Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Winter Has Come: A Game of Thrones Event "Hardhome"

  After six seasons and countless, and I mean countless, "Winter is Coming" memes, Game of Thrones has officially delivered one of their most outstanding episodes, and Winter has arrived at Westeros. And while I initially wanted to write a review of the episode, I think we all can agree that's both wholly unnecessary and I wouldn't be able to give the show proper credit since I haven't exactly properly reviewed ANY episode ever of the phenomenal HBO series. So instead, I want to take you on a journey, as I watched Game of Thrones, Season 5, episode 8 "Hardhome," and why it should've been named "Winter."

So that's what Undertaker does in between WrestleManias...!

  Let's get the small stuff out of the way first: Arya is still doing her assassin training, and that's not me underplaying Arya's role in the grand scheme of things. I'm sure something will come out of this plotline and I'm 110% sure her final assassination target will be a very important character, but after the sh*t that went down in the north, I can't help but feel that her actions, no matter how monumental they actually turn out to be, will be inconsequential to the actual War of Westeros between Ice and Fire. I am actually very intrigue as to why The House of Black and White, under the guidance and worship of "The Many Faced God," have taken her under her tutelage and what exactly their role is going to be in the events to come. Are they a neutral force? Or will they side with either the White Walkers of Westeros, or Dany's Dragon Forces (copyright pending) when the time comes? The fact that book readers and show watchers are now on even terms, makes it all the better for the show runners, with George R.R. Martin's guidance, to truly surprise us from here on out!

Pictured: Actual Victim of the Spanish Inquisition

  I can't tell you how much I love that we've had five full seasons of Cersei Lannister acting and being basically one of the best heels in TV history. Everything she has done, down to her facial expressions, has been a work of art. Truly the most despicable character in all of Game of Thrones (and that's saying a lot!), whose comeuppance by someone as politically weak, not to mention he seems to have been the poorest mother*cker in all of Westeros, as the High Sparrow (at least until very recently, that is) is just the right amount of sweet poetic justice we, the viewers, have been clamoring for a long time. In a show that usually guts the most amicable characters, quite literally guts them, it's nice to finally see "the bad guys" reap what they've sown. Seeing Cersei's imprisonment and torture play out towards the final episodes of the season is going to be a nice juxtaposition to the events that are playing out in Winterfell (and the North in general) and Essos. Which reminds me...

"So I take it that's a 'No' on the 'Chibi Lannister Specia-ru?'"

  Tyrion and Dany. The two characters that have been as close to "main characters" as the show could possible attempt to have. Sure, Jon Snow seems to be the stoic "hero" of the piece, but Dany and Tyrion's storylines (not to mention being the few featured characters on seasonal posters or printed advertisement) have been as close as we can get to being "main" plotlines. Tyrion, the sole "good" Lannister (Kingslayer redemptions aside) and Daenerys Targaryen... the sole Targaryen, with dragons! And while I approve of their banter, and Tyrion's new role as Hand of the Queen, their story played second fiddle to the last half of the episode. Seriously, I'm sh*tting on Dany and Tyrion... and I don't want to. That's just how good the North storylines were this episode.

First things first, Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy's scene. Sansa has all the right to hate Reek, there's no going around that. He's earned that much scorn from her. That's fine. Here's what I want to know though: why did Theon confess that the bodies he hung and burned weren't in fact Rickon and Bran? Is it guilt? Is the confession supposed to establish him as an ally to Sansa? Would that mend most of the wrongs committed to House Stark by House Greyjoy? I don't really know, but the scene and confession was utterly intriguing and makes me think we're very close to Theon/Reek's character arc coming to a conclusion. Whether or not Martin and the show runners, are going to give him a happy ending (ha!) or a sacrificial death to ensure Sansa's survival is really up in the air.

Fitting callback is all.

  And then came Winter. Seriously, how badass was the entirety of the latter half of "Hardhome?" We get Jon Snow trying to convince the rest of the wildlings (and a giant) to come south of the Wall and take lands there to farm, only to come to arms for war when the white walkers finally arrive. Thenns though, f*cking Thenns. While some wildlings did initially agree leave with Jon, thanks to Tormund's vouch of approval, the rest had initially decided to stay (same with that giant). But then, Winter came, and it came hard. A mix of Evil Dead and World War Z zombie army, we finally see why House Stark has not only been the Wardens of the North, but had their House motto be the ominous "Winter is Coming" warning. While the weather sure is a part of that, the bigger warning has always been what that Winter would bring. And it looks like it's bringing all manner of death and war to the south of the Wall. The Night's King (and what appeared to be Four Horsemen) and their army look unstoppable right now, and other than Dragonglass and Valyrian Steel (!) things are looking very dire to our heroes. Some wildlings escaped with Jon Snow, Tormund and that giant, but how this will all play out upon their return to Castle Black is anyone's guess. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to rematch this glorious battle between man and undead and mark righteously the f*ck out!

Pictured: My reaction to this episode

SHR Rating (Because I can, and I will):

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