This recap obviously contains spoilers from season 5 episode 8, so don’t read it unless you are weird and want to be spoiled before watching it.
Dany, Tyrion, and Jorah are having a staring contest and if Jorah wins, he gets to stay! Okay that’s a lie but they are basically having a staring contest. Jorah starts to speak but Dany quickly shuts that down. She wants to know if Tyrion really is Tyrion and if he is, why she shouldn’t just kill him. Tyrion says “you want revenge on Lannisters? I got you girl. I killed my mom and my dad. I’m the best at killing Lannisters.” But they’ve only just met and he doesn’t know if Dany deserves his service. He likes to take things slow. He recounts the things he has heard about her: her birth, escape, upbringing, marriage to Drogo, dragons, and success. She was worth meeting because of all this and he is worth meeting because killing and politics aren’t always the same things. She needs him to advise her and he wants to advise the ruler worth the name. She asks him to advise her on what to do with Jorah. He advises her against executing Jorah because “a ruler who kills those devoted to her is not a ruler who inspires devotion” and she needs to inspire a lot of devotion. But, at the same time, he also advised her against having Jorah by her side. So, Dany has Jorah banished from the city…again. As he walks away, Jorah checks on his greyscale and sees that it is spreading. After he leaves the city, he goes back to the training place owned by the dude that bought him and Tyrion for the fighting pits. He throws dude back the coin he gave Jorah when he bought them and tells him that he wants to fight at the Great Pit.
Later, Tyrion and Dany are drinking some wine and talking. I really enjoyed this scene. He hasn’t decided whether Dany is worthy of his service and Dany hasn’t decided if she’s going to have him killed. They chat a little about how terrible their fathers were. Tyrion promises to someday tell Dany why he killed his dad but they’re gonna need a LOT of wine when that day comes. When Tyrion remarks that they were two terrible children of two terrible fathers, Dany asks him why he came to meet someone so terrible. He says to see if she was the right kind of terrible – the kind that prevents her people from being more terrible. He applauds her decision to open the fighting pits and marry Hizdar. When Tyrion mentions Varys, Dany starts mounting a case against him but Tyrion quickly dispels it saying Varys did what he had to do to survive and that he’s probably the reason Dany is still alive. Dany then decides that she will not kill Tyrion and he will advise her on how to get what she wants, which is Westeros. He suggests that maybe she’s better off where she is now because the world is bigger than Westeros and she’s already done so much good in this part of the world. He questions her about who will support her when she gets back and when she says the common people, he asks her how ruling without the support of the rich has been for her so far. He lists the great houses of Westeros and that probably none of them will back her. She says that the houses of Westeros are all just spokes on a wheel that keeps spinning while crushing those underneath them. When Tyrion says stopping the wheel is a great dream that others have also dreamt, Dany says she’s not going to stop the wheel…she’s going to break the wheel. BOOM.
Cersei is having a rough time. She is still in the cell and wants to see her son. The huge septa brings a ladel full of water and tells her to confess. When she doesn’t and threatens the septa instead, she whacks Cersei with the ladel and leaves.
Qyburn comes by to visit her later to tell her about the trial and the charges: fornication, treason, incest, and the murder of Robert. She says they’re all lies. Come on girl. You know the charges are not lies. Smh. The faith does not have the same standard of proof as the crown and belief is so often the death of reason. In other words, “you’re fucked.” He also tells her that Pycelle has sent for her Uncle Kevan to come back to King’s Landing, be the Hand of the King, and preside over the Small Council. He does not want to visit Cersei and Tommen is not doing well with both Cersei and Margaery locked up. Cersei realllllly wants Tommen to visit her but Qyburn doesn’t think that he can persuade him. There is a way out of the cell: confession. But Cersei refuses to kneel before the High Sparrow. She made him who he is after all. Qyburn leaves Cersei and his parting words are “the work continues.” I guess FrankenMountain is still progressing.
The huge septa is still holding a ladel full of water in front of Cersei and telling her to confess. Cersei is in pretty terrible shape. She resorts to briding the septa then threatening her. That just makes the septa pour the water out on the floor and leave. In her desperation, Cersei tries to lick the water off the floor. How far she has fallen.
Arya is getting pretty good at lying. Jaqen and her are still playing the “I will hit you if you don’t lie well enough” game. She is now an oyster seller named Lana (Cat of the Canals for the book readers). She walks down to the canals with an oyster cart and sells oysters to people. Jaqen tells her she will now turn right and go down to the harbor where she will see what she will do. While at the harbor, a man asks her about the freshness of her oysters. She gives him a sample and after he tries it, he orders 4 more. While she’s preparing the oysters, a man comes to place a bet but the dude turns him away. Jaqen tells Arya that the dude is a gambler who wagers that a sailing ship will make it to its destination and the dude who wanted to place a bet was a captain, who will only win if he loses his life. The captain made the bet so that if he dies, the gambler has to pay his family a lot of money. But what if the gambler decides he doesn’t want to pay up? Who helps the destitute woman and her small children? The many-faced god. Lana is to go back to the harbor and learn as much as he can about the thin man (the gambler) and after she has, she is to give a gift to the thin man. Jaqen gives Arya a small bottle of probably poison. As Arya is walking away, she has a pretty big smile on her face. She loves killing people. The waif is still not convinced that Arya is ready but Jaqen says maybe she is maybe she’s not…it’s all the same to the many faced god.
Theon brings food up to Sansa and she looks pissed. She asks Theon why he told Ramsay. He’s still trying to get her to call him Reek and not Theon. He tells her that he told Ramsay to help her because there is no escape from Ramsay and that Theon Greyjoy tried to escape but Ramsay caught him and cut away piece after piece until there was no Theon left. Sansa says if she could do what Ramsay did to Theon, she would because if it weren’t for him, she would still have a family. Theon says he deserves to be Reek and that he did terrible things. When he says he killed those boys, Sansa flies into a rage saying they were Bran and Rickon, who were born and grew up around Theon. As Sansa is yelling at him about Bran and Rickon, Theon finally cracks and tells Sansa that he didn’t kill them because he couldn’t find them. He tells her that he killed two farm boys instead and when Sansa asks where Bran and Rickon went, he can’t do it anymore and leaves.
Roose and Ramsay are strategizing about how to defeat Stannis the Mannis. Roose is totally okay waiting them out. They’ve rebuilt the walls and reinforced the gates. They have enough food to last them 6 months. They could just wait for Stannis’ army to freeze, starve, and mutiny but Ramsay does not agree. He wants Roose to show the North what House Bolton does to southern invaders. He want to hit first, hit hard, and leave a feast for the crows. When Roose protests saying they couldn’t get their army through the deep snow, Ramsay says “pops, all I need is 20 good men,” drops the mic, and walks out.
At the Wall, Gilly is tending to Sam who is recovering from getting beat up. They’re doing the awkward day-after-sex conversation and they’re both scared about people finding out. Olly comes in with some food because he heard what happened to Sam. He also wants to ask Sam why Jon is saving the Wildings and how Jon can trust Tormund. Sam tells Olly that he has seen the White Walkers and they’re coming for all the living. When its time, they’re going to need all the men they can get. When Olly says what if the Wildlings kill them all once they get past the Wall, Sam says Jon is taking a risk because he has to – sometimes a man has to make hard choices that may seem wrong to others but choices that you know are right in the long run. When Olly goes to leave, Sam tells him not to worry; he’s been worrying about Jon for years but he always comes back.
Jon and company are rowing to Hardhome and the people on the shore do not look very friendly. They are greeted by the Lord of Bones who gives Tormund grief about being allies with the Crows. After being insulted some more, Tormund takes Lord of Bones’ staff, beats him to death, then asks to be taken to the elders. At the meeting with the elders, Jon tries to make his case, telling them that its not about friendship but about survival. He tells them that the White Walkers don’t care if a man is freefolk or Crow, they’re all meat for their army. The Wildlings don’t believe they can beat the White Walkers, so Jon shows them dragonglass. Jon wants them to go south of the Wall and farm the lands. They ask where Mance is and Jon is like “ugh…I shot him with an arrow.” Man, they get PISSED when they hear that but Tormund sticks up for Jon saying what Jon did was mercy and took courage. Jon makes an impassioned speech about why they need to band together. Tormund vouches for Jon and that is enough for some people, including Karsi (the badass lady). The Thenns still won’t go. Wun Wun (or Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, his Christian name) is with Tormund too.
They start loading up the boats. As soon as Karsi tells her kids that she will be right behind them, I knew she was going to die. Doesn’t she know you’re not supposed to say those things? Smh. A lot of people are staying behind (Tormund isn’t good at counting) but he tells Jon that those people are running out of food and they will come sooner or later. Dolorous Edd is trying to gather up all the dragonglass and sees that Wun Wun has one of them. When he walks up to him, Wun Wun says “what the fuck are you looking at” and Edd thinks better than to ask for the glass back. Lol. Then all hell breaks loose. Dogs outside are going nuts (umm…so were they not going to take their dogs south of the Wall? were they just going to leave them there? Also, do the Wights attack the dogs? I need someone to answer my dog related questions. Kthanxbye). There’s a storm approaching Hardhome from the cliffs overhead. Winter is here.
The Wildlings shut the gate, leaving a lot of their own on the other side of it. They bang on the gate for a while but then it stops. The main Thenn tries to peer through a hole in the fence to see what is going on and its the Wights – so many of them. They’re climbing over the gate, smashing through the gate. Shit is going crazy. People are rushing the boats. Some are just straight trying to swim to the ships. Others are trying to fight the wights but they’re being overwhelmed. The White Walkers are on horseback on top of a hill looking down at the massacre.
There is no real way to describe this battle scene other than to say it was FUCKING AWESOME. If you didn’t watch it, then stop reading this right now and go watch it, you crazy person. I still think that the wights look a little cartoonish and the Night’s King looks like Icy Darth Maul but this scene was still pretty cool. There was so much happening – so much killing, so much chaos – it was so so good. How creepy were those child wights??? They were the creepiest! I will probably have nightmares about them. And did you whoop when Jon blocked the White Walker’s spear with his Valyrian steel blade and killed him, because I did! That reminded me of Aragorn blocking the sword of the ghost soldier when he’s trying to summon the army of the dead. Wun Wun was just tearing shit up and stepping on wights left and right (get it?). Umm…and what about all those wights that jumped off the cliff, fell to the ground, then rose to chase them? YASS.
Jon and his brothers run back to a boat and start rowing out to the ships. They just have to watch while the people they left behind continue to get slaughtered. Icy Darth Maul walks out on the pier and stares at Jon. As he stares, he raises both of his hands and alllllll the people who JUST died awaken as a part of the army of the dead. Jon is just like fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
Next week: A Dance of Dragons