Hardhome is the setting for one of the show's greatest battle sequences (and episodes overall), with the icy village a perfectly evocative location for a showdown with the White Walkers. However, there's much more to this village than meets the eye.
It was once a thriving settlement - well, as thriving as somewhere can be beyond the Wall - and on the verge of becoming the first true town North of it. Then, some 600 years ago, it was completely destroyed during a single night.
Various tales report its people being taken into slavery across the Narrow Sea, or otherwise eaten by cannibals from Skagos. Homes burned with fires so high they could be seen from the Wall, and when people eventually went to investigate all they found were corpses and, more mystifyingly, shrieks, causing the land to be avoided for centuries.