“Liz, by the end of this episode, you will be bawling your eyes out…for Hodor.”
“Do not be ridiculous, Hodor is an undeveloped, one-note character who’s there, sadly, for cheap laughs, and to be The Big Dumb One. It is not a character trope that delights me. And this is not a particualrly interesting interpretation of that trope. So, what? He dies? Meh.”
AARGH. OH THE WRONGNESS OF ME TEN MINUTES BEFORE THIS EPISODE ENDED. I mean, WHAT?! What is this?! Heartbreaking predestination paradox time travel fantasy, that makes the most moving character death Game of Thrones has had so far. Bloody hell. Hodor.
Hodor. Hodor, who’s only ever been able to say one word since he was a kid, and it’s all Bran’s fault. A TIME LOOP. In a fantasy story with ice zombies! It’s horrifying, what Bran does, how he damages Hodor, traumatising him to such an extent that he can only say one word. And, my God, did Hodor *know* what was going to happen? Did he know during his initial fit, or realise at the end as he held the door? HE COULD STILL BE ALIVE. It’s never death until there’s a body, dammit.
But yeah, that was one hell of a gut punch. And a gut punch on top of scenes that were already very nearly the most awesome of the episode. Creepy ice zombie dreams where the zombies can see you! Then hunt you down in real life! Marvellous. Everything about the attack on the tree was just so cool, and creepy, and awesome. And just when you thought it was safe to take another breath….that Hodor thing happened.
Just a little bit south, more rather awesome things were happening at Castle Black as Littlefinger arrived and Sansa went to meet him and everything about their conversation was just perfect. OH SANSA. You are the best of them, please be queen. Her coldness to him, her calm, her refusal to be manipulated or intimidated, the way she used her humiliation to humiliate him…the only worrying thing was the dig about Jon her *half*-brother – especially when it was coupled with Brienne being all worried about leaving her undefended. DON’T BETRAY SANSA, JON. He wouldn’t though, would he? Would he? *frets* (Did Littlefinger lie about Riverrun? Argh.)
And the first shot we got of Sansa was her sewing, which made me flail a bit, and then it turned out she’d sewn herself a new Stark dress, and Jon a new Stark cloak. OH. ❤ I’ve never been on the Stark side as much as I have this season, and it’s all Sansa’s fault.
Arya meanwhile, is still getting hit with sticks, OH GOOD. But there was also a play, with lots of filth and stupid jokes, so it wasn’t all meh; if you must have filler, make it entertaining filler. And it sounded like her plot got nudged along, but I expect next time we see her, someone will again be hitting her with a bloody stick.
The Iron Islands kingsmoot! I quite liked that, actually – I was expecting to hate it. The fact it took a few minutes rather than a few hundred pages was a big help, and I loved how Yara, Theon, and Euron were all working their rheotoric to try to swing the crowd their way. They way they used who they were, what they’d done, and what they *weren’t* as tools. And the exquisitely delicate care Yara had to take to not let her claim be shoved aside on the basis of “but you’re a woman”. It’s a tightrope walk made by many medieval women in power (I say, as though society isn’t still quite rotten about women with power: look at the crap thown at Clinton today) – the Empress Matilda came particularly to mind here (she, too, had a brother (well, half-brother) as the main supporter of her cause) – when she took London, and started to act as a monarch needed to, her nascient rule was undermined with the simple accusation that she wasn’t behaving as a woman should.
What else? Ah, Meereen. That was…there. Stuff…happened. I sort of like how the whole Lord of Light thing looks a lot more appealing when one has a god’s eye view of the world and can see there’s a bit of a problem with murderous ice zombies on the horizon. A problem I am UTTERLY CERTAIN Sansa will solve. Yes.