Were you expecting that massive battle with the White Walkers? Did you imagine the Night's King would resurface?
Most of us were so focused on Dany and Tyrion's game-changing interaction, we never saw the massacre at Hardhome coming; and what a spectacle it was.
This battle was easily one of the most impressive of the series to date. Can you imagine what the finale battle for Westeros will be like?!?
Hit the comments to talk about all this and more with TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Doug Wolfe, Lindsay MacDonald, Amanda Steinmetz and Hank Otero. Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8 was an important installment, let's discuss it in detail...
Share your thoughts on Daenerys and Tyrion's discussions. What line or moment really stood out for you?
Jim: We really need more Daenerys and Tyrion time! This was my favorite point of the entire episode. I loved Tyrion's very direct questions about Ser Jorah which ended with him saving Jorah's life by pointing out that Dany is going to need lots and lots of devoted followers.
Doug: Dany’s made a few false moves, but on the whole she is growing admirably in her leadership abilities - something which was only confirmed by her decision to employ Tyrion as her adviser. I wonder if at some point the Spider will show back up - a face to face between him and Daenerys would be very interesting.
Lindsay: I loved everything about their scenes. Mostly, I loved how they were constantly assessing one another. Even under the tense circumstances, Dany had to prove herself worthy of Tyrion's advice just as much as Tryion had to prove himself worthy of giving it. These two are going to be a power-team, that's for sure!
Amanda: I enjoyed everything about their screen time. Both characters are highly intelligent and able to hold their own with each other. I agree with Lindsay that is what about both of them being worthy of helping out each other. I'd watch an entire episode of Tyrion and Daenerys talking.
Hank: I agree with everyone, more Tyrion and Dany time is a must! We've waited for years for Daenerys to interact with one of the principle players from Westeros and their conversations were worth the wait. I also loved the way the two were proving their value to one another, helping them bond quickly. I loved Dany's line "I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."
Are you any closer to understanding Arya's training with Jaqen H'ghar? What is the point of this latest exercise?
Jim: A man does not understand what Jaqen and the Faceless God wants a girl to do, but a man is patient and willing to watch and see where it goes.
Doug: Well said, Jim! I agree. Obviously Jaqen has some scores to settle of his own. I haven’t yet figured out his unique supernatural abilities, but it seems apparent he has them. The thing that makes it really interesting is that he’s thrown Arya into the deep waters of his Many-Faced God's machinations, and isn’t too invested in whether she’s successful or survives.
Lindsay: Seems to me that before you can learn to change your face, you have to learn believe your own lies and become someone else. Arya's learning that now, but I think Jaqen has something sneaky of his own going on.
Amanda: While I love the way Jim expressed his feelings about the storyline, I am less inclined to maintain interest. With only 2 episodes left, I want to get some resolution to Jaqen's teachings.
Hank: That's hilarious Jim! I'm totally with you, no idea what's going on with this particular storyline. I'm sure everything will make sense in the end. Jaqen H'ghar is Thrones' Yoda, only far more cryptic. Sometimes, I have to rewind to listen to his words again. As Amanda says, I'm ready for some resolution to all this.
Sansa learned her brothers, Bran and Rickon, are alive. How will this knowledge change her frame of mind?
Jim: Honestly couldn't care less. This is the least interesting part of the show at the moment. All I heard in the conversation was this: Sansa, "boo hoo, I'm a victim again, and sad because I tried to have a simpering idiot save me." Theon, "I keep tell you I'm Reek, I'm week, and I'm boring. I can't help it if you were dumb enough to trust me”.
Doug: I’m not convinced it’s going to make much difference in her frame of mind. Right now she’s more interested in escape than anything else. Learning of her brothers’ survival is a “nice to know” but not particularly relevant to her at the moment.
Lindsay: I actually think it's going to be a huge motivator for her. Sansa seemed pretty helpless and defeated before the news. Now, I can see her staging that escape attempt in an effort to find Bran and Rickon. I hope that turns out to be her new plan, since watching her be abused and raped every episode is NOT ideal.
Amanda: I guess it's girls against guys here because I'm with Lindsay on this one. I think this bit of information will definitely help Sansa's state of mind. She was feeling all alone in the world and extremely defeated. Now that she knows her family is still out there, it gives her something to hold onto. The news could push her to escape and reunite with her brothers.
Hank: Sorry fellas, I'm with the ladies on this one. Sansa's in a ridiculously dark place and this news is the one ray of hope she's had in ages. I think learning Bran and Rickon will motivate her to find them. Once the dust settles at Winterfell this season, I have a feeling reuniting with her brothers will become Sansa's mission.
Were you expecting the White Walkers to attack Hardhome? What was your favorite moment during the massacre?
Jim: I was not expecting the attack to happen right then. I really enjoyed watching the giant stomp zombies flat, but the winning moment was Jon figuring out his sword could kill the Walkers.
Doug: Like Jim, I didn’t expect them to show up so soon either. I think for the sake of the story we all needed to see the White Walkers’ attack. The resurrection of the newly dead was particularly important.
Lindsay: I was expecting that kind of battle scene to be an season finale situation, but I'm glad it's happened early because it will inform a lot of Jon's choices from here on out. The game of thrones happening in the south probably seems a hell of a lot less important to him now.
Amanda: I think we all agree the battle scene was necessary and welcome. Everything about the sequence held my attention. Despite all the chaos and bloodshed, the standout moment for me was the ending. The quiet was unsettling and the awakening of the dead was a sight to see.
Hank: Honestly, I was so focused on Dany and Tyrion's face off I never saw this battle coming. I had been missing the White Walkers though and now Jon Snow understands what a threat the Night's King is. I wonder if we'll get his story next season? Doubt we'll see the Night's King again this season. Overall, a very impressive (and expensive) battle right up there with Blackwater and the wildling attack on the Wall last season. My favorite moment was Jon realizing Longclaw can destroy the walkers.
Jon caught a glimpse of the Night's King and witnessed his power. Does the King see Jon Snow as the leader of the living?
Jim: More likely sees him as his only real threat from the living. Given the sword, his knowledge, and the piercing gaze the gave it each other, they are either sworn enemies now, or in love.
Doug: The King now knows that Jon is aware of his kryptonite - Valyrian steel (as well as dragon glass), so that makes them mortal enemies. My guess is that the name of “dragon glass” is no accident or coincidence, and stems from some aspect of dragon fire. It makes me wonder if the end game involves Daenerys and her dragons uniting all of the kingdoms in a final war against the White Walkers - and whether her dragons play the biggest role in their defeat. Even Jon Snow wasn’t sure that the various kingdoms, along with the Wildlings, would be enough to defeat them.
Lindsay: I'm with Doug, eventually Daenerys and her dragons are going to play a part in defeating the White Walkers, and the timing might work out just right. Either way, Jon's sword might be the only weapon they've got left. Didn't they have to leave the dragon glass at Hardhome?
Amanda: I'm liking this whole idea that the dragons will play a major part in defeating the White Walkers. Even if the King sees Jon Snow as the leader, I'm sure he doesn't feel too threatened considering how quickly the White Walkers seem to massacre hundreds of people.
Hank: Like Doug, I made the Daenerys/dragons/dragonglass connection. There's little doubt the dragons will play a huge role in the epic final battle. Of course, once Dany has them under control again. That said, something tells me there's a more important connection between Jon Snow and the Night's King than we realize at this point. Will the King make Jon a soldier in his army? If so, can he be brought back from something like that? I predict some type of drama along those lines. That resurrection moment was more important than we can understand right now.
Here's a peek at this Sunday's Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 9 titled “The Dance of Dragons.”