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Dan Debuf recaps: Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 8

Spoiler alert. You know the drill.

We open in Mereen, where finally the meeting of the century (™) is underway. Dany hits Tyrion with a conundrum – why should she trust him? Pause for thought… um… because he’s an expert Lannister-slayer! But why should she trust a kinslayer? Damn you Kahleesi!

After last week’s episode I felt like I had led you all on for a while there – it looked like Dany was content to just have Tyrion chat with her from two stories below her podium, and we weren’t going to get the wine soaked intercontinental gossip session we’d been hoping for all season.

Luckily later in the episode… it happened!

Look at those two palling around! Your dad is evil and dead? My dad is evil and dead! I think you’d make a good queen! I think you drink too much wine! We’re getting along like a house on dragon fire!

Meanwhile, Jorah eventually got his freedom… which he promptly traded in to get RIGHT BACK WHERE HE WAS before. Except without a magic-cocked imp. Come on man! But didn’t we all feel a little sad for Jorah when Tyrion totally outed his crush? I mean, we all knew it… but did you have to go and say it? In front of Missandei and the Unsullied? Not cool, Tyrion.

In Braavos, Arya has finally been given her first practical assignment. A girl is no longer Arya Stark, but Lana, the cockney cockle girl, with a trolley full of molluscs and a keen eye for detail, if not street names.

Jaqen is impressed that she’s learned so much about Braavosi geography. I’m more amazed that she is so adept at shucking oysters after just one episode.

It turns out that in the world of Game of Thrones, one with ice zombies, dragons, shadow assassins, backstabbers and Ramsay Bolton, the people Jaqen deems most worthy of death are insurance salesmen. I guess some things never change.

Speaking of Ramsay, this episode sees a slightly positive moment for Sansa – she now knows that somewhere, just maybe, Bran and Rickon are still out there. To be fair, we don’t know where Rickon is either, and, last thing we saw, Bran was hanging out underground with a wizard and a toddler becoming a tree, but still… HOPE.

It was also very rewarding to see her rip Theon to verbal shreds. Between Arya’s kill list and this, the Stark girls are not giving up without a fight. Now all we need is for her to corkscrew Ramsay to death, jump on Brienne’s horse, track down Rickon and Arya, and SEEK VENGEANCE. And not die.

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Ramsay himself seems to think that he can take on Stannis in the snow… although letting them die in the blizzard while tucked away toasty warm and well-fed in Winterfell seems the much smarter idea. Let’s see what he’s going to do with his “twenty good men”… although good luck finding them in the Bolton camp.

Finally, before we head North, we check in with Cersei. She seems to still have enough pride to be content with floor water, but that is no way to dine. Still, sparkling or floor? No one says floor. Floor water is one of my least favourite waters, some where between “swamp” and “bong”. Also strange – why haven’t the Faith Militant locked Qyburn up? He is literally reanimating a human corpse in his basement. I mean, I know incest is bad and all, but COME ON.

OK – least get to the real meat of the episode. HARDHOME.

Evocative to say and to look at, Hardhome lived up to expectations. Even Rattleshirt, the Lord of Bones is there! Although he’s been recast with a different actor, so Tormund kills him pretty quickly. This is serious Rattleshirt! No time to reminisce about the Fist of the First Men!

We sojourn to the longhouse, where a whole new exciting executive panel of Wildlings are debating the best course of action… when suddenly, a new guest star emerges!

Hang on… Isn’t that…

Yes! Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, from DAS SOUND MACHINE in Pitch Perfect 2! And also, if you’re a fan of Danish political dramas like I am, Katrine Fonsmark from BORGEN. What a resume! The current number one movie, number one TV show, and number one Danish political drama! TBH you should totally check out Borgen if you like political manoeuvrings and kick ass women, and if you like Game of Thrones, then you do.

She even gets to steal Tormund’s “I f***ing hate Thenns” catch phrase! If she wasn’t loading children onto a boat and saying “I’m right behind you, I promise,” I would expect her to be an exciting new recurring character!

Also in these lazy, pre-slaughter boat loading scenes, we also learn how to swear in Giant!

Repeat after me: “GENUGRBUOGW GRWEUGHRGA EWARVGBHOUGDHA.” Thanks Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun!

Of course, this is Game of Thrones, and we’ve gone all season without a proper battle (no, that scuffle in Dorne doesn’t count). When the music, dogs, and weather all become ominous, it can only mean one thing in Northern Westeros…

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This was a fantastic battle. Game of Thrones went full Walking Dead and I loved it. It had everything – lifeboat scramble, an angry giant stomping people, Jon Snow being selfless, the Four Horsemen/Ringwraith guys, this shot:

And Jon Snow then exploding that guy into a million shiny pieces with a supersword.

I loved that the camera work – as distinct from the Blackwater or last season’s battle at the wall – was chaotic and intense. I loved the blatant ass-kicking. I loved that Katrine got eaten by demonic children of the corn before we even learned her name. I loved that the special effects budget on this show is so big that the zombies don’t look like something out of the 1963 sword-and-sandal classic Jason and the Argonauts:

But most of all I love that the ante has been upped on this show once again, and the threat of the Night’s King is real, present, and intense.

(And for the record, yes, I know everyone on the internet has been making that pun but I thought of it off the top of my head and I was really happy with myself.

FINAL THOUGHTS

WHAT THRONE? Danaerys and her wheel metaphor, the white walkers… We’ve known it since the first scene of series one, but the Iron Throne really is not what this series is about. I like to think of the white walkers are global warming personified – while everyone argues party politics, they’re slowly but surely amassing an army out of human folly that can destroy everything. I guess the dragons are… nuclear war?

SAM, GILLY AND OLLY. I stand by what I said last week. This Olly guy is too angry and getting to much screen time to not be trouble.

FUN FACT. Heavy metal band Mastodon made a cameo in this episode as Wildlings.

Seriously, how do I become a spear-carrying extra on this thing before it wraps? I need to get my agent onto this.

Until next week, heroes of myth and legend!

What did you think of this week’s episode

Missed Dan’s other recaps? Check them out here: 
 
Season 5, Episode 7
Season 5, Episode 6
Season 5, Episode 5
Season 5, Episode 4