*Disclaimer: I reserve the right to the excessive use CAPITALS and exclamation points!!!*
I swear 90% of this made me shriek “OH MY GOD!!!! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?” Because this episode put the EPIC back in epic fantasy (yes I went there).
My one complaint is that this felt like two episodes. I don’t see why they couldn’t separate the two battles into two episodes, considering how so much of this series has felt sorely lacking in action. If all of the battle at Meereen had happened last episode, then there would have been a lot more satisfaction from viewers about the last episode. But other than that this episode was PERFECT- so I’m gonna quit complaining pronto and get to talking about the SHEER AWESOMENESS that is Game of Thrones! So Let’s start with:
Part 1– The Battle of the “Bastards” – Dany in all her Glory
*This will get spoilery- starting now!*
The first part of this episode restored my faith in dragonkind. I may have mentioned this once, or a thousand times on this blog, but dragons are by far my favourite mythical creature. So I was disappointed this year that I wasn’t as roused by the dragon scenes this year- until now. Because three dragons wreaking havoc puts me in a good mood for some reason. At last, Dany was back to her glorious self- meting out justice, listening well to Tyrion’s excellent advice and kicking some seriously pathetic tyrant butt! Just what I like to see!
But, let me be honest- that subheading is a bit misleading as none of the people involved in this battle were actually bastards- even if a few characters did semi-disown their fathers in their admission that they were monsters. I guess I will just have to invoke Tyrion’s adage that “all dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes”- because this was a battle for all the “bastards” of the world. It really felt like the downtrodden are finally having their day. And while not completely oppressed, it did feel like the episode was living upto that theme when the Greyjoy siblings stepped onto the scene fulfilling my dreams of a Targaryen-Ironborn alliance. And with it came Dany’s promise of a new world- restoring my faith in her ability to be more than just a conqueror queen and reminding me why she has always been in my top 2 picks to sit on the Iron Throne.
And while we are on the subject, let’s turn our attention to my other pick to rule Westeros…
Part 2 – The (Real) Battle of the Bastards – Jon Snow Lives On
…. But I think I’m going to die after this episode. There were parts while I was watching this where I *literally* couldn’t breathe. And not just because of the tension- but also because of the way they it was shot- which frankly was some of the best cinematography I have ever seen. Because of the camera angles, it 100% felt like I was experiencing the battle from Jon’s perspective. When the Boltons started to close in, I started to feel claustrophobic. When the army charged, I felt the panic. When the army was being trodden underfoot, I felt like I was being crushed. I could completely feel the chaos of warfare. Nothing- no battle I’ve ever seen on tv or film before- has ever felt more real. The whole thing really got my blood pumping and my heart freaking out! After it was all done, I was left shaking and with definite palpitations in my chest!
And then there was also the crazy emotional turmoil of the episode- like the visuals and the music seconds before the armies collide practically made me tear up. (Honestly I could go on about that stuff all day!) But let’s face it- we’re all thinking of the same gut wrenching scene: the moment when Jon rode out to save his brother. I’m sure every other viewer was like me in that moment- urging him on and practically screaming “C’mon Rickon! C’mon!” All the while knowing he wasn’t going to make it- and when he didn’t- it felt like my heart was pierced through with that arrow just as surely as his was. It was straight up one of the most awful scenes I’ve seen on Game of Thrones– and that’s saying something.
I confess I was rather wooed by the rather romantic notion that the Umbers were still loyal to house Stark that I’ve seen online over the course of this season. Obviously that would have been far too easy for Game of Thrones. The most now that survives from that theory is that Lord Umber hesitated for just a moment when he saw Jon Snow- other than that, the dream of those Northerners being loyal is as dead a Rickon Stark. (RIP) So yes, this was absolutely gut wrenching in more ways than one.
What also stood out about this episode was that it had some of the finest character development all season- which is funny considering how much of this season was dedicated to character development. But let’s face it, seeing people under pressure always shows off their character so much more than just idle chatter. Seeing Davos in his moment of realisation about what happened to Shireen was powerful beyond words- and a definite easter egg for the next episode. Jon Snow under pressure was also a sight to behold- and as I’ve already said, it felt like we lived this episode through his eyes- experiencing all his pain and anger and fighting alongside him. And yes, in terms of character development, he fell right into Ramsay’s trap- but let’s face it- that’s because he’s a human being with feelings and not an absolute psycho- cos only a psycho or someone that lived with said psycho would’ve been able to second guess those games… Which brings me onto the real star of this episode… Who might that be? I hear you ask. Well it was little Sansa Stark- all grown up.
And my goodness hasn’t this character grown so much more than any other on Game of Thrones (including her slightly feral sister)!?! Gone is the fragile, weak girl whose wolf got killed and saw her father die. She is now a force to be reckoned with! That moment when she rode in at the head of the Tully/Arryn army made my heart sing! She was absolutely legendary! Seeing her get her comeuppance on Ramsay Bolton was pure bliss (if a little grotesque- everyone that hoped he would have a bloody and poetically awful death was rewarded here) Finally all of Ramsay’s games have caught up with him.
Now I think that about sums it up- I think I’ve covered all the thoughts I had on this (minus all the swearing I had in my original notes 😉 ) Let me know what you thought in the comments below. Until next week…