Sunday, May 31, 2015

Game of Thrones Episode Review: Hardhome (S5, E8) Spoilers!!

Disclaimer. I have read the books, and I like to compare the show and the books. Be warned, I will give Book spoilers in my discussionJ.
Wow! Let this episode sink in. I just finished the episode, and I am still in shock at how well it was done. The last twenty minutes were so intense, so jammed pack with action and emotion I did not want it to end. I cannot wait for next week. They could have saved the end battle of this episode for the finale, and I would have been happy for the season to end.  It was a great ride this week, and can’t wait to see what is in store for the last few episodes.
We opened up with Tyrion and Daenerys. Tyrion proved himself by offering wisdom. He navigated a tricky situation, by telling Danny to spare killing Jorah, but still send him away because of his initial betrayal, and not telling her when he had multiple chances to do so.  This was a great exchange, and proved once again how smart Tyrion is. Daenerys did not want to kill Jorah, but she felt she must in order to keep her word. Tyrion showed her a justifiable way out. Later in the episode we see them again. Daenerys decides not to kill Tyrion, and to keep him around as counsel. I loved this exchange, as I am sure most fans did. It puts two of the most beloved characters of the series together. BOOK SPOILER: This is something Martin has yet to do in the books. I hope it is as satisfying as it was in the show.
We touch briefly with Arya, who is becoming an oyster merchant. She is given her first assassination assignment after she learns things on the street. I was hoping to see more of Arya in this episode. I could have done without the brief scene with Reek and Sansa, if it meant seeing more of Arya prepping for her assassination. I like Arya’s storyline in the books, but it is not my favorite. Martin seems to make it move slowly. It is one of my favorite in the show.  Maisie Williams is masterful as Arya, and I, at least, want to spend as much time with her as possible. The brief scene we get with Sansa and Reek is important due to the fact Sansa learn Theon did not kill her brothers. Sansa was able to breakthrough to Reek, and hopefully he is finally going to help her escape from the dreadful Ramsay Bolton.
There are a few scenes with Cersei. Book Spoiler:  She is about to break, and confess her sins. They may break from the books, but I can only hope they keep this storyline as is. She gets to make the ultimate walk of shame.  Lena Headey is awesome as Cersei, and has been for the entire show. I love to hate her, and this storyline is not disappointing.
Now for the conclusion. WHAT A FINISH! The build up to the battle was great. The speech Jon gives to win the wildings over is spot on. The only thing which did not ring true was cussing in the middle of it. I don’t mind the cussing, it just didn’t seem a natural part of the speech. This is really my only gripe for the entire last sequence. A very tiny one.  I honestly was not expecting the battle.  I thought we would see them put people on the boats, and check in with another story to end the episode.  Nope, I was wrong, and glad I was. We stick with Jon, and the white walkers attack with all of their zombies.  The final battle is insane, and is shot well. We finally get a Game of Thrones/Walking Dead mashup. While I admit the zombie kills were not the greatest, it was still great to see.  Jon’s valyrian steel sword made mincemeat of a white walker. It works just as well as dragon glassJ. I actually cheered when Jon smashed through him with the sword. It scared my three year old, who was dozing on the couch next to me. I had him give me a high five after he woke up, which he gladly did.
Then we come to the end. I am guessing the white walker at the end is a king, or leader of some kind. It looked like he had a crown of ice around his head, which was actually part of his skull. Very cool!  The sequence with him looking out at Jon, and him starring back was chilling. Then the ice king promptly raises the dead!  It gave me goosebumps, and was the perfect way to top off this week’s episode.  

My Rating: Worthy to watch live. 

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