Last night’s episode surpassed all expectations with its ending at Hardhome. Meanwhile, Cersei, Tyrion/Dany, Sansa and Arya endure more hard truths than ever before. And those scenes are just as memorable as well. This installment was written by D&D and directed by Miguel Sapochnik.
Tyrion and Jorah stand before Daenerys in her Throne Room. Tyrion make a witty argument as to why she needs him. Her first test of Tyrion is what to do with Jorah. Lannister replies that Mormont is devoted to her however; it’s her best interest not to return with him. Tyrion gives her first lesson about ruling as he states, “A ruler, who kills those devoted to her, doesn’t inspire devotion”. Her Grace is impressed with Lannister. She banishes Jorah from the city again. As he leaves, Jorah notices that the greyscale on his hand is growing.
During a second chat between Tyrion and Dany, they talk about their respective families. Lannister tells her that Varys convinced him to come seek her out. The Queen decides that she isn’t going to kill him; instead Tyrion will adviser her because he can talk in complete sentences. He tries to convince her to stay in Meereen but Dany’s sights are set on returning to Westeros. Tyrion instructs her that in order to rule Westeros she’ll need a powerful family behind her. Dany’s mission is to break the wheel.
Jorah returns to Yezzan and begs the slaver to let him fight in the Great Games before Daenerys; in return, he will own Mormont.
It’s been long overdue for Tyrion and Dany to meet. His wit and charm impress her. They are going to be a great duo together. Dany has a lot to learn from him about Westeros since the cities in Essos are a very different culture. And about the Tyrell’s backing, has Tyrion forgotten about Dorne? Given that the Targs have history with the Martells, it wouldn’t be surprising if they supported her as well.
Arya is now “Lana”, an oyster seller down at the harbor as she tells Jaqen of her daily tales. He instructs her to change her route in order to watch a thin man known as a “gambler”. Lana/Arya bumps into the thin man during one of her harbor runs. Jaqen explains that he extorts ship captains who owe him money (when they come back alive). She is told that the families have no one they can turn to but to the Many Faced God. Arya will give him the “gift”. The waif appears after Arya has left and thinks that she is not ready. Jaqen replies if she is or isn’t; it’s up to the Many Faced God to decide.
Arya’s transformation is very intriguing. First, her demeanor was very “in your face, loud, angry “attitude however; with her new training, she is learning to watch and see first, before killing. It’s something that she hasn’t been taught yet. Obviously, things are done differently at the House of Black and White. It’s actually enjoyable to watch Arya change.
Cersei is now imprisoned by the Faith. A Septa comes to see her with water but first she must confess. Cersei threatens her but the holy woman just slaps her and leaves. The Queen Regent screams and cries as the door shuts.
Next, Qyburn visits her with news. He lets her know that Tommen is not eating since her arrest and won’t speak to anyone. Pycelle has sent for Kevan Lannister to be Acting Hand of the King. Cersei is being charged with incest and killing Robert Baratheon. The former maester advises her that the only way out is confessing to the High Sparrow. Cersei won’t hear of that because she “made” him. Qyburn says goodbye and tells her the work continues.
Later on that night, the Septa returns asking her to confess. Cersei threatens her again as the Septa spills water on the ground. Once she leaves, Cersei drinks the water on the ground.
Definitely, karmic justice for Queen Cersei and the payback is brutal. Everything she knows has been taken from her including Tommen and the Crown. Obviously, she’s headed for trial unless she confesses her sins. It doesn’t look like anyone is going to help either and her only loyal subject is Qyburn. Leana Headey portrays Cersei to a T.
Sansa is still locked up in her room. Reek/Theon brings her some food. She angrily questions him as to why he killed her brothers. Reek tells her that was the end of Theon and the beginning of Reek. As well, he confesses that the boys he burned were not Bran or Rickon but farm boys (and Ramsay knows that too). Sansa is stunned.
Roose is planning his battle strategy as he knows, Stannis is on his way to Winterfell. He thinks the winter create a mutiny in Baratheon camp as soldiers will starve to death or die from the cold. Ramsay thinks that it’s time to strike now and leave a feast for the crows as the snow is deep. He requests 20 good men to complete the task.
For Sansa, there is a spark of hope however; she has no allies at Winterfell. So how she plays this one out will be interesting. Could Reek have an awakening? It seems that a battle at Winterfell is eminent. Whether it happens this season or next season, will be anyone’s guess.
Gilly is still making sure that Sam is recovering from his wounds. But Sam wants to know if she is ok after their love fest. Both are worried about what will happen next. Olly brings Sam some food and to ask him something. He questions Sam as to why the LC is saving the wildings after all the slaughtering and fighting they have done. Tarly replies that the White Walkers are coming for all of them and Jon is taking a risk so everyone can be safe. He’s been worrying about Jon for years but he always comes back alive.
It seems that there is mutiny rising in the Night’s Watch about bringing the Wildings behind the wall. They have been rivals for years so there’s no love lost between the two factions. Sam has a point, the WW army is deadly and for that, everyone needs to band together. This scene was definitely a build up for the next segment.
Jon and Tormund arrive at Hardhome to a cold welcome. There are thousands of Wilding gathered at the fort. The Lord of Bones greets Tormund but he is suspicious of his motives with the Crows. They ask to speak to the elders. Tormund kills the Lord of Bones when he refuses.
After that, they meet with the Elders. Jon’s mission is to save them from becoming part of the White Walker army. He promises that they will have land south of the Wall called “the gift”. The Lord Commander states that this was Mance’s mission for his people. He admits to killing Mance but Tormund tells the Elders, Jon gave him the gift of mercy because Stannis was going to burn him. Karsi, a female elder says she doesn’t trust a man in black but she’ll take Tormund’s word because “this is the way.” The Thenns oppose this idea and threaten to kill them.
As they begin to load children and elderly people on ships, the numbers outweigh what they can hold. The Wildings are running out of food and with nothing to hunt, they will starve to death. We see Wun Wunn, the giant inspecting the dragonglass. All of a sudden, a strong wind appears outside the gates as dogs begin to bark. The gates are immediately closed with people screaming outside of them. It becomes silent. A Thenn looks through the gate as wights plow through it. Edd is stuck with the giant as the attack begins.
The Lord Commander orders to get as many Wildings to the ships as fast as they can. Jon goes back to fight. Wun Wun fights them off with dragonglass. As Snow looks up he sees the King of WW’s standing on a ledge. A WW captain attacks Jon (looking for dragonglass), injuring him but as their swords meet; Longclaw doesn’t break. Jon kills the WW. Suddenly, another army of wights appears attacking the remaining homesteaders. Everyone runs for safety.
Karsi is stunned by the dead wight children that appear before her. They attack her and she is killed. As Jon rows towards the ships, the King of WW appears and he comes to towards the docks. He raises his arms as the dead wildings have joined his army of wights.
This incredible battle and ending left us all speechless. The battle was well choreographed as well as the visual effects of giants, wights and WW were insane. If anything, it convinces us that Jon’s intentions were right on the money. And it seems that Dragonglass is not the only thing that kills WW because apparently Longclaw (made of Valyrian steel) does not break. A hint of things to come in the future. Kit Harrington’s fighting prowess is sensational.
Here is a preview of the iconic Episode 9: