Before I start a couple of things. There will be spoilers, don’t go moaning at me when you read something that you haven’t already watched yet ok? If you do I will hold you in as high regard as I hold Dany’s story lines. Secondly, I’m not going to go through everything that happens in the episode, just little things that popped into my head as I watched. Sorted? Good, off we go.
It had all been building up to this. For four seasons we have heard about Wildlings and their threat to the wall, about Mance Rayder, the King beyond the wall and how he has gathered the free folk together to fight for a common cause. Four seasons we have seen how the Night’s Watch were under strength, an order of men who once commanded respect who are now forgotten by all of those who are south of them. Four seasons the 100,000 strong wildling army has been marching towards the wall…
And then they just ran away.
I liked a hell of a lot about this episode but the way that it all ended just fell a bit flat. I can understand Mance trying to test their defences but there never looked like there were more than a couple of hundred people lining up waving their spears and homemade bows. Why were only two giants and one mammoth sent to the gate with maybe ten other people (apart from the CGI budget?). Wildlings, for all we had heard and seen for four years were supposed to be wild people who weren’t afraid of anything but again, they ran away.
But enough about what felt a little flat, let’s have a quick chat about my top 5 moments of awesome:
1. Samwell “Open the fucking gate” Tarly
This episode really breathed new life into Sam. There’s only so much whining that you can put up with from a character and finally there is new reason to find Sam interesting on more than a “aww, isn’t he nice” level. Hearing him swear, and show some confidence was simply fantastic and in a show when the C word is banded about every other sentence to be shocked at someone saying “fucking” shows just how out of character it was.
Also, I really love how the writers made you feel like he was actually going to die by promising Gilly that he wasn’t. Yes as annoying as Sam could be you didn’t want to see him die and I’m sure those non book wankers out there had a mini hissy fit when he said that.
2. That 360 Camera Shot
This was just simply mesmerising and great credit should go to the director and all involved in that shot. Just as Jon makes his triumphant return to the castle grounds after killing a couple of Wildlings the camera panned around the castle capturing all the different battles happening, all in one continuous shot and it was magnificent.
3. GIANTS! (and a Mammoth)
The one thing I really wanted to see from this episode was more of the giants. I wanted to see them riding mammoths towards the wall, trunks trumpeting and by god we got it. Ok we may only have seen two giants and one mammoth, more would have been nice but they looked awesome. They looked fierce. And one thing that the Nights watch have now learnt; don’t kill a giants friend, it only makes him stronger.
Oh and that giant’s bow and arrow…hells yeah!
4. Ygritte’s Dead
I actually really liked that shot of Jon holding Ygritte as she died in his arms, it gave us closure on a story that had been going on for nearly two full seasons. That being said, I hope I never have to hear the phrase “You know nothing Jon Snow” in that accent again.
Also a note to the Wildling raiders: If you see man cradling a dead person on the battlefield, maybe go and kill him while he’s doing that? It would be a lot easier.
5. The Scythe
I’ve made it clear in the past that I am a book wanker but there are still lot’s of details that I forget and for the life of me I can’t remember if the Scythe happened in the book. That was truly epic. And who seriously thought that climbing up a great fucking wall was a sensible battle plan?!
I know I have had a whinge about the ending and maybe part of it was just down to thinking I knew what was coming but the episode was still a really great piece of TV. The ending with Jon going north was all a bit meh also but the fighting inside the castle and on top of the Wall looked fantastic and certainly had you on the edge of your seat.
A few quick final points:
– Seeing Ser Alliser be a pretty decent commander kind of takes away from him being a dick. He went one on one with Tormund and although he came of worse he still lived but he gave rousing speeches and led his men into combat. Yes he doesn’t like Jon but then, Jon is a miserable bastard.
– Janos Slynt being the coward we all know he was and being showed up by Sam was nice. Interesting to see how the brothers react to his cowardice.
– Pip and Grenn dying were actually pretty heart wrenching. They might not have been in actual episodes a great deal but they have been there since season one. Seeing Pip all nervous and being talked around by Sam, getting his first kill and then getting an arrow through the neck was pretty horrible. And Grenn, holding that gate and giving strength to those brothers around him as they faced an incoming giant was pretty special.
– The ever changing accent of Jon Snow. How many different accents were in that episode? I’m going to say about 7.
Well, one more to go for this season. Episode 10 – “The Children”. Interesting to see what stories the wrap up here and how they leave us this season. A cliffhanger or a satisfying ending? Check out the preview below
Please feel free to share this little blog around if you like it, I write it for myself really but always nice to see what other people think about the episodes.