Game of Thrones s6 ep 5

*SPOILERS*

A moment of silence, first, I think, for a man of almost no words.

Hodor.

The second Stark servant/ protector to die for the cause in two weeks, gentle, loyal Hodor has now given up both his vocabulary and his life, and for what? For Bran, a walking Wiki whose principal purpose at this stage is to keep dreaming chunks of exposition that apparently couldn’t be shoe-horned into the plot any other way, while everyone else sacrifices their lives, caves, weird and ancient trees etc round about him.

Sigh.

The scenes with the Night’s King and the Walkers are obviously amazing and terrifying, with Summer, the Children of the Forest and the Three-Eyed Raven’s deaths horribly, beautifully-realised, but, my GOD. Poor, brave, tragic Hodor; for decades, doomed to serve in sadness and doomed to die in pain, thanks to bloody BRAN. If I were Meera Reed, I’d take my Walker-killing spear and walk myself the hell away; after all, the queue of people left to die so the second-youngest, second-blandest (sorry, Rickon) Stark can live is suddenly looking very, very short.

Moving up the Stark ranks, the not-exactly-bland but not-in-any-way-exciting-to-watch-any-more Arya is this week sent to see a sort of Pyramus and Thisbe-style play which summarises seasons one and two, presumably for the benefit of any new viewers who decided episode five of season six was the ideal time to pop in and see what all the fuss was about. As far as this long-time viewer’s concerned, however, the play’s clever but both unnecessary and way too long, since it neither advances the plot, nor tells  us anything new about Arya or anyone else. Unless telling us something new means that startling, completely ridiculous scene where a character we’ve never met before announces he has genital warts. While SHOWING us them. I’ve complained about gratuitous female nudity on GOT before – no need for the breasts this week, either, by the way – and I know one view is that the way to address this is to balance it out with gratuitous male nudity, but, to be honest, I’m generally quite happy for people to keep their bits and pieces to themselves, and just get on with the story.

Speaking of which, Arya’s story obviously stalled in Braavos ages ago, but thankfully Jon’s and Sansa’s have started to move at lightning speed to make up for it. Sansa, in particular, has another stupendous week this week. Her unyielding, unflinching confrontation of the oleaginous but still largely inscrutable Littlefinger is terrific; powerful, fearless and strong, Sansa is nobody’s pawn any more. Or at least, she’s trying not to be. He doesn’t have to pose as her friend to manipulate her though; despite her anger towards him, Littlefinger still manages quite easily to drive the beginnings of a wedge between her and the former Lord Commander, much to Jon’s suspicion, Brienne’s unease and my increasing anxiety. Making Jon a coat like Ned’s was a thoughtful touch, giving me hope that these two sad, crazy kids will pull together again, but I’m worried. Very worried.

Would that I could say the same about the other strained sibling alliance of the week, as Yara and brother/ doormat Theon try to persuade a bunch of people who literally drown their potential kings – sort of like the Salem test for witches, only if you don’t drown you get to be king, instead of getting burned at the stake – that they don’t need a King, they need a Queen. If I cared about this storyline or these two characters at all, I’d be mildly perturbed that a man who happily confessed to killing the previous king, his own brother, is seen as the best candidate but it’s the Iron Born and they’re miserable, so I don’t.

Which leaves us with the week’s strained non-sibling alliance, as Tyrion and Varys spend the week recruiting a priestess of the Lord of Light to assist the pro-Daenerys cause. If the High Sparrow situation weren’t enough of a warning about the dangers of making political alliances with religious fanatics, NotMelisandre’s plans for the “purification of non-believers” and musings on the night Varys was castrated are a GIANT NEON STOP SIGN but, despite her being creepy as all get-out, Team Meereen presses on. I doubt this will end well, but who knows, maybe she’ll cure Ser Jorah before she starts ceremonially burning folk. Hodor.

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4 thoughts on “Game of Thrones s6 ep 5

  1. Bill May 25, 2016 / 11:36 am

    Agree wholeheartedly about Hodor and Bran. Was absolutely terrified by the Night King and the Walkers as well, and let out a howl of anguish at Hodor’s demise. I wonder though if this is now where we see the distinct split between the books and tv series; I’m not sure that Hodor’s “hold the door” would have been realised as movingly in the book, or even made for an interesting plot line. By my reckoning, we are now down to the last direwolf, which is pretty sad when you think about how the Stark children were really just little kids when they were given them as pets. Things really have moved on, although I do find myself becoming impatient with some of the more drawn out plots.

    I did think that the play might reveal something more to Arya, perhaps some information about her family that she was unaware of, while she was off being ‘a girl’, but as you point out, it really was just a summary of events long past, and didn’t bring anything new to the table. I was somewhat taken aback by the close up of the male genitals as well, felt like the camera lingered a bit too long on that shot, not that it needed to be there in the first place!

    Sansa was very good with Littlefinger, but I too am concerned about her behaviour and her lies, as Brienne is. Brienne is very quickly becoming the only moral compass in this show, I like her more and more as this show progresses.

    Ironbored has a new King, who is intent on killing Yara and Theon. Grand. Even Yara knows that nobody in the Seven Kingdoms could care less about them. I assume then that Yara and Theon are off to join the Stark army, though they may well just drift for another 5 seasons, like their storyline has.

    Another High Priestess has arrived on the scene, I can’t help but wonder if this means that the Stark army with Melissandre and Daenarys and her followers are adding to their armoury so that they are more even when it comes to an epic battle!

    • CJ Cregg May 26, 2016 / 10:24 pm

      I’m really sad about the direwolves, too, Bill – can’t believe they’ve just killed two this season already! I suppose the CGI must be really expensive so they’re whittling them down 😦

      Ghost had better make it to next season or there will be riots.

      I had the same reaction as you to the bizarre genital close-up, too. It was so out-of-the-blue – WTF was the point of it? I don’t really understand the point of any of Arya’s storyline by now, mind you. I thought the Faceless Men were supposed to be righteous assassins, but if Arya’s right and they’ve been hired by one actress to kill another because of her jealousy, they can’t possibly be. Unless Arya’s wrong, I suppose. At this point, I don’t care *what* Arya is though, she’s been faffing about with the long-haired guy and the Waif, and they’ve been talking such rubbish for so long.

      Talking of faffing about for ages, one other thing that occurs to me about Bran: assuming he does finally have the vision we think he’s going to have this season, and finds out Jon’s true parentage, why should anyone (except Meera whose faith in him is inexplicably strong and Melisandre who has faith in Jon) believe him? Surely Daenerys and everyone else isn’t going to just go “Oh, you saw it in a *vision*- of course it must be true! Jon is a Targaeryen, he can take his rightful place as one of the royal family, hurrah, wine and honey cakes all round!” There will need to be some sort of proof beyond “Bran dreamed it,” surely? I mean, I suppose they could set poor Jon on fire and see if he burns, but that seems a tad risky….

  2. Bill May 27, 2016 / 12:35 pm

    Whatever happened to the last remaining child’s of Robert Baratheon, the apprentice Blacksmith with the blue eyes that was Arya’s wee friend? I have a vague recollection of there being a raid and someone wearing his helmet, but I remember thinking when I read the books that there could be hope yet?! Would he not be the true heir?

    • CJ Cregg May 27, 2016 / 11:20 pm

      Gendry! I think the last we saw of him was when Davos saved him from Melisandre (was she not cutting him for royal blood or something wacky and about to sacrifice him to help Stannis?) and put him in that wee rowboat. I feel like that was years ago but given how long it took everyone else to get to this stage, he might still be sailing around Westeros…. that boat’s probably safer than anywhere else in the Seven Kingdoms right now 😆 Was he not illegitimate though? If he isn’t legitimate or legitimised by the king, can he be the heir?

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