The Past is Prologue
"Knowledge has made you powerful, but there's still so much you don't know." — The Red Priestess, "Game of Thrones."
This season of "Game of Thrones" has possibly been the best so far, but it's also been the most emotional. That was made abundantly clear on Sunday as (SPOILER ALERT) we lost a hero. It was a difficult and painful episode. It's left many feeling blue.
There have been a number of characters killed on "Game of Thrones" during its run. In fact, it almost seems like a weekly occurrence. But with Hodor, a gentle giant, an innocent, meeting that fate seemed almost more cruel. Especially in light of learning how he became the way he is.
Bran Stark (Issac Hempsted Wright) has learned the hard way this season that the past isn't always what it appears to be. When he saw the battle at the Tower of Joy he realized that the version of history his dad and others had always presented wasn't quite right. Their actions weren't as heroic, nor were the circumstances. And most of us theorize that the events surrounding Jon Snow's birth won't turn out to be quite as straightforward, either. But that's speculation for another time.
Last night, Bran learned the dangers of his newfound powers. First, he learned the origin of the White Walkers. It was a weapon meant to protect the Children of the Forest that has unintended consequences — consequences that threaten all of Westeros. Then Bran ventured out on his own, encountering the White Walkers and allowing himself to be touched by the Night King, breaking down his magical protection and leaving many — including the Children of the Forest and the Three Eyed Raven — vulnerable.
But that wasn't where the heartache ended. Bran has reflected on past journeys that Hodor (Kristian Nairn) once seemed quite normal. He wondered how he became the man who said a single word — Hodor — over and over again. Last night he found out that he himself was the cause.
Bran was trapped in the past while the White Walkers attacked. He used his power to control Hodor in the present to get himself to safety, but the magic was so strong, and the emotions so powerful, he impacted the man in the past, too. Causing him to have a violent seizure and vision of the future, one that forever changed his life.
Bran was the instrument of doom for his friend — first stripping his mind, then costing him his life. It was a bitter ending, and a bitter lesson. One that opens a world of possibilities and questions, especially for Bran.
Even after 55 hours in this world, last night's episode proved there is so much we still don't know.