GoT Recap: Freezy Freakies

Game of Thrones

To paraphrase Jaws: I think we’re gonna need a bigger piece of dragonglass.

This week’s Game of Thrones finds Jon fighting the biggest (and scariest) battle yet — and losing big — against the frozen army of the undead. Elsewhere, forget the thrilla in Manilla: It was a scene in Meereen when Tyrion Lannister finally had an official audience with Daenerys Targaryen.

To find out how both of these situations resolved, read on as we recap “Hardhome.”

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HOUSE TARGARYEN | Daenerys is skeptical that Tyrion, who stands next to Jorah before her in her official chamber, is worth keeping around — especially because his family killed hers. “I am the greatest Lannister killer of all time,” he points out as he launches into an impressive bid to become one of her advisers. OK, smart guy, she says, what should become of Ser Jorah? Tyrion weighs the situation. On one hand, “He worships you. He is in love with you, I think,” Lannister points out, BECAUSE HE HAS EYES. Look at the painfully hurt looks Jorah and Daenerys exchange while Tyrion talks! Still, killing those who are devoted to you doesn’t engender devotion in others, Tyrion says, so Dany lets the old knight live — but banishes him from the city. As he’s escorted away, the heartbroken Jorah sees that the greyscale on his arm is spreading. He later finds the man who bought him and Tyrion and asks for another chance to fight in front of the queen.

That done, Tyrion and Daenerys share some wine and commiserate about having vicious fathers. “I had given up on life until Varys convinced me you might be worth living for. If you chop off my head, well, my final days will have been interesting,” Tyrion says, in a conversation that is pretty damn great. The upshot: She lets him live and brings him on as an adviser; he quickly gets to work serving up some real talk about how she’s virtually without support in Westeros, but she indicates that she wants to create a new world order: “I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel.”

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HOUSE STARK: A-GIRL-IS-BECOMING-SOMETHING-ELSE EDITION | Arya’s education continues as she adopts the persona of an oyster-seller named Lana whom Jaqen sends to assassinate a crooked ship owner at the docks.

HOUSE LANNISTER | Fornication, treason, incest and the murder of King Robert — those are the charges being brought against a very rough looking Cersei, who remains defiant in her dirty little cell. Her shady maester visits with the news that everything is going south at the castle, so maybe she should confess and end it all? A straggly-haired Cersei answers that with a heaping helping of “NOPE,” so he leaves and cryptically says, “The work continues.”

Later, we watch a parched Cersei desperately lap water off the ground rather than confess and sip from the dipper she’s offered. Yeah, I feel a little bad for you, Queen Mum, but damn if that visual isn’t really, really satisfying.

HOUSE STARK: THE-TRUTH-WILL-OUT EDITION | Sansa and Theon have a little catch-up session, in which he recaps everything that happened to him in the time they’ve been apart. She’s unsympathetic — “If it weren’t for you, I’d still have a family. If I could do what Ramsay did to you right here right now, I would,” — she spits, but when he slips that the boys he burned weren’t Bran and Rickon, he inadvertently gives her more hope than she’s had in a very long time. Now let’s just hope he doesn’t run to Ramsay with news of his verbal diarrhea…

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THE MEN OF THE WALL | Ollie goes to Sam to ask for some clarity on Jon’s mission beyond The Wall. “How can he trust them?” says the boy, whose family was killed by a band of wildlings led by Tormund, and he’s got a point. But Sam preaches the wildlings-are-people-too gospel, adding that Jon knows what’s best for everyone.

That may be true, but it sure doesn’t feel true as Jon, Giantsbane and the rest arrive at Hardhome, a giant settlement of free folk. The wildlings there don’t understand how Tormund and Jon are allies, and when the leader gets nasty about it, Big Red beats the life out of him — literally. “Gather the elders, and let’s talk,” Giantsbane says. (Ha!)

Jon then makes an impassioned plea for both groups to work together to beat the white walkers and the wights they command, and when he passes around a satchel of dragonglass, they start to listen. “The long night is coming and the dead come with it,” he tells them. And with Giantsbane’s seal of approval, many of them — though not the Thenns in attendance — slowly get on board.

The exodus is happening when suddenly all of the dogs in the encampment start barking. It soon becomes clear that the wights are attacking en masse, which speeds up the departure considerably. Those little dead jerks are persistent, climbing the gates, tunneling under walls and generally massacring the Wildlings who haven’t been able to get on boats. Even though he realizes that the situation likely will not end well, Jon leads a charge of Night’s Watch men to the front of the battle to buy the escapees more time.

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Let’s shorthand the fight: Blood, snow, dead things, running, arrows, creepy zombie children, a giant, bones, more dead things. At one point, Jon realizes that figures on horseback are watching the melee from afar — he and the Thenn run into one of those creatures when they go to retrieve the bag of dragonglass. The thing (similar to what Sam saw at the end of Season 2) looks like the bad guy from Ghostbusters 2 and lands a bunch of good blows on Jon… until Jon pulls out his sword made of Valryian steel and turns the creature to dust.

The battle is beautifully shot and terrible to watch; Jon and his men get away at the last moment, but this is in no way a victory. Another one of the commander dead guys (who I am led to believe is  known as the Night’s King) strides to the end of the pier and locks eyes with a retreating Jon, then with a gesture raises all of the dead the wights just killed. The scene is chilling in more ways than one.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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97 Comments
  1. Bosco says:

    Oh. My. God. I thought the talk between Tyrion and Dany was excellent, and then Jon got to Hardhome. Amazingly filmed, I was on the edge of my seat. I thought it was a brilliant episode.

    • LDMRNJ says:

      Yes! I was ready to say “A+” episode just seeing Tyrion and Dany…. and then. Holy White Walkers! Maybe the best episode of the entire series.

      • Homesick says:

        I literally forgotten about Tyrion and Daenerys by the time the hardhome battle was done. It was that good!

        Great first meeting, those two were born to rule together. Sorry I had forgotten how awesome the possibility could be in a world where the White Walkers aren’t roaming the earth.

      • AddieM says:

        This episode is easily in the top 3 episodes of the series so far. That battle scene needs some awards of sorts. I have no words…I was at the edge of my seat, sweating and praying to the old and the new gods that Jon survives this…this battle was brilliant and chilling for sure.
        Let’s not forget the haunting silence/ocean waves during the end credits, very fitting because I could literally feel my heart thumbing. A++

  2. Rebecca Parker says:

    Wow. That is all.

  3. A. D. says:

    Hands down the best episode yet!

  4. Alrisha says:

    Best episode of the season!!! Tyrion and Daenerys. Cersei drinking from the floor. And then that battle. Was amazing. That kids were creepy as hell. At least they know now two ways to kill the NW. Can’t wait for next week.

  5. Mark says:

    The commanders are the Whitewalkers, the ice zombies are called Wights. That’s why only dragonglass or dragonsteel kill them.

  6. Viv says:

    Call my broker! 10,000 shares of Valerian steel, stat! We’re gonna make a killing…

  7. Joey says:

    If this season doesn’t end the way A Dance With Dragons ended, then I don’t even know what we’re watching for.

    • mayflyman says:

      as George r.r. martin has said. the books tell it’s own story, while the tv show tells it in it’s own way. since there have been so many deviations already from the book it might just end in it’s own way.

      • jerseygirl says:

        Exactly. As a book reader/lover and a shower watcher/lover – I find them both compelling. I don’t view them as one and the same thing. I view them as their own separate tellings of a story. Much in the same way I can read a dozen biographies on the same person and come away with a dozen different perspectives.

      • Joey says:

        If you’re trying to make the argument that “For the Watch…!” isn’t a compelling way to end the season then I don’t have anything left to say to you.

    • liam says:

      I know! Isn’t great book purist?! It’s called suspense! Soak it in! ;p

    • thesideye says:

      HBO’s producers and GRRM have always maintained that the show will end the same way as the book series ..but the path to get there will be different. So no, I wouldnt put too much stock into how book 5 of the series ends.

  8. Kristine says:

    I loved that episode! Now I’m sad knowing that there are only 2 more this season.

  9. @tvneuroepi says:

    Tormund actually says “Gather the elders, and let’s talk”, not “Gather the others, and let’s talk”.

  10. Mulekick74 says:

    Great episode. However am I the only who kept thinking of Fran from Dodgeball when Arya was Lana?

  11. Outis says:

    Tonight’s episode was ridiculously amazing. Holy crap, the last 20 minutes or so, I’m not sure I took a breath. White Walker General is like, “Come at me, bro”. Best episode of the season.

  12. knd24 says:

    Epic…that was seriously epic

  13. Pocket says:

    Now THAT was a flipping awesome ending!

  14. Fona says:

    Excellent episode. I know she didn’t have a ton of screentime this ep, but Maisie Williams should be the next big thing. What an outstanding talent.

  15. Isys Eye says:

    The Wight Avalanche, what an amazing visual. I don’t think I moved or blinked for the last 2o minutes of the show. I just sat there with my mouth open as the credits rolled, GoT smacked.

  16. Mary says:

    This is what we’ve been waiting for!!! Excellent! Thrilling! Tyrion! Dany! Sansa! Jon Snow! White Walkers!

  17. LDMRNJ says:

    I assume that Cold-meanie was the Night’s King? Loved those few minutes. He was all “Bring it Jon Snow.” and Jon’s all “Well, this sucks.” I’m going to have to stay up and watch the West Coast feed of HBO again just because I can’t believe it’s over. Two more episodes?! No. Just not fair.

    Spoiler —

    any book read or forum lurker yell out “Lightbringer!” when Jon’s sword held it’s own? I had the urge to call Melisandre and start comparing Azor Ahai notes.

    • Zach says:

      I definitely did. Haha. I’ve seen other people say it’s just because it was Valryrian steel, but I don’t recall it working like that in the books.

      • Ldmrnj says:

        was it fire or the sword Jon used when he saved Mormont? It’s been a while since I read that bit. Got to find out. Regardless…. Even if it worked because it’s valryian steel, it still fits the prophecy. For me anyway. I can’t wait for next week (and book 6)

        • Lucia says:

          We don`t know for sure in the books, Sam finds in a book about dragonsteel, so Jon says valiryan steel? And sam says it could be. And thats it, so I was so exited about that scene. Meli get yout visions check!

        • Johanna says:

          Jon used fire in the books to save Mormont, burning his hands in the process. Mormont gave him Longclaw after that, for saving his life.

  18. Jenna says:

    Outstanding episode in every way. Each confrontation was pivotal and revealing, and the finish was epic. Just…wow.
    And I think Arya is the new ‘Grasshopper’. lol

  19. Kafiyahbelloi@yahoo.com says:

    All I could say the last 5 minutes was Oh S*&t, Oh S*&t. AMAZING!!!!!

  20. ninergrl6 says:

    HO. LY. SH**. I don’t know how many times I said that out loud during the last 15 min. That battle was epic and tragic and oddly reminded me of Titanic. I couldn’t figure out how Jon was able to survive & smash his attacker to pieces (I think I yelled at my tv, “Why did that work?!”) but aha Valyrian steel! I rely on these recaps to explain some of this stuff that obviously goes over my head.

    Besides the battle, there was some fantasic dialogue in this ep, particularly between Tyrion & Dany. But I think my favorite exchange came from the wildlings:
    “My ancestors would spit on me if I broke bread with a Crow.”
    “So would mine but f*** ’em, they’re dead.”
    Ha! Actually that whole scene was filled with great dialogue: Tormund defending Jon’s shooting of Mance, Jon’s rousing speech to get the wildlings on his side and “give the f***ers a fight,” Tormund saying Jon “is prettier than both my daughters.” Great scene. Great episode. Gonna rewatch it right now!

    • AngelWasHere says:

      All the dialogue with the wildlings was fantastic! Loved the dialogue you mentioned! I also loved how they kept calling Jon pretty. <3 :P

  21. abz says:

    And here I was basking in the awesomeness of Danaerys and Tyrion’s first conversation and then those last 20 minutes happened! HOLY SH**!!! One of the best episodes of the show. And getting to see Cersei suffer and having to drink water off the floor was icing on the cake. I have a question though, who’s sword was that that Jon picked up and was it made of dragon material? Is that why he was able to kill the Whitewalker?….Also, my one complaint is the Arya storyline. It’s so damn dull and annoying. It feels like just a bunch of cleaning and talking. A friend told me what happens to her in the book. Not sure if he was just messing with me because what he told me sounded pretty stupid, but I just want them to get to the point with that story or move on.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Agree about Arya. She used to be one of my faves but now her storyline is a snooze fest.

      • AngelWasHere says:

        Yes snooze fest indeed. So disappointed with her storyline so far. It makes me miss the Hound. At least they had interesting banter.

    • Homesick says:

      To me, it’s all about the tension between Arya and Jaqen. It’s almost like he is only Jaqen when she’s around and goes back to be no one when she’s not. Like falling in love, except it’s falling into an identity. She wakes up something in him at the same time he sparks something in her. Since it wasn’t on the books, it makes their plot something completely new and original.

    • mayflyman says:

      it was his own sword, it was knocked out of his hand when he was looking for the dragon glass. and the sword is made of valyrian steel. the part about it being able to kill a white walker is just another mystery the writers may explain in next week’s episode

  22. Xerxes says:

    Excellent episode! I was having doubts about this season but it has been a slow burn with things teeing up quite nicely for the various dramatic cliffhangers and power scenes for all the main characters that take place in AFFC and ADWD. But which will be the last scene of the finale? My prediction is that it will be the scene at the Wall and in the show- Ollie =Wick and does his deed.

    • Chris Coburn says:

      I don’t know. But we still need to have Cersei’s “Walk of Shame” through King’s Landing. And we KNOW that’s happening since they said that they had to close the streets of wherever it was filmed for that scene. And it will likely take place in the finale. At least, I don’t remember seeing any images of it during the previews.

  23. Did anybody else wonder how in the heck that giant was going to get on one of those ships lol????

    • Homesick says:

      I was more concerned for his survival: a dead giant only means a dead giant soldier on the white walker’s side. Something tells me no one on those boats would’ve survived a dead giant soldier. I’m glad he’s still alive

      • Flashrow says:

        hahaha I was thinking the same in the whole battle. Every time I saw a white walker in his back or head, I was like, now he is becoming one of them.

  24. Lily says:

    for a moment, I thought that Benjen could appear like a frozen zombie. was an epic episode, the battle made me feel so tense!
    Like the Danny-Tyron encounter & I’m happy ’cause Sansa known that her little brothers are alive; she is not the only Stark alive; hope that means she gonna has her pay-back & gonna kick Ramsay’s ass

  25. pam says:

    In a word….DAMN!!

  26. AngelWasHere says:

    This ep was amazing!!! So sad the wildling girl died. Her lines were awesome! Jon had me scared for a min. I hope Jorah gets to redeem himself before he dies or turns. Loved seeing Cersei drink water off the floor too. Bwahaha! I think that’s it. Oh boy I can’t believe its only 2 eps left!!!

    • AngelWasHere says:

      Forgot to say I’m glad Sansa has some hope now. Hopefully Reek/Theon doesn’t run to Ramsay and confess what he did.

    • Chris Coburn says:

      I knew she was dead as soon as she put her kids on the boat and didn’t get in with them.
      Her lines. Approximately. “I’ll be there shortly. I have to help the old ones get in.”
      My thoughts. “Nope. You’re going to die.”

  27. DarkDefender says:

    VALAR MORGULIS. Freaky cold men must die!

  28. Magali says:

    Simply one of the best hour of television i have ever seen.

  29. justme says:

    Can someone who has read the books tell me- Does all that dragonglass get left behind in the book?

    SPOILERS- don’t read reply if you don’t want to know anything from the books

    • liam says:

      Sorry but this battle wasnt in the books. Pretty much most everything in this season is its own thing. Which if you have read the books, unless you sincerely believe that GRRM can resolve the literally DOZENS of plotlines in a cohesive fashion before he dies of natural causes or obesity you’d probably agree going off book is a good thing.

      • jerseygirl says:

        I wouldn’t say ‘most everything’ is away from the books. Much of what’s there is in the books or alluded to in the books or on the cusp of happening in the books (Barristan for example) OR happens to another (often a minor) character in the books. I think it’s more about keeping a TV pace vs a book pace and clipping minor plots that end up dead-ends in the book. As an example, the group from Dorne that pay a visit to Dany – really ends up no where in the books and can easily be chopped for times sake and sanity in the show. :) All that said – I think as a book reader and a show watcher, it’s two different tellings of the same story that ought to viewed as their own thing and not compared.. . which is kind of like what you said.

  30. Wordsmith says:

    From the way Jaqen described it, it sounds like Arya’s target is not a ship owner, but rather the Braavosi equivalent of a life insurance salesman. Even more reason to kill him…

  31. Epic. Right up there with “Battle of the Blackwater”.

  32. Ellen says:

    I love GoT but I’ve been underwhelmed with the episodes this season. I felt they were just setting us up for the next season. But then this episode!!!! Dang, it was exciting plus Tyrion is back in full force. Sansa’s story is interesting but my favorite story lines are tyrion’s and John snow’s. They basically were the catalysts for last season. I can’t wait for the last two episodes.

    • LDMRNJ says:

      One issue for the season is the source material. Books 4 and 5 are huge and overlap in time. There’s a lot of build, backstory, inner torment, travel, zillion minor characters and side plots that don’t translate well to screen. Yet some of the shuffling, training, Ect is necessary for a bigger payout. One of the issues I have with book to screen converts is that the production tries to squish everything into too small of a window – sticking with the high action and little character development, backstory, etc. Too often it just comes out muddled and messy. Too much depth missing – too much of what made a story resonate gone. Even with the changes, GoT has done a good job at not losing all of what works in GRRM’s telling. . . even if it means some viewers have to watch the build longer they may normally like to. The build is what makes the pay out great. Who would relish Cersei is licking water up off a floor if you didn’t hate her guts or know that she set the Tyrells up for the same fate, etc. Now with Arya – it’s about training. It’s about a transformation. It is slow – not nearly as slow as the written version – but there’s a reason. one does not walk into a temple and come out an assassin that afternoon because the viewer demands it. ;)

  33. Charmaine says:

    The best episode yet!!! with only two more episodes to go for season 5, GOT best show out there

  34. Ella says:

    Best episode this season. A gem in an otherwise lacklustre 8 episodes.

  35. AnnieM says:

    And the Giant even had the Face of Boe! Well, sort of. Lol.

  36. The Kaibosh says:

    When Jon shattered the White Walker, what enchantment allowed it? Was it the steel? All blades made of Valyrian steel can harm White Walkers? Was it the sword? Is it enchanted in some way? Is Jon possibly carrying Lightbringer and doesn’t know it? Or was it the man himself that is enchanted?

    • Karen MT says:

      From the wiki: Valyrian steel was manufactured in the Valyrian Freehold with dragonfire before the freehold fell.[3] Valyrian steel blades are lighter, stronger, and sharper than even the best castle-forged steel, and feature distinctive rippled patterns similar to Damascus steel, the mark of steel that has been folded back on itself many thousands of times.[4] Valyrian steel keeps its edge forever.[3] Valyrian steel was always costly, but it became considerably more so when there was no more Valyria, the secret of its making lost with the Doom.

      So perhaps because of the dragon fire and spells, it makes the swords possible to kill the White Walkers.

      • The Kaibosh says:

        Thanks for the response. I’ve also now read the entry and it appears there is a circular reference. The wiki entry that states that Valyrian steel is the only other type of weapon that can kill a White Walker is based on the episode we just saw. Although a wiki entry looks official, the person who entered it is only basing in on their own interpretation of what they saw in the episode just as we’re discussing it now. It doesn’t actually support the assertion that all Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers. Its an opinion. Its probably correct given that from a practical perspective more weapons will be needed to fight the White Walkers.

    • LDMRNJ says:

      I *might* have yelled “LIGHTBRINGER!” at my TV when it happened. Just sayin’ (and I’ve been fairly convinced that in the books, Melisandre is having 2nd thoughts about who is the 2nd coming….which her new target being John. . .

  37. SuckItUpCersei(ha) says:

    Outstanding episode in every aspect. I didn’t expect to see the White Walkers this season except, perhaps, as a cliff hanger in Episode 10. What a shock to see all out WW battle. I’m not big on war scenes, but this was amazing. Well done to all involved. Fills me with dread for the future. Cersei drinking off the floor (heh!). Tyrion & Dani (worth waiting for and what a fascinating future!). Jorah (so sad). Arya (her list is shrinking every season… who will be left for her to kill? Love Jaqin character.)

    How ironic that the very thing that makes the finale of this episode so amazing is the very thing that will ensure GoT once again doesn’t get an Emmy — the White Walkers and wights. Wish the damn Emmy academy members would grow up and expand their vision of what makes exceptional television. Well, maybe when the older generation dies off and new blood takes over in a generation or two. Until then, thank goodness for the Critics Awards — what television awards should be.

  38. What an epic episode! But can please someone help me cause I’m confused! I’m pretty sure we see the SAME White Walker still “alive” and killing right after him being into 1000 pieces from Jon’s sword! It’s the scene right after the giant walking into the water…tadaaa the blue eyed dead “dead” is there in full pieces! Wasn’t he dead for good? Or he can be ressurectured ?

    • Brigid says:

      It was not the same White Walker. There are a few of them, as seen on the horses at the top of the mountain when Jon looked up before the battle to get the dragon glass.

    • Shaun says:

      The one at the end was the Night King….the other just a normal WW

    • Brook says:

      I agree! There was a split second where you see the one he just killed still fighting. Same clothes, same hair, everything. I think it was a mistake in editing.

      • I’ll stick with that cause I’m pretty sure we talk about the exact same WW.

        • CountryQueen says:

          They were NOT the same. The dude that Jon killed had longer hair. The dude in the pix above has a crown of ice built right into his head! The WW Jon killed shattered into a million billion ice crystals (that’s what it looked like), so he wasn’t coming back from that. It must be the clothes that are confusing you, very similar.

  39. Lila says:

    I noticed last episode and this current one that Sansa’s hair has gone from the black of the earlier episodes to red. Guess the Boltons don’t have any black dye.

  40. emmy says:

    the last 15 minutes were amazing!!!

  41. jay says:

    Question? Why don’t the White Walkers go into the water after Jon Snow etc?

    • Chris Coburn says:

      Even better question. Since the White Walkers bring the snow, does that mean they could touch the water and freeze it solid? Then, they could have just walked out on the ice AND the ships wouldn’t be able to get away. Free soldiers!

      Unless, the water wouldn’t freeze because it’s salt{?}water.

      But to answer your question. Maybe Walkers can’t swim. They don’t need to breathe, so they COULD have pulled a Pirates of the Caribbean “walk on the bottom under the water”thing. But then, they’d have no way to actually get into the ships, since the Night’s Watch would have weighed anchor and gotten the heck out of Dodge ASAP.

  42. paul says:

    Just. Frigging. Brilliant.

  43. Nichole says:

    10 episodes a season isn’t enough!!! It makes things feel a bit rushed. I have not read the books so am not sure how much is in the show or not in the show, but do feel like a few more episodes a season could help, especially in the last few seasons where so many more story lines have been added, at times I feel short changed. Actually had to google why Bran and co hadn’t been seen as yet this season lol!