mark is on Bran. He says they must all leave and that Bran must now become the Three Eyed Raven. Bran asks if he ready, and is told he isn’t.

At Castle Black, Jon and company are planning their strategy to retake the North. Davos lists the houses that have declared for Ramsay. Sansa has given up on the Umbers, but that the Karstarks didn’t realize they had another choice. Davos counters that Robb killed their lord, but Sansa says Northerners are more loyal.

Davos argues that while that may be so, he knows men and even the bravest won’t fight for a lost cause. They have to be convinced they can win. Jon says they can start with the smaller houses – their combined strength would equal the larger ones. The North remembers the Stark name and will fight for it – Davos asserts Jon doesn’t have the Stark name, but Sansa says she does. She compares Jon to Ramsay in that they are both their fathers’ sons, even if they don’t have the name (Jon looks pretty hurt by this exchange). Sansa goes on to say the Tullys will support them, and that the Blackfish has reformed an army. She lies about the source of the information, saying Ramsay received a raven before she escaped.

Later, Sansa and Brienne are arguing because Sansa wants to send her to the riverlands to recruit the Tully. Brienne doesn’t want to leave her as she is sworn to protect her. Sansa says she’s safe with Jon (who Brienne calls trustworthy but brooding – no kidding). Brienne doesn’t trust the others – Davos and Melisandre supported Stannis and were involved in blood magic to kill Renly, and she even throws poor Tormund under the bus (come on Brienne, he’s just smitten with you – give the guy a break). Sansa argues that Jon will keep her safe, that she trusts him. Brienne asks why she lied to him then, and Sansa doesn’t have and answer.

Sansa walks outside as their group is preparing to leave, wearing a new dress (I dig the wolf embroidery and apparently Jon does too). She presents Jon with a cloak she made for him, like the one Ned used to wear (a guilt gift perhaps?). He thanks her and appears genuinely touched. Tormund gives Brienne another longing look, and she is not amused. Jon and Edd say their goodbyes, and Jon tells him not to knock the Wall down while he’s gone (uh oh, foreshadowing anyone?).

Back at the cave, Bran and the Three Eyed Raven are in vision mode (presumably uploading knowledge Bran will need before they leave) while Meera and Hodor make preparation for the journey. As they talk Meera notices their breath in the air, a sign that the temperature is dropping considerably. She fearfully runs to the cave entrance, where Leaf and the other Children are looking out at the wight army, with the Night’s King at their head. He touches the ground and appears to break the magical protection surrounding them.

Meera runs back inside to get Bran, desperately trying to wake him. He and the Three Eyed Raven are in a vision back at Winterfell, where a young Ned is preparing to leave to be fostered at the Vale. Meanwhile Meera does her best to get Bran out, while the Children fight off wights and Hodor panics. The White Walkers walk into the cave, as the wights surround the tree and begin falling through the cave ceiling.

Meera fights off the wights as she continues to try and wake Bran, telling him they need Hodor. Her voice breaks through to him in the vision, and he hears her telling him to warg into Hodor. The Three Eyed Raven tells Bran to listen to her, and as Bran looks at young Hodor (Wyllis) in the vision, he wargs into Hodor in the present. Hodor picks up the stretcher Bran is lying on and begins dragging him away. A White Walker enters and Meera kills him with an obsidian spear. More wights appear, and Summer jumps into the fight, giving Meera and Leaf a chance to run. Sadly, Summer is overcome and killed (not another direwolf! Cue more tears).

The Night’s King enters and head straight for the Three Eyed Raven. In the vision, he tells Bran to leave him as he dissolves and floats away. In the cave, the wights are relentlessly chasing Meera, Hodor, and Bran, so Leaf stops running and arms a grenade-like weapon. She waits for the wights to overwhelm her, then detonates it, taking them out with her.

Hodor and Meera finally reach a door that will take them out of the cave. Hodor manages to open it just before another group of wights reach them, then slams it shut. Meera yells for him to hold the door as she drags Bran away. In the vision, Bran looks at young Hodor/Wyllis, who looks right back at him. Wyllis’s eyes turn white, and he falls to the ground in a seizure.

Wyllis yells “hold the door” over and over as we cut back to the present, with Hodor holding the door as the wights begin to break through and tear into him. Meera looks back, helpless, as she has to continue on and get Bran to safety. Back in the vision, Bran stares equally helplessly at Wyllis, whose calls of “hold the door” gradually run together and become “hodor” (didn’t think I had any tears left, but not so. Touché, Game of Thrones).

What do you think happened at the end? Did Bran warg past Hodor as well as present Hodor, breaking his mind and making him what he became? Was this always destined to happen, and the Three Eyed Raven knew Bran needed to be in that vision at that exact time? Hopefully the mystery will be explained in future episodes.

 

Games of Thrones Episode 5 Play by Play (Chock Full of Spoilers)

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“The Door” opens – pun intended – on Sansa doing some sewing. She receives a letter with a mockingbird seal; apparently Littlefinger has used his teleporter (how else does he travel so fast?) and is awaiting her in Mole’s Town. She arrives with Brienne, whom Littlefinger doesn’t look too thrilled to see.

He tells Sansa he’s happy to see her unharmed. She scoffs at this and asks what he’s doing there. Littlefinger tells her he’s brought the Vale army to her aid, which he left encamped at Moat Cailin. Sansa asks if he knew about Ramsay – “if you didn’t know, you’re an idiot, and if you did know, you’re my enemy.” Sansa then goes on to vaguely hint at the abuse she suffered. She asks him what he thinks Ramsay did and forces him to guess. It’s a very uncomfortable conversation for both Littlefinger and for us watchers, but Sansa is hardened now and doesn’t flinch from the truth.

Littlefinger tells her he didn’t know, that he made a mistake and underestimated Ramsay. Sansa continues to give him disturbing hints about what she suffered – she’s not letting him off the hook for this one. Littlefinger says he’ll protect her, but she’s done with his lies. She says he can’t even protect himself if she orders Brienne to cut him down. Sansa doesn’t need him anymore.

Littlefinger tells her he will do whatever she wants, even die. Sansa orders him to go back to Moat Cailin, but he gives her one more bit of information – her great uncle, Brynden Tully (the Blackfish), has retaken Riverrun and suggests she needs his army. Sansa says she has an army to which he replies “your brother’s army…half brother.” Leave it to Littlefinger to sow the seeds of discontent on his way out.

Over to Braavos, and we have yet more stick fighting in the House of Black and White. Arya’s eyesight doesn’t seem to be helping much as the Waif continues to beat her down. She tells Arya she’ll never be one of them – calling her Lady Stark – and Jaqen enters, saying the Waif has a point.

Jaqen takes Arya into the Hall of Faces, telling her about the origin of the Faceless Men. They were not highborn, but slaves in Valyria. The Many Faced God told their founder how to shed his face and give the gift; he in turn told others and eventually the masters and overseers were gone. The Faceless Men fled and founded Braavos and the temple.

Jaqen tells Arya she is one of them, if she desires. Arya says she has no desires, and Jaqen presents her with a vial of poison. She asks who and is told it’s an actress (Lady Crane). Jaqen tells her this is her second chance and there won’t be a third. “One way or another, a face will added to the Hall.” Arya had better tread carefully.

Arya goes to watch the play, which parodies the events that kick of the War of the Five Kings – King Robert’s death, Ned’s “treason,” and Ned’s beheading (with a nice reference to The Winds of Winter thrown in for fun). Arya initially seems to be amused but quickly appears distressed at the portrayal – Robert and Ned are idiots, and Cersei and Joffrey are sympathetic. There is also a scheming Tyrion and naïve and exploited Sansa. It’s interesting to see her once again in the crowd, unable to affect the events that are playing out before her. It seems she hasn’t really become No One.

We are taken backstage and treated to a close up of “Joffrey’s” penis as he laments finding warts (not sure I really needed to see that…). “Sansa” is criticized for her unconvincing performance and is told to do better. Arya sees Lady Crane sharing a drink with “Tyrion” as they flirt and compliment each other. Arya returns to Jaqen with a plan to poison the rum, which only Lady Crane drinks; she wants to use a face from the Hall but is told she isn’t ready. She observes that Lady Crane is a good actress and seems a decent woman, to which Jaqen responds, “Does death only come for the wicked and leave the decent behind?” Unfortunately not, as we’ve seen since season one.

Arya wants to know who wants Lady Crane dead, and deduces it must be “Sansa,” who is jealous of her talent (I’m not sure how a lowly, mediocre actress can afford to hire a Faceless Man, but I digress). Jaqen tells her she must decide if she wants to serve, and Arya says she has decided. Jaqen states that a servant doesn’t ask questions. Somehow I don’t see Arya being a servant – perhaps she’ll kill “Sansa” instead?

Another day, another vision courtesy of weirwood.net, and this time Bran sees the Children of the Forest back when the lands beyond the Wall were green. They are in a stone circle spiral around a weirwood, where a man has been stripped to the waist and lashed to the tree. It seems to be some kind of ritual/sacrifice, and Leaf steps up with an obsidian dagger in hand. She slowly drives it into the man’s chest, and we see his eyes turn White Walker blue…

Bran awakes to find Leaf looking at him. He accuses her of creating the White Walkers, and she defends it by saying they were at war and being slaughtered, their sacred trees cut down. They needed a weapon to defend themselves from men. Unfortunately, it seems their creation got out of hand and away from their control.

Time for the Kingsmoot on the Iron Islands, and Yara stakes her claim to the “Salt Throne” (it’s the Seastone Chair! I just can’t get on board with this name change…). The ironborn men say they’ve never had a queen, and Yara reminds them of all the other things they never done – which basically boils down to never being successful at much of anything. They tell her a woman will never lead them, not when Balon’s male heir has returned.

Theon (looking much more Theon and less Reekish), steps up to step aside and throw his support behind his sister. He tells everyone that Yara is true Ironborn and the rightful ruler. The men start chanting her name but are interrupted by Euron, who has conveniently arrived just in time. Euron claims the throne for himself, blasting Theon for his blunders and saying that since he has no cock that explains his support for a woman.

Yara suspiciously wonders when he arrived, and states that her first act as queen will be to execute Euron for Balon’s murder. Euron has no qualms admitting his deed, saying that Balon was leading them nowhere and that he should have done it long ago. Theon says that would have been hard since he has been gone for so long, and that Yara has always been there and being a leader. Euron makes more jokes about Theon’s castration and says he will build a fleet to take him to Daenerys. He will win her over and take the Seven Kingdoms.

As the crowd chants Euron’s name, Yara and Theon apparently see the writing on the wall and take off – heading for a fleet of ships anchored off the coast (hopefully heading to Meereen to warn Dany about their crazy uncle). Meanwhile, Euron is baptized the Ironborn way – drowned and revived in homage to the Drowned God. The priest (Aeron – Balon and Euron’s brother although the show never makes note of it) crowns him with driftwood, and Euron tells his men it’s time to murder his niece and nephew. Euron’s a real family guy… Maybe Aeron is better off not being mentioned as his brother. He sees the ships taking sail and doesn’t let it bother him – he commands his men to start building him a fleet, and he will give them this world.

Over in Essos, Daenerys overlooks Vaes Dothrak with Daario and Jorah. She tells Jorah she banished him twice, and he came back both times and saved her. She can’t take him back and can’t send him away. Jorah tells her he must, revealing his greyscale. Dany asks if there is a cure, and how long he has – Jorah doesn’t know either answer. She tells him she’s sorry, but he says he’s only ever wanted to serve her and that he loves her and always will. He says goodbye and begins to walk away, but she stops him. Dany gives Jorah an emotional command to find a cure and heal himself, so he can return to her. She needs him by her side when she takes the Seven Kingdoms. Cue the tears…

In Meereen, Varys talks to Grey Worm about the status of the city, and it seems a fragile peace has taken hold. Tyrion doesn’t think it’s enough – they need to know that Daenerys is responsible for the peace (and makes a nice dig at her long string of titles). He needs to find someone trustworthy to convince the people. Varys asks where they will find him, and Tyrion responds with Varys’s line from season 5: “Who said anything about him?”

In the Great Pyramid, Tyrion and Varys meet with Kinvara, the High Priestess of the Red Temple of Volantis. Tyrion entreats her for help, but Kinvara had already planned to help – Daenerys is the One who was Promised, her dragons a gift from the Lord of Light. She tells them she will spread the word that Daenerys will lead the people against the darkness.

Varys isn’t buying it, and throws Stannis Baratheon in her face, saying a red priestess anointed him as the Chosen One, and he was defeated. Kinvara is undeterred, telling him that everything is the Lord’s will but that people making mistakes. Varys asks why they should trust her, and she says that everyone is what and where they are for a reason.

Kinvara brings up Varys’s castration, and tells him that terrible event made him become the powerful man he is. She asks if she remembers the voice from the flames when his parts were thrown on the fire, and if he wants to know what it said and the name of the one who spoke. Varys is clearly horrified at her knowledge, but she says they serve the same queen, and if he is her true friend he has nothing to fear. It’s too bad Tyrion doesn’t know about his sister’s issues with trying to ally with fanatics…I don’t see this turning out well.

Back to the cave, and Bran is lying awake. He decides to take the opportunity to plug back in to the weirnet alone while everyone else is sleeping (big mistake Bran). He is taken back to the weirwood and stone spiral from his earlier vision, only this time it’s covered in snow. It appears he is in the present, and there is a large army of the undead waiting there.

Bran walks through them to find White Walkers on the other side. The Night’s King turns to look at him (he actually sees Bran!), and Bran turns around to see the wight army has followed suit. Brans looks horrified and turns back around to see the Night’s King standing right beside him. Bran panics and tries to get away, but not before the Night’s King grabs his arm.

Bran awakes in a panic, waking the others. He tells the Three Eyed Raven that the Night’s King saw him, but the Three Eyed Raven knows Bran has been touched. There is a mark on Bran’s arm, and the Three Eyed Raven tells Bran the Night’s King will come for him, and the magic will no longer protect the cave now that his mark is on Bran. He says they must all leave and that Bran must now become the Three Eyed Raven. Bran asks if he ready, and is told he isn’t.

At Castle Black, Jon and company are planning their strategy to retake the North. Davos lists the houses that have declared for Ramsay. Sansa has given up on the Umbers, but that the Karstarks didn’t realize they had another choice. Davos counters that Robb killed their lord, but Sansa says Northerners are more loyal.

Davos argues that while that may be so, he knows men and even the bravest won’t fight for a lost cause. They have to be convinced they can win. Jon says they can start with the smaller houses – their combined strength would equal the larger ones. The North remembers the Stark name and will fight for it – Davos asserts Jon doesn’t have the Stark name, but Sansa says she does. She compares Jon to Ramsay in that they are both their fathers’ sons, even if they don’t have the name (Jon looks pretty hurt by this exchange). Sansa goes on to say the Tullys will support them, and that the Blackfish has reformed an army. She lies about the source of the information, saying Ramsay received a raven before she escaped.

Later, Sansa and Brienne are arguing because Sansa wants to send her to the riverlands to recruit the Tully. Brienne doesn’t want to leave her as she is sworn to protect her. Sansa says she’s safe with Jon (who Brienne calls trustworthy but brooding – no kidding). Brienne doesn’t trust the others – Davos and Melisandre supported Stannis and were involved in blood magic to kill Renly, and she even throws poor Tormund under the bus (come on Brienne, he’s just smitten with you – give the guy a break). Sansa argues that Jon will keep her safe, that she trusts him. Brienne asks why she lied to him then, and Sansa doesn’t have and answer.

Sansa walks outside as their group is preparing to leave, wearing a new dress (I dig the wolf embroidery and apparently Jon does too). She presents Jon with a cloak she made for him, like the one Ned used to wear (a guilt gift perhaps?). He thanks her and appears genuinely touched. Tormund gives Brienne another longing look, and she is not amused. Jon and Edd say their goodbyes, and Jon tells him not to knock the Wall down while he’s gone (uh oh, foreshadowing anyone?).

Back at the cave, Bran and the Three Eyed Raven are in vision mode (presumably uploading knowledge Bran will need before they leave) while Meera and Hodor make preparation for the journey. As they talk Meera notices their breath in the air, a sign that the temperature is dropping considerably. She fearfully runs to the cave entrance, where Leaf and the other Children are looking out at the wight army, with the Night’s King at their head. He touches the ground and appears to break the magical protection surrounding them.

Meera runs back inside to get Bran, desperately trying to wake him. He and the Three Eyed Raven are in a vision back at Winterfell, where a young Ned is preparing to leave to be fostered at the Vale. Meanwhile Meera does her best to get Bran out, while the Children fight off wights and Hodor panics. The White Walkers walk into the cave, as the wights surround the tree and begin falling through the cave ceiling.

Meera fights off the wights as she continues to try and wake Bran, telling him they need Hodor. Her voice breaks through to him in the vision, and he hears her telling him to warg into Hodor. The Three Eyed Raven tells Bran to listen to her, and as Bran looks at young Hodor (Wyllis) in the vision, he wargs into Hodor in the present. Hodor picks up the stretcher Bran is lying on and begins dragging him away. A White Walker enters and Meera kills him with an obsidian spear. More wights appear, and Summer jumps into the fight, giving Meera and Leaf a chance to run. Sadly, Summer is overcome and killed (not another direwolf! Cue more tears).

The Night’s King enters and head straight for the Three Eyed Raven. In the vision, he tells Bran to leave him as he dissolves and floats away. In the cave, the wights are relentlessly chasing Meera, Hodor, and Bran, so Leaf stops running and arms a grenade-like weapon. She waits for the wights to overwhelm her, then detonates it, taking them out with her.

Hodor and Meera finally reach a door that will take them out of the cave. Hodor manages to open it just before another group of wights reach them, then slams it shut. Meera yells for him to hold the door as she drags Bran away. In the vision, Bran looks at young Hodor/Wyllis, who looks right back at him. Wyllis’s eyes turn white, and he falls to the ground in a seizure.

Wyllis yells “hold the door” over and over as we cut back to the present, with Hodor holding the door as the wights begin to break through and tear into him. Meera looks back, helpless, as she has to continue on and get Bran to safety. Back in the vision, Bran stares equally helplessly at Wyllis, whose calls of “hold the door” gradually run together and become “hodor” (didn’t think I had any tears left, but not so. Touché, Game of Thrones).

What do you think happened at the end? Did Bran warg past Hodor as well as present Hodor, breaking his mind and making him what he became? Was this always destined to happen, and the Three Eyed Raven knew Bran needed to be in that vision at that exact time? Hopefully the mystery will be explained in future episodes.

 

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