Game of Thrones Review “Hardhome” S5E8

Don’t you hate when your friends come into your life and start trivializing your problems with their “real issues?” Well, that is exactly how this episode left me feeling. Who cares about your stupid battles over the crown?? There are MFing ice zombies on the other side of the wall, raising an army of the dead and giving Jon Snow “Come at me” face. All of a sudden, I find myself horrified thinking about Westeros’ future. Everybody is SO SCREWED! Sorry… where was I? Oh yes, this episode of Game of Thrones is one of the best of the entire series, but for much of “Hardhome,” I never quite felt like it was a Game of Thrones show. There are political musings, and talks of war going on in Winterfell; mostly, though, there are new and terrifying twists to a tale that there is no going back from. This is the beginning of the end times, folks.

Pros

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Power couple: In ten minutes, Tyrion dropped more knowledge on Daenerys than anybody else has since this saga began. It’s true that she’s created her own little dynasty in Meereen, but she quite doesn’t know how to play the game. Tyrion brings a perspective to her side of the story that just hasn’t been there. Tyrion is neither afraid nor ashamed to open himself up like a book for Dany, and it’s not surprising that she took him in immediately. I could listen to them have Mind Sex all episode long, to be honest.

Karma is a Cersei: Seeing Cersei suffer in a sell and drink spilled water off the dungeon room floor was the single most gratifying moment of this season. Unlike Joffrey, where everybody was awaiting a horrific unnatural death, fans just  want to see Cersei put in her place. It’s kinda like Mean Girls: you didn’t want to see her get hit by a bus, but a healthy dose of humility and shame would do a body good. Can I get bonus points for a Mean Girls reference in Game of Thrones?

Nothing is true; everything is permitted: Okay, there is some straight Assassin’s Creed shit going on right here in Arya’s storyline. Her time training at the House of Black and White have led her on essentially the path of Ezio Auditore: learn some stuff, kill a guy. Now the promotions for Season 5 featuring Arya make more sense. There’s something deeper here going on; it’s becoming apparent that Jaqen H’ghar doesn’t give a damn about Arya as a person anymore with his mysterious “let the gods decide” spiel.

Strategy session with the Boltons: One thing that everybody seems to forget is that Ramsay is actually a very fierce warrior. Let’s not forget that he fought off a bunch of Greyhoy intruders in nothing but his pajama pants. Roose’s strategy of waiting out the intruders was that of a seasoned veteran, but it was just too much weak sauce for Ramsay, who would rather “send a message” in some cockamamie scheme that involves 20 men. There are two possible outcomes: it works and we get to see the gory success of his mission, or it doesn’t and we get to laugh at Ramsay as his plans fail and his father abandons him. Either way, we win.

The last 15 minutes: Balls to the wall, poop your pants excitement! For everybody who has been asking, “Where the hell are the ice zombies? Why doesn’t anybody care about the zombies??” Well, here is your goddamn answer. The segment focusing on Jon Snow’s expedition was every bit the cinematic masterpiece that one would expect. I haven’t seen much amazing directorial work since the siege at Castle Black at the end of Season 4. We knew that Jon was probably save in this battle, but had no idea who else would kick the bucket. One thing is for sure – this show has hit a point of no return with the White Walkers, and until we know what the hell is going on, that’s all viewers will be thinking about going forward.

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Cons

Reek’s dick don’t work: I know Theon’s dick is gone, but where is his spine? He’s willing to spill the beans about Bran and Rickon, but still is afraid to do anything outwardly helpful. You can’t help but feel pity for the guy, but he does kinda deserve it all.

Jorah is a dummy: This guy is the Steve Urkel of Game of Thrones. He just won’t give up. His attempts to woo the queen are totally fruitless. Now, instead of being in a whorehouse in Volantis, he has sold himself back into slavery with a medium-severe case of Greyscale all to gain back her affection for a “sport” that she doesn’t give two shit about. Idiot…

Get OVER it, Olly: Dude, we get it. You have trust issues. The ugly Thenn (which regular Wildlings aren’t too fond of either) ate your dead momma and dead poppa. How long are you going to keep whining about that? If you’re gonna be a little bitch about it, at least do something productive like become Batman.

Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things (Odds and Ends)

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Cersei is losing friends: Blinded by vengeance (if you can even call it that…), Cersei has put a religious fanatic in control of the Kingdom and cast all her loyal allies aside. Even old man Pycelle – who was a creep, don’t get me wrong – has sought out the help of Ser Kevan Lannister, Tywin’s brother, to come back to King’s Landing and serve as Hand. They might just let her rot after all.

The Work Continues: Qyburn’s last words before leaving the dungeon had a hint of familiarity about them. We’ve seen his “ungodly” experiments in his lab, which resulted in some twitching by what was once The Mountain’s body. Could this be the work he spoke of? And does Gregor Clegane now have a midget head? Or maybe an extra midget head protruding from his body somewhere? Nothing would surprise me at this point, but I could see the family tradition of a trial by combat being requested by Cersei, should it come to that.

Knowledge is power, unless you’re Sansa: A huge secret was let out by Reek this week. He was guilted into telling Sansa that the two boys he killed were not Bran and Rickon Stark. There are in fact TWO living men (eventually, I’m sure) with the Stark family name, which puts a HUGE damper in the Bolton quest for unity in the North. Now, Sansa has this powerful weapon. Will she try to fly a raven to the rest of the North to let the other families know, or will she simply waste it on a spiteful conversation with her new husband? Chances are she will spill the beans, but I’m secretly rooting for her to make something of the situation and out-maneuver the Boltons.

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My heart will go on: There was something VERY Titanic about the end scene. Ya know, if the Titanic were overrun by the undead. Even before the battle broke out, the teary-eyed longing goodbyes to the little ones foreshadowed major casualties. All the show was missing was the band that stayed and played to the end, or a dreamy Celine Dion music video.

4 horsemen: Very ominous sequence there with the four ice walkers on the horizon, symbolic of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Everything is scarier when there are four horsemen overlooking the death and chaos; it lets people know just how screwed they are.

Shit gets Valyrian: So it turns out that Dragonglass isn’t the only thing that kills White Walkers. Jon Snow ties the world record for most White Walkers slayed (with 1 kill) by using his sword, Longclaw – made from Valyrian steel. Only thing is, guys… there is no more Valyrian steel left. Aside from the blades given to Brienne and Jaime (melted down from Ned Stark’s Ice), Jon possesses one of the last blades made from the metal. But guess what Valyrian steel is forged in?? Fucking Dragonfire!! And guess who has dragons??? It’s likely that the death and destruction will reach Westeros before Jon can get word to the Khaleesi about it, but maybe Daenerys can make her way to the throne by killing the ice zombies with her dragons. I’ve supported candidates for less, so doing that would probably earn my vote.

Hodor Hodors (Best Quotes)

“I am the greatest Lannister-killer of our time.” – Tyrion Lannister

“If I want jokes, I’ll get myself a proper fool.” – Daenerys Targaryen

“I’m going to break the wheel.” – Daenerys Targaryen

“I’m not the one that got punched and kicked in the face.” – Gilly

“So would mine, but fuck em, they’re dead.” – Wildling lady

Who won the Game of Thrones this episode?

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You can’t argue with the sentiment that the undead are winning the game of thrones, but let’s crown somebody in the land of the living, shall we? Tyrion is undoubtedly the smartest man in whichever room he’s in, and it just happens that he has won the trust – or at least amusement – of Daenerys Targaryen. Tyrion knows his way around a room, politically, and is not intimidated at the prospect of being killed; therefore, he is an open book with Khaleesi, and an excellent sounding board for what she has built up in her head as the correct way to rule. Maybe Tyrion will get to ride that dragon after all. Eww, not like that.


Hush Comics gives “Hardhome” an A+ for giving fans something to be truly frightened for – a departure from its well-known politics, violence and boobagry and an entrance into the fantastical, unknown, and… ice zombies.

All media credited to HBO

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