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Monday, June 1, 2015
Game of Thrones 5x08 Hardhome
OH MY GOD.
I'm still shaking a bit and picking up my jaw off the floor after it hit it pretty much the moment the mist appeared, but before I talk about the battle scene, let's go back to the beginning of Hardhome, undoubtedly the finest episode of the season and one of the best episodes of the show so far.
We open with Jorah and Tyrion standing before Daenerys. Tyrion tries to show his worth and convince Daenerys not to kill him. In the process of all of that he tells her that Jorah shouldn't be by her side because he betrayed her. So Daenerys sends Jorah away, again. Jorah's life = misery porn.
In King's Landing, Cersei is locked in a cell, beaten by sadistic septa and in general, looking like hell.
In Braavos, Arya is making her progress in the training. In the books her nickname was CAT of the canals and here it's Lanna. Is it perhaps not to confuse her with the other Cat? Please tell me it's the case.
Anyways Jaqan tells Waif that perhaps Arya is not ready with her mission, which is apparently offing some gambler with poisoned sea food, but the Many Faced God doesn't really care. Ah, the nihilism.
Back in King's Landing, Cersei gets her only visitor - her faithful crazy BFF Qyburn. Qyburn has whole lot of shitty info for her - she is accused of fornication, incest and the killing of King Robert. Tommen has gone emo and refuses to eat or leave his room. Kevan is back, he is now the Hand of the King and he doesn't intend to visit. And Jaime? Jaime didn't write back. Understandable, as he is busy navigating the shit land of Dorne and its many boobs and pointless Myrcella scenes.
Qyburn advises Cersei to confess but she doesn't want to hear any of it. He tells her 'the work continues'. I bet even the non book readers can kinda see where this is all going.
In Winterfell we get fantastic moment with Sansa and Theon. Theon brings her food and Sansa is furious that he told Ramsay about her plan to escape. Theon tells her he was trying to help. Sansa tells him if she could do to him what Ramsay did she would. She tells Theon that her family is dead because of him and reminds him that he killed her little brothers Rickon and Bran.
Theon finally admits the truth that he couldn't find Rickon and Bran so he killed two farm boys. Sansa tries to find out where the brothers are but Reek, horrified that he said too much runs away.
Then we get a quick scene with the Boltons. Apparantly Stannis has 6000 men. Roose says they should wait for Stannis and his men to starve and freeze. But Ramsay says they should take the fight to Stannis and that he only needs 20 men.
Well good luck, Ramsay. Will you fight shirtless with knives again? I hope your dick falls off.
Back in Meereen we get tremendous scene with Tyrion and Daenerys. Peter Dinklage is really a miracle worker - with him to accompany her, Emilia Clarke was the best she has been this season yet. Their banter was so good and the two talked about their prospects. Daenerys finally decides that she won't kill Tyrion and that she wants him to advise her. She then delivers her famous speech from the trailer about how the powerful houses in Westeros are spokes in the wheel and she is gonna break that wheel.
Meanwhile, Jorah the Reject finds the slaver and tells him he wants to fight in the pit for his Queen. This is gonna end in tears, isn't it?And not just Jorah's but ours too.
In King's Landing again - Cersei now tries to bribe the septa but she refuses over and over telling Cersei to confess. Cersei threatens her with death again and the septa pours the water on the floor. Cersei licks it off the floor as Rains of Castamere plays in the background. Lady is dead because of you. You deserve this.
Back at Castle Black Gilly is tending Sam's wounds when Olly, the little shit, comes over to whine how Jon went to save the wildlings and Olly's family was slaughtered by them. Sam tells him that Jon is doing what needs to be done and tells Olly that Jon always come back.
We see Jon on a boat along with Tormund and Edd. There are ships, borrowed from Stannis, behind them. They get out and there is a bunch of hostile wildlings on the shore. Tormund speaks with Lord of the Bones who is disgusted that Tormund is allies with the crows. He asks if Tormund sucks Jon's cock and in response Tormund kills the Lord of Bones by bashing his head with his own axe.
Jon and the rest then talk to the wildling leaders. Jon tells them they have to unite if they want to win or even stand a chance against White Walkers. He tells them of Dragonglass and how it can kill the Walkers. He offers the wildlings safe passage and land if they join. He admits to killing Mance, but Tormund explains to the wildlings that Jon shooting Mance with an arrow was an act of courage and mercy.
Jon delivers really awesome speech about how they should stand up and give the fuckers a fight. The wildlings, among them a girl named Karsi, join him because of Tormund and the fact they trust him. But one of the wildlings Loboda is against the idea because the crows are "the real enemy".
The widllings are getting on boats and Karsi puts her children there, telling them she is right behind them. Suddenly the dogs start barking and my thoughts immediately go to 'omg someone save the dogs'. There is some shift in the air, uneasiness. And then a gigantic fucking mist/snow storm appears in the distance and is rapidly heading towards the gate.
Everyone starts freaking out and Loboda orders the gate to be closed, shutting some of the wildlings there. There are screams and suddenly there is silence. Loboda peaks through and we see a fucking skeleton and white walkers charge on the gate.
All hell breaks lose and people start hauling ass to the boats. The wights and Walkers are attacking, savegly biting and ripping apart the wildlings. Tormund tells Jon that if the Walkers get through everyone is dead. Jon takes out his Valyrian steel sword Longclaw and begins fighting the wights.
Jon and Edd look up and there are Walkers on horses, on the cliff. That was a truly chilling shot which really brought Horsemen of the Apocalypse to mind. We get a badass shot of Jon running to the hut where dragonglass is.
Loboda joins him. The hut is burning and suddenly through the flames an actual Walker appears. Loboda tries to fight him off and is killed by ice sword. Jon tries to get to dragonglass but fails and gets stabbed. He gets up, though, grabs Longclaw and we get amazing moment when the Longclaw clashes with ice sword and to surprise of both the Walker and Jon doesn't break.
It was speculated that Valyrian steel is effective against Walkers and we got a conformation here. Another Valyrian steel sword? Well that was Ned's Ice, reforged into Widow's Wail, Joffrey Sword - where the fuck is it now? - and Oathkeeper, the one which Brienne has with her as she stands pointlessly outside the gates of Winterfell waiting for the candle to be lit.
Jon kills the Walker with Lonclaw and we move up he cliff where none other than baby-turning leader of the Walkers, Night's King sees the scene of Jon killing one of his boys.
Next we see Karsi, fighting bravely....until she sees horrific Walkers children. She stops, horrified, saddened and shocked and the children attack her and kill her.
Edd helps Jon up and then we see swarm of wights falling off the cliff. They stand up and begin chasing them and then everyone REALLY starts running. Jon, Tormund and Edd get on the boat and they all look like they are in the state of shock.
As they are slowly sailing away we still see the Walkers and wights slaughtering the wildlings. Then, slowly, the Night's King moves forward, eyes locked on Jon. He raises his arms slowly and as he does this the fallen, including Karsi, rise as wights. Jon has the expression of true horror on his face while Tormund has tears in his eyes. The survivors sail away.
This has been by far the best battle sequence on the show yet. Not only was it very well done and atmospheric - the shots of the mist, horsemen and Night;'s King silently watching the carnage were absolutely chilling - but it was far more engaging than last year's overrated and overhyped Battle of the Wall.
This entire sequence at Hardhome was about 25- 30 long but you actually cared about the people involved and feared the villains because unless you have dragonglass - which was left in the hut, Jon carry your purse with you, goddamn! - or Valerian steel - and the entire expedition had one, in the form of Longclaw, those villains are impossible to kill.
Then there is the writing which was so good especially with the character of Karsi - we meet this brave woman and we think oh OK so this is a new character and we will see more of her. And then she is killed. That showed the senselessness of Walkers so well - anyone can be killed and they are, at that moment in time, unstoppable.
There was also such sense of mourning and tragedy in the ending as the brave men who went there to help couldn't do anything to help these people. The scene was almost silent as were the ending credits which only added to the seriousness of the depicted events.
Though they weren't in the show since the beginning of last season all it took was this brilliant Hardhome sequence to really illustrate just how big of a threat the Walkers are. Daenerys and Tyrion are drinking, Cersei is in the cell and the Boltons have Winterfell but in the big scope of things all of those things will stop to matter when the Walkers arrive.
The rest of the episode was also fantastic though I hope we see more of Cersei's struggle and Tyrion and Dany interactions. It was great seeing Qyburn again. The performances were amazing starting with Sophie Turner and Alfie Allen in another strong scene, Lena Headey being the best she was this season and Kit Harington yet again giving us terrific work as Jon, especially in the ending.
There is also Birgitte Hjort Sørensen who managed to bring so much charm and charism as Karsi and my favorite performance from Kristofer Hivju as Tormund. The tears in his eyes in the ending of the episode said it all.
Next week it's The Dance of Dragons - Stannis marches, Dorne hopefully reaches its conclusion for the season, Arya faces difficulty in her training and Daenerys? Oh, I won't say anything.
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