It has been a long time since I wrote anything about ASOIAF/GoT. And there’s only a couple of weeks until Season 4 is out on DVD/Blu-Ray, and a couple of months until Season Five starts.
So Kelly and I recently watched the “Game of Thrones: A Day in the Life” special and they specifically talk a bit about Hardhome. I have been thinking about what might be going on there in Season Five. Sure, there will be lots of other stuff going on, but the North is the region that I think is my favorite, and so anything involving the North, including the Nights Watch and the Wildlings, is sure to get my attention.*
So here is what I think might happen with all things North.
First, I think it’s pretty clear that Jon Snow will become Lord Commander of the Nights Watch in Season Five, just as he does in the books
Now, in the books, we know that Hardhome is an abandoned Wildling settlement that has a rather sinister reputation as a haunted place, a place of death, as a result of something that happened there about 600 years before. Exactly what happened is unknown, as there are a couple of different accounts of what took place there. But it seems clear that the settlement was burned to the ground, along with much of the nearby forest. Traders and Night’s Watch who came to investigate found that the people all disappeared, with the exception of charred bones and numerous corpses floating in the water nearby. The only thing remaining were numerous caves along a cliff wall, caves that the men of the Nights Watch named “the screaming caves” because of the terrible noises that seemed to come from within them.
In A Dance with Dragons, a Wildling named Mother Mole leads a large number of Wildlings to Hardhome, claiming that she had a vision that they might be rescued there. Lord Commander Jon Snow sends men and ships to retrieve the Wildlings from Hardhome, and word is received that storms have wrecked some of the ships. Cotter Pyke from Eastwatch-by-the-Sea is in command, and he reports that with six surviving ships they have discovered the Wildlings at Hardhome have resorted to cannibalizing their own dead out of desperation, and that there are dead and/or wights in the woods and in the water. He also reports that slavers from across the sea have taken a large number of people. Pyke asks for help from Castle Black, figuring that the water route is too dangerous and that help should come overland.
Snow had originally planned to go himself to assist the men at Hardhome, but then he receives a letter from Ramsay Bolton, who insists that he has defeated and killed Stannis. So Snow sends Tormund Giantsbane instead, while he plans to go to Winterfell himself to fight Ramsay Bolton. And this leads to several members of the Nights Watch, who are already angry at the Lord Commander for allowing so many Wildlings to join the Nights Watch, attacking Jon Snow and (seemingly) killing him.
In the books, it is hinted that wights are at Hardhome, and if so, it is possible we may see the White Walkers in Season Five. Personally, I am surprised we have not seen them in Greater Boston yet. So far we have all the signs. Massive amounts of snow? Check. Bitter cold? Check. No sign of winter letting up? Check. Unnatural creatures sighted? Check. Wights? Check.**
Now, since the storyline in Season Five is supposed to be a condensed version of the events of Books Four and Five (at least in theory), I think it is safe to assume that at least part of Jon Snow’s story is going to be told – the part where an expedition is sent to Hardhome. We know that Tormund Giantsbane is in Season Five, as is the Lord of Bones, and we see lots of wildlings, so obviously that will be a part of the story. We know that someone has been cast as Bowen Marsh, the First Steward of the Nights Watch, which means that it is highly likely that the conflict within the Nights Watch will be portrayed. So we will likely see Wildlings joining the Nights Watch, just as they do in Book Five. It seems as if Snow leads the expedition to Hardhome, which may just be an easy way to streamline the story a bit by putting the main character in the Watch where the action will be taking place. And so possibly that is where the “coup” may end up taking place as well.
What exactly is going to happen with Stannis is uncertain, at least to me. It is my understanding that Winterfell is going to be in Season Five, and that would seem to point to the inclusion of Ramsay Bolton and his wicked girlfriend Miranda (who is not a character in the books), as Ramsay spends all of Book Five in the North and much of it at Winterfell. So perhaps Stannis does march on Winterfell, as he does in Book Five. I have no idea what else he might be doing in Season Five, since we have not seen anything about the Glovers and Deepwood Motte. We have not heard anything at all about the casting of Lord Manderly, who is one of my favorite characters from Book Five. I fear that his epic scenes with Davos Seaworth in A Dance with Dragons are not going to be included, which would be a real shame, because after all, he is the source of “the North remembers”, and his scenes with Davos in White Harbor are my absolute favorite parts of Book Five.
So I may just have to watch episodes 9 and 10 of Season 4 a lot to keep myself occupied until more Northern Awesome graces my TV screen.
*As a “Northman”, my choice would be to declare fealty to the Manderlys, and thus to the Starks. Those two families are awesome. Just saying.
**You may be wondering why my wights link takes you to a story about hipsters. It’s because they both wear ragged clothing, they both look emaciated, they are both always hungry, they both tend to wander around aimlessly, they both tend to travel in clusters (especially in cities), they both take over your neighborhood before you know it, and they both could manage to destroy civilization if given a chance. So I figured it is probably safest if I just assume that any hipster I see is a zombie. Because even if they aren’t, they probably will be soon, you know why? Because they will want to be zombies WAY before anyone else is a zombie. It’s what they do. And I live in Cambridge near the Somerville line, so I see hipsters EVERYWHERE. It’s scary.