Game of Thrones Recap by AsimovLives
Season 5 – Episode 8
Hello. AsimovLives here and I’m a regular sci-fi contributor to this website. But I also love Game of Thrones! So this is my series of recap articles about the episodes of the season 5 of HBO’s television series Game of Thrones, for your pleasure.
Game of Info:
Series: Game of Thrones
Created by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss
Based on the fantasy novel series A Song of Fire and Ice by author George R.R. Martin
Episode title: Hardhome
Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Original Air Date: May 31, 2015
Game of Synopsis:
Beware, spoilers ahead
An army of those! Lots of them! Oodles!!
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The episode opens with the Dyson sphere globe of the world of Westeros showing the locations of King’s Landing, Winterfell, The Wall, Braavos, Meereen and Dorne, where the action takes place.
A Girl assumes the identity of Lana a seller of oysters and clams roaming the city. At the harbor, she notices a life-insurance man denying compensation to his more miserable clients. She intuits he is a mark for Death’s Gift. A Man confirms and sends her on a mission that can as easily be the death of the insurance man or hers. Regardless of either result, the Many-Face-God will be pleased.
Cercei’s misery goes beyond the dirty cell she’s locked in and her being denied water. Qyburn visits her to tell woeful news: her son Tommen has fallen into deep despair; Pycelle called Ser Kevan back to the capital, who is now acting as Hand of the King in her absence – the small council now all people she alienated with her power plays.
She realizes to her horror she is out of allies to help her. And her torment only gets worst.
Sansa confronts Reek about his betrayal. Reek tells his fear of Ramsay is total, after the torture he was subjected to at his hands. He now considers it punishment for the killing of the two boys. When pressed by Sansa, he reveals those boys were not her younger brothers, who are probably still alive somewhere in the North. This revelation gives Sansa something she thought she had lost: hope.
Roose Bolton wants to wait out Stannis’ army’s deterioration in the protection of Winterfell’s high walls and furnished cellars in lieu of risking an open battle where even his Northern men army would be in trouble. Ramsay suggests an alternative: bring the fight to Stannis’ camp through a raid with 20 hard men.
Jorah and Tyrion are at Daenerys’ presence, the former forbidden to say a word. Tyrion pleas to spare Jorah’s life, since the death of one so openly devoted to her would disincentive such devotion from future followers. As such, Tyrion advocates for Jorah to be spared, which Dany does so by expelling him from the city.
Absent of a life purpose now that his last attempt at redemption failed, with nowhere else to go and with his greyscale disease progressing, Jorah returns to his former slaver to fight in the pits.
Tyrion impresses Dany with his blunt honesty and perceptive practical and no-nonsense intelligence. Tyrion presents a portrait of a conquest of Westeros in which merely a large army ready to kill any opposition and the acclaim of the lowly people will not suffice if she can’t get the support of the richest factions as well, and points to the situation of Meereen as an example. In Westeros, the important families are always in control in a perpetual wheel of succession. Dany says she doesn’t want to stop the wheel; she wants to break the wheel.
Olly meets with Samwell to talk about his misgivings about Jon Snow’s tolerance toward the wildings. Samwell tells him sometimes a person needs to do something he feels right even if others can’t immediately see the reason. These words seem to sink in on Olly, but maybe not in the way Samwell hoped.
Jon arrives at Hardhome, a harbor beyond the wall. Tormund acts as his spokesperson. The Lord of Bones tries to stop them with a version of tribal red tape, which Tormund cuts through by painting the ground red with the former’s brains. They meet the elders of the wildlings’ tribes, and Jon and Tormund manage to win most of them, namely the wise and beautiful Karsi, through blunt honesty and logical argumentation about the danger that all without exception will soon be facing: the White Walkers. All except the fucking Thenn lead by Loboda agree to Jon/Tormund’s plan of evacuation.
When the evacuation is underway, Jon notices the arrival of a mist that travels against the direction of the wind. The watchdogs are spooked, and soon the reason is revealed: There is a White Walker army made of undead wights outside the palisade. Loboda thinks quickly and orders the gate closed, leaving thousands of wildlings outside. They are all soon turned into new recruits for the army of the undead and soon they go on a savage attack to breach the perimeter through sheer overwhelming numbers and unstoppable suicidal determination.
It follows a desperate battle where the undead keep pouring in despite the valiant resistance by both the Night Watch and wildlings together. The evacuation turns into chaos as mass panic ensues.
Jon notices sinister figures above the cliffs looking down on the action. Among them is none other than the White Walker King. Jon dashes to the meeting hut where the satchel containing dragonglass is, but is intercepted by a White Walker lieutenant.
Loboda tries to buy Jon’s time but is quickly killed when the former’s ice sword shatters Loboda’s battle-axe on contact. Jon almost meets the same fate but his Valyrian steel sword surprisingly parries the White Walker’s blade without damage. Jon takes advantage of this surprising turn of events and kills his foe. Meanwhile, Karsi is killed when she sees wight children and can’t bring herself to fight them.
Even the band Mastodon cannot be spared by the White Walkers!
The situation reaches the endgame when the White Walker King sends an even greater number of minions to jump directly from the cliffs into Hardhome’s central square. All Jon and his men can do is reach the last departing boats in time.
As the last men leave, the White Walker King arrives at the pier and looking directly at Jon. He raises his arms in a dramatic gesture. On cue, all the wildlings killed in the fight, including Loboda and Karsi, are resurrected as wights.
For the first time in his life Jon is completely and utterly terrified beyond imagination.
Game of Opinion:
My goodness! What an episode!
It breaks my heart that Jorah got expelled from Dany’s presence again. It looks to me he’s now deliberately going after his own death by combat in the fighting pits, now that his last attempt to regain Dany’s good graces is gone.
What Tyrion says about Jorah’s hesitation in revealing his previous role as an informant about Dany sheds a light into Dany’s true reasons for her punishment Jorah: it’s not so much the betrayal but that he didn’t trust her with his confession the same way he wanted her to trust him with his advice. This realization makes her actions to Jorah more understandable and excusable and yes, I have to admit, there is a good point to be made there. I still wish that Dany could have kept Jorah closer to her, like arrested in a cell, so that he could slowly regain his good graces with Tyrion’s help. Alas!
But at least Tyrion is now Dany’s new adviser. Finally, she gets a proper true adviser, which she had been lacking since Jorah’s banishment.
It looks to me that Olly didn’t take the exact lesson that Sam wanted to instill in him. Is that a dagger for Jon I see before him?
Hardhome! My goodness!
As much I love GOT for the great characters and incredible dialogues, I also love this show for things like the sequence at Hardhome. A zombie army attack served by exquisite filmmaking, how could I not love this?
The sequence is like Army of Darkness without the laughs or World War Z as it should had been, with Hard-R violence and plenty of practical effects.
The most notorious thing in that sequence is that it’s entirely played for scares. It’s by far the scariest moment in the whole show, going for horror by anticipation to horror by desperation and horror by hopelessness. It was flawless.
I wish that Karsi had not died! She was so promising as the next awesome wildling girl, as charismatic and badass as Ygritte with much more brains behind her pretty facade. I really liked her. Alas!
That last scene with the White Walker King raising the death in full view of Jon is magic. Pure magic. I do not have words to do it justice.
My final words go to the critics of this season. If there is one constant complaint since season 2 is the supposedly slow pacing and how “nothing” happens. And in every season the same thing happens: By episode 7 or 8 something extraordinary happens that stirs the passions of the viewers and perks us up for what’s the follow. By now it’s quite obvious this is done by design. It’s the shows style.
And if this episode doesn’t bring you back into the show with a vengeance, I don’t know what to say. I can’t imagine anybody being indifferent, especially after the events at Hardhome. Even the book readers, this show’s greatest contingent of critics, must have liked this. Anything else is completely alien thinking to me. It is that good.
Game of Predictions:
- Might as well throw the towel now, humans. You’re going to lose, dragons or no dragons.
- Jorah is on a suicide run and this season is the last we are going to see of him. Heart broken in advance. Farewell, Ser Jorah of Bear Island, the likes of you we shall never see again.
- Ramsay will kill somebody important of Team Stannis. So help me if it’s the Onion Knight!
Game of Final Thoughts:
One of the best episodes of this show. Period. Not this season, the whole show. Impossible to be indifferent. Game changer, mind blown!
As always, thank you for reading. See you at next week’s episode The Dance of Dragons.
This is AsimovLives, signing off. Have a better one.