(Spoiler alert: Do not keep reading if you did not see this week’s episode of “Game of Thrones”)
In this week’s “Game of Thrones,” Bran’s trips to the past finally uncover how Hodor became Hodor — and the origin of the White Walkers. How the gentle giant ended up like he did but has been an ongoing mystery that fans have long speculated over. But first…
At Castle Black, Sansa (Sophie Turner) gets a letter from Baelish (Aidan Gillen). She takes Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) to meet with him near the fortress. He tells her that he has brought The Vale’s army north to assist her. But she is furious with him for leaving her with Ramsay (Iwan Rheon) and forces him to speculate on what horrors he inflicted upon her.
But before Sansa can have him killed, he tells Sansa that her uncle, “Blackfish” Tully, has re-taken Riverrun with what remains of the Tully army.
Across the sea, Arya (Maisie Williams) is doing much better in her fight training now that she can see again, but still manages to get beaten up quite a bit by The Waif (Faye Marsay). Later, Jaquen (Tom Wlaschiha) tasks her with killing a local actress.
Arya attends the play, which tells the story of King Robert’s death and makes a mockery of her father, Ned. She returns to Jaquen with a plan, but begins to question why this woman must die.
Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) has another vision with the Three Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow). This time, he sees Children of the Forest kill a man by pushing a piece of dragon glass into his chest, turning the man into a White Walker.
When he awakens, he learns that the Children were at war with mankind and created the White Walkers to combat the encroachment of humanity on their lands.
Yara (Gemma Whelan) makes her claim for the throne of the Iron Islands. She meets heavy resistance, as many believe Theon (Alfie Allen) should lead since he’s the last remaining Greyjoy son. But Theon pledges his support to Yara.
Suddenly, their uncle Euron (Pilou Asbæk) arrives and stakes his own claim. Yara accuses him of murdering her father, which he readily admits, as Balon was a terrible leader.
Euron then pledges to build a massive fleet and give it to Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) in order to take over the Seven Kingdoms. All of the Iron Born present take him to be their king. Theon and Yara are forced to flee with a few loyal supporters.
Daenerys is a little busy to think about ships, however, as Jorah (Iain Glen) reveals to her that he has contracted greyscale. He also admits to her for the first time that he loves her. He plans to exile himself and wait for death, but she commands him to seek out a cure.
Clarke displays wonderful emotion in the scene, as Jorah is one of the only people that Daenerys has had by her side since Season 1. She then leads the Dothraki out of Vaes Dothrak, presumably back to Meereen.
In Meereen, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) has achieved a fragile peace between the former slaves and slavemasters. But he knows the people need to believe that Daenerys brought this peace. He summons a high-ranking Red Priestess from Volantis.
She promises to help endear Daenerys to the people, but Varys (Conleth Hill) is suspicious. He has previously mentioned his distrust of magic, and rightly so it seems. The Priestess knows things about Varys that he had previously told only to Tyrion.
Bran decides to go on a vision without the Three Eyed Raven accompanying him, and travels back to the place he saw the Children earlier. This time, however, it is the dead of winter and an army of the dead is waiting. He turns around and is face to face with Night King.
But this vision is different. The Night King is aware of Bran and grabs his arm before Bran can escape the vision. The Three Eyed Raven says that the King will now come for him.
Meanwhile, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) needs more men to take on the Boltons and must rally the smaller Northern houses to his cause. We also get a little hint of a future Brienne-Tormund relationship as she eyes him when he sits down at the war council and he returns the favor later on. Sansa volunteers to help rally the other houses.
Back with the Three Eyed Raven, the Night King arrives with his entire army. But Bran is back in the past with the Raven, at Winterfell with a young Ned and Benjen. Meera (Ellie Kendrick) pleads with him to wake up and Bran is able to hear her.
He wargs into Hodor just as the white walkers approach and they escape. Meera even kills a White Walker as she does. But the Night King kills the Three Eyed Raven and Bran sees him disappear in the past.
Bran again encounters the young Hodor. When he wargs into Hodor in the past, it sends him into convulsions and he can hear Meera screaming “Hold the door,” which people hear as “Hodor.”
Hodor holds the dead at bay long enough for Bran and Meera to escape, but appears to die as they overwhelm him.