Game of Thrones: You Can't Go Hardhome Again
This week’s Game of Thrones will live on in my nightmares for years to come. I hate zombies. Hate them with a capital “H.” My zombiephobia is the main reason I don’t watch The Walking Dead, despite the fact that everyone tells me that it’s this super smart and savvy show and I am culturally bereft for having never seen it. (Though, in my defense, NO ONE has been saying that this season.)
So, of course, it’s my luck that a pack of zombies had to come and invade my television for 20 straight minutes on a show that I have to RECAP, which means I get to RELIVE the zombies, over, and over, and over again . . .
DAMN YOU, COOL BAD ASS WHITE WALKER KING, DAMN YOUUUUUUU!
Childhood phobias that never went away notwithstanding, “Hardhome” really was television at its finest. Put it this way, when a meeting between legends Dany Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister is NOT the most exciting thing to happen during an hour of TV, you know you have just witnessed something pretty fan-friggen-tastic.
And so what if I never have a good night’s sleep again, right?
Let’s get on with it, shall we?
Wheel Analogies: They Aren’t Just for Mad Men (and Mad Kings) Anymore . . .
“This is not a spaceship, it’s a time machine. It goes backwards and forwards, and it takes us to a place where we ache to go again . . . It’s not called ‘The Wheel.’ It’s called ‘The Carousel.’ It lets us travel around and around and back home again.”
Don Draper said the above now-iconic words in a Season 1 episode of Mad Men. He was selling the idea of a photo carousel as a way to capture and embody nostalgia . . . to take moments in your life that you love and re-experience them again and again.
(Like I will unfortunately be forced to do with the zombie in my nightmares tonight.)
This week on GOT, Dany expresses a much darker view of The Wheel. She sees it as an oppressive machine, one that prevents change and forces people to repeat their mistakes again and again. To her, the families fighting for the Iron Throne are all different flavors of awful. But they are all awful nonetheless. And what’s worse, they are destined to keep usurping one another’s power while never really changing anything about the society in which they live.
But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let’s first talk about how Tyrion wins the Mother of Dragon’s trust and goes from being a candidate for a potential beheading to a trusted adviser in the course of a single episode. I’ll give you a hint: it involves the mutual bashing of a bad ex-boyfriend . . .
. . . and a boatload of booze!
(Coincidentally, these are also the steps one must take to win MY trust . . .)
“I think I’m going to murder you,” offers Dany, upon first meeting Tyrion. “For one thing, you are a Lannister. And all Lannisters, by definition, are The Worst. Also, I hear you have a tremendously large magical dwarf cock. I’ve always wanted one of those for my Collection of Awesome Things, which so far includes my dragons and the pan-fried fat bald guy I fed to them a few weeks back.”
“I agree, the Lannisters are totally The Worst,” admits Tyrion, “which is why I murdered one (Tywin) and was indirectly part of the deaths of two others (Tyrion’s mom and Joffrey). Plus, if you kill me and cut off my massively large magical dwarf cock, how do you expect me to get it to dance for you? It does a really flawless paso doble.”
“OK, I guess I won’t kill you,” Dany replies, trying to hide her disappointment about not having a magical cock in her Collection of Awesome Things. “But what about Jorah? Can I kill him? He’s old. And a bad kisser. And he betrayed me. And he has a highly contagious life-threatening disease. And he sucks.”
“He is old . . . and a very bad kisser . . . or so I’ve been told. And he did betray you. And he definitely sucks,” Tyrion agrees.
“Yoo hoo, standing right here, with very hurt feelings!” Jorah calls out.
But everyone ignores him, just like they’ve been patently ignoring the fact that his entire arm and a good portion of his face are now covered in greyscale . . .
“But I don’t think you should kill him,” Tyrion admits. “Because he worships you like a sad puppy.”
“And sad puppies are very good to keep around when you need someone to fetch you a newspaper, terrorize the mailman, and fend off your enemies . . . as long as you don’t let them into your house, where they will eat your shoes, pee on your carpet, and possibly infect you with greyscale.”
With Jorah successfully spanked on the bottom and led outside Mereen to the doghouse, Tyrion and Dany are free to get on with the much more important business of GETTING WASTED TOGETHER!
Because, for four and a half seasons, Dany has been on an entirely different show than everybody else, Tyrion makes quick work of giving her the Cliff Notes version of the series. “The Starks are nice people, but get tortured every week, and generally lose at life. The Lannisters are awful, except for me, and Jamie, who used to be awful too, but now everybody likes him because he has one hand, makes self deprecating jokes, and was nice to Brienne. The Tyrells are crafty, but no one thinks they have a shot in hell of actually winning this war. Ditto for Stannis. Jon Snow is sexy. And no one gives two shits about Bran and Rickon,” he explains.
As you can see, Tyrion is a spectacular TV Recapper. And his skills impress Dany enough for her to formally offer him a job as her adviser. With that formality out of the way, Dany quickly moves the topic to how she’s going to rule the world. “The poor and the middle class love me,” explains Dany. “I provide them with the tools to build a better life. I’m a Democrat basically.”
“Yeah, but the rich Republicans hate you,” argues Tyrion. “And unfortunately, you need some of them, and their money, if you want to rule the world.”
“Eh, I’ll just have my dragons eat all the rich Republicans,” Dany decides.
(Well, she just got my vote!)
“You know, Westeros is kind of overrated,” Tyrion postulates. “It smells bad. The Iron Throne gives you wedgies. And everyone is always talking about winter coming and the impending threat of creepy baby zombies. Why don’t you have your dragons eat all the rich Republicans in Mereen and stay here, where the weather is always tropical, it smells like oranges, and the lands are refreshingly baby zombie-free? Let the wheel that is Game of Thrones‘ power struggle run itself in the ground while you stay in bed and have hot sex with Daario.”
“But that would make for bad television . . . good porn, but bad television,” notes Dany. “I want to break the wheel.”
“Great campaign slogan and catchphrase,” says Tyrion. “OK then, world domination it is!”
Everything Is Coming Up Sansa!
It’s no secret that Sansa has been having a really bad season . . . like the worst season ever! But in this week’s installment of GOT, our unbreakable heroine finally finds a glimmer of hope. Granted, it’s a tiny, tiny glimmer . . . like ant-sized . . . a glimmer that requires a microscope and X-ray vision to see it, but it’s a glimmer, nonetheless.
It all starts when Sansa confronts Theon/Reek about his asshat move of selling her out to Ramsey last week when she tried to get him to help her light the candle in the broken tower so that Brienne would know to come rescue her from the gratuitous torture porn her storyline has become this season.
“I was doing you a favor,” responds Theon/Reek. “You were going to run away. And if Ramsey caught you, he’d cut off your balls . . . even though you don’t have any balls . . . and I don’t have any more balls . . . and . . . yeah, I don’t really understand my logic for diming you out either.”
“I wish I could cut off your balls for killing my brothers, Bran and Rickon, even though nobody gives a shit about them.”
Theon: *whistles uncomfortably*
“Are you saying you give a shit about Bran and Rickon?” Sansa asks incredulously.
“Of course not. They are SUPER BORING. I’m saying I didn’t actually kill them, just two equally boring kids who looked kind of like them,” Theon explains.
In addition to learning that Bran and Rickon are alive, which . . . meh . . . other good news comes to Sansa in the form of Ramsey coming up with a terrible plan to battle Stannis, which will most certainly get him brutally murdered. HOORAY!
“Stannis’ army is coming. But we outnumber them five to one and have a home court advantage. So, we might as well wait and murder their puny asses as soon as they cross our gates,” reasons Roose Bolton quite rationally.
“Nah, I’d rather go out into the snow and brutal cold with only 20 men, so that Stannis’ army outnumbers ME five to one, and let Stannis slaughter me and my teeny tiny army like cattle,” Ramsey retorts.
Upstairs, Sansa Stark is doing a happy dance (and also wondering where she can find Theon/Reek’s balls, so that she can reattach them to his body and chop them off again).
Speaking of people Sansa hates whose lives are becoming increasingly shitty . . .
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Campbell’s Soup
I don’t know how much time has passed between this week’s episode and last, but MAN has prison life wreaked havoc on Cersei’s teeth! I’m not going to even talk about the hair. We expected the hair, based on what we saw from Margaery last week. (Apparently, jail cells are extremely humid.) But those are some raunchy chompers! Perhaps she’s been sharpening them on the cell walls, with the hopes of eventually using them as weapons . . .
The Mother Theresa lady who threw Cersei in the pokey last week keeps popping by to shove a soup spoon at Cersei’s gross mouth and beg her to confess her crimes. “Confess,” the lady says over and over again throughout the episode.
To which Cersei replies, “I will not confess on a boat. I will not confess in a moat. I will not confess in this disgusting lair. I will not confess anywhere!”
(Because, apparently, being incarcerated turns one into Dr. Seuss . . . if Dr. Seuss had really bad teeth.)
Then, Mother Theresa dumps Cersei’s soup on the floor and stalks out of the room, only to repeat the process later in the episode. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Eventually, Cersei breaks down out of hunger and desperation and licks the soup off the floor. How the mighty hath fallen, literally. Sansa would get a kick out of watching that for sure. And I think if Eddard Stark still had a head, he’d enjoy it as well . . .
Speaking of headless, or rather, “faceless” Starks . . .
Arya gives someone an oyster and gets a bottle of cheap perfume
Arya did such a great job murdering the cancer kid at Burgerless White Castle last week that Jagen decides to promote her from “Washer of Gross Corpse Feet” to “Deliveries.” She ventures out to the canals with a strange cockney accent and weird milkmaid braids, and sells an oyster to some old dude who likes to gamble. This pleases Jagen for some inexplicable reason, and he gives Arya a perfume bottle so that she can give it to the old oyster-eating dude who likes to gamble.
Arya is super excited about getting drugs from Jagen. Because she figures that maybe if she’s high she’ll forget how boring her storyline currently is . . .
But enough about eating oysters and dealing drugs to kids, let’s get to the part where everybody dies and becomes a scary zombie who will give me nightmares!
Back on the Wall, a freshly de-virginized Sam Tarley is totally confident that his pal Jon will be perfectly safe on his trip into the Gates of Hell that are the Wildlings’ current residence of Hardhome.
Clearly, sex with Ginny has made Sam oblivious to danger, because Jon Snow is SO NOT FINE! In fact, he’s pretty royally f*&ked. It all starts when Jon and Tormund meet Splinter from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and he is not amenable to discussing an alliance between the Wildlings and the Wall Watchers . . .
Fortunately, Tormund is very persuasive and eventually gets Splinter to change his mind about negotiations . . .
With Splinter taken care of, Jon Snow and Tormund begin the daunting task of convincing the Wildlings to forgo their centuries long beef with the Wall Watchers, seek safety behind the Wall, and fight alongside their former enemies against the White Walkers. This nice lady is all for the alliance . . .
And so is the super cool giant with body image issues . . .
But the skinhead-looking Wildling and some others are not as easily persuaded. Eventually, Jon is forced to take the few Wildlings who agreed to side with him and leave everybody else to rot, literally.
Way too much time is spent on the nice lady who agreed to ally with Jon and how she’s sending her kids on the boat ahead of her, so we pretty much know she’s toast, we just aren’t sure how she’ll die. Then, like eight trillion zombies pop up out of nowhere and we figure out exactly how she’s going to die . . .
The Wildlings close the gates to Hardhome, effectively screwing over all those losers who didn’t want to side with Jon in the first place. Those guys actually get off the easiest, because they set their meeting house on fire, ensuring themselves a get-out-of-turning-into-a-zombie-free death.
But then the zombies break down the gates to Hardhome, and everyone who hasn’t already shipped off on a boat is pretty much toast. Nice lady, who let her kids go on the boat before her, does a pretty good job fighting off the zombies until a bunch of baby zombies that remind her too much of her kids surround her. She can’t bring herself to murder them, so they all pile on her and eat her innards . . .
Happy Belated Mother’s Day, Moms!
Jon fares slightly better, being a main character and all. He manages to kill a bunch of redshirt zombies the old-fashioned way. Then, he whips out Sam’s dragonglass to kill the Harry and the Hendersons-looking White Walker who, up to this point, we all thought was their leader. (Spoiler alert: He’s not.)
Cool Giant with Body Images Issues fares the best against the White Walkers because he’s so friggin huge that whenever they come at him, he can just swat them away like pesky gnats. Then, when he’s tired of playing zombie games, he walks off into the river, right alongside the boats departing for the Wall. Now, THAT’S a guy I want on my zombie-fighting team!
Eventually, Jon and Co. get tired of getting their asses kicked by a bunch of old dead guys and decide to blow this popsicle stand, taking a pensive moment to mourn all the casualties they’ve suffered, both Wildling and Wall Watcher (but mostly Wildling).
Leaving home may be hard, but leaving Hardhome just got REALLY easy.
But then, Jon makes the mistake of making eye contact with the White Walker’s REAL leader. And he is one smug bastard. To White Walker King’s credit, I don’t think I’ve met a zombie with this much personality since last Tuesday night on the CW.
So, this head zombie . . . he just smiles at his new nemesis Jon, the guy who killed his second-in-command, Harry from Harry and the Hendersons, raises his arms up to the heavens like it’s no big thing, and literally WAKES THE DEAD including that poor nice Wildling mom from before, who actually happens to be a very comely zombie . . .
Now, Jon Snow not only knows nothing, he’s also SEVERELY outnumbered . . . and severely screwed.
Until next time, Westerosians!