Game Of Thrones: 5.08 Hardhome

Finally, for the first time this series an episode that felt like every scene had a point. Most of the stories moved on, even if Winterfell is crawling through the snow, and the White Walkers finally got their day in the winter mist.

Let’s tackle it in order though: Tyrion and Daenerys!!!! The met, they spoke, at length, they verbally jousted, the found common ground and there was the tentative start of an alliance. The two scenes with the two fan faves were peppered with great dialogue and terrific acting. Though you’d expect no less from Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke who have been great since episode 1. These scenes only cement the idea that the Khaleesi is on her way to be the true ruler of Westeros, backed by the cleverest Lannister. Only we all know that in GOT world the true and the good only end up one way.

Over in Braavos Arya is learning to be an assassin. In GOT speak: A man thinks that Arya’s story is interesting but is not sure where it’s going. A man hopes it’s not a waste of time and has an end game. A man thinks a girl needs to have some juice things coming up in the next two episodes or it will have been a waste of a man’s life.

Winterfell next then, and it continues to be the place where innocents come to die. Sansa and Reek are still locked in horrific relationships with Ramsay Bolton, though the prospect of him dying at the hands of the stoic heroic, and MIA this week, Stannis Baratheon was raised this week. Will the much expected battle of Winterfell not happen this season then?

King’s Landing: Cersei’s not having much fun is she. Has there been a worse player in the game of thrones? The Stark’s (Robb and Eddard) were too principled and naive, Joffrey too mad, Tywin too confident, but Cersei is just a bit rubbish at it all. Her grand plan to give power and weapons to the High Sparrow has spectacularly backfired. There’s an enormous amount of schadenfreude in seeing the former Queen Mother in the state she’s in, drinking water from the floor of her prison cell; so shortsighted in the longest of games.

Up in the North, and beyond the wall in fact, Jon snow has found some people that like talking less than he: The Wildlings. Some great scenes and the twenty minute onslaught of White Walkers meant Hardhome was the best episode of a somewhat patchy season. As well as the great action scenes and sense of mayhem that was portrayed by the attack, there was story progression too, and the emergence of the White Walkers as the big bad to end all big bads. It was a vision of the long game, of where the show might ultimately be leading us.

The good thing for non-book readers is that after five years of being threatened with spoilers we’re now way past that, the show is going so beyond where the books have gone that you can only wonder for the sanity of book readers going into Season Six; unless The Winds Of Winter is out by then.

The question now is how much do showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss cover in the last two episodes. We’ll find out soon enough and then we can talk about how good Season Five has been and where Season Six will take us.

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