A few thoughts on “Hardhome”

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Season 5 Episode 8

“Hardhome” or “Caress of (Valyrian) Steel”

Let’s see, we peeked in on Tyrion & Dany’s Bad Daddy club meeting, Arya getting her murder on for the Many-Faced God, Sansa wishing she could have been the one to desausage Reek, & Cersei lapping water off the floor. All that makes for a damn good episode of Game of Thrones, right? So what does it take to make it the best Game of Thrones episode ever?

This:

Hardhome2

I’ll admit, this almost 50 year old dude, watching with wife and child, all but leapt off the couch with a resounding “YESSS!!!” and a fist pump to the old gods and the new.

For nearly 20 minutes we were treated to one of the most awesome fight sequences I’ve ever seen as the White Walkers descended on Hardhome.

“We’re not friends. We’ve never been friends.
We won’t become friends
today.
This isn’t about friendship, this is about survival.”
— Jon Snow

Prior to that, we had heartfelt speeches from Jon and Tormund (who I’ve always had a soft spot for, but now even more so), and plenty of scene stealing from Birgitte Hjort Sørensen. And yeah, I kind of knew Karsi was going to bite it. She was getting way too much screen time. Them taking the time to show her as a doting mother was a dead give away too. They wanted you to feel it when she got taken down… and I’ll admit it — it worked.

“What he did took courage, and that’s what we need
today, the courage to make peace with men
we’ve been killing for generations.” — Tormund

Brian Keene posted on twitter, “So one of the absolute best zombie films in recent years turns out to be an episode of a medieval fantasy television show.”

He was sooo right.

“Hardhome” had everything going for it. Tension in spades. Spectacular swordplay. A killer giant! Fast zombies. Harryhausen-esque skeletal nasties…

Jon’s fight with the White Walker was brilliant, and he was getting his ass handed to him by that nasty piece of work. Discovering Longclaw was equal to dragon glass was epic stuff… but it was only the second best part of the episode, because there was also this:

Hardhome1

The Night’s King, I presume, a former Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch before his descent into evil, raising the dead while staring down the current Lord Commander, Jon “I’m probably actually half Stark and half Targaryen” Snow was easily the most chilling and flat out amazing scene this series has given us so far.

And we’ve two more episodes to go…

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