'Game of Thrones': How the new episode addressed fans' complaints

The newest episode of 'Thrones' has received near-universal positive reviews. Part of the reason it got such a good reception is that it included many storylines and events that viewers have been waiting a long time to see.

Helen Sloan/HBO/AP
'Game of Thrones' stars Kit Harington.

The most recent installment of the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones” had several scenes that satisfied fans’ recent complaints.

“Game” centers on a fantasy world where various factions are fighting to take control of the country of Westeros. The show, which is currently airing its fifth season, is based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series by George R.R. Martin. 

(Spoilers for the most recent episode of “Thrones” follow…)

Part of the newest episode, which aired on May 31, included an encounter between skilled political manipulator Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), whose family once ruled Westeros and who now dreams of returning to the country to rule as its queen. In Martin’s books, the two characters have not met, and when Tyrion and Daenerys first encountered each other last week, many critics praised the decision. “The most satisfying moment … was seeing Tyrion Lannister finally get an audience with the queen,” Paste writer Josh Jackson wrote. Entertainment Weekly writer James Hibberd noted that “many readers of [‘Thrones’ book] ‘A Dance With Dragons’ were frustrated by Tyrion spending the novel traveling to meet Dany and never reaching her. So not making the same choice as Martin for the show’s fifth season seems like a no-brainer move.” 

The newest episode included Tyrion having to convince Daenerys why she needs him as an advisor (members of his family have killed, or conspired to have killed, members of hers) and then the two sharing a conversation by themselves. Reviewers were further delighted by the scenes. “Tyrion and Khaleesi [one of Daenerys's titles] are together and, somehow, it’s just as wonderful as we all imagined it would be,” USA Today writer Nate Scott wrote of the most recent installment. 

Another major part of the recent episode also addressed fans’ complaints. A big chunk of the episode was devoted to Jon Snow (Kit Harington), who is commander of the country’s fighting force the Night’s Watch, facing off with the zombie-like White Walkers. He was joined in this fight by the wildlings, people who are traditionally enemies of the Night’s Watch but with whom Jon was attempting to make an alliance so they could defend against the White Walkers together. 

The White Walkers have been an ever-present threat on “Thrones,” but some fans felt it hadn’t been addressed recently. “I believe it was just a couple weeks ago I was joking about Jon Snow saying for the millionth time that ‘winter is coming’ and just not buying it anymore,” Scott wrote, referring to a phrase Jon often invokes when discussing the White Walkers. Meanwhile, Hanh Nguyen of TV Guide wrote that “what happens at Hardhome is a turning point for ‘Game of Thrones’ because it truly brings home that the silly, spiteful maneuvering for who gets to sit on the Iron Throne is selfish and short-sighted. None of that will matter unless the White Walkers and their minions are somehow defeated.” E! writer Sydney Bucksbaum agreed, writing that “[episode title] ‘Hardhome’ finally reveals the biggest threat facing Westeros,” and A.V. Club writer Erik Adams wrote of the installment, “Near the end of an odd, shapeless season, it’s nice to see ‘Game Of Thrones’ still has the capacity to surprise. And surprise in a way that doesn’t punish the viewer: When the army of the dead converged on Hardhome tonight, it was the kind of hair-raising thrill that season five has often struggled to muster.” 

There are two episodes left in the current season of “Thrones.” If there are more meetings between Tyrion and Daenerys and more glimpses of the White Walker enemies, they should satisfy many fans.

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