Synopsis: Sansa is knitting when she received a note from Littlefinger. She takes Brienne with her to meet him. He says he’s happy to see her, but she is cold. She recounts the horrors of her wedding night and asks if Baelish if he knew what a monster Ramsay was before he had her marry him. She threatens Petyr and tells him to go away and that she doesn’t ever want to see him again. Before he goes he tells her that her uncle, Brynden the Blackfish, has retaken Riverrun and she might seek him out should she need an army. Arya fights with the Waif (ugh, the Waif) who tells her she’s not ready, because that’s the only thing she seems to know how to say. She manages to knock Arya down as Jaqen walks by. Jaqen takes Arya back to the Hall of Faces, and offers her membership into the Faceless Men. He gives Arya a second chance, by giving her some poison, and a target, a local actress. Arya watches the actress, Lady Crane, who is Cersei in a play covering King Robert’s death, Ned’s beheading, Tyrion’s marriage to Sansa and other events, but mostly exaggerated. Backstage, Arya spies on Lady Crane and later tells Jaqen how she plans to do it. Bran is visiting the past. He watches as Leaf and the other children create the Night King, who is just a man until she plunges dragonglass into his chest. Bran awakens and questions Leaf about making the White Walkers. She says they did it to defend themselves from men.
At the Kingsmoot in the Iron Islands, they set up choosing Balon’s successor. Yara throws her hat in the ring, but some are resistant as there has never been a queen on the Salt Throne. Someone wants Theon to take the job, but he stands up and backs Yara. They are both surprised when their uncle, Euron, announces his presence and claim on the throne. Yara accuses Euron of killing her father, and he admits it. He uses Balon’s failures as justification. Euron wins the crowd over by suggesting he’s going to rebuild their army and then join forces with Daenerys. The crowd chants for Euron and he is crowned as the new king while Theon, Yara and a bunch of their men escape with most of the ships in the fleet. Euron says they will build more. Dany meets with Jorah and Daario outside Vaes Dothrak. She admits he saved her life. He shows her his greyscale and she is saddened. Jorah admits that he loves Dany and he says goodbye to her. She commands him to find a cure for greyscale and when he does to return to her. Jorah sets off on his own as Dany, Daario and the Dothraki head back to Meereen. And back in Meereen, Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm and Missandei talk of the tenuous peace they have brokered. Tyrion wants Dany to get credit for this. Varys and Tyrion meet with Kinvara, a Red Witch like Melisandre. They want her help to spread the word of Dany’s command. Varys questions her belief, referencing Melisandre’s faith in Stannis, who has lost his battles. Kinvara makes note of Varys’ history, of when he was castrated, things no one else knew, and he is shocked.
Bran flashes back on his own without the Three-Eyed Raven’s help. He wakes in snow and ice and sees an army of Wights. As he walks through the ranks, he sees the Night King and the other White Walkers on horseback. The Night King turns to him, he can see Bran. The Wights turn and look at Bran and suddenly the Night King is next to him, he reaches out and grabs Bran and Bran awakens screaming. He tells the others what he say and the Three-Eyed Raven says they have to go now. They are no longer protected. The Wights can get inside. He tells Bran it is time for him to become the Three-Eyed Raven. Jon, Davos, Sansa, Brienne, Melisandre, Tormund and Tollett sit in Castle Black discussing their options in going to war against the Boltons. They don’t have the men but Jon and Sansa disagree over the best ways to get more. Still, Sansa proves that she listened to her father about the North and how to operate. She makes mention of the Blackfish’s army but lies about where she heard it. Sansa asks Brienne to ride to Riverrun to secure Brynden’s aid. Brienne doesn’t trust leaving Sansa there but she says she trusts Jon to keep her safe. Brienne asks why she lied to him then. Meera and Hodor pack up, while Bran and the Three-Raven are out. Meera notices her breath and runs out front to see the Night King and his army as they make their way across the threshold. Leaf tells Meera to get the others and run. In the past, Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven are in the courtyard at Winterfell as Ned is being sent to the Vale. Meera and Hodor gather Bran and their things as Leaf and the Children try to hold off the undead army. Meera begs Bran to wake up because they need Hodor. She tells him to warg into Hodor. In the past, Bran hears Meera and wargs into Hodor, who carries Bran off while Meera, Summer, and Leaf fight off the invasion. Meera kills a White Walker and runs off. Summer is taken down by a group of Wights. The Three-Eyed Raven is killed by the Night King. Leaf unleashes a massive fireball that takes out dozens of wights, just as she’s killed, but more follow. They escape through a door to the outside and Meera asks Hodor to hold the door. In the past, Bran watches as young Wyllis sees Bran and hears Meera and falls into a seizure, murmuring “hold the door” over and over again until his mumbles simply morph into Hodor, the only word he said after that point. Hodor holds the door and keeps the wights at bay as Meera escapes with Bran, until the wights overpower him and he is gone.
Comments: Hodor was never a main character, he was just always around, and he makes Groot seem verbose. His death, however, remains one of the saddest. We didn’t know much about him, only learning his real name was Wyllis a couple episodes before, but we knew that he was big and strong and would do anything to protect Brandon Stark. He helped him escape Winterfell, took him North of the wall, fought off rogue men of the Night’s Watch, and more, all for no other reason than it was asked of him. He was loyal, and his death was made even more sad as we learned that Bran was in a way responsible for his condition. It was also sad to see another direwolf perish as Summer went down. Now, Nymeria and Ghost are the only two direwolves alive, although Nymeria has been in the wind since the second episode. The White Walker attack was made all the more exciting because it came in a space we weren’t used to seeing them. Jon was the one that had fought them, even Sam, but Bran always felt safe, he was just doing his Jedi training on Dagobah. It felt so far away from the rest of the action, but this gave it a renewed sense of urgency, also because Meera and Bran are the only ones left of their squad, and that army wasn’t that far behind them. Although, it had been overshadowed by the ending, Jorah and Dany’s goodbye was bittersweet. She finally forgave him, but still he went away. Once again, Sansa is holding her own in discussions that feel far outside her station. She’s seen things though, and she’s listened, and learned. And she was definitely making more sense in her meeting than Jon. I can’t state enough how awesome it is just watching her grow into such a commanding force, after her meager bratty beginnings. Still begging for the end of this Arya tangent though.
Sansa (to Baelish): Did you know about Ramsay? If you didn’t know, you’re an idiot. If you did know, you’re my enemy.
Sansa (again to Baelish): You freed me from the monsters who murdered my family, and you gave to other monsters who murdered my family.
Three-Eyed Raven: The time has come.
Bran: For what?
Three-Eyed Raven: For you to become me.
Bran: but am I ready?
Three-Eyed Raven: No.
Hodor: Hold the door…hold door…hodor.
Foreshadowing: The only interesting thing about Arya’s story and the play is how the history we’ve witnessed on the show is presented and altered for the masses. Ned is portrayed as a buffoon. This may be what the people believe and it’s just interesting how the show is able to lay these thoughts into seemingly unimportant scenes. It may not have to do with anything, but it does feel like it’s laying the groundwork for our reinterpretation of things we thought we knew. We’re also entering a point where some of the meanings of things may be foreshadowing for what’s to come in season 8 and we haven’t put it together yet.
Title: It would be too on the nose for them to title the episode “Hold the Door,” but the door is what Hodor uses to hold the wights back and it’s the command, first said by “Meera,” repeated by Bran, and by Wyllis/Hodor in the past and present.
Deaths: Summer is killed by the wights. As is Leaf, but she takes a lot of wights with her. Meera becomes the third person (after Sam and Jon) to take out a White Walker. The Three-Eyed Raven is sliced by the Night King. Hodor is torn apart by the wights.