More so than any of the A Song of Ice And Fire Reddit theories or book-reader conspiracies come to life, episode five of Game of Thrones reminded me of ABC’s LOST– specifically the episode ‘The Constant.’ Without diving too deep into the mythology of one show to analogize the mythology of another, ‘The Constant’ was the episode that solidified time travel as a real factor the audience had to deal with as an element of the show.
There was no going back after that– you either had to fully accept what showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were doing with their story, or you had to bail out right away and never revisit the series because you wouldn’t be able to enjoy any of it knowing what laid ahead.
That moment came tonight in Game of Thrones as many popular theories were addressed and then cast aside. After episode five, show-watchers and book-readers alike have a very similar choice– buy-in or cash-out.
“We’ve known this was coming for a long time,” is a statement that could be applied to many, many different facets of the Game of Thrones– both the ones we’ve seen and the ones we know– like winter– are coming.
We’ve known that eventually Bran would have to leave his nest. We’ve known Jon would eventually come back down from the wall. We’ve known that even without the dragons, Dany is truly special. We know The North Remembers.
What we didn’t know was how fast we’d see these things develop, how soon we’d see changes happen now that we’re ‘beyond the wall’ of established content, and just how different the show would be from the books.
Even before seeing the weekly ‘previously on…’ montage that precedes every episode, the title provides several hints as to what each week will cover. This week’s episode, entitled ‘The Door’, was no different. In entertainment of all kinds, doors are used to signify changes and choices both visually and metaphorically. In the Wizard of Oz– perhaps the most visual representation of change in the history of film– Dorothy must step through the door in order to see that her world and worldview have changed. A door often symbolizes the first obstacle our heroes must overcome; it is a barrier between our protagonists and the reasons we’re reading/viewing their story.
In the future when we look back and appreciate Game of Thrones as one complete work, we’ll be able to point to episode five of season six as the butterfly effect episode. The butterfly effect, part of a larger concept called chaos theory, is the idea that seemingly small occurrences can have massive effects. I can’t think of a better way to describe the effects of decisions made by our characters in ‘The Door’. To put that theory in the parlance of our world, a dragon has flapped its wings in a Meereen and it caused a tidal wave in the land as far north as north goes.
THIS POST IS DARK AND FULL OF SPOILERS
THE WALL: Compared to how things have gone for Sansa Stark for the last few years, things are as good as they have ever been. This can only mean one thing: Terrible events on the horizon for both Sansa and everyone around her.
After fleeing the waking nightmare that was her childhood home and making it safely to The Wall, Sansa’s tone has understandably changed. While she is no longer fearing for her life from overt threats around every corner (and that’s a good thing), the sense of safety she feels from being around Brienne and Jon Snow has allowed for a desire for revenge to seep in.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Stark start plotting revenge. This isn’t even the first time we’ve seen a Stark talk about revenge with Littlefinger. I doubt it’s the last time we’ll see this small occurrence come home to roost.
Much like both Ned Stark in season one and Catelyn Stark in season two, Sansa’s desire for revenge is influencing her actions and how much information she decides to share. A Stark talking about revenge is bad, bad, bad. A Stark talking about revenge to Littlefinger is worse, worse, worse.
BRAAVOS: The Internship from Hell rolls on as Arya Stark has regained her sight and can now see her ass-kickings coming. Despite still getting beaten to a pulp on a daily basis by her T.A., the Waife, “a girl” has received her second chance assignment– kill an actress in Braavos.
She hunts down her target, who just happens to be the lead in a bawdy comedy that depicts what happened to the Starks in King’s Landing– the death of her father and the imprisonment/forced marriage of her sister at the hands of the Lannisters. A real laugh a minute experience for the girl with no name.
If she was still Arya Stark, I am willing to bet she’d be pretty angry right about now. I hope she’s getting a lot of college credit for this.
FAR NORTH: In exploring his powers, Bran realized he was right; he does have the power to influence the past and that the ink isn’t necessarily dry as he was told… or is it?
Is he influencing the past, or is his consciousness experiencing his previous actions for the first time?
Does this mean Bran has the chance to drift through time and prevent any of the events of this series from happening?
Is this the path he was always supposed to follow– doomed to watch history repeat itself time and time again always watching his friends and family die for his cause?
In a meta sense, Bran’s role in season six is showing the audience how everything is connected. This week the audience– especially the book-readers– got more than they bargained for from the Winged Wolf.
Established “Truths” From The Books
- In the books, the White Walkers are a force of nature. It has never been confirmed where they came from, why they are moving south and attacking people, or why they have resurfaced after thousands of years.
- Their leader, the Night’s King, is a character shrouded in mystery. As the legend goes, he is a former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch who married one of The Others to seal the peace between men and the monsters beyond The Wall.
- Brynden Rivers aka Bloodraven, aka the old man in the tree, is one of the most interesting characters in the books and served as a bridge to the part of the story that book readers all assumed would never make it onto the TV screen. He also served as part of the device that showed the audience flashbacks of Lyanna Stark, The Tower of Joy, the Children of the Forest, etc. More so than any other development in the series– even Jon Snow coming back from the dead– The Three Eyed Raven gave the fans what they wanted.
And in tonight’s episode, the showrunners ate, chewed up and spit out a metric ton of book readers hopes, dreams, and theories regarding some of the most magical elements.
Exposed “Truths” from the TV Show
- White Walkers were designed to be the Children of the Forests attack dogs! Take that, book-reader!
- The Night’s King isn’t a former Lord Commander of The Watch, he’s not a distant relative of the Starks from the Age of Heroes, and he didn’t get to marry an ice princess! He’s just some dude who got got by some tree elves! Return your library card, nerd!
- That old man in the tree? Yea we’re not even going to name him. And also- We may not actually complete all the half theories we showed you already! Better hope Bran learned how to tap into the matrix without using the trees! AND WE KILLED ANOTHER DIREWOLF, SO THERE!
For show watchers, this episode was probably a nine-out-of-ten. Answers at every turn, serious plot development for characters we care about, and a satisfying and heartbreaking goodbye to the most pure-hearted character on the show, Hodor.
The weight of the series now rests on Bran’s shoulders. So many characters have died so that Bran’s story can continue. He is going to seriously have to earn this… right?
Hold The Door.
THE WALL: Littlefinger is not to be trusted and is most likely leading Sansa into a trap. Can we all agree on that?
PYKE: Well, we had a brief moment of redemption as Theon supported his sister at the Kingsmoot and then a pirate came in and ruined everything. The announcement of Euron Greyjoy taking a fleet halfway around the world to find Dany is another HUGE theory from the books, so this week really covered some fan-fiction ground.
VAES DOTHRAK: Seeing Dany forgive Jorah was a truly touching moment on a very bleak show which means only one thing– Jorah is going to die a tragic death and we’re all going to proclaim to hate the show as we do every single week.
MEEREEN: This new High Priestess is a foreshadowing of things to come. The ‘Prince that was Promised’ prophecy has been mentioned in nearly every episode this season, and is now being mentioned by multiple characters not in contact with each other. The Fire in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ is gaining some real traction across the narrow sea.