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    Massacre of the Wildlings in “Hardhome”: “Game of Thrones” Season 5, Episode 8 Review

    Last week’s episode left us with the good news that Cersei’s cunning plans backfire on her. Tonight, we see her misery in prison and the tragic event at the homeland of the wildings. Here is what happened in “Hardhome,” the eight episode of the fifth season of Game of Thrones: 

    Servant of the Many-faced Gods. After being absent from the previous episode, Arya Stark resurfaces and is up for a job. Instead of being a Faceless Man, Arya is trained by Jaqen H’ghar to be a servant of the many-faced gods. In her first assignment, she assumes the identity of Lyanna, an orphan girl who sells a cart of oysters. Her mission is to present a “gift” to the “thin man,” a gambler who preys on desperate boat captains and their families. When the captain loses the bet, his family is deprived by the thin man with their winnings. This family then turns to the many-faced gods of whom Arya is now serving. 

    On defensive. In Winterfell, Sansa confronts Reek of his betrayal. Their argument leads to Theon confessing that Bran and Rickon are not actually dead and that the boys he had burned were farm kids. Meanwhile, the Boltons take delight in knowing that Stannis and his men are stranded in the snow. While Roose wants to strike after the enemies are exhausted, Ramsay wants to attack immediately while they are stuck in a difficult situation. Of that, he ask his father for twenty good men to come along with him. 

    Never to confess. In King’s Landing, Cersei tastes suffering in her dungeon cell. Unless she confesses, she is deprived of food and water. In one scene, her guard pours the water on the cell floor and when she departs, Cersei quickly licks it like a dog. An adviser later visits her and suggests the same thing – to confess on charges of fornication, incest and murder to Robert Barratheon. But she remains stubborn as she will never bow to anyone she had made. 

    The new adviser. In her presence, Tyrion Lannister advertises himself and offers his service to Daenerys. Their conversation results to Ser Jorah Mormont being banished from her sight again. However, Jorah approaches his previous slave master and offers himself to fight in the fighting pits again as this is his only way to be of service to Daenerys.

    Slaughter at Hardhome. Taking half of the episode tonight are the events in Hardhome. After a long sea voyage, Jon Snow and his Watch brothers finally arrive at Hardhome, lair of the wildlings. They are coldly received at first but after Tormund Giantsbane talk with the elders, they decide to be allies with the Night Watch in order to survive the incoming Long Night. The wildlings have just started evacuating Hardhome when the White Walkers army launch a massive attack. Several people are killed, including some of the elders. When Jon Snow and the survivors are about to depart, they watch as the “commander” of the White Walkers resurrect the dead to life as part of their ever-increasing army.

    FINAL THOUGHTS. Tonight’s show started quite lazily with scenes of Arya, Daenerys, Sansa and Cersei. As stated, Arya is finally working on an assisgment, Daenerys has a new adviser in the person of Tyrion, Sansa learns a secret truth and Cersei is miserable as hell. But the most interesting part of the episode is the battle at Hardhome. Taking half of the show, this moment is the most thrilling and breath-taking so far in the season. It is very fierce, action-loaded and full of pathos, a wonderful trademark of the show. We know it’s Game of Thrones when there is a bloody war with deaths of new or previous characters we learned to either love or hate. And it is Game of Thrones when the battle ends with so much questions and anticipations that we wish the following week will swiftly come. 



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