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Tales From Westeros – Hardhome

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“Hardhome” hits home….hard.

Throughout this season we have had something that we haven’t had in a while in Game of Thrones, being able to concentrate on four or five characters and their motivations and goals while also savoring all that inter-character banter. Granted, mostly because the characters we knew and loved in previous seasons are well…dead. This isn’t to say the new additions to the Thrones roster are unwelcome. This season’s tip of the hat at least for me has to go to the High Sparrow for heading the most well-mannered chapter of the Westboro Baptist Church I’ve ever seen. Other than that, we have a brand new unseen part of the world added in Dorne aka The Horniest Place on Earth. However, onto the episode. Or….the wrap up of last episode. Don’t judge me!

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​Last time, we saw some biggies happen. Tyrion was delivered to Daenerys as Fedora….ahem… Jorah’s gift, Cersei got double crossed by the High Sparrow and we lost everyone’s favorite blind forgetful grandpa Maester Aemon Targaryen, leaving Sam Tarly alone on the Wall with only Gilly and Baby Sam as his backup since Jon went North of the Wall with Tormund (who can be seen on YouTube doing travel commercials for a company called Wyndham Rewards). Now if I were Sam, I’d be scared too if a thousand criminals and rapists were after me and all I had was that girl from Skins and a baby. But thankfully, Ghost made the save. Deus ex Direwolf.

​Now, onto Hardhome, promise.

In Mereen, Tyrion and Jorah met with Daenerys, the Imp drops some knowledge about Dany. Dany is still obviously very smash and grab about Westeros, claiming her large army and dragons, which if she lets another escape, she can no longer use the plural, will do the trick. Tyrion replies with the same thing I’ve been screaming at my screen every time the last Targaryen princess had been onscreen since season two, stating “Killing and politics aren’t the same thing.” Dany test runs Tyrion as her advisor, and asks what should be done about Jorah. Tyrion serves as a wingman for a bit, but then pulls a semi-dick move by telling her that Jorah didn’t trust her with the truth, and can’t be by her side when she sails to Westeros, and Jorah gets removed from the city. Poor guy can’t catch a break, banished twice, and saved a man who then threw him under the bus, looks like Jorah’s future is a little…grey. Get it? Grey? Greyscale? Eh, never mind. Later, Tyrion and Dany talk over wine like a couple of aging housewives, bantering back and forth before Dany accepts Tyrion as her advisor. Tyrion’s first piece of advice is to stop her pursuit of the Iron Throne. You could almost hear the fandom shouting “No!” Tyrion argues that when Dany gets to Westeros that she will need the support of the great houses. Dany compares them to a wheel with spokes representing each house, how one is on top and then another and on and on. Tyrion asks if she intends to stop the wheel, to which she replies she intends to break it. Daenerys mad! Daenerys smashy smashy burny burny! We get a final scene from Jorah, who wants to fight at the Great Pit to see Daenerys one more time or so that he can go around touching everyone and throwing Mereen into a greyscale epidemic. The fact that Daenerys and Tyrion are finally onscreen together makes me the happiest little Thrones fan alive. Albeit an interesting ruler, the acting chops of Emilia Clarke can’t be denied, and the same is mirrored in Peter Dinklage, and the onscreen chemistry is fascinating, simply because I don’t believe Dany has ever had to deal with someone poking fun at her, as she’s had only cronies who cry “Yes Kahleesi anything for you” and Jorah collecting her toenails and making her a goddess in his head so far. Barristan Selmy was the closest she had to an advisor and I can say she never listened to a damn thing he said. Another thing to look forward to is perhaps an epic showdown between Daario Naharis, Dany’s boy toy and Jorah at the Great Pit? Could be interesting. For once I can say I’m happy the directions the Mereen side of things are taking.

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Back in King’s Landing, Cersei is still in prison and is just slaying the Anne Hathaway pre-V for Vendetta haircut in Les Miserables look and gets pimp slapped repeatedly by a nun with a spoon when she won’t confess to keeping it in the family. Later, she gets a visit from her yes man, former Maester Qyburn. Qyburn reads her the laundry list of charges which includes killing Robert Baratheon waaaaay back in season one and boinking her brother. But I mean, come on, have you seen that guy? Don’t blame her. In other news, Cersei’s Uncle Kevan is now Hand of the King, Tommen is shut in, taking the imprisonment of his mother and wife, Margery, pretty hard and won’t see anyone. Qyburn tells her to confess, but Cersei Lannister is a strong independent woman who don’t need no forgiveness. As he leaves, Qyburn lets it on that he’s still working on Frankenstiening Gregor Clegane aka The Mountain and the scene ends. This is an interesting position for Cersei, as her plan on taking down Queen Sideboob Tyrell and her, to borrow a Westerosi phrase, “sword swallowing” brother Loras, has backfired on her. The High Sparrow has put Cersei in a position where she has no friends and no way out, and that’s never happened before. With Jaime in Dorne, she doesn’t even have the man she loves. Cersei is scared, and rightfully so, but won’t give an inch. Her trial looms on the horizon, but if I know a thing or two about Lannisters and trials, she might be able to commute her sentence.

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In Winterfell, Sansa and Reek/Theon have an interesting scene where she asks him why he betrayed her by squealing on her escape plan last episode. Reek recounts his torture by Ramsay, to which Sansa replies that she’d do the same to him if she could. She’s come a long way from doting on Joffrey in season one. Reek continues to talk, eventually letting it slip that the two “boys” he killed when he sacked Winterfell weren’t Sansa’s brothers Bran and Rickon. Sansa is shocked obviously, thinking she was the last surviving Stark other than her half-brother Jon, but Bran is out there talking to trees with his trusty steed, Hodor, and Osha took Rickon to live at Last Hearth with the Umbers, where Rickon is most likely learning to bench press trees or whatever the Umbers do in their spare time. Sansa asks where they are, pleading with him by his former name and Reek storms out, screaming something along the lines of “There is no Theon, only Reek!” a la Ghostbusters. This scene was interesting, as it puts two people who have suffered in different ways. Sansa emotionally and Reek physically as well as mentally. (Seriously, if you’re lacking a package, how do you pee? You got to feel for the guy.) Both of them have suffered at Ramsay’s hands and at least in my mind, will hopefully finally snap and take down Ramsay hopefully before season’s end. Ramsay and Daddy Roose’s scene at the war table is interesting, as they plan against Stannis Baratheon’s approach on Winterfell. Roose, being you know, a strategist recommends that they wait it out until Stannis’s army freezes or starves to death or turns on him. Ramsay, exhaustingly enough, takes a page from Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson’s book and just asks for a few good men to Leeroy Jenkins Stannis’s army. This scene shows the differences between the sadistic bloodlust of Ramsay and the cold, calculating cruelty of Roose Bolton. The North Remembers, but will it be enough?

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In Braavos we finally saw our favorite prepubescent homicidal maniac Arya Stark on her first job as a Faceless Man, taking on the role of a girl named Lana to sell oysters. What I want to know is why when Arya has a wheelbarrow full of oysters, she’s fine but when I do it I get kicked out of the buffet? Anyway, Arya sees a thin man who is a gambler, skimping out of a deal with a Braavosi man, who gets the boot by his guards, pleading with the thin man the whole way. The Thin Man buys some oysters from “Lana” with enough vinegar on them to put down Guy Fieri and when she goes back to the Marilyn Manson Neverland Ranch she’s been living in, Jaquen Hagar tells her to give the man a gift, a bottle of poison. Now that Arya is starting her fieldwork, I’m hyped to see her possibly cross a name off of her famous hit list that she repeats to herself. Meryn Trant, who is escorting Mace Tyrell to Braavos to meet with the Iron Bank, which is more of a ruse for Cersei to get rid of him as jolly ol’ Mace is the only one in King’s Landing not making angsty scheming faces all the time. Could happen, could not, I would be remiss not to point it out.

After a brief scene at the Wall with Sam, Gilly and Olly, in which Olly asks Sam about what he thinks about Jon trying to get buddy buddy with the Wildlings and recounting the slaughter of his village by the wildings, in which Sam pleads his case in support of Jon. Jon and Tormund reach Hardhome, which is crawling with Wildlings. Tormund is accosted by reject Shao Kahn also known as the Lord of Bones, Rattlestick, who makes a deadly homosexual dig at Tormund and is promptly beat to death with his own staff. How very nineties teen drama closeted homosexual jock being picked on in the locker room of you, Tormund. The Wildlings are gathered and Jon pleads his case. Jon gets to his killing of Mance Rayder by way of arrow, but Tormund vouches for him, talking about Mance being burned alive by Stannis and calling it a mercy kill. Tormund describes Jon as “prettier than both his daughters” in this scene and I think it’s interesting to point out he didn’t beat himself to death for his homosexual implication. After a bit more debate, and the point about the Dragonglass they got from Sam being able to kill Walkers, Jon and Tormund seem to have won the room, but a Thenn, (those lovely cannibal wildlings) walks out on them, and some follow. The Wildlings are beginning to be transported to the ships Stannis, being the Mannis, loaned them. A woman, who had a few lines in the council with Jon and Tormund, is seen putting her young daughters on a boat and staying behind to help. What an act of selflessness and courage. Which, given the world of Westeros, gave me enough leave to know she wouldn’t last the rest of the episode.

A storm approaches, and the Wildlings, knowing that it is a sign of White Walkers, shut the gates of Hardhome and leave a bulk of Wildlings out to die. Then, as we’ve been promised since season one, winter came. Wights, the reanimated corpses brought back by Walkers began to feast on the shut out Wildlings before breaking through the gates. A massive fight ensues which is by far one of the best the show has to offer so far besides perhaps the battle of Blackwater in season three. The Four Horsemen show up on the cliff above Hardhome mid battle, and no, not Rick Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Barry Whindam. Unfortunately, these were White Walkers, and the Thenn who walked out earlier finally gets it through his bald head that Dragonglass might be a good idea. He and Jon go to find it and are confronted by a White Walker. The Walker kills the Thenn and throws Jon out of the shack before he can get to the Dragonglass. A nail biting fight ensues. Is it going to happen? Would they do it? Kill Jon Snow? The Prince that was Promised? Azor Ahai?! Nope. You can breathe. The Walker’s blade, which shattered the axe of the Thenn, is stopped by Jon’s Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw. Jon counters, killing the Walker and giving Westeros another edge against the Others. Valyrian steel. Wights are sent World War Z’ing over the cliff and Jon and company look on with a look that can best be described in “WTF” until they begin standing and rushing. The group flees to the sea, with the Wildling woman from earlier being horrified by some Wight children and promptly snacked on like the worlds most messed up Lunchable. However, there is a lightness to this bevy of death and dismemberment that comes in a giant adorably named Wun Wun tanking multiple Wights with a burning log and then charging into the sea on foot. Is he planning on swimming home? Can he walk along the bottom? Seriously, I was really concerned.

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The fight and episode ends with the Night’s King, the Walker who was last seen turning a baby into a Wight and looks like a White Walker Darth Maul standing on the edge of the dock where Jon, Tormund and co had just barely escaped on a boat. They have a stare down and the Night’s King raises his arms and raises every wildling that had just perished into Wights, bolstering his forces, with a heartbreaking close-up of the mother wildling from earlier. Jon looks disheartened, and terrified, and we are as an audience left with the sloshing sounds of the Shivering Sea as the credits roll. I think this entire segment was huge for the series, as it stacks the deck as to what Westeros is up against with the Long Night approaching. The Wights and Walkers seem damn near unstoppable besides Dragonglass and Valyrian steel, which just so happen to be as commonly found as vibranium and adamantium in Westeros. Fuck me right? It also shows the Wildlings that have joined Jon that he’s no bullshit. Now if he can just get the Night’s Watch on board, humanity might have a shot.

Thanks for reading. Berate me in the comments.

-Zach P.

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Posted on June 5, 2015, in Geekology, Tales from Westeros, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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