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Blog of Thrones 5.8: Hardhome [contains spoilers]

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It’s back! Can you believe it’s been almost a whole year since we last left the Westeros realm? During that time the hype hasn’t died down any and we’ve all been clambering at the bit, excitedly waiting for Game of Thrones to return. Happily our not so patient waiting is finally over as season five has finally landed.

One of the best things about the show is of course the audience participation, we love to talk about Game of Thrones. THN will be here every week post evening UK transmission to chat about all the inevitable twists, turns and tragic deaths in our Blog of Thrones.

Be warned, only read on if you have seen the eighth episode of season five Hardhome as this article contains spoilers.

GoT Hardhome

Writers: David Benioff, D. B Weiss

Directors: Miguel Sapochnik

Cast: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Sophie Turner, Alfie Allen, Maisie Williams, Iain Glenn, Tom Wlaschiha

Synopsis: Tyrion advises Daenerys. Sansa forces Theon to tell her a secret. Cersei remains stubborn. Arya meets her first target. Jon and Tormund meet with the Wildling Elders before the White Walkers attack.

This week’s episode’s name is Hardhome which is the name of a ruined Free Folk settlement which of course was the setting for the first full-scale battle with the White Walker army. Finally eight episodes in we get the action packed battle that we’ve been (not so) patiently waiting for.

The episode started out with Tyrion and Jorah in Daenerys’ court. The young Queen was unsure about what to do with Tyrion who was hoping to become one of her advisors. Luckily for Tyrion, the Mother of Dragons went against her gut to kill him, instead choosing to keep him around a little longer. Sadly the luck didn’t transfer to Jorah who, although allowed to keep his life, found himself exiled once more. Never one to be kept down he has a plan to once more put himself in Daenerys’ presence; he’s going to fight in the grand fighting pit battle.

While Jorah was putting his life on the line Dany and Tyrion were bonding with Tyrion’s favourite food group, wine. The pair discussed their family units which felt a little like ‘my family treated me worse than yours did’. Could Tyrion be right about Varys? Has Varys been the reason that Daenerys has survived this long? Tyrion got his wish as Daenerys wants him as an advisor. And what was his first piece of advice? That there is more to the world than Westeros; she might find it hard to rule the rich. She has no desire to rule the rich however, as she wants to help the common people. Then came the reveal of Daenerys’ master plan, she doesn’t want to stop ‘The Wheel’, rather she wants ‘to break it’.

Arya is deep into her next level of training and is well on her way to becoming one of the faceless folk. She is currently playing the part of Lana, an oyster merchant, which is a cover for her real role. Her mission is to use her new persona to spy on ‘The Thin Man’, and if that vial is anything to go by, kill him. Her young rival doesn’t think Arya is ready, but that might just be jealousy talking.

Sansa is not best pleased with Theon – maybe she should give John Wick a call, he’s not an Alfie Allen fan either. She revelled in telling Reek/Theon that she would happily repeat everything that Ramsey did to him as it is what he deserves given how he treated her family. Her pushing him finally had Theon momentarily break through as he revealed that he never killed her younger brothers. At last a little hope for Sansa.

Downstairs her husband and his father are preparing for battle with Stannis, though the pair have conflicting views. Roose want’s to host a siege, they have six months worth of food and he’s happy to let Stannis and his men freeze to death, using the Winterfell wall to protect themselves. Ramsey however wants war, but feels that all he needs is twenty men to get the job done.

Cersei haters finally got their chance to enjoy an episode featuring the character as she has spectacularly fallen from grace. What on Earth did she think would happen enlisting religious extremists? Thankfully for her own sake the High Sparrow only knows about her infidelity with her cousin Lancel; imagine how much worse it would be were her relationship with her brother was exposed. Her creepy assistant Qyburn visited her and told her that Tommen is off of his food still and is accepting no visitors. Guess that’s what happens when a teenage boys wife and mother end up behind bars. He also cryptically told the once Queen that his work continues…

Things were a little awkward the morning after the night before for Sam and Gilly  but the awkwardness was interrupted by Jon’s young Steward Olly. Olly is not happy about Jon’s mission to unite the crows with the free folk. Sam has faith in his friend and fully supports him.

Jon arrived in Hardhome to a rather frosty reception, once the ‘Lord of Bones’ was bludgeoned things got a little better when a meeting with all the chieftain elders was called. Jon gave yet another of his rousing speeches proclaiming that the essential alliance was not about friendship but survival, and that these aren’t normal times. He then offered them the gift of Dragon Glass, something that, given later events, he should have held onto for slightly longer. Also did anyone hear that reference of ice spiders as big as hounds? It was laughed off as being a fairy tale, but then so were the White Walkers once upon a time. Jon also warned that the ‘long night’ is coming, will that be before or after winter? The group were unsure of whether to join up or not with only a handful agreeing to join, not Jon, but Tormund.

Those who were unsure soon changed their tune however, as Hardhome found itself under attack from the White Walkers. This was our first full scale Walker army battle, and even then it seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. Just how inhabited is North of the Wall? Hardhome was easily taken over with not many of Jon’s recruits getting as far as the Shivering sea, let alone the wall. Worse still, they had to abandon the precious Dragon Glass. Jon did manage to join Sam in being one of the only men alive to kill a White Walker, not that one makes much difference as the ending proved. Battle over, the White Walker King stood over the dead and reanimated them, his army just increased by a substantial amount.

After spending so long waiting for something really juicy to happen in this, the eighth episode, we finally saw this series take shape. That battle that took up the entire final quarter was everything that we had hoped a White Walker battle would be. These creatures are relentless vessels of violence and are very tricky to kill. They’re part-zombie, part-terminator, dressed up like extras from Jason and the Argonauts. Maybe instead of Wildlings Jon Snow should have sought the help of Sarah Connor (technically there are two of her within the realm) and Rick and his crew, they’ve had plenty of experience with ‘Walkers’. I also loved the giant as he stomped his way through the corpses.

We’ve only two episodes left, kicking off with next week’s Mother’s Mercy which will surely see Cersei go back on her word of not begging as she tries to avert her own death. We have the great pit battle – will Jorah be victorious? And can Arya go ahead with her assassination orders, after all the Thin Man isn’t on her list.

[usr=5] Game Of Thrones airs on HBO in north America, and Sky Atlantic in the UK and Ireland.


Catch up on all of our Blog of Thrones here.

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.

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