As expected, episode 9 of Game of Thrones Season 6 (Battle of the Bastards) was a real face melter. Rivaling Ned Stark’s beheading and the Battle of the Blackwater, Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton’s showdown was one of those pivotal moments that will be infinitely written into Thrones history.
We all knew things were gearing up to a epic battle scene and, despite not being overly shocking in terms of who was killed off, the producers succeeded in delivering an episode that was quite simply emotional overload.
Not to mention the visuals…hundreds of extras (many of which were from right here in Northern Ireland!), countless horses and incredible CGI combined with close-up shots from the depths of the battle to make the scenes almost palpable.
It all seemed a little bleak at first, with Jon leading only 3000 men into battle against Ramsay’s 6000. On the morning of the battle we said goodbye to Rickon Stark when, in typical Ramsay style, the Bolton Bastard played a disturbing run-while-I-shoot-you-with-arrows game. Needless to say this didn’t end well for Rickon, who clearly doesn’t know the zigzag rule.
Rickon’s death, while still pretty brutal, was not a big deal on the scale of the rest of the episode. He’d been off screen for so long that fans failed to invest emotionally in his character. Plus, at this stage of the game, it’s survival of the fittest and the youngest Stark was bound to meet his end one way or another.
Things got bleaker still when Jon lost his cool and charged into battle, against Sansa’s advice (he knows nothing, after all). Kit Harington really did get a chance to showcase his acting skills however, and there was a horrible human avalanche moment when I genuinely thought he might be suffocated by dead bodies.
The climactic shot of Jon Snow emerging from the sea of panicked Wildlings was a major fist-pump moment. As Ramsay closed ranks on Jon and his men, Little Finger turned up in the nick of time to save the day with the knights of the Vale (THAT’S what was written in Sansa’s letter last week). Thank the Gods.
While Ramsay made a quick U-turn to Winterfell, Jon, Tormund and our favourite Wildling giant Wun Wun were in hot pursuit, culminating in Jon beating Ramsay’s face to a pulp as he smiled in his usual creepy fashion. It’s too bad Wun Wun had to die in the process. #RIPGiant
That moment when the Stark banners were reinstated at Winterfell though…
Game of Thrones fans across the globe breathed a collective sigh of relief when Winterfell was taken back by its rightful owners. It was a key moment in that the fans, as well as the Starks, regained something that was lost many Seasons ago.
For the first time we saw a hint of fear in Westeros’ most notorious sociopath before he was eaten by his own hounds. Satisfying? Oh yes. Even more thrilling was Sansa’sThug Life-style exit from the scene. Iwan Rheon may play one of the most hated characters on the show, but his contribution has been incredible and he will be missed.
Across the Narrow Sea there was even more drama when Daenerys carried out her signature move on the Slave Masters…meet them under the guise of surrendering then get her dragons to burn the crap out of everyone.
While this was an awesome sight to behold, there is the suggestion that Dany might be becoming a little overzealous with the whole Fire and Blood thing. Tyrion ominously warned her of following in her father’s bloody footsteps, and her inner conflict between being the Conquerer and the Breaker of Chains appears to be reaching boiling point.
On the upside, there’s a potential hot new couple in the pipeline after Yara and Daenerys’ shared a major flirt-off.
Okay, it might be wishful thinking, but now that they’ve formed an alliance I have high hopes for #Daenara. It would be great to see two Queens ruling the Seven Kingdoms.
Back in Westeros we were left also left with Ser Daavos’ grim discovery of Shireen’s remains. Now he knows about her gruesome death, it’s likely he will be out to kill Melisandre. To be fair, she’s been moping around for the last few episodes and probably doesn’t have much more to give to the plot.
Game of Thrones fans are hailing Battle of the Bastards as the one of the best episodes in its history and I would have to agree. It was an astounding piece of television that was well worth the wait and I suspect a few Emmy nominations are the horizon.
As always with GoT, it’s bittersweet. Next week’s episode will be the last of the season *cries inside*. But if the last few are anything to go by, we’re in for a monumental finale.
Check out the preview for The Winds of Winter below and watch the finale on Sunday 26 June on HBO.