Legion contributor Christina Janke is filling in for Dr. Janina Scarlet this week. Follow her on Twitter @IntrotoGeek!
Winter is here, and it’s coming down hard and fast.
Before we get to the nitty gritty that was the final 15 minutes of the episode, we should take a look at what else we saw this week:
Arya convincingly takes on a new persona and is sent on her first ever mission from the Many-Faced God. This is probably the first time since Season One that we’ve ever seen Arya Stark look like a girl. She has her hair in braids and is wearing an actual dress. Her mission is to study a man on the docks, a despicable insurance collector that has been targeted by the Many-Faced God. She must study him intimately, find his weaknesses, and then kill him.
I’m always fascinated by Arya’s evolution on this show. It’s too bad we don’t see other parts of her training like in the books, but on a TV storytelling perspective, I can see why those would be left out. The show is fast-forwarding everyone’s storyline and cutting right to the chase. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
The big conversation between Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen is finally here. I don’t know what we were supposed to expect here. I’m personally glad these two finally meet. We have an idealistic leader with a proposition for a real revolution in Westeros and we have someone who knows the ins and outs of the court. He enjoys playing the game of thrones. Like Varys, he’s been waiting for a ruler to do good by the people and reform how Westeros is currently being ruled. There has never been anyone like that in his lifetime, but Daeny could very well be the catalyst for real change. Daeny talks a big game, but can she really do it? Now that she and Tyrion are joining forces, there very well could be a chance.
At the same time, Tyrion saves Jorah from from Daenerys’ wrath — she said that if he ever showed his face again she would have him killed. Jorah, despite some discretions he’s made against his queen, has been the most devoted to Daenerys. Instead of killing him, Tyrion suggests that he stay alive, but not anywhere near the queen. I suspect he did this so that Jorah can show his level of devotion to the rest of the common folk, most likely in the fighting pits where Jorah returns after his release. But what if Jorah’s affliction? Surely that will have adverse effects somewhere down the line.
Next is Sansa and Theon. Sansa waits for Theon to deliver her food so she can confront him for his actions in the last episode. It is here that Theon lets slip a confession about who he really killed the day he took Winterfell. He tells Sansa, who has been under the impression that her entire family except Jon was dead (I forget, did Brienne ever get around to telling Sansa that Arya is alive?), that the two burnt bodies were actually random farm boys and not her younger brothers. This may finally be the glimmer of hope young Sansa needs to reclaim her life. I’m still holding out hope that she gets to do something.
Back at King’s Landing, we get to see how well Cersei is fairing in the Black Cells. Not well. She refuses to confess her sins, and in return she is denied a sip of water. This the lowest we’ve ever seen the Queen Mother. I feel sorry for her, but the witch deserves every second of this.
And now to the meat and potatoes (and dessert) of this episode. Lord Commander Jon Snow and his companions reach Hardhome a place where all of the other Wildlings have regrouped to lick their wounds and resupply. It is a tense negotiation with the surviving leaders of each tribe — one of the giants is present — and not everyone is ready to comply, especially the Threnn. However, a good amount agree to join the fight when Winter comes in exchange for settling south of the Wall. Soon after the evacuation begins, an ominous flurry of snow creep down from the mountains and engulf the entire Wildling camp outside of Hardhome. The remaining Wildlings close Hardhome’s gates to await the madness. Desperate screams and pounding at the gates fill our hearts with anxiety, and in the background are the sounds of the dying. Then, deafening silence. What seems like forever, the undead start attacking the wall.
The fighting gets intense, and the horde of undead don’t seem to be letting up. Then, Jon and Tormund notice four of the White Walkings on horseback watching the battle from atop of a cliff overlooking Hardhome. Jon remembers a bag full of Dragon Glass Sam gave to him before they left Castle Black. He and the Threnn leader fight their way into the main hut where the glass was last kept. Instead, they find a White ready to do battle.
The Threnn opts to distract the White while Jon gets the glass; however, the Wildling doesn’t last three seconds against the White. As soon as his ax makes contact with the White’s icy weapon, the ax shatters into little shards of frozen metal. Crap. Jon, unsuccessful at getting the Dragon Glass, goes toe to toe with the White as well. He nearly eats snow until he grabs Longclaw, the Valyrian steel sword given to him by the late Jeor Mormont. The White goes for the killing swing, but Jon blocks it with Longclaw. It didn’t shatter! In fact, Jon manages to kill the White with his Valyrian steel. Looks like we just found an alternative weapon to dragon glass, you guys! Too bad Valyrian steel is just as rare as dragon glass.
This turn of events catches the attention of the apparent leader of the White Walkers and army of undead. To add to this terrible, no good, very bad day, the White leader sends in a whole new undead horde to attack Hardhome. Very outnumbered, Jon and the survivors break for the sea. As they float away to safety, the White leader stands at the end of the dock and moves his head to show Jon how many dead Wildlings he’s leaving behind. Then, he opens his arms and raises those fallen men and women back from the dead. The Whites’ horde just got significantly bigger. Mic. Drop.
This is not even the penultimate episodes, which is typically the most intense and action packed. What are we to expect next week?!
At the Bolton war table Roose and Ramsay talk about what to do about Stannis’ army, which is still on its way to Winterfell. Roose opts to wait them out as they are more prepared and adept to winter than Stannis. Ramsay, the sadistic prick that he is, wants to take them out now. All he needs are 20 men to send a message.