Of all the deaths that have happened on Game of Thrones so far, the one from last night's episode will go down in the history of Westeros as one of the most heartbreaking ever.
For those who have not yet watched the episode “The Door,” you're in for a shock, so spare yourselves or read on only if you dare.
The Rise Of The Starks
In the safety of Castle Black, Sansa Stark receives a letter from Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, who requests to meet her in Mole's Town. However, Sansa is not the same girl he left to fend for herself when he married her off to Ramsay Bolton.
She meets up with Littlefinger, but takes Brienne of Tarth with her for protection. Sansa does not mince words when she meets with the man who thought he had all his chess pieces in place.
"Did you know about Ramsay? If you didn't know, you're an idiot. If you did know, you're my enemy,” she tells Baelish harshly.
Sansa then informs him of all the abuse she suffered as Ramsay's wife. Baelish tries to make amends by offering to help her retake the North, but Sansa does not want anything to do with him.
Rejected, Baelish leaves, but gives Sansa a piece of helpful news. Her relative, Brynden "Blackfish" Tully, was able to rid Riverrun of the Lannisters.
Sansa tells Jon Snow of the development and sends Brienne to recruit the help of her mother's former house, House Tully. Although Brienne does not want to leave Sansa in Castle Black with Melisandre and Davos — who used blood magic to murder Renly Baratheon – Sansa assures her that Jon Snow will keep her safe.
The Lady Is A Slave
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Arya Stark struggles with her training as she gets beaten up during a sparring session with the Waif.
“You'll never be one of us, Lady Stark,” she mocks her. To which her mentor, Jaqen H'ghar agrees with.
However, when he takes the dejected Arya back into the Hall of Faces, he gives her a history lesson on the Faceless Men, and gives her a new assignment: kill Lady Crane, a local theater performer.
Without being told the reason why the performer must be assassinated, Arya heads to the theater where Lady Crane has a show.
The play is particularly unnerving for Arya because it is about the fall of King Robert Baratheon and the rise of the brat, Joffrey. The play even shows the beheading of Arya's father, Ned Stark, but he is depicted as a fool.
Although shaken, Arya proceeds to her target. Lady Crane portrayed the now Queen Regent Cersei in the show, and even though she is playing one of the names on Arya's personal list, she finds it difficult to kill her. When done with the deed, she returns to Jaqen and asks him why must they assassinate people who seem decent enough, but he cuts her off.
“A servant does not ask questions.”
Ironborn Power Shifts And Alliances
In the Iron Islands, Theon Greyjoy is on his way to recovery from his traumatic time as Ramsay's plaything. He has cleaned up and almost looks like himself again wearing the armor of House Greyjoy.
When he was growing up in Winterfell with the Starks, he dreamed of returning home to lead the Iron Islands. Instead, he endorses his sister, Yara, during the Kingsmoot to become the first Queen of the Ironborn.
However, Yara faces stiff competition. Even though she has proven herself a worthy leader and warrior to the men of the Iron Islands, their uncle, Euron, also fancies himself as King.
Euron boldly admits that he murdered his own brother, Balon, to prove that he's a much stronger leader than he ever was. He also announces his plans to align with Daenerys Targaryen to bring them into even greater heights: victory over the Seven Kingdoms.
What Euron said won over the Ironborn and they choose him to be king over Yara. His first act is to call for the deaths of Theon and Yara, but he is too late. The siblings have already escaped and have taken the best ships in the Pyke with them.
Euron turns to address his people:
“Build me a thousand ships, and I will give you the world."
Peace At A Price
Back on Essos, peace and order reign in Meereen thanks to the deal Tyrion struck with the slave masters — which he knows is not enough. The people must know exactly who instituted those terms and he prepares to use his skills as a Lannister to strike up another deal. This time with Red Priests of R'hllor, who is gaining power within the city.
Tyrion and Varys speak with a servant of the Lord of Light, a woman named Kinvara, who promises to support them. She tells them that Daenerys is “the one who was promised.”
Varys is skeptical of anything to do with magic and points out that the Lord of Light also previously supported the campaign on Stannis Baratheon — and that ended very badly. What the eunuch said did not make Kinvara flinch, instead she reminds Varys the details from his traumatic ceremonial castration that only he would know.
"Do you remember what you heard that night when the sorcerer tossed your parts in the fire? You heard a voice call out from the flames. Do you remember? Should I tell you what the voice said? Should I tell you the name of the one who spoke? We serve the same queen. If you are her true friend, you have nothing to fear from me," she says.
Varys, for the first time since we met him, is unsettled to say the least.
Hold The Door
Beyond the Wall in the North, Brandon Stark learns more about his powers as a warg, but at a painful cost.
The Three-Eyed Raven has taken Bran into the past to show him how the White Walkers were created. They are the creations of the Children of the Forest themselves.
Bran watches them plunge an obsidian dagger into the heart of a human, turning him into the first White Walker.
"We were at war,” one of the Children defends themselves when Bran wakes up. “We were being slaughtered. Our sacred trees were being cut down. We needed to defend ourselves from you — from men."
Later on, Bran goes on another green-seeing mission, but does not tell the Raven about it. He goes to the site of the White Walker's birth, but this time it is the modern day. He sees the Night's King, but more alarmingly, the Night King sees him!
Bran returns and tells the Raven what happened. The old man warns him that it won't be long before the Night King will be upon their cave.
"The time has come for you to become me,” he says.
However, the Raven has more to show Bran in the past, and they go to Winterfell when young Eddard Stark is about to leave for the Vale to be fostered by Jon Arryn.
In the present, the White Walkers have already launched a full scale assault on their cave. The Children do their best to hold them off as Meera Reed tries desperately to wake Bran up.
In Bran's vision, Meera and the Raven are telling him to listen. He wargs into Hodor, but simultaneously also stays in the past.
During the battle with the wights of the White Walkers, Bran's direwolf, Summer, perishes, and the Night's King himself kills the Raven, who turns into ash that scatters into the wind.
Using Hodor's body, Bran helps them to escape via a secret door. Hodor uses his own body to block the door to prevent wights from getting to them while Meera drags Bran's body away.
“Hold the door!” Meera shouts to Hodor. Bran hears her words and complies. Only, the Bran who is in the past can also hear her and accidentally wargs into the Hodor in the past, when he was still known as Wyllis.
Wyllis, suddenly falls to the ground and starts to convulse and repeat Meera's command:
“Hold the door! Hold the door!”
Meera escapes with Bran, but Hodor makes the ultimate sacrifice. The wights break through and tear him apart. Bran can only helplessly watch in the past as the young Wyllis starts to morph his words into something that is all too familiar to everyone, “Hodor!”
Bran realizes that his power not only allows him to see the past in his vision, but can affect it as well. His closest companion came to be the way he was because of him, but has also died because of him.
We're still grieving the loss of the Gentle Giant from the North. How will Bran cope with only Meera left as his protector? We hope next Sunday's Game of Thrones will have more answers and less heartbreak.