Game of Thrones 5.08 – “Hardhome”

Brrr, it’s cold in here! What’s that? Oh, Winter is Coming? Yeah, they keep saying that, but I feel fine… oh, wait! It’s finally here? RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! This was a conversation I had with myself following the most insane episode of Game of Thrones this season. It’s safe to say the last 30 or so minutes of episode 8, “Hardhome,” were the best of this season! The surprise battle at Hardhome was a shock to us all, especially Jon Snow. But first, let’s talk about what else happened this episode.

Meereen: Tyrion stands before Queen Daenerys and all our simultaneous nerd hearts exploded. They exchange barbs and Tyrion makes his worth known, displaying his well-known Lannister wit. Daenerys is still pissed at Jorah and asks for Tyrion’s advice on what to do with him. Tyrion defends Jorah and even tells her that he thinks Jorah is in love with her, but ultimately say she should make him leave again. So, she re-banishes him from the city. Friend zoned AGAIN, Ser Jorah!

agrandmeetingLater, over wine (Tyrion’s fave), the two chat about their families and terrible lives. Dany still wants to sit atop the Iron Throne, but Tyrion advises against it! If she stays in Mereen, everyone watching would be so annoyed. Dany decides to take on Tyrion as an official advisor (I guess that is why Barristan had to go…). She gives an epic speech about breaking the “wheel” of power and she is going to be the change to stop it all.

Meanwhile, Jorah still hasn’t given up. He sells himself back to his slave master, wanting to fight in the grand pit in front of the Queen. I guess he has nothing to lose since he is now afflicted with greyscale!

King’s Landing: Or should I say the cells below King’s Landing. Cersei is not looking good. She is still frothing with anger in her dungeon cell, spewing threats at the septa who urges her to confess. She later gets a visit from creepy Qyburn, who tells her she should confess to the High Sparrow for mercy, but she refuses! She wants to see Tommen, but Qyburn tells her that he has basically locked himself in his room and won’t speak to anyone. No word from Jaime either. Qyburn does tell her that “the work continues” which must be about his secret “frankenstein” monster. But, it’s not looking good for our former Queen. She’s slurping water off the dungeon floor! How the mighty have fallen!

aryaBraavos: Arya, now aka Lana, the oyster girl, gets her first assignment from Jaqen. She memorizes facts about her new identity and sells oysters, not really knowing what exactly she is looking for. Her waif coworker expresses doubt to Jaqen that she is ready, but Arya proves to be apt the to job. He gives her some poison, which she is to give to a merchant who is scamming sea captains. Arya is thrilled at this new job.

BUT, I must wonder, why is Arya just walking around as Arya? Shouldn’t she be wearing one of the many “masks” of the House of Black and White. Won’t someone recognize her? Hmmm. She got a costume change, but she needs a face change. I guess it doesn’t really matter though because Maisie Williams is Arya and anything else would be weird at this point.

Winterfell: Sansa is rightfully pissed at Theon after he sold her out to Ramsay and got her only friend (the old woman) killed. Theon/Reek explains he can never fool Ramsay and he lets it spill to Sansa that he killed two farm boys in place of Bran and Rickon. You can see the surprise and hope bloom on Sansa’s face. Bran and Rickon are ALIVE! She still has family out there. This is the best news she’s heard in a long time. Theon realizes he done messed up and quickly leaves.

Meanwhile, Roose Bolton and his evil son talk about the approaching Stannis threat. Roose wants to hole up in Winterfell and let the winter kill Stannis. Ramsay, of course, wants to raid Stannis’ camp with 20 men and cause havoc. He is just always looking to kill, maim, or seriously injure. He’s the WORST.

The Wall: Sam is still recovering from his injuries with Gilly’s help. Young Olly comes to visit and expresses his distaste again for Jon Snow helping the Wildings. Hmmm, I have a feeling this is leading somewhere.

frenemiesBUT, none of this matters. It all comes down to Hardhome. Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane arrive at the large Wilding outpost where they try to convince various different tribes of Wildings to come back with them to the Wall. After much talk and discussion, some agree and some don’t (the awful Thenns). As they load up the boats…something happens…things get colder…and winter is coming. The White Walkers appear and all hell breaks loose!

otrmundA surprise White Walker attack! Jon and Tormund and Eddison Tollett and all others fight for their life, trying to shut out the incessant wights. Karsi, a Wilding woman who put her kids on a boat, joins in the fight. There are really no words for it other than epic. Things get really REAL when the White Walker leaders appear silhouetted atop the mountain. Jon ends up fighting and killing one, discovering his Valyrian steel sword can kill White Walkers, too. It’s not just dragonglass. The whole battle is simply chaotic. At one point, the wights hurl themselves off a mountain top only to rise back up and attack.

karsiEventually, Jon and Tormund realize they are fighting a losing battle and escape on a boat, but not before the Night’s King himself appears and has a massive stare off with Jon Snow. He also observed young Jon defeating his lieutenant earlier. Um, Jon, not best to make enemies with the creepy leader of the White Walkers. Ya know, the one who turned the baby to ice. As Jon, Tormund, and the other survivors row off, the Night’s King raises all of the recently dead back to life as his new army of followers, including the dead Karsi. This is NOT good and Jon Snow knows it. Silence fills the air.

the night's kingThat was by far the craziest, creepiest, and most ominous ending of an episode yet. Game of Thrones finally embraced their fantasy roots and went for it. It was thrilling and exciting and I had no clue what was going to happen. It really sets the tone for the whole show. The fight over the Iron Throne does not matter because these dang White Walkers are almost unstoppable. If anyone can stop them, it’s Jon Snow… perhaps maybe Daenerys and her dragons? Hmm, I’m excited for the possibilities.

What did you guys think of the episode? Definitely the best of the season in my opinion. Let me know in the comments below!

New episodes of Game of Thrones air on Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.

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Post Author: Ben Fleck