Seriously, turn back if you haven’t seen up to season 6, episode 5 of Game of Thrones! I won’t be held responsible for ruining it otherwise…
As a huge Game of Thrones fan, I was of course delighted when the new series started. Now, I don’t know whether its because I know that some of the storylines are moving beyond the end of where the books had reached – and perhaps I’m reading too much into it – but this series feels somehow… different. George RR Martin has given the shows creators some salient plot-points that they have to adhere to, but otherwise they pretty much have free reign to go in whatever direction they want.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it immensely. There’s been some great wow moments (Jon Snow’s resurrection, the (old) Red Lady, the Martel boy being spiked through the back of the head, Daenerys burning up the Dothraki leaders and walking out through the flames, seeing the birth of the White Walkers, Roose getting it from Ramsey, Rickon finally turning up, a couple of Ned Stark’s kids reuniting, Arya getting her eyes back, young Ned, Tormund eyeing up Brienne, Osha returning for the briefest of appearances, Theon going home etc etc etc) but there just seems to be something in the way the characters are interacting that doesn’t quite feel right. It’s almost impossible for me to give you any examples mind you, other than I feel that Greyworm is speaking too much!
Hold the door
That being said, the final set-piece in the last episode “The Door” was incredible and a great return to form from my point of view. I learnt after watching the episode that Hodor’s back-story and subsequent demise was one of the aforementioned George RR Martin-approved plot points. Perhaps that’s why it felt so “Game-of-Thrones-y”.
The moment of clarification for why Hodor is Hodor was in itself brilliant and opens up a world of possibilities in time-altering – not necessarily to change things, but perhaps Bran (and others?) will be playing a part in plot points that we have seen come and pass; trying to make things change for the better only for them to produce the very fate they were trying to avoid, just like the tragedies of ancient Greece like Oedipus. The Three-Eyed-Raven said that “the past is already written, the ink is set” but it seems to me that the point of Bran and the Three-Eyed-Raven travelling back in time at that critical moment in “The Door” (when they could have been running away) was to ensure that Bran made Hodor, Hodor. If he hadn’t gone back in time right then, Hodor would not have had the seizure, and who knows what impact that would have had on everything else. Perhaps the ink is set… its just that the writing hasn’t happened yet!
Damn it, Bran!
Anyway, immediately after getting that initial thrill of “Oh, I get it now, that’s why he’s called Hodor!” it was clear that this was going to be it – the end of perhaps the greatest non-violent character in the story, and one that by uttering only one word has brought some light-hearted relief since season one. And with that, I felt a renewed anger toward that little idiot twerp Bran, not only for being a self-involved, entitled little so-and-so and grabbing the tree while the Three-Eyed-Raven slept (and therefore inviting the Night King in for a cup of tea) but additionally because in doing so he effectively ruined Hodor’s life and sentenced him to death in one fell swoop!
At this half-way point, I feel like its time for some real action now, which we got a taste of in this weeks episode. Hopes for the rest of the series: Jon Snow and his army of Wildlings go and kick Ramsey into touch, we find out through Bran’s time-travelling some more Ned Stark history (perhaps the parentage of Jon Snow?) the Sparrow and his fanatics get done-in by Jaime Lannister, Daenerys actually starts on her way back to Westeros, Arya becomes a fully-fledged Faceless Person, The Martel’s march on Kings Landing, Bran feels some remorse for his actions and – why not – the Hound returns and faces off against his big zombie brother Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane.
What would you like to happen in the latter part of this series? Comment below!