‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: In Praise of the Incredible Hodor

You had us at “Hodor,” Hodor. After six years of winning our hearts as the North’s gentle giant with a tiny vocabulary, Hodor (Kristian Nairn) was given an epic send-off on this week’s episode, when his peculiar disability turned out to be a harbinger of his ultimate heroic destiny. 

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It was a heartbreaking turn of events that also resolved the ongoing mystery about how time functions in the Game of Thrones universe — and raises new questions about how much a present-day character might be responsible for the current mess in Westeros. Here’s everything that happened on the HBO drama this week.

Kristian Nairn as Hodor on season 4 of ‘Game of Thrones.’

Sansa Emboldened

First things first: Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) reconnected with Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) for the first time since her escape from Winterfell, and if you were wondering if she’d forgive him for betrothing her to a sadistic psychopath, the answer is absolutely not.

“I don’t believe you anymore. I don’t need you anymore. You won’t even be able to protect yourself if I tell Brienne to cut you down,” she spat (and fans everywhere flipped over their televisions with ecstatic satisfaction).

Sophie Turner and Aiden Gillen
Sophie Turner as Sansa and Aiden Gillen as Littlefinger in ‘Game of Thrones.’

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However, Littlefinger did have one useful piece of information: The Tully family, Sansa’s relatives, are back at Riverrun and still Stark-loyal, which might come in handy in Sansa and Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) scheme to retake Winterfell. There’s no doubt now that Sansa is set on taking back her home and getting revenge. In unrelated news, there is also no doubt that Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) has a big, sweaty, bearded crush on Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie).

The Khaleesi Rides Again

Meanwhile, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) began riding for Mereen, where Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is trying to keep the peace by getting into bed with a red priestess … uh, figuratively speaking, for now. (Although based on what we know about this religion, copious nudity and assassination sex are probably inevitable.) And Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) is finally back in his Khaleesi’s circle of trust: After seeing her friend’s greyscale-afflicted arm, Daenerys tearfully commanded him to find a cure for his illness, so he can be by her side when she claims the Iron Throne. See, Jorah? Your horrific, highly contagious epidermis has a silver lining.

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Euron’s Feeling Salty

Psst, don’t forget about the Greyjoys, the seafaring family whose inscrutable loyalties are still one of the biggest wild cards in Game of Thrones. Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whalen) made her official play for the Salt Throne in the wake of her father’s murder, with Theon’s (Alfie Allen) support. But when Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) showed up to the party determined to be king — and marry and join forces with Daenerys Targaryen — everyone rallied for him instead, leaving Yara and Theon to steal the Ironborn fleet and sail for their lives.

Emilia Clarke and Michiel Huisman
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Everything’s Coming Up Hodor

And finally, far away in the wilds of the North, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) made the most catastrophic decision of his life since he peeped on the twincestual Lannisters back in season 1: He got too close to the Night King on one of his psychic field trips and brought down an army of frozen zombies on the underground lair of the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). Trapped in a vision of Winterfell past while the walking dead of Westeros attacked, Bran projected his consciousness into Hodor — which apparently opened some kind of wormhole in the brain of the young man Hodor used to be. And while present-day Hodor carried Bran to safety and kept the marauding zombies at bay, leaning his weight against the door even as they reached through and tore him to pieces, past Hodor writhed on the ground and screamed three words, over and over. They were the last he’d ever say, and he would say them for the rest of his life.

“Hold the door.”

Were you shocked by the story behind Hodor’s hodoring?

Game of Thrones airs on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

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