- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Was the Night's King holding back his waterfall of reinforcements a case of the Villain Ball, or is the Army of the Dead not as limitless as the White Walkers would have others believe? After all, while the living might rally more troops in the face of defeat, the White Walkers can only gain more soldiers by killing their enemies.
- Does Tyrion advise Dany banish Jorah Mormont because he believes it's best for her, or because he wants to ensure he's the only advisor she has with knowledge of Westeros?
- Fridge Horror: Wun Wun escaped Hardhome (and, presumably, was able to board a ship), but we saw no other giants doing so. How many of them are now in the army of dead?
- "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Very high, the zombie onslaught makes the game of thrones look completely irrelevant and petty, which is the point, given 99% of Westeros doesn't care about the Wall except as a place to send criminals. Highlights include:
- Jon fighting mano a mano with a White Walker, blocking its blows with Longclaw and finally killing it. This also confirmed Valyrian steel's effectiveness against the Others, adding another weapon to the arsenal of the living.
- The Night's King overseeing the battle and raising the corpses of the wildlings, from the shore, in view of the fleeing survivors. A dreadful but impressive taunt.
- Wun Wun the giant strolling through the battle stomping wights, and finally making it to the sea.
- The battle itself comes basically out of nowhere. Especially considering that most viewers were probably expecting it more from episode 9.
- Memetic Mutation: Ramsay's 20 Good Men, capable of accomplishing anything.
- One-Scene Wonder: Karsi, the female wildling chief. She won't be making any future appearances (at least alive), but she's well-liked by the audiences. Especially notable as there was a whole Amazon Brigade introduced earlier this season who were not nearly as well-received.
- Visual Effects of Awesome:
- The scene where the White Walker general walks through the flames in the burning shack, putting them out with his icy aura. The design and look of the White Walker who fights John, with his armour and long flowing mane of white-hair was also cited as impressive.
- The giant Wun Wun not only looks great, but he's also able to move (at some speed) and fight in the same shot as human-sized opponents, with Special Effects Failure being awesomely averted.
- Win Back the Crowd: After Season Five received rather more mixed critical reactions than its predecessors (particularly in the preceding two episodes) and saw significant viewership drops for the first time in the show's history, this episode brought a lot of the praise back and became the second highest-rated episode of this season in term of viewers rating behind only the season premiere.
YMMV / Game Of Thrones S 5 E 8 Hardhome