“Hardhome” is about more than just the title location, but it swallows up nearly all the oxygen in the room this week, capped by a long, slow, and nearly dialogue-free battle between the Night’s Watch, the wildlings, and a growing horde of skeletons, zombies, wights, and ultimately, White Walkers. There were very few survivors.
A Song of Ice and Fire is slowly but surely replacing The Inheritance Cycle as my favorite series ever, and now that I am finally almost done with the last book and about to start a reread, I’ve also been spending my days on forums and gobbling up numerous fan theories to be my own personal canon. I find this series interesting and compelling for a number of reasons—good characterization and awesome worldbuilding, to name a few—but I also like what it does with the fantasy genre as a whole. Though, like many fantasy stories before it, A Song of Ice and Fire takes place in a medieval setting, has dragons, and is probably going to end with an epic battle between the forces of good against the forces of evil, it is not a typical fantasy story. One of the reasons for that is its use of magic.
A Song of Ice and Fire doesn’t expose its readers to that many magical elements. There are dragons and skinchangers, but what else? The vast majority of the books have no magic in them whatsoever, so some of the more fantastical parts of the books—such as the Wall—can easily make a reader wonder whether or not it can be explained by magic or science.