Game of Thrones S6:E5 Review (Spoilers)

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By Ben Wright (@iamzavagno | www.xgeeks.co.uk)

As always, if you haven’t watched Episode 5 of Game of Thrones yet, don’t read any further. There are plenty of spoilers ahead.

The episode begins with Sansa meeting Littlefinger. And it was in this encounter that we got more of ‘New-Sansa’, the confident and strong leader.
She spent the scene in full control over Littlefinger, and while she let him leave with his life, it was Littlefinger who had the final word. These words, about House Tully’s army, would come in to play later on when Sansa and Jon plan out their strategy to take back Winterfell.

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This was a very strong opening scene, and it helped to continue to build up Sansa in the process. While there were a few semi-comedic beats in the dialogue, it was a powerful opening act. Whether or not Littlefinger’s intentions are what they appear is another issue. Though if they cannot rally more Northern houses under the Stark banner, they may need the Knights of the Vale after all.

We move to Braavos, where once again Arya is getting her ass handed to her. But boy can that girl take a beating, and literally flip back from it.
She is given a mission as part of her training, to poison a member of an acting troupe. She stakes the play from afar, seeing a group of actors perform scenes from the first two seasons of Game of Thrones.

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Arya struggled with the depiction of her father, he was made to look like a fool. But a girl has no father, like she has no name. This conflict and inner-tension will be something to watch during the course of her training. The scene had its funny moments though, the ‘imp slap’ being the key moment for us.

You may also have noticed some familiar faces too. Did you spot Richard E Grant? Kevin Eldon? And Babadook actress Essie Davis? Talk about an ensemble cast!

We also got some full-frontal male nudity, #FreeThePenis.

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Through a Bran flashback, we find out that it was the Children of the Forest who were responsible for creating the White Walkers. This is a cautionary tale about losing control of WMDs if there ever was one!

The explanation, and depth of this needed to be a little more than what we got. It felt very rushed, and needed a little more attention. There was too many questions left unanswered from this revelation, and given what happens at the end of the episode, there is not too many people left to explain this further.

On the Iron Islands, Yara puts forward her claim to the crown, but the men are hesitant to accept a queen as their ruler. It is only after a passionate speech from Theon that the men turn, and pledge their allegiance to her. That is, until Euron Greyjoy stakes his own claim.
Despite freely admitting that he killed Balon, his plan to use their ships to bring across Daenerys army and take the iron throne becomes the deciding factor in the crown swinging his way.

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After his ‘baptism’ on becoming king, he tells his men to kill Theon and Yara. But before they can reach them, they find out that they have sailed off with all their ships, and half their army. Where are they heading? Anywhere but Dorne please!

The House Greyjoy storyline is really starting to come in to its own now. It has been neglected for so long, so it is nice to see the story develop and grow. It is also pleasing to see Theon continue to redeem himself, as just like Sansa, his character has been weak for far too long.

We also got more story development in Vaes Dothrak, and an emotional scene between Ser Jorah and Daenerys. While she has commanded him to find a cure for his grey scale, and return to her side, it is still unclear whether or not he will make it to the end of season.

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It is possible that he does indeed leave to find a cure, but returns sooner than planned to help out in a conflict. Unable to find a cure, by the time the finale arrives we could see Jorah proclaim his love for Dany, one final time.

In Meereen, Tyrion is still trying to keep the peace in Dany’s absence. While there has been no further attacks, he is keen to let the people know that all this work is because of Daenerys, and that her influence continues to protect those under her rule.

Much to Varys’ dismay, Tyrion invites a High Priestess of the Lord of Light to speak with him. It is clear that Varys does not want religious influence over the situation, and it is said that Varys actually heard the Lord of Light call to him once.

There is still much more to come from this storyline, it is still in its infancy. The main issue highlighted in this scene was the priestesses claim that Daenerys is “the one that was promised”.  But Melisandre claims that Jon Snow is “the prince that was promised”. Someone has to be wrong, don’t they?

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We can’t talk about THAT ending without first mentioning the comedic gem of a moment that was the look that Tormund gave Brienne at Castle Black. Their one-sided romance continues to entertain. Come on Brienne, don’t fight it.

It’s safe to say, that despite the numerous different storylines explored in this episode, the one thing everyone is going to remember is the ending.

For years now, Hodor has been seen as a joke character, an internet meme that has been relentlessly mocked. But the laughter has stopped. As we have just witnessed, what was one of the most traumatic deaths on Game of Thrones. EVER! And where there was once laughter, there is now sorrow, and teary eyes all across the seven kingdoms.

What a final scene though! It was beautifully crafted and executed, it had you screaming at the TV, pleading with the writers to let Hodor escape. To let him continue to protect, and look after Bran. But it was not to be. Upon the revelation that Hodor is actually “Hold the door”, we cut to the credits, and while we do not see a definitive ending, it’s safe to assume the character has now departed the land of the living. Though there’s nothing to say we won’t see Zombi-dor in the future…

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While the music, and visuals in this final scene were striking, the main thing to take away from this is the whole Hodor/hold the door reveal. Talk about a pay off! This has been there all this time, and for such meaning to come out of something that has been mocked for so long, was incredibly satisfying.

It wasn’t just Hodor who was offed in this scene. We lost all of the Children of the Forest, including Leaf, the Three-Eyed Raven, and Bran’s Direwolf Summer.

Now. Here’s the thing. Summer’s death felt needless as the intervention did not buy any more time. It just seemed a cheap death to throw in there, given the episodes focus on dialogue scenes, and a sign that the producers are bored of the Direwolves. They are dropping like flies! Only two more left.

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Basically, you could say all this death is because of Bran. Staying too long in the past caused all of this. His guilt, caused by his recklessness, should be interesting to watch.

While the scene with the White Walkers felt like a cross between The Walking Dead and the Moria scene from Lord of the Rings, it was a good way to re-establish the threat that this undead army poses to the world.

While the episode did move a little slow at times, the stories are still moving along at a good pace. And with such a memorable ending, this episode will be one that will always be remembered.

P.S

Hodor

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