Say what you want about the at times glacially slow pace of Game Of Thrones – and indeed, many have this season – but when it gets somewhere, it sure makes a scene.
And one scene that will long stick in the memory is that first conversation between Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, two characters who until now have stood on opposite sides of the world, their respective destinies seemingly never to intertwine. Now they have, it’s interesting to see where it will go.
Tyrion makes his observations, and Danerys, for all her fire, listens. His sole concession is to cast off Jorah (although we certainly haven’t seen the last of him – at least not yet), while she allows him into his council, although judging by her desire to “break the wheel”, it doesn’t look entirely like she’s heeding him. And we can’t wait to see what Daario has to say about all of this.
Elsewhere, faring less well is Cersei. While it should be satisfying to see her get her comeuppance, it isn’t nearly as satisfying when those suffering (like Tommen) don’t deserve it, and the perpetrators are just as bad.
Game Of Thrones has a habit of indulging our vengeful side, before asking, “Is this what you really want?” Theon Greyjoy represents the definitive answer to this question. Sure, he was a snarky little git in the first couple of seasons who did some bad things, but it would take a vindictive soul indeed to wish on him what was inflicted.
Even so, everyone can be redeemed, and by revealing to Sansa that Bran and Rickon may be alive, he may have given her newfound cause to stay alive. She has been put through hell, but she’s survived this long for a reason, and hopefully she can do so for a bit longer yet.
Somehow, all of this pales in comparison to what follows. Jon travels with Tormund to the wildling stronghold of Hardhome to convince the rest of them to come back to Castle Black with him, and actually succeeds (while we’re at it, top marks to the spectacularly named giant Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, who delivers a brilliantly blunt put-down to Edd when he stares for that bit too long).
However, this is Game Of Thrones, and things can’t go well for too long. And lo and behold, the White Walkers turn up to spoil things.
Somehow managing even to eclipse Season Two’s Battle of the Blackwater in terms of sheer spectacle, this has to rank up there with one of the most ambitious scenes in the show’s history, and one of the best. Silence is deathly, and for all the carnage, mayhem and screaming of the battles, things are most chilling in the silence that follows the White Walkers’ wake.
Judging by the reaction in recent weeks, some people were in need of a reminder of why they should stick with Game Of Thrones. Episodes like ‘Hardhome’ are why.