GAME OF THRONES Season 6, Ep. 5 Mailbag: “The Door”

Each week, Fawkes’ resident Maester, Matt Atwell, will be taking all of your Game of Thrones questions, You can ask them in the comments section below, at our Facebook page, via email at FawkesDotCom@gmail.com or through twitter @FawkesCulture & @Matwellsays.

Mike asks, “Are Sansa & Jon walking into a trap?”

First, I’m assuming that Mike is talking about the party traveling to Riverrun, per Littlefinger’s advice, to reconnect with their uncle, the legendary Brynden”the Blackfish” Tully. However, Sansa & Jon will not be traveling to the Riverlands. That job has been given to Brienne and Podrick Payne.
You’ll remember Brienne pleading with Sansa not to send her away because she does fully trust the rest of the company. However, in the end Sansa gets her way. Brienne will travel south to tie up with the Blackfish’s army, as Sansa, Jon, Davos, and Tormund travel the North to rally the remaining bannermen of House Stark. I believe that latter group will also break into two groups but I’m unsure of how they’ll split up. We do know that Davos travels to Bear Island though.
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The Banner of House Mormount of Bear Island hangs behind Davos P/C HBO
Now, are Brienne & Podrick walking into a trap? It is possible but I don’t believe so. In past trailers for Season 6 we have seen Brienne standing in front of Tully banners, which seems to indicate that the Blackfish lives and has in fact taken back Riverrun. However, I’m curious to see the makeup of his army. Is it possible that the Brotherhood Without Banners joined with his force? And if so, be ready for another crazy twist.
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Brienne & Pod flanked by the Tully banner, looking confused P/C HBO
Don’t google the Brotherhood if you are not ready for some possible spoilers. All you need to know is that it was the group that picked up Arya for a short while and was led by Beric Dondarion. You’ll remember he was the first person we saw a Red Priest bring back to life after he was slain in man-to-man combat by Sandor “The Hound” Clegane. That Red Priest, Thoros, who brought Beric back, has been listed on the Season 6 casting calls.
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Thoros of Myr P/C HBO

Matt asks, “In ASOIAF folklore, Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers (AKA the Three-Eyed Raven/Crow), was the last known carrier of the Valyrian steel blade “Dark Sister.” Now that he is clearly dead, does this mean that blade is lost forever or the show has cut it out? Did he give the sword to someone else?”

WARNING: THIS ANSWER CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS. SKIP TO THE NEXT QUESTION BELOW THE 2ND DOTTED LINE IF YOU WISH TO AVOID THEM. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Yes, I did ask myself a question that I am now going to answer. But as a self-proclaimed expert on the known Valyrian steel blades throughout the world, after the dust settled this was the first question that came to mind.
I think it is possible that Weiss & Benioff chose to cut “Dark Sister” from the show. I would be disappointed if this was the case but alas, it happens. The show only has so much bandwidth to work with.
However, with that being said, it would take a relatively short amount of time to explain the sword and with how important Valyrian steel is to defeating the White Walkers and it’s extreme scarcity, you’d think that blade existing is pretty crucial. So, I believe that the sword will make an appearance in the not-too-distant future, possibly as early as next week.
After the loss of Summer & Hodor, traveling companions Meera and Bran are rather vulnerable. In addition, Meera’s lack of strength and the many feet of snow covering the ground will cause the duo to move with less than ideal speed. If only there was someone else North of the Wall with the ability to protect and drag both Meera & Bran…
Enter “Coldhands,” a character that has popped up both in A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons. He first appears to protect Sam & Gilly following the mutiny at Craster’s Keep, informing the two that his true duty is to find and protect Bran and his party. Then, in ADWD, he reappears to guide Bran to the Three-Eyed Raven.
Coldhands has both the appearance of a Brother of the Night’s Watch based on his clothing but also of a White Walker. He admittedly is dead but he lives to serve Bran. While due to the magic of the Three-Eyed Raven/Crow’s hideout he cannot enter, I don’t that this keeps them from engaging with each other entirely. Clearly, the Three-Eyed Raven/Crow has no need for a sword since he cannot leave his tree. So, why would he not give it to Coldhands to use in his journey to shepherd Bran to the hideout? Surely, the Raven would know of him and his duty. That is where I believe the sword is.
As for Coldhands’ identity, one possibility is Benjen Stark. While there are solid arguments against this theory, if he were to show up in Game of Thrones Sunday night, I’m sure that is who it would be for simplicities sake. And all he would have to do to explain his sword is say, “It was sent to me by the Three-Eyed Raven.” Seems plausible enough, right?

SPOILERS END HERE

Mike asks, “So it’s called warging when they go back in time? Are the White Walkers afraid of Bran & the Three-Eyed Raven? Why when Bran does it alone the first time, does he automatically go to the White Walkers?”

To start, warging is when Bran takes control of an animal or human being. The visions of past, future, and present but far away places are called Greenseeing.

Now as to the question of fear: any living being is afraid of the thing that can destroy it. I am sure the White Walkers, since they’ve been around for hundreds of years, are aware of the magical prowess of both the Children of the Forest (CotF) and the Three-Eyed Raven. They are aware that this power has the ability to unlock secrets everywhere and at any time and – now – possibly even change history. So, it is natural that the White Walkers would be afraid of the power and want to destroy so to ensure their own safety. Now, are they afraid of going head-to-head with a few scrawny kids, an old man in a tree, and a giant? As Sunday night showed, hell no.

When Bran decided to Greensee on his own for the first time, he seemed to do so with the intent of learning more about the Walkers, so naturally he traveled to the place he saw them created only in present time. It was not the vision that led him but Bran who led the vision. Obviously, he didn’t know that the Night King had the ability to touch him and destroy the protection of his subterranean hideout. Maybe this should’ve been the Three-Eyed Ravens first lesson to Bran. That knowledge would have come in handy.

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P/C HBO

Max asks, “I guess I’m confused of Bran’s actual power. In his visions, is he in the past, present, or future? I guess people can see, hear, and touch him?”

I think everybody, including the Three-Eyed Raven and Bran himself, are a little confused of Bran’s power. That is one of the truly interesting things about this Season though. We are learning step-by-step with Bran.

The time period that Bran is in during his visions, is totally up to Bran. He has the power to see the past, future, and present events happening in distant locations.

If you mean physically where is Bran, that’s a bit of a murkier question. Clearly, his physical body remains in the present but in his visions, he can be touched, heard, and seen in some cases. However, I think it is important to not prescribe blanket statements on these things. I really think it varies.

Do I believe that other beings than the White Walkers could touch Bran during his Visions? No, besides other creatures that are powerfully magical like the CotF.

I’m also skeptical that people can actually see him. Obviously, there was something deeper going on with Hodor and again, I think it is the magic power of the Walkers that allow them to see and touch Bran. But I don’t think that just anyone can.

As for hearing, it is now clear that Ned did not simply hear the wind during the Tower of Joy flashback, but Bran as well. This is interesting and Eddard could ot fully understand Bran or hear him but as Bran’s powers grow, I’d assume so would his ability to interact with people in different time periods and different places. In A Dance of Dragons, Theon frequently hears what sound like whispers near the God’s Wood in Winterfell. I think this indicates that Bran is trying to reach him. However, I’m not so sure it is a good idea for Bran to use this ability too frequently. I have more to say about this, which leads to aother question…

Mike asks, “Why was it so important for the Three-Eyed Raven to show Bran that particular moment with Hodor? That’s the last thing the Three-Eyed Raven shows Bran and he knew it would be so why was that so important?”

So, since the Three-Eyed Raven knew that was how Wyllis became Hodor, you’d think he knew all that was going to go down. I’m not sure I believe he knew exactly what would happen. Again, I don’t think the Three-Eyed Raven was ever aware of just how powerful Bran is so maybe this presents some problems for the Three-Eyed Raven in assessing Bran’s ability or following his life and different marks on the world.

With that being said, I believe it was tremendously important for the Three-Eyed Raven to show Bran how his companion became brain dead. He had precious little time to teach Bran all he could and this vision illustrates two things 1) that Bran has the ability to affect the past, present, and future in some strange space-time-continuum; and perhaps more importantly 2) his powers can have grave consequences on the lives of people around him. This is why I would caution Bran on trying to speak and interact with people through his Greensight, whether be present, past, or future. There are currently some pretty wild fan theories that Bran whispering, trying to stop the Mad King from murdering all those people (grandfather and uncle included) is what in fact drove him mad. While I don’t think this is true, especially in the show due to their lack of bandwidth, it would be another example of Bran’s powers having negative outcomes. It was a crushing way to learn the implications his power may wield but an important lesson nonetheless.

Mike asks, “Does this mean that it was always Hodor’s fate to die like that? Do they believe in fate on Game of Thrones? If so, does that mean the future is set?”

First things first: of course they believe in fate in Game of Thrones. The show is based off of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, which is literally one title of the prophecy of Azor Ahai, the Prince that was Promised, who Melisandre and Kinvara speak of. There was also the prophecies that the witch told Cersei about her eventual fate and the creepy bald dude told Daenerys in The House of the Undying. Prophecy and fate are pervasive throughout this world.

As for Hodor, though, I do not believe it was always his fate to die like he did but its such a tricky question. I don’t think Hodor was brought into the world to serve Bran and then die protecting Bran. However, once his mind was addled as it was, it became his fate. But, the timeline of that and causality is really confusing. Surely, after he became Hodor, his life’s purpose was to “hold the door.” And that event was set in motion, thousands of years earlier by the creation of the White Walkers and the birth of Brynden Rivers (Three-Eyed Raven) who then took the Black and was then lost North of the Wall in a ranging and then became the Three-Eyed Raven. Every event led to the necessity of Bran harnessing the powers of Greensight and Warging to help defeat the White Walkers at some point in the future. So I guess that means it has been his fate for thousands of years.

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P/C HBO

But honestly, some of what happened Sunday only created more questions than answers like this one:

Jake asks via Twitter:

This is the toughest question that arises from GoT finally confirming the rumor that time is in fact a flat circle.

Obviously, like I started to in the last question, you could run yourself insane chasing all the loops and paradoxes this presents. Was it Hodor’s fate to die? Has Bran been controlling everything? Why didn’t the Three-Eyed Raven immediately tell Bran not to go to that vision if he could see the future and know that is what would happen? I think the answer lies somewhere in a quote by the Three-Eyed Raven: “The past is already written. The ink dry.” The only question remaining is who holds the pen?

Can the three-eyed raven not undo something that is done by another Greenseer? Is Bran the one who ultimately has the final say on everyone’s destiny? I don’t know. Again, we will learn with Bran on this journey.

I think there obvious parameters and limits that must exist on Bran’s power or we’ll just end up riding that flat circle (probably in a Lincoln MKC) for eternity. I look forward to finding out what they are.

A couple quick ones: “Can we stop killing the Direwolves please? Do you think Summer becomes a Wight?”

God I hope so and God I hope not. Now, there’s only Nym ravaging the Riverlands and Snow standing ever-vigilant near Jon.

As for Wight Summer, if they can turn horses, you’d have to think they could turn direwolves. Damn.

“What about Wight-Hodor?”

Again, I hope not but there is nothing magical about Hodor that suggests he cannot be turned. Unless the horde of wights was never able to break through the door and had to to find a different route, I think we have to assume that Hodor has indeed turned.

2 comments

  1. I too had soo many questions regarding Bran and Hodor, I mean they didn’t show him die – or completely die -maybe he does turn. Also Bran, he has soo much power at such a young age and now the three eyed raven has transferred all his knowledge to ban (before he was killed) so lets see how he uses it !

    Like

  2. Brilliant. You convincingly and conclusively answered so many of the questions. Bran’s journey is a perfect description for how “with great power comes great responsibility.”

    Like

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