|Game of Thrones episode|
The Night King reanimating fallen Wildlings and men of the Night's Watch.
|Directed by||Miguel Sapochnik|
D. B. Weiss
|Featured music||Ramin Djawadi|
|Cinematography by||Fabian Wagner|
|Editing by||Tim Porter|
|Original air date||May 31, 2015|
|Running time||60 minutes|
"Hardhome" is the eighth episode of the fifth season of HBO's fantasy television series Game of Thrones, and the 48th overall. The episode was written by the series' creators David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and directed by Miguel Sapochnik.
The episode features a climactic battle sequence at the episode's eponymous Wildling village, a battle mentioned but not seen in the original source material. It has since been hailed by many reviewers and fans as one of the series' best episodes. Filming of the episode's eponymous battle required nearly a month shooting. In the United States, the episode achieved a viewership of 7.01 million in its initial broadcast. The episode earned Game of Thrones several nominations at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards and was also Dinklage's pick to support his nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor.
This episode marks the only appearance for Birgitte Hjort Sørensen.
In King's Landing
Cersei is visited by Septa Unella, who offers her water in exchange for a confession of her sins. Cersei asks to speak with Tommen and is struck by the Septa. Later, Qyburn visits Cersei and tells her about the crimes she is charged with, including incest and the murder of Robert Baratheon, which she insists are lies. Qyburn also tells her that Grand Maester Pycelle has taken control of the Small Council and has sent for her uncle, Kevan, to return from Casterly Rock and serve as Tommen's Hand. Before leaving, Qyburn tells Cersei that "the work continues".
Arya assumes the identity of Lanna, an oyster seller. While practicing acting with Jaqen, she describes her typical day to Jaqen, who tells her to change her daily route, and to instead head to the harbour. There she sells oysters to a life insurance salesman. Jaqen explains that the family of one of the salesman's clients hired the Faceless Men to kill him after he refused to pay out when said client drowned at sea. He tells Arya to return to the harbour and learn everything she can about the insurer before poisoning him.
At the Wall
Gilly treats Sam's wounds, before Olly asks for a word with Sam in private. Olly asks Sam why Jon trusts the wildlings, noting that the wildlings, including Tormund, attacked his village and killed his family. Sam explains that Jon had to make a difficult decision, and that they have no chance of defeating the White Walkers without help from the wildlings.
Theon Greyjoy/Reek brings food to Sansa, who remains locked in her chamber. She asks Reek why he told Ramsay about her escape plans, and Reek replies that there is no escape from Ramsay. When he tries to leave, Sansa confronts him about murdering Bran and Rickon, but Reek confesses that he was unable to find them, and killed two farm boys instead before burning their bodies and passing off the remains as those of the Stark children. Hearing this revelation, Sansa finds hope once again.
In the great hall, Roose Bolton and his advisors plan for battle with Stannis's army. Roose plans to wait out the invaders, noting that with Winterfell fully repaired and supplied, they are better prepared for a siege than Stannis. Ramsay insists that the Boltons should take the fight to Stannis as a statement to the rest of the North, and asks his father for twenty good men.
Jorah and Tyrion are brought before Daenerys, who asks Tyrion why he should be allowed to live and serve her. Tyrion explains that he understands how politics work in King's Landing, and would be of great service to her due to his experience as former Hand of the King. Tyrion also convinces Daenerys to spare Jorah's life, though he tells her that Jorah should not be allowed to serve her, and she orders Jorah exiled from Meereen again. Later, Daenerys tells Tyrion that she will not have him killed or exiled, and intends to allow him to advise her. She also tells him about reclaiming the Iron Throne, her birthright. When she claims that the common people of Westeros will support her claim, Tyrion points out that her rule of Meereen has not gone smoothly with only the support of the common people, and tells her that she will not succeed without the backing of a powerful Westerosi house. She compares the powerful houses of Westeros to spokes on a wheel and says that she intends to "break the wheel".
Meanwhile, Jorah returns to Yezzan zo Qaggaz and asks that he be allowed to fight in front of Daenerys in the fighting pits.
Arriving at Hardhome, Jon, Tormund, and a group of Night's Watch brothers meet with the Lord of Bones, who has become the de facto leader of the wildlings. After a tense standoff, Tormund kills the Lord of Bones and orders his advisors to gather the elders, including Wildling leader Karsi. At the meeting, Jon shares the dragonglass with the wildlings, telling them how Sam killed a White Walker with a dragonglass dagger. Jon offers to allow the wildlings to farm the lands south of the Wall if they will aid the Night's Watch in the coming war against the White Walkers. When asked what became of Mance Rayder, Jon admits that he killed him. Outraged, the assembled wildlings move to kill Jon, but Tormund is able to calm them by explaining that Jon killed Mance out of mercy. After more discussion, Jon and Tormund are able to convince roughly 5,000 wildlings to come with them, though the Thenns, led by Loboda, refuse to join them.
While loading the ships with wildlings, Hardhome is attacked by an army of wights. Jon and the Night's Watch brothers assist in the defense of Hardhome, helping defend the walls from wight attacks. Jon and Tormund see several White Walkers observing the battle, and Jon moves to recover the bag of dragonglass weapons. Entering a large hut, Jon and Loboda are attacked by a White Walker, who easily kills Loboda before moving on to Jon. Jon is attacked before he can recover the dragonglass, and manages to escape the hut. The White Walker pursues him and they fight, but the Walker is momentarily stunned when he is unable to break Jon's Valyrian steel sword Longclaw, and Jon manages to kill him. His victory is short-lived, as the walls surrounding Hardhome fall to the wights and Jon and his remaining allies are forced to flee. As Jon returns to the boats, he witnesses the Night King reviving the dead, including Karsi and many of the wildlings and the Night's Watch, as wights.
This episode was written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the series' creators. It contains content from George Martin's novels A Feast for Crows, chapters Cersei X and Cat of the Canals and A Dance with Dragons, chapter The Ugly Little Girl.
Like other episodes this season, "Hardhome" contained a large amount of original material that does not appear in Martin's novels. According to Erik Kain of Forbes, "We have now fully parted ways with the books. If the rest of Season 5 hadn't convinced you that the show was forging its own path, this episode is the final nail in the coffin." This includes the battle scene in which the Wildlings and Night's Watch are ambushed by the White Walkers and army of the undead, as well as the meeting of Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister.
Birgitte Hjort Sørensen was cast as Karsi, a wildling chieftain originally written as a male character. Zachary Baharov appeared as Loboda, a Thenn leader, and Ross O'Hennessy replaced Edward Dogliani as the Lord Of Bones in this episode. Ian Whyte who had previously been cast as a White Walker, played the giant. Members of the metal band Mastodon acted as wildlings at Hardhome in a cameo appearance.
"Hardhome" was directed by Miguel Sapochnik. He joined the series as a director in the fifth season. He also directed the previous episode, "The Gift".  The sequence at Hardhome was filmed at the Magheramorne quarry and took nearly a month to film.
"Hardhome" was watched by an estimated 7.01 million American viewers during its first airing.
With Live+7 DVR viewing factored in, the episode had an overall rating of 9.94 million viewers, and a 5.1 in the 18–49 demographic. In the United Kingdom, the episode was viewed by 2.383 million viewers, making it the highest-rated broadcast that week. It also received 0.211 million timeshift viewers.
The episode received universal acclaim from both critics and viewers, with critics calling it the best episode of the series. It received a 100% rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes from 35 reviews with an overall rating of 9.7 out of 10 and the critics' consensus reading "Following several episodes of setup, 'Hardhome' blends a sharp script with spectacular blockbuster action to offer viewers a powerful, game-changing payoff."
The Atlantic named "Hardhome" one of the best television episodes of 2015. Erik Kain of Forbes called this "one of the best, most exciting episodes I've seen in the entire show's run, let alone this season," citing "High action and a series of pretty crazy revelations." Matt Fowler of IGN gave the episode 10/10, labeling it a "masterpiece". He praised the Tyrion/Daenerys scenes but predominantly the final sequence, which he described as "edge-of-your-seat exciting" and also "quite terrifying". This made "Hardhome" the first episode in season 5 to receive a 10/10 rating from IGN. Matt Fowler also named it the best episode of the entire series. Both Myles McNutt and Erik Adams of The A.V. Club gave the episode the website's highest grade, "A". They called it "a welcome reminder that [the show is still unpredictable]," with McNutt citing it as his favorite episode of the series thus far. Bridle Roman of SFX gave the episode a perfect five stars, and highlighted the character of Karsi, played by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as a great addition and "her death hits hard" even if "we have only seen her for a few scenes". The episode received praise even from some of its usual critics: Madeline Davies of Jezebel wrote, "I feel like I haven't said this in a long time, but last night's Game of Thrones was ...cool?" Davies cited the quality of the battle scene and unifying theme of hope in desperate situations as the episode's key strengths, specifically that the abused and tormented Sansa learns that her brothers may still be alive and that though Jon faces "the seemingly impossible task of defeating a constantly growing army of White Walkers, he at least possesses a sword that can kill them." Kirsten Acuna of Business Insider reports that this is the single most popular episode to date as rated by fans, noting that the "tremendous reaction is in complete juxtaposition with reactions to an episode that aired two weeks ago," which received one of the series' lowest fan ratings. Acuna credits this response to the quality of the battle scene, which featured "a fighting army of the walking dead which would easily give the AMC series of the same name a run for its money."
Awards and nominations
|2015||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister||Won|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series||Fabian Wagner||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Fantasy Program||Deborah Riley, Paul Ghirardani, Rob Cameron||Won|
|Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series||Jane Walker, Barrie Gower, and Sarah Gower||Nominated|
|Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series||Tim Porter||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series||Tim Kimmel, Paula Fairfield, Bradley C. Katona, Peter Bercovitch, David Klotz, Jeffrey Wilhoit, Dylan T. Wilhoit||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Series||Ronan Hill, Richard Dyer, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters||Won|
|British Society of Cinematographers||Best Cinematography in a Television Drama||Fabian Wagner||Nominated|||
|ACO/BSC/GBCT Operators TV Drama Award||David Morgan, Sean Savage, Ben Wilson, David Worley||Won|||
|Gold Derby TV Awards 2015||Best Drama Episode||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Professional Alliance||Outstanding Sound||Tim Kimmel, Paula Fairfield, Bradley Katona, Paul Bercovitch, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Color Grading||Joe Finley||Nominated|
|Outstanding Editing||Tim Porter||Nominated|
|IGN Awards||Best TV Episode||Won|||
|IGN People's Choice Awards||Best TV Episode||Nominated|
|2016||ADG Excellence in Production Design Award||One-Hour Single Camera Fantasy Television Series||Deborah Riley||Won|||
|Shorty Awards||GIF of The Year||Come At Me Bro||Nominated|||
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Television Series – One Hour||Ronan Hill, Richard Dyer, Onnalee Blank, Mathew Waters, Brett Voss||Won|||
|American Society of Cinematographers||Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series||Fabian Wagner||Nominated|||
|American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited One-Hour Series For Non-Commercial Television||Tim Porter||Nominated|||
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: FX/Foley||Tim Kimmel||Won|||
|Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: Dialogue / ADR||Tim Kimmel||Won|
|Best Sound Editing in Television, Short Form: Music||David Klotz||Nominated|
|USC Scripter Award||Best Adapted Screenplay||David Benioff and D.B. Weiss||Nominated|||
|Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project||David Ramos, Antonio Lado, Piotr Weiss, Félix Bergés||Won|||
|Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode||Eduardo Díaz, Guillermo Orbe, Oscar Perea, Inmaculada Nadela||Won|
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- Davies, Madeline (June 1, 2015). "Game of Boners: I Go White-Walking After Midnight". Jezebel. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Robinson, Joanna (June 1, 2015). "Birgitte Hjort Sørensen Hints That We May Not Have Seen the Last of Her Game of Thrones Character". Vanity Fair.
- Murphy, Shaunna (June 1, 2015). "'Game Of Thrones': 'Hardhome' Director Takes Us Behind The Scenes of Jon Snow's Epic Battle". MTV.
- "Acclaimed Actor Zachary Baharov Has Scary New 'Game Of Thrones' Role". Highlight Hollywood. February 4, 2015.
- Tommy Lightfoot Garrett (March 26, 2015). "'Game Of Thrones' Recasts Rattleshirt, Lord Of Bones With Handsome Welsh Actor Ross O'Hennessy, Winter Is Coming,". Highlight Hollywood.
- Chan, Robert (June 12, 2015). "The Real Magicians of 'Game of Thrones': Effects Wizards Share Secrets of Westeros". Yahoo! TV.
- Beauchemin, Molly (May 31, 2015). "Mastodon Portray "Wildlings" on "Game of Thrones"". Pitchfork.
- Hibberd, James (July 15, 2014). "'Game of Thrones' season 5 directors chosen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- Kaplan, Don (June 1, 2015). "'Game of Thrones' behind the scenes of 'Hardhome Battle': Winter brings carnage and Jon Snow's big test". NY Daily News.
- Bibel, Sara (May 27, 2015). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'Game of Thrones' Tops Night + 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians', 'Silicon Valley', 'Naked and Afraid' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 15, 2015). "'Game of Thrones' Leads Adults 18–49 & Viewership Gains, 'Salem' Tops Percentage Increases in Live +7 Cable Ratings for Week Ending June 1". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 15, 2015.
- "Top 10 Ratings (1-7 June 2015)". BARB. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
- Kuchera, Ben (June 1, 2015). "Game of Thrones shows its hand in the best episode of the season, if not the show". Polygon. Vox Media Inc. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- "Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 8: Hardhome". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- "The Best Television Episodes of 2015". The Atlantic.
- Fowler, Matt (May 31, 2015). "Game of Thrones: "Hardhome" Review". IGN. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- "The Top 10 Game of Thrones Episodes - IGN - Page 2". IGN. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
- Adams, Erik (May 31, 2015). "Game Of Thrones (newbies): "Hardhome"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- McNutt, Myles (May 31, 2015). "Game Of Thrones (experts): "Hardhome"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- "Game of Thrones S5.08 "Hardhome"". June 1, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- Acuna, Kirsten (June 1, 2015). "Why everyone's faith in this season of 'Game of Thrones' has been renewed in one chart". Business Insider. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Game of Thrones". Emmys.com. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- "Past nominees" (PDF). bscine.com. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- "Past winners" (PDF). bscine.com. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- Montgomery, Daniel (September 17, 2015). "Gold Derby TV Awards: 'Game of Thrones' sweeps, big wins for Amy Schumer, 'Parks and Rec'". Gold Derby. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Montgomery, Daniel (September 17, 2015). "Gold Derby TV Awards: 'Game of Thrones' sweeps, big wins for Amy Schumer, 'Parks and Rec'". Gold Derby. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- "Hollywood Post Alliance® Announces 2015 Award Winners". Hollywood Post Alliance. November 12, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- "Best TV Series". IGN. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
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- Lee, Ashley (January 19, 2016). "Shorty Awards Nominees Include Adele, Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
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