Monday, June 1, 2015

Game of Thrones 5x08 Hardhome

By Sati. Monday, June 1, 2015 ,

OH MY GOD.

You guys!

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.
AND HARDHOME!

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.
PREVIOUS RECAPS FROM THE SEASON:





28 comments:

  1. I heard my local homeboys in the progressive metal band Mastodon made an appearance in the episode.

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    1. Yep! They were in there, according to GoT twitter. I'm not familiar with them :)

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    2. Well, here is a taste of this great band: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxelXPg961M

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  2. My God. Definitely the best episode so far.

    I seriously thought that Jon was going to die by the White Walker, especially since Sam said 'He always comes back' in a scene earlier in the episode. Props for the writers for mind-fucking with me so successfully.

    I so hoped that Karsi would not die, she looked like a bad ass character!

    I think that last year's battle was better, I mean the actual fighting wasn't as good here, but the chilling ending makes up for that many times over.

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    1. I just hate watchers on the wall episode so much ^^ There were some good things there but definitely my least fav episode of the show

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    2. Agree. They should have ended it with Stannis. It felt like it was badly interrupted. As if episode 10 didn't have like 3-4 jaw droppers.

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    3. That was such a bad move. I really hope the last two episodes of this season have proper, awesome endings

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  3. I like that even when Stannis isn't in the episode he still basically saves everyone's ass via his navy. Yeah cool Valyrian steel kills the fuckers, so what there are only like three Valyrian steel swords anyway. Meanwhile Stannis lives on an entire island made of Kryptonite. Lets see how badass those Walkers are when they find the Wall staffed end to end with archers armed with obsidian arrows.

    The Night's King beyond the Wall is just another ursurper. He'll bend the knee or be destroyed.

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    1. I love the idea of obsidian arrows! They really should move their asses and start digging for that shit in Dragonstone

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  4. I didn't even catch the Rains of Castamere playing in the background omg.

    Did Edd drop that dragon glass somewhere? Or did they run it back to the boat? Please tell me they didn't lose that shit. Sam will be livid. Someone go kill Randyll Tarly and take Heartsbane!

    I love this episode. It was so amazing and that battle was everything. Great recap!

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    1. They do play this one whenever they can, don't they?:D

      I think they lost it :lol:

      Thank you! Let's hope they top it this season. Can they even top it? Well let's hope so!

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  5. The whole Hardhome sequence was excellent. The Night's Watch plot as a whole, with the single exception of Gilly's attempted rape, has been excellent this year, and so far ahead of the other plots in quality that I almost wonder why they can't get everything else as right as this has been going this year. Karsi was really well-developed for a one-episode character (could we trade the three Sand Snakes for her?).

    The Cersei scenes worked well too (the use of "The Rains of Castamere" was kind of hilarious).

    As far as the Dany/Tyrion scenes go, they're fine. I admit I have a hard time getting invested in show Tyrion anymore, despite Dinklage, because the writing for his character just exemplifies a lot of my problems with D&D's adaptation choices.

    I was never a big fan of Arya's Braavos chapters to begin with, unlike a lot of fans (and, certainly, GRRM); but the Braavos storyline really isn't working for me at this point. I don't get the choices they're making for dramatic structure. The point of this mission in the books is that the Faceless Men tell Arya to kill a guy, and to do it purely because they tell her to, and without considering whether he deserves it. In the show, Jaqen gives a lengthy exposition to establish that this guy is a fraudster who deserves to die. It removes the character conflict, and even on top of that I don't get why they choose to end on her being told to kill him, when the preceding scene established that it should be really easy.

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    1. I'd trade SSnakes for anything really. They are the 3 Jar Jar Binks of GoT series.

      I think Tyrion is amazingly written comparing to Jaime who I think they almost broke beyond repair in season 4. My God, was the writing for him there awful.

      Yeah I'm not a big fan of that storyline too but at least the execution is great with the atmosphere, costumes and cinematography. Which cannot be said about Dorne :)

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  6. Hands down an amazing episode and an incredible, thrilling final battle sequence. They dropped the ball on the Sand Snakes fight (I wish I could let that go lol), here they went all out. Loved it! The fight kept escalating, getting crazier and freakier. I cared for Karsi in just a handful of moments compared to those Sand Snakes.

    Poor Jorah, it's not going to end well for him. Can't wait for more GOT!

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    1. Sand Snakes sucks so bad :/ They are in next episode too, God helps us all

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  7. This was such an amazing episode not only for GOT but for any TV show I've seen recently. Never been this excited for the next episode of GoT. I've been watching it for quite some and lost interest during S4 but kept on watching cause I can't quit a show once I start it and I wanted to see how everything played out. They've made get invested in Thrones and I hope to God that D&D would keep this up.

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    1. I really hope so too, there are some amazing scenes coming up in the next 2 episodes and hopefully they will do them justice and finally end on a high note because the endings of the last two seasons were such bullshit.

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    2. I'd definitely agree on S4 but I have to disagree bout S3. I'm no book reader so I don't know how Storm of Swords ends but I thought that ending with the slaves praising Danaerys as their 'Mhysa' was powerful and moved me and I think it was Dany finally embracing her role as a people's leader and the score. Definitely not as good as S1 and S2 ending but it's still great nonetheless.

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    3. Well the book ends with the biggest twist in the series, still not included in the show :)

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    4. Another year, another Stoneheart hype train, waiting to be disappointed yet again by D&D (except everything leading upto Ep 10 just points out to Stoneheart reveal or it coild be massive trolling from them :'( )

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  8. Omg, honestly, this was incredible. I was so glad to see your 9.9 rating. This was TV at it's best, I was so scared by the time there were still 10 minutes left. And it got scarier. I've been pretty unenthusiastic about this season, but everything in this ep--the battle, Dany and Tyrion, Sansa and Theon, Arya, Cersei... everything was fantastic. I'm so happy I saw this one day later, means I'll have to wait a bit less now.

    LOVED your recap, by the way, I lost it at 'Ah, the nihilism'. You are the master of word, truly, Sati.

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    1. Thank you and I'm so glad you liked the episode! The upcoming ones have good stuff in them too :)

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  9. This episode was amazing. Alfie Allen & Sophie Turner were fabulous, the scenes with Dany and Tyrion were fantastic. The battle scenes were chilling, and this episode almost made me forget about being sad that there was no Stoneheart (almost). I think it might actually be my favourite of the season so far.

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    1. Listen to the track Mother's Mercy and join my foolish hope she is gonna close this season :D

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  10. I've FINALLY caught up...I just finished this episode, and I'm finally on board to read your recaps of the episodes!! I'm really enjoying Cersei's struggle...it's great to see that woman get what she's finally deserved! Great recap :)

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    1. Awesome! And it's gonna get worse for her too :D

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  11. No screencaps of Stannis for this recap? Yet you still gave it a super high score, must be VERY good then :)

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