And that's how it's done. "Game of Thrones" Season 5, Episode 8, "Hardhome" just dropped the mic in a serious way -- and if you were bored by this one, check your pulse: You might be one of those (un)dead people at Hardhome. You'd have to be.

As Stefon would put it, this episode had everything -- perfect lay-down-the-law speeches from Tyrion Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen, who just met and decided to team up; Arya basically turning into 00Stark; Sansa finally learning that Theon Greyjoy did not kill Bran and Rickon Stark (Rickon, where are you?!); Jorah Mormont continuing to rival Sansa for most tortured character; Cersei Lannister still awaiting her rock bottom; and the most exciting zombie battle "The Walking Dead" never staged. Jon Snow took on a White Walker, and even though Ghost wasn't on hand to play hero this time, Longclaw was. (Pause to thank late Lord Commander Mormont for giving Jon that sword. And thanks also to Jorah Mormont for returning the sword to his father. In a way, Jorah deserves credit for saving Jon's life tonight.)
Tyrion and Dany weren't the only ones giving great speeches this week -- Lord Commander Snow stepped up with the wildlings/free folk at Hardhome. (Jon Snow knows a lot more than nothing.) The Wall is entering a world of pain with all those newly dead ready to attack, but this is why Tyrion needs to advise Dany to grab her three dragons, somehow train them ASAP, and get thee north of The Wall to slay the White Walkers. 'Cause there's not enough dragonglass to go around, we need dragon fire to take on the ice.

What an episode, though, no? Best of Season 5 so far, and a tough one for the last two episodes to top. Parts of this season have been frustrating (to put it mildly) but "Hardhome" delivered something for all GoT fans, including plenty of surprises (pleasant ones this time) for book readers. Or are you one of the purists who still cringes at any change from the books?

Read on for a recap of Episode 8:
MEEREEN
The episode started with Tyrion and Jorah in court, facing Dany. Two great characters finally talking. How could Dany trust that Tyrion was who he said he was? Tyrion told Dany her own story, as heard from Westeros. Why should she bring him into her service? He gives the right, and obvious response, that she doesn't know about Westeros the way that he does, and he was pretty darn good as Hand of the King. Dany asked what Tyrion would have her do with Jorah, since she swore she'd kill him if he ever returned. Why should the people trust a queen who cannot keep her promises? Tyrion approached her with both sides of the argument. Poor Jorah. "A ruler who kills those devoted to her is not a ruler who inspires devotion." More wisdom from T-dawg. But that doesn't mean Jorah should stick around. Tyrion said Jorah cannot be by her side when she goes to Westeros. So Dany took Tyrion's advice and said to remove Captain Friend Zone from the city. Jorah, who still has greyscale, and Sansa should compete for Worst Luck in the World.
Later, Tyrion and Dany had a sit-down chat. They discussed what their fathers would've done. Tyrion may someday tell her why he killed Tywin. She knows her father earned the title The Mad King. Tyrion: "So here we sit, two terrible children of two terrible fathers." He wanted to see if she was the right kind of terrible. They debated the merits of Varys, Robert's former spymaster. Tyrion said Varys may be the only one in the world he trusts, besides his brother -- who killed her father. Where's Varys, though? He's going to be jealous of this meeting. Dany said she's not going to kill or banish Tyrion. He's going to advise her. (Yesssss.) Tyrion said she should come up with a better goal than The Iron Throne. Maybe she belongs there in Meereen. This is not her home, she said. Who would support her at home, Tyrion argued. He gave her the speech she needed to hear, and she gave him her "spokes on a wheel" speech. "I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel." DROP MIC. First massively badass moment of the episode. Not the last.

Oh, and Ser Jorah returned to the slaver to offer himself up for a fight in the great pits.

CERSEI IN DUNGEON
Cersei was urged to confess, and beaten every time she spoke anything other than a confession. She was still pissy and threatening at the start.

Qyburn visited Cersei and said a trial is coming, with charges including fornication, treason, incest, and her role in the murder of King Robert. Ser Kevan returned from Casterly Rock to be Hand of the King and preside over the small council. Tommen won't see anyone, he's distraught about his wife and mother being jailed. (Useless!) Qyburn said there's a way out, but Cersei still refused to confess. He said "the work still continues," so maybe she saw some hope there.

Cersei got more desperate as the episode progressed, licking drops off the ground in her thirst.
ARYA
Arya practiced being someone else, named Lana, and made up her story. She went out into Braavos with a brand new look -- love the hair -- and she made her way down to the docks to do her new job selling fish. But that's not her real job. She's like a spy getting information, then going full James Bond to take out threats. Assassin Stark! The other girl said Arya is not ready.

WINTERFELL
Theon brought more food to prisoner Sansa, who simply asked him "Why?" Why did Theon/Reek tell Ramsay about the candle escape plan? Reek said there is no escape, ever. Reek talked about Theon in third person, describing the flaying. Sansa said "good." If it wasn't for Theon she'd have a family. If she could do what Ramsay did to Theon she would. Theon said he deserved to be Reek. Sansa was furious about Bran and Rickon, but Theon told her the two boys who were killed weren't Bran and Rickon. Yeah, but they were still two little kids. They still didn't deserve to die. But now Sansa knows her brothers are still alive.

Meanwhile, Roose Bolton was having a war meeting. He said they're more prepared for a siege than Stannis could ever be; they just have to wait for Stannis to freeze. Ramsay and Roose debated what to do. Ramsay had his own plan; he wants to take the battle to Stannis. He wants 20 good men to go with him to attack Stannis, instead of waiting behind the walls of Winterfell.

THE WALL
Gilly helped the injured Sam, who got his butt kicked last week. They're both scared, they have no friends there. Except maybe Olly, Jon's steward, who brought Sam food and asked him a question about Jon going to Hardhome to save wildlings. Why is Jon saving them? Sam said wildlings are people just like them, there are good ones and bad ones. They'll need all the people they can get when the White Walkers come. Sam said not to worry about Jon, he always comes back. On that note...
HARDHOME
Jon led the boats sailing into Hardhome, a free folk village. They did not get the warmest welcome, and not just talking temperature-wise. Tormund approached the Lord of Bones, and Jon said he and Tormund were allies. Probably the wrong thing to say. Words did not go well, with Tormund beating the Lord of Bones to death for a d-ck joke. But they went inside and Jon Snow made his pitch as Lord Commander of the Night's Watch -- he said he's not there to make friends, it's about survival. The White Walkers don't care if they're free folk or crow. Jon broke out Sam's bag of dragonglass to show how you can fight them. Jon was asked about Mance, and he said Mance is dead. How? "I put an arrow through his heart." Probably not the best, or even most fair and accurate, way to report that news. Tormund took up the story to defend what Jon did, which was mercy for Mance. Jon went for the "think about the children" argument -- no one will forget the dead lost on both sides, this is about survival. He made a great speech, on par with the Tyrion and Dany talks. Great night for speeches. One of the free folk leaders said she could never trust a man in black (sorry Will Smith) but she trusts Tormund. She's not a fan of Thenns, though, since they stormed off, not willing to go with the group. (Is she a fan of that giant? That giant ruled.)
They started loading people on boats and it got a bit "Titanic," with Jon telling Tormund they're leaving too many people behind, and the wildling woman putting her kids on the boat and saying she'd be right behind them. (Foreshadowing!) Then the dogs started barking and things got ominous. White mist that looked like snow came down and they said to shut the gate. So many people were still behind the gate and we were left to just hear what was going on with a peep through a hole in the (flimsy-looking) wall.

That wall was not destined to hold and wights (like walkers on "The Walking Dead" mixed with the undead pirates of "Pirates of the Caribbean") broke through. Things got tense and hectic, and Jon led a battle to hold the gate while everyone else tried to get away on boats. Where's Ghost when you need him to save the day again?! At one point, Jon looked up and saw White Walkers on horseback. Where's the dragonglass? Jon had himself his own battle with a White Walker, one-on-one. SO EPIC. His blade, Valyrian steel, saved the day. Works like dragonglass. But the wildling woman was attacked by the dead (creepy dead children!) and a ton of new dead just landed like a frozen zombie herd to attack. The episode ended with a White Walker putting his arms up and waking all those who were just killed as newly undead, ready to attack. That's the same White Walker who turned a baby into a White Walker in Season 4. Apparently we're calling him Night's King. Oh crap. It's on! Can they make it to The Wall?

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