Tragic, heartbreaking and hopeful, three words that adequately describe this week's episode.
While much of the story revolves around the main characters, this season has been dominated by Jon's resurrection and Daenery's rise to the Dothraki leadership, "The Door" focused on a secondary, but important character. It is by a strange endearing twist that a less central character like Hodor all of a sudden rose through the story line and stole the thunder from everyone else.
We finally found out why the stable boy formerly called Willas, lost his train of thought to only use and sputter one word "Hodor". It is an amazing twist that only Game Of Thrones could have had pulled off. After all this time this series can still break our hearts, and shock us all at the same time.
But before we can get into that, a lot of things are still unraveling in Westeros and Essos. In Castle Black, Sansa receives a message. She sneaks away accompanied by Brienne and meets with her former political mentor Lord Baelish, who had send her the letter.
However, it is not a warm reunion. Sansa understandably was not too pleased with being left behind to the sadistic Ramsay. She coldly blames Lord Baelish for the rape she endured on her wedding night. The sneaky former Master of the coin is at a loss, but he tries to turn it around by saying that he has brought the Armies of the Vale to aid Sansa in reclaiming Winterfell.
The young Lady Stark refutes him, saying that her brother has an army. Baelish is bemused, nonetheless he points out that Riverrun still has an army under the command of her uncle "The Blackfish" Brynden Tully. And that he will take to arms if called. He then takes his leave, and reminds Sansa that Jon is her "half-brother".
Meanwhile at Braavos, Arya is still undergoing her long winded training. There is a reason why most television shows and movies would normally place this in a montage; it can get tedious.
Jaqen finally gives her a second chance and gives her another vial of poison to deal with a target. This time it is an actress in a theatrical troupe. Arya watches one of her plays to lay the groundwork. She endures watching a strange retelling of her father's stay in King's Landing with a little bit of Sansa's experience thrown in. It is of course inaccurate, but it is quite obvious that she was shaken being reminded of it in such a crude fashion.
Arya then reports back to Jaqen, detailing what she could do to kill her intended victim. But she reveals that she is hesitant noting that the actress seems like a good woman. But Jaqen rebukes her, reminding her that there is a reason for everything, and that of course nothing will be explained to the young apprentice and that she should just "blindly" obey.
In the far North at the cave of the Children of the Forest, Bran is also continuing his training. Of course, this is more magical and involves revealing a lot of the mysteries we want solved so we'll give it a pass.
Bran and the Three-eyed Raven enter a vision of an ancient time, probably more than eight thousand years into the past before the "Long Night". Because here we see the Children of the Forest create what would probably be the first White Walker. One of them slides a strange sharp stone to a man tied to a godswood tree. He screams and then his eyes turn ice-cold blue.
Bran wakes up and turns to one of the Children in the cave. "It was you," he screams at one of them, remembering full well the vision of the one who slid the sharp stone into the man. He asks why and the ancient creature just looks at him and says, that they had to protect themselves. "From what?" Bran asks. The Child stares at him, and says from Men, who were cutting down the trees , and driving them away from their homes.
At the Iron Islands, a gathering of chieftains gathers at the Kingsmoot. Yara puts herself forward as Queen, but the leaders have no wish to be led by a woman, especially since Theon is there. But he shows his loyalty and love for his sister and says she should be Queen. Some of the crowd show their support.
Unfortunately, their Uncle Euron then enters. He chides both of them, and makes fun of Theon's lack of manly parts. He proposes to build a fleet, and to court Daenerys Targaryen in the east, so that he could marry her and form a powerful alliance to take over Westeros.
At that instance, his brother Victarion Greyjoy, the Priest of the Drowned God proceeds to bless him by drowning him near to the point of death. Meanwhile, Theon and Yara sneak out with their men, and they proceed to steal the best ships anchored nearby, and sail away.
When Euron wakes up from being drowned, he is crowned. He looks for Theon and Yara to kill them, only to see their fleet sail away in the horizon. Unperturbed, he turns to the assembled chieftains and tells them to build new ships.
Far to the east, Daenerys has consolidated her control of the Dothraki. She then turns to Ser Jorah whom she had exiled and wonders what she should do to him noting that he had tried to save her. The old knight tells her to send him away and then he reveals his stone skin. He then reveals something he has always felt and that is that he has always loved the Queen. He then turns away. But Daenerys is not having any of it and calls him back. With tear-stricken eyes, she orders him to find a cure then she adds "come back to me".
Back in Mereen, Tyrion's pact with the masters seems to be holding the peace. But he says they need something more, someone that will spread the word to the public that all of this is because of Queen Daenerys. And so he chose to approach the strongest mass communication apparatus in that society -which is the pulpit.
He calls on the aid of Kinvara, High Priestess of R'hlor whose followers and preachers can spread and hone the message to the larger population. Varys is skeptical, after all as a boy he was castrated by a Red Priest. But Kinvara points to him the mystical aspect of that experience, would he be as great as a man as he is now if that did not happen? She then reminds him of the strange voice that was heard when his parts was thrown into the flames. For the first time in the series, we see Varys shocked and seemed at a loss for words.
Back in the cave of the Children of the Forest. Bran stirs awake, he looks around and finds that everyone else is asleep. Seeing a chance to explore the visions himself, he touches one of the roots of the weirwood that envelopes the cavern and steps inside the dream state.
He finds himself in front of a godswood, eerily similar to the one where the first white walker was made, But instead of a lush green landscape , the place it stood on is a frozen wasteland. He looks around and sees an army of wights, the undead brought back to a semblance of living by the White Walkers. Confident that this is a vision, he moves among them and at the end he encounters the White Walkers astride their steads. One of them is the Night's King and he stares straight at Bran. The young Starks panics, and the leader of the White Walkers grabs his arms, he screams and awakens.
The Three-eyed Raven then looks at him and asks what happened. Bran explains. "Did he touch you," the Three eyed Raven asks. Bran says yes, the old man then tells him that they must leave, because the Night's King knows where they are now.
"But they can't come in here", he protests. "They can now since he touched you" the Three-eyed Raven countered.
Not too far, back in Castle Black, Jon gathers a council of war. They debate which house in the North will support him. Sansa then points out that her Uncle Brynden has an army in Riverrun and that he may be willing to help. Jon asks her where she got this information. She then lies saying she heard it in Winterfell when she is being held captive.
Plans are then made. Jon, Melisandre , Sansa , Tormund , Brienne and Ser Davos leave Castle Black to visit the houses that will aid them, and give them an army.
Back in the cave, The Three-eyed Raven has pulled Bran into a vision to finish his training. They are now seeing the courtyard in Winterfell, wherein Ned Stark is about to leave for the Vale and become Jon Arryn's ward. A young Willas/Hodor watches from the side.
In the wakening world, Meera watches over the sleeping Bran and banters a bit with Hodor telling him about the food they'll end up eating once again when they are back on the other side of the Wall. But then a dark looming presence is felt within the caverns. Meera feels the foreboding cold take hold of the cave, knowing what it means she rushes out to the entrance. There, together with the Children of the Forest she sees an army of frozen undead led by the Night's King and a few White Walkers. They then ominously advance.
Meera runs back to wake up Bran while the Children use their exploding stones to hold back the army of the undead. They set alight, the entrance to the cave, which stops the Wight, but the White Walkers and the Night's King easily pass it.
The Wights seek another way, and they go upward towards the Wierwood sitting on top of the hill. They dig through it, and slowly enter the cavern where the Three-eyed Raven is ensconced in the roots of the trees.
Summer, Bran's direwolf fights them off, and the Children retreat to that cave with the help with the melee. Meera load Bran into a wagon, all at the same time screaming that they need him to warg into Hodor, who at that time was crouched in a corner.
Within the vision, Bran hears Meera's pleas. But it is not him who responds, at that instance Young Willas goes into a fit , and his past self wargs into his/Hodor's body.
Willas within his future body moves into action, ever the loyal Stark servant and friend he bravely pulls the wagon holding Bran's comatose body. Meera and the Children keep on fighting, she even kills a White Walker while on retreat. Summer bravely covers his master's wake, and sacrifices himself as a horde of the undead slaughter the poor Direwolf. His howls resonate through the cavern as the leader of the children, Meera, and Hodor pulling Bran runs to a door in the edge of tunnel.
The Night's King then enters the cavern, he sees the Three-eyed Raven within the Weirwood roots. He grabs his sword and bring it down on the old man. Within the vision, the Greenseer tells Brans, "It is time for you to become me". He then vanishes.
In the tunnel, the last of the Children sacrifices herself with an exploding stone to give the others a chance to flee. They reach the door and Hodor succeeds in opening it, Meera pulls the wagon out, and the large Stark servant closes the entrance as a horde of undead are trying to break through.
Meera screams at him to "hold the door!" And Hodor did, he puts his back on the door, and holds it as the horde of the undead slowly break through. "Hold the door!" he keeps saying to himself.
Within the vision, Bran watches as a young Willas, having a fit on the ground echoes the scream of his future self. "Hold the Door!" he repeats. And then it slowly fades to "Hodor".
In the wakening world , Meera flees away with Bran on a wagon. Hodor is left behind , the ever loyal servant of the Starks , holds the door as the arms of the undead break through and claw at him.
Rest in peace, Hodor. The Starks are lucky to have someone like you in their service. "Hold The Door, Hodor!"