Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8 Review: “Hardhome”

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 1 Review




Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8

Oh boy, what a packed Game of Thrones episode! A proper sit-down between Tyrion and Daenerys? Check! A zombie avalanche? Check! A fight like we’ve never seen before? Check! The apocalypse is furiously approaching in the Westeros universe, and we’ve got front row seats.

We’ve known for a while that the White Walkers are as bad-ass as undead monsters can get, but seeing the frozen army of the dead in action was a bit more than we could handle. Let’s just say that we’re almost certain we forgot to breathe during the last 15 minutes of the insanity that was Hardhome. Let’s talk about the episode that gave us more action that the entire season leading up to it, shall we?

In Braavos, Arya’s education continues at the House of Black and White. She plays the game of faces with Jaqen and adopts the persona of Lana, an oyster-selling orphan. Her mentor finally gives her an assignment: to take care of a crooked ship owner at the docks. Is she ready to take on such a big task? We’ll have to wait and see.


In King’s Landing, a dirty and barely recognizable Cersei is still in her little cell, refusing to confess to any of the wrongdoings she’s accused of. Fornication, treason, incest, and the murder of King Robert – the list of charges brought against the Queen Mother is worrisome, to say the least. Her maester bringing the news that things are going south at the castle doesn’t do much to help her cope better, and we get an oddly satisfying scene of her trying to desperately sip water off the floor. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! Also, we find out that since both queens are now imprisoned, Ser Kevan Lannister was brought in as Hand of the King.

In Winterfell, Sansa and Theon have a much-needed catch-up session. He tells her about the horrors he’s been through since he last saw her, but she’s not being very sympathetic, reminding him that he killed her brothers in cold blood. Under pressure, Theon lets it slip that the boys he burned weren’t  Bran and Rickon, and we finally see a glimpse of hope shining on Sansa’s face. A piece of good news might be all she needs to stop being a victim and finally become a player in the Game of Thrones. Especially since Ramsay seems to have a death wish – he urges his father to give him 20 good men and allow him to attack Stannis instead of waiting for him to make a move. As we said before, we wouldn’t mind seeing the former bastard dead, so we can only hope that his death wish comes true.

In Meereen, Daenerys and Tyrion get to know each other a bit better. She’s skeptical about him at first but she realizes he’s worth having around. Tyrion does his best to convince her he should be one of her advisors, and he starts by weighing in on what she should do with Ser Jorah. They agree Daenerys should let him live, but she banishes him from the castle. With the greyscale on his hand not getting any better, Jorah finds the man who bought him and asks for another chance to fight in front of the queen.

Later, Tyrion and Daenerys bond over wine and stories about their vicious fathers, which makes for an excellent scene. She eventually decides to bring him on as an advisor, and then delivers the line we’ve been expecting to hear from the trailer: “I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel.” Goosebumps, we tell you.

At Castle Black, Gilly tends to Sam’s wounds, but she’s interrupted by Ollie, who has a few questions regarding the Lord Commander’s desire to fight alongside the Wildlings. Sam kindly explains that the Wildlings are people too, and that great men have to sometimes make tough decisions, but decisions that are necessary for the greater good. Good guy Sam.

Beyond the Wall though, things aren’t going very smoothly for Jon Snow. He arrives at Hardhome, a settlement of free folk, but he finds it hard to get through to his audience. The Wildlings can’t seem to understand how he and Tormund are allies, but they eventually agree to sit down and have a chat. Snow explains all about the White Walkers and passes around a satchel of dragonglass, just in case. Some of the free folk get on board, while others decide to stay behind. I guess this is the best outcome everyone could have hoped for.

However, when Jon Snow and company are in the middle of embarking on boats and leaving for the Wall, all white hell breaks loose. The army of the dead attacks persistently, mostly massacring the Wildlings that haven’t managed to get on boats yet. Jon heroically decides to join the battle, even though he understands their chances of winning are slim to none. However, he does his best to buy the others more time to escape.

What follows is a beautifully filmed fight sequence, one that’s going to haunt us for a while. A giant, zombie children, snow, and blood keep us glued to the screen. As Snow tries to recover some of the dragonglass, he encounters a White Walker and keeps us on the edge of our seat as he fights the thing. Luckily, he has his Valyrian sword Longclaw handy, and the steel turns the creature to dust. Lord Commander lives to see another day.

Shortly after, an avalanche of zombies stumble upon Headhome, and Snow realizes it’s time to retreat. He gets on a boat and starts floating away, just as he locks eyes with the commander of the army of the dead, the terrifying creature we first saw last season. With a simple gesture, he raises all of the dead wildlings around. Chilling, to say the least.

Bottom line? This show just keep better and better. With only two episodes left, we’re more excited than ever to find out how this awesome season is going to wrap up. What’s going to happen to Cersei? What will Daenerys and Tyrion do next? How will Jon Snow tell the tale of the epic fight we’ve just witnessed? Next Monday couldn’t come any quicker.

What did you think about this week’s installment? Sign off in the comments!

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