There’s No Place Like “Hardhome” – Recap

Season 5 has been a little soft when compared to other seasons. Interesting plots have gone different directions and we’ve crept along in stories we care about most. However, show writers pulled up episode 8 and made us feel like we were watching the ever famous episode 9 of seasons past, and it was amazing.

“Hardhome” was the name of both the episode and the Wildlings’ home. Jon Snow made his way up north in order to convince the Free Folk that they needed to be south of the wall before everything went to hell. Turns out he’d have a little help convince the stubborn ones who decided not to go. It’s easy to say no when you’re looking face to face with a Crow but not as easy when you’re staring at a White Walker. The Westeros zombies showed up in force, adding a large amount of extras to their already impressive undead army.

Everything in this episode was going rather well, which should have been the first sign something big was going to happen. The White Walkers had seemingly been training since the last time we saw them, which was made evident as they rushed through the wooden wall. The giants were a little bit of a disappointment at the end of last season during “The Watchers on the Wall,” so it was great to see a giant come busting out of Jon’s destination and get a nice sequence of awesome as he tossed walkers off his back and stomped on others as he rode into battle.

giant stomp

Jon and the Thenn managed to end up in battle against the White Walker general, or what we can assume is the equivalent.  While Jon was being tossed around, it almost looked like all was lost, and I had to remind myself that they’ll kill anyone in this show.  It’s safe to assume the idea of losing Jon Snow had the hearts of fans pumping a little faster than usual.

The battle against the White Walkers and their assumed General looked grim, but we were given a little hope as Jon was able to kill the frosty bastard using the sword he was given by the previous Lord Commander. Longclaw is made of Valyrian steel and we’ll need to see more of the metal in the war due to the fact that Jon was a little irresponsible with the dragonglass.

General WW

The battle ultimately lead to a stare down between The Night’s King and Jon Snow. The writers reminded us that there is probably no happy ending in sight as the Night’s King resurrected all killed Wildlings with those adorable blue eyes filled with intent to kill. To look back we gained the knowledge that Valyrian steel is a tool against them and they gained thousands of new soldiers. So I guess we’re doing alright…

Night's King

The rest of the episode pushed story lines forward as we head into the final two episodes. Sansa’s story crept along with another interaction with Reek. For everything poor that has happened and continues to, it’s a relief for Sansa to get a little bit of light in her life in the last couple episodes by finding out Jon Snow is the new Lord Commander, and her other brothers are alive and kicking somewhere in the world. It’s nice to see something good (no matter how small) for the Starks since we got so close to Sansa and Arya reuniting when it was all taken away.

Sansa

Speaking of Arya, she’s now been given her first assassination mission, and although it was a short scene it was satisfying as she walked off screen with a smirk at the prospect. Everyone should be excited for Arya going forward and it’s good to know she’ll be a good focus in the penultimate episode as we head toward the season close.

Cersi being imprisoned last week was the biggest surprise of the season before this episode and we had a small chance to visit her in her new quarters. Everyone has abandoned her and it seems her actions over the past couple of season have finally caught up to her. Qyburn stopped to update her on this information and interestingly mentioned “Work continues” which presumably is referring to the Mountain, and the current experiment he’s undergoing. It’s not surprising she’s left alone since she’s torn apart every relationship her father worked so hard to maintain. We leave her as she sips water from the ground after refusing to admit any of her crimes. When the mighty fall, they fall hard in Westeros.

Cersi fall

Everyone’s favorite imp finally had a chance to meet with Daenerys as she debated whether or not to kill him. Tyrion did as he always has and talked his way into power again in a nice back and forth between the two. Tyrion seems content staying away from Westeros as he tried to dissuade the mission toward that side of the world. Dany’s last line was delivered nicely and finally gave you a sense of the Targaryen we truly care about. “I don’t want to stop the wheel, I want to break it.” She’s lost a lot of interest this season sitting high in Meereen.  Dany’s been biding her time debating with slaves and owners since last season, when she should be out trying to learn to fly dragons and go turn the world on its side by raining fire from the skies. We all know Tyrion has the right mind for advising so it’s going to be exciting watching these two interact and hopefully we’ll see some better choices out of Ms. Targaryen going forward. It’s clear after the end of this episode we’ll need those fire breathing monsters in the fight against the White Walkers.

Tyrion.Dany

This was the best episode of the season and it came on in force. They shoved some stories toward the ending while reminding us what the true focus should be. As seasons pass, it’s going to be harder and harder for the writers to surprise us but they’ve managed to do a pretty good job again. It’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to top last night’s episode, but then again they’ve taken us for unexpected turns before. It’s sad to remember there are only 2 episodes left, but it’s shaping up for an exciting couple of episodes.

Episode Takeaways

-Valyrian steel can stop white walkers

-Sansa knows about Bran and Ricken finally

-Arya – mission accepted, it’s about to get exciting!

-Dany can start making better decisions with the aide of Tyrion

-Reminded the White Walkers are the real threat of the entire series. There won’t be a throne to take if everyone is a zombie…

-Jorah was banished again, but we know he has grey scale and possibly cause a lot of damages

-Watching Cersi be tortured and deprived is everything I wanted it to be

-Something is happening with the Mountain experiment, and I want to know what’s to come of Frankenmountain (Cersi’ possible escape?)

Authors Note: I have not read the books and any speculation is simply based on the television show.


Zach Ricketts
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Zach Ricketts

Zach is veteran of obsession and it started when his father handed him an X-men comic. He’s an avid Marvel and DC comics fan, as well as an over obsessed sports fan. He’s fond of video games, lore, pirates, and time travel. Ninjas are pretty cool as well. To him, story matters most whether it’s the games he plays or the books he reads. 

Pizza lunchables are his jam.
Zach Ricketts
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