Subtitle: Bran Stark’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
We start, again, at Castle Black. Sansa receives a letter from Littlefinger requesting a meeting. Being the delusional worm he is, Petyr expects either a warm welcome or a broken Sansa. Instead, he gets Queen Sansa and her Lady Knight Brienne who Sansa, amazingly and beautifully, threatens to order to kill him where he stands. She doesn’t, but she does force him to confront exactly what he sent her into. Petyr’s voice breaks once which I think is meant to indicate he didn’t know — or chose not to believe – how much of a monster Ramsay is.
Lord Baelish also has information to share: he offers Sansa the Vale’s support, which she refuses, and the intel that her Uncle Brandon has retaken Riverrun, which she files away for later. When Sansa says she already has an army, Petyr suggests Jon is not to be trusted since he’s only her half brother which just proves what we already know:
In Braavos, Arya is being hit with a stick. Still/Again/Forever. She refuses to give in to the Waif despite still/again/forever being outmatched, which impresses (?) Not Jaquen enough to get her second chance at killing someone in the service of the Many Faced God. The victim is an actress portraying Cersei in a play based loosely on the events of seasons one and two. Arya laughs at Dolt King Robert, but becomes disturbed at the portrayal of her father as a power hungry idiot and her sister as — well, basically Sansa in seasons one and two, poor girl. Arya is terrible at being No One.
But she successfully infiltrates backstage and determines a plan to poison faux Cersei’s rum. When she reports back to Not Jaquen she can’t stop herself asking who wants the actress dead, and why, and positing that she seems a decent, and talented, person. Not Jaquen reminds her theirs is not to wonder why. Or ask any questions. I guess they need to hit her over the head a few more times.
Under the tree in the far North, Bran witnesses the birth of the White Walkers in a vision. The Children of the Forest created them as weapons in their war against men. Like all of the vision quests, it’s not yet clear why this is important information.
Over on the Iron Islands they’re holding a Kingsmoot, which is a mini version of the War of Kings. Or possibly the Iowa Caucus. Basically whoever has a claim to the throne presents their case and then the crowd cast their vote, apparently by chanting the person’s name which seems… easy to manipulate. It goes like so:
Yara: I’m awesome.
Ironborn: Ew, girls.
Theon: Yara is awesome.
Ironborn: Well, if she has boy support, okay, I guess. Yara! Yara!
Euron: I am a man! With a big dick!
Ironborn: Yas! Euron! Euron!
Honestly, Theon’s support of Yara – first a rousing speech reminding them she’s a proven leader and second standing up to Euron to point out he’s been absent their whole lives, carousing up and down the coast like a drunk pirate, while Yara is literally the only honorable person in their entire family — made me cry real tears. And Euron responded by making fun of his castration TWICE and turning Yara’s plan to build up their infrastructure into:
Euron is ALSO the worst. But he has a plan: to build up their fleet and give it to Daenerys along with his hand in marriage (I think Yara would be okay with marrying Daenerys, too, but maybe that’s just me). Euron wins and they drown him in order to crown him – I very briefly thought they’d killed him off which would be HILARIOUS, but no, he is actually important to the plot. While the ceremony is going on Yara, Theon, and the crew loyal to them steal all the best ships Captain Jack Sparrow style. Hopefully foreshadowing this:
In the Dothraki fields, before Dany can start her ride back to Mereen, she has to deal with Jorah. She starts out in command mode, reminding us all she’s banished him twice, but before she can pardon or re-banish him, Jorah admits he’s diseased and then admits he loves her. She immediately drops her ‘hard queen’ act and is bereft, but as he turns to walk away she pulls it back on and commands he find a cure and return to her side. She needs him with her when she retakes the Seven Kingdoms.
Everybody cries, including Daario.
Dany and Daario start to lead their new dothraki tribe home and Jorah heads off to find his cure. Maybe he’ll return with an army of stone lizard men to fight for Team Dragon because why not?
In Mereen, the pact with the slavers is working but Tyrion worries the people don’t credit Queen Dany, they need a non outsider to tell them she’s the biz. So they bring in Mini Melisandre aka Kirvara — she is legit wearing the same clothes and I wonder is she also old????
Tyrion and Kinvara come to an agreement: they’ll work together in support of Daenerys with Tyrion agreeing to pretend he cares about prophecy and Kinvara agreeing to not kill all the nonbelievers. But Varys is wary of fanatics who worship false gods, so he points out prophecy said Stannis would win and now he’s dead. But Kinvara Knows Things about Varys and spooks him.
Back in the Magic Treehouse Bran is bored and the Raven won’t wake up so he decides to play with the vision tree by himself. He sees an army of white walkers led by the Night King — and the King sees him, draws everyone’s attention to him and touches his arm, marking him, so now they can find him and the tree’s magic will no longer keep them out. Oop.
Raven says, well, you mucked it up big and you need to leave right now. Meera’s like FINALLY and starts packing immediately. Raven tells Bran it’s time for him to take over (whatever that means) despite being woefully unprepared. The Raven is definitely Yoda and Bran is definitely a Skywalker.
Back at Castle Black, Jon’s convened a war council of himself, Sansa, Brienne, Davos, Melisandre and Tormund. They know they need more men and argue over if they can get the North to rally behind Jon and/or Sansa. Davos thinks people want to back a winner because they only really care about their own lives and property. Jon wants to recruit all the smaller houses which is So Jon. Finally Sansa brings up the newly reformed Tully army but lies about how she knows (Petyr got into her head after all). Davos starts to get excited and make plans.
Sansa wants Brienne to go to Riverrun on her behalf but Brienne doesn’t want to leave Sansa with people she doesn’t trust — not Jon, she likes Jon despite his brooding, but Davos and Melisadre are dodgy and Tormund is a brute and a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen. Brienne is not wrong about any of this but Sansa asserts she trusts Jon. At which point Brienne asks why she hid her meeting with Petyr. So now they’re all going together while Edd is left in charge.
Finally, back to Bran’s giant screw up: the Night King and his army have arrived at the Magic Treehouse. Meera, again, leaps into action and prepares Bran for departure while fighting off the army of walkers. She desperately tries to wake Bran but he’s back in Winterfell watching Grandpa Stark send Little Ned away to the Vale:
Anyway, Bran hears Meera from within vision and at her urging takes over Hodor to get them to safety. Outside the vision Meera fights, the Children of the Forest fling fire grenades, and Summer dies fighting because this show hates happiness. The Raven succumbs to the walkers, and Tinker Bell blows herself up to help Meera, with Hodor pulling Bran’s sled, to escape. At the exit Meera takes over the sled and tells Hodor to “Hold the door” while she runs with Bran.
Inside the vision, Wyllis falls to the ground with a seizure screaming “Hold the door” over and over while Bran watches in horror. We end on Wyllis’s face as his screech is shortened to “Hodor” and everything is terrible.
Winning: Euron Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont
Dead: The Three Eyed Raven, Summer, Tinker Bell, Hodor
We’re now halfway through the season folks, how are you doing?