Feel like I haven’t said this in awhile, but last night’s Game of Thrones was... cool?

The episode, “Hardhome,” focused primarily on characters whose situations have become so dismal and bleak that you have to ask them—out loud, to your television—why they don’t just kill themselves. That’s not being flip or dismissive; it’s offering a friendly suggestion. Sansa, why don’t you throw yourself out a tower window? Jon, why not lie down and let a bunch of icy zombie babies devour you? Seriously, why not? Westeros sucks and no one is happy, so why go on?

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The answer, of course, is hope and perseverance. While they might exist on a fantasy planet, the characters’ of Game of Thrones are driven by the same things we are. Desire, love, the natural instinct to survive. And, like us, they’re given reminders (reminders that are sometimes so tiny that you might as well ignore them) that maybe—probably not, but maybe—survival is worth it. As great philosopher once said, “We found love in a hopeless place” and this, alongside “Winter is coming,” might as well be the motto of the entire GoT series.

We see this in action when Sansa, pushed to her breaking point, learns that her brothers Brann and Rickon are possibly still alive. While this can hardly rescue or relieve her from the abuse she suffers at the hands of her new husband Ramsay, the knowledge that she’s not entirely alone in this world does provide her with the will to go on. Similarly, her brother Jon, on the other side of the wall, learns that while he does face the seemingly impossible task of defeating a constantly growing army of White Walkers, he at least possesses a sword that can kill them, something that the Night’s King, a.k.a. King of the White Walkers (and former Buffy villain) now knows, too.

He’s not particularly bothered by the info, though:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I feel you, dude.

It’s interesting to note that the battle between the Wildlings, the Crows, and the White Walkers at Hardhome didn’t happen in the books and that the GoT show runners spent the bulk of last night’s episode working off of entirely original material. This definitely strengthens the theory that this season—slow in both action and plot—has basically been one big stall so that George R.R. Martin can write another book.

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With only two episodes left in season 5, it was a relief to see some action, especially in the form of such a sprawling and decimating battle scene. It’s too bad, though, that they had to introduce a new, skilled, no-bullshit Wildling woman, only to have her end up dead (...and then undead) in the same episode. Silver lining: Her death will probably make room for more Sam and Gilly mouth-breathing scenes, which... oh, fuck it. I guess things are hopeless after all.

Image via HBO.