Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8 Review: Hardhome

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Who needs dragonglass when you've got Valyrian steel?

Most of us went into tonight's installment expecting the highlight to be Daenerys and Tyrion's chat. However, the Battle of Hardhome and the threat the Night's King represents was easily the best moment of Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8.

That's not to say Dany and Tyrion's discussion wasn't fantastic. It's just the Battle of Hardhome was epic and quite game-changing.

The general consensus among Thrones fans, is that the pacing is slightly off this season. That said, it's safe to say that with this installment the season picked up steam. I have no doubt that momentum will continue over the next two episodes.

No time was wasted, "Hardhome" opened with Tyrion and Jorah facing Daenerys in her throne room. It was impressive the way Tyrion introduced himself. "I'm the greatest Lannister killer of our time" he told Dany. This was truly a meeting of the minds and well worth the wait. I enjoyed every moment the two characters shared the screen and hung on to every word for dear life.

I didn't expect Ser Jorah to get off easy, but at least Tyrion gave him a fighting chance.

Daenerys: Why should I spend my time listening to you?
Tyrion: Because you can not build a better world on your own. You have no one at your side who understands the land you want to rule. The strength and weaknesses of the houses that will either join or oppose you.
Daenerys: I will have a very large army and very large dragons.
Tyrion: Killing and politics aren't always the same thing.

It was clear Dany was intrigued by Tyrion and she was wise to heed his advice. Their next conversation was even more entertaining. I think the two "terrible children of two terrible fathers" bonded rather quickly. There's a mutual respect between them, and this relationship is sure to provide many more wonderful moments.   

At the House of Black and White, Arya was finally understanding Jaqen H'ghar's training better. She's become proficient at telling stories and is definitely learning, but is this her true path?

Cersei was a wreck, but I'd be lying if I said I felt sorry for her. She made her bed and now has to lie in it. Her weak son is moping around in his chambers distraught over his wife and mother's incarceration. That boy needs to be removed from power immediately. I doubt he'll survive the season.

Speaking of survivors, Sansa was strong during her confrontation with Theon/Reek. It was monumental that she learned her brothers were alive.

Theon/Reek: I deserved everything. I deserved to be Reek. I did terrible things. Turned on Robb. Captured Winterfell. Killed those boys.
Sansa: They weren't those boys, they were Bran and Rickon. They were your brothers. You'd known them since they were born.
Theon/Reek: They weren't, they were only...
Sansa: Only what?
Theon/Reek: I can't.
Sansa: Tell me.
Theon/Reek: I can't. Not unless the master says.
Sansa: Tell me. They weren't what? Tell me why Bran and Rickon should be gone, while you still breath the air. Tell me to my face Theon. Tell me that they weren't your brothers.
Theon/Reek: They weren't Bran and Rickon. I couldn't find them. It was two farm boys. I killed them and burned them so no one would know.

In last week's review of Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 7, I wondered why Sam would give Jon the dragonglass. I figured he'd run into a few white walkers, but I had no idea exactly how massive this battle would actually be.

Things were tense at Hardhome, but once those dogs started barking it was clear something major was approaching. It seemed like a storm or avalanche at first, but we soon realized it was an army of White Walkers.

The White Walkers don't care if a man's free folk or crow. We're all the same to them, meat for their army. But together we can beat them.

Jon

We've known these guys are a threat since the beginning. However, now Jon Snow and the others realize what a massive menace the Night's King is. So, the game not only consists of Dany reaching King's Landing and taking the Iron Throne. It's about preventing the Night's King and his army from destroying the living altogether.

The battle was sensational! Probably the best since the Battle of the Blackwater. Again, it wasn't a standoff I was expecting which made it all the more thrilling. How about Jon's one on one with the White Walker General? Now Jon knows that dragonglass and Valyrian steel can both take down the walkers. Time to start forging some weapons.

Luckily several thousand free folk made it to the ships and sailed off. I loved watching the giant trample the White Walkers. The visual effects were outstanding this week. From the creepy children walkers, to the hundreds of walkers falling off the cliff... Wow!  

Then of course, Jon witnessed the Night's King bring all the dead wildlings back as part of his army. The threat is real, and the humans need to stop bickering among themselves and fight this insane supernatural threat. Overall, this was my favorite episode so far.

What did you think of "Hardhome"? How did you feel about Dany and Tyrion's discussion? Do you feel sorry for Cersei at all? Did the White Walker attack surprise you? Share your thoughts on the Night's King in the comments below my fellow Thrones fans.

NOTE: Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 9 is titled “The Dance of Dragons” and airs on Sunday, June 7.

Hardhome Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (284 Votes)
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Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8 Quotes

Daenerys: Why should I spend my time listening to you?
Tyrion: Because you can not build a better world on your own. You have no one at your side who understands the land you want to rule. The strength and weaknesses of the houses that will either join or oppose you.
Daenerys: I will have a very large army and very large dragons.
Tyrion: Killing and politics aren't always the same thing.

The White Walkers don't care if a man's free folk or crow. We're all the same to them, meat for their army. But together we can beat them.

Jon