Week in 'Game of Thrones': Cold Hands and Mad Visions in the North

The history of Westeros flashed before Bran Stark's eyes in the past episode of 'Thrones.'
Helen Sloan/HBO

It's cold in the North, but the stories percolating throughout the frozen wasteland beyond the Wall are red hot.

Over the past week of Game of Thrones, virtually every conversation centered on Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) and his revelations following the raid on the Three-Eyed Raven's lair. Indeed, even the Hodor of it all remains a central topic of conversation, still traumatic in its emotional horror and still confounding in its time-travel nature.

Here are the main topics from the past week of Thrones, stemming from episode six, "Blood of My Blood."

Visions in the Night

Just because the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) is dead doesn't mean the visions died with him. Bran Stark continues to see images of the past as Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) drags him through the snow, glimpsing things like the Mad King Aerys Targaryen and perhaps even hints at the birth of Jon Snow (Kit Harington). 

Return of the Stark

Season six's Stark reunion tour continues, as Bran joins forces with long lost uncle Benjen (Joseph Mawle) in the cold of the night. The character, taking on the form of the beloved book character Coldhands, claims to fight on behalf of the Three-Eyed Raven, but Bran's companion, Meera, remains skeptical.

"She's skeptical in a way that's quite logical," Kendrick told THR this week. "Her first concern is always, 'Is this safe for Bran? Can I entrust this young boy's life — and her own life, which is a secondary consideration — to this stranger wielding a fireball and a horse?' She's naturally suspicious."

Holding Down the Door

Looking further back in the past, Game of Thrones director Jack Bender joined THR for a deep dive into the death of Hodor (Kristian Nairn), easily one of the most impactful moments in the show's history, let alone this past season.

"My most intimidating night of shooting was with Kristian and doing all the shots of him at the door," Bender said. "In order to get enough of the stunt guys arms around him, but not to the point where he's dead, and get him to act both the goodbye and the horror of what was happening to him, is what it all came down to. He really delivered, and camera really delivered, and stunts really delivered, and I really thought we had it. And it seems like it was good. That really is the payoff of the sequence. It doesn't matter how much everything before it was. If we didn't deliver that 'emotional Hiroshima,' with that beloved character sacrificing himself in the way he did for his friends, it would not have worked."

Playing the Game

Bender also spoke about the weeks of rehearsal that went into crafting the Braavosi theater sequence that extended across "The Door" and "Blood of My Blood," mocking some of the most traumatic events in Game of Thrones history — so much so that Bender was worried that the mocking went too far.

"The audience has lived through so many of those things. They were so brilliantly done, that the idea of thumbing your nose or mocking that … I was concerned about it," he said. "When I turned to [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] after the rehearsal, they had some notes — tighten this, do this, do that — but they really loved where it was going and what it was. And I told them that I was concerned we might be going too far in mocking the show. But they said, 'No. We love it. Go further.' So much for taking it seriously!"

Looking Forward

Kristofer Hivju, who plays Tormund Giantsbane on the series, spoke with THR about his character's giant crush on Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), and also previewed what's ahead for the leader of the Free Folk — and the answer is a whole lot of hardship.

"The Free Folk are the hardest people in the world to lead — or at least in this world," he said. "It's in the definition of who they are. They're the Free Folk. So I can say this: Mance Rayder spent how long, 19 years to gather them all? I don't have 19 years."

The difficulty is reflected in the preview for episode seven, "The Broken Man," which also features Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) fielding his new assignment in Riverrun, alongside friend and companion Bronn of the Blackwater (Jerome Flynn). Brienne is headed toward the Riverlands as well, and it's anyone's guess how that reunion will play out.

Learn more about Bran's visions in the video below:

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