Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Watchers on the Wall

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Watchers on the Wall.”

Whoa! I haven't enjoyed a GoT episode that much in a while! Episode 9 of each season has traditionally become the absolute must-see one, and "The Watchers on the Wall" easily continued that tradition. The entire ep takes place at the Wall as the Wildlings (finally!) attack; good decision to focus the entire almost-hour on this single plotline.

I usually go scene by scene for the recaps because each episode typically follows multiple story lines, but with this one all about the Wall and so much happening, I'm feeling like regular paragraphs without headings fit better this time. I'm also feeling very emotional after this ep, so I think there's going to be a lot of swearing. So let's get started!

Jon and Sam are standing at the top of the Wall, and it's freakishly quiet, all calm before the storm and stuff. They have a little dude talk, with Jon asking Sam about Gilly, and Sam asking Jon about Ygritte, and Jon getting all flustered and declaring that he cannot eloquently discuss such matters because he isn't a bleeding poet. That line made me laugh.

The Wildlings are enjoying a little downtime, too, with Tormund regaling everyone with a classy tale of his exploits. Ygritte is in a bitchy mood, getting her arrows ready for Jon Snooow. Styr, the dude who ate that poor kid's mama and papa earlier in the season, tells her that he doesn't believe she killed Jon or will kill him once they reach the Wall. Ygritte calls Jon's kill for herself, threatening anyone who dares try.

Sam is in the library when Maester Aemon walks in. Sam still thinks Gilly is dead because he sent her to Mole's Town, where the Wildlings rampaged in the previous ep. Wise Maester Aemon says he knows Sam is in love with Gilly, which Sam tries to deny. I loved Aemon's line, "Love is the death of duty."

Pyp is guarding the gate, and guess who turns up there? Gilly and the baby, alive! Sam hears her cries, and he tells Pyp to let them in. Pyp says he has orders not to allow anyone passage, and Sam is like, "Open the fucking gate!" That was awesome. But the reunion is interrupted by horn blasts: the Wildlings are here! The Wildlings are here!

The Night's Watch scrambles to defend the Wall. Douchebag Janos Slynt can't help gleefully bossing Jon around. Jon gets a surprising admission from Alliser Thorne that they should have listened to Jon and sealed the tunnel. But before this can turn into a bro moment, Thorne reminds Lord Snoooow that if they survive, they'll go right back to despising each other.

Sam whisks Gilly and baby to a hiding place, but she doesn't want him to leave and go to battle. He says he has to uphold his vows and do what he's gotta do, then kisses her. A very awwww moment, indeed!

Welp, Mance Rayder promised to light a fire the likes of which the North had never seen, and so he did. Plus, he sent some giants and woolly mammoths and some other scary looking things just for good measure. The Wildlings also launch an attack at one of the gates, and Thorne takes off to fight there, leaving Slynt in charge of the archers. Slynt is useless and later hides while the men who are supposed to be his brothers lose their lives.

Down at the gate, Thorne warns the men there that the Thenns will eat them if they die, so they better not die. Thorne is such an asshole to Jon, but I gotta say, I really liked all of his rah-rah speeches in this episode, and he was right in the thick of the battle.

The fight scenes in this episode were amazing. Did you see the giant put an arrow through one of the Night's Watch and send the poor guy flying? Oh my God! I felt bad for the fallen brother, but seven hells! That was crazy in a very cool way.

Pyp, who was seen earlier with shaking hands before the battle began, kills a Wildling, only to be killed himself by Ygritte. Dammit! Not Pyp, you bitch!

One of the giants attaches a giant hook to the gate and then fastens the other end of the line to a giant mammoth. With that much giant power, that gate isn't going to hold for long.

Thorne and Tormund are squaring off one-on-one in an especially vicious fight, and Tormund ends up slicing Thorne. Even down and bleeding out, Thorne shouts for the remaining men to, "Hold the fucking gate! Hold it!"

Jon is about to jump into the fray, and he puts Dolorous Edd in charge. I love Edd, and I loved his "Light the fuckers up!" line.

Grenn and five other brothers are down in the tunnel, trying to keep the Wildlings from breaching the gate. Guess what's there to meet them? A giant! One guy is particularly scared, and Grenn begins reciting the Night's Watch vows. Soon everyone else joins in, making this scene beyond epic.

Guess who else is about to help defend the Wall? Ghost! Ghost! Ghost! I looooooved that scene!

Styr the Thenn is beating the hell out of Jon as Ygritte secretly watches. Jon manages to kill Styr, and then Ygritte moves in for her kill. She waits too long, though, and that little kid whose mama and papa got eaten by Styr puts an arrow in her. Her final words? Yep: "You know nothing Jon Snoooow."

With most of the Wildlings dispensed of, the Watch is ready to clean up a little, but Tormund is still fighting like a madman. Jon tells him that it's over, and Tormund is hauled away. Gilly and the baby are safe, Jon and Sam are alive, but Grenn is dead. I'm busted up about both Pyp AND Grenn dying because dude, they were Jon's buddies from the beginning.

The Night's Watch may have fought off the Wildlings this time, but Jon tells Sam that Mance Rayder won't stop here. Jon sets out to find him because it's the only way to put an end to the fighting. He gives Longclaw, the sword Lord Commander Mormont gave to him, to Sam, saying that he promised Mormont he'd never lose it again, and he's not sure if he'll return from his Mance mission. The ep ends with Sam telling Jon to come back.

Next week is the season finale! The scene I'm most interested in from the preview is the one of Tyrion lurking around. Trust me, you'll want to take a huge interest in what he's doing, too.


  1. OMG, you were right when you tweeted me about the episode being OMG! It was so frickin EPIC!!!

    - Aemon: I was surprised to know he's one of the T's, I wonder if he got a dragon as a pet when he was a kid?
    - Sam & Gilly: They're too cute! I wish they survive this... thing!
    - Giants: They look like the dwarves from LOTR except they're giants of course. The other one looked like he had a penis/balls in his forehead.
    - Thorne I feel bad for and Gronn & the rest of the other giant slayers made me tear up a bit. HEROES!
    - Ygritte: Yup she's a bitch but at least she got killed in the end. No more of that woman scorned BS
    - Jon: Yes it's a bad plan but it's a plan.

    I've had mini spoilers from my good kid via the books, I wonder if Stannis will start sailing/riding towards the Wall, if not then I guess that'll be next season. But I'm hoping that the last episode will be an epic one. GoT has a thing about the last two episodes, they always make them great. Remember the Red Wedding? Gah!

    1. This has instantly become one of my all-time favorite episodes. I've re-watched it twice since Sunday, and I'll watch it many more before the season finale this Sunday. So many great lines, the action sequences were outstanding, and just ... AAAHHHH!!!!

      Thorne has never been a favorite character of mine, but he was freakin' awesome in this ep. For as much as he hated Jon, he did do his duty to the Watch. Hell, his speeches made me want to defend the Wall!

      "The other one looked like he had a penis/balls in his forehead." BAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

      I'm psyched for the finale, though it also brings me great sadness to have to wait another whole year for more GoT. And I'll never forget the Red Wedding; damn Walder Frey & Roose Bolton!


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