Game of Thrones: “The Door” — Is George R.R. Martin Taking This Valar Morghulis Thing Too Far?

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***Spoiler Warning:  This post contains Game of Thrones discussion through Season 6, Episode 5. If you’re not caught up, back on out. Spoilers***

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Is anyone else noticing just a little too much reliance on big starts and/or endings, lately? While “The Door” left us all broken and emotional, traumatized by yet another dead direwolf (only Ghost and Arya’s Nymeria are left) and an achingly terrible revelation about where Hodor got his nickname, everything else felt a jumbled mess.

Holdthedoor

George R. R. Martin may taking this “Valar Morghulis” thing just a little too far. Yes, David Benioff and Dan Weiss are (partially) working with no source book material, but as the showrunners mentioned during their “Inside the Episode” notes, the Hodor story came directly from the Song of Ice and Fire author, himself. We can be angry with B & W over that ridiculously poor dialogue between Littlefinger and Sansa, but Martin is still behind most of the deaths we see.

“If you didn’t know you’re an idiot; if you did know, you’re my enemy.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You freed me from the monsters who killed my family, and you gave me to other monsters who murdered my family.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Do you have any idea what he did to me?”

“I’m sorry…”

SansaBri

Really? Was Baelish that overwhelmed by Sansa — who, to be fair, has grown into a damned impressive leader — all he could manage was a string of pathetic apologies?

Not much later, the drivel Daenerys unloaded on Jorah was equally inane, though both Clarke and Glen sold the scene with their teary eyes and longing glances.

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Where books leave nuance, and give theories to ponder, the series’ writers choose to pound us over the head (to what end?). As with the poorly mishandled mess that was Dorne, GoT again rushes through a side-story (the scene transitioned so abruptly it jarred the senses), and it’s difficult to understand why they even bothered. A quick Kingsmoot is whittled to two candidates:  Yara, championed by her impassioned brother, and Euron, who comes out of nowhere, quickly admits to murdering his brother, and is rushed through his Drowned Men initiation by Aeron Greyjoy, during which Yara and Theon make off with the Iron Fleet of ships. But, no worries; Euron is having a whole new fleet built, presumably in magical speedytyme, so he can catch up and conquer the Seven Kingdoms by offering Daenerys his new fleet and marrying her. I can’t be the only person thinking this whole aside matters not one whit.
IronMoot

Arya fights the Waif yet again, is given a second chance again, sent on a mission that causes her to witness her father being murdered again, and asked if she really believes she can become No One, again. Tyrion is drinking and witty again. He, Varys, Grey Worm and Missandei attempt to come up with a plan to win over the people of Meereen, again.  Another Red Priestess claims to know everything again, has seen the true future predicted in flames…again. Tormund gets flirty with Brienne again, clearly the night’s best repeat.

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Valar Morghulis. All men must die, it’s true, but is that all there is? Is this GRRM’s plan, to kill off everyone we know and love one by one, and in the end that’s all we’ve done — watched these characters die? We thought, we’d hoped that Bran had grown and been learning along the way of life. He’s forever dismissing his caretakers’ warnings; apparently it wasn’t enough to lose the use of his legs, and in another ridiculously naive and childish move, Bran carelessly wanders off again. With yet another foolish and costly mistake — after discovering Leaf created the White Walkers to defend the Children of the Forest against man — in one fell swoop, Bran managed to effectively cause the deaths of Leaf, Summer, the Three-Eyed Raven, and the biggest soul crusher of all, his most loyal friend. Hodor…who held the door. But, why? (Valar Morghulis!)  There’s only one thing left for Bran, and only one person* who can save him, and nothing for us to do but wait to see who dies next.

Notes:

*One person who might be able to save Bran and Meera — and can we take a minute here to CHEER Meera, who deserves a huge shoutout for taking charge, calling Bran out of his vision, and basically giving anyone a chance to live at all — is, ***Spoiler ahoy:

Spoiler Cast Information

Why did Sansa lie to Jon about where she got the information on the Tully army? Did Littlefinger get to her with that “half-brother” comment? After just reuniting with Jon last week, the two of them reminiscing and talking about the importance of their bond, it’s hard to believe Baelish so easily undermined that, but at the same time, completely credible Sansa wouldn’t be completely sure who she can trust.

The play was quite well done, though watching Arya’s face throughout was rather crushing. Clearly a girl becoming No One is much harder than it would seem.

Aryawatching

There has to be some significance to all these direwolves dying, right? It’s not just unusually cruel animal punishment, right?

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over seven years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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  • Valhallaback Girl

    I think I don’t completely understand Bran’s warging just yet. To me, it felt as though Hobor/Whylis’ fate was sealed from the get go. Is it correct to assume that Bran definitely has the ability to go back in time and affect the future? Did Hodor know what his destiny was this whole time? I don’t even know if I want to know anymore. It’ll just make me super sad.

    If there is one storyline I could not give a shit about, it’s the Greyjoys. I know in the books, they’re supposed to play an intricate part, but I have yet to see any sort of build up. It just bores the shit out of me.

    I’m so, so proud of Sansa. I know she’s a bit apprehensive to trust anyone (other than Brienne) but I’m so impressed with how she’s commanding herself.

    That’s all I got.

    • Between Ned hearing him on the wind and Hodor, I don’t think the ink of the past is as dry as first believed when Bran is around.

  • DarthCorleone

    I didn’t interpret Sansa’s lie as having anything to do with lack of trust in Jon, and I wasn’t sure why Brienne did. I thought Sansa just didn’t want to deal with Littlefinger at all, and the only way to guarantee that in her mind was to keep his name out of the discussion entirely.

    One could argue that as the de facto Stark leader she should have prioritized accepting the support of the Arryn troops because of the desperate situation, and it isn’t totally cool to ask Jon to go to war for you and not give him all the help you have at your disposal, so I do question the wisdom of that decision. But if there’s anything she’s learned, it’s that Littlefinger simply can’t be trusted.

    Anyway, it’s no surprise that this particular plot doesn’t hang together perfectly, because it was stupid from the beginning, and just because Sansa’s character acknowledges onscreen what we said at the time (either Littlefinger is stupid or incompetent) doesn’t mean it magically makes sense.

    • Hrm, that’s an interesting take, but I did feel like there was a very specific camera linger on Sansa after Littlefinger made his comments about Jon. I do agree on your comment about the troops.
      I felt like they also went out of their way to make Littlefinger look exceptionally stupid here, but wasn’t he just being coy?

      • I’m not sure what Littlefinger’s game is here. Why tell her about the Tullys when her could offer up the Knights of the Vale instead? Unless he plans to maneuver the Boltons and the Starks and swoop in with his forces with the hopes of being awarded with say the Dreadfort for his efforts.

        • I thought he mentioned the Vale as well.

        • he mentioned the vale but also if he directs her to the tullys, rather than rely on him solely it makes it easier for him to change sides as needed.

    • MissAmynae

      Remind me- is she aware of Littlefinger’s desire for the North being his? Now that they’ve taken the “Harry the Heir” aspect out, perhaps that’s a more pressing reason to not trust Littlefinger. Trying to marry her off to Robyn Arryn as payment for eliminating Bolton wouldn’t be out of character for him.

  • duckandcover

    I really think that the spoiler information hinges on the fact that IMDb can be edited by anyone with an account. Then again, I WANT IT I WANT IT I WANT IT.

    https://66.media.tumblr.com/40b3cde54d8d5eff50c0242d9036542a/tumblr_o4dch1hFEm1ulcj8uo1_250.gif

    I didn’t really put too much into Sansa’s lie, but since Brienne registers at a 0 on the lie spectrum (unless in a potential life-and-death situation, like when the three women were hung in the tree and their executioners came around the corner), I can see why she wouldn’t be comfortable with the side-step of the truth. What really rustles my jimmies is that they all just got back together. Why are they splitting up??? I don’t care if it gave us the best gif in six seasons.

    https://67.media.tumblr.com/9d1a8041b105a0eb949cc8ca014624f6/tumblr_o7lz8p8icu1v4tmfzo3_540.gif

    It’s like, “Okay, nice catching up. Bye!” I just want my wolf children protected until the end of this series, even Arya and her boring plot. Is that so much to ask for?

  • Jelinas

    I didn’t even watch it and I’m crying.

  • I am not as mad at Bran as others may be. Am I super torn up about Hodor? Yes. But as others mention, I think this means that this was Hodor’s fate the whole time. And he knew. I think it’s more on the Three Eyed Raven here, who clearly should have known what was going to happen, than the teen. I mean teens do dumb shit all the time, and not cause they want to screw everything up, because in wanting to help or make a difference they let emotions drive them.

    In regards to Arya – i really don’t want to be the odd man out here , but i don’t want her to be a girl with no name. I want her to get the skills (faster , seriously no more training sequences) and then realize she is ARYA FKN STARK and join her family in Westeros to kick some ass.

    Sansa – I think the dialogue between Sansa and LIttlefinger wasn’t great , but then I think Baelish was also probably thrown because of his weird obsession with Caitlyn. Here Sansa is standing in front of him, looking like a Tully, being powerful like Caitlyn could and he’s being all weird about it. Because he’s a freaking weirdo. That being said I don’t know why she lied to Jon about it. But I guess we’ll find out.

    STILL GOOD IF WE NEVER SEE THE IRON ISLANDS AGAIN

    • Freetheklingons

      OK, I think so many things about this episode point to Arya realizing she is Arya Stark first and needs to go…I dunno…be a Stark when things get all Starky and shit. I feel like them calling her Lady Stark and her seeing that play and realizing that her name is being sullied by the portrayal of her father as a dork and realizing that if there is any avenging to be done it needs to be to her name. I really reeeally think that is where we are going.
      Re: Greyjoys — I recall the books it was intricate and it had been building if not in concert with the rest of the stories, then adjacent to the rest of the stories, but that new Greyjoy driftwood-crown guy (Euron) has got another thing coming. Build how many ships? What an ass. Those Iron Islanders who put him on the throne are idiots, too, BTW.
      But I am starting to think Theon is the best actor on the show. How many different emotions and characteristics has that guy had to exoke for us?

      • gosh i sure hope so RE: Arya

        ya the books the Greyjoys are more intricate, but i think i still didn’t like them. but Euron 100% no

  • Freetheklingons

    I am not sure what it is about this season, but I think I had an epiphany watching the scene with Varys (far and away my favorite character — in comportment, motivation, dialogue, etc): The writing (particularly the dialogue) has fallen off precipitously. The back and forth between Varys and Tyrion is nowhere near as icy, biting, witty, crisp and poetic as it has been in seasons past. Ditto Littlefinger. (JUst scrolled back up and see that you did address this). There was a scene a few episodes ago between Cersei and Jaime that was mind-bogglingly bad dialogue-wise. It’s…simple and flat. But then, Jaime overall has turned out to be the most disappointing person in Westeros.