A cavalcade of stars have fallen by the wayside throughout the seasons, so it’s easy to be apathetic about another character dying. The direwolves don’t deserve the same fate. The barbecued head of poor Shaggydog was quite enough. So aside from the untimely demise of Summer, this was ultimately another enjoyable episode.

Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. It’s a rubbish maxim but Sansa will be damned if she doesn’t try to embody it. With the help of Brienne, she is leading the Stark movement against Ramsay and his men. It was a pleasant surprise that the Bolton bastard failed to appear this episode – his weekly atrocities were becoming repetitive, and by extension less effective. The assertive new Sansa is easier to get behind than previously, but her lack of wisdom threatens to be her undoing – the meeting with Little Finger could have used a little more Tyrion-style diplomacy.

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Yara this week attempted to cement her position as Queen of the Iron Islands, with the help of a reinvigorated Theon – only to be stopped by their uncle, Euron. For anybody who hoped to invest in Euron’s return, his character was hugely disappointing – misogynistic, arrogant and apparently moronic, it will be difficult to root for him. On the other hand, Euron’s intense arseholery actually served to endear viewers to the cause of Theon and Yara.

Arya Stark must be so frustrated by now. Yet again she was embarrassed by the waif, who remains adamant that Arya is not ‘one of us’. On the back of another beating, she was asked to murder an innocent woman, whom she researched by watching a play that mocked parts of her family’s story in King’s Landing. It was an interesting echoing which saw Arya obliviously resume the same role she had in the actual events. (Link) Arya is too emotionally attached to her desire for revenge to ever be truly faceless, and this was shown again in this scene. It is likely Jaqen already knows this, which calls his motive into question. Could he be readying her for a specific mission which actively requires and depends upon these emotions? There are many theories abound – perhaps the Iron Bank and Faceless Men are working together to overthrow the Lannisters, and intend to use Arya’s unique motivation as a catalyst for this. It’s all theoretical, but this episode finally introduced a new element to Arya’s slow story.

The Queen of Dragons was not a central figure in this episode, but was involved in a mildly touching scene. Jorah – who becomes more similar to Humbert Humbert from episode to episode (sans reciprocation) – finally reveals his greyscale to Danaerys. She demands that he finds the cure, no matter what it takes. What happens if he finds it and returns? He’ll realise he is still too old for her, and probably accuse her of leading him on.

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The biggest development of the episode was contained in Bran’s story. The angst you teen appeared to be Warging as if there were no tomorrow, and that turned out to be the case for Hodor, the fault for his death lying solely at Bran’s door. Which Hodor managed to hold. Or hod. Yes, that’s right, he was saying ‘hold the door’, ‘hold the dor’, ‘hodedor’, until all he could say was ‘hodor’. That may be the lamest thing to happen on the show (though the young actor deserves a tip of the hat for doing his utmost to make it less cringe-inducing). I just wish Meera had shouted something more entertaining, like ‘fuck yourself you giant idiot’ so that Hodor would have just walked around saying ‘fuckidiot’. It was also a misstep in terms of the show’s global popularity. Many other countries dub the show, and wordplay doesn’t always translate. Admittedly for some nations speaking Germanic languages, it was fine. However, it seems a little shortsighted.

Anyway, Bran was touched by a wight walker, which led to his being discovered, and a short but intense, entertaining battle. His immediate future would appear bleak – though it is very likely he will be rescued by at least one of Benjen Stark or Howard Reed. This certainly appears to be a defining moment, as Bran’s actions prove that he can affect the past and therefore the future with his warging.

Once again, the strength of this episode can be reflected in the lack of Dorne. A return is imminent, but the longer it’s left untouched, the higher the quality of the season. There were one or two moments of Roquefort level cheesiness, but when the rest of the show is as solid as ‘The Door’ was, it’s easy to forgive the writers. Compared to season five, these episodes are moving so quickly that there is real excitement surrounding the climax of the series so far, and the inevitable onscreen bloodshed which awaits dedicated viewers.

4.5/5

Dir: Jack Bender

Scr: David Benioff, George R.R. Martin, D.B. Weiss

Cast: Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Liam Cunningham, Carice Van Houten, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, John Bradley, Hannah Murray, Art Parkinson, Natalia Tena.

Prd: David Benioff, George R.R. Martin, D.B. Weiss, Duncan Muggoch, Peter Welter-Soler

Music: Ramin Jawadi

Episode Number: 5 of 10