Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 9 – Battle of the Bastards Recap

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War is hell and tonight in “Battle of the Bastards,” from Meereen to Winterfell, Game of Thrones plunged us all into the thick of it.

Spoiler Note: This post is for those who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The post and the comments section will contain spoilers from the novels! Because no, we are not all Unsullied now. If you haven’t read the books yet, please check out our non-book-reader recap. Thanks!

The long-anticipated clash has come and gone, Winterfell has been retaken, and there is a victor in the Battle of the Bastards. As we’d expected and hoped, House Stark was triumphant but there was a steep cost in the form of lives. But this episode wasn’t all about the title battle- we have another besieged territory to check in with, so let’s rewind and review all the events of “Battle of the Bastards.”

dragon

Starting off in Meereen, Tyrion and a none-too-happy Daenerys debate their next move as the Masters’ attack on the city continues. Dany is unsurprisingly in favor of the Fire-and-Bloodbath once again, laying waste to all the other slave cities, but Tyrion, with a pointed reminder of King Aerys’ wildfire stashed all over King’s Landing, nudges the queen into considering another strategy.

Instead Daenerys lays waste to just a few select enemies here in Meereen, taking out the firebombing ships with Drogon as her other two children bust out to join them in the sky. Unleashing the staggering power of their fire is what they’re meant to do, and they do it beautifully. The Dothraki horde takes out the Sons of the Harpy, while Dany’s advisors execute two of the three Masters’ envoys, leaving only Yezzan alive to carry back the message of what’s happened there, as a warning to all.

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Back in the North of Westeros, House Stark and House Bolton meet for a war council before the inevitable battle, with Sansa at Jon Snow’s side as they face her husband.

Jon challenges Ramsay to fight one-on-one, but Ramsay is wary, due to Snow’s reputation, and confident in his army’s ability to crush the much-smaller Stark forces. Ramsay holding Rickon is brought up; Smalljon Umber produces Shaggydog’s head as proof that they have the Stark boy.

A smug Ramsay is confident he’ll have his wife back after the battle, and taunts the Stark allies with discussion of his ravenous dogs, and what they’ll do to them. I’m sure that won’t come back to haunt him in an ironic way.

Jon

Later, Jon and his supporters discuss strategy and maneuvers, and decide how to handle Ramsay’s army the next day. Afterward, Sansa speaks with Jon alone, pointing out that she knows Ramsay far better than they do, and that Bolton will see any trap coming.

Sansa also admits the hard truth that they’ll never get Rickon back. Ramsay won’t allow it due to Rickon being too much of a threat to Winterfell, as a legitimate son of Ned Stark. Sansa and Jon argue about the plan, and once again over their lack of men. They’re aware that they’re not getting any reinforcements from the Blackfish (Brienne’s raven must have arrived) but Sansa doesn’t mention her message to Littlefinger, presumably because she hasn’t had word back from him on the matter. And who can predict Littlefinger’s choices?

Sansa has decided: if they lose the battle, she’s not going back with Ramsay, implying she’d rather die than face that fate. Jon swears he’ll protect her, but Sansa knows he can’t. (Especially if you die in battle, let’s be real.)

Having a much less angst-ridden conversation outside, Tormund and Davos, the two unlikely advisors, bond over their rituals for a night before a battle. These two are an interesting combination because despite any superficial differences, they have more in common with each other than they do with the men they’ve served.

“Jon Snow is not a king,” Tormund says while they talk and I have to wonder at this point if Benioff and Weiss are just screwing with us.

After their chat, Tormund heads off for a pre-battle booze binge, and Davos goes for a healthier bowel-moving walk.

14

After his disagreement with Sansa, Jon visits with another lady, Melisandre. He pushes her to swear she won’t resurrect him again if he falls in battle but she refuses. If the Lord of Light wishes her to do it, she will. They have a bit of a theological discussion that ultimately goes nowhere, like most conversations of that nature.

On his ramble through the snow, Davos comes upon the singed patch where Shireen was burned. He didn’t know that, of course, but kicking through the wood in the burned area, he finds the carved stag he made for her, and you can see the thoughts take shape in his mind. Where there’s fire, there’s Melisandre, and she is overdue for a reckoning when it comes to Shireen’s death.

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The Greyjoys have arrived in Meereen, with a cautious welcome. Tyrion doesn’t have fond memories of Theon from Winterfell, and has heard about his other activities, allegedly burning the Stark boys.

Daenerys and Yara however take to each other quickly, two powerful women recognizing kindred spirits. And Yara’s a bit of a flirt which is fabulous. The Greyjoys offer their fleet, and explain Euron’s coming offer. (You know, the one she’ll receive once he finds the wood for a thousand boats on islands with no trees.) Daenerys is willing to accept their offer, as long as the Ironborn giving up reaving and plundering the shores. Yara hesitates but then accepts, and a new alliance is formed.

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The time for the battle has finally come; the Stark and Bolton forces face each other on the field in grim silence. Jon Snow leads, while Davos hangs back with their archers.

Through the crowd, Ramsay rides, tugging Rickon behind him, putting on a show and playing a cruel game. After presenting the boy to Jon Snow and freeing Rickon, he tells him to run. But he’s not really free, of course. It’s no different than the games Ramsay played with the women in the forest. Rickon is just prey.

Ramsay grabs his bow, while Jon races to save his little brother across the field. Bolton toys with them, but given his archery skills, and what Sansa told us about the threat Rickon poses, it seems clear Ramsay never intended for him to get away. He kills Rickon, an arrow taking him down and enraging Jon into making a move.

Now the battle begins.

BOB

The Stark cavalry charges, following Jon. The Bolton arrowmen fire, killing Jon’s horse, sending him onto his feet. Jon draws his sword but he’s doomed to be run down, facing a row of men on horseback. At the last moment, the Stark forces meet the Boltons, the cavalries crashing into one another and sending the field into bloody, screaming chaos.

The battle is indescribably mad, raw carnage with Jon slashing his way through men, and arrows flying even as soldiers fight each other. The piles of the dead accumulate, Jon making a heavy contribution to the lot. All the while, Ramsay stays back, commanding from a detached distance.

Finally, Davos can’t take it anymore, and dives into the fray with the reserved archers. Ramsay orders more men into the fight, and Smalljon Umber rallies a force with him. The Bolton forces surround Jon’s remaining fighters, with shields raised and spears held high. The line is nearly unbreakable for the tiny remaining armyof the Starks.

bolton shields

More Boltons are pouring into the central fight now, and the wildlings have no luck in breaking the wall of shields. The men are being crushed together, with the circle growing smaller and smaller, closing in on them.

In the fray, Jon Snow and Smalljon come face to face and nearly fight, but the stampede of men knock Jon down into the mud. Instead it’s Tormund who trades blows with Umber, while Jon is being smothered and crushed beneath the herd of men. He struggles, and is dying under there, but finally pulls himself through the cluster of men until he can breathe again.

Tormund is somehow still fighting Smalljon in that tight crowd even though they have no room to move. (I fully believe Tormund can fight anywhere, he seems like someone with that gift.) He tears at Umber with his own teeth, and finally stabs him, killing Smalljon, as we hear horns sounding, and see the streaming blue-and-white banners of the Knight of the Vale, led by Sansa and Littlefinger.

LF and Sansa

The Knights of the Vale break through the Boltons’ wall of shields, making short work of Ramsay’s army. They shatter their defense and send him scrambling back to Winterfell for safety.

Jon, Wun Wun, Sansa and company chase after while Ramsay plans for a siege.

Hey, that siege you’re thinking of, Ramsay? Not going to happen with Wun Wun outside your door. The giant destroys a second gate this season, though he takes even more arrows and bolts for his efforts. The giant, the last of his kind, breaks through the door and falls to his knees.

Jon shield

Always the archer, Ramsay finishes off the dying Wun Wun with an arrow to the eye (had to be a prick one more time, didn’t you), before trying to take Jon up on his offer of one-on-one combat. Jon ably dodges Ramsay’s arrows with a shield, and beats the sweet bejesus out of him until Ramsay is a bloody unconscious mess. It was intensely satisfying to watch.

The Bolton banners fall, and the Stark banners are raised at Winterfell, as Melisandre watches. As Davos watches Melisandre. These two have unfinished business, and their battle is far from over.

Sansa

We haven’t seen the last of Ramsay Bolton quite yet. Jon’s beating didn’t finish him off, but that’s alright. Sansa visits him in his favorite spot: the kennels, where he sits tied up.

Regarding her once-husband, Sansa tells him, contrary to what he has said, that he’ll disappear, his words, his house, all memory of him.

The hungry hounds growl nearby.

Ramsay bragged of not feeding them earlier, but it isn’t the people of House Stark they’ll be feeding on. His loyal hound comes closer, lick his face…and bites.. And bites more, and tears and destroys him as Sansa looks on.

Sansa walks away from the kennel, a slight smile forming on her face.

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Thoughts

More discussion of/reference to Aerys’ wildfire cache? Yeah, Cersei is definitely blowing the place up next week.

Daenerys did solve her problems with fire-and-blood, but she was tempered from her original much more extensive plan by Tyrion’s words. There’s hope for her yet.

I very much appreciated the flirty tone and the simpatico vibe between Yara and Daenerys. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Meereen crew interacting with this new blood going into episode 10 and next season. Theon really needs to meet all those incredible eunuch soldiers, for starters.

The wild chaotic style of the battle scenes, making it feel so real that it’s uncomfortable, reminded me of Black Hawk Down. That’s a good thing. I felt absolutely claustrophobic when Jon was beneath the pile of people, it was so realistic.  The cameras capture all the brilliantly designed and dizzying brutality, and the soundwork on the battle scenes was incredible. The episode is a technical marvel.

I would have liked more time spent with Art Parkinson/Rickon before his death scene. He’s been gone so long (and didn’t have a lot to do before that) that while it’s a little sad to see a Stark die, we barely knew this one. Though the episode still blew me away in most respects, the emotional resonance is lacking in some scenes and that’s what keeps this from being an episode I absolutely love-love. I was sadder when Wun Wun died.  Giving Osha and Rickon a scene or two together before killing them off would have gone a long way in pay-off.

I appreciate Sansa’s development, in reaching the point where she is hard enough to watch a man be torn to shreds (even one who has it coming) and is pragmatic enough to recognize the ugly reality of her little brother’s situation.

Melisandre reaching Winterfell as she did in her vision, combined with Davos figuring out what happened to Shireen, makes me think Melisandre is at the end of her journey.

All things considered, this was certainly an epic ninth episode and as Oz of Thrones has observed, it’s the last ninth episode of Game of Thrones. I’d say it’s a more than worthy episode to finish off the tradition of huge number-nines.

Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of WatchersOnTheWall.com

934 Comments

  1. The single-shot scene of Jon in the middle of the melee reminded me of the beach scene in Saving Private Ryan, but better. The brutality, the chaos, the madness. Then when he got trampled — wow.

  2. I loved it, and already rewatched. This, along with Hardhome, may be my favorite episodes from the entire run of the show. I do love battles!
    Miguel Sapochnik deserves that Emmy.

  3. All things considered, this was certainly an epic ninth episode and as Oz of Thrones has observed, it’s the last ninth episode of Game of Thrones. I’d say it’s a more than worthy episode to finish off the tradition of huge number-nines.

    How is it the last ninth episode? Season 7 wont have 10 episodes?

  4. I can totally see Dany and Yara having a thing — a romantic thing. And this isn’t wishful thinking on my part because I’m not a fan of Dany’s, at all. I just feel like there was something in Dany’s eye there and it would be a HUGE (and cute) twist, just like D&D to pull off.

    I know she’s probably straight in the books — I seem to recall in…CoK (?) that when Irri (?) poked her bean she was thinking of Khal Drogo and decided she probably didn’t want the company of women. But in the show she could be bisexual.

    Thrones needs more queer ladies. Yara can’t be the only one running around.

  5. Hopefully the conversation in this thread will be a bit more pleasant?

    I loved this episode. I can’t even find a real flaw. The performances were fantastic all around, but especially Sophie and Kit. It was chilling to see Jon’s rage and Sansa’s coldness at watching Ramsay get torn apart. They won. But at what cost to themselves?

    It was rough to watch Rickon’s death even though I was prepared for it. But I’m very relieved that Tormund made it and cheered when he Mike Tysoned Smalljon’s face.

    I loved the Meereen scenes too. Tyrion’s quips have mostly fallen flat this season, but in the opening scene they worked and a little levity was certainly welcome. Whether the alliance with the Greyjoys will work out in the end is questionable, but so far I like it. Seeing the three dragons together again was so fun.

  6. Arthur,

    I think they’re doing two 7-episode seasons/”halves” to finish up, IIRC. Someone (mods?) could probably correct me or back me up on this.

  7. Miles,

    Yeah I havent seen Ghost since Jon was resurrected but he is still alive..him and Nymeria are the only Stark wolves left

  8. Lionthing,

    yeah that’s the gist of it. Benioff and Weiss could change the exact episode amount of seasons 7 & 8 but currently it seems like 2 seasons of about that amount. News from April, Arthur.

  9. I want to get this out of the way. That episode was amazing and Ramsay got the perfect ending.

    Yet.

    I came away feeling hollow after this episode. It went pretty much exactly how we thought it would. Jon turned in to an idiot on the battlefield. LF came in at the last second to save the day. Wun Wun died (I think his death is what made me feel hollow. We didn’t get to say goodbye. F#*king arrow in the eye).

    To me, I would have loved to have seen more of the Vale fighting instead of immediately going to Winterfell. Also, I feel like the entire Smalljon Umber character was wasted. He was so good and could have been a bigger part. An Umber twist or the Manderly’s showing up would have been nice. Instead D&D went for the cookie cutter format for the battle. Finally, Sansa’s smug attitude still gets on my nerves, though her final talk with Ramsay was gold.

    All in all, a great battle that really captured the brutality of a medieval battle. Obviously, there were parts I didn’t like writing-wise, but cinematically top top notch.

  10. Battle of the Bastards was one of the most EPIC episodes in Game of Thrones, maybe tv history period!! Im glad the Starks reclaimed their home at Winterfell because its been a long road coming and they deserve at least one second of peace before the White Walkers come!! Where is Bran though??

  11. Amazing episode. 10/10.

    -Meereen was great. Dany riding the dragon finally looked convincing, and it was great seeing Rhaegal and Viserion. Felt like an LOTR battle scene.

    -And the Battle of Winterfell was also great. Very different feel from Blackwater and WoTW. Much more visceral and frenetic. More like Braveheart / Saving Private Ryan. Very intense, very cool.

    -I’m pissed about Rickon, but… what can you do.
    -Pretty happy with Ramsay’s fate.
    -I raised my Stark stein in a toast, when the Stark banner went up in Winterfell again.
    -Where the fuck was Ghost?
    -Miguel Sapochnik is my new favourite director on GoT.

  12. Does anyone besides me worry about the horses? Is all that cgi or whatever? It just looks so brutal, it freaks me out. I’m not complaining, just curious.

  13. Fantastic Episode

    Had my concerns about build-up Plot but they managed to cover it all to give the benefit of the doubt – just, there were a fair few things though which adds up but the Director has smartly covered all of them

    Jon cracked, tbf though Napoleaon/Ney cracked with Cavalry charge at Waterloo and Marc Antony cracked and followed Cleopatras ship at Actium so this sort of thing, but with all due respect to Art, show Rickon has basically been a glorified extra as he was so mega young in season 1, eg they re-cast the original Myrcella and Tommen but in this case they managed to kill him off with more meaning than a side scene like Osha

    The way Sansa showed up seems to be as much about the Ramsay/Sansa arc as Jon/Sansa, plus it may happen this way in the books and so be an awkard un-merge and then re-merge thing

    And the way he’s brilliantly tied the overall battle with individual stories, was consistently engaged

    Can sort of see the rush job of Mereen but I can understand it was one of the other

  14. What a great episode! Did not disappoint a bit. Meereen stuff was enjoyable, I loved the initial talks between Ramsay and Jon and Sansa and the battle… I knew what was coming with Rickon but they’ve played it so well, giving a tiny shred of hope of brothers’ reunion and then killing it – for me that was a very heart-breaking moment. After that I was actually prepared to see Jon die again when he faced all the cavalry! And this is what this episode was doing repeatedly. Somehow, despide going just as we expected, I was on the edge of the seat dreading some terrible twist could happen. Even Stark banners upon Winterfell felt not all happy but rather bittersweet after all the loses and being conscious of poor Rickon’s demise. Joy, grief and epicness all combined.

  15. No words. Exceeded expectations. Just…Wow! I’ll make one observation after seeing Dany just fly around on her magical weapons of mass destruction while Jon is trampled on the ground in battle. That is, I don’t want to see Jon ever riding around on a dragon. It would take away what I love about him, and that is the very human struggle that he faces. If he was just flying around on dragons looking cool the struggle would be gone. It also made me realize that Dany needs to lose control of at least one of her dragons. She needs something to make me feel like she is actually in some danger. So here is hoping that Euron’s “big cock” is simply his nickname for dragonbinder.

  16. Shades of Hannibal’s victory over the Romans at Cannae in Davos’ plan at the Stark’s war counsel and the trapped encircled Stark army, unable to even move to defend themselves against their encircling foe.
    Shades of Henry V at Agincourt with the mounds of dead; men climbing the heaps to butcher each other.
    Shades of Waterloo with the knights of the Vale in place of Blucher’s Prussians crushing the enemy’s flank at the climactic moment of the fight. Further shades of Waterloo as well with Ramsay playing Napoleon’s part, turning back abandoning his destroyed army in order to save himself only to be pursued by the almost broken victorious army.

  17. This episode shows Jon as the foolish one and Sansa as the savior. It looks like Jon’s character beat will never go beyond “brave but stupid” as Ygritte once described him. So, yeah no character progression for him at all. Whatever. The writers obviously don’t care about this.
    The battle was well shot though. The scene where Jon gets trampled had me holding my breath. Also lol at Tormund saying Jon Snow is not a king.

    Also Dany-Yara needs to become a thing!

  18. I like how they are thematically tying in Winterfell with Riverrun, eg done visually via the banners being lowered/raised but the difference where one costs thousands of soldiers lives and the other none

    Have to say, Septon Meribalds speech about Soldiers following their Lords would have been highly appropriate as a lead-in to these two episodes,

  19. Ser Marq’s Bowman:
    Shades of Hannibal’s against the Romans at Cannae in Davos’ plan at the Stark war counsel and the trapped encircled Stark army, unable to even move to defend themselves against their encircling foe.
    Shades of Henry V at Agincourt with the mounds of dead; men climbing the heaps to butcher each other.
    Shades of Waterloo with the knights of the Vale in place of Blucher’s Prussians crushing the enemy’s flank at the climactic moment of the fight. Further shades of Waterloo as well with Ramsay playing Napoleon’s part, turning back abandoning his destroyed army in order to save himself only to be pursued by the almost broken victorious army.

    Nice observations

    Liked Greyworm and his knife in this episode

  20. As for Melisandre being at the end of her journey… didn’t she tell Arya in season three that they would meet again?

  21. So Jon is honorable and he is going to find out that Mel burned princess shireen. The honorable thing is to execute Mel right?…..Lightbringer anyone?

  22. I almost cried during the whole episode. It started when the the horses with their riders were approaching Jon Snow. They were flashbacks in my head to World War One-Films like All Quiet on the Western Front and all the Horses reminded me of War Horse.
    And of the whole I had callbacks of War and Peace.
    It was brutal to watch and like an eye-opener to all of us, that this is what is war, even knowing that the good people will win.
    And as much the people disliked the Siege of Riverrun, it has shown us, that where is another way of war.

    But I really liked this episode in total and I liked the Scene between Dany and Yara and now I can see why this series six was promoted as the series of Women. YEAH!!!

  23. Cock Merchant,

    Hey! So they shoot tons of scenes and layer them so it looks like lots and lots of action and horses but it is only a few at a time! 🙂 and they have some stunt horses that know how to do really cool things like “dying” etc. add a little VFX and perfection (with safe horses) is achieved!

  24. Awesome episode!! I loved every bit of it!! Great acting by Kit and Sophie!!
    We all knew Rickon was a gonner since episode 03. I am grateful his death was rather quick.
    I can’t wait to see the Stark sigil at Winterfell in the next episode’s title sequence!!

  25. May the father judge Ramsay justly and may the mother have mercy on his kind hearted soul in the seven heavens…Westeros has lost its finest battle commander

  26. I don’t think Melisandre is quite at the end of her journey yet. She still has to meet Arya again, after all. Davos is going to be extremely upset (as we saw in the previews), but he’ll realize that Melisandre truly has changed since the Stannis debacle. She isn’t trying to shoehorn her advice onto Jon Snow like she did with Stannis, and she hasn’t burnt anybody since Shireen.

    I think Melisandre’s fate lies in a conflict with another Red Priest(ess). After all, she believes Jon is “The Prince who was Promised” while Kinavara believes Dany is the Prince(ss) who was Promised.” That’s bound to come into play at some point.

  27. When the camera moved to Sansa and Littlefinger by her side I got the feeling that she wanted Jon to die in the battle before she takes the North for herself. I mean I did not see her feeling sad or sorry for her brother. Or maybe I have demons in my skull/…..??????!!!!!!!!

  28. My review:

    What I Loved:
    -Certain technical aspects of both battles were incredible

    What I Liked:

    What I Disliked:

    What I Hated:
    -Predictability: everything turned out exactly as expected
    -Dany saying she wants to reduce Slaver’s Bay to ashes?
    -The machinations of what was going on in Mereen: Tyrion, Dany just standing around while the city is being torched
    -The meeting with the masters
    -Davos: oh let me just walk around aimlessly so I can discover scant evidence that Shireen was burned
    -The Battle of Winterfell was chaotic and you lost perspective of what was going on, David Nutter or Alex Graves would’ve done better
    -The silly Rickon trap
    -More manufactured Jon / Sansa conflict which I’m sure will come to a head in the next episode
    -Conversation between Dany, Tyrion, and the Greyjoy’s
    -Greyworm cheesy killing of two masters

    This show once was special to me and could wow me with the story telling. Now it’s hard to differentiate it between any other big budget movie or show. I thought Dave and Dan would be OK without the books to follow, I was wrong.

  29. loved the dragons, loved the battle, love this show, here comes the “but” just when all seems lost a huge army appears to save the day. KL all is lost ,the dropping of the lid to the floor in slow motion and the poison is almost touching Tommen’s lips, the door bursts and the entire Lannister army to save them, Stannis and the Wildlings once again they appear on cue, to save the day. We have already seen this twice before, and now a third.

  30. -Tyrion resembling Twyin, Jon close to death and Daenerys solidifying her power. One of the best episodes in the series.

  31. Ser Marq's Bowman,

    Have you seen the director’s interview on EW? He cited Agincourt and Hannibal as inspirations for this episode’s battle. Must have reflected them well if you noticed the similarities.

  32. The battle was a brilliant spectacle…Reminded me of The band of brothers battle sequences. However Sansa’s plotline was filled with holes…Her whole refusal to accept the Vale army, playing passive aggressive with LF n then finally begging him in return for some pussy was shoddy writing. But that said, full credit to the technical team, Miguel Sapochnik, the stuntmen, horse maesters and the visual effects team! Words don’t do justice to the stupendous battle sequence

  33. They had Jon referred to as a bastard so many times this episode – by Ramsay but also by Sansa – plus the Jon’s not king line…. D&D you fabulous trolls. I don’t know if it means Jon is the King in the North or Jon is Rhaegar’s real heir, but you gotta think one of those is true…. Or D&D are being even bigger trolls to those who thing Jon is going to be the King in the end.

    I thought I would hate the Mereen parts of the episode, but I loved it. Tyrion alone can’t elevate a Mereen without Dany but with her is a totally different game.

    I don’t know that this episode matched Hardhome for me, only because of just the horror and total despair at the ending of that episode still gives me chills, and the way that one episode changed everything we thought we knew about the show. It planted a seed that underlies everything else we watch now. This episode though was technically and aesthetically brilliant and completely brutal.

    Still, it felt a tiny bit oversold, with only two possible outcomes, and it seemed unlikely that the show would kill off Jon Snow. Also, compare to Blackwater Bay; that battle was transformative for many individual characters (Tyrion, Tywin, the Hound) – it wasn’t just about who won in the end. This battles seems to have had no effect other than the total annihilation of one side. Nobody learns anything or is changed in any meaningful way.

    I’m hoping we do see some resolution to this Jon/Sansa plotline (like the AV Club review said). I’m not entirely convinced we’ll see the preferred outcome next episode – Ramsay saying that he’s part of her now to me indicates that Sansa has been completely changed by him. She won’t trust even those who love her (yet?) and she’s much harder. I thought the scene with Rickon’s body really captured that. You could see that Jon couldn’t even really acknowledge her, tried to walk away without saying anything to her, possibly even just because of the weight of it all, and when she calls out to him she’s all steely determination (not sadness), and he stiffens up before facing her. They do have some issues to work out. The Vale isn’t going to get pushed aside. I’m so curious to see LF and Jon interact!!

    The irony is that they’re a good complement. They both think they “get it”, but they don’t, not completely.

    Sansa said herself she doesn’t understand anything about battle. She understands some mind games – she understands Ramsay – but she was also wrong about the Northerners.

    Jon knows about battle, but he’s shown to misunderstand the darker sides of people’s motives – he didn’t understand the men of the NW and he didn’t understand Ramsay.

    I’m so curious if next episode is character-driven, all these characters dealing with the weight of the violence they’ve seen and wrought?

  34. Another amazing episode.
    Lots of questions, but two have me perplexed and they both revolve around Sansa’s two smirks. The first was when the Knights of the Vale truly “rolled up” the Bolton lines (wish they could have shown that closer, but…..life). The other was the last frame of her leaving the kennel. Did she get Ramsey’s evil, in the divorce, along with the house and choice friends?

  35. If you watch the extra videos released for this episode, it explains quite a bit regarding why Jon didn’t beat Ramsay to death (he left him alive for Sansa to finish), how certain battle sequences were filmed, etc. I was more excited for the Meereen stuff because I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was a bit dissapointed they didn’t show the Greyjoy fleet arriving to attack the Slavers from the rear, fighting on ships, at least a minor naval battle, but I understand it might have been too much to fit inside one episode. i think it would have been quite epic, and I’m pleased with how The Battle of Fire was shown.
    Battle of the Bastards went pretty much how I expected it to, the cons of reading news from this site, but Im not complaining. This site is what keeps me going during the long GoT offseason, so to speak. Can’t wait to see how they decide to end the season, if the Wall will drop, will Bran perhaps make it to Winterfell, or at least to the Wall, will we see the Walkers again (I think it has to happen) and of course Kings Landing should be awesome. Oh and Euron too, will he be showing up in Oldtown or Meereen?

  36. LatrineDiggerBrian:

    Meh, so you basically hated everything, and feel the need to tell us how it was once special but now it sucks. Move on then. Watch something you actually like.
    I really don’t understand people who supposedly don’t enjoy watching anymore but here they are bitching.
    Ah, why I even bother.

  37. Chelsea75,

    How did he turned into an idiot exactly? By being a decent/loving brother trying to save his baby brother? By being overwhelmed with anger at the death of said brother? Is that what made him an idiot? I rather Jon be an “idiot” then than a cold hearted bastard with no human response.

  38. I thought it was a great episode. Hated seeing Wun Wun go, but Ghost didn’t die so that’s a plus! I’m a bit upset that Sansa said nothing about the possibility of the Vale coming to Jon (not that she had confirmation they would, plus this probably wouldn’t have stopped Jon or made him wait any longer to attack). I loved the Mereen battle. I wished they would have shown just a bit more of the Dothraki fighting. After Jaime’s remark in the previous episode about a mother setting cities on fire for her children and Tyrion’s comment about the wildfire, I feel it’s also foreshadowing Cersei to set King’s Landing on fire. I think Cersei will indirectly kill her son. Maybe she sets everything abalze, Loras dies in the process and as a result Margery will have Tommen killed. I just don’t see Tommen surviving this season. So sad it’s already down to its last episode! But hands down for me, this has been the best season yet.

  39. Morgoth: Meh, so you basically hated everything, and feel the need to tell us how it was once special but now it sucks. Move on then. Watch something you actually like.
    I really don’t understand people who supposedly don’t enjoy watching anymore but here they are bitching.
    Ah, why I even bother.

    Because I fucking loved the series up until this season and I’m disappointed. Sorry if that’s inconvenient to you.

  40. I also kind of love that they had Dany wavering on the edge of Mad King conquering and that she has Tyrion to take some of the edge off that revenging. I’m so curious how they’d ever interact in the books, if by some miracle I ever get to read it.

    Do we think Dany is still setting out for Westeros next episode?

  41. Ghosts Lunch: Nice observations

    Liked Greyworm and his knife in this episode

    Ser Marq's Bowman:
    Shades of Hannibal’s victory over the Romans at Cannae in Davos’ plan at the Stark’s war counsel and the trapped encircled Stark army, unable to even move to defend themselves against their encircling foe.
    Shades of Henry V at Agincourt with the mounds of dead; men climbing the heaps to butcher each other.
    Shades of Waterloo with the knights of the Vale in place of Blucher’s Prussians crushing the enemy’s flank at the climactic moment of the fight. Further shades of Waterloo as well with Ramsay playing Napoleon’s part, turning back abandoning his destroyed army in order to save himself only to be pursued by the almost broken victorious army.

    Hannibal, Napoleon and Henry V were all very gifted generals, whereas John Snow is clearly an idiot.

    I would have loved to see the Starkists following a plan that made sense instead of charging uphill against superior numbers. Even late in the battle, Davos could have ordered the archers to advance and fire at the Bolton archers.

    Very impressive cinematography but a bit predictable and fan-servicey.

    Better than Blackwater or Hardhome the episode is not.

  42. Awesome episode! Right now after watching it only once I would say its a tie between this and Hardhome as my favorite episode for the simple reason that this episode, while epic in scale and action, was kinda predictable, whereas I was COMPLETELY TAKEN BY SURPRISE with Hardhome! Plus Hardhome displays the true enemy of GOT.

    Two things after watching it:

    Does anyone have any info from D&D or the director on how much this single episode cost? With the two battles and the amount of CGI I wouldn’t be surprised if this single hour of TV cost anywhere in the area of 30-40 mil. I may be way off.

    Second. While I SOOOOO wished Jon would have been the one to Kill Ramsay, I kinda disagree with those saying that Jon is simple minded and his character is all brawn and no brains. I keep thinking that even though its late in the game (no pun intended) Jon has not peaked character wise. To me he’s still evolving and its great to see him outside Castle Black/the wall. We probably wont see him reach that until the final episodes of the series.

  43. I loathe the character of Ramsay but I am gonna miss that character. It was a dope episode. There were some things I found dumb but expressed them elsewhere. For the battle episodes I found Blackwater and Hardhome more to my liking. This one was really good though and I think a few of the set pieces were the best they’ve ever done.

    Theories on next week: Sansa let LF know full well how ticked she was at him in Mole’s Town and we all loved it. Her sending a letter to him and him showing up with Vale forces is paying back the dept he owes to her. They are even. She owes him nothing. He owes her nothing. I could absolutely see him manipulating her so that she feels like she owes him for showing up. I really hope that isn’t the case or else what is the point of the Mole’s Town scene?

    The ultimate winner in this episode is LF. Both the forces he needs out of the way obliterated each other leaving him to play Sansa for a fool. I really hope I am wrong and she tells him to get lost.

  44. Cock Merchant:
    Does anyone besides me worry about the horses? Is all that cgi or whatever? It just looks so brutal, it freaks me out. I’m not complaining, just curious.

    It’s all CGI. They did it way back in Braveheart, with arrows going into horses. You notice all the horses fell on their side, which is how they’re trained to do it. If they fall head first, that means a trip wire was used, and that’s illegal now, I believe. If any horses had died or been hurt, we would’ve heard about it like we did with that other HBO show, “Luck”.

  45. I think the ending between Sansa & Ramsay confirmed a recent GoT theory. It broke my heart to hear him say “I’m a part of you now.” So chilling.

    Overall, this is a powerful episode for the female characters in the series…Sansa, Yara, Dany…

  46. Jon is my favorite character, but some of the people complaining that he didn’t go all alpha and make every right decision and give every rousing speech this season are annoying me. So Sansa was given a larger role, deal with it. If you think Jon is taking a back seat, then keep watching. You will be wrong.

  47. They’ve nailed the dragon CGI amd Dany on top of Drogon they pretty much perfected.

    As far as Rickon…Art totally bullshitted in that interview about him standing up to Ramsay. What was that about?

  48. mau,

    I don’t insult your guys opinions. That’s great, you loved it, I’m happy for you. If you disagree with me, write a reasonable post about it or ignore me. Why would it bother you?

  49. Darjan,

    I always enjoy watching Inside the Episode. They automatically play it afterwards on HBO Go. What better way to get more insight on the show then from the actual people running it 🙂

  50. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Yeah I agree, quite predictable. Dany burns the ships, Littlefinger to the rescue, good guys win. However that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, it was a fucking incredible action sequence, cinematically speaking. Lets compare this to Watchers on the Wall though, was that episode surprising? Even non-book readers were penciling Ygritte’s death. It was just a big battle, and yeah while I feel your pain in regards to predictability and writing, this is probably not an episode where the absence of that bothers me. Next week however I’m right back on that train with you. We’ve got a 70 min episode to finish and I want surprises. At the moment my predictions are:

    1. Dany casts off for Westeros.
    2. Bran gets to the Wall and causes it’s collapse.
    3. Cersei burns down King’s Landing.
    4. Arya crashes the Frey party.

    I hope there is more to it than that, you’d think 70 min was enough time for some big shocks. We’ll see.

  51. mau:
    LatrineDiggerBrian,

    It is not inconvenient, it is boring.

    Yeah, this is the guy who hates every episode and feels the need the say it 20x. You know what I do when I don’t like a show? I stop watching and most of all, I don’t waste any of my time discussing it, much less over and over again.

  52. Chelsea75,

    Hollow is the right word. The sight of the Stark banners at Winterfell should have been emotionally satisfying but of course it wasn’t – the cost was huge. Brilliantly done.

  53. House Applebee,

    The battle was cool, but it wasn’t enough for me. There just hasn’t been much suspense this season. I’m never on the edge of my seat like I used to be.

    I would add 5 to your list:

    5) Sansa pays the price somehow for calling in Little Finger, probably will be in the form of betrayal of Jon and his crew

    Man the Cersei thing they’ve really foreshadowed over and over. Tyrion’s whole diatribe this episode about the caches of wildfire. OK we get it. We know what’s coming. Thank you. Just like when Arya blew out the candle at the end of episode 6.

  54. LatrineDiggerBrian:

    -The Battle of Winterfell was chaotic and you lost perspective of what was going on

    Yeah, i also felt it was chaotic and lost perspective…you know, like a battle?

  55. Ravyn,

    Not true, I’ve posted positive reviews for episodes 3, 5, 6, 7 and a moderate review for 1. Did you not see me gushing over the episode with the Hound cold open? Did you not see me gushing over the Arya montage, or the Tower of Joy battle, or other things I’ve liked?? Your confused because I’m not as binary as you. Not everyone loves or hates something 100%, there is area in between.

  56. Tyrion Pimpslap,

    It’s not about who gets the bigger role, it’s about showing him up as an idiot time and again. His character progression has literally been zero. He is still the same guy he was in S2, brave but stupid. Apparently even death and resurrection were not enough to move his character forward. This just makes me mad and I do blame the writers for this.

  57. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Sorry, but your opinion often feels like you want to have a different opinion from everyone else just for the sake of it.

    For the majority of people this was one of the best episodes of the show, and you are shiting on it just like it was nothing at all.

    You have every right to dislike this episode, but it is hard to take you is as a serious person if you literally didn’t like anything in it, except CGI.

    I mean, please.

  58. If HBO is true to their earlier episodes then Melisandre shouldn’t die. Melisandre told Arya they would meet again. Well, that hasn’t happen yet

  59. here, here to ransey snow bolton. he went into battle as the lord of winterfell and came out as a dog’s bowel movement in the kennels of winterfell. what a fitting end.

    my two absolute favorite moments are
    1. the look on jon’s face when the cavalry was coming at him after he was thrown from his horse. the look said i am ready to accept my death if that is what happens.

    2. the way wun wun pointed at the bolton army. are these the guys you want me to kill?

  60. I clearly am in the minority on this one. I not only didn’t like it.

    I hated it.

    I could accept Jon rushing to the middle of the battlefield to try to save Rickon. Even when he knew he should not. And everybody, including Jon, knew he should not. But that was his brother. He had to try.

    And then Jon charges an army. Alone. As the central conceit and premise behind the battle the writers wanted to tell. And in doing so, they threw Jon’s character under the bus.

    All that “he’s more conservative now that he died and was resurrected” is revealed as more false bullshit. No, he clearly isn’t that way at all. We know that, because we can see what he has done since episode 3 of Season 6. And that spin isn’t true. At all.

    And so I loathed it. Every moment of it after that point where Jon charges the Bolton line like a madman. It felt cheap. Well Game of Thrones is about killing characters and creating tension, so lets do it by having the HERO of the story do something incredibly stupid and get the wildlings wiped out in the process.

    That premise was one I could not accept. Moreover, it went against what Jon and his officer allies did at the parley: they kept their emotions in check while Sansa lost control. They planned knowing they could not move or they would be surrounded and destroyed — and Jon does it anyway. Worse, after he compromises his own safety, he doubles down and charges.

    In so doing, they destroyed how I thought of my hero in this tale for 12 minutes of spectacle that they could not figure out how to arrive at in some other manner. I hated what they did in order to do that.

    I am not some hardcore “book or it sucks” fan. This is the only time in 59 episodes that D&D have made me angry. But they really did here.

    I guess I am in a minority in that view on this episode.

    Minority or not, it does not change my view.

  61. Great episode, but not better than Hardhome. My main complaint is that Sansa character arc is not very convincing. Tiny things that I liked

    * Genuine sadness in Tyrion’s eyes (Bowdown to Peter Dinklage) when talking to Theon about Winterfell. It all happened a lifetime ago. In CoK, when Tyrion hears about Theon taking Winterfell, he should be feeling happy because that distracts Robb Stark (who is enemy of Lannisters), but he is not happy. He thinks about how the godswood had life in it, how that godswood was the North, and how Theon can never own it.

    * Yezzan, a slave trader, kneeling in front of Grey Worm. Dany’s anti-slavery actions have not been entirely successful, but this was a powerful moment, a sign of changes to come in Essos.

    * Yara’s look when Dany said they will leave the world a better place than they found. The show!Yara has been inconsistent in her principles (Yara Kingsmoot offers are more like Victarions than Asha’s), but Asha of the books would have agreed with Dany. So in that scene, I saw books’ Asha instead of D&D’s Yara.

    * Ramsay saying “I’m part of you now”, an attempt to scar Sansa’s mind for the last time.

    * Vale knights in action – and being successful for the first time (Vardis Egan was killed by Bronn, Hugh was killed by Gregor, and Mandon Moore was killed by Pod)

    * Sansa telling Ramsay ‘you will die tomorrow’ reminded me of Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean – “we will fight, and you will die”. Both cases, our heroines’ armies were outnumbered, and in both cases they won thanks to surprise intervention

    * I am not a SanSan shipper, but the fact that it was a hound that offed Ramsay felt like a foreshadowing – maybe the Hound will help her get rid of the other creep trying to snatch her, ie Littlefinger.

    * A giant died within the walls of Winterfell. Last of the giants feels.

    Next episode looks good too.

    * White raven! Winter has come! When winter comes, Direwolves thrive, and it is fitting that Starks have retaken the North just in time.

    * After years , we will see the Stark direwolf on Winterfell in the opening credits.

    * A feast at the Twins. Walder Frey and Jaime present. Brotherhood in the area. Walder still on Arya’s deathlist. The question is, will it be Frey Pie or Weasel soup or Frey Pie with Weasel soup? King’s Landing can burn to ground with the best CGI spectacle ever and I don’t care – more excited for the comeuppance of Freys.

  62. Mr.Bungle,

    I never lost perspective during the chaotic action scene at the end of The Dance of Dragon’s or during Watcher’s on the Wall. You get it now? Some action sequences are done better than others.

  63. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Fair enough.

    Yeah I agree especially with Cersei, they should have just left it with the vision of the wildfire back in episode 6. Now it’s too obvious. Sometimes they go too over the top with foreshadowing.

    I am actually really interested to see how the exchange between Jon, Davos and Melisandre will go. Davos looks pissed, I want some emotional drama here.

  64. Did everyone miss the battle preparations in the tent? Jon had a plan, and it was a reasonable plan, but all reason was lost once he saw Rickon and was riding to try and save him. I can forgive him his loss of senses after seeing Rickon and what happened to him. I don’t think strategy or lack of military intelligence was the problem. Losing his mind at the sight of Rickon fleeing from arrows and eventually dying was his mistake. And to me, it was completely understandable. Jon is a human who makes mistakes. He’s not a god like figure who levels up with each challenge.

  65. House Applebee:
    LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Yeah I agree, quite predictable. Dany burns the ships, Littlefinger to the rescue, good guys win. However that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, it was a fucking incredible action sequence, cinematically speaking. Lets compare this to Watchers on the Wall though, was that episode surprising? Even non-book readers were penciling Ygritte’s death. It was just a big battle, and yeah while I feel your pain in regards to predictability and writing, this is probably not an episode where the absence of that bothers me. Next week however I’m right back on that train with you. We’ve got a 70 min episode to finish and I want surprises. At the moment my predictions are:

    1. Dany casts off for Westeros.
    2. Bran gets to the Wall and causes it’s collapse.
    3. Cersei burns down King’s Landing.
    4. Arya crashes the Frey party.

    I hope there is more to it than that, you’d think 70 min was enough time for some big shocks. We’ll see.

    Bran isn’t getting to the Wall. He’s having the rest of the TOJ flashback.

  66. I’m in the process of watching the entire episode again but I do have a couple of thoughts this week. (Don’t I always? LOL)

    I was so happy to see Rhaegal and Viserion coming out of the catacombs to join Drogon in the air. It was amazing to see that Dany has some control over them as they didn’t burn ALL of the Masters’ ships, only enough to make an impression.

    Greyworm’s knife skills are impressive!

    Tyrion’s call back to the Mad King and his disdain for all of his people when he intended to burn KL to the ground was impressively done. I love the quiet interactions he has with Dany when she sees the light and the wisdom of what he’s saying.

    Everyone knows I love Jon, I just don’t get that he really hasn’t learned anything. He’s still rash and impulsive. Of course, if it had been my little brother killed by Ramsey Bolton I don’t know if I could have held back, either. I was, for a moment, scared silly that he would be mowed down by the horses. I should have known better but … there it is.

    My deep respect for the horse masters and riders in this episode. As a rider, myself, knowing how hard it is to teach a horse to fall correctly so that it looks good while not injuring the horse, hats off to all of them. Great stunt work, guys, really.

    Damn, you gotta love Tormund and Davos. I know I do. They’re the perfect advisors to Jon. I do not, however, think Melisandre is contributing much and I do believe she’s not going to be with us much longer. I could be wrong, of course.

    With Theon and Yara in Meereen, I’m still wondering how the trip to Westeros is going to go. The Dothraki horses aren’t going to handle the narrow sea well and I don’t think they have enough ships for everyone.

    What can I saw about Wun Wun except … NOOOOOOOOOO!!! Wun Wun went out the way he wanted but Ramsey, being the bastard he is, just couldn’t stop himself from firing the final arrow. RIP, Wun Wun, we will miss your quiet presence.

    As for Ramsey … couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. I know I should post a /snark/ alert when saying anything about him but … no. The fact that Jon had the presence to just beat the crap out of him and then let Sansa have the final say says a lot about his character. He knew she needed closure and he allowed her to get it. Tip: Don’t starve your dogs, people, really. It never works out when you’re hurt and bleeding.

    I know I’ve missed some things here and you all know I’ll probably post more after a few more watchings. Until them, Watchers, be well.

  67. House Applebee,

    They hadn’t really hammered stuff home so violently in the past, I don’t know why they’re doing it this season all of a sudden.

    The Davos thing was silly, how he found out about Shireen. But w/e, that’s the least of my gripes. Yeah we’ll have to see what happens with that.

  68. House Applebee:
    LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Yeah I agree especially with Cersei, they should have just left it with the vision of the wildfire back in episode 6. Now it’s too obvious. Sometimes they go too over the top with foreshadowing.

    It’s too obvious if you waste your time on the fan sites.

    For a majority of the audience even the Vale army wasn’t obvious.

  69. mau,

    It’ s sad that I have to repeat this in all of my posts, but I wrote positive reviews for episodes 3, 5, 6, 7 and gushed over a lot of stuff in those episodes. So not I’m not just dissenting for the hell of it. And no I’m not just here to troll, I’ve loved the series through the first 5 seasons. Get over it, people disagree with you.

  70. Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Losing his mind at the sight of Rickon fleeing from arrows and eventually dying was his mistake. And to me, it was completely understandable. Jon is a human who makes mistakes. He’s not a god like figure who levels up with each challenge.

    Riding against all reason to try to save Rickon was acceptable; charging Ramsay afterwards was not.

    That’s the REAL narrative point of what happened with Rickon, to provoke the wildlings to charge so they can tell their “surrounded by shields and pikes” Battle of Cannae story.

    And to get there, they have to throw Jon’s character under the bus.

    Forgive me for not agreeing that was a reasonable writing decision to make. I loathed it.

  71. Mostly a great episode, wonderful to see the 2 ‘little’ dragons finally free and stretching their wings (how can you tell I do bird rehab, ha!). Greyworm was awesome, and Dany and Yara’s exchange was practically delightful. I hope at some point Theon gets word of Ramsay’s demise.

    Lyanna Mormont continues to impress, and I am so thankful that Tormund and Davos made it out, although I don’t count them as safe until a week from now at this time! Littlefinger, you came through. At what price to whom, I wonder? 🙂

    Kit Harington again proves his mettle, and it really did feel, as I had mentioned earlier, that this was his ‘real’ resurrection, as he found his way out of the mosh pit from hell. Blocking those arrows in the courtyard!

    Wun Wun, you were a champ. Rickon, I wish you’d been around longer. And Iwan, I will miss your crazy face. I still wish Ramsay’s demise wasn’t so predictably ironic, but that’s alright. 🙂

  72. mau,

    I don’t spend that much time on here during the week because I avoid looking at the trailers and pictures (though I don’t really care anymore). It was predictable man, I was waiting for it to happen. I was speaking with someone before the episode and I said, “I hope it’s more than Knight’s of the Vale ex machina and Ramsey dying in the end, and that’s exactly what it was.

  73. Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Thank you for bringing this up. It wasn’t stupid so much as it was emotional.

    And btw, I have never lost a sibling or any immediate family member, but if my brother was murdered right in front of me by my sister’s rapist I’d probably lose my shit too. Jeezaloo it would have taken a lot of restraint to turn away from that.

  74. I wholeheartedly agree about the dynamic between Dany and Yara.

    I’ve been watching older episodes lately, and one of the things that struck me a few days ago was how much Dany seems more human and girlish when with women. It feels like she missed out on having best friends growing up.

    For example, in Qarth (season 2), she has two women (Doreah and Irri) helping her into a dress that was a gift. It’s a friendly and comfortable conversation, one that brings out a youthful side of Dany.

    She had a similar moment with the young Dosh Khaleen girl when they were walking to the bathroom. Dany giggles. It’s so different than her dynamic with men, which can be casual and friendly, but with men she doesn’t let down her guard.

    I recall some light moments with Missandre too.

    Yara on the other hand is a peer (of sorts). She’s led men, she understands a lot of what Dany has faced, she’s tough but funny. Has lived under the expectations and restrictions as a woman in a world of men, and has not only managed to transcend the rules, but inspire men to follow her.

    I knew the two would either become instant sworn enemies, or the best of friends. I’m so glad it appears to be friends and allies (not unlike Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark – I saw a glimmer of a similar dynamic here). The slight sexual connotations aside, which I took as fun GoT banter and not foreshadowing, the comrade-style chemistry was really well done.

  75. Tyrion Pimpslap,

    A mistake which resulted in the deaths of thousands of his army. Jon is not some common soldier, he is the Commander and as such, he was responsible for the lives of his people, it is a big part of the responsibility of a battle commander to keep a cool head because he has whole armies following him. Sure , Jon is the main character and we love him anyway, and we love the Starks, and we do not really care about the nameless Wildlings who died, so we feel inclined to forgive him for his mistake, but that doesn’t take away the fact that Jon should have been thinking about his Wildlings and Northerners before charging blindly.

  76. Steel_Wind,

    And that’s okay. It was a mistake by Jon. Now, will the writers acknowledge it and have him learn from it? You can say he should have learned by now, but he never saw one of his brothers murdered right in front of him.

  77. A great episode ..

    Most of the shots are awesome and amazing as expected ..

    Finally dany riding drogon was done well by CGI team ..
    And she has three dragons now ..

    Who noticed that all three dragons breathed fire when she said ” Dracarys “..

    Jon trampled and fighting his way and bathed in blood was also aweome to see..

    Sansa feeding Ramsey to his own dogs fitting end For him..and she didn’t tell about vale I guess there will be lots of hate she will be getting for that

    Loved the dany yara theon tyrion scene …I can’t remember how long it was before dany had a normal conversation last time without getting interrupted..

    This episode actually shows that how much they were stalling meereen arc and not writing anything worth..if they have cared enough and spent sometime writing them both meereen and vaes dothrak could have been second strongest after north in this season ..every scene from dany tyrion and GW are proof of that..

    Yara and theon didn’t arrive to save the day but later..but I guess because of budget reasons they can’t have them appear in the battle.

    I guess most people would have said already what I wanted to say about both the battle ..

    My complaints are .

    Dany saying she will crucify masters ..really D&D ..am not so much bothered to the line about bringing the cities to ground because I never thought she will be doing with all the people in inside.
    I guess we can’t have an episode go through without mentioning her father …
    That scene felt me more as a foreshadowing and reminder for whtas to come in next episode then it has to do with dany

    And what they did with dothraki and SoTH there should have been some more of them and they must have had gates opened because it didn’t make sense to have people outside and getting killed when the gates are closed.

    And all of the masterclass and cities reduced to just three guys ..

    Notes :

    Dany saying other kingdoms can ask about independence as well and clear on the front of no reaving no raping ..

    To many mentions of Jon as bastard …very sure he will be end up as king soon..

    Cant wait for next episode …the promo shows promising material for dany and tyrion and daario ..
    And so does north and KL as always particularly interested in what happens with Mel and cersei.

    Who else noticed the snow owl ( raven ) flying over winter fell announcement of Winter finally arriving ..

  78. Steel_Wind: Riding against all reason to try to save Rickon was acceptable;charging Ramsay afterwards was not.

    That’s the REAL narrative point of what happened with Rickon, to provoke the wildlings to charge so they can tell their “surrounded by shields and pikes” Battle of Cannae story.

    And to get there, they have to throw Jon’s character under the bus.

    Forgive me for not agreeing that was a reasonable writing decision to make. I loathed it.

    I agree.

  79. OMG OMG HOW EPIC WAS THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have no words!!!!!! The most satisfying act of violence ever has to be Ramsay and his hounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Everything was just so perfect!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. ghost of winterfell,

    Not everyone can be Daeny or Sansa. They obviously care more about them but I thought Jon was really good in this episode but some fans will never be happy. Jon is just an ordinary guy who is learning the hard way and fights for it. This one of the thing why are relate to him a lot more than to others. He’s not supernatural, he doesn’t need magical creatures to fight his battles for him. He still have the sense of honor foolish but I admire that in this world. Ramsay was Sansa’s to kill and Vale it was more Littlefinger. Obviously they gonna show Jon in the next episode as the stupid one buying her lies. It’s just he’s way too Ned Stark.

  81. A 10/10 episode.

    I never expected that detailed battle in Mereen. Mind blowing.

    What.an.ending!

  82. Sansa after been physically and mentally a abused by Joffery , physically, mentally and sexually abused by Ramsey wants her voice to be heard. Even as she said she doesn’t know much about battles , she knows how evil men work. Her smirk at the end shows she now know she has power. Watch out Littlefinger.
    Jon was brilliant , he was brutal during the battle , going as far as hacking some of the men he brought down. He will have hardened more and learnt a lot from this battle.

    So glad Torment survived , Davos and was so thrilled to see the sassy Lady Mormount with Jon at the Ramsey /Snow post battle talk.
    Next week has a lot of tying up the loose ends of both battles and hopefully the grovelling of other northern houses.. The Lady Mormount if the north survives has cemented her house strongly .

  83. That was amazing but it didn’t bode well for my claustrophobia haha.I loved everything about it I even enjoyed meereen and liked Dany.Man I wish I had a Tyrion in my life.And Jon my man,he was so great and I love that he struggles so much and remains humble.When he came up all those bodies all I was thinking was well that’s a different kind of mhysa moment lol.He is the hero we need but not the one we deserve.Also give it up for walking out of that with only rickon and wun wun dead.

  84. Tyrion Pimpslap:
    No words. Exceeded expectations. Just…Wow! I’ll make one observationafter seeing Dany just fly around on her magical weapons of mass destruction while Jon is trampled on the ground in battle. That is, I don’t want to see Jon ever riding around on a dragon. It would take away what I love about him, and that is the very human struggle that he faces. If he was just flying around on dragons looking cool the struggle would be gone. It also made me realize that Dany needs to lose control of at least one of her dragons. She needs something to make me feel like she is actually in some danger. So here is hoping that Euron’s “big cock” is simply his nickname for dragonbinder.

    I know what you mean! For about 20 minutes or so, I was struggling there with Jon. I kept on thinking about what Mel said earlier in the episode – something about maybe he came back to do this battle and then die again, or something like that. I was so nervous for him the whole time! Yes, this is Jon’s story – he’s very human (at least on the show) and he’s battled and struggled all his life (being a bastard, being hated and scorned by his half-sibling’s mother, feeling out of place, etc.).

  85. Rich,

    I’ll repeat it again, I gave episodes 3, 5, 6, 7 positive reviews. Loved seasons 1-5. So no I’m not just being a hipster douche bag. I was on westeros.org during the summer defending the show against those trolls. Not everyone just goes with the flow of what everyone else’s opinion is all the time. Some people like to have varied opinions where it just isn’t black or white, 100% like it or dislike it. There are people in between who like certain stuff and dislike other stuff. Maybe try to form some original opinions yourself and you’ll see what it’s like.

  86. The episode was brilliant for many reasons including the cinematography – The tracking shot of Jon through the battle was awesome.
    I particularly loved the emphasis on the women in the show – Asha and Dany made me smile and I love that they want to leave the world better than they found it. Both Davos and Tormund agreed they’d followed the wrong king. And Jon Snow is no king. I love that it may be a Queen when all is said and done!
    I did feel sad about Rickon even though we hardly knew him. It was moving for me because it was moving for Jon. He tried hard to save him (why didn’t they send Wun Wun?)
    Im excited for next week but so DO NOT want this to end!

  87. ::finishes hyperventilating::

    I wished that they used another breed of dog other than a pitbull! The intimate gnawing and the sound effects were excellent, though. Dream of dreams was to have Ghost take a slow, brutal crack at him.

    Wun Wun’s passing was heart rending, and the only solace is that it was a quick and merciful one.

    Would it be possible in this universe that Sansa doesn’t actually fall prey to LF and be forced to repay him with coitus? Could her hardening become some stand-in for the sexual agency of women?

  88. Jenny:
    And Jon my man,he was so great and I love that he struggles so much and remains humble.When he came up all those bodies all I was thinking was well that’s a different kind of mhysa moment lol.He is the hero we need but not the one we deserve.

    When I was watching that scene it actually looked to me like he was being born/birthed, struggling to come out. And the way he breathed in air, it’s just like how babies do it upon birth. Great cinematography. That scene was fantastic.

  89. Jack Bauer 24: Bran isn’t getting to the Wall. He’s having the rest of the TOJ flashback.

    You act like they can’t do both. And with such certainty.

  90. I also agree that Jon fighting his way through the pile was a bit of a rebirth. it was in that moment he was fighting not only to win, but to survive. I think the post-rebirth depression will fade and the Jon Snow we wanted to see the whole season will be back in command – stronger, tougher, and ready to lead.

  91. ManderlyPieCompany:
    I loathe the character of Ramsay but I am gonna miss that character. It was a dope episode. There were some things I found dumb but expressed them elsewhere. For the battle episodes I found Blackwater and Hardhome more to my liking. This one was really good though and I think a few of the set pieces were the best they’ve ever done.

    Theories on next week: Sansa let LF know full well how ticked she was at him in Mole’s Town and we all loved it. Her sending a letter to him and him showing up with Vale forces is paying back the dept he owes to her. They are even. She owes him nothing. He owes her nothing. I could absolutely see him manipulating her so that she feels like she owes him for showing up. I really hope that isn’t the case or else what is the point of the Mole’s Town scene?

    The ultimate winner in this episode is LF. Both the forces he needs out of the way obliterated each other leaving him to play Sansa for a fool. I really hope I am wrong and she tells him to get lost.

    She promised a reward in her letter no?

  92. mau: It’s too obvious if you waste your time on the fan sites.

    For a majority of the audience even the Vale army wasn’t obvious.

    I whole heartedly disagree. Even if you were a show only person, no book knowledge, no monitoring of fan site, you could still see Littlefinger coming from a mile away. It was sooooooo bleeding obvious.

  93. You know what? That is one great director because I was really lost in this episode.
    Mereen
    Honestly? My favorite Mereen episode EVER, hands down. The best Tyrion episode of the season, best Dany, best Greyworm–seriously they were all fantastic and I wasn’t even looking forward to it. Dany’s first instinct is of course-let’s burn it all down, that’s my battle plan-but Tyrion won the day and his plan works-proving he does know things when he’s not drinking. The dragons were beautiful in this episode. The conversation with the masters was perfect.
    And Yara and Dany- Theon is disarmingly sincere, Yara is fearless and confident and kinda sexy and Dany looks relaxed after her Dothraki spa experience and I loved her saying basically-raise your hand if you had a power hungry douchebag dad that tried to take over the world *everyone raises hands* Happy Father’s Day! haha
    (Will add that it was so well done I wasn’t even mad that Dany always wins and she makes it look easy. Not even breaking a sweat. Also, she should get a saddle, because doesn’t that hurt?)

    Winterfell
    Props to Lady Mormont’s glare first. Just putting that out there. She had one scene-nailed it.
    Now… I’m a woman-I understand abuse and trauma and trust issues, I swear I do and I’m not hating at all-Sansa has finally been given some control this season and I’m thrilled she’s not anyone’s chew toy anymore. But I’m not happy with her getting three chances to tell Jon about LF and not taking any of them. ( I will give you that she got some badass lines-directed at Ramsay in beginning and end)
    But with Jon? She’s kind of mean to Jon. What’s going on there? What’s the point? The bastard thing? Half brother? She sounded so angry at him. “Your trusted advisors blah blah-Did you never think to ask me?”
    PS Almost EXACTLY what Cersei said to her father Tywin. “Did you never think that I might be the one listening and have something to contribute?” I think she spent too much time with the Lannisters.

    Anyway Jon says, “You’re right. Tell me what to do.” “I don’t know about war just don’t do what he wants you to do” “Um okay” “And we need more men” Jon says “I agree, but you told him we’d kill him tomorrow and we don’t have any more men, what should we do?”
    “Um…” Silence as she clearly debated whether to tell him, and again chose not to.

    She was right about Rickon and they would have been lost if she hadn’t gotten help from the Vale. I give her full credit for that. However, if she’s having a hard time trusting, why is she trusting LF? Stockholm Syndrome? The devil you know I guess? He did give her to the Boltons. And if Jon knew there was a potential for that size of an army joining them-battle plans could have been changed and literally thousands of lives, and several mounds of bodies, could have been spared. And he would have done anything to make that happen because even after being stabbed to death by his NW brothers, Jon genuinely cares about the lives of other people. He’s more like Ned than any of Ned’s actual children.

    Mel gave zero fucks. “Don’t lose” “He’s the only god we’ve got” “Look, I have no idea why you’re here guy. I don’t even know why I’m here.” Nice pep talk.

    The visuals in the battle were so stunning and intense. Rickon never even got to say a word, poor guy. Jon’s face though-wow-I felt it.
    Jon has never been a better fighter and nothing ever touched him-arrows actually landed AROUND him-it was almost unreal and then you think-well he died and he might be Azor Ahai so maybe that means something. And I counted four times when someone was about to get him but a racing horse or a wildling knocked them out of his way. But he made up for it with the sheer amount of people he personally sliced through. The filming of this was just fantastic.
    Then when it looked like his luck had run out and he was nearly buried alive it was brutal and the flash of light and shadow was gripping. I almost thought he’d have a vision-is that weird? When he pushed out gasping I instantly thought two things:

    He’s being born AGAIN in battle. Maybe realized he wanted to live and–wow this looks like the Mhysa shot with Dany. I’m pretty sure it was meant to.

    Tormund=badass and still alive yay! Umber deserves to have his throat ripped out. PS-now something Brienne and Tormund have in common. In a rough fight? Bite off a piece of flesh for the win! Also loved how the wildlings instantly shielded him when he was injured.
    Davos is alive!! And not even hurt-I love it and I don’t care. He used all his rage about Shireen for plot armor. WOOHOO! (oh and loved Davos and Tormund talking earlier)
    Wun Wun opened the door. I hate that Ramsay got that kill shot.
    Jon beating Ramsay’s face was most satisfying thing ever. This guy has never been hurt in any way his entire run. Not a scratch on him. The punching was very cathartic.
    His dying was also nice, but a small part of me wished we’d let him heal a little then beat him some more. There’s really no death good enough for that guy.

    So yeah. That was exhausting and triumphant for Starks-finally-and I’m a little scared of what LF and a giant Vale army will do now but…we’ll see.
    Also preview scares me for Jaime. Why is he with the Freys?! KL wildfire is coming and possibly more death of well known characters in one episode then…ever. I think this might be the best last 10th episode too.

    PS-anyone watching the preview. After Dany cups Daario’s cheek like she loves him but she has to kill him…someone is walking toward an open door. Does anyone recognize him? It’s important. 🙂

  94. Am looking forward to that images of most of the shots ..

    That one dany shot on drogon is just like the image of Argon the conqueror on Balerion ..

    Kit should applauded for his efforts on this episode. He is brilliant in fight scenes..

    Another thing I don’t know anyone noticed.

    Weiss saying dany is not her father .,not insane .,not sadist but she is ruthless as a tragaryen will be …
    Let’s see how many will even mention about this ..like how they jumped on this Hitler thing when Bender said .

  95. Ser Marq's Bowman:
    Shades of Hannibal’s victory over the Romans at Cannae in Davos’ plan at the Stark’s war counsel and the trapped encircled Stark army, unable to even move to defend themselves against their encircling foe.
    Shades of Henry V at Agincourt with the mounds of dead; men climbing the heaps to butcher each other.
    Shades of Waterloo with the knights of the Vale in place of Blucher’s Prussians crushing the enemy’s flank at the climactic moment of the fight. Further shades of Waterloo as well with Ramsay playing Napoleon’s part, turning back abandoning his destroyed army in order to save himself only to be pursued by the almost broken victorious army.

    I’m not sure how much of the battle is from GRRM and how much is from Dave and Dan, but yeah, they’re pulling from real history here. Dave and Dan themselves mention Cannae, the battle where Hannibal and his army annihilated a Roman army, killing perhaps as many as 50 thousand of them.

    The final part of that battle (where, believe it or not, the Romans outnumbered the Carthaginians and their allies 2 to 1) was in some ways similar to what we saw tonight, where Hannibal’s infantry encircled and then compressed the beleaguered Romans into a mass, and killed them wholesale, leaving them dead in a huge pile.

    Those who are interested in such things might want to look at The Punic Wars, which gives you a clear picture as to what happened, and what a horrible mess it was.

    The Romans, sadly, didn’t have Little Finger in reserve to save them.

  96. Kellie is Coming,

    I felt like Tormund and Davos saying Jon was no king was foreshadowing that he will become one. It will be very interesting to see Sansa and Littlefinger’s next move, though. Can people imagine Littlefinger and Jon interacting? Will LF view him as an opportunity to further his rise up the laddah or will he see him as an impediment to his plans? I know people expect Sansa to have him killed, but I think Petyr is here for the long haul.

  97. Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Steel_Wind,

    And that’s okay. It was a mistake by Jon. Now, will the writers acknowledge it and have him learn from it? You can say he should have learned by now, but he never saw one of his brothers murdered right in front of him.

    Dude, come on. Jon’s character arc since Season 1 has been mastering his emotions over the deaths of family members.

    Ned dies; Jon agonizes over leaving the NW.

    Robb dies, more angst. Bran and Rickon — devastated. Winterfell sacked and burned? Still stays at his post. “Love is the death of duty” etc. etc. But every time he stayed at his post. THAT was the “learning from it” part. Your point rings wholly false.

    Jon was trained along with Robb by Ned Stark, who was the most capable and experienced battle commander in Westeros. Not Randyll Tarly, Not Stannis — Ned Frikkin Stark. Stannis was only the most experienced left because Ned was dead.

    And he trained them both to do it. Robb was to be the Lord, but Jon was expected to be a bannerman or at the least, a military officer and professional soldier.

    That’s the point. And Jon demonstrates that knowledge with tactics and logistics many times over in the novels. It’s not a point to be debated.

    If you were fine with that bullshit premise — then take as much of that as you want; fill your boots.

    I wasn’t okay with it. It was cheap and lazy writing to get them to a battle they wanted to film. Well, the fighting chaos part was good, sure. We’ve seen elements of that before in film — The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc comes to mind as the leading example. D&D decided to go with that worm’s eye view aspect because it meets their budgetary limitations more easily.

    Okay. But whatever way you slice it, having Jon Snow wipe out the wildlings with his temper tantrum (all for Sansa to save the day) was not a premise that I enjoyed watching. At all. I was so pissed off over it, my emotional reaction was so negative to it — that it spoiled the scenes for me.

    Yes, Ramsay got what was coming to him and I was fine with that. The wildlings getting wiped out and Jon losing his shit? Not so much.

    Would you follow that guy into battle? No way.

  98. I’m sorry but I don’t understand people complaining about Jon he was great in this episode and very true to his character.I would like to see how many of you would react if your brother was murdered in front of you.And those people were going to die anyway they were going into battle severly outnumbered.I don’t want Jon to be a god like figure he feels real to me.Has some real ptsd which who wouldn’t in his place tbh.And I totally bought the moment he snapped.

  99. Wolfman27:
    As for Melisandre being at the end of her journey… didn’t she tell Arya in season three that they would meet again?

    Indeed she did. Maybe we get to Maisie one more time this year?

  100. I am sooo pissed! Every monday morning I am watching new episode on hbo go and today there is no new episode!! Of all episodes,they had to do this to me with ep.9! So sorry I post this here,but I feel you are the only one who can understand how I feel..

  101. As I was typing my novel haha-I see a lot of people thought the same thing ie Jon’s “rebirth”
    Great shot.

  102. @latrinediggerbrian

    I can agree with you that some of this season hasn’t had the same magic for me as ones past; it seemed to lack the depth and subtlety and *brilliance* of Martin’s work. We are in new territory and we forge ahead.

    However, I have no such complaints of this episode. I loved it. We’ve watched the Starks struggle for five seasons. It was beautiful to see them vindicated and victorious at last. (And not without losses of their own.) Ramsay’s demise at Sansa’s hands was pure poetic justice. I think even George would be satisfied.

    For me, this episode was intensely gratifying in respect to plot and character development, and awe-inspiring in visual/technical portrayal of the battles. One of my new favorites already.

  103. Tyrion Pimpslap,

    And this mistake was in keeping with his character, with his blood, with his fucking family. Someone on the other thread mentioned how common this type of mistake is with the Starks- the heart overtaking the head. Brandon, Rickard, Ned, Lyanna, Robb- all have made serious errors of judgement, typically stemming from an emotional/family/honor-bound motivations resulting in the deaths of countless others. I thought it was clear from his conversation with Sansa where his main concern lied (saving his brother, despite Sansa’s pragmatic warnings of the trap that had been set).

    I’m still scratching my head about Sansa and her motivations, and am anxiously awaiting some resolve there (which we may really only get hints of next week). And before anyone yells at me. I have always loved and supported Sansa as a character. So please, don’t.

  104. House Applebee: You act like they can’t do both. And with such certainty.

    Never mind “getting back to The Wall”. Given the speed with which D&D move characters about Westeros, Bran could ride unexpectedly INTO WINTERFELL next week. With Meera. Maybe even with Un-Benjen.

    While I think he probably won’t, I’d still give that pretty high odds of happening. 30%, say.

  105. ghost of winterfell:
    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    It’s not about who gets the bigger role, it’s about showing him up as an idiot time and again. His character progression has literally been zero. He is still the same guy he was in S2, brave but stupid. Apparently even death and resurrection were not enough to move his character forward. This just makes me mad and I do blame the writers for this.

    Pretty much. What was his character development this season? How did he change from what he was in season 5? He’s still dumb and impulsive and no seems to care that he deserted from the NW and came back from the dead. Where is Ghost? The guy does not even have his direwolf with him anymore. Even Robb Stark had Grey wind with him in the show when he attacked.

    The Jon they have written this season does not deserve to be KITN. He has done nothing to deserve it and his nonsense decisions have gotten men killed. I don’t understand people complaining about Dany when she gets shit done, her dragons are useful and she is both charismatic and successful.

  106. Rob,

    Ironically, you’re trolling me. I’ve posted a lot of positive things in the past. Do you just want everyone to agree with you?

  107. Geralt of Rivia,

    The problem I have is that Jon does not seem to be learning at all.

    One question : Jon being miraculously saved so many times in this episode, was this just pure luck or were there higher powers at work here, keeping him safe?

  108. Sue the Fury,

    Damn, ok guess I missed that thread…

    Is there any chance Mr. Cogman will pick up the mantle and assemble a writing team to bring us a spinoff like Robert’s Rebellion?

    HBO already has the production team they just would need good showrunners like D&D and isn’t Cogman kind of like their apprentice?

    Cogman should get a team together and go talk to the HBO CEO and make it happen.

    Because think about it, GoT has a HUGE fanbase and even if only 1/4th of that fanbase follow a spinoff series those numbers alone would still make it a success.

    And we all know it will be more then 1/4th. HBO has a huge GoT following it be such a shame for it all to just end and disappear after two more years.

  109. Btw Sepinwall, who is probably the best TV critic out there, nails while a lot of people came out of the episode first underwhelmed or downright annoyed.

    “And it was incredibly frustrating to see our hero go full Stupid Jon Snow even after Sansa had warned him that Ramsay would try something exactly like what he did to Rickon. Had Jon and his allies managed to actually outmaneuver the greater Bolton army, rather than simply hanging on long enough for the knights of the Vale to arrive and even the odds, my apathy for all things Ramsay might have been overwhelmed by my appreciation for what Jon the tactician accomplished. Instead, Jon has almost nothing to do with his own victory, other than proving handy with a shield (and his fists) in the final showdown with his fellow bastard. And Sansa’s refusal to tell Jon in advance that Littlefinger’s arrival was even a possibility makes no sense. Yes, she looks particularly satisfied sitting next to Lord Baelish as his forces destroy what’s left of Ramsay’s army, knowing that she was ultimately responsible for arranging her tormentor’s defeat, but she’s not selfish enough at this stage of things that she would risk the lives of her brother and his forces — who likely would have planned things very differently had they known (or even just hoped) that the fight wasn’t going to be so lopsided — just so she could have that feeling.”

    http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-did-battle-of-the-bastards-on-game-of-thrones-live-up-to-the-hype#PIV8Y2UU08VR97py.99

    Amen to every last point. For all Kit’s great action work, Jon was like the grunt unthinking labor to this whole plot. And Sepinwall can’t be accused of some random woman hater, and he echoes the same points – Sansa’s refusal to tell Jon from the start of the season to the finish about the Vale is just either incredibly dumb and selfish or make you think that she’s risking the lives of others just to be the triumphant hero.

    The episode was technically and aesthetically brilliant, but just about every part of this was inevitable – the Stark forces would win, the Vale would ride in to save the day, Ramsay would lose, and Sansa would get her final revenge over him. Even Unsullied friends who don’t post on forums predicted all of that happening.

  110. The Anatomy of a Scene that HBO just posted of this episode on their YouTube channel is really cool.

  111. This episode pretty much settles that Tyrion and Jon not going to ride a dragon. It will be Daeny. I’m glad at this decision as Jon and Tyrion both have strengths elsewhere. TyrionPimpslap said it best.

  112. Some more discussion on the shots used

    An Aerial shot when Jon stops beating Ramsay
    http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/thrones-stages-epic-battle-what-end-238453

    While I don’t quite agree with their perspective, they do make a good point about Sansa’s clean pristine face amidst all the bloodied bodies

    Plus at the end, the now once again confident Mel, and the look of anger and hatred on Davos’s face, should be a good religiony episode next week where Davos takes on Mel and Cersei takes on the Faith and people answer (or don’t answer) for their past actions

    This I suspect will tie in nicely with the Freys/Lannisters

  113. Homplomplomo:
    Hannibal, Napoleon and Henry V were all very gifted generals, whereas John Snow is clearly an idiot.

    In all fairness, the role of Hannibal tonight was played by Lin-Manuel Miranda Ramsay Snow. The similarity to Cannae was in how the Bolton infantry encircled Jon’s side and compressed them.

    At Cannae, something like 50K troops were in that compressed mass, and pretty much all of them died. It was the worse defeat the Romans ever suffered.

    The Romans weren’t lucky enough to get rescued by the Knights of the Vale.

  114. Nadia:
    Btw Sepinwall, who is probably the best TV critic out there, nails while a lot of people came out of the episode first underwhelmed or downright annoyed.

    http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-did-battle-of-the-bastards-on-game-of-thrones-live-up-to-the-hype#PIV8Y2UU08VR97py.99

    Amen to every last point. For all Kit’s great action work, Jon was like the grunt unthinking labor to this whole plot. And Sepinwall can’t be accused of some random woman hater, and he echoes the same points – Sansa’s refusal to tell Jon from the start of the season to the finish about the Vale is just either incredibly dumb and selfish or make you think that she’s risking the lives of others just to be the triumphant hero.

    The episode was technically and aesthetically brilliant, but just about every part of this was inevitable – the Stark forces would win, the Vale would ride in to save the day, Ramsay would lose, and Sansa would get her final revenge over him. Even Unsullied friends who don’t post on forums predicted all of that happening.

    Yeah it gets a 9.5 instead of 10 because of the nagging writing issues

  115. My absolute favourite moment is the hound licking Ramsays face while he is telling her to stop!Such a sweet puppy

  116. Geralt of Rivia,

    Yes! And I’m glad for it. As amazing as the CGI is on this show, I can only suspend disbelief so much when people are riding dragons. I don’t think I could handle the visual of three people on three dragons, it just wouldn’t look right to me. Happy to have Dany master the dragons, even if in the books it goes a different way.

  117. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    I completely agree. The sets and costumes and production values are all still there, but the plots, character consistency, and dialog have all suffered greatly since going off the books. Plus the producers don’t seem to know how to wrap up loose threads and secondary story lines other than by killing characters off, which is pretty simplistic and unimaginative. Alas.

  118. House Applebee: I whole heartedly disagree. Even if you were a show only person, no book knowledge, no monitoring of fan site, you could still see Littlefinger coming from a mile away. It was sooooooo bleeding obvious.

    I think it would have been differently if we didn’t have the scene with Robyn, that one made LF offer of help much more believable with less chance of him being like ok nevermind going home now!

  119. Ghosts Lunch,

    I just think if the point of this all is that Jon leads the North in the wars to come – why the hell would any of the Northern lords pledge any loyalty to him after this?? He doesn’t come out of it looking particularly capable and then the Vale and Joan of Arc ride in to save the day.

    It’s one thing if they’re all like “well I guess we have to go with this guy.” But if we’re supposed to hear any Northern lords give any speeches of loyalty, well why would they be inspired to do so when the Vale saved everyone’s butt from total decimation?

  120. Nadia:
    Btw Sepinwall, who is probably the best TV critic out there, nails while a lot of people came out of the episode first underwhelmed or downright annoyed.

    http://www.hitfix.com/whats-alan-watching/review-did-battle-of-the-bastards-on-game-of-thrones-live-up-to-the-hype#PIV8Y2UU08VR97py.99

    Amen to every last point. For all Kit’s great action work, Jon was like the grunt unthinking labor to this whole plot. And Sepinwall can’t be accused of some random woman hater, and he echoes the same points – Sansa’s refusal to tell Jon from the start of the season to the finish about the Vale is just either incredibly dumb and selfish or make you think that she’s risking the lives of others just to be the triumphant hero.

    The episode was technically and aesthetically brilliant, but just about every part of this was inevitable – the Stark forces would win, the Vale would ride in to save the day, Ramsay would lose, and Sansa would get her final revenge over him. Even Unsullied friends who don’t post on forums predicted all of that happening.

    Yeah, Sepinwall get’s it right. Jon being a right idiot and getting so many of his men killed left a bad taste in my mouth. Ramsay was so much the better military commander. Hell, Sansa was a better military commander than Jon this episode! When Sophie Turner mentioned in an interview that Sansa knows better than Jon and Davos about military tactics I thought she was joking. Turns out it was true.

    I have long predicted that all Jon would do this season was swing his sword around and kill some Bolton soldiers and I was right. The battle was well filmed because Miguel Sapochnik is a good director but the writing was terribly predictable and bad.

  121. FANTASTIC episode! I wasn’t expecting to be so so amazed by it, but I was. I was unspoilt about Meereen (except that Daenerys would meet Yara), and Meereen in its entirety was the best part of the episode for me. Drogon was simply magnificent and he and Daenerys seemed one! The Greyjoys’ scene with Tyrion and Daenerys was great! I was pretty much spoilt about the Northern battle, but the character beats in it were totally raw and visceral and awesome. Davos finding the little stag figurine, Davos and Tormund with a bro moment, Wun Wun’s death, Rickon’s too, morose Mel, Jon buried under bodies, Tormund biting Umber, all exceptional. Sansa totally channeled Cersei in the end scene after she watched Ramsay die. An exceptional episode 9.

  122. ghost of winterfell,

    You need luck and that’s what Sapochnik was talking about. He tried to provoke Ramsay by having duel with him, then rushes to save Rickon as emotions. Him charging at Boltons army was stupid but at the same time emotions. When you are under emotions you don’t think rationally. We can analyze this because none of us would do this because we’re not in his situation. He lost brother before his own eyes. People wanted angry Jon, here you have and still not happy?

    People who expected Jon to be all of sudden super master at everything. Well, it could be unrealistic. He has flaws, his stupid sense of honor and can be naive. He’ll never be a Targaryen. He could have their name but he’s a Stark. His father is Ned. He’s very human and that’s what makes him so reletable. As for Sansa. We’ll see how they handle Jon and Sansa scenes about Vale. He could be dumbass and question her motives or he’ll forgive her because Vale saved them. Both of them made mistakes.

  123. Maybe if enough people complain about Jon being written as having learned nothing and being a poor battle commander D&D will make up for it in the next 2 seasons? It worked with Sansa.

    Seriously, it was stupid of Jon. I just hope D&D realize this. But then again, so much of the events in this series, both books and show, have happened because of the stupidity of the protagonists.

  124. NEXT episode – Winds of Winter

    The threat of White Walkers will rise like never before!!

    A Lannister would die at hands of another Lannister !! It would a MAD QUEEN this time instead of a MAD KING !!! The Kingslayer would be Queenslayer !!

    Some disagreements can be seen happening in Winterfell !! I am keen to see What Does Empirelsayer Littlefinger does !!

    Bran Would be seen in the final Episode Overwatching the White Walker Threat Rise to level Emergency !!

    And Meeren Would finally See the chapter ending !!

    Arya would also reach winterfell at the end of the episode !!

    So I predict a lot happening next episode !!

    Awaiting the end of Season 6 and the beginning of wait of start of season 7…..

  125. Scott,

    I haven’t read the books and I actually enjoyed season 5. I wouldn’t have agreed with you before this season and I thought D & D would be up to task to continuing a similar trajectory for the series without the books, but after this season I’ll admit I was wrong. It’s been a big let down for me.

  126. [Rant]

    Can’t help but say that I’m a bit disappointed overall, but that’s probably just because my expectations were set too high.

    I liked:

    – The dragon stuff. Fucking wow.
    – Most of the battle stuff. Fucking brutal.
    – Rickon’s death
    – Jon beating up Ramsay

    I didn’t like:

    – Slaver’s armarda surrenders after losing one ship
    – Dany waits until it’s miday before mounting her dragon and torching the fleet, something she could easily have done when she arrived last episode, probably saving thousands of lives.
    – No consequences whatsoever for letting the city being vaporized
    – Littlefinger’s obvious Vale knight charge. There is no person on earth who didn’t see that coming.
    – Anticlimactic retaking of Winterfell. All we see is one banner being replaced? No triumphant music? Nothing?
    – Davos confronting Melisandre being left open despite the episode building up to that moment multiple times
    – Ramsay’s fanservice-gory death

    Despite being an exceptional episode and definitely one of the best this season, it did unfortunately not top Hardhome or Watchers On The Wall for me.

    [/Rant]

  127. Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Maybe if enough people complain about Jon being written as having learned nothing and being a poor battle commander D&D will make up for it in the next 2 seasons? It worked with Sansa.

    It just depresses me reading this statement. It’s sad but true, I think they’ve kept their ears to the ground and have been impacted by the criticism.

  128. To those who complaining about no character development look around the show no one gets that anymore…I would like to ask What development other two of the big three is getting ..

  129. Nadia,

    Meereen looked awesome and scenes with Daeny fighting with her dragons looked cool. It’s the best way to do it and Jon is depicted more as a fighter on the frontline rather than dragonrider. Tyrion could be useful too with his knowledge. Daeny and Yara is my new ship.

  130. Geralt of Rivia:
    ghost of winterfell,

    You need luck and that’s what Sapochnik was talking about. He tried to provoke Ramsay by having duel with him, then rushes to save Rickon as emotions. Him charging at Boltons army was stupid but at the same time emotions. When you are under emotions you don’t think rationally. We can analyze this because none of us would do this because we’re not in his situation. He lost brother before his own eyes. People wanted angry Jon, here you have and still not happy?

    People who expected Jon to be all of sudden super master at everything. Well, it could be unrealistic. He has flaws, his stupid sense of honor and can be naive. He’ll never be a Targaryen. He could have their name but he’s a Stark. His father is Ned. He’s very human and that’s what makes him so reletable. As for Sansa. We’ll see how they handle Jon and Sansa scenes about Vale. He could be dumbass and trust her lies or I he’ll forgive her because Vale saved them. Both of them made mistakes.

    It’s not about being a super master. It’s about having a learning curve, a progression, what is the point if, after all his life experiences, he is still as naive and easy to manipulate as he was at the beginning of the series. You cannot just keep acting dumb the whole series and call it the Stark way. There has to be a growth, which is missing in the writing for his character this season. I sincerely feel now, that the only use the writers have for his character is to swing a sword and they do not care about his character development. I am just feeling very salty right now.

  131. That initial cavalry charge seemed heavily influenced by the impact of the Rohirrim into the orcs in Return of the King. It had the same excitement to it.

  132. Nadia:
    Ghosts Lunch,

    I just think if the point of this all is that Jon leads the North in the wars to come – why the hell would any of the Northern lords pledge any loyalty to him after this?? He doesn’t come out of it looking particularly capable and then the Vale and Joan of Arc ride in to save the day.

    It’s one thing if they’re all like “well I guess we have to go with this guy.” But if we’re supposed to hear any Northern lords give any speeches of loyalty, well why would they be inspired to do so when the Vale saved everyone’s butt from total decimation?

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a nothern Lord who changed alliance?
    I suppos that could be with the Frey storyline but thats in Riverrun , not sure why a northern lord would be there

  133. On a different topic:
    So – poor Rickon’s body is to be placed in the crypts next to his father.
    Will Jon find anything down there?
    My mind goes back to those dreams Jon had about visiting the crypts.
    I have a horrible feeling D&D are going to leave us hanging. I think we will see “Promise me Ned” and a baby via Bran next week but no real confirmation – of what we know the truth to be.

    I soo want Jon to find something down there to connect him to Lyanna THIS SEASON!!
    I WANT IT NOW!

  134. I’m puzzled why Tyrion is suddenly so sensitive about his height this season, especially as Theon never insulted him during their encounter at Winterfell. In fact, it was Tyrion who was condescending towards Theon by reminding him that, for all his pretensions to be a valued confidant of the Stark household, he was in fact only their hostage. Combine that with his sudden urge to tease Varys about being a eunuch in retaliation for dwarf jokes that he just knows the latter is thinking if not saying. What happened to “Wear it like armor”?

    The battle scenes were impressive in their depiction of chaos, but my favorite battle episode is still Blackwater. A little disappointing that Jon Snow still predictably takes the bait almost exactly as he did when Alliser Thorne called him a traitor’s bastard back in Season One. At least Ghost had the instincts to wander off rather until his master’s death wish subsides. It’ll be interesting to see if the knights of the Vale really did arrive in the knick of time or if Littlefinger was waiting for the right moment (when Ramsey’s pikemen were facing away from him) to order the charge.

    I thought there was a good chance Dany was going to lose a dragon when she had them hover over the middle of a fleet launching that many projectiles…guess I play too many medieval and fantasy war games to be so preoccupied with tactics.

  135. ghost of winterfell,

    I respectfully (but totally) disagree. The showrunners were brilliant for his post-rebirth-depression. Having him come back instantly awesome again would’ve been a cliche – momentarily satisfying but ultimately boring and predictable.

    Instead, his insecurity and desperation were very realistic and set up the opportunity for serious character development. In a show like GoT, which has more depth than your average fantasy or action flick, Jon’s on a journey.

    I think Jon fighting his way through the pile of bodies tonight was his moment to choose life or death. We saw his struggle, the sheer will to rise, not only off the ground but above it all. This is a perfect set up for Jon to regain his sense of self and purpose, and next season transform into the man he’s destined to be:

    Not a bastard.
    Not a guard at the edge of the world.
    Not a Ranger or a Steward.

    A leader.

    One with humility, resilience, empathy and resolve. One to ensure the people of Westeros survive the long night.

  136. A great episode technically and cinematically, but with more bad writing leading to characters doing ridiculous things:

    –Jon falling into Ramsay’s trap after being warned not to. Does he never learn or grow as a character?
    –Sansa hiding the fact that Littlefinger and the Vale army might be on the way. Why wouldn’t she share this? She wanted to delay the fighting until they had more forces, and letting Jon know that the Vale soldiers might be on the way would have really been a great argument in her favor. Instead, her lapse in judgement caused thousands of soldiers to die needlessly (since waiting for the Vale soldiers to arrive would have lead to a siege instead of a battle). All those soldiers will be needed if the White Walkers come, regardless of which side they were on.
    –Wun Wun not using a log or weapon of any sort. Completely silly.

    The Meereen scenes were mostly interesting (albeit with stiff dialog typical of this season) because they were hard to predict exactly, but everything about the battle in the North was entirely predictable and completely telegraphed all season: Rickon dying, the Stark forces winning, the Vale coming to the rescue, Ramsay dying, etc. The excitement and technical accomplishments of the battle were diminished by this predictability.

    And to echo a few comments above, a minor nitpicking question: where was Ghost?

    And another minor complaint: why were the Sons killing Meereenese citizens outside of the city gates? Why would anyone from either side be there during a siege? They would not – they would be cowering in the city somewhere or fleeing into the hills. It was lazy storytelling to showcase the Dothraki show up.

  137. Ravyn,

    So, if you like something, you should totally comment on it and discuss it, but if you don’t like something, you shouldn’t? Criticizing a show you love is not a waste of time, criticizing criticism because it’s criticism, however..

    LatrineDiggerBrian,

    I think I kind of agree with you, Latrine. The episode kind of fell a little flat for me, but it did have some wonderful scenes in it, and I have to admit I already read a couple of spoilers for it, so I’m sure that had an effect on it. At this point, it really does have a “wrapping up” feeling, and I don’t think shows should necessarily have that feeling, even when they’re ending; it always gives me the sense it’s rushed. I miss the days of the early seasons where everything felt refreshing and well paced (obviously there were parts of season 4, and *definitely* season 5 that weren’t, but overall GoT has always done this well). Oh well =(.

    Scott,

    Oh wow, summed up my thoughts perfectly!

  138. KevLS:
    Any word on what happened to Lord Karstark?

    We didn’t see him at all this episode, did we?
    Rather strange since he seemed like Ramsays new bff, wonder if he will show his head still

  139. ThisGirlHasNoName:
    ghost of winterfell,

    I think Jon fighting his way through the pile of bodies tonight was his moment to choose life or death. We saw his struggle, the sheer will to rise, not only off the ground but above it all. This is a perfect set up for Jon to regain his sense of self and purpose, and next season transform into the man he’s destined to be:

    Not a bastard.
    Not a guard at the edge of the world.
    Not a Ranger or a Steward.

    A leader.

    One with humility, resilience, empathy and resolve. One to ensure the people of Westeros survive the long night.

    Beautifully said.
    And I agree with everything–I only wish he’d had a chance to express himself more dialogue wise prior to this episode. I saw his physical changes and the difference in his expression, and was surprised when so many people didn’t.

  140. RG,

    I agree, I was also riveted by the changes in his expressions. He gave a great performance in this episode.

  141. Jon Snow didn’t act like a smart commander ( as he is in the books ) because that wouldn’t make for ‘edge of the seat’ stuff over 60 minutes. I’m amazed that after nearly six seasons of watching GoT, people still expect the show to give precedence to logical storytelling over drama. Never gonna happen.

    If you want proper storytelling detailing character development, you best wait for GRRM’s books.

  142. I think Jon went into this fight with little hope for victory and placed little value on his life. I’m hoping this battle will restore some of his passion for life.

  143. I think it is important that only Jon knows what it is to be dead, and I don’t think he could face letting Rickon die without trying to save him. Honourable things usually go against logic, that is why so few act honourably.

    I think the battle scene showed really well the chaos that it is, and the people in it. I don’t think Jon could ever sit at the sidelines, and just watch on, as Ramsay and Sansa did. I wonder who the third rider was on the top of the hill, beside LF and Sansa.

  144. ThisGirlHasNoName:
    ghost of winterfell,

    I respectfully (but totally) disagree. The showrunners were brilliant for his post-rebirth-depression. Having him come back instantly awesome again would’ve been a cliche – momentarily satisfying but ultimately boring and predictable.

    Instead, his insecurity and desperation were very realistic and set up the opportunity for serious character development. In a show like GoT, which has more depth than your average fantasy or action flick, Jon’s on a journey.

    I think Jon fighting his way through the pile of bodies tonight was his moment to choose life or death. We saw his struggle, the sheer will to rise, not only off the ground but above it all. This is a perfect set up for Jon to regain his sense of self and purpose, and next season transform into the man he’s destined to be:

    Not a bastard.
    Not a guard at the edge of the world.
    Not a Ranger or a Steward.

    A leader.

    One with humility, resilience, empathy and resolve. One to ensure the people of Westeros survive the long night.

    ^This! Yes!

  145. Just rewatched. For all those saying that Sansa had to keep the information to herself because she wasn’t sure…. Multiple times Jon tells her “ok I’m listening, you’re right, tell me.” And she doesn’t offer any real solutions – “don’t do what he thinks you’ll do” and “we don’t have enough men.” To which, OF COURSE Jon can’t listen because where the hell is he supposed to get more men. So he gives her multiple opportunities to actually say something, to give him any tiny piece of information, however improbable, that can show him what he’s doing is wrong, and she just refuses to tell him the truth.

    Sophie keeps saying it’s because Jon sees her as this incompetent little girl, but he asks her over and over “tell me what to do differently” and she can’t or she won’t. It seems weird to paint Jon Snow as someone who won’t listen to a girl lol – we know he loves the strong ladies!

  146. The only thing that actually annoyed me in this episode, was not giving Wun Wun any weapon. Just imagine, what he could have done then!

  147. Emily: and they have some stunt horses that know how to do really cool things like “dying” etc. add a little VFX and perfection (with safe horses) is achieved!

    Another advantage to following this site during the off-season, while filming is going on – you get answers to some of these questions: I remember seeing during the summer a pic of some of the props stacked up after a battle scene, and one of the props was a wooden horse in death throes. It looked amazingly convincing, and I seem to remember there were several more in the back of the pic. The film makers have done a wonderful job making all of this look so real, but maybe somebody can dig up that pic of the prop horse.

  148. BranTheBlessed,

    Yeah. GRRM has said a dozen of times that these are two different media. How many children did Scarlett O’hara have in the movie.. in the novel.. etc., etc. 🙂

  149. If Sansa told John about the Vale army, and they show up with a strong force, then Ramsay will not fight them in the field. It’ll be a siege and they don’t have time or strength to win a fully prepared siege. So the information of Vale army must be concealed with the cost of the wilding army.

  150. Nadia,

    As I said in the other thread, my heart sank when she didn’t tell him. Others here have rationalized why she didn’t. Still, I wish the writers went another way on this one. Nonetheless, I have to say I love this episode. Will watch it again soon!

  151. From Kit –

    “Jon isn’t a great leader in that battle.” (UGH)

    “He can galvanize people to follow him but tactically he loses his temper and control.”

    I don’t love this portrayal of Jon as so inept of a leader in a battle – yes, having read the books, but that’s also not what we’ve seen thus far? Again, if you’re a Northern lord, why the hell would you be inspired to follow him? If the Northern lords pledge their loyalty with any kind of vigor – which we all expect – why would they do it for a guy that totally lost his mind and had to be saved by the Vale.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIwpmwo7KWQ

    He also points to that very moment of Jon being reborn again and finding the will to live.

  152. BranTheBlessed,

    It’s possible to have logic, consistent characters, and drama together – it just takes more effort in writing than the producers are apparently willing to give.

  153. Scott,

    If Sansa told John about the Vale army, and they show up with a strong force, then Ramsay will not fight them in the field. It’ll be a siege and Starks don’t have time or strength to win a fully prepared siege. So the information of Vale army must be concealed with the cost of the wilding army.

  154. RG: –I only wish he’d had a chance to express himself more dialogue wise prior to this episode. I saw his physical changes and the difference in his expression, and was surprised when so many people didn’t.

    I definitely agree with this.

    When I watched some episodes multiple times, I caught more of the under-growth and better felt the subtlety. But the show folks tried to squeeze so much in this season, including more than a few scenes that I thought could easily have been left on the cutting room floor. They could’ve spent more time developing the feeling of trauma, his confusion over being killed, the insecurity of being a failed leader, the sense of being lost and dazed – and questioning why he died and why he was alive again.

    But tonight I’m super hopeful he’s back from the brink. Can’t wait for next week. Can’t wait for him to find out his parentage – that will also lead to a much stronger sense of self. Can’t wait for next season!

  155. That was one of the episodes of the series, and one of the best episodes of television that I’ve ever watched. I’ll sort out precisely where I think it lands amidst the ranks of this show’s finest hours later, but right now, I’m still in awe. Thank you to the writers, the director, and all of the cast and crew who brought that magnificent hour of television to life. They deserve all of the acclaim that we can offer them, and more!

  156. Ghost must have been left behind with Edd at the Wall.

    The battle scenes really do an amazing job of making you feel in the middle of it.

    I have hope for Sansa that she can step back a bit. Tyrion was a restraining influence on Dany. Sansa is better when Brienne is around.

  157. ghost of winterfell,

    It came off to me as a supernatural intervention. Though Dan said inside the episode that there is a degree of luck. Really doesn’t mean anything though if it was something we aren’t supposed to be spoiled on just yet. Did you notice how the scene where he rose from the masses gasping for air was called a sort of “rebirth?” Hmm then I notice there is smoke on the battlefield from the burning crosses so I was looking for what could possibly be considered “salt.” Any ideas???

  158. I liked the Meereen stuff more.

    The North stuff was predictable, albeit well done.

    I don’t think it really had that much of an emotional core – like Sue said, we kind of could have used more Rickon and Osha setup scenes.

    I still fear that this was them making Ramsay into a Villain Sue: the endless “haha I raped Sansa” gibes, as if the controversial decision to merge those two storylines was the only way to make Ramsay a credible threat and villain.

    Also not sure if Rickon even dies in the next novel (or not).

    All of this awaits comparison with the next novel, of course.

    Still, sort of what Sue said about emotional core:

    This was a brilliantly filmed “fight sequence”, well acted and great cinematography/stuntwork but…..how much “writing” was in this that they based their Emmy nomination on it?

  159. I must say I’m surprised people thought the battle itself, the spectacle that is, was the best we ever had on GoT. Personally, I thought “Blackwater”, “Watchers”, and “Hardhome” all had more interesting set-pieces (wildfire explosion, mammoths attacking the gate of the Wall, the scythe on the Wall, the courtyard battle at Castle Black, Jon’s fight with the White Walker, the wights jumping off the cliff, the visual of the four horsemen overseeing the massacre, etc…).

    This episode gave us spectacle, no doubt about it, and Sapochnik is a masterful director who should absolutely come back, and he can feel free to direct the series finale as far as I’m concerned, but I thought the battle itself was pretty straightforward and less enthralling than the previous ones. The scale is unquestionably the largest ever, but it takes more than just scale to really achieve the epicness this show is capable of.

    But I guess “Blackwater”, “Watchers”, and “Hardhome” all had spectacular fantasy elements (which I have always found to enhance battles), and this battle only had Wun Wun as a fantasy element, so there wasn’t really much they could do on that front.

    In any event, if this episode doesn’t annihilate the record for technical Emmy’s, something will have gone absolutely horribly wrong. Not sure it deserves the Emmy for writing though. It seems like in terms of writing, other episodes this year have had more going for them (like “The Door” for example), the writing here was pretty standard.

    We’ll also have to see the finale to fully assess which episode this year had the best writing.

    PS : to all my fellow fans who will surely disagree with me, feel free to do so. I only ask that you not insult my opinion, call me troll, or say I must suck if I didn’t find it to be the best episode ever, as some have done to other commenters in this thread.
    If you do respond in that manner, don’t expect a reply. Cheers.

  160. In the preview for the finale, who is that walking out of a building with their back to the camera after the Dany/Daario scene when Tyrion is saying his “great game” line?

  161. How did not a single one of those arrows hit Jon? Jesus, and I thought Ramsay’s plot armor was ridiculous…

  162. Loved it. Maureen was everything a Dragon Queen should be and it’s about time.

    The battle was incredible, exciting, heartbreaking, and gory. I think John’s many saves were meant to show he is still in the grace of the Lord of Light. It was no coincidence he was saved. As for him being given sucked by Ramsey, it shows he is wise when it comes to battle, but not man’s evil nature.

    Also, why do people think the wall is coming g down next week? Benjen has told Bran he cannot pass.

  163. Cock Merchant,

    Had the same thoughts, but I loved it. That’s the brutality of war, and this episode depicted that real well. Sure glad they didn’t use actual horses for those parts though…

  164. Hopefully we are done with the ‘Women on Top’ writing this season so that the men can get some decent character development too in season 7.

  165. ghost of winterfell: It’s not about who gets the bigger role, it’s about showing him up as an idiot time and again. His character progression has literally been zero. He is still the same guy he was in S2, brave but stupid. Apparently even death and resurrection were not enough to move his character forward. This just makes me mad and I do blame the writers for this.

    It is frustrating when characters are made out to be dumb.

    And it is even quite illogical in Jon’s case. He was stabbed to death last season because he rushed out after hearing news about a family member – uncle Benjen. So after being stabbed to death he rushes out after Rickon, basically doing the exact same thing that killed him in the first place.
    We are not seeing character progression here.

  166. Sister Kisser,

    At castle Black Sansa tells Jon they need to go save their little brother but then we are told she always knew once he’s in Ramsay’s clutches he’s a goner. Did she use Rickon’s predicament to further persuade Jon into fighting? Has she used Jon to simply get revenge on Ramsay? When/if Jon is proclaimed KITN I am interested to see her reaction. I’m still not completely convinced that Sansa is this power hungry but with LF whispering shit in her ear it doesn’t bode well for the relationship between the two siblings (cousins more likely.)

  167. dragonmcmx:
    How did not a single one of those arrows hit Jon? Jesus, and I thought Ramsay’s plot armor was ridiculous…

    R’hllor is a boss,he watches over his champion.

  168. There once was a movie called Braveheart
    Which battles were thought to be so smart
    What they failed to see
    And the rest of humanity
    Was that Jon Snow would tear it apart…

  169. Ravyn:
    Moondoor,

    He was in the episode. He was on a horse next to Ramsey but I lost track of him in the battle.

    Completely missed that, wonder if this is going somewhere since the Umber his death was singled out. Could be just to give Tormund that fitting kill but thought also partly cause Umber was one of two main Ramsay allies

  170. 10/10. Pure perfection. It’s easly my favourite episode.

    Se you all next week or never…. Who knows..

  171. ygritte:
    ghost of winterfell,

    It came off to me as a supernatural intervention. Though Dan said inside the episode that there is a degree of luck. Really doesn’t mean anything though if it was something we aren’t supposed to be spoiled on just yet. Did you notice how the scene where he rose from the masses gasping for air was called a sort of “rebirth?” Hmm then I notice there is smoke on the battlefield from the burning crosses so I was looking for what could possibly be considered “salt.” Any ideas???

    All the sweat! Or the tears of the fan when Wunwun died?

  172. Needle’s Eye,

    Sorry for the autocorrect fails.
    Just want to add, the direction was so good, for a moment I thought the Starks forces just might lose. Since I peeked at the spoilers, that says something about the quality of the action.

  173. Moondoor,

    Either of those works for me. The boy is dead and theman has been born. Do you think LC will ever turn into that flaming sword we keep hearing about? 🙂

  174. ygritte,

    The youtube video I posted above.

    “jon isn’t a great leader in that battle”

    “he can galvanize people to follow him but tactically he loses his temper and control”

  175. Really not one of my favorite episode this season.
    I really like the Meeren sequence for once but the battle in the north felt very cheap.
    Not on a technical level mind you, but on the emotional investment that such a long battle sequence would normally warrant, at least according to the standards previously held by this show.
    There was no surprises or suspence, everything happened in the predicted outcome, which can be fine, you don’t have to counter expectations every time.
    But in that case don’t take 40 minutes out of a story that is already rushing past the maximum speed for coherent story-telling to show us what has always been evident.

  176. My goodness, what an episode. 10/10 for me, with a minor complaint that Ghost didn’t appear at all. That was the only thing I didn’t like. My heart was racing during all of the battle scenes.

    Both Winterfell and Meereen were fantastic.
    Daenerys flying on Drogon with Rhaegal and Viserion on their tail was one of the most awesome CGI moments in Game of Thrones. I remember in the episode Dance of Dragons that some people didn’t truly liked the CGI for Dany on Drogon, but the series has improved massively on that aspect.
    Yara and Dany together was great too!

    The battle of Winterfell was extremely well done. Kit Harrington really outdid himself. That scene of him fighting in the midst of all those horses…. Wow, that was some fine piece of tv.

    So many good scenes at Winterfell’s battle. I truly liked every second of it. R.I.P Wun wun!

    I was expecting more from Melisandre, and I hope that Dany somehow has to ‘apologize’ to Rhaegal and Viserion for locking them up. One could argue that her biggest issue was not controlling her dragons. Do they respect her strength now? Are they done with puberty? I hope it is explained that they are so meek.

  177. ghost of winterfell:
    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    It’s not about who gets the bigger role, it’s about showing him up as an idiot time and again. His character progression has literally been zero. He is still the same guy he was in S2, brave but stupid. Apparently even death and resurrection were not enough to move his character forward. This just makes me mad and I do blame the writers for this.

    I’m just going to tell you right now that whatever expectations you have about Jon well, throw them out the window. He’s not some huge political God or some huge religious figure or some powerful human.
    I don’t know if you were expecting the second coming of Jesus Christ after Jon’s Ressurection or maybe if your fantasy runs really deep and thought Jon would be some wizard idk.
    I will tell you that the Jon I know is a man of heart and Honour and while we’ve have learned that it can get you killed, it has not stopped nor will it ever stop Jon being who Jon is. Get used to it.

  178. Ser Gerold Dayne,

    I loved it when Mel told Jon she’s gonna bring him back again regardless and he’s like bitch I’m the commander here and you’re in my tent and she’s like I don’t serve you but the LoL and he’s like man what kind of god is this, damn.

  179. Markus Stark,

    Amen to the last part. There are critics who are bringing up valid points about the episode, but if you dislike it here you’re an awful troll hating terrible fan.

    To me, nothing can beat both Blackwater and Hardhome. Blackwater felt like it fundamentally transformed so many of the characters, that it had a ripple effect on all of them, from Tyrion to the Hound. Hardhome was just gut-wrenching. It was chilling and suspenseful and ends it just complete and utter despair. But more than that, it changed the entire show. It tore away the cover and gave us this terrifying window into what’s really brewing, what really matters, and the show and nothing that happens after is ever the same because of it. But Hardhome also had some of my favorite other moments – the Tyrion and Dany scenes were honestly the best Emilia Clarke has ever been, just riveting stuff, and it’s also the episode where Theon finally breaks and tells Sansa that Bran and Rickon are alive.

    This episode was amazing for the directing and the incredible choreography and cinematography but it just didn’t do for me what both Blackwater and Hardhome did with so many character beats for so many different characters. It all felt inevitable in some way, and what does it accomplish except allow the show an Emmy-indulgent catharsis to destroy Ramsay (which is great!) who they delighted in giving way too much torture and evil screentime.

  180. Ben10,

    I was totally thinking the same thing! If they don’t do that I’m afraid there will be such a divide between them 🙁 Not ideal when WW come for them all

  181. Nadia,

    He said in that battle and he’s a bit right. Ramsay lured him to his trap but it’s understandable because it’s his brother. Then Jon could’ve ride to his army and get killed or ride forward too. Basically Ramsay lured him by his emotions and he choose to ride forward.

  182. ygritte:
    Moondoor,

    Either of those works for me. The boy is dead and theman has been born. Do you think LC will ever turn into that flaming sword we keep hearing about?

    You mean a literal flaming sword?
    The scene with Bericc versus the hound had a sword on fire. So an actual flaming sword is possible but that also makes it feel like it would be less special and less the stuff of legends since its been done before. Though maybe its a gift from the lord of light?Anything that’s on fire would be nice once the wights start showing

  183. Can I just say: If there is really to be a Queen in the North, it should be Arya. She’s a true Stark and a Northerner through and through.

    Sansa…I don’t know..she’s being portrayed in a way that we should hate her? I mean, how do you go from using Rickon’s fate as means of convincing Jon to take up sword against Ramsay TO essentially say ”Forgot about Rickon, he’s dead anyway” before the battle?

  184. Just finished watching this. I’m all WOW! I had to text my husband, who isn’t into this series (dragons are too much for him), but a serious movie buff just like me after seeing this telling to watch out for Migue Sapochnik, because he is going to become a major director.

    This episodes had some of the best Sergio Leone and Saving Soldier Ryan/Black Hawk Down rolled in there! Rickon running to Jon was very much like the scene in Once Upon A Time in West, where the settler’s family is slaughtered by a gang of baddies.

    Also, if you are a Leone/Morricone fan, paying attention on how music adds to cinematography, as I am, how can you not love this episode? Even non-watcher hubby keeps telling me Ramin Djawadi’s score is amazing, when he hears it.

  185. Ravyn,

    On any set with animals there will be a vet- more than one for this sort of thing and vets get input into what is acceptable for the horse’s to do. Stunt horses generally have a special skill-they’ll be actors horses (i.e. safe for those that don’t ride well), or rearers, or fallers etc etc although some will be all rounders (see Davos’ horse, who’s also been Brienne’s horse and often appears in the background of other scenes pulling carts-that horse has been around since season 2 lol). CGI horses have come a long way since LOtR even!
    So all the ‘injuries’ to horses would be via CGI but there was some amazing horse work involved. Film horses like this represent a lot of money and value in terms of training -noone wants to injure one or worse.
    Wasn’t always the case, many horses used to be killed in films back in the day, don’t think anyone would stand for it these days.

  186. Great episode for me. Certainly among the all-time Top 3. More specifically:

    I loved…
    …to finally see all 3 dragons in battle. Very cool stuff!
    …the way how Tyron and Dany set up the meeting with the Masters. How the Masters went from their smug self-satisfaction to realizing that they made a huge mistake and actually lost slavers bay within a blink of an eye. This was just a great scene, from start to finish.
    …seeing Yara and Dany together in one scene, finding out how many things they have in common.
    …the way the battle of bastards was set up, especially the scene with Jon/Sansa and Ramsay outside of Winterfell.
    …some of the battle scenes were just wonderful artwork. In terms of the filming, I loved every second of it. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like that on TV before.
    …Sansa finishing Ramsay with his own hounds. “You didn’t feed them for 7 days, remember?” What a great line that was!

    But as great as this episode was, I must say that I was also a little disappointed by some aspects of the storyline, such as…
    …the fact that the battle portrayed Ramsay as a much better commander than Jon. Ramsay had a clear battle plan (which was actually brilliant) and carried through with it, while Jon lost the battle right from the start with his stupid attack. It was even more stupid given that Sansa told him the night before that Ramsay would do something like that. Looks like the show insists on Jon remaining in his “brave but stupid” cliché.
    …I found some parts of the battle not really logical. For example, how would it be possible to have a 20 feet high wall of corpses during a fight like that? That makes no sense at all! And why didn’t WunWun just break through the Bolton phalanx? He could have easily just walked through their rows, the phalanx would have been broken, and the wildlings could break through!
    …the scene with a few Sons of the Harpy killing innocent people outside of Mereen (WTF do they do outside of the walls during a siege, anyway?) and the Dothraki Hord riding in to save them. Should we believe the Dothraki, who are specialized in raiding and plundering cities and killing innocents like no-one else, are now the ones who happily protect the innocent? That they’re suddenly just fine to follow and fight for a woman that doesn’t even allow them to plunder and rape as they’re used to? Just because she has a dragon? Sorry, but to me that’s not really convincing…

    Finally, I’m sad that…
    …WunWun died, even if it was not unexpected.
    …it had to be Littlefinger who saved the day. He will now demand to marry Sansa and, thus, become Lord of Winterfell – Jon is still just a bastard. And even if we see the rest of the Tower-of-Joy scene in E10, nobody would know about it and it would still make Sansa’s husband the true air of Winterfell, not Jon. So I fear that Winterfell is still not in the hands of House Stark – not really.

    In summary it was one of the best episodes ever because of the great battle scenes in Mereen and Winterfell with some of the best filming we have ever seen on TV, because of some great dialogues (Dany and Yara, Tyron and the Masters, Jon and Ramsay, etc) and because Ramsay got finally what he deserves. Yet, this season sort of follows its tradition in disappointing me with (parts of) the storyline, which sometimes seems to be illogical. Therefore, for me its not quite 10/10.

    My rating: 9.5/10

  187. Dragon Tender: In all fairness, the role of Hannibal tonight was played by Lin-Manuel Miranda Ramsay Snow.The similarity to Cannae was in how the Bolton infantry encircled Jon’s side and compressed them.

    At Cannae, something like 50K troops were in that compressed mass, and pretty much all of them died.It was the worse defeat the Romans ever suffered.

    The Romans weren’t lucky enough to get rescued by the Knights of the Vale.

    True, I read up the Wikipedia entry on the Battle of Cannae, and it does look like Ramsay used a page from Hannibal’s book of battlefield tactics:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cannae

    Ok, admittedly, Jon Snow lost his cool, when he witnessed the death of his brother (and revealed that he had failed to learn his lesson, when he had been stabbed to death, after loosing his cool over the prospect of hearing about another relative). So, he did have motivation for charging uphill against superior numbers.

    However, the secondary good guy idiot commander award must go to ser Davos and his bowmen.

    – why did he not order them to fire at Ramsay’s unprotected archers, when they were firing into the battle?
    – if he had not joined the battle, he could have used them as a mobile force firing into the backs of Ramsay’s shield wall. This would have been highly effective, especially since the Bolton cavalry was apparently tied in the battle.

    Argh… the armchair general in me, who spent countless hours playing Rome: Total War & Medieval: Total War, is crying in despair. :O

    “…now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb. ”

    – Dark Helmet, Spaceballs.

  188. ghost of winterfell:
    Nadia,

    So Jon’s character arc this season is to learn that he is not a good leader? Lol

    Yes. Dany is the true leader. She can actually make great speeches, gets armies to follow her, allies come searching for her and she puts her dragons to great use. I would put Dany above Jon as a leader any day on the show.

  189. ghost of winterfell,

    Jon never commanded a large army,that’s the point here.He needed to make mistakes and learn from them.He is a great fighter but he never lead a large force into battle,he was just a bastard.And Hardhome was just a slaughter.Step by step Jon learns.

  190. I pray for a glimpse of Jon’s character development, but Ralloo only shows me a pile of dead bodies.

    I enjoyed Dany this episode. Still shipping Yanerys. Please get married soon!

    The writing did no service to the characters, but was designed to cause more cheap drama. Shame.

    Sansa is complaining that Jon doesn’t listen to her, but she doesn’t offer him any solutions. Why should Jon wait? They contacted all the houses and went to those who said would receive them. She should have at least mentioned she wrote to LF. You can’t send your commander in battle without him knowing there’s the possibility of another army. I hope the show clarifies whether she knew they were coming or not. If a raven from all the way down in the Riverlands could reach her, I’m sure LF’s raven would have as well.

    I’m glad they saved Mel vs Davos for next episode. Looks like we’re getting around 4 northern scenes.

  191. SerNoName,

    Yeah. If it goes like this further, they should kill Jon and Tyrion. Let Daeny take out White Walkers alone or with Sansa. Btw it’s a sarcasm. Our badass leader. Jon made speeches, get people to follow him. If he got three dragon, wait he’s got direwolf but our writers actually don’t know about him. Probably chilling somewhere with Nymeria. D&D obviously prefer one over the other so be it. If Daeny is the on eto lead them, I’m all for it. Jon’s got some role to play.

  192. SweetTrix:
    The only thing that actually annoyed me in this episode, was not giving Wun Wun any weapon. Just imagine, what he could have done then!

    I was screaming at TV: will somebody just give the giant a club?

    And can somebody explain to me what did Davos think had happened with Shireen? Did he think she had just gone back to Dragonstone after Stannis died? :O

  193. Ser Gerold Dayne:
    ghost of winterfell,

    Jon never commanded a large army,that’s the point here.He needed to make mistakes and learn from them.He is a great fighter but he never lead a large force into battle,he was just a bastard.And Hardhome was just a slaughter.Step by step Jon learns.

    In the books he is a good military tactician. He tells Stannis how to win over the mountain clans, how to attack and win Moat Cailin, why he should not attack the Dreadfort etc. He also arranges marriages, plays the game, negotiates and makes deals with the Iron Bank and the Wildlings. Proper deals like child hostages and wildling valuables for their safety. We have never seen that Jon on the show. Show Jon is an idiot who says things like ‘I put an arrow through his heart’ or can’t speak to a little girl without looking to Sansa for assurance.

    Show Jon does not seem to ever learn from his mistakes and seems to be a perennial idiot. He joins the ranks of show Jaime and show Bran for shitty character development. I would also add show Arya to this list as her entire Bravos arc, where the focus was only on her, became a giant waste of time when she got shanked while jay walking. Dany’s arc may be repetitive but at least she collects armies and advisers on her way to Westeros.

  194. SerNoName: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cannae

    Having seen the battle of Winterfell I tend to agree. The show more and more sets up Dany as the true and only hero of the story. It’s sort of disappointing, though, because the show has place for more than one hero and Jon’s character, his storyline so far, and his family background clearly provided the potential to make him a leader of equal rank to Dany – and having Jon and Dany as two equal leaders would have also been consistent with the overall “Song of Ice and Fire” scheme. But while Danys character has evolved a lot since the start of the show, Jon remains in the “brave but not very clever” cliché ever since season 1 – even his resurrection didn’t really help. In fact, I felt like with his stupid rage that almost lost the battle, the Battle of Bastards was clearly a step backward for him compared to Hardhome.

  195. I read some comments, and understand some people thought Jon, including Kit himself, wasn’t a leader here. Well, I can say that Jon’s approach was to encourage The Wildings, first and foremost. And since The Wildings are essentially Scots, there’s no other way to lead them than “upfront”. I’m saying this as a Finn myself, and Finns are up there with Scots in guts above brains department of warfare. This is how you lead a Wilding, essentially.

  196. Did anyone else catch Sansa mentioning No One? I think those were ‘incidental’ rather than ‘accidental’ words from the writers. Sansa still thinking of Arya, perhaps, even if she’s no idea what Arya’s been up to.

  197. Errmm…in the next preview that vision at the beginning looks like the white Falcon that littlefinger gave to Robyn as a gift flying towards winter fell??

  198. SerNoName,

    I know all that,I’ve read the books.Here I’m only talking from a show perspective,for me show Jon=/=book Jon.I keep the two completely separate.
    Now,from a show perspective this episode made total sense.Jon only had a small force,all he could hope was to make Ramsay seem weak and maybe even sacrifice himself to make the rest of the North overtrow the Boltons.He couldn’t have hoped for more,Ramsay had Winterfell and the larger and better army.

  199. Loolaa:
    Errmm…in the next preview that vision at the beginning looks like the white Falcon that littlefinger gave to Robyn as a gift flying towards winter fell??

    Read somewhere that it was a sign that winter has come.
    On that note where is Robyn?

  200. Talvivaara:
    I’m saying this as aFinn myself, and Finns are up there with Scots in guts above brains department of warfare.This is how you lead a Wilding, essentially.

    Hei, mäkin oon suomalainen (I’m also a Finn).

    This is not true really. In WWII, Finns did not manage to hold off numerically superior Red Army by charging at them blindly. Rather, guerrilla warfare has been the Finnish approach.

    I guess you may be thinking about “Hakkapeliitat” in the 30 years’ war, but there was strategy and tactics in those days too.

  201. I’ve just finished watching BotB. My face is stained with tears. My throat is raw from screaming. I knew Rickon was going to die but I still screamed and prayed. I wanted Jon to hand Sansa his sword so she could finish Ramsay off, but the dogs were a more fitting end.
    Yara & Dany were hilariously cute and oddly frightening. These women are not to be trifled with and I love it! I hope Theon finds peace among the Unsullied. He was a prick but I want him to have a chance to redeem himself.
    Next week Cersei is so going to set KL afire. Kinda hoping she gets trapped and dies. On the privy. She always wanted to be like her father….
    It’s going to take me a week to get over this episode. I’m exhausted!
    Hodor!

  202. Lovely episode!! I have no shame in admitting that I felt a bit nauseous there once in a while. That battle was brutal. I can’t imagine how battles can ever be glorified after watching this.
    Coming to the characters, Tyrion finally had some good stuff. Dany and Yara were awesome. But I am still disappointed in Sansa. She could have told Jon about writing to the Vale. She didnt have to mention Littlefinger but just make up a story saying that my cousin might help me. Kit was top notch in battle scenes. Simply amazing!

  203. lol I came across this beautiful comment when I was watching a scene in YouTube ..

    “Dany wears the black first time which shows she has turned to the dark side ”

    Really?? I cant stop laughing ..

  204. Steel_Wind,
    Steel_Wind, did he have an option at that point? He was in the middle of the battle field on foot. If he had started running back, or just stood there, he would have been killed by archers. To me he had a moment where he realized how Ramsay had just played him, realized he had fallen into it and now his army would be forced to go forward instead of waiting for Ramsay’s army to charge at them like they had planned. The mistake was done, it was too late, the only way forward from there was literally forward.

  205. Spectacular from start to finish. If it doesn’t get all the technical Emmys and the Directing one, I’ll be pissed. Kit deserves the Emmy too. I’m completely speechless. Bravo GoT, you proved why you’re the best show on television once again.

  206. SerNoName:

    Yeah, but its not just show!Jon Snow who doesn’t exactly mirror his book counterpart.

    They have reduced Deanerys to a power hungry whore; they dumb down Tyrion and Littlefinger-two of the most cunning, clever characters in the story; they’ve annihilated Jaime; they reduced the FM to a joke; the less said about Dorne and any of the Dornish characters, the better.

    I’d say Cersei is the only prominent character who hasn’t got the short end of the stick in the show.

  207. I very much appreciated the flirty tone and the simpatico vibe between Yara and Daenerys. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Meereen crew interacting with this new blood going into episode 10 and next season.

    And I’m really looking forward to Yara and Daenerys lezzing out.

  208. Just watched the episode again, and will many more times hence, but holly shit!!!! I mean really has anybody ever seen something like this on TV other than big budget movies, and even from those few measure up to what I’ve seen tonight!

    I had tears in my eyes to see Dany and her dragons!!! I’ve been waiting a long time to see the Targaryens ride their dragons and the fact that it looked so majestic, beautiful, brutal, violent. all at the same time was just breath taking.

    There are shots in this episode which are pure art and moments that could tell their own tales.

    The refusal to show some sanitized and idealized moments of war, especially the battle for Winterfell, in this episode is epic in of itself. War is grimm, grimy, dirty, bloody, violent, unforgiving, nasty business! “I walk and think and walk and think until I’m far enough from camp where no one can hear me shit my guts out…” Ser Davos got the gist of it!

    The Battle Of The Bastards and The Battle Of Mereen reminded me in tone and look of one of my favourite movies ever. “Kingdom Of Heaven” and I mean this as a high compliment!!!

    A big heartfelt goodbye to Wun Wun and a big fucking bow and thank you to Ivan Rheon! He was brilliantly disgusting, hateful and frightening!

    And bye to our poor Rickon Stark…you were alas our Meg!

    Seeing my little man Tyrion always does good to my heart but seeing him interact with Dany is fanfreakingtastic!!! It was also awesome to see Dany get her fleet and accept Theon as well as shake on it with Yara…bloody hell the Mother Of Dragons got her fleet and I hope she nails Euron’s big cock to his forehead!

    “Game Of Thrones”, “The Walking Dead”, Penny Dreadful”, “Outcast”, “Hell On Wheels”, “Ray Donovan”, “Roadies”, “Silicon Valley”, “Vice”, “Last Week Tonight”, “The Strain”, “The Night Manager”…just a few of the delights of TV…not bad for something which used to be called the idiot’s box…I’m still waiting for a worthy reply from movies…

    RIP Anton Yelchin…another young soul gone too soon…

  209. Wow! What an intense and satisfying hour of television. I admittedly read the reddit spoilers, cuz I couldn’t take the suspense, and yet my heart was pounding. I loved the complexity of the winterfell battle: Jon losing himself to passion and yet having inspired his men to such a degree that they threw themselves headlong into hell after him… His realization of what he had done…. Sansa’s more jaded outlook, giving up on Rickon and choosing to win, above all. Her need for revenge and victory above everything…

    I was also surprised at how satisfying the battle of Mereen was in an episode that was already so action-packed. Whoa, the sound of the Dothraki charging! Daario was certainly in his element. Also, so satisfying to see Tyrion on such a winning team. Um, was that Jorah we see from the rear in the preview?

    The battle of Winterfell was so sad and brilliant. I never thought I would be so glad to see Littlefinger. Tormund and Davos live! Goodbye to the magnificent Wun Wun. A true hero and last of his race! Good riddance to the traitor small jon and Ramsey fooking Bolton. Soon to forgotten. Glad Ghost wasn’t there to die!

    Next, Sansa and Jon unite to deal with Lord Baelish……?

  210. ghost of winterfell,

    The Davos and Tormund comment about Jon not being a king is the opposite, I am convinced : a compliment, meaning he is not high-born, therefore closer to people and more trustworthy and able to be a better leader than the rich and powerful.

  211. dragonbringer:
    lol I came across this beautiful comment when I was watching a scene in YouTube ..

    “Dany wears the black first time which shows she has turned to the dark side ”

    Really?? I cant stop laughing ..

    Its ridiculous, innit. People desperately want Deanerys to become Super Villain and Jon to become Super Hero. Neither of which will happen.

  212. Moon Door will be left open today in the honor of Lord’s Robin great victory.Let it be the first of many.

  213. Pretty good episode, needs a rewatch to really appreciate all that happens.

    As for characters making errors of judgement, Arya in “The Broken Men” and Jon this week, maybe it’s just part of a bigger picture in the development of the characters that we just don’t see yet.

    If characters always made the sound and logical choice then the story would be a very different and perhaps not so interesting one. Ned would have been far more careful in using the knowledge that he had and maybe not have got himself executed. Dany wouldn’t take over the slaver cities without having a cast iron plan to replace the slave economy for example. Robb wouldn’t have jeopardised the alliance with the Freys by marrying Jeyne Westerling. Jaime wouldn’t have fought Brienne and allowed them both to be captured and perhaps not lost his hand. Etc etc etc

    People suffer from acting rashly in the moment and not thinking longer term, that and how they deal with the consequences what makes drama.

  214. FRAN:
    ghost of winterfell,

    The Davos and Tormund comment about Jon not being a king is the opposite, I am convinced : a compliment, meaning he is not high-born, therefore closer to people and more trustworthy and able to be a better leader than the rich and powerful.

    Yeah there’s some irony if we het ToJ next week…

  215. It is easy to judge Jon as being stupid because Ramsay’s “game” was predictable : when someone you love and you are supposed to protect is in danger, you go for it, even it is not very reasonable. he had to try ! He is human.
    And I am sure most people who blame his behaviour would be themselves able to slap or punch someone for just a slight insult ; and they woud not move if family members were at risk ? Come on ! He was driven by honour, not foolishness.

  216. BranTheBlessed: Its ridiculous, innit. People desperately want Deanerys to become Super Villain and Jon to become Super Hero. Neither of which will happen.

    Well at this point The Night’s King is the ice antagonist and Dany the fire one.Jon is both fire and ice,so people expect him to bring some kind of “balance” somehow into all of this.But again,this could play out in a numerous of ways,there are many twists that could happen.

  217. I will say this for all the disappointed fans out there like me..

    I think what GrRm said as butterfly effect is taking the toll on the show ..

    Jon in the books is yet to lead a army in a battle and he is still not the best swordsman that he is in the show…
    The battle against Ramsey will be the first time jon will be leading an actual army ..so he is bound to make some mistakes ..

    And that is what we got there and writers forget about WOTW episode..

    Sansa in the books will come with vale just like the show and jon will not have an idea about sansa coming …so the show didn’t had sansa informing jon about vale …

    Dany will come surprised and angry at the state of meereen because she actually thinks she has achieved peace in meereen when she left in the books..but she was attacked in the pits and hizdar was killed so the city is already in turmoil but yet writers made her angry and displeased at the state of meereen like she will be in the books when she returns to meereen..

    This is same as what I have been saying previous season like they could have completely done without cersei and Jamie in the sept when they had Jamie arrive early but then they chose to have that which changes the context and character motivation..

    So I think the main problem is they are just not following their own story and rivet back to book plots is what makes this problems. .

    And another thing is just they don’t write or focus enough for most storylines until they reach certain moment ..and keep them stalling which is same mistake as GRRm but he at least write some stuff for them..

    At this point its clear they are rushing to the end and in a way I can understand some of the problems in writing because of the tight schedule they get ( unlike GRRm they has to produce an entire series by the time GRRm gets a book out ).

    My only wish is if people can stop their complaints about their favorites for bad writing and then go on to mock the characters they dont like but ignoring the same treatment they also get at the hands of the writers ..and just enjoy the show as it is and part of the ride and should not worry about dialogues or development …because I think we already know and got enough of character development and know what a character will do or won’t based on the books.

  218. If i was Preston Jacobs right now, i’d be thinking about how fascinating it is that Ramsay being added to the hive-like “Dognet” is intriguingly similar to how CoTF live on in animals after death – in particular Ravens

  219. It seems like two scenes in the Godswood or one with Jon, LF and Sansa. Because in he trailer for this season Littlefinger turned around and saw someone coming and in the preview he speaked with Sansa who was sitting infront of Weirwood tree.

  220. “the emotional resonance is lacking in some scenes and that’s what keeps this from being an episode I absolutely love-love”

    I felt the same. The episode was certainly worthy for being the 9th. The battle was incredible, so realistic and brutal. I was expecting Tormund to die (He tore off Smalljon’s ear! #Brienne). When the Vale army came at first light on the fifth day… It was relief!!! But the think is even though they won, and the Stark banner is once more on their wall, it wasn’t emotionally enough. It’s Winterfell, and we’ve been waiting years to see it retaken, so I just expected more than a flag. But maybe it was supposed to be like this, because the War is not over yet.

    Rickon’s death scene was well done, Jon running desperately to save his little brother, (actually that and him going alone after Ramsey, it was brilliant and emotional) but if we had some scenes with Rickon, it would have been more touching to see him die.

    You can say that Sansa has learned many things from Littlefinger and she was right about Ramsey BUT why on earth she did not tell Jon about the Vale army? And where is Ghost?

    In the next opening credits we will see direwolf in Winterfell ! #Ramsey’sdogskilledRamsey2016

  221. Wow. So much negativity on here. Such a shame. I seem to be in the minority in absolutely adoring this episode. It was spectacular and immensely satisfying.

    For all those people calling Jon stupid for charging at the Bolton forces, what do you think his other options were at that point? Perhaps you missed the arrows raining down? Had Jon tried to turn back and join his army to return to their initial plan, do you really think that Ramsay would let him without taking him down? And as for running out to Rickon, had he not gone out to try to save his little brother, that would have been a character assassination. Would his army have loyally followed him into battle knowing he’d just sat and watched his brother be killed and did nothing to try and save him? Sands was more pragmatic and knew that Rickon wasn’t going to make it out of this alive, but can you imagine her just sitting there were she in Jon’s position, not doing anything to save him and then the men still wanting to fight for her? Had Jon not tried to save Rickon, then he might have made a tactically sound move, but it would have seriously dented the morale of his men.

    Also, I wish people would stop calling the Knights of the vale deus ex machina. Just because it’s predictable that does not make it deus ex machina! Three episodes set up their arrival. Three. The first was Littlefinger manipulating Robyn to ride to his cousin’s aid; the second was Littlefinger pledging his army to Sansa; the third was Sansa demanding by letter that Littlefinger come good on his offer of help. That’s enough set-up to justify then arriving and we know Littlefinger enough to know he probably timed it for that exact moment so most of Jon’s army had been wiped out; this gives him be upper hand and is totally in line with what we know about the character. Just because it’s a trope (saviour army swoops in to save embattled heroes at the last minute) that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to watch. That still shot of Jon in that sea of people, all of them struggling to breath, was beautifully offset by the climactic arrival of the Vale Knights. I had a feeling it was coming, but even then, I jumped up and cheered. It was a glorious moment.

    One of the best hours of GOT that there is.

    And to all those who are saying, “it’s rubbish since they overtook the books”: do you think they are just making it up as they go along now? Do you think they’ve washed their hands of GRRM, who now has absolutely nothing to do with it? I think some of you are going to be in for a nasty shock when these key moments happen in the same way in the books.

    I wish they’d had more time to develop these characters that came back for one or two episodes and then died straight away too, but in ten hours of screen time, it simply isn’t feasible to do so.

    One last comment on Sansa: I have grown to like her over these past few seasons. I feel her character development has been a joy to watch and I like that she has become, realistically, cold, calculating and putting herself first. However, there were two moments where I felt she still had a long way to go. The first was when she berated Jon about not including her in the meeting. I couldn’t understand this one; she was right there. The notion of female empowerment is not that you need a man to give you permission to speak or ask your opinion: she should have just spoken up if she felt she had something to contribute (which she clearly did). I know you may say that it wasn’t a woman’s place to speak in those meetings and I’m sure you’re right, but that was hardly a normal strategy meeting. Haven’t Cat and Mel spoken at these sorts of meetings before? And wasnt Sansa involved in the strategy meeting back in Winterfell? So why didn’t she speak up this time? Why did she need her brother, a man, to give her permission. Her gripe with him came off as petulant and childish to be honest. The second moment was when she grinned after Ramsay met his death. I find it quite unsavoury in her character to smile after watching something so gruesome. Yes, I can totally understand her being happy he’s dead after all he did to her, but that smile suggested she really enjoyed that horrific scene she just watched… I personally, don’t feel that is very in-keeping with her character. Can you imagine Theon, who suffered equally as much as Sansa (possibly more, who knows how to compare mutilation with rape etc. I won’t go there!), smiling in that way after watching Ramsay be ripped to pieces by dogs? I can’t. I don’t know, that little smile bothered me. I feel I need to put a disclaimer here (as even just the tiniest criticism of Sansa on this website is enough for people to accuse you of hating the character), I do actually like her character now and this is not senseless sexist (I am a woman and am delighted with the female empowerment this series) attack on her character.

    Apologies for typos: my phone has a habit of unsuccessfully guessing what I was trying to say. Damn autocorrect.

  222. I wonder if the disappointment of those who dislike the way Jon Snow’s character has been portrayed had to do with all the Azor Ahai hype in the off season?

    I supposed if you expected him to arise as a king/God, this season would be a bummer. I didn’t expect that based on his character from the earliest sullen days as someone who never really fit in, someone who even at the wall was a reluctant leader. I love the way his adjustment in the aftermath of the resurrection is playing out.

  223. Jack Bauer 24,

    Yes, right. Or it wasn’t Rickon, as it wasn’t Shaggydog… When he talked about little details, could have been the size of the woolf, sure, and for him the colour of the eyes or another physical feature (and they used the same actor for greater trolling). Who knows if Osha did obey and take the real Rikon to the Umbers ?? I still kind of hope a little bit. Stupid, eh ? Or Mel could revive him ? Dreaming again.

  224. BranTheBlessed,

    Yes it is ..

    If I may make a bold claim iam starting to get afraid lots of jon fans are turning to be the way stannis fans ended …wanting something for their character and bulid up this imaginative sequences like walking out of fire and forget about the actual character in the books…

    I agree show as dumbed down jon but I wonder how many see the same is happening with all characters dany Jamie and tyrion to name the few ..

    Ser Gerold Dayne,

    Which never really made sense…

    How is jon going to be the balance between them have we seen anything that showed this in the books…has he shown any magical abilities that bran or dany or NK is showed …

    And am not going to bother with dany being fire antagonist

    But I would just like to remind that dragons have been in the world for thousands of years and co existed with humans for 1000 years which can’t be said about WW and Nk ..

    And if jon is an balance wouldn’t it be the balance between targs and starks rather than targ and NK .

  225. Some small things that intrigued me

    Jon mentioned burying Rickon mext to his “father”, so that means Neds bones from S2 i think made it back to Winterfell, hence no Barbrey Dustin sib-plot

    Also some irony in Mel looking on as er, it may or may not jave been worth the resurrection idea, Rickon is after all the presumptive King in the North after all if they are re-asserting Robbs Kingdom….

    There is another issue, presumably Sansa may make a claim, but given she can no longer prove her marriage to Tyrion wasn’t consumated this claim is murky while Tyrion lives

    Meaning that while there’s conjecture over Jon or Sansa being in charge, it may actually be the returning Arya who is actually Lady of Winterfell and/or Queen in the North…

    Reckon the show may just do what they have done with Casterly Rock, eg is Jaimie Lord of CR or Cersei Lady of CR?

    Seems like they’ll just do Team Lannister is in charge of CR and Team Stark in charge of WF?

  226. It’s quite funny when sansa reminded ramsey abt the 7 days hungry dogs when she wasn’t even there when ramsey said that in pre war meeting because she left earlier.Quite a hillarious loophole that.Almost like Jon n sansa gossiped after the pre war meeting and jon told him that ramsey said his dogs r hungry.LOL

  227. My thoughts:

    1. So happy Ramsey is dead but I wish he got killed in a different way, dunno, like killed by some Northman loyal to the Starks, kind of “The North Remembers” nod…. Being eaten alive by his own dogs was obviously “karma is a bitch”, but they could have at least have Ghost in there as well, some kind of twist…

    2. The whole scene in Meereen was great, but I wished it happened the moment Dany arrived… How could she just take her time going to the other side of the city to talk to the Masters about surrender while people were being slaughtered everywhere? Would have made more sense if she had arrived on the Drogon, started setting ships on fire and Tyrion would hurry down to the “cave” and released two other dragons to help them out…

    3. Rickon dying was sad, but not sad enough. There was more emotional investment in the death of Shireen or even Lemmy than the heir to the Starks… He could not have been more anonymous to the audience… All I felt was: poor Rickon, who is the heir to Winterfell now? Whereas I sobbed when they killed that baby in Littlefinger’s brothel back in S2…

    4. I was asking myself also: how would I like this story to end? What would give me satisfaction? I don’t know if I have an answer to that. This is not a story of a “Stark’s reunion”, not even “Stark’s vengeance”. Do I want Sansa to be a Lady of Winterfell? Don’t care really. Should Jon rule the Seven Kingdoms? Don’t think he is up to it. Should Dany conquer Westeros? Maybe she should, but at what cost?
    My satisfaction will probably be in small things: Arya hugging Jon again, Cercei dying at the hands of her brother, Littlefinger thrown down the Moon Door by Robyn, Tyrion becoming Lord of Casterly Rock, Jamie and Brianne dying together, Arya killing Freys, Gendry out of the rowing boat…
    Will see how it will play out

  228. Che: Also, I wish people would stop calling the Knights of the vale deus ex machina. Just because it’s predictable that does not make it deus ex machina!

    Even some here who are often critical of the show were arguing in preview article comments that the arrival of the Knights of the Vale was set up and established as a logical plot point in earlier episodes. But we will never stop those who have latched onto the deus ex machina trope and not really understanding it from saying it was.

    They think if they say it enough it is true. Even a blind pig may occasionally pick up an acorn.

    The just in time arrival was naturally a little clichéd, but it’s a tried and tested dramatic device and who knows what may yet happen in the books?

  229. Che: The first was when she berated Jon about not including her in the meeting. I couldn’t understand this one; she was right there. The notion of female empowerment is not that you need a man to give you permission to speak or ask your opinion: she should have just spoken up if she felt she had something to contribute (which she clearly did).

    I agree! My best guess is that Sansa grew up spoiled and not a little petulant and bratty. But in formative years, she was virtually silenced by men – Joffrey, LF, Ramsay etc. She had no say and there were consequences when she did.

    I think she’s now finding her voice, but hasn’t yet figured out how to use it. So she gets frustrated, and reverts back to petulance. Very much like older teenagers who are trying to assert independence and prove themselves – while blaming others when it doesn’t work out the way they thought it should in their head.

  230. ThisGirlHasNoName,

    I think this is one of the reasons as well.

    Mihnea,

    It has to win I see no other way ..

    That scene of dany riding drogon and viseryan and rhaegal on the back is what I dreamt for and got it. ..there was some glitches in last season with how it was done but this time it is perfect ..

    And this has made me remove the fear how it will be done in the wars to come in westeros and beyond the wall..

  231. Ghost’s Lunch:
    Some small things that intrigued me

    Jon mentioned burying Rickon mext to his “father”, so that means Neds bones from S2 i think made it back to Winterfell, hence no Barbrey Dustin sib-plot. Also some irony in Mel looking on as er, it may or may not jave been worth the resurrection idea, Rickon is after all the presumptive King in the North after all if they are re-asserting Robbs Kingdom….

    In the last three episodes (including this one), they’re sort of giving answers about resurrection or escaping death (in Hound’s case). Not everyone who dies can be brought back, only those who will serve a purpose-no matter how big or small the purpose is. The Red priests have no power and don’t decide, R’hollor does.

  232. Never Hug a Bolton: 4. I was asking myself also: how would I like this story to end?

    Interesting comment, got me thinking the same.

    Just for fun, here’s my order of preference to take the Iron Throne, with the characters on today (not what I think will happen or who is most qualified, but what I hope lol):

    Tyrion
    Jon
    Ser Davos
    Yara
    Tormund
    Brienne
    Jaime
    Bran
    Lyanna Mormont
    Dany
    Varys
    Arya
    Greyworm
    Theon
    Margaery
    Gendry (not on today but hopefully really buff from all that rowing)
    Sansa
    Cersie
    Gilly (with Sam as maester)
    Jorah Mormont
    Jaqen
    Little Finger

  233. Is that jorah we see in the promo…..the person looks slim and taller than ian Glenn
    But it has to bee some place like meereen .,qarth or dorne based on the background ..

    Watching the inside episode Gemma and Emilia are both lovely in that ..gemma looks more young and childish in that .
    Lol even Emilia calls for having darrio out and for some girls time..

    A Good thing about that scene aside from filtration and Gemma’s and Emilia’s reactions is the common things among all of them…they all had terrible Fathers and they want to be different from them and do good.new generation indeed

    Speaking of New generation with Wun Wun and Hodor dying sadly the giants line have ended as well

  234. This episode demonstrated that Daenerys’ dragons worked perfectly as an airborne division. However, in a previous episode, we saw the white walkers walking unscathed through fire. This means that the mother of dragons etc.. will be of no use whatsoever when the real battle starts, so what is the point of dragons? (except for teleporting to King’s Landing, torching the Castle and accidentally setting on the wildfire that destroys the city before Cersei even has time to light a match? )

  235. Some thoughts on this weeks episode:

    – The body count of known characters was smaller than I expected. I’m glad that both Davos and Tormund made it out alive.

    – Rickon’s death was sad, but somehow predictable. Sadly, he will always be the “forgotten Stark”, serving no other purpose than to create drama. They could at least have given him a scene with Osha or some dialogue between him and Ramsay and a chance to show us that he is as much a badass as the other Stark children. It felt like we didn’t even know him. And as I said some weeks ago: I hate that they bring back all these long lost side characters only to kill them off after one or two scenes (Balon, Osha, Hodor, Blackfish, Rickon,…). This is meant to create drama and to keep the body count up without reducing the main cast, but it doesn’t work if the characters don’t have a chance to shine before they are offed, which especially was the case with Osha and Rickon. They spent more than 10 minutes of screentime this season for Tyrion drinking wine and telling bad jokes with Grey Worm and Missandei, but there was no chance to include a single word from Rickon?! ö.ö

    – The moment when Jon draws Longclaw and faces the charging cavalry totally mirrored Stannis’ attack on Winterfell in 5×10. That scene was beautiful.

    – I’m a bit disappointed (but not surprised) that the Show!Umbers were really against the Starks and loyal to Ramsay. But why include Smalljon’s “I will not kneel” speech then?

    – I’m also a bit disappointed that the Manderlys were not involved in the battle after all the name drops this season.

    – What happened to Lord Karstark? He wasn’t seen after the parley.

    – How did the Knights of the Vale manage to pass through Moat Cailin unseen so that they were able to surprise Ramsay? They could have played it out in a way that LF offered Ramsay to send reinforcements from the Vale and he only realises that they are on the Stark’s side once they show up and attack his shield wall.

    – Sansa has to be some kind of fortune teller. How did she know that Ramsay did not feed his dogs for 7 days, when she was already gone once he mentioned it in the parley scene? It’s the same thing with her statement that “The Umbers can hang, they gave Rickon to Ramsay” from 6×05. How did she know that it was the Smalljon who handed Rickon over? She did not know where Rickon was hiding and Ramsay did not mention the Umbers in the Pink Letter 😀 #ItIsKnown Sansa the Frog CONFIRMED!

  236. Let me preface this by saying I am in no way an apologist and have both loved and hated this season at times.

    A lot of people are saying that Jon’s character has been ruined or there has been no development etc but perhaps the whole point he just wants to get the whole suicide mission over and done with…

    After his resurrection he was noticeably shaken and to start with he wasn’t interested in the whole idea of reclaiming Winterfell. He was finally convinced by the pink letter, and by Sansa’s suggestion that they should save Rickon. They tried to rally the North but failed and so he was eager to just get on with the battle.

    Everyone knew the odd’s were terrible but keeping up morale is important. The night before the battle he had some morale crushing conversations with Sansa (this isn’t a rant about Sansa, just pointing out what Jon’s perspective may be) and Mel. Mel told him that she didn’t know why he was back and that maybe it was just to fail again, she still seems to be in a funk of her own. He asked her not to bring him back which is pretty telling; he’s done with this life already, he died.

    Then of course at the battle itself Ramsay lays his trap with Rickon, Jon does the stupid thing and charges in after him. This is understandable on a human level and as people have pointed out very Stark-esque but it isn’t the smartest move. Having said that, saving Rickon was a core motivation for Jon being him there in the first place and so he has to try.

    Once Rickon dies Jon has lost hope, he charges and his horse is killed. He gets back up, drops his belt and prepares to face what he probably assumes is his death. He has been visibly agitated at the futility of the whole thing all season and his failure to save Rickon was the icing on the cake. Facing that cavalry charge he may even have realised he had fallen straight into the trap and just thought to hell with it.

    After this he just gets caught up with adrenaline and blood lust as people do in battle, never stopping to think until he is trampled. You can see that he lets go under the crush, he is ready to die; this is really the bottom of his slide towards a feeling of total hopelessness this season.

    Luckily something makes him fight back, perhaps sheer adrenaline and survival instincts snap him out of his existential funk. As mentioned on Inside the Episode him climbing out of the crush is a kind of rebirth.

    His character has developed this season(although we could have been given more time to see it) but it has been a downward slide. This is a consequence of the resurrection, we knew it couldn’t be a freebie. His suicidal recklessness resulted in a brutal battle killing most of the wildlings and poor Wun Wun. Now Littlefinger has rushed into the northern power vacuum. In that crush Jon was at lower point story wise than his actual death. But now he can move on and his character can be rebuilt into something better.

    Well that post got long but I guess I am saying he is not being stupid in the sense that he is making a huge mistake whilst thinking he is doing the right thing. He just no longer gives a crap, I don’t know if that constitutes a destruction of his character as some claim rather than a reaction to his death experience.

    TLDR: Jon’s character wasn’t ruined, his post resurrection despondence culminated in his suicidally reckless behaviour. Now he can rebuild himself.

    That could all be a load of rubbish of course, just an angle I hadn’t seen mentioned.

  237. I liked it A LOT but didn’t love it. After one viewing I’ll rank my battle episodes this way:

    1) Hardhome
    2) WotW
    3) BotB
    4) Blackwater

    My gf said she thinks Sansa is definitely pregnant based on Ramsay’s last words to her. Which I didn’t even understand when he spoke them. Did anyone else think this?

  238. ThisGirlHasNoName:

    I respectfully (but totally) disagree. The showrunners were brilliant for his post-rebirth-depression. Having [Jon] come back instantly awesome again would’ve been a cliche – momentarily satisfying but ultimately boring and predictable.

    Instead, his insecurity and desperation were very realistic and set up the opportunity for serious character development. In a show like GoT, which has more depth than your average fantasy or action flick, Jon’s on a journey.

    I think Jon fighting his way through the pile of bodies tonight was his moment to choose life or death. We saw his struggle, the sheer will to rise, not only off the ground but above it all. This is a perfect set up for Jon to regain his sense of self and purpose, and next season transform into the man he’s destined to be:

    Not a bastard.
    Not a guard at the edge of the world.
    Not a Ranger or a Steward.

    A leader.

    One with humility, resilience, empathy and resolve. One to ensure the people of Westeros survive the long night.

    Beautifully put, ThisGirlHasNoName.

    Jon isn’t perfect, and it’s unrealistic to project every hero fantasy on him when he’s got some real flaws. He remains as good a person as you’re likely to find in GOT: brave, fiercely loyal, compassionate, with incredible fighting skills he uses to protect others and a willingness to learn from his mistakes.

    He’s as scarred from his past experiences as Sansa is, and as unwilling to trust others. He was stabbed to death by his own sworn brothers. The oath/fraternity may have meant nothing to them, but it meant everything to him, and to see others shatter it and everything it stood for in moments of blindness, anger, prejudice and vengeance destroyed him. No wonder he was unwilling to wait for more allies–perhaps he never expected to get any in the first place, and he was so in want of direction and purpose / reeling from the actions of the NW that he would have gone for Winterfell / Rickon anyway. As you say, he now has something to live for. One of his greatest strengths is that he doesn’t seek out power for the sake of it, and he’s remained absolutely true to this. He will now have people clamouring to follow him after witnessing his bravery on the field. As he said to Ramsay, men will fight for someone who fights for them. Jon just showed the whole North he’s willing to die for them. It sets him up quite nicely without sacrificing his characterisation.

    To the people saying he’s just a dumb jock, he sounded pretty sharp at that war council and in his exchange with Ramsay! My one critique is that it would have been nice for him to say something like “your death doesn’t belong to me” to Ramsay. The unspoken exchange with Sansa didn’t really have the same effect.

    The main criticism of Sansa is that she didn’t tell Jon about her communication with Baelish and/or the possibility of Vale troops. Was it misguided, even dangerous? Yes, certainly. Was it done maliciously, with the intention to inflict harm (to Jon/Wildlings/misc non-Sansa loyalists)? No, of course not. Sansa’s trying to find her way just as much as Jon is, and she’s not going to starting trusting haphazardly. Perhaps her silence had less to do with Jon and more to do with her distrust of Baelish and not wanting to be let down again / let Jon down if the troops didn’t show. This doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have said something (I think she definitely should have–Jon could have sent scouts to ascertain the Vale’s presence, position, etc), but it’s understandable. It certainly doesn’t make her evil. Between this thread and the Open Chat, she’s being made out to be some sort of power-hungry demon.

    Am gutted about Wun Wun, though at least he didn’t die alone. I’m glad they gave us a moment to mourn. Am so happy Tormund and Davos made it! After their little pre-battle chat, I thought one of them was a goner. Did we see what happened to Harrion Karstark?

    Davos has lots to say next episode, not just about Melisandre, but perhaps about Baelish. Did he ever hear about how Baelish betrayed Ned Stark, either through rumours or from Stannis? Perhaps that’s another reason the Vale has never been brought up, so Davos didn’t have space to accuse Baelish.

    The music, my god. I think I’ve rewatched Jon’s cavalry face-down and the Vale’s arrival a dozen times. Despite every spoiler read, when Jon was sinking under the men and that haunting tune played I thought he was done. Ramin Djawadi never fails to deliver.

    What an episode. What a show.

  239. If it was the only way for him to survive the battle I am glad they sent Ghost on a holiday or kept him under lock and key in Castle Black. But these Stark direwolves have been little help to team Stark. The hounds have a better body count.

  240. dragonbringer:
    Is that jorah we see in the promo…..the person looks slim and taller than ian Glenn
    But it has to bee some place like meereen .,qarth or dorne based on the background ..

    Based on the clothes,haircut and exterior that seems to be Lancel.

  241. Best episode of the series, but hardhone still takes the cake for me. I love to see the white walkers on screen and in action!

    Is that Jorah Mormont walking into mereen in the episode 10 preview?? Get hype!

  242. I suppose now if we are going to see Lord Manderly it will be in a gathering of the Bannerman, or at least the leaders of the main Houses of the north as the Starks will have to retake fealty and oaths of allegiance, having ousted the Boltons.

    They surely have to warn the Northern lords about the real threat from beyond the wall.

  243. I’m glad that the consensus of GoT fans loved the episode. Everyone was/is buzzing on Twitter and the reviews have been very positive. Finally there was a cathartic moment for viewers in Ramsay’s death, they needed this.

  244. Khaleesi:

    Is that Jorah Mormont walking into mereen in the episode 10 preview?? Get hype!

    Just saw the preview again,it’s Lancel in KL.

  245. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Ok can you elaborate how it should have been done according to your storytelling expertise? Give us your suggestions about proper twists and reversals with regard to the story available. Make us get goosebumps for what we should have seen and we didn’t….

  246. I honestly hope Mel doesnt die next episode… she has bigger role to play in the wars to come, her magic will really help against WW’s.

  247. Also have to say that I’m going to frequent this brilliant site less in the lead up to next season. Having listened to some of my friends who watched it last night free of spoilers, I kind of felt a bit envious. My viewing experience was no less thrilling but I want to be free of inhibitions when I’m watching my favourite show.

    The dragon scene was absolutely top-notch this episode, them working in unison was a sight to behold.

    I need my White Walker fix btw, hope they feature in ep 10.

  248. Anyone thinking

    Melisandre will be forced to reveal her true identity in order to prove her god and magic are true? In next episode.. i feel perfect scene would be as soon as they are about to go crazy on her she reveals herself and says “i just had to do it” ?
  249. FRAN:
    It is easy to judge Jon as being stupid because Ramsay’s “game” was predictable : when someone you love and you are supposed to protect is in danger, you go for it, even it is not very reasonable. he had to try !He is human.
    And I am sure most people who blame his behaviour would be themselves able to slap or punch someone for just a slight insult ; and they woud not move if family members were at risk ? Come on ! He was driven by honour, not foolishness.

    Most people are not responsible for the lives of thousands of people. That was what was at stake here.

  250. Mihnea:
    It’ll win the Emmy no doubt. Both special effects and writing.

    All The Emmies for Picture Editing should go to this hour of a show. Truly, the battle scene was some of the best editing I’ve seen in Television, ever. Some of the best I’ve seen on screen, for a long time. I say this as someone who watched Battleship Potemkin for educational purposes, and have always paid extra attention to cuts.

  251. Steel_Wind, He didn’t charge Ramsay, rewatch it. Ramsay had him pinned with his archers. Going back was death into a volley, he had to move forward to dodge the arrows which is why Ramsay unleashed the Calvary. Him displacing just Jon with rickon was the entire ploy.

  252. Che:
    Wow. So much negativity on here. Such a shame. I seem to be in the minority in absolutely adoring this episode. It was spectacular and immensely satisfying.

    For all those people calling Jon stupid for charging at the Bolton forces, what do you think his other options were at that point? Perhaps you missed the arrows raining down? Had Jon tried to turn back and join his army to return to their initial plan, do you really think that Ramsay would let him without taking him down? And as for running out to Rickon, had he not gone out to try to save his little brother, that would have been a character assassination. Would his army have loyally followed him into battle knowing he’d just sat and watched his brother be killed and did nothing to try and save him? Sands was more pragmatic and knew that Rickon wasn’t going to make it out of this alive, but can you imagine her just sitting there were she in Jon’s position, not doing anything to save him and then the men still wanting to fight for her? Had Jon not tried to save Rickon, then he might have made a tactically sound move, but it would have seriously dented the morale of his men.

    TBH the whole Rickon release scene forced me to exercise my suspension of disbelief capacities a bit more than I would have liked.

    When Ramsay brought in Rickon, I was of course expecting him to murder him in some cruel way. When Ramsay released him, I was expecting him to give an order for the archers to use him for target practice and send a jolly rain of arrows in his way. When it became evident that he was just shooting himself that’s when the scene started to feel a bit contrived.

    What if he had missed? What if Rickon had successfully made it to Jon & folks? Would his men have respected Ramsay any more? How would this have affected the morale on the Bolton side?

    Was this the same Ramsay that had moments ago declined a duel with Jon, as he was not willing to gamble away what he thought was a certain victory? How’s that for character assassination?

    But then he obviously has superhuman archery skills.

    So, all in all, I felt the situation in which Jon was alone with dead Rickon between the battle lines a bit hard to believe (if Rickon had been shot down by multiple archers in the Bolton army, it would not have made sense for Jon to rush out, and the anger would have increased the fighting spirit, if anything).

    I’m normally not one to complain & nitpick about fight choreographies and such, and am normally defending the show, but this time around things felt a bit too ‘Hollywood’ and a bit predictable.

    I didn’t get obsessed over Got and ASOIAF, because it delivers familiar predictable Hollywood blockbuster dramaturgy, but because it often subverts familiar tropes, offers fleshed out characters with some grey area in them and adds a layer of political intrigue to its high fantasy setting I learned to love as a kid. I find that as the show is approaching its end, and the good guys do win, it is losing some of its unpredictability and becoming more ‘Hollywood’.

    BotB was a good example of that.

  253. TheKingWhoCares,

    Obviously, Sansa knowing about the hounds not being fed (unless we are meant to believe Jon mentioned Ramsay’s threats to Sansa, but in that case we should have seen that) and knowing about the Umbers handing over Rickon is just more sloppy writing.

    Same with Ramsay being taken unawares by the Vale army. It would take weeks to march from Moat Cailin to Winterfell, and obviously Ramsay would have heard that an army was marching north, as you can’t really hide a movement of thousands of men.

    How Baelish was even encamped at Moat Cailin is strange, I assume he must have taken the castle from the Boltons somehow (despite the fact that it’s notably impossible to take, hence why Ramsay had to use the ruse with Theon to do it in Season 4) and Ramsay just never heard about that for some reason.

    It’s also odd that in episode 7 Jon is very close to Winterfell (he’s where Stannis was, which was clearly not that far away) and is planning on marching immediately when Sansa writes to Baelish, yet somehow he only makes it to Winterfell shortly before Baelish, who had to traverse the entire north. Realistically, Baelish should have made it to Winterfell weeks after Jon, but instead he was only late by a few hours.

    These are all just plot holes, and there is no explanation.

    And yes, I know everyone here will just say I’m “nitpicking”, but the fact of the matter is that these plot holes do exist, and they are not unimportant details.

    Nitpicking is defined as minute and usually unjustified criticism of unimportant details. These details clearly matter to the story, and criticizing these flaws is not unjustified, if you care about the plot making sense.

    So even if many people here don’t care about them (and I respect your right not to care about them), you can’t pretend they aren’t flaws in the story, and if some of us are irritated by them, I would kindly request that you not attack us for our opinion.
    Thank you.

  254. dothrakian raven,

    It’s irrelevant. I’m giving my feedback as a viewer and there just hasn’t been any suspense this season. I used to love this show because it always kept me guessing. This season largely has been a march towards the inevitable and everything has been sloppier than usual. But most people (millennials) don’t really care about storytelling, they care about not being made to feel bad and the characters they’re rooting for succeeding. That’s boring to me, that’s every big budget Hollywood summer movie. That’s what GoT has turned into this season.

  255. Homplomplomo: I find that as the show is approaching its end, and the good guys do win, it is losing some of its unpredictability and becoming more ‘Hollywood’.

    BotB was a good example of that.

    But you do realize that “good guys” have to eventually win,right?Even if it’s just random and they will still win some.If Ramsay would just kill Jon,Sansa,LF,The Lannisters,The Night’s Watch and so on it would be retarded to say the least.

  256. Ben10:
    When the camera moved to Sansa and Littlefinger by her side I got the feeling that she wanted Jon to die in the battle before she takes the North for herself. I mean I did not see her feeling sad or sorry for her brother.Or maybe I have demons in my skull/…..??????!!!!!!!!

    Exact same feeling. Her lying to him, the little smirk she gets as the knights of the Vale storm in. I absolutely hate Sansa right now because she feels like Little Finger light. Jon was forced to fight a battle he couldn’t win because Sansa refused to tell him their were more men. True she keeps asking him not to fight, but never giving him a real reason or a convincing one to wait (despite having one). I truly believe she wanted to wait until he and all his free folk were dead before she let the Vale knights into battle. I don’t trust her. I think she is going to actively work against Jon and his attempts to fight the true war to come.

  257. Morgoth,

    While I didn’t agree with everything they said, this notion that if you don’t like things about the show you should just crawl into a hole is silly. I’ve noticed a lot of this that after every episode we get a tons of comments of BEST EPISODE EVER!, well that doesn’t make sense. It’s as if no one can remember things for more than 1 week at a time. I will say that I really liked the episode, but I don’t think it tops blackwater. At no point in time did I think Jon or Dany were going to lose, so it was masterfully shot but ultimately looses some suspense.

    Nick Hartley does not sow!

  258. Sorry I haven’t read all the posts yet but just started watching After the Thrones. Andy wants to say Sansa won the week but she absolutely caused all the death. If the knights of the vale were there pre fight Ramsey may have taken up Jon’s offer of a 1v1 for it all and Wun Wun would still be alive.

  259. I killed my first buck with a bow at age twelve. Hitting a moving target with a bow is extremely difficult. Hitting a still target beyond forty yards is extremely difficult. Hitting a running, panicking target at a hundred yards with medieval equipment? That would require a divine miracle.

    That little bit was disappointing, but predictablely so.

    Definitely this was a spectacular episode, but I was hoping for something a little less straight-laced and full of common Hollywood tropes. Oh well.

  260. dragonbringer:
    BranTheBlessed,

    Yes it is ..

    If I may make a bold claim iam starting to get afraid lots of jon fans are turning to be the way stannis fans ended …wanting something for their character and bulid up this imaginative sequences like walking out of fire and forget about the actual character in the books…

    I agree show as dumbed down jon but I wonder how many see the same is happening with all characters dany Jamie and tyrion to name the few ..

    Ser Gerold Dayne,

    Which never really made sense…

    How is jon going to be the balance between them have we seen anything that showed this in the books…has he shown any magical abilities that bran or dany or NK is showed …

    And am not going to bother with dany being fire antagonist

    But I would just like to remind that dragons have been in the world for thousands of years and co existed with humans for 1000 years which can’t be said about WW and Nk ..

    And if jon is an balance wouldn’t it be the balance between targs and starks rather than targ and NK .

    Jon’s role is to be a balance between Targs and Starks? So all that is expected of him in this story is to get Dany and the remaining Starks in one room and basically go “Ok now you guys talk”! The way the story is going, I shouldn’t be surprised if this happens, lol.

  261. What do I think?

    1. The battle in the north was on purpose not epic. It showed bloodshed and the disgust of the war as such. I believe this was the main motive, the rest was just for the show and to bridge the story. I expected an epic battle, such as one the wall. So, I am a bit disappointed. As pacificist I know that war is horrible and that one needs to avoid it. But as a viewer, I want spectacle more than (in) reality.

    2. The Meereen part was too fragmented. The story hasn’t developed well. It’s a pity that season 7 will have only 7 episoded and the Meereen battle hasn’t got appropriate timing. Just the batlle could get one, if not two episodes.

    3. I love the way they developed Ramsey throughout the seasons. They really have gone to the really end with his abuses. If the GoT theme is that the world isn’t black and white, they did an exception with Ramsey. He was really black, really bad, really horrible. No light was in him. The punishment(the moral?) was appropriate.

    4. I love the way they developed Jon throughout the seasons. He supposed to be all good, and is the closest to be as such. But as we could see from his rash decision, he lacks a thing or two to be the king/prince. So the mystery of his role continues. Brilliant.

    5. Sansa was amasing. I like how she (slowly) develops into a leader.

    6. The (light) setup for the Davos vs. Mellisandre fight was well placed. It was enough, a spark that will ignite a huge fire.

    7. Dany’s acting was poor. Too passionate, she looked like an eager teenager with dragons. Not a ruler. Not a cold blood general. Intentionally? Is she becoming mad or is just a bit of poor acting/writing?

  262. “Our fathers were evil men, all of us here. They left the World worse than they found it. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to leave the World better than we found it”

    Looks like this episode really took a big sh!t on the ‘Deanerys will become mad Queen’ theory. Lol

    Its more likely that Sansa turns out villainous at this point. Littlefinger by her side, Ramsey’s ominous ”You can’t kill me. I’m part of you now” and her smile at the sight of dogs ripping a person to pieces.

  263. I have spent literally hours reading comments, mostly about Sansa’s motivations, and have to say that everyone is missing a very logical explanation for the way that Sansa’s story played out:

    1) Sansa does not trust Littlefinger, knows that there will be strings attached if he helps, and knows that she is the one who will pay most of the price for his help.

    2) If Sansa had immediately told Jon about Littlefinger’s offer after her meeting with Littlefinger at Mole’s Town, then Jon and everyone else would have demanded that she deal with Littlefinger and get help. (This is the key point that people seem to be missing.)

    3) Sansa believed, naively, that the other northern houses would help, so they would not need Littlefinger.

    4) When the other northern houses did not fall in line the way she expected, it was too late to be honest without admitting her initial lie.

    5) Sansa did not know for sure that Littlefinger would help after she told him to hit the road, so even if she was honest with Jon at some point then she would be criticized for throwing away one of their best chances at victory.

    So, in the final analysis I find Sansa’s character to be quite believable and well-written but seriously flawed. She misjudged the level of support from the northern houses. She initially refused help that would have saved thousands of lives, even if that help would have had a personal cost. She allowed fear of criticism for initially lying and for refusing Littlefinger’s help to prevent her from giving vital strategic information to Jon, even if that information was uncertain.

    So, Sansa isn’t perfect. Get over it. That isn’t sexist. That is what makes her or any other character interesting.

    Jon was far from perfect as he allowed emotion to put not only himself but everyone following him into a lethal trap. Instead of charging out into that field on his horse, he should have been yelling to Rickon, “zig left, zag right”. You might not like them, but folks like Roose, Tywin, and the Blackfish never would have made that mistake. They would have seen the big picture and agreed with Sansa that Rickon was a lost cause, thus giving themselves the best chance to win.

    Self-discipline is not the Starks’ best attribute, but being compassionate and well-meaning does buy a certain amount of plot armor.

  264. Ser Gerold Dayne,

    I know it is completely stupid [ spoiler ] – because even if GRRM mentioned ” a big twist” in TWOW about a character dead in the show but not in the books and that could correspond, what would be the use of bringing him back (well, maybe a new claim to the throne with Gendry back ?) – it looks very much like Stannis, no ? [ / spoiler]

  265. ghost of winterfell,

    They were outnumbered over 2 to 1 without a stronghold behind them like Ramsay’s men had. There was nothing Jon was going to do at that point to prevent the deaths of his men, so charging in changed nothing. It was already stated that it was a suicide mission more than once. Even the world’s greatest military minds couldn’t have fought against such odds. If you want to blame anyone for the deaths of the Northmen, blame Sansa for withholding valuable information when it was most crucial.

  266. Markus Stark,

    I think you’ll find flaws in most stories. The first one I noticed with this story was in episode one of Season One: Will ending up hundreds of miles south of the wall without a horse, having escaped being on his knees in front of a WW. That one was the biggest stretch of imagination lol.

    Another was Jaime not dying of infection when he’d spent so much time rolling around in mud and filth with a freshly severed hand.

    So I don’t think inconsistencies or flaws in the plot are new. It’s a shame if it spoils it for some people but it doesn’t for me. It’s just minor detail overshadowed by all that is great about the show.

  267. I really love how full-rational, master tactician and, especially, emotionless some people are ’round here. So, you see your little brother running to you, with the f-cking Ramsay Bolton shooting arrows at him, clearly going to kill the boy, and all you -master commanders and all-rational people- would do is just sit on your horse and watch the boy run and run just to be full pierced by Bolton. Lovely. Damn Jon, why are you that human? Just watch the macabre show and let your brother die! Really, for fck shake…

  268. Cock Merchant,

    The horses that ‘fall over’ are trained to do so-if you watch, they all do it in the same way. It’s probably the preferred method b/c it should have the least amount of possibility for injury.
    Peta tried a publicity-seeking thing a few years back, claiming that the GoT producers were killing animals on set, but that was pretty quickly disproved. (Back in the bad old days of filmaking directors would use a tripwire to make horses fall-usually at a gallop. That DID kill several animals and a couple of stuntmen were at least badly hurt if not killed as well.

  269. I loved everything about Jon in this episode. Maybe it was not the smartest choice but we all know that running to save his brother was something Jon would do. He’s a Stark, he’s not pragmatic or calculating, he can’t suppress his emotions, he can’t keep a cool head when his brother is about to die. He couldn’t save Ned, nor Robb, he has to save Rickon… The battle was too personal for him and Ramsey used that against him. So Jon made a mistake as a commander, But Jon did what Jon would have done.

    Kit Harington was amazing! Every emotion, every look, every word was precise.

  270. carbonUnit,

    Katelyn,

    Katelyn:
    Steel_Wind,
    Steel_Wind, did he have an option at that point? He was in the middle of the battle field on foot. If he had started running back, or just stood there, he would have been killed by archers. To me he had a moment where he realized how Ramsay had just played him, realized he had fallen into it and now his army would be forced to go forward instead of waiting for Ramsay’s army to charge at them like they had planned. The mistake was done, it was too late, the only way forward from there was literally forward.

    ^ Yes.. THIS… so much this!

  271. Halfman,

    This drives me nuts. Its fantasy! People are OK with people returning from the dead but get the time lines out of sync and everyone goes nuts.

  272. I still have problems trusting Sansa, dont like that she didnt tell Jon beforhand what she i up too…

    And where was Ghost? They used so much cgi in that episode, they could have at least shown him fighting something…

  273. Homplomplomo: Or, do they? ; )

    What does GRRM mean by “bittersweet”?

    Most likely he means that some protagonists will die.Personally I don’t see the ending bittersweet for me,if a character like Dany or Tyrion or Arya dies it doesn’t really do much for me.Some of them escaped certain death so many times(books and show) I might even be relieved of them passing.

  274. Homplomplomo: Or, do they? ; )

    What does GRRM mean by “bittersweet”?

    Good guys winning, but some of the main characters people root for sacrifying themselfes. Or bad guys winning, but main characters people root for living elsewhere.

    This thread is possibly the most depressing I’ve ever read. People complaining that an episode on what may be a 80 per cent mark of the story not completing the story, because there are not enough deaths. I have no words.

  275. Halfman,

    I wouldn’t call the points I raised “minor” exactly, I think how Littlefinger managed this intervention is fairly important, but I am genuinely happy that most people look past these flaws and still enjoy the show. All I want is for the show to thrive.

    It doesn’t necessarily spoil it for me, thankfully, but it does lessen my immersion in the story. The inconsistencies with Arya’s plot last week definitely ruined those scenes for me, and sort of tainted the whole episode, but that was a fairly exceptional case.

    My issues with the writing in this episode don’t detract from the things I loved about it.
    I wouldn’t put this week’s episode in my personal favorites, because of some of those issues I have with the writing and characterization, but so much of the episode is masterful, and I don’t want to let my enjoyment of those parts be affected by what I didn’t like.

    “Hardhome” was pretty much a perfect episode for me, and this one wasn’t, but at the end of the day there is no doubt in my mind that it’s a phenomenal achievement for the show and for TV in general, and I couldn’t be more thrilled at the prospect of what this success will bring the show in the future.

    I only wish I could enjoy the writing as much as the spectacle.

  276. I’m seeing Five Queens in Westeros…

    Queen Sansa of the North
    Queen Yara of the Irons
    Queen Whoevs in Dorne
    Queen Danaerys (or Cersei?) in KL
    Queen Margaery (or Gilly?) of the Reach

    Otherwise yes this AMAZING battle was stylistically like Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers (which ive got on DVD and think i will rewatch soon)

  277. The Winter of Bastardfell:
    I have spent literally hours reading comments, mostly about Sansa’s motivations, and have to say that everyone is missing a very logical explanation for the way that Sansa’s story played out:

    1) Sansa does not trust Littlefinger, knows that there will be strings attached if he helps, and knows that she is the one who will pay most of the price for his help.

    2) If Sansa had immediately told Jon about Littlefinger’s offer after her meeting with Littlefinger at Mole’s Town, then Jon and everyone else would have demanded that she deal with Littlefinger and get help.(This is the key point that people seem to be missing.)

    3) Sansa believed, naively, that the other northern houses would help, so they would not need Littlefinger.

    4) When the other northern houses did not fall in line the way she expected, it was too late to be honest without admitting her initial lie.

    5) Sansa did not know for sure that Littlefinger would help after she told him to hit the road, so even if she was honest with Jon at some point then she would be criticized for throwing away one of their best chances at victory.

    So, in the final analysis I find Sansa’s character to be quite believable and well-written but seriously flawed.She misjudged the level of support from the northern houses.She initially refused help that would have saved thousands of lives, even if that help would have had a personal cost.She allowed fear of criticism for initially lying and for refusing Littlefinger’s help to prevent her from giving vital strategic information to Jon, even if that information was uncertain.

    So, Sansa isn’t perfect.Get over it.That isn’t sexist.That is what makes her or any other character interesting.

    Jon was far from perfect as he allowed emotion to put not only himself but everyone following him into a lethal trap.Instead of charging out into that field on his horse, he should have been yelling to Rickon, “zig left, zag right”.You might not like them, but folks like Roose, Tywin, and the Blackfish never would have made that mistake.They would have seen the big picture and agreed with Sansa that Rickon was a lost cause, thus giving themselves the best chance to win.

    Self-discipline is not the Starks’ best attribute, but being compassionate and well-meaning does buy a certain amount of plot armor.

    So Sansa first tried to win in a way that wouldn’t cost her anything (putting her allies at risk in doing so), then when that failed, offered to pay whatever LF’s price is (her hand?) but refused to tell anyone, resulting in a lot of needless deaths. Hmmm…count me underwhelmed by her thinking there.

    Jon may have done something dumb, but it is a kind of dumb that I find realistic and don’t mind when it is used to drive a plot. Most people would do some dumb things to save their younger sibling from death, and I’d question the humanity of one who did not. In any case, Jon’s choice had little impact – it was a trap for him and he survived it. The subsequent battle was going to be a slaughterhouse either way.

  278. Wolfish hearts,

    Jon not going after Rickon would have attracted the rage of fans everywhere. It would have been character assassination. Not to mention he would have lost the respect of his men. There really was no way for Jon to win here, but people won’t see it and just say he’s an idiot for trying to save his brother. I wonder what they would have done when faced with that situation.

  279. So D&D ran out of ASOIAF books so they just decided to steal the end of the Two Towers battle? This episode was alright. The most action packed of the season for sure. It’s just gotten so predictable. Little finger saving the day and Cersi burning down the Sept/kings landing have been telegraphed so hard. Sansa doesn’t tell Jon about LFs calvary and potentially sends thousands to their deaths by not giving the military planners all the info. But that has been a theme of this show for the last two seasons. Characters doing stupid out of character things in order to make some plot point that D&D think is “cool” happen.

    I think big budget and fame have turned the show into something that is more about fantasy spectical than characters and it’s a shame. Fortunately someone who I know will put characters first is currently very close to finishing his next book “The winds of winter”

  280. Really enjoyed this episode. This may have been mentioned already, but wasn’t there supposed to be a scene of ‘high tension’ in Winterfell with Ramsay, Littlefinger, Sansa and Jon, that was interrupted by a giant? It sounds like that scene was rather misinterpreted by whoever reported it.

  281. Chad Brick,

    Well the English longbowmen of medieval times could hit a moving target from 240yards.. and Ramsay had been a bowman since early age. He could easily of taken out Rickon.. he deliberately missed until Jon Snow had been isolated.

    I think Bronn’s incredible shot from Blackwater was more unrealistic.. we never saw with a bow before or since.. but he hit the wildfire trail from a long way away.. at least they set up Ramsay being a skilled bowman from earlier seasons.

  282. ThisGirlHasNoName,
    Beautifully said. For me, his “post-rebirth-depression” is raw and real. It speaks to his humanity.

    Tyrion Pimpslap,
    I think that Jon has always made mistakes. That’s part of the appeal of his character.

    Ser Not Appearing in this Series,
    Yes, surely they will. The threat has to be presented to the rest of the Northern lords as it was to Lyanna Mormont.

    Overall, I loved it. Some of it was predictable – Rickon’s death, arrival of the Vale – but that didn’t lessen enjoyment of it. The presentation was beautiful and it contained truly memorable moments. I can’t complain about an episode that ends with Davos and Tormund still alive, Ramsay dead and the Starks back home in WF.

  283. This was a great episode. Some of the best battle scenes I’ve seen, in a movie or on tv. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the battle in Meereen. Seeing Drogon with his 2 sibling was a nice touch and Tyrion finally has some great dialogue in his scenes with Dany. The show has been teasing that blood is blood and Dany could go the way of the mad king. But hopefully with Tyrion and co by her side to counsel her, Dany will be more like Rhaegar.

    Yeah Jon did some stupid shite but he just saw his youngest brother die. He doesn’t know if Bran is still alive or Arya. He’s lost his entire family and was just murdered a week ago or so. He acted emotionally as anyone would have in that situation. I think the relationship between him and Sansa is realistic, even though it is really frustrating for viewers. Even though they are siblings they don’t really know each other and were never close at Winterfell. She should have trusted him, he should have listened to her etc. Let’s see how it plays out in the finale.

    I do hope LF get his; he orchestrated this whole damn thing back in season 1 and I’m not sure either Jon, Sansa or anyone else knows the truth. Once he killed Lysa, there was no one else that could betray his secrets, other than Varys maybe?

    This was a great episode and I think the finale will be as good this time around.

  284. Talvivaara: Good guys winning, but some of the main characters people root for sacrifying themselfes. Or bad guys winning, but main characters people root for living elsewhere.

    This thread is possibly the most depressing I’ve ever read. People complaining that an episode on what may be a 80 per cent mark of the story not completing the story, because there are not enough deaths. I have no words.

    Or maybe it’s a world that is changed beyond all recognition, in the process of being saved?

    This place can be pretty negative. I don’t normally read it nearly as much as I used to, partly because of that. Basically, whatever happens in the show, someone will have a reason to complain about it.

    Yet, somehow I got dragged into the conversation today, and this time I am part of the complaining party. LOL.

  285. LatrineDiggerBrian:
    dothrakian raven,

    But most people (millennials) don’t really care about storytelling, they care about not being made to feel bad and the characters they’re rooting for succeeding.

    This story was written by a Baby Boomer and developed for Television by two Gen X guys. So, I don’t think this caters for a particular demographic, like those summer block busters do. Television is immensely more diverse, in that.

  286. Markus Stark,

    Yes I’d agree, the Ayra flaw wasn’t exactly minor. I felt that was stretching things too far as well. However, I don’t find a lot of the issues some fans have are an issue for me. That’s not to say they aren’t without cause though. I hope you continue to enjoy for the most part 🙂

  287. Wolfish hearts,
    Kit Harington was amazing!

    I continue to be impressed with Kit’s acting and here he threw it right out of the park! I truly don’t remember an actor ever making me feel as emotionally invested as he has.

  288. — What were all those people who were being slaughtered by the Sons of the Harpy even doing outside the walls of Meereen? Flea market?

    — Nice to see the Imp get a serious scene for once. I guess they forgot Dinklage won all the awards in the world last year. Now, let the dragon riding lessons commence!

    — The real winner of the Battle of the Bastards? Samwell Tarly, for having the good fortune of not being there.

    — You know nothing about anger management, Jon Snow.

  289. dragonbringer,

    “Who else noticed the snow owl ( raven ) flying over winter fell announcement of Winter finally arriving ..”

    White Raven! Yes, yes! Winter has come. … according to the Citadel. It’s official.

    (Was kinda hoping this was a gyrfalcon, but that bird was very definitely dark grey.)

  290. FlyingMonkeySoup,

    …and maybe if that happens Arya will show up with needle and a call back to her father’s prophetic words about not hurting her sister with it will go unheeded.

  291. ghost of winterfell,

    I agree. The argument that he has a lot to learn and has never commanded an army doesn’t hold water to me. Even in the TV Series, Jon has been portrayed as a leader with exceptional talent. A few examples:

    – Mentoring and gaining the respect of the fellow new recruits at The Wall
    – His willingness to go toe to toe with Mance and enter the Wildling camp
    – His leadership qualities were on full display against Ser Alliser and he gained command.

    It would have made a little bit more sense for Jon to pick up Rickon’s body and turn around. Ramsay then gets angry that his prey did not take the bait and begins the attack. Jon executes his plan but despite some initial wins, the tide turns due to Ramsay’s superior numbers. Queue the entry of LF.

    While this episode should be lauded for it’s technical and cinematic excellence, the weak character arc writing and plot construction continues to undermine this series a bit. The Meereen scenes were technically excellent and breathtaking but logically absurd. If three dragons were enough to stop the siege, why would the masters attack and also deride Daenerys to take her dragons home? The masters did not consider them a threat so why cave at the start of the counterattack?

    A more sensible approach could have been taken early in the season. After Tyrion unchains them, have one of the guards by the dragon tomb be a sons of the harpy spy. They then sneak in another night and kill a few unsullied (the place cannot be that well guarded after the recent battle) and open the tomb. The two dragons get away. They just need to have a dragon cry out while Tyrion is having one of those awkward drinking conversations with Missandei and then they look out and see them flying away. The masters’ attack in the final scene would now make more sense. The other two dragons could still return for the end as it could be stated that Drogon has simply found them. The masters could then surrender as one dragon is trouble but three would lead them to defeat in their view. Is it so hard for the show producers to line their ducks in a row a bit better ?

  292. Ser Gerold Dayne,

    Thank you now you mention it I see him ..

    ghost of winterfell,

    Seems like that’s actually far better theory than jon rising from a pyre and suddenly everyone of them following him and wargs drogon makes him eat dany and then gets all the dothraki and march to heart of winter and kill Nk ..( its an actual theory in westeros).

    Did I say that is the only purpose of him…

    I asked in luka thread last year when everyone was calling for him rising from a pyre like dany did ..

    1) what difference it makes after he comes back how will that impact the world or increase their chances against WW ..

    The position will be same as that of in the Hardhome ..if NK crosses the Wall they don’t have a chance ..

    There is a reason why the need for dragons have been hit over the head at north in ADWD..

    And hence i said that resurrection won’t be like that at all but will be personal for him …and it’s actually how it has happened..

    You tell me ??
    If ice and fire means starks and targs
    How does it end up as NK and dany
    Instead of Bran and Dany

  293. Currently its the highest rated episode ever on IMDB with perfect 10/10 and 15,000 votes.

    I thought it wont be that highly rated after reading some of the comments here.

  294. Homplomplomo:

    I didn’t get obsessed over Got and ASOIAF, because it delivers familiar predictable Hollywood blockbuster dramaturgy, but because [GOT] often subverts familiar tropes, offers fleshed out characters with some grey area in them and adds a layer of political intrigue to its high fantasy setting I learned to love as a kid. I find that as the show is approaching its end, and the good guys do win, it is losing some of its unpredictability and becoming more ‘Hollywood’.

    I think it’s less about good vs bad guys and more about the means used achieve to an end. It’s about what those means say about the person, especially if that person is someone we root for or if we can understand their motivations. GOT consistently subverts the narrative that justice, honour, mercy, etc will win the day. What makes traditional baddies bad? They do bad things: they act without honour, are without mercy. GOT (realistically) asks if honour and mercy, etc, are enough to win battles and shows us when they aren’t. After losing enough battles and loved ones due to operating honourably, it’s only natural that the “good guys” approach things differently. It’s not “Hollywood” for them to win once they’ve learned this very bloody, very devastating lesson.

    Jon, Sansa, etc, may abide by value systems we consider “good” but they haven’t survived this long without backhanded dealings and dishonourable moments. Sansa married into the Boltons. Jon killed Qhorin Halfhand. They’re not stainless. Does this make them less “good”? At what point do they become, say, a Jaime Lannister? I find that very compelling. There’s no telling what they’ll do to continue to survive and hold onto the North.

  295. Old Nan’s Pie,

    Old Nan’s Pie: However Sansa’s plotline was filled with holes…Her whole refusal to accept the Vale army, playing passive aggressive with LF n then finally begging him in return for some pussy was shoddy writing.

    Totally disagree. Sansa’s actions totally made sense. She never played “passive aggressive” with LF, instead she let him know what LF had done to her in marrying her to Ramsay. She wasn’t sure if LF knew what he was doing, and would have likely had Brienne kill him if she thought he knew. Instead, she made it clear that she wanted him out of her life, Vale army and all, which is pretty much what I expect EVERYONE in that situation would do.

    Later, when it became apparent that they lacked the forces needed to retake Winterfell, she began to think twice about LF’s offer. She couldn’t tell Jon about it because she knew she’d look foolish for turning it down, and he wouldn’t be able to understand.

    Apparently, she was right, because it seems like a lot of people failed to understand.

    However, I wouldn’t call it a “plot hole” just because you lack sufficient empathy for one of the show’s most long-suffering characters.

  296. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    I suggest you finally stopped bitching about every little detail just because it doesn’t fit your expectations. It gets really tiring. I wish you could provide solid critisism for once.
    The episode was at LotR levels of excellence. If you can’t see that maybe you should stop watching the show. You obviously don’t like it anymore.

  297. Steve Snow,

    Yany??

    Ben,

    Yes, that was always possible, but it would have been nice to see him execute the plan that he had made, rather than falling straight into Ramsay’s trap. It wouldn’t have mattered so much if they lost, after having tried their best. Yes, his reaction,to try and save his brother was perfectly understandable, but he as the military commander should know that the fate of his entire army depends on him.

  298. Atish Vaze,

    Echo chamber. Fully expect this episode to be one of the highest rated episode ever and to be praised as one of the best episodes in GOT history.
    I’m sure it will win the Emmy.
    It’s really tied for Best episode with Hardhome, for me.

  299. Shaz,

    Reviews are good but only average for this season. If you take the aggregated scores by episode (on Rotten Tomatoes), it’s 92 score is behind episode 3 and 4 (100), episode 7 (98), episode 3 (96) and tying with episode 1. Making it only ahead of 2, 6 and 8.

  300. Cock Merchant,

    Watch the inside the episode videos on YouTube. They are really informative and make you respect and admire the work behind the cameras ten times more.

  301. LordDavos,

    The cost was always going to be huge. But the outcome will outweigh the cost. Probably a scene or two about officially uniting the north in the next episode. Can’t wait!

  302. Chad Brick,

    I dunno… I’ve seen some truly AMAZING shooting with medieval equipment… including moving targets. (Not panicked, human targets mind you, but targets moving through the air, on water, etc. )

    Was Alpo Bolton that great a shot? Unknown. .. it’s a work of fiction; but I have seen Archers (not trained from childhood) do some truly fantastic shooting. Just saying.

  303. ygritte:

    I continue to be impressed with Kit’s acting and here he threw it right out of the park! I truly don’t remember an actor ever making me feel as emotionally invested as he has.

    Absolutely agree. The way he operates is so understated, yet so effective and moving. He had us right along with him every step of the way.

  304. ygritte:
    Wolfish hearts,
    Kit Harington was amazing!

    I continue to be impressed with Kit’s acting and here he threw it right out of the park! I truly don’t remember an actor ever making me feel as emotionally invested as he has.

    He was SUPERB!!! Compelling, convincing, and boy did he give it his all. Bravo Kit ???
    A very human hero too. Marvellous!! ???

  305. — During the parlay scene, I was really hoping Tormund would just throw a knife into Ramsay’s face and end him then and there.

    — Face it, Team Snow, when it comes to strategy and tactics against superior forces, you leave a lot to be desired suck big time.

  306. Sacred Lime:
    Chad Brick,

    Well the English longbowmen of medieval times could hit a moving target from 240yards.. and Ramsay had been a bowman since early age. He could easily of taken out Rickon.. he deliberately missed until Jon Snow had been isolated.

    I think Bronn’s incredible shot from Blackwater was more unrealistic.. we never saw with a bow before or since.. but he hit the wildfire trail from a long way away.. at least they set up Ramsay being a skilled bowman from earlier seasons.

    While there is quibbling about it, most skilled hunters will not shoot a bow a live animal beyond fifty yards, and even that with ideal conditions (no wind, still target, modern equipment). Sure, medieval bows could shoot 240 yards, but trying to guess where your target would be in five seconds, how the air was swirling at 30 yard elevations, and knowing every subtle defect in your hand-crafted arrows make it nothing but a guessing game.

  307. Rhaenys Stark,

    I hate LOTR, i love ASOIAF.
    If you can’t see that this episode is a lot more LOTR than GoT and can’t understand that there is a huge difference between these two stories, hence fans of one may not be fans of the other, i don’t see what explanations or criticisms you would accept.
    GoT is supposed to be subtle (at least in the morality department), to subvert tropes and expectations usually associated (and used to dismiss) the old school Fantasy genre.
    This episode did exactly the opposite, no subtlety and 40 minutes of cliches piled one atop the other to obtain the only result everyone knew would happen.

  308. mau,

    I completely agree with this.
    SO many people I have spoken to haven’t caught on to what Cersei is planning. Its going to shock so so many people if she does that.

    But when you hang out here, you will read so much everything becomes “predictable.”

  309. Isabelle,

    With the madness that was happening, I wouldn’t be suprised if just died.

    But it is, a small one though, open thread, they may do with this whatever they desire.
    Don’t need him anymore? He died.
    Need him next episode/season? He ran.

  310. Steve Snow,

    Danyara ?

    LL of Darkwater,

    Yeah thanks but I like hedwig so let it be snowy owl..

    BranTheBlessed,

    But but she is wearing a black now…that’s a sign of her turning dark LOL.

    Yes not only that but D&D have said she is not her father she is not insane she is not sadist but a targaryen who can be ruthless..

    But I came to learn this in a sad way that this notion will never be buried ..

  311. Little_Birds,

    The only trope GOT/ASOIAF broke was Ned. And even this one I wouldn’t truly call ”trope” breaking.

    It relies on ”tropes” and ”cliches” just as much as other stories. Martin forshadowed the RW strongly. If anything the show did a batter job by making Robb a bigger character.

    This entire idea that ASOIAF/GOT breaks all ”tropes” is simply not true. They never did, they never will.

  312. Little_Birds:
    Rhaenys Stark,

    I hate LOTR, i love ASOIAF.
    If you can’t see that this episode is a lot more LOTR than GoT and can’t understand that there is a huge difference between these two stories, hence fans of one may not be fans of the other, i don’t see what explanations or criticisms you would accept.
    GoT is supposed to be subtle (at least in the morality department), to subvert tropes and expectations usually associated (and used to dismiss) the old school Fantasy genre.
    This episode did exactly the opposite, no subtlety and 40 minutes of cliches piled one atop the other to obtain the only result everyone knew would happen.

    Okay.

  313. Isabelle: I think it’s less about good vs bad guys and more about the means used achieve to an end. It’s about what those means say about the person, especially if that person is someone we root for or if we can understand their motivations. GOT consistently subverts the narrative that justice, honour, mercy, etc will win the day. What makes traditional baddies bad? They do bad things: they act without honour, are without mercy. GOT (realistically) asks if honour and mercy, etc, are enough to win battles and shows us when they aren’t. After losing enough battles and loved ones due to operating honourably, it’s only natural that the “good guys” approach things differently. It’s not “Hollywood” for them to win once they’ve learned this very bloody, very devastating lesson.

    Jon, Sansa, etc, may abide by value systems we consider “good” but they haven’t survived this long without backhanded dealings and dishonourable moments. Sansa married into the Boltons. Jon killed Qhorin Halfhand. They’re not stainless. Does this make them less “good”? At what point do they become, say, a Jaime Lannister? I find that very compelling. There’s no telling what they’ll do to continue to survive and hold onto the North.

    You make some good points about ambiguity in the show which I also find compelling.

    At the same time, your answer was kind of beside the point why I found the dramaturgy of Rickon’s death a bit too ‘Hollywood’ for my liking.

  314. Catspaw Assassin:
    Note to Rickon: next time try zigzagging.

    (Too soon?)

    To be fair that was my thought too, especially after the first arrow landed. Then again Ramsay could just have instructed his all archers to fire, since he is hardly a man of honour.

    Starting to think hat Jon is indeed protected by R’Hllor and Arya by the Many Faced God for some greater purpose…

  315. OMG…nothing else to say. IMO, a truly epic episode of television. I watched Jon pushing his horse forward to save his little brother with his hand outstretched to grab him as Rickon runs forward, knowing Ramsay was playing with him and that he wouldn’t miss, but it was a “breath holding” moment. I so wanted Jon to reach him, knowing he wouldn’t. We got the expected reaction from Jon when the arrow pierced Rickon’s chest. EVERYTHING was brilliant! The last, and IMO, the most epic of the 9’s.

  316. ArgonathofBraavos,

    Who cares if his opinion is “boring” to you ? Just ignore him then. Why should his personal views bother you ? If you loved it then that’s awesome.

    But those who didn’t should be allowed to say so.
    This is a place for discussion. It’s also “boring” to see certain people proclaim the episode is perfect over and over and over while insulting anyone who disagrees.

  317. One question : In episodes 3 and 5, Mel started calling Jon the prince that was promised. In the last episode, she was wondering if his only purpose for coming back was fighting this battle. What gives? Doesn’t she think he is tptwp anymore?

  318. Rhaenys Stark,

    Hmm with all, except Maisie I think we are about done with Arya, it will depend on EP10.

    Agree though, Lena and Sophie are by far the favourites. I think if she has a strong finale, which I don’t doubt, Lena would do better.
    Can’t really imagine Sophie having anything big in the finale, hopefully I am wrong though!

  319. Mihnea:
    Little_Birds,

    The only trope GOT/ASOIAF broke was Ned. And even this one I wouldn’t truly call ”trope” breaking.

    I think another one was Viserys. When I started reading the first book, I assumed Ned was going to be the main protagonist and Viserys the main antagonist. Yet, the storyline turned out to be about his inability to integrate with the Dothrakis, whereas Dany succeeded much better.

  320. ghost of winterfell,

    I think she just doesn’t want to push the notion too Jon. Look how that turned out with Stannis.

    She thinks he is TPTWP, if she is right and he is, there is no need for him to know or for her to push him. He will do the right thing, the Lord of Light will see to it.

  321. Rhaenys Stark,

    Rhaenys Stark:
    Cock Merchant,

    Watch the inside the episode videos on YouTube. They are really informative and make you respect and admire the work behind the cameras ten times more.

    Here’s the link to the Anatomy of Scene. They talk specifically about the horse work starting at 2:25. It was not all CGI.

    I agree that these help you appreciate the work put in and understand why it takes a year for 10 episodes – 10 hrs of Kit beating on Iwan!!

  322. Chelsea75,

    Hate to say this Chelsea, but obviously you’ve never felt the kind of rage that can ensue when someone you love is hurt or threatened. I thought his reaction when he was so close to reaching Rickon was spot on…At some point enough is enough and all you see is the rage burning in front of your eyes…just my opinion. I know people who have reacted in war with that same rage, I’ve heard the stories.
    I have to agree with you on Sansa. I know she probably suffers from PTSD, but her attitude is a bit grating.

  323. Dee Stark,

    This is my favourite part.

    Some are unable to judge if they liked something or not, without knowing whatever it is different from the books or not first.

  324. Homplomplomo,

    Here is the full quote of GRRM.

    I haven’t written the ending yet, so I don’t know, but no. That’s certainly not my intent. I’ve said before that the tone of the ending that I’m going for is bittersweet. I mean, it’s no secret that Tolkien has been a huge influence on me, and I love the way he ended Lord of the Rings. It ends with victory, but it’s a bittersweet victory. Frodo is never whole again, and he goes away to the Undying Lands, and the other people live their lives. And the scouring of the Shire—brilliant piece of work, which I didn’t understand when I was 13 years old: “Why is this here? The story’s over?” But every time I read it I understand the brilliance of that segment more and more. All I can say is that’s the kind of tone I will be aiming for. Whether I achieve it or not, that will be up to people like you and my readers to judge.

    So as you can see bittersweet does not mean all good guys lose..

    They will win but never really be the same …take jon and dany and bran after everything is said and done and the lives of their closest had died or suffered they would have affected by that for the rest of the life .

  325. Boudica,

    If that was my brother, I would sure as hell rush out to save him no matter how many times I was stabbed and brought back to life lol. RICKON Is the reason that Jon even accepted going through with this.

    I loved it <3

  326. Mihnea,

    I agree! If you have seen the preview, there is a scene

    where Sansa and Littlefinger talk in the Godswood.

    Sophie could shine in this, as she did in their scene in Mole’s Town. Anyway, all of our GoT ladies deserve it. It’s about time the female acting in this show be recognised.

  327. Cock Merchant:
    Does anyone besides me worry about the horses? Is all that cgi or whatever? It just looks so brutal, it freaks me out. I’m not complaining, just curious.

    As a horse owner and lover although mentally I was fully aware that the horses weren’t really being hurt I kept looking away from the screen. It’s too hard to take…

  328. ghost of winterfell,

    Well she does think that he is the ptwp but after the whole deal with stannis she second guesses herself now.She does tell him that she will try to bring him back again but it all depends on the lord of light.She feels that she doesn’t know anything anymore cause she fucked things up so badly the first time.But after the battle with the bolton banners striked down she realizes that her visions were right after all and for the lord of light it’s always been jon she just had trouble interpreting it.You could see it in her face

  329. Rhaenys Stark,

    I suggest you ignore my comments if they really bother you so much. I’ve given positive reviews on episodes this season and I’ve given negative reviews. It’s been a mixed bag for me. We have differing opinions – get over it, my goodness.

  330. Man, I wonder what are they gonna do with that Glover who refused to help them.

  331. I promise I’ll behave in this thread. Outside forces have been influencing the level of salt in me this weekend.

    I don’t know much about battles (you know you read that in Davos’ voice). I’ve never been trained in any sort of military anything, so I’m not well-versed on the subject. I’ve seen plenty of the “horrors of war” movies, Band of Brothers and the like, but never rewatched or analyzed any of the crazy sequences. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to rewatch some of it again, if I’m honest. No wonder Jaime wanted to end the siege at Riverrun without bloodshed.

    When Jon was being smushed and crushed under the literal sea of writhing, bloody, still-trying-to-fight bodies, my anxiety spiked higher than it ever has watching the show the first time through. I was scared for Tormund but I’m glad he’s so damn tough!

    The visual overhead of Ramsay’s shield guys horseshoeing around the wildings, the literal wall of bodies produced, the shots of spurting blood and entrails and ragged limbs, it was almost too much to watch, in a good way. And the horses were scaring me (though someone kindly explained how they train and CGI the horses in the open chat, good stuff to know!)

    Rickon: Sad, but like others have said, I’m not emotionally as invested in his character as much as Davos or Tormund (or even Wun Wun, RIP). Does this make me a terrible person? IDK. It was still very sad. Moving on.

    Ramsay’s death couldn’t have been better. I’m glad Sansa was present but that the dogs did the dirty work. I don’t care if it was foreshadowed umpteen times in the season already; it was so satisfying, I wanted a cigarette after. I’d love to see the man who hurt me be shredded by his own animals.

    Just give Miguel the Emmy now.

  332. ghost of winterfell,

    Truly depends on next week for though.

    Agree with you about Sophie.

    But if what we speculate will happen and Lena will have a big scene she could easly top Sophie. I need to wait for next episode but honestly I would be extremely happy with either one of them.

  333. Homplomplomo,

    I think the show just lost me as a viewer, for all the reasons you mentioned. Its just jumped the shark and now the writing seems to be catering to the lowest common denominator. The battle, while a wonderful spectacle in the Hollywood sense, was banal and completely predictable. Forgetting about Jon losing it on the field and allowing his men to be flanked like that for a moment, its the Umber’s that really killed it for me. It was so black and white. Small Jon was just a douche and had absolutely no nuance about him. What a waste.

    No Manderly speech, no Hugo Wull, no intrigue, no twists, just a straight up route of Jon’s forces and a helms deep style plot armor save at the last minute. Sad and predictable. It feels like its written for the avengers crowd. While movies like that are great spectacles, they’re certainly not nuanced drama and lack any really plot twists and turns, just straight up Hollywood nonsense made for easy viewing.

    I was really hoping that this season would make up for the terrible writing of the last, but it seems the trend of catering to the unwashed masses is continuing and getting worse. What military leader would run his unarmored men right in to a phalanx, and then let the unbroken formation trap them on their left and right flanks? It was so stupid I half expected Gerard Butler to break the line and yell “This is Sparta!” I still have a small hope that D&D will stop catering to the non book reading fans and start writing like they did when the show started, but I’m not exactly holding my breath as it seems that without the source material, D&D lack either the creativity or courage to bring it all home in a way that will satisfy both fan sets.

  334. Wolfman27,

    Mel also said Stannis was the Prince who was Promised. Just cause Mel told Arya they would meet again doesn’t mean it will happen! Ned said the same thing to Jon back in season 1. Going to be interesting how that will playout with Mel and Davos.

  335. Rhaenys Stark,

    And Emilia ..

    Homplomplomo,

    I don’t know how you came to the conclusion at all…
    From the very first chapter it has been clear that he is not fit to lead anything and how much dany is different from him ..

  336. Mihnea:
    Little_Birds,

    The only trope GOT/ASOIAF broke was Ned. And even this one I wouldn’t truly call ”trope” breaking.

    It relies on ”tropes” and ”cliches” just as much as other stories. Martin forshadowed the RW strongly. If anything the show did a batter job by making Robb a bigger character.

    This entire idea that ASOIAF/GOT breaks all ”tropes” is simply not true. They never did, they never will.

    You misunderstand how many tropes he is attacking: he introduces protagonists midstream (then on occasion kills them off pretty quickly like Quentyn), sidelines others because that’s what organically fits in the story (Sansa) and most importantly directly assaults what I call the Small World trope – that everything important in the story’s universe happens around a lone or small handful of protagonists. What really sets the books apart, though, is complexity. I’ve read over a thousand books as an adult, and can’t recall one with even half as many simultaneous threads as ADWD peaked at. Some people didn’t take well to that. I found it brilliant and refreshing.

  337. I see a lot of hate on the writing of Jon’s character, while I agree he was an idiot for rushing the army alone it kept well in line with what we know of the Starks (Brendan rushing to KL in anger and calling for Rhaegars head, wtf did he think was going to happen?). Plus, he did just see Rickon die, who knows how you would react to seeing your sibling die like that?

    Anyways, no one will remember the thousands of Wildlings die – History is written by the victors. What people will remember (in Westeros) is Jon rushing alone to fight the Boltons (reminded me of the end of Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan and Vaelin rushing the army alone), the courage (or stupidity) and bravery he showed. Plus taking on Ramsay while he could just ordered the archers to shoot him and doing it in epic fashion?

    Yes, the Legend of Jon Snow grows. I loved the little moments we saw, from Davos and Tormund talking about how they both followed men who called themselves “Kings” but ultimately met their demise, to the men looking on as Jon walked towards Ramsay with nothing but a shield and took him down. Ramsay at the parlay talked about how Jon was seen throughout the North, now we have the North seeing it themselves.

    When it R+L=J does come to light, the whole of the North will be kneeling. I can see LF kneeling too with Jon being King of Westeros – he’s no longer a candidate for Lord of Witnerfell and that leaves LF (if he marries Sansa) as Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North (maybe?).

    Which is what LF has wanted since he was a little boy in love with Cat.

  338. Flayed Potatoes,
    I agree, can’t imagine Jon standing there while little Rickon runs for his life. Indeed, there was no way for Jon to win. There would’ve been less casualties if he stayed put, but as I said he’s a Stark, when almost all of his family members had been slayed and there is a chance to save presumably the last brother he has, wouldn’t Jon do it?! (he does not really know if Arya and Bran are still alive).

    ygritte,
    You can see that actor really understands the character, his way of thinking, his values and feelings. He’s always so natural as Jon. Kit’s acting made this episode even more beautiful.

  339. Che,

    Youre not in the minority my friend. Check IMDB. 10/10 and almost 20,000 which is a rarity. It usually goes down after so many votes.

  340. The way Sansa looked at Jon when she and LF came riding to the rescue reminded me more than a little of when she was a spoiled little selfish brat. And I did not like it.

    Here’s hoping I’m wrong, though it would make for good drama.

  341. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    Oh did you want surprise? Get the hell off the website that breaks more spoilers than any other website. Waaah I read all spoilers then complain when I know what is going to happen.

  342. I hated this episode but dammit I mean in the best way possible – because it was so *real*. I was expecting something more akin to Hardhome, and “happier” because I knew the Starks would win. But this? It felt like a real battle, during and after. It made me uncomfortable and angry and sad and hopeless. And then relief when Littlefinger ( of all people) shows up to save the day. Then there’s the scene with Jon being trampled – I mean it when I say I felt it. That scene was brilliant. I do wish Jon hadn’t acted the way he did – it cost lots more lives (though perhaps that was inevitable?), and makes me wonder whether he’s actually fit to lead. And I worry about whatever is going on with Sansa. But, whether I like the outcome or not, I know I’ll be blown away by where this goes.

    Amazing episode.

  343. Mihnea,

    Ned’s death is a trope. It’s the trope of the father/mentor/father figure dying. Except GURM presents it in a realistic manner. Which is what his objective is.

  344. Dee Stark,

    BUT BUT THE CRITICS!!!!!

    Fuck the critics. This was the most insane hour of television many of us have ever seen, whether or not you agree with Sansa’s scheming, Jon’s impulsive move to save his baby brother, or whatever the hell else people seem to find fault with. The battle was breathtaking in every way. I’m waiting for someone to complain about Ramsay’s death in 3…2…1…

  345. One of the most incredible episodes of the show, and it’s depressing as hell in here.

  346. Mihnea:
    Dee Stark,

    This is my favourite part.

    Some are unable to judge if they liked something or not, without knowing whatever it is different from the books or not first.

    Wrong. I have two fully formed opinions which exist in a quantum superposition until the books are published. This is because book fidelity matters to me, and I cannot judge that yet.

  347. Chad Brick,

    I wasn’t speaking about you. Honestly.

    I actually clearly know and expect you to have a strong opinion, one way or another.

    I honestly wasn’t speaking about you here.

  348. Mihnea,

    Absolutely spectacular. Amazing. I have no words.

    Dany and the 3 dragons
    Dany & Yara
    Dany looking to Tyrion for approval
    Jon, Jon, Jon, Jon.
    Sansa’s final scene with Ramsay – perfection.
    The visuals. Everything.

  349. carbonUnit: What military leader would run his unarmored men right in to a phalanx, and then let the unbroken formation trap them on their left and right flanks?

    Erm these ones? The battle referenced by the director himself? One of the worst defeats for the Roman army?

    Battle of Cannae
    Having recovered from their losses at Trebia (218 BC) and Lake Trasimene (217 BC), the Romans decided to engage Hannibal at Cannae, with roughly 86,000 Roman and allied troops. [against much smaller 45 000 strong enemy] The Romans massed their heavy infantry in a deeper formation than usual, while Hannibal utilized the double-envelopment tactic. This was so successful that the Roman army was effectively destroyed as a fighting force.

    …the Romans had ignored the African troops that stood uncommitted on the projecting ends of this now-reversed crescent. This also gave the Carthaginian cavalry time to drive the Roman cavalry off on both flanks and attack the Roman center in the rear.

    …Hannibal ordered his African infantry to turn inwards and advance against the Roman flanks, creating an encirclement in one of the earliest known examples of a pincer movement.

    When the Carthaginian cavalry attacked the Romans in the rear and the African flanking echelons assailed them on their right and left, the advance of the Roman infantry was brought to an abrupt halt. The Romans were enclosed in a pocket with no means of escape. The Carthaginians created a wall and began destroying them.

    You don’t think that any military battle ever took place without someone doing something ill considered or making a mistake?

  350. Sorry guys does anyone know what is the name of the music that plays while the dogs devour Ramsay? I think it’s the same when he raped Sansa in 5×06?

  351. LatrineDiggerBrian:
    My review:

    What I Loved:
    -Certain technical aspects of both battles were incredible

    What I Liked:

    What I Disliked:

    What I Hated:
    -Predictability: everything turned out exactly as expected
    -Dany saying she wants to reduce Slaver’s Bay to ashes?
    -The machinations of what was going on in Mereen: Tyrion, Dany just standing around while the city is being torched
    -The meeting with the masters
    -Davos: oh let me just walk around aimlessly so I can discover scant evidence that Shireen was burned
    -The Battle of Winterfell was chaotic and you lost perspective of what was going on, David Nutter or Alex Graves would’ve done better
    -The silly Rickon trap
    -More manufactured Jon / Sansa conflict which I’m sure will come to a head in the next episode
    -Conversation between Dany, Tyrion, and the Greyjoy’s
    -Greyworm cheesy killing of two masters

    This show once was special to me and could wow me with the story telling. Now it’s hard to differentiate it between any other big budget movie or show. I thought Dave and Dan would be OK without the books to follow, I was wrong.

    Don’t you have somewhere to be? I think I hear your Mother calling…..Just once it would be nice if someone didn’t have to be totally negative.

  352. Lyanna_Targaryen:
    Dee Stark,

    BUT BUT THE CRITICS!!!!!

    Fuck the critics. This was the most insane hour of television many of us have ever seen, whether or not you agree with Sansa’s scheming, Jon’s impulsive move to save his baby brother, or whatever the hell else people seem to find fault with. The battle was breathtaking in every way. I’m waiting for someone to complain about Ramsay’s death in 3…2…1…

    Yep was fantastic

    All the Sansa stuff is part of a longer season long arc which won’t be definitively answered until next season, why? Probably something to do with the showrunners hedging their bets so it’s been designed to go either way IMO tog ive them flexibility

    Like with many things it’s a case of “wait and see”

  353. Stargaryen,

    <3 <3 <3

    "Even if I hadn't sought out and seen every single possible filming spoiler leak, I STILL SAW IT COMING!"

    Because you have the luxury of having seen probably dozens of movies with huge battle sequences. Because you know about the histories of wars on our planet. You know who did not have that info? The people involved in this battle.

    Just because you know it, doesn't mean everyone else does.

    I've given up all hope at this point for some people to be remotely happy with anything D&D do. Do your thing, bbs.

  354. Mihnea,

    Nope, in fact Ned is a typical Fantasy/Sci-Fi Trope : he’s Obi-Wan and he’s a setup for the true trope being subverted :
    Robb : the good son trying to avenge his father and protect his legacy.
    Let’s see off the top of my head what other tropes it deconstructed :
    – Honor will win the day.
    – Love marriages end better than arranged ones.
    – Always follow prophecies (or prophecies are always right).
    – Being altruistic and taking the time to save people will get rewarded (Dany still in Meeren).
    – Chivalry means respecting ones vows.
    – Positive emotions (love, friendship, equality, respect etc…) should be more effective than negative ones (Fear, Greed, Jealousy) to obtain power (the anti-Machiavelli trope, used in nearly every fantasy setting).
    And that’s only the general ones, if you want to nitpick, some already have :
    GoT Tropes

  355. Mihnea,

    Ah, I thought I saw two that were being salty. Either way, critics of this episode, paid or unpaid, are going to be in the minority. I’m pretty sure we watched some TV history being made last night.

  356. Miss Stark,

    What are you talking about ? 99% of people here are gushing over the episode. Almost everyone agrees it’s one of the best in the series, if not the best hour of TV they’ve ever seen. It’s a huge hit.

    The only depressing thing is that the few people who were disappointed are being insulted, harassed, bullied, and told to fuck off.

    Aside from that, everyone is very happy.

  357. Lyanna_Targaryen,

    The overwhelming majority of the critics called this ep one of the best of the series and one of them ‘a masterpiece’ . It’s already established as ground-breaking and excellent. And it has a 10/10 rating on IMDb based on 19000 votes. I say it’s insanely well received. There will always be people who whine… Hell I remember one critic last year calling Hardhome ‘boring’. HA

  358. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

    Not to mention Jon wasn’t actually leading or commanding. Ramsey made sure of that with bringing Rickon and making Jon break lines and abandone his plan.

    Jon was in no position to give any commands or make the army do anything.
    And even if he managed somehow, how long would it have taken him.

    The vast majority of his army were Wildlings. Look at how Tormund reacted to battle plans in the camp. Imagine how thousands of them, scared shitless no doubt, would react to them in the very midst of battle.

  359. Old Nan’s Pie,

    See I don’t look at it that way with Sansa. She knew Littlefinger was using her by marrying her to Ramsay. She wanted to take back the north with out Littlefinger so she wouldn’t owe him anything and finally get away from all the people of KL. But as the season progressed it was obvious they wouldn’t be able to field enough men. She was smart enough to realize she has to bite the bullet and use littlefinger for help. I never took that she was confused and all over the place. I feel like she is making smart political decisions.

  360. Lyanna_Targaryen,

    Lyanna_Targaryen:
    Dee Stark,

    BUT BUT THE CRITICS!!!!!

    Fuck the critics. This was the most insane hour of television many of us have ever seen, whether or not you agree with Sansa’s scheming, Jon’s impulsive move to save his baby brother, or whatever the hell else people seem to find fault with. The battle was breathtaking in every way. I’m waiting for someone to complain about Ramsay’s death in 3…2…1…

    Completely agree. “Insane” is the word I was looking for to describe this episode.

    Obviously, different people like different things about GoT. Some love the drama, others love the “magic” stuff… That’s why this show is so great. It has something for everyone.

    I, for one, love the political scheming and the battles. And, without a doubt, this was the most awesome battle I’ve seen since the D-Day attack from Saving Private Ryan.

    But it’s also great to know that so many incredible screenwriters are commenting on this site. Hollywood’s future is safe.

  361. Miss Stark,

    Luckily this is where the most of that is, understandably because this group is the post picky because they love the show so much. Go to E.W., or some more mainstream sites and it’s almost all love.

    The consensus will be all good things, I think.

  362. Little_Birds,

    Every single prophecy in ASOIAF was right. EVERY single one.

    Even what Mel sees is correct, she’s just to fixated on Stannis to see the obvious.

    All the other ”tropes” being ”broke” I clearly saw in the books.

  363. Arthur,

    The creators of the show said that seasons 7 and 8 would be much shorter. If I recall correctly next season will be 7 and season 8 will only have 8. It sucks.

  364. Lyanna_Targaryen:
    Dee Stark,

    BUT BUT THE CRITICS!!!!!

    Fuck the critics. This was the most insane hour of television many of us have ever seen, whether or not you agree with Sansa’s scheming, Jon’s impulsive move to save his baby brother, or whatever the hell else people seem to find fault with. The battle was breathtaking in every way.

    This!!!

  365. Elizabeth,

    Unfortunately for you, you don’t get to decide what other people think of the episode, even if you think it would be “nice” for everyone to agree with you.

    The overwhelming majority of the audience loved it, and so they do agree with you, but if a few people didn’t enjoy the episode, that shouldn’t bother you. Is it really so hard to either ignore them, or disagree in a polite way ?

    If people want to express their opinion, they have every right to do so, and if you can’t stand seeing some people disagree with your assessment, that’s your problem.

    I don’t know why you and others like you expect those you disagree with to fuck off as if they have no right to voice their opinion.

    Nobody attacked your enjoyment of the episode, why do you have to attack someone else’s disappointment with it ?

  366. Gfx,

    Not sure if the whole city will go though, at least not until Dany shows up. Remember we have that bran image of dragon shadow over KL. doesn’t mean that will happen. Just one thing to keep in mind when thinking the whole city will burn.

    If it does do you think it will just explode like Tyrion did at Blackwater or will it be a slow raging fire.

  367. Mihnea,

    And Jon has never actually been in command of an army in pitched battle, neither has Davos; nor as far as we know has Tormund. Commanding a defensive position as Jon did on the Wall is very different to drawing up battle lines and strategy in the open. The Boltons, Umbers and Karstarks will have certainly had experience to draw on from the earlier war in the Riverlands.

    We can say perhaps Jon was in error in choosing this option at all – and was that a realistic writing choice, but that’s another argument.

  368. Mihnea:
    Homplomplomo,

    Nah, Viserys wasn’t a trope breaker.
    If anything it was the biggest ”trope” in S1/book 1.

    Ah, maybe I just wasn’t that invested when I started reading. I basically just picked the book up as paperback at an airport, thinking: let’s see what all the hype is about.

    This was around 2011, when S1 was airing.

  369. dragonbringer,

    Who else noticed the snow owl ( raven ) flying over winter fell announcement of Winter finally arriving

    Nope, I missed that, Good catch!

  370. Dee Stark,

    I started a bartending gig and a few of my customers were discussing GoT loudly and enthusiastically. They didn’t read the books and didn’t search out info online……. When I told them I was a superfan, they asked me to explain the ToJ because they didn’t understand why it was so important. I asked them if they REALLY wanted to know, and had some of the pieces but were having trouble fitting them together. They begged me to tell them. I hesitantly explained the R+L=J theory, as succinct as possible. They had suspected, but had NO IDEA and their minds were actually blown (they also tipped me 50%). Not everyone is as obsessed and attentive as we lot tend to be. Sometimes I miss being that unspoiled.

  371. The #GameofThrones hashtag is trending on Twitter for about 5 hours now. I can’t express how happy I am for the excellent reviews from critics and fans alike.

  372. Episode sucked. That battle was a terrible list of cliches. The lone hero charging the enemy? Check. The cavalry coming to the rescue, twice? Check. The villain needlessly killing his own troops? Check. And who built that 20 foot high wall of corpses? Bodies don’t just pile up like that on a battlefield! And why did Jon and his army just stare as the Bolton infantry surrounded them? The boltons literally were not facing the enemy as they formed up? And why didn’t Wun Wun have a weapon? Just grab a tree and swing it. It’s amazing how terrifying a giant is, except when the plot needs him to be held at bay by a couple of spears. This battle, like this whole season, was a giant let down.

  373. Wolfish hearts:
    I loved everything about Jon in this episode. Maybe it was not the smartest choicebut we all know that running to save his brother was somethingJon would do.He’s a Stark, he’s not pragmatic or calculating, he can’t suppress his emotions, he can’t keep a cool head when his brother is about to die. He couldn’t save Ned, nor Robb, he has to save Rickon… The battle was too personal for him and Ramsey used that against him. So Jon made a mistake as a commander, But Jon did what Jon would have done.

    Kit Harington was amazing! Every emotion, every look, every word was precise.

    Thank you! I so agree with you. He’s not magical by any means. He’s human and I love his character for that. He’s being true to himself – he probably thought of the times he wanted to run to where Ned and Robb was but couldn’t. At that moment, he had a choice – run towards his beloved brother or stay put (like he’s done in the past). This time, he chose to run. Was his choice stupid? In the grand scheme of things, yup. But, I also couldn’t imagine him not doing so.

  374. The best part in the episode for me was to see Dany control three dragons. The deeply rooted idea in the fandom is a silly concept of three dragon riders while all the clues prove otherwise. “Three heads has the dragon” refers to Dany only, just like everything in the House of the Undying, including “drink from the cup of ice, drink from the cup of fire” and the love affair between Lyanna and Rhaegar. She is both ice and fire and born as Visenya, now controlling the dragons her slaughtered siblings, Aegon and Rhaenys were meant to ride. I also believe Jon is both ice and fire and the big story here is one of two siblings who had to be separated due to the fact they picked up on different parents in the look department. Dany ended up representing fire while Jon represents ice.

  375. Sansation,

    Good question – there was a lot of debate everywhere about this ‘spoiler’ that two well-known characters would be flayed and burned on the battlefield. People speculated that it was Stannis, Rickon, Osha, Shaggydog, Roose, Walda, Edd, Tormund, Davos, Brienne, Pod, Gendry, Syrio Forel…..When the trailer showed the remains of a charred body on the burning cross, some people spent hours analysing the images to figure out who it was……and in the end, it was just random unknown characters? Was everyone trolled, or maybe one of the extras who is leaking plot points was given incorrect information during filming? Or did they change the script, to omit something in the final cut? (hard to see how they could do that, if it involved the death of known characters, but it’s Episode 9 so I guess they could). Anyway, it would be interesting to know exactly what happened, and who those people on the burning crosses actually were. Wildlings? Mormonts? Stark sympathisers? Random villagers? Bolton soldiers being burned just to show how bad-ass Ramsay is?

  376. In the final epic 9, it was nice to see callbacks to those that have come before it. In Meereen, we had a spectacular dragon moment that could edge towards topping that of The Dance of Dragons. As we move towards the end game, we have now established not only that Daenerys can fly a dragon, but the damage all three can do. And the mention of the Mad King and his wildfire plot harked back to Blackwater, in which we actually saw the substance in use.

    In Winterfell, I thought that the switch from Bolton power back to that of the Starks completed a northern arc started in Rains of Castamere. Roose plunged a knife into Robb’s heart, but Sansa and Jon ensured the end of his house in Battle of the Bastards. Jon was forced to watch Rickon die the same way that Ygritte had in Watchers on the Wall – an arrow through the heart before they could be properly reunited. Jon led a Stark army into battle as Robb did in Baelor, and as in Baelor there was an offer of one-on-one combat…….rejected by Ramsay as it had been by Robb. Sansa’s adamant pronouncement that she would not be taken alive should they lose echoed Cersei’s determination to kill herself and Tommen should Stannis win on the Blackwater. And Davos finally did what we have been waiting for him to do all season, and found Shireen’s snow-covered pyre from The Dance of Dragons.

    More than anything I think I loved the juxtaposition of ice and fire. It was there earlier this season in Bran’s visions at the start of Blood of my Blood, and it continued in Battle of the Bastards. As the emphasis begins to shift from the game of thrones to the battle for the dawn, it is an apt theme to run through the season.

    And as with other epic 9s, it has both wrapped up a number of arcs and started new ones. Ramsay is gone, but the question of who will run the north remains. The region must be united before the Wall is breached, but how and by whom? Meereen is close to being a wrap as Daenerys now has a fleet to take her and her army to Westeros.

    In The Soiled Knight chapter in A Feast for Crows, Ser Arys Oakheart contemplates the reality that women are the stronger sex, and this season – including Battle of the Bastards – has played with that theme. Daenerys and Yara are uniting to recover their lost lands while Theon and Tyrion must act as advisors and allies; Sansa finally took control of her relationship with Ramsay and was the only one to understand and accept that Rickon was doomed.

  377. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

    ” creating an encirclement in one of the earliest known examples of a pincer movement.”

    The roman army wasn’t aware of a pincer movement as it was either unused to that point or scantly used, Jon and his men were quite aware of it, and seemed to do everything in their power to set up Ramsey for just such a tactic. If they had been caught by surprise and forced in to the position, it would have been more believable, at least to me. I can sort of understand the Wildlings getting caught by tactics, but the other northern men? I see what your saying but respectfully disagree.

    Don’t get me wrong, the acting was great and the way it was filmed was really spectacular, so its not that I don’t appreciate it from that perspective, its just that I personally expected much more from the writing than what’s been given to us in the last two seasons.

  378. Bob Warren,

    I think we all have a tendency to overthink things at times, and many things are just there to set the general tone or atmosphere without always necessarily relating to the main characters.

    But if one person says “That’s Rickon!” it’s all to easy for the idea to gain traction without any real evidence.

    “The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote”

  379. Lyanna_Targaryen,

    that’s so awesome! 🙂 I have had to explain that to some and when I do they are just so shocked!!
    I agree with you completely!
    I must say though I still don’t read spoilers, so I still get lots of surprises… though this season I have been lurking more than before, so I was “expecting things to happen” (didn’t affect my enjoyment at all though). I think next year, I will stay clear during the season, and stick to Oz’s recaps where nothing but has aired is allowed to be discussed.

  380. This episode more than made up for last week’s shabby effort. They really put us right into the heart of a chaotic battle scene, to the extent that I couldn’t help but feel afraid and anxious and exhilarated even though in the back of my mind I was sure that Jon was going to win and that the Knights of the Vale would be the turning point etc. That’s great storytelling and directing and acting, in my opinion, when they can put you in a state of mind whereby you really feel afraid for your heroes even if logically you don’t think they’re (all) going to die. I was shaking, right up until the moment when Ramsay was being beaten to a pulp by Jon’s fists. Epic episode. Second only to Hardhome now, in my opinion.

  381. Mihnea,

    Except that following those prophecies and listening to them will be (or has been) the thing that ruin those who listen :
    – Cersei’s future betrayal by her valonquar (Jaime obv.) has been made possible by her reaction to the prophecy.
    – The whole Rebellion against Aerys comes from Rhaegar following a prophecy.

    Prophecies are usually cryptic and really understood after the events they describe have happened. Here the prophecies in themselves are what helps the events occur eventually.

  382. Well… the season of payoffs finally culminates in Ramsey Bolton getting his face bitten off (and almost as satisfying, Littlejon Umber getting his throat bitten off). If there is one thing GOT does better than any other show on TV, and most movies, it’s a big, huge, massive, bloody, body-laden, intestine-opening, epic battle sequence.

    And no big shocking deaths (seriously, did anyone expect Rickon or Wun Wun to live)? I was also fully expecting Tormund to sign off this week, his role was pretty much over once he had convinced the wildlings to fight. But it seems there is still room for his particular brand of sour goat milk-fuelled ferociousness in this tale. And the moment where he picked Jon up off the ground to simply say ‘hey’? Priceless.

    The BOB delivered exactly what was expected – carnage candy. Which also happens to be what has made GOT so popular, at least in D&Ds minds. Because, alas, once again I’m left picking up the pieces of the narrative. The season 6 storyline now officially has more holes in it that poor Wun Wun.

    Firstly, the Sansa / Littlefinger angle. So, Sansa has decided she doesn’t trust anyone? She doesn’t mistrust Jon Snow in terms of his intentions, but believes that nobody is capable of protecting her, or anyone for that matter. This is understandable, she’s had a rough time of it, and the most recent offer of protection came from a man who’s next action was to ensure his resident Red Priestess doesn’t resurrect in him in the likely event that he, I don’t know… get’s mowed down by the entire Bolton cavalry? Get’s hit by 1000 arrows? Get’s trampled by his own men?

    Of course, we knew JS was going to survive this battle. Even if Melisandre reminds us that her god isn’t always the nicest chap. Which sums up the main problem with this episode, the audience knew too much. We knew Jon would live, we knew Rickon would die, we knew Sansa knew that Littlefinger knew that a last-minute rescue was needed. What did Jon Snow know? Nothing.

    And so once again, D&D provides us with expensive gore and cheap shocks (which are becoming less and less shocking) at the cost of good storytelling. Unless Sansa has become a villain now? Because it seems she is willing to let her brother and his army fall into a trap (that she forewarned), under the pretence that there is no other choice for them, costing thousands of lives. In that one act she has become a bigger villain than Cersei Lannister (in terms of death count, at least until next week).

    As salivating as it was to watch, all the bloodshed we just witnessed could have been avoided if Sansa had mentioned that there were several thousand horseys heading north that owe her a debt. So we’re left to ponder, did Sansa really just let all those people die just so she could one-up her half-brother? Or is it all part of her and Baelish’s grand scheme?

    The first option suggests that Sansa is either a moron or a sociopath. The second? It really would be a great twist. And it’s exactly what I was expecting after the new-look Sansa walked down the Eyrie steps at the end of season 4. But it seems unlikely that they would give all this girl-power to a villain, which is exactly why I can’t get on board with those who think Dany will go all mad queen on our asses (especially with Tyrion there to keep her in check).

    The fact remains, Ramsay and his cronies dead, the human villain count is getting pretty low. Though if the wall comes down at the end of next week’s finale, I suspect we’ll see villains completing their face-turn (Jamie) as opposed to heroes deciding that it’s a good time to screw over their half-brother.

    A couple more points:
    – Sansa knew that Ramsay had not fed his mutts for seven days, despite riding off before he said it? Lots of off-screen conversations between Jon and Sansa about white walkers, resurrections and minute details of banter but nothing about the Vale army?

    – Why in the hell would half a dozen harpys attack the gates of Meereen? There are supposedly 10,000 men defending it, but we get a few women instead. Because in GOT, if characters aren’t stabbing unarmed women to death, how are we supposed to know they are bad?

    – Theon and Yara just show up in the court? Seriously? If you didn’t want two similar last-minute unexpected rescue moments in the same episode D&D, you could have saved it for next week. I just feel that ladyflirting (as good as it was) and ‘I used to kill kids but I’m a goodie now’ isn’t quite as convincing as ‘we just saved your ass and won you a shitload of ships.’

    – No Ghost? You spend god knows how many millions on CGI and leave the wolf out of it. For the first season ever, more wolves have been killed than people killed by wolves. Shame! Shame! Shame!

  383. Gfx:
    Darjan,

    I always enjoy watching Inside the Episode. They automatically play it afterwards on HBO Go. What better way to get more insight on the show then from the actual people running it ?

    My husband is unsullied and it helps him fill the gaps from not reading the books. HBONOW does the same after the credits. I love it!

  384. Catspaw Assassin,

    Jon did devise a pretty sensible strategy. he just didn’t follow it once he saw Rickon running for his life. And like others said, once he was separated from his army, there was no turning back. Ramsay lured him into a trap. Jon’s mistake is still perfectly understandable as presented in the show, and I don’t think it diminishes the character, but I understand if others do.

  385. carbonUnit,

    I see what you are saying but it was a kind of shit or bust moment; sometimes desperate charges pay off, sometimes not. To my mind they made the wrong choice but stress and adrenaline can make even trained soldiers make mistakes.

  386. Stargaryen,

    But her whole refusal to tell Jon doesen’t make sense. Sure she didn’t want to look like a fool but if she was that smart politically, she should have told him about the Vale army. To me, this plotline doesn’t make sense. It just seems to me that the writers wanted to create a scenario where when all hope is lost and the Starks are about to be slaughtered, the Vale Knights would march in Gandalf-style and win the day. Again, my personal opinion…

  387. Steel_Wind,

    I personally think they have shown people with Stark blood to be naïve and have slow minds. Hell Littlefinger says it back in season 1. Starks, slow minds, quick to anger. Now Jon may not be Ned’s son, but could still be Lyanna’s son. She was wild like their older brother Brandon. My point is Starks have always made poor decisions. Even good ole Ned made poor decisions in season 1. So why does it come as a surprise that another person with Stark blood makes a poor decision in the face of danger.

    I mean come on people, complaining about character development thinking Jon has to make the right and perfect decision every time. Don’t forget our beloved Ned did the exact same thing, but we love him! Jon will continue to make dumb decision here and there. Just his nature. If he is the son of Lyanna and Rhaegar then he is the son of two people that are pretty good at making poor decisions. Even if he becomes King it doesn’t mean everything he does will be right. That is the beauty of the show. You could be a glorious and good leader but in reality you will still make mistakes. Don’t treat Jon like he is Aragorn.

  388. Little_Birds,

    Doesn’t matter how they happen mate.

    Sure Cersei is hurrying it, what matters is that it will happen.

    Robb dying was true, the women with a fish head dying was true, Balon dying was true, even the giant in a castle of snow.

    Sure it might have been the doll or LF, but one way or another it will happen or already happened

    The Dosh Khaleen will kneel to Dany just as we saw in ACOK.

    Same with the

    prophecy about her being betrayed 3 times. No fan forum speculates these will not happen. We all speculate who/how/when

    Every single prophecy turned out to be true. Sure some people like Raeghar might have interpreted it wrong, or people like Cersei hurrying the inevitable.
    The prophecy says she’ll kill her friend. She does.

    The fact stands, they all happened and they will all happen.

  389. Just had a phone call from my show only watcher friend.She doesn’t frequent fan sites or reads any spoilers just watches the episodes when they come out.She was mindblown and couldn’t believe her eyes.She cried when rickon died and was terrified by the battle.Said it was like nothing she had ever seen.I’m so proud of the show right now

  390. aabe,

    I don’t see how a Comeuppance for the Frey’s can occur. They are in castle surrounded by water, surrounded by nearly 10000 soldiers. How is the little ole Brotherhood with their measily #’s going to actually getting satisfying comeuppance on the Frey’s? I just don’t see how it could and even if they got into Riverrun they wouldn’t be able to kill many before they died. I think proper comeuppance is more than just Arya killing the Late Walder Frey. I want all the Frey’s gone! Not sure how that can happen in this situation. So I guess that means I can be easily surprised if it does, so that is good.

  391. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

    I think we were expecting Wyman Manderly in the wrong episode.

    you know that Frey/Lannister gathering we saw in the preview? perhaps that is the Red Wedding 2 that some people were predicting where the Freys get massacred back. Book-wise Wyla Manderly was engaged to marry a Frey possibly Lothar on the show, or Black Walder. I can’t remember who is Walder Freys heir, but I think it’s a grandson…

    Give me the Mummer’s farce speech in some form & I shall be appeased.

  392. Katelyn:
    Steel_Wind,
    Steel_Wind, did he have an option at that point? He was in the middle of the battle field on foot. If he had started running back, or just stood there, he would have been killed by archers. To me he had a moment where he realized how Ramsay had just played him, realized he had fallen into it and now his army would be forced to go forward instead of waiting for Ramsay’s army to charge at them like they had planned. The mistake was done, it was too late, the only way forward from there was literally forward.

    Katelyn, I really do agree with you on this.

    I watched the episode a second time and saw something I missed in the first go-round. When Jon was thrown from his horse and he’s standing in the field looking at the cavalry charge coming his way … did you catch the look on his face and then the small nod of recognition that he might die again? I thought that subtlety was brilliantly played by Kit without a single word. I think, at that moment, Jon really understood what was at stake and that he would not survive but he’d take out as many of the riders as he could.

  393. A flayed man none,

    Well, I do disagree on some of the things you said, but again that is my personal opinion. To me it just appears that the writers wanted to create an artificial scenario where the Knights of the Vale will march in Gandalf-style and win the day. There were plenty of occasions where Sansa could have mentioned that we may have extra allies in the Vale. Remember Jon asks her for an alternative solution (in the tent) and she says she doesnt have any. If they really wanted to show her character development as a smart political mind, it should have been better addressed (perhaps more screen time for some battle negotiations. But anyways, the episode was totally a breathtaking spectacle, despite the somewhat loose Sansa plotline. Feel free to disagree

  394. The Plan of Jon’s Forces was patience. To stay their ground. To initiate their own pincer strategy. They were digging trenches to deal with the fact they were outnumbered by horsemen (did anyone see those trenches?), and they were to wait, to force the battle to come to them…. to have patience.

    Then, Rickon. Jon dismounts… walks forward….

    Tormund “Don’t…. don’t.”

    There was a Plan; for good or for ill, Jon didn’t comply with The Plan. Had there been patience, maybe, just maybe, the Vale, (whether or not Sansa should have ‘fessed up prior to battle, whether or not Little Finger had his own agenda, whether or not the order to send in the Vale Forces was intentionally delayed, whether or not Alpo Bolton’s Forces should have had reconnaissance reports of a very large cavalry hanging about nearby, whether or not Wun Wun would have had time to procure a weapon – not the point of THIS post), the Vale Forces just might have arrived on time.

    The Plan, as is so often the case, did not go as planned.

    Just a thought.

  395. Mihnea,

    The trope is not prophecies are true.
    In Fantasy, at least, the trope is : you should always listen to them.
    In this story, every single person who did has suffered from it, whether they understood the prophecy correctly (Rhaegar), partially (Cersei), or wrongly (Melisandre).

  396. Lord Parramandas,

    Love your reviews LP!!

    Completely agree, with you on all things. The episode is easly giving HH a fight for my number 1!

    Will most likely beat it on couple of re-watches.
    I’ll watch the episode tonight with 5-6 of my unsullied friends, and I can not wait to see their reactions and thoughts.

  397. dragonbringer,

    Who knows if all three of them survive.

    MakeThemBurn,

    Daeny and Jon were born 8-9 monhs apart nope they can’t be brother and sister. Ice and Fire means a tons of things. Live against death, dragons and white walkers, Bran could fit Ice too and Daeny Fire.

    Mihnea,

    Sophie deserves it this year.

  398. Victoria of the Vale,

    Well I bet Dany leaves some people behind to watch over Meereen. I hope all the advisors go with her but Missandei or Grey Worm can be left to rule Slaver’s Bay in Dany’s absence. But yeah, I still don’t see how the Iron Fleet and Masters Fleet is still even enough.

  399. Jenny,

    I have a group chat in Whatsapp with my cousins who are all over the world and they only just watch the show, they dont read things, and were mind blown

  400. This is unbelievable. For simply expressing my opinion in a rational manner, I’ve been bullied, trolled, I’ve had my posts deleted, and a user on another site said he flagged my post (lol). Amazing.

  401. Geralt of Rivia,

    Agreed. But before giving a final judgment I really want to see Lena first, in the next episode.

    But as I said, I would be more then pleased with both of them.

  402. Enjoyable enough episode but let down by the writing.

    North
    I liked the realism of the battle but it did seem difficult to follow at times. Jon Snow was obviously going to be a little naive in a big battle situation but to paint him as impetuous bordering on clueless seemed a disservice. They might have well just had Sansa leading the battle.
    I did not like the way how Wun Wun died at the hands of Ramsey Bolton, especially as he was on his last legs anyway and surely Ramsey would have targeted the arrow at the unaware Jon Snow.

    It would have been better for Wun Wun to collapse during the battle, falling and breaking the Bolton lines. Together with the arrival of the Vale knights, putting the advantage firmly in the Starks favour.

    It was mentioned by both Ramsey Bolton and Small Jon Umber how well Jon Snow knew Winterfell, instead of Wun Wun smashing down the door, Jon could have led a force of Wildings underneath Winterfell using the tunnel system (how Bran escaped in season two).
    Obviously Sansa was unaware of this, otherwise she would not have jumped from the Winterfell rampart.

    I felt the way Ramsey died was so very cliched and frankly lazy writing. They should have just had Jon order the wildings to bring him down with a volley of arrows; especially considering how Rickon died. Ramsey’s death echoed Brienne killing of Stannis and the fantasy that horrible individuals always get what they deserve and justice (retribution) is possible.

    I wonder if we will see House Manderly/Cerywn considering they did not aid the Starks in battle. Seems to be been a case of screen time for Littlefinger (via Vale storyline) or including the other northern houses. Manderly has been mentioned a lot and perhaps he be involved in getting vengeance on the Freys.
    If this is going to be the case, they might of well have let the Blackfish escape with Jamie turning a blind eye to seeing him with Brienne and Podrick.

    Meereen
    The siege should have begun earlier in episode 6 and shown instead of the Dany’s conquering speech nonsense; which could have been done at the end of episode 4.
    It would have been good to see the effects of a siege and whether the consequences of war would influence how Dany dealt with trying to capture Westeros.

    I also felt Tyrion’s reason for meeting the masters in episode 4 should have been through desperation rather than to form a truce to prevent a few random killings; i.e – fleet destroyed, food running low, masters attacking supply lines. Thus implying the Masters already had an army positioned to attack straight after the peace negotiations

    As well as an armada, I would have liked to have seen an army of mercenaries/slave soldier attack the Meereen gates. The dragons suddenly burning through the walls at the point they were needed seemed lazy writing again. I would like to suggest an alternative version

    Episode 8 ending with the city looking like it will fall and Tyrion ready to offer terms of surrender. Then episode 9 starting with Grey worm meeting the Masters, with Tyrion sneaking away to release the dragons (moving the scene from earlier in the season but without Varys), so they are not slain.
    Then in the distance Dany approaching on Drogan (making her arrival scene in episode 8 unnecessary), on seeing Drogan, the other dragons join her in attacking the armada.
    Then Dothraki horde approaches and attacks the slavers army (instead of a small number of Sons of Harpies).

    Would have loved to have seen the ironborn engage in a naval battle but assume budgets and time affected this. Also doubt all the dothraki and ironborn (with Yara and Theon) would suddenly change their whole philosophies and way of life for what Dany is selling.

    A lot of scenes could have been trimmed to make room for the extra Meereen storyline – they have spent a while focusing on the red priestesses in Meereen and bar the obvious comparison with making deals with fanatics (sparrows); I am not sure how this impacts on the wider storyline. If it does not then surely it could have been cut/condensed.

    I think the Grey Worm, Missandei and Tyrion joke scenes were too similar and just needed the one scene to show the former slaves gaining some humanity and Tyrion gaining their trust.

    I also feel the shock value stabbing of Arya in episode 7 was unnecessary and undermined all the following scenes. This scene could have been cut and the chase done completely in episode 8 with or without Lady Crane.

    With Lady Crane – Arya tries to book passage but the Waif is impersonating the Westerosi captain, chase ensues, Arya cuts candle, Jaqen follows blood trail and finds Waif’s face in the hall of faces and smiles. Lady Crane finds wounded Arya and says the troupe going to Westeros and calls her Merci which Arya interrupts and says name is really Arya Stark of Winterfell.

    Without Lady Crane – Arya books passage to Westeros, Waif attacks her, she escapes, chase, Arya cuts candle, Jaqen follows blood trail in house of black and white finds Waif’s face in the hall of faces and sees Arya holding needle.

  403. Stargaryen,

    GW and Missandei will be left behind to rule. This is my speculation.
    Sadly I don’t think we’ll see more of them after this. 🙁

  404. DireWolfHeart,

    Spoilers but not sure if these are right.

    Wyman Manderly will kneel for Jon and other will follow him. Lyanna Mormont will have a speech too.
  405. Holy Sh!t! Who is that character who’s walking with his back to the screen in the episode 10 promo? Looks like Stannis!

  406. Mihnea,

    Sophie is my favourite but Lena got a chance. Last season Lena knocked it out of the park but this year. She is solid but she needs Walk Of Shame moment to justify it. Maybe episode 10 will deliver it.

  407. LatrineDiggerBrian:
    This is unbelievable. For simply expressing my opinion in a rational manner, I’ve been bullied, trolled, I’ve had my posts deleted, and a user on another site said he flagged my post (lol). Amazing.

    Better off ignoring the Super fans. They have little tolerance to diverse opinions.

  408. BranTheBlessed:

    Can I just say: If there is really to be a Queen in the North, it should be Arya. She’s a true Stark and a Northerner through and through.

    You mean the Arya who wandered around in Braavos in full view of a FM killer, drawing attention to herself, miscalculated her killer’s ingenuity, let herself be stabbed gruesomely? And miraculously survived, thanks to Deux es Lady Crane – who, by the way, sacrificed her life for Arya and Arya seemingly not giving any thought of that, so far? You mean that Arya?

    Sounds like a familiar pattern – yes, she certainly is a Stark.

  409. Becky Sharpe:
    This episode demonstrated that Daenerys’ dragons worked perfectly as an airborne division. However, in a previous episode, we saw the white walkers walking unscathed through fire. This means that the mother of dragons etc.. will be of no use whatsoever when the real battle starts, so what is the point of dragons? (except for teleporting to King’s Landing, torching the Castle and accidentally setting on the wildfire that destroys the city before Cersei even has time to light a match? )

    It’s true, the WW can survive regular fire. We also know that Dragonglass (obsidian cured by dragon fire) will kill them. This is why the dragons could be the death of the WW. That’s been an integral fact since Sn1Ep1

  410. Mihnea:
    BranTheBlessed,

    Lancel in KL. You can see the chain.

    Stannis is dead.

    Oh, alright then. Re: the dead, After the return of Hound, I’m not taking anyone whose death we’ve not seen on the screen for granted 🙂

  411. Yeah, Harrington was immaculate. No wonder Cunningham was gushing over him the other day.

  412. I can understand the people who don’t like the Hollywood style that the story is beginning to take. Some of it I feel is inevitable in the books too, but not to the extent of the show. I love the LOTR movies. So I am looking at the show as being an alternate universe that is giving me the LOTR/Hollywood experience of the story. I will eagerly devour the true ASOIAF experience when/if the next book/s are released. But for right now, I’ll settle for being entertained by the show. But that’s just me. If I wanted to bug out on the writing/characterization, I could, but I’d rather just enjoy the ride and look at the positives of the show, which still far outweigh the negatives.

  413. Little_Birds,

    Omg but the self fulfilling prophecy is a tired trope hello lord voldemort.I have read so many books when being obsessed with a prophecy brought the downfall of a character Grrm didn’t invent it .Also people misinterpreting a prophecy is a trope in of itself.They are so many tropes in the books people just fail to see them.And in any case there only so many ways a story can go.If you break a trope you will fullfill another at the same time.Look at ramsay’s death it broke the trope of the good guy killing the bad guy in a battle,two bastards being diametrically opposed but it fulfilled the trope of the raped girl getting her revenge.Also it’s way easier to defy some tropes in the first act when you are opening up a story then to do it in the third act.

  414. Danny,

    By charging forward after Rickon died. Listen, I get he wanted to save his brother. That’s fine. But he then he charged forward and basically went against literally everything they’d talked about the previous night and led his army in to Ramsay’s trap. To me, that’s Jon turning in to an idiot.

  415. BranTheBlessed,

    It’s funny, I’m a bigger fan than most of the band wagoners on this site. I was one of the few that actually participated in #GOT50 and posted in most of those threads (Mihnea and Dee can attest to this). I don’t read every little spoiler either, in fact I didn’t even watch any of the trailers before the season, and I even avoid most of the next week previews (I started watching them towards the end because I didn’t care).

    I’ve really enjoyed the first 5 seasons, but there is just no other way to spin it, this season has been a disappointment for me. I’ve commented when I’ve liked the episodes, and I’ve commented when I’ve disliked the episodes (and everything in between). But ultimately, it’s just been a major let down, sorry I can’t help how I feel.

    But unfortunately, there are a bunch of mini Trump’s on this site who have ultra thin skin when anyone disagrees with them and a lot of the time resort to hurling feces. It’s pretty sad, I came over to this site to get away from the fanatics at Westeros.org but instead I’ve encountered the opposite type of fanatic. And lately people have been much nastier here than they ever were there.

  416. ghost of winterfell,

    sure and too think he wouldn’t have lost a lot of wildlings in battle either way is naïve. “Oh if Jon wouldn’t have charged then Wun Wun wouldn’t have died and so many wildlings wouldn’t have died.” Give me a break. Death was going to happen. Lots were going to die either way. Maybe a few hundred live if he doesn’t charge but either way, a lot of people on Jon’s side were going to die either way.

  417. Chelsea75,

    In my view, he charged forward also to avoid the rain of arrows coming his way right after Rickon died. He had to move one way or another.

  418. Geralt of Rivia,

    No one but GRRM and D&D knows ..

    I just mentioned the three who I think will be major participant in war of dawn and ..you can add arya tyrion and sansa and other characters who you think will be major and has a chance to survive .

  419. Flora Linden: You mean the Arya who wandered around in Braavos in full view of a FM killer, drawing attention to herself, miscalculated her killer’s ingenuity, let herself be stabbed gruesomely? And miraculously survived, thanks to Deux es Lady Crane – who, by the way, sacrificed her life for Arya and Arya seemingly not giving any thought of that, so far? You mean that Arya?

    Sounds like a familiar pattern – yes, she certainly is a Stark.

    Meh, that was more down to bad writing on D&D’s part.

    Don’t get me wrong: I would love for Arya to be a lone wolf, doing her work from the shadows like a FM but clearly that ain’t happening.

    Arya has always been more Stark than Sansa. Arya’s been the one who has desired vengeance to those who’ve wronged the Starks while Sansa’s more worried about her own survival. Sansa’s more LF than Stark though she may not like to admit it.

  420. Sam,

    “he probably thought of the times he wanted to run to where Ned and Robb was but couldn’t. At that moment, he had a choice”

    My thoughts exactly. Going for the heart rather than cold head, it’s in the character. And it’s part of the reason why we love Starks, at least for me. They are idealistic, they believe in high values, loyalty, valor. They are not players, they don’t do tricks and what Ramsey did was the ultimate trick to lure him out. He couldn’t save his father and brother, but now he had a chance to save Rickon and he would never forgive himself if he hadn’t try, you can see how desperate he is to reach him ( I think, if there had been no chance at all, he would still go for Rickon, one can call it stupidity, I call it love). they can argue what was the right decision, but for the character it was right.

  421. Chelsea75,

    Jon had already fallen into the trap once he raced out to save Rickon. Once he was separated from his army, he was screwed. He could retreat and die fleeing as arrows cascade down on him, or he could try and die fighting. He was fucked either way.

  422. Next week’s episode will be packed even with 70 minutes length. I hope it does not feel rushed as we have to catch up on several storylines.

    – The aftermath of the Battle of the Bastards: Jon & Sansa scene, Sansa & LF scene in the Godswood, Davos confronting Mel, probably a meeting of all the remaining Northern Lords (still waiting for the “Fletcher” character, I hope this was not just the casting call for Robett Glover), probably a scene featuring Yohn Royce and Sweetrobin.

    – Bran and Benjen arriving at the Wall (and probably a White Walker scene, maybe even the Wall coming down?)

    – Bran having at least two visions: The Mad King getting slayed for wanting to “Burn ’em all” and the Tower of Joy revelation

    – King’s Landing: The trailer scene with the Little Birds stabbing someone, the trial of Loras Tyrell and probably Cercei’s barbeque party.

    – The aftermath of the Battle of Fire (and Dany setting sail for Westeros?)

    – Jaime and the Freys: I have absolutely no idea were this celebration scene at the Twins is going. With LSH not being included, the Blackfish dead, the Brotherhood going North instead of plotting against the Freys and Arya not making it there fast enough to orchestrate some “Red Wedding 2.0” like event with the BwB and the Hound (she can’t kill them all by herself) I’m really curious how this storyline ends.

    – The Hound and the BwB (running into Brienne and Podrick?)

    – Sam arriving at the Citadelle

    – Arya?

    – Jorah?

    – Dorne? (& Queen of Thornes?? & Varys???)

  423. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    You did participate in the offseason, I remember that. And you are a big fan. I guess that’s why you are so upset.
    You are of course entitled to hate the episode, its mind boggling when it comes to an episode like this, to be honest.
    Last week I was in the minority who loved episode 8 and read some messages that pretty much implied “only brainless people would like the episode” something to that effect.

    I said I was not going to partake in arguments/discussions this week cause I don’t give a shit any more. However, since we are talking 🙂 , I just really wonder, based on your comments that I saw about this episode, where you said the episode was completely predictable (duh vale has been set up to show up since the beginning), how would you have written this to be “unpredictable” ?

    On a side note, i havent really said much except (AMAZING) cause I have no words lol… but I really don’t think the point of this battle was to show something surprising or unpredictable (Hardhome). It really was meant to show war in its rawest form. And for Jon, this is his big step up to regaining himself once again. He didn’t want to be brought back, he almost just was ready to die, but after what happened with Rickon, he snapped, and the scene with him getting buried alive and pushing hard to come out was magnificent and very important for his development. Flawless.

  424. So does this mean that the Stark army now has possession of the Dreadfort as well? Who moves in there and sets up shop?

  425. Tycho Nestoris,

    There were no injuries to the stunt horses in any of the episodes so far. Those are highly trained stunt horses, worth a lot of money, so they are careful not to injure. Peter Dinklage (vegan) recently said that if there was any animal cruelty on the show, he would not be in it.

  426. Mihnea,

    Apparently this guy was reliable so far. Tormund and Davos mentioned that Jon is not a King. Either trolling by D&D or foreshadowing.

  427. Katelyn:
    Steel_Wind,
    Steel_Wind, did he have an option at that point? He was in the middle of the battle field on foot. If he had started running back, or just stood there, he would have been killed by archers. To me he had a moment where he realized how Ramsay had just played him, realized he had fallen into it and now his army would be forced to go forward instead of waiting for Ramsay’s army to charge at them like they had planned. The mistake was done, it was too late, the only way forward from there was literally forward.

    Of course he had an option, he should have got off his horse beside Rickon, angled it to provide him cover, thrown Rickon over the saddle, mounted and rode back to the Stark lines.

    That is what somebody — ANYBODY who was not insane would have done. But that rationality didn’t fit the tale they wanted to tell.

    It certainly is what Jon Snow should have done, and as Commander of the Stark forces, was obliged to do at the very least.

    Instead, he charges the enemy because that leads to the charge of the wildlings which the writers know should not have occurred, but they needed it to happen to depict the battle they wanted to show. Jon’s character was just collateral damage to achieving that end for them.

    That appears to be okay with many posters here. It sure as hell wasn’t okay with me.

  428. Damn, “Thrones”! I have to admit that Baelor will never be topped for me, but what an episode this was. The predicatability factor is my biggest gripe against it but there was so much emotional catharsis here that I couldn’t bring myself to hold those bits against the episode. Sometimes it’s okay that things happen the way one expects (and Tormund surviving was not one of them, for example). https://goo.gl/qRWXEr

  429. Since we don’t need another dragon riders and Daeny is three headed dragon. What is R+L=J actually good for? Of course question is how to prove it but for what purpose like Iron Throne? but he is irrelevant or maybe in the end is just for Jon as struggle of his identity or perhaps for war against walkers? But how it could be relevant there?

    Anyone got an idea?

  430. Dee Stark:
    LatrineDiggerBrian,

    On a side note, i havent really said much except (AMAZING) cause I have no words lol… but I really don’t think the point of this battle was to show something surprising or unpredictable (Hardhome). It really was meant to show war in its rawest form.

    Yes! This is actually what made this different from the battles we had in the show before.

    Dee Stark:
    LatrineDiggerBrian,

    And for Jon, this is his big step up to regaining himself once again. He didn’t want to be brought back, he almost just was ready to die, but after what happened with Rickon, he snapped, and the scene with him getting buried alive and pushing hard to come out was magnificent and very important for his development. Flawless.

    When Jon’s horse tumbled down and he stood up with the calvary charging at him, his expression was priceless. He was like, this is it, I’m going to die and I’m ready, but I’ll die fighting. Brilliant. And that “rebirth” scene. Fantastic.

  431. Steel_Wind: Of course he had an option, he should have got off his horse beside Rickon, angled it to provide him cover, thrown Rickon over the saddle, mounted and rode back to the Stark lines.

    You sure about that? The feeling I got when I saw that scene was Jon had no time. The Bolton archers had already let the arrows fly. He had to move immediately to even have the hope of escaping the fire. There was no time to try and turn his horse, only way was forward.

  432. Geralt of Rivia,

    Just more internal conflict for Jon. At most fulfilling some prophecy.

    I know this theory since 2005 and never, ever believed it would be used to make Jon king of Westeros. He wouldn’t want the IT anyway.

    His father was and will always be Ned.

  433. SweetTrix,

    Yes, there’s that. But when theNight King raises new wights from the battlefield ? Will Dany have to incinerate the dead before they ar raised again? That’s a rather inglorious task.

  434. Lord Parramandas,

    Great stuff Lord P, and worth the hour it took you to write. I don’t usually write much in the way of a review as there are a lot of you guys who are far more able.

    Having said that I do have a few thoughts about an episode which ticked all the boxes for me at least.

    In Meereen, Tyrion nervously jumping at each explosion while he told Dany that the city was on the rise amused me enormously. Essentially the Dany scenes gave a very clear message that while she may be a Targaryen with a tendency to use force first and foremost, she is not like her father and she listens to counsel. She listened to Tyrion both regarding the Masters and with the Greyjoys and she made good decisions. I noticed she looked over her shoulder at Tyrion before accepting Yara’s offer, waiting for his approval, it seemed to me.

    As far as predictability goes, I didn’t find the episode predictable at all, unless the good guys winning makes things predictable. When people read fan forums and every theory going, then some people are going to be right. Is that predictable? I wonder. Greyworm’s killing of the two masters leaving the other on his knees was not something I saw coming.

    I didn’t find the battle predictable either. This show kills off characters at will and I really couldn’t be sure who would survive and who would not.
    I expected Rickon to die but I did still hold out hope when the third arrow failed to hit him and Jon was soooo close. Even when the fourth hit, I thought for a moment he may be injured rather than dead.
    I really thought Tormund was a goner when Karstark’s countless head butts left him reeling….but no he survived. I was not at all sure that he would.
    I expected Karstark to be seen fighting……but no sign of him once the fighting began…….now where has he gone I wonder? Not predictable there.

    Melisandre’s chat with Jon pre battle made me question Jon’s plot armour for a while. Could they kill him off again? Nah, course not…..but when he sank under the mob, I once again held my breath.

    Jon did not listen to Sansa’s warnings that Ramsay plays games and sure enough he played his game. That was predictable but I don’t think I would have liked it if he didn’t. Ramsay acted true to form and so did Jon. He should not have charged when he did but blind fury and being goaded in such a way was bound to push Jon’s buttons. It made it more believable for me. We know these characters and they were being true to themselves.

    The battle itself was truly spectacular and again I have no issue with the Vale riding in at the last minute when all seemed lost. The alternative is they ride in much earlier and the battle is a walkover by the good guys. That doesn’t make for good tv 🙂

  435. There were lots of people wonderingwhat writers trying to do when they have dany being smug whole burning khals or masters means that she is turning mad or they think that as badass

    I think with what we saw of sansa being smug tonight …its clear the writers think that as badass

  436. Not the biggest fan of this one, Dany scenes were great and it’s good the story can now move forwards, both in Mereen and north.

  437. It was fantastic to look at last night while I was putting down “Imp’s Delight.” I’m a little afraid to rewatch sober without booze to smooth out plot edges.

    Also, how is it only going to be another 15 ep? Seems like they’ve been trying to pack 2 ep of stuff in each ep this year & are rushing stuff a bit.

  438. Dee Stark,

    That’s the thing though, this whole battle and it’s conclusion (Stark’s winning, Sansa killing Ramsey, Knight’s of the Vale ex-machina) have seemed inevitable since the start of the season. In what other season of GoT can we say the same thing? That the conclusion to episode 9 was inevitable? (without knowing spoilers).

    So while the battle was awesome, the story telling just wasn’t. The story telling is what has made GoT special to me. For someone who hasn’t read the books and who has managed to avoid most major spoilers, most of the big moments have been a big surprise to me and I love that. I love trying to guess what’s going to happen. Most shows and movies are pretty predictable.

    And the Arya conclusion from last episode really deflated the shit out of me. The House of B & W storyline was one of my favorites over the last two seasons. It was filled with so much mystery and intrigue and the conclusion they provided it with was just like, “that’s it?”. It was so uninteresting and simplistic, no suspense, no twists or turns, the whole thing was pretty much telegraphed when Arya blew out the candle at the end of episode 6. It made the whole storyline seem like a waste of time and it seemed like they were in such a rush to get out of it, to get her to Westeros so she can kill Walder Frey I guess?

    Anyway, I don’t know how I’d rewrite Jon’s story line, that’s something I’d have to think about it. But it’s besides the point anyway, it’s not my job to think of those things. But anyway I appreciate you writing a reasonable post and not attacking me, and I see your points, especially on the technical aspect of the episode which they knocked out of the park. But I just didn’t feel much watching the episode.

  439. BranTheBlessed:

    Meh, that was more down to bad writing on D&D’s part.

    Ooh, don’t forget to blame Martin! He sent Arya to Braavos in the first place, remember. And stuck Sansa with LF too.

    Somebody has to be the bad guy in the Stark family and do the dirty work. If it ends up being Sansa, so be it.

  440. RG,

    I also noted Jon’s battle scenes and thought either there is some magickal protection around Jon, or Ramsey has instructed his men not to kill Jon so that he (Ramsey) could torture and humiliate him later in front of Sansa. Both are legitimate scenarios, and it is the way Ramsey would think. It was so satisfying that Ramsey died at the paws/teeth of his own dogs while Sansa looked on. I will miss his character probably because it has been acted/brought to life so well by Rheon Iwan.

  441. When it comes down to it, I think all of us who came away from the episode at least a little disappointed all have roughly the same opinions.

    The directing and technical work on the battle was top class. Truly truly top class work, especially with the horses. Sapochnik did great and the horsemen did great and this episode deserves all the technical Emmy’s.

    The writing was poor. Jon going to get his brother was forgivable but the charge after that was not. Sure you can argue emotions but it just really struck me the wrong way that he’d lead all his men to their death like that. Sansa continues to be smug and mysterious. She complained about not having her opinion heard. Jon asks her what they should do and she responds with “IDK, just don’t do what Ramsay wants”? Jeez thanks Sansa (ironically Jon doesn’t even follow that piece of advice). Sticking to the roots of GoT would have been nice. GoT has been built on things not being as straightforward as they seem. This time though they really went full Hollywood cookie cutter for the battle.

    I think the poor writing is a fair complaint this time and people with dissenting opinions about the episode should be allowed to voice those opinions instead of to just “go away if you don’t like it”.

    To sum it all up, we appreciate the battle but the writing was lacking.

  442. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    S4. Stannis arriving was obvious. His entire story that year was him going to the Wall to help the NW against the Wildlings.

    Blackwater too. LF outright makes a alliance with the Tyrrels for the Lannisters.

  443. Mihnea:
    BranTheBlessed,

    Can we take a moment and enjoy the fact that we agree on something?

    Haha, yeah. IF Jon had indeed been allowed to escape and go back to his forces, many people-including me-would be complaining about plot armor. Would’ve made Ramsay and his men look like utter fools.

  444. Tyrion Pimpslap:
    Chelsea75,

    Jon had already fallen into the trap once he raced out to save Rickon. Once he was separated from his army, he was screwed. He could retreat and die fleeing as arrows cascade down on him, or he could try and die fighting. He was fucked either way.

    There is no evidence of this; none whatsoever. Indeed, the evidence is precisely to the contrary. Jon was at the long range of Bolton archers where Rickon died. They might have got one flight of arrows at him while he was in range. It might have hit him and it might not have. If his horse only got hit, he gets up and runs back to the Stark line and is quickly out of range. Arrows take quite a while to reach their target at that extreme range. He could have outrun any second volley.

    Charging, he could not outrun them easily. They had TWO volleys at him when he was charging them and Jon never got out of range. And they killed his horse, he was down and still in arrow range and Agincourt happened to Jon in the middle of that field as a result.

    There is absolutely no truth at all to the justifications you are offering in defence of irrational decisions that are, in fact, logically unjustifiable and happen only because the writers MAKE it happen so as to permit the story they want to tell to unfold.

    If enjoying the story requires you to engage in self-deception? Fine. But let’s not get confused as to what happened and why. That was Hollywood TV on a big budget; nothing more.

  445. Mihnea,

    You say that but you probably knew that both of those things were going to happen before watching.

    The Tyrell’s joining up with the Lannister’s was much more subtle than Baelish this season. I didn’t feel it was obvious when I watched it unsullied the first time.

    Stannis showing up was different too, because he doesn’t show up during the heat of the battle, he shows up the next day when Jon is treating with Mance. Again, imo, not even close to on the same footing as Baelish showing up this season.

    Baelish was basically an on call Ex Machina for the whole season.

  446. My first post. I loved the Daeny/Yara scene. If any of you grew up in the Northeast, you know what that handshake was. In Jersey Boys, the Frankie Valli character says some thing to the effect of you want a contract, I’ll give you a Jersey contract. A handshake is more binding than anything a lawyer could draw up.

    Jon made the cardinal mistake of letting his emotions get the better of him. A commander cannot afford to do that and a lot of his men died because of it. Hope he learns from it. But the overall battle scene was so well done. Emmy in the making.
    Would have liked Sansa to finish Ramsey herself, but being eaten by his own dogs was a fitting end.

  447. Steel_Wind,

    You didn’t see that. You think this.

    If people don’t agree with you it doesn’t mean they are idiots who are lying themselves or they are unable to realize how bad it was what they saw.
    It means they just have a different opinion, on the characters and how they should act.

    You are free to have your opinion but please don’t insult those who don’t agree with your criticism.

    I do wonder where is Markus right now, to remind us not to insult one another for having different opinions. But I guess it doesn’t matter if he agrees with said poster.

  448. Did i miss something??

    What happened with that casting of the fat guy who switches allegiances….?

    Did I miss that somewhere, I can’t really fathom how that would fit in to episode 10 at this point, unless there is a choosing between John and Sansa??

    I know there must have been 10 minutes in ep 9 that my screen just didnt play, and this part, along with Ghost somehow just didn’t show up…

  449. Mihnea:
    Halfman,

    Tormund fought Umber not Karstark.

    I wonder if we are going to see Karstark next week as a prisoner.Or if he was “poisoned” by his enemies.

  450. I went into the episode hoping the Vale army wasn’t going to save the day, but after having watched it. I admit I was wrong and any other kind of resolution would have felt contrived.

    P.S. – can someone explain how Ghost can disappear and no one notice? I’m waiting for Jon to be like me when I lose my keys.

  451. LatrineDiggerBrian:
    Mr.Bungle,

    I never lost perspective during the chaotic action scene at the end of The Dance of Dragon’s or during Watcher’s on the Wall. You get it now? Some action sequences are done better than others.

    Losing perspective was part of the point. Chaos of war–you’re not supposed to be able to follow it.

  452. LatrineDiggerBrian,

    By all means its your choice, and its too bad you feel this way..

    Its not your job to write something for the episode but when you call it predicable you should be prepared to come up with something unpredictable that you would have preferred.

    Also, having recently learned the meaning of ex-machina or whatever, your statement is incorrect here:

    “(Knight’s of the Vale ex-machina)”

    Deus ex machina (Latin: [ˈdeʊs ɛks ˈmaː.kʰɪ.naː]: /ˈdeɪ.əs ɛks ˈmɑːkiːnə/ or /ˈdiːəs ɛks ˈmækᵻnə/;[1] plural: dei ex machina) is a Latin calque from Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēkhanês theós), meaning “god from the machine”.[2] The term has evolved to mean a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the inspired and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to allow a story to continue when the writer has “painted himself into a corner” and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or as a comedic device.

    LF was expected to show up.
    Episode 4 – LF convinces Robyn to take the Vale army and help his cousin
    Episode 5 he meets with Sansa and offers his help.
    Episode 7 – After seeing they need more men, she writes a letter, that if you paused on it, mentioned the Knights of the Vale.

  453. Ser Gerold Dayne,

    I doubt will see him again. I think from a tehnical POV, he will be left in this state.

    If they need him next season they can say he ran away.
    If they don’t they could just mention Karhold not having a lord…etc.

    Halfman,

    I know the feeling. I always post while I’m at work…… What can I say it gets boring sometimes and I do my job on my laptop anyway…so why not?

    Stranger’s Pooper Scooper,

    This, you are supposed to feel lost. Like Jon is.