A hero disguised as nothing at all: How Game of Thrones pulled off its biggest twist

Bran Stark Game Of Thrones

Vincent Ralph discusses Game of Thrones season six episode five.

This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season six.

Game of Thrones has become synonymous with shocking deaths, but the latest has taken the show’s fan base to a place few expected.

I had never before cried at an episode of Game of Thrones. I had gasped, cheered, felt a shock that stayed with me for days, but this was not a show that brought me to tears – or so I thought.

The fifth episode of season six was full of noteworthy moments but it still felt like yet another case of moving the pieces into place for the battles ahead; and then Bran did a spot of unapproved – and ultimately fateful – warging and all hell broke loose.

We had already seen a suggestion that the past could be influenced when a young Ned Stark appeared to hear his son calling through time. However that was nothing compared with the last ten minutes of The Door, as Bran inadvertently allowed the Night King access to the Three-Eyed Raven before we saw Hodor’s shocking origin and heart-breaking fate.

It is credit to the show’s writers and director Jack Bender that it was perfectly executed, each twist catching the audience off guard until we sat dumbfounded in the realisation that Hodor’s role had been determined long ago.

A hero disguised as nothing at all was in our midst from the very start and how we mourned his passing.

Of course the final moments raise as many questions as they answer, most notably: How on earth can Meera pull Bran around now his personal chauffeur has made the ultimate sacrifice? While the inevitable debate regarding time travel and its numerous problems have started in earnest.

Yet those are questions for another day. For now we should celebrate a superb episode of a show that at its best still has the power to cause shock and awe and now, surprisingly of all and in the most unexpected of ways, tears aplenty.