**SPOILERS BELOW! IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE LATEST EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES, COME BACK WHEN YOU HAVE! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!**
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So, after last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, I was like, “meh.”
Not because I don’t like Hodor, or that I’m glad he’s dead or anything. Far from it. I like him a lot.
But I’ve been seeing a bunch of articles online with words like “shocking,” “game-changing,” and the like, and I just don’t see it.
But first a recap of this section of the episode, then my response. (BTW, I liked the Iron Islands portion of last night much more.)
So, Bran was warged into the past, watching his father as a boy, and Hodor was there, and he was still Willis. In the present, Bran’s group was attacked by the White Walkers because Bran is a dumbass. To escape, Bran had to warg into Hodor in the now to help carry himself off and fight off the White Walkers.
But he was still warged into the past.
Somehow, in the process of doing that the signals got crossed, and calls for Hodor in the now to “hold the door” as Bran was dragged to safety melted into the past, through Bran’s double-warg-burger (hold the mustard) and sent feedback through Willis/Hodor’s brain, sending him into a seizure and repeating the phrase “hold the door” over and over, until it merged into the now familiar refrain of “hodor.”
As we leave the snowy door which Hodor is attempting to keep closed, we are left with the distinct feeling that Hodor is dead, as multiple weapons are piercing the door around him.
Ok, first, the death of insert-any-character-name-here in this show should never be “shocking.” Ever. It is a long-established rule that George R.R. Martin couldn’t give two shits about keeping anyone alive, much less a character that people like. Despite the fact that Season 6 is now beyond the books, I wouldn’t expect that to change. In a series without a “main character,” there is no designated, untouchable character that simply has to live to reach the end.
Think about it: Ned Stark should still be alive. Robb Stark should still be alive. Stannis Baratheon should still be alive. Joffrey Baratheon should still be alive, causing trouble. Tywin Lannister should still be alive, working behind the scenes to prop up the Iron Throne for whatever ass he maneuvers into it.
Ah, you might say now: “They killed Jon Snow, but then brought him back, so he must be important.”
To which I reply, “Yes, they did; Yes, they did; Why must he?”
Because you want him to be? Please…
Let’s take a look at who’s left in this plot-forsaken storyline and try to guess which of them might make it to the end, like some incest-summer-camp virgin in Saturday the 69th, The Revenge: This Time, It’s Random.
Daenerys Targaryen: Owns 3 dragons, is the last heir of the previous ruling bloodline (that we know of… I know about the Jon Snow theories.)
Tommen Baratheon: Currently holding the Iron Throne. Last child of Queen Cercei and Robert Baratheon (I know, I know…). He is, seemingly, a good person, and a boy capable of growing into a good king, unlike his brother Joffrey, who was a raging lunatic.
Tyrion Lannister: A highly intelligent, conniving little shit with a penchant for out-smarting everyone else in the room and never staying down for long. He killed his own father over a whore, and is currently an advisor to the aforementioned Daenerys Targaryen.
Any one of these three, and don’t forget about Jon Snow, could wind up last man (or woman) standing.
And that’s without even trying to think of some other, completely whacked-out storyline where someone else is the hidden son/daughter of someone, or marries into whatever.
Or they could wind up on the wrong end of a tragic pitchfork accident next week. The point is, if either one of those things could happen, why is any death “shocking” at this point.
Now, the one thing I will say that may, might, possibly, be “game-changing” about last night’s episode is the revelation that Bran, who we were already pretty sure could make his presence felt in the past during an interlude at the Tower of Joy while watching his father, and confirmed by his creation of a past in which a necessary part of his own future survival is created in the form of Hodor, can lead to only one possible reason for such chicanery on GRRM’s part (aside from the clear homage to the future-creating paradox that is the greatness of Terminator):
At some point, Bran is going to be able to actively, knowingly, intentionally, change the past, and that change will ripple forward, potentially JJ Abrams-ing the entire future/history of Westeros, and beyond.
That’s what is game-changing here.
Or… everything could be exactly as it appears to be on this show.
Because that’s how GRRM rolls.
See you next week.