George R.R. Martin may be putting "Game of Thrones" on hold to finish up "Winds of Winter" -- and side note, if you're cutting down on interviews, don't do an interview to explain how you're cutting down on the amount of interviews you're doing, but I digress -- but we're paying rapt attention to HBO's hit show.
It's interesting that Martin is refocusing now, though, as we're officially in uncharted territory where the books are concerned: we've weaved and swerved before, but from Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) at Winterfell, to Jon Snow (Kit Harington) heading away from the Wall, to most importantly Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) finally meeting up, we have literally no idea what will happen next.
So with that in mind, here's every moment that totally freaked us out on, "Hardhome," an episode so big it felt like it should have been episode nine (but was actually episode eight):
When Tyrion Met DanyHelen Sloan/HBO
We open on Tyrion meeting Dany, and it's pretty clear right off that after nearly five full seasons, Tyrion has finally met his match. He tries to convince her to let him enter her service (or rather, that she's worthy of his advising) -- and he begins by convincing Dany to bring Jorah (Iain Glen) back into her service, too. "A ruler who kills those who are devoted to her is not a ruler who inspires devotion," Tyrion tells her... Leading to Jorah's removal from Meereen, but perhaps Dany's trust of Tyrion.
And it's clear, even as he leaves the city walls that the lovesick -- and stoneskinned -- Jorah won't be giving up any time soon.
Later, over cups of wine, D & T bond over terrible fathers and matters of state... And it has a decidedly Dread Pirate Roberts bent to the conversation, with Dany idly suggesting she'll kill him at every turn. That is, until she takes him on as adviser.
His first piece of advice, though, is to leave King's Landing behind and stay in Meereen. His reasoning? There's no way she can triumph against the warring houses of Westeros, so why not stay where she can do the most good. She dismisses his worries, saying that all those Houses are just spokes in a wheel. Tyrion sighs, saying many people have tried to stop the wheel.
"I'm not going to stop the wheel," Dany says. "I'm going to break the wheel."
...And for the first time in a long time, we see her terrible, awesome power... And why she's inspired so many men, women and children.
Cersei What We Did ThereHBO
Cersei (Lena Headey) is in far worse shape than when we last left her, dirty, starving, but refusing to be broken. Except, she is, isn't she? Broken, I mean. When Qyburn (Anton Lesser) visits her to lay out her charges, which range from incest to the murder of Robert Barantheon (and are, mind you, all true), she can barely look him in the eyes... Until it comes to Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), who Qyburn reveals isn't eating.
He offers a way out, though: confess, and the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) will let her go. And there, for the moment, is the limit of Cersei's pride. She'll never debase herself for the Sparrow, something that was her undoing to begin with.
She stays strong even when her water is poured on the floor by one of the Sparrow's minions... And only moments later, lets herself break, licking the water off the floor. She's fallen far, and even for a villain like Cersei, it's hard to watch someone be debased like this.
A Girl Tries To Kill A Dude
A girl -- a.k.a., Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) -- has finally accepted her lack of name, and has become a lowly oyster-seller. With Jaqen H'ghar's (Tom Wlaschiha) coaching, she's able to travel unnoticed through the underbelly of Braavos. She discovers a gambler embroiled with a bookie, and is encouraged to kill the latter. Will she do it? Tune in next time, on "Game of Thrones!"
That's pretty much it for this one, but you know, the Many Faced God wants us to make sure to recap as much as possible.
There Must Always Be A Stark In Winterfell
Reek (Alfie Allen) is confronted by Sansa, wondering why he sold her out when she tried to escape... And Reek lays out a fascinating dichotomy: he's aware of what he did as Theon, and aware of deserving to be made into Reek. "If it wasn't for you, I'd still have a family," Sansa spits at him, until he breaks... And confesses that he didn't actually kill Bran and Rickon.
And now, despite everything, Sansa has something to hope for: her brothers are still alive.
Jon Snow Knows Something, ActuallyHelen Sloan/HBO
"I've been worrying about Jon for years," Sam (John Bradley) says. "He always comes back." Which seem like fairly damning words, dramatically, for our favorite dour Lord Commander. Jon has headed to the assembled Wildlings at Hardhome with Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), and right off The Lord of Bones angrily explains there could ever be an alliance between the Crows and the Free Folk.
That is, up until Tormund bashes both of his skulls in, and that gives Jon an audience with the leader of each Wildling clan.
Though they're doubtful initially, Jon works to convince them by making a gift of Dragonglass. His deal? They'll give the Wildings lands south of the Wall, and in return they promise to fight on the side of the Night's Watch when the White Walkers attack.
Things are thrown into a disarray just a little when his stupid honesty makes him tell them that he killed Mance Rayder... But as usual, a rousing speech about the oncoming undead invasion changes the tide.
"All of us together," Jon nearly shouts. "All of us. Even then, maybe it won't be enough. But at least we'll give the f--kers a fight."
Making all our "Pitch Perfect" crossover dreams come true, Birgitte Hjort Sorenson as Karsi (and everyone else) agrees. Also a Giant says something, so that's pretty cool.
Army of DarknessHBO
As the evacuation of Hardhome wears on, Jon notices that most of the Wildling army is being left behind. Tormund tells him they'll come around, but that's not what Jon's worried about... No, he knows that when the White Walkers come, those left will be turned.
And that's exactly what happens, as an unearthly cloud descends on the camp. The Thenn leader locks most of the army out. They scream, yell and try to get through. The cloud hits... Followed by silence. But it's literally just the calm before the storm, as everyone left outside is turned into that undead army Jon was worried about not five minutes earlier.
Was this the "Army of Darkness" meets "Walking Dead" fight we've been waiting for since the first scene of season one? Pretty much, as chaos reigns on the dock and Jon rallies, leading the Night's Watchmen to fight the lichs with the Wildlings.
It's absolute madness, but halfway through the fight Jon spies the actual White Walkers riding their skeletal horses, just watching the battle unfold. That's the thing, see. This is just an army of the undead. They're just skeletons and rotted flesh, "easily" taken down with nothing more than axes and a few well placed Giant's steps.
Of course, as Jon realizes this, that's when the real enemy approaches. A White Walker takes down the Thenn leader with an easy dodge and a sharp blow through the midsection. Jon takes it on solo, and doesn't fare much better. He's beaten, badly hurt and crawling through the snow. And that's when he discovers, it isn't just Dragonglass that kills White Walkers... It's Valyrian Steel, too.
The Night's King looks on, and nods knowingly, while the fight continues.
World War ZHelen Sloan/HBO
Here we learn the true power of the undead army. It's an emotional one, as Karsi sees her children in horrifying skeletal form. And she's unable to fight, unable to do anything except fall down and be eaten.
Just kidding, their true power is a goddamn avalanche of zombies, falling off a cliff around the Night's King's feet. They nearly get Jon and Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton), who narrowly escape to the "safety" of the boats with Tormund. Meanwhile, back on the shore, everyone dies. Like, everyone.
And the Night's King steps to the edge of the docks, fixing his cold blue eyes directly on Jon Snow. Silently, NK looks back at his army, then at Jon. He raises his hands... And the newly dead bodies twitch. Their eyes turn blue. And they rise.
There was a time when Jon thought he could stop the undead army with his scrappy team of Wildlings and Night's Watchmen. Now? Goodbye, Westeros. By the time Dany gets here, there may not even be a wheel to break.