Revue of Game of Thrones S06E09
Finally, we get the battle we’ve been craving. The bastards clash in a Lord of the Rings-esque encounter.
But wait… before that we were treated to another battle – the siege of the Pyramid at Meereen by the slave masters, and the Terms of Surrender negotiations, which were in their own rights really cool.
So let’s start at Meereen.
Daenerys and Tyrion spar on, well… governance, and tyranny. Tyrion does quite well really, considering that Daeny returns to a kingdom under siege. Well, he eventually convinces her not to go the way of her infamous sire, and thereby prevents an annihilation of the slave masters and their people.
Fast forward to a brilliant negotiation, and the attack of the dragons on the ships of the slave masters. Commendable graphics too. Drogon and his brothers were entirely believable, as were their streams of flame. Then there was the Dothraki descending on the Sons of the Harpy and Grey Worm killing two masters with one masterful slash. To bring the Meereen side of things to a close, we were treated to the Tyrion/Daenerys/Theon/Yara conversation, wherein the women formed an alliance after touching base on their evil dads and queenly ambition.
So back to Winterfell…
Jon displayed his Stark traits of silliness. Despite Sansa’s warnings and a well thought out battle plan, he allowed himself to be drawn into charging the Bolton army. We understand that the cruel death of Rickon was a lot to bear, but the essence of leadership is to keep a cool head in times of adversity.
So no expense was spared in the Battle, which, true to GoT tradition was full of carnage. Great actions sequences, with expected dramatic last minute interventions. First, Jon’s army catching us just as the Bolton hosts were about to overwhelm him, then the eventual appearance of Sansa and Littlefinger.
The battle was graphic, and as Ramsay’s army, organized and level headed, surrounded and choked the Stark and Wilding army, a palpable sense of despair hung over the atmosphere. Jon Snow barely escaping being smothered to death by corpses and dying men did not help matters, and we were forced again to rue his failure to hearken to Sansa’s advice not to be goaded by Ramsay. We welcomed the last minute intervention of Sansa and Littlefinger with open arms, even though we expected it all along.
And so Ramsay retreated into the keep at Winterfell, still assuming that he could hold it against Jon and Sansa and the leftover of the Wildings and of course, Wun Wun the giant. He had obviously not listened to stories of the Wilding invasion of the Wall, even though he had earlier claimed to have heard about Jon’s prowess. The defence of the keep was of course an anticlimax, with Wun Wun at the head of the charge. His heroic death accentuated Jon’s Pyrrhic victory. We really would have loved to have him at the great winter battle.
On a final note, please ensure you keep your hounds fed, something else nobody told Ramsay. The most significant aspect of that scene however was not the inevitability of the law of karma, but the steely, unflinching stare of Sansa as she watched him being torn apart by his starved hounds. In all fairness, Sansa has gone through quite a lot at the hands of the two most hated GoT characters (King Jofrey and Ramsay). We couldn’t really have expected her to remain the naïve girl of the first season. Indeed, her calm assessment of Rickon’s life expectancy ought to have prepared us for the dispassionate manner she conducted Ramsay’s execution. We are reminded of Tyrion’s earlier statement “Lady Stark, you may yet outlive us all”. How she has changed!
So we have seen the penultimate episode of the season, and will soon be faced with another nine months of anticipation. Hopefully, Episode 10 (the Winds of Winter) will not be anti-climactic after the Battle of the Bastards. I hear it’s about 70 minutes long. May it be as explosive as it is lengthy!
Revue contribution by Noel Orji