Episode 5: The Door
Maester Jersey Explains: The Children of the Forest
As we have seen over the course of 5+ seasons, magic and the magical are things that do indeed exist in the Game of Thrones universe. However, whether it be dragons, smokey assassin babies, or White Walkers, these elements of the fantastic are more often than not pushed to the fringes of the culture and for most people they are more lore than fact. There may be no better example of this fictionalization of the past than the Children of the Forest. Those little leafy bastards have been around longer than any man but at the point in history where the show takes place they have all but been written off as bedtime stories for little children. “The Door” provided us with one of the most shocking revelations in the series; that the Children were directly responsible for the creation of the White Walkers. The origin of the White Walkers has never previously been revealed in either the show or the book so I cannot speak to the specifics of the ritual we watched them perform on their human captive. What I can do is offer a better explanation of what led the Children to enact this, essentially, nuclear option.
Along with the giants and other creatures of myth, the Children of the Forest are said to have roamed freely across what we know as Westeros for thousands and thousands of years before they ever came in contact with men. They lived peacefully and worshipped their weirwood gods (they are the ones that carved the faces into the ancient trees) until around 12,000 years before the events of the show and books. Around that time the First Men crossed into Westeros from Essos by way of a land bridge that brought them into present day Dorne.
The First Men brought with them bronze weapons, horses, and a their own god. All of which the Children had never seen before and were diametrically opposed to. Eventually the First Men’s practice of chopping or burning down the weirwoods (this is why there are really no weirwoods in the south) led to war between the two races. The two races fought each other for some 2,000 years during which time the Children used their magic to obliterate the land bridge, known as the Arm of Dorne, in an attempt to stop the invasion of their lands. They also tried to split the entire continent in half but failed. Slowly but surely the First Men’s overwhelming numbers pushed the Children further and further north until they were forced to sign a treaty at the Isle of Faces. History tells us that this peace lasted 4,000 years until the Others, aka White Walkers, arrived from the far North to dole out death and destruction to both races in a time known as The Long Night. Eventually the two races banded together, led by the last hero aka Azor Ahai aka the Prince that was Promised, and drove the Others back into the far north. They then built The Wall to keep them up their and created the Night’s Watch to guard it.
Now, that timeline doesn’t jive very well with what we learned last night but there is a pretty simple explanation. That being, that record keeping of that time period is very sparse and the entire history of that era is only passed down through the telling of stories so over time dates and facts start to become skewed. One concrete example of how history becomes wishy washy over time is that their are said to have been 998 Lord Commanders of the Night’s Watch but the oldest list Sam is able to locate at Castle Black only lists 674. That one difference in history equates to possibly hundreds of additional years added to a timeline. The history of Westeros is like a giant game of telephone that spans thousands of years. For the most part everyone agrees on the broad strokes but there is a lot of debate surrounding the specific details. The other option is that the Children really did create the Walkers during peacetime in an attempt to launch a preemptive strike against man and simply lost control of their creation. Either way it can be said that man sewed the seeds of their own destruction when they began their campaign of obliteration against the Children and the other magical creatures who inhabited Westeros at that time. At the end of the day the Children were only trying to protect themselves and this quote from one of them from the books really drives the point home:
“Gone down into the earth … Into the stones, into the trees. Before the First Men came all this land that you call Westeros was home to us, yet even in those days we were few. The gods gave us long lives but not great numbers, lest we overrun the world as deer will overrun a wood where there are no wolves to hunt them. That was in the dawn of days, when our sun was rising. Now it sinks, and this is our long dwindling. The giants are almost gone as well, they who were our bane and our brothers. The great lions of the western hills have been slain, the unicorns are all but gone, the mammoths down to a few hundred. The direwolves will outlast us all, but their time will come as well. In the world that men have made, there is no room for them, or us.“
Coach’s Character Rankings
This week, we have a Blog:30 first. A complete clean sweep of characters in the power rankings. There isn’t a single person on this list that has made an appearance on the character rankings before. To start, there’s a new red priestess in town. Her name is unknown to me, but let me tell you, she throws a mean fastball. Just put Varys on his ass. Sansa put Littlefinger on the ropes but he Mayweathered his way out (probably lied to her, but that’s neither here nor there) and this new red lady just knocked Varys out. Because she’s relatively new, I have no idea how she knew everything…and we see a familiar red necklace on her so maybe she was present when the Master of Whispers got snipped, but regardless Tyrion and Varys are now seemingly in way over their heads. (Insert dwarf joke here.)
Jorah. You old dog you! In 4 minutes of dialogue you managed to finally admit what you have been denying for 5 and a half seasons. You were down 6 with 2 minutes left on the clock, the away team kicked the ball into the friend zone, and you returned it 80 yards. If you can cure yourself, maybe you’ll score and win the game. Until then, you have to plan some kind of offense or find an arm condom so you can finally get the prize you’ve so desperately coveted.
Can’t argue against the Night King making the rankings. Guy clearly has more of an agenda than we originally thought. “Kill Everyone” is his modus operandi, but he’s planning and scheming and actually consciously making moves. I don’t know Bran’s whole role anymore, the Three-Eyed Raven did but it was cut short because Bran put his hand in the icy cookie jar, but clearly the Night King knows too. Who is this guy? We saw him, “born” by the Children of the forest, but what is his connection to the rest of the world…regardless, he made it to the tree cave in a hurry as soon as Bran got touched, and then all hell broke loose.
Meera Reed pulled a Sansa Bolton this week. I honestly did not care about this character at all prior to last night’s episode, but that’s Game of Thrones for you. The entire fate of the world is now seemingly in her hands. She saved Bran…with the help of another beloved character, and even slayed one of the Chief White Walkers with a dragon glass spear to the jugular. She’s now running North of the Wall with no direction, no brother, and no able-walking friends. Hopefully someone like…maybe Benjen Stark (shout out to Mr. Jersey for that thought) comes to her aid.
(Click for Dramatic Effect)
“Can you be number 1 in the power rankings if you die?” – Mr. Jersey
“He saved the day…IT’S THE LEAST WE CAN DO FOR HIM DAMNIT” – a Crying Coach
Hodor, like Jojen Reed, I have to believe you knew your destiny. You embarked on a journey a simple, yet strong man. You carried Bran, you were terrified of thunder, and you had a hang down that made Osha blush. You didn’t ask for much, just some Hodor here or some Hodor there, but damn it if we didn’t love you all the same. Your mind was erased and your life was ended as a consequence of Bran’s childish behavior…but you served him all the same. Everyone has an end game or agenda in Game of Thrones, but you did not. Your smile was contagious, and I have to imagine you gave the best bear hugs. You held the door like no other, Hodor. You will be missed.
Rest easy, gentle giant, they can’t hurt you anymore.
Also, please don’t come back as a walker. I can’t see you like that.
Doc’s Death of the Week
I’m about 12 hours post-episode 5 now and I’m still walking around in a fog of emotion. When I signed up to do Death of the Week I thought it was an easy gig. I get to write about the crazy awesome deaths in Game of Thrones. I DID NOT think about the times I would have to write about the deaths of my favorite characters so this is going to be rough. Here is the abbreviated scene:
Last night had to be one of the more intense final scenes in any episode of Game of Thrones. I may get killed for this but I would put this scene up there with the Red Wedding in regards to intensity and overall sadness from the viewers. You had the remaining Children of the Forest, the Three Eye’d Raven, Summer the Direwolf, and everyone’s favorite half-wit, Hodor all die in the final scene. The last two are the real daggers to the heart. I legitimately shed two tears at the end of the episode last night because 2 of my top 10 favorite characters died….again. Let’s go to the updated list.
- The Stark Direwolves (one remaining)
- Rob Stark
- Tyrion Lannister
- Ned Stark
- Jon Snow JON SNOW!!!
- Dany Targarean
King Robert Hodor
So personally, the death of the week is Summer but in the grand scheme of things Doc’s official Death of the Week has to go to Hodor. RIP you simpleton! Absolutely heart breaking scene where Bran (and the viewers) finds out the story behind Hodor’s name. Hold the door! Hold the Door! Holdthedoor! Holddadoor! Hoddador! Hoddador! Hodador! Hodor! Hodor! Hodor! Hodor?! Hodor?
Now I’m sad again.