Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards

Welcome to the Q&A of Season Six, Episode Eight “No One” of GAME of THRONES. As always Earl and David have not read the books, but David has seen all the Blu-Ray extras, and since we have out-paced most of the book story-lines, we have added a third person to the roster, so please welcome Shauna to the Questionnaire! or should we call this our Game of Thrones Roundtable? Shauna has read the books, but promises to keep her fancy book-learnin to a minimum. Also, The Earl of Brew, second of his name, rider of Subways and defender of Brooklyn, has also joined the Dork Side as a book reader, but other than torturing David about Gendry, hasn’t caught up yet.

This week, we decided to just give our thoughts on the episode instead of our standard Q&A

Earl: This is the sixth season of Game of Thrones, and like the previous five seasons, the ninth episode of the season will go down as the best of the season. Yes, episode ten of this season might be great, but I feel confident in declaring The Battle of The Bastards as the best episode of this season. In Battle of The Bastards there were battles, great character dialogue, and we had scenes that will move the plot line forward.

In Meereen we saw the makings of Queen Daenerys. With her dragons, the Unsullied, and the Dothraki she finally has the army she will need to begin the quest of taking Westeros. Her dragons burned the slavers ships, the Dothraki slaughtered the Sons of the Harpy, and the Unsullied kept the peace. We also saw the union of Daenerys and the Iron Islands, when Yara and Theon offered their allegiance to Daenerys. In that scene in the Great Pyramid we saw great acting and dialogue between Daenerys, Tyrion, Yara, and Theon. It makes you hopeful that the foursome will have some interesting moments together going forward.Yara Greyjoy

However, the headliner of The Battle of The Bastards was in Winterfell. Jon and Sansa finally came face to face with Ramsay Bolton, and Ramsay is no more. The battle in itself was intense. I’m sure it was difficult to shoot and there was good usage of C.G.I. but the whole battle kept you glued to the screen. There were several moments where you wondered if the main characters would even survive. I’m glad Jon, Davos, and Tormund have survived relatively unscathed but there was serious doubts between the Bolton’s arrows, and armies that trapped the men in a tight circle of death.

Death was indeed certain until Sansa, and Littlefinger showed up with the Knights of the Vale. The Vale saved the day, Sansa was the hero, and she transcended from wounded bird in season one to conqueror in season six when she smiled, cruelly, at Ramsay being torn to shreds by his own hounds. Ramsay was indeed a part of Sansa, but unlike his influence on Reek (Theon), he did not destroy her. He strengthened her and she repaid his cruelty in kind in a way she could not have done seasons ago.

Ramsay SnowFinally, what did I think of the episode? After seeing it twice, I feel it will go down as one of the best episodes in show history but as far as the plot it leaves me with one huge question: will Jon and Sansa come apart at the seams? There is distrust between the two, and frankly they do not know each other well. Yes, they grew up together at Winterfell but if we go back to season one, we know that Sansa and Jon had no interaction together, Jon grew up sidelined by Lady Catelyn, and Sansa likely did not embrace Jon because her mother did not encourage it. Book readers know that Sansa and Jon had no interaction, but from the purpose of the show we should know that as well.

Now that Battle of the Bastards is over, where do they go from here? There are more questions than answers with those two and that is my biggest takeaway from this episode. I have no worries about where Daenerys goes from Meereen, but I wonder how Jon and Sansa will go forward. I assume we will begin to find that out in episode ten but that is my takeaway from episode nine.

Shauna:My mind is still reeling from that episode of Game of Thrones. To me, I think that is what the very best of television can do to you, that even days later, you can still recall the feeling of watching it. It was perfection.

So I begin…

I think it’s best for me to first start with Meereen, then the Battle and then address the state of the characters involved moving forward.

GoT MureenQueen Danaerys is coming into her own, and from what we can see, she’s taking absolutely no prisoners. She arrives, by dragon, to find that Meereen is under siege by the Slavers. Tyrion, who is mainly to blame for this situation seems to shrink in fear of his Queen, but she knows she has no time for reprimanding him; they must spring to action. Her plan to defeat the Slavers? Crucify the Masters, and reduce their cities to the ground… hmm where have we heard talk like that before? Tyrion reminds her and us, the viewers that Aerys, the Mad King, talked about burning cities too and look how well that turned out for him. Danaerys, in her defense, says that it is an entirely different situation that she’s in. Tyrion says, and I think we agree, it is not.

Now there are theories out there that state that Danaerys is actually the villain of “Song of Ice and Fire” and it is Jon that must save Westeros from her. She is the Mad Queen, and if we pay close attention to her rhetoric, it echoes with shades of that “burn them all” mentality. I think that having Tyrion and perhaps with the return of Jorah, they might be able to steer her clear of the Targaryen madness.

It was great to see the fragments of her army finally come together on screen: Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal together burning the Slavers’ ships, while the Dothraki horde stormed into the Pit to dispatch the Sons of the Harpy. She is becoming a formidible force to be reckoned and as Tyrion reiterates to the sole survivor of the Masters, “Go and tell everyone what happened when Danaerys’ Dragons came to Meereen.” Point taken.

GoT CanneNow on to the greatest battle that I’ve ever seen on television or film or anywhere—The Battle of the Bastards. Technically speaking, it was one of the most beautifully executed battles I’ve ever seen—better than Gladiator, Braveheart and Henry V put together. The tracking shot that follows Jon and place the viewer at his back only adds to the manic nature of a grisly battlefield. He dodges, we dodge. His heart beats out of his chest and so does ours.

We also learn a great deal about these two men simply from their military strategies, and this is so indicative of the brilliant attention to detail of Game of Thrones. Jon is a leader among his men, they love him because he fights with them and for them. His men rally to protect him when he is exposed in the middle of the field. Ramsey, on the other hand, treats the people around him like meat. He sends wave after wave of men towards Snow’s army and sits back, far in the distance, away from the fray, untouched by the conflict that he helped to start. That is Ramsey in a nutshell, he plays his game (“Run towards your brother”) and then retreats, to watch from a distance, the ramifications.

I was afraid that Jon was going to die. After being trampled accidentally by his own men, I was there with him as he was gasping for air among the dead, but with the strenght of all 62 men of House Mormont, he emerged from the pile, reborn and just in time to hear the Knights of the Vale approaching to turn the tide and win Winterfell back.

All I will say of Ramsey’s end is that it was fitting. Best line of the night, delivered by Sansa who, by the way, did an incredibly rare thing on Game of Thrones—she exacted revenge on someone who hurt her and twice!

Ramsey: “My dogs are loyal beasts”Fav GoT

Sansa: “They were. Now they’re starving”

This exchange doesn’t just apply to Sansa’s revenge on Ramsey but holds true to the events in King’s Landing and perhaps even in Meereen of what happens when you treat the general populace without regard—if starved, they will attack.

So what does this all mean for the characters at play in this episode?

Daenarys: I think if not checked, she might just veer off to the dark side. She already has Daario spewing this “Queen of Dragons” rhetoric to her in her ear at night and now that she has the Dothraki, her dragons, the Second Sons and the Unsullied in addition to the 100 ships from the Iron Fleet, she is quickly becoming unstoppable. Hopefully with Tyrion by her side, she can learn the politicking to complement her massive force. Having aligned with Yara gives her her first real “friend” on that side of the world she’s trying to get to. I look forward to seeing what will develop from this friendship.

Jon: He has gotten back Winterfell (well, Sansa got Winterfell back) but what’s for him there? I hope that he goes into the next phase of his purpose, turning attention to how to fight the Night’s King.

Sansa: Here’s a tricky one. She was the one who essentially got Winterfell back; my only issue is that she kept the fact that the Knights of the Vale were on their way! Jon and his entire crew could’ve been completely slaughtered before they arrived. She’s definitely not the same Sansa we saw in Season 1, she’s a Baelish enhanced Sansa, but to what end? Is she going to continue to play this game and if so, I can’t imagine that she will ever be able out manuever the greatest puppet master of all, Baelish himself. Whatever deal she made with Baelish to get the aid of the Knights of the Vale, I hope that she’s prepared to deliver.

Wun-Wun: R.I.P to the last of the Giants.Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun

Davos and Melisandre: So, Davos found the stag that he gave to Shireen, and clearly has put two and two together that her fate has something to do with Melisandre. He kept his peace in order to fight with Jon, but I imagine that next week’s episode will have them coming to a head. I can’t see Melisandre making out of this season.

Yara and Theon Greyjoy: Yara, Queen of the Iron Islands with no more raping and pillaging, I’m all for it.

#QueensofWesteros

David: This was a stunning episode, but I have to be THAT GUY, there are some major flaws that should have been easy to clean up. First off, I wish we would have gotten Dany’s comeback in episode 10, and this episode have been nothing but the Battle of the Bastards.

Lets go though the two plotlines. I’m sure my companions can lavish all the praise this episode deserves.

I do love the way it was done. Dany wiped out the slavers, ended the rebellion, got some ships, and best of all, the episode showed us again that Grey Worm is a bad-ass. The conversation with Tyrion showed that even though he was wrong, he still has some use to Dany, and she is smart enough to see it. Did you notice that Dany looked over at Tyrion before taking Yara’s hand? Just saying.

But

Ok,

The Dothraki basically took out 20 or so Sons of the Harpy who for some reason were killing people outside the gates. Really? Thats not exactly impressive. Should have been taking out the landing force on the beaches. The Dothraki horde wiping out an actual army.

danceofdragonsdanydrogonThe Greyjoys did nothing. NOTHING. They couldn’t have come up behind the Slavers Navy and blocked the port- or SOMETHING?

Dany freed the other two dragons- doesn’t she think they might be a little upset about being chained? Plus, they still got to eat. Dragons are expensive, and hard to control at the best of times. Now you just let two out of juvie, Good Luck.

Now the Battle of the Bastard was BEAUTIFULLY shot, and showed just how dirty and nasty war in these times can be- other than a Giant, of course, but this was frikken amazing to watch.

BUT

Let me get the big one out of the way.

Sansa messed everyone over. Seriously. She couldn’t TELL Jon to wait a day? Or a few hours? Considering the Cavalry the Snow Force had, the Vale could have made that a blistering victory with far smaller losses. She really screwed over both brothers. Had the Vale forces launched at the backside of the Bolton Army,possibly Ramsey didn’t have all day to play with Rickon. That was a MAJOR failure on her part.

Shoutout to the Cannae battle. Gotta love it. That was well done. Problem was, of course, had Wun Wun grabbed a tree, that may have helped break it, and how did the giant wall of bodies get there? But it was very well done.

RickonRickon, he couldn’t learn to sagger-dance? Even during the show, I was telling the Wife he needed to turn around and watch. Singular arrows are ineffective even with master archers at medium distance. Just a useless end to a useless character. Funny how the youngest of the Stark Boys is the only one to be buried at the crypt.

The battle though. Just amazing to watch. I’m not sure what Snow’s plan was. I think he almost wanted to die, just to save his brother.

Few minor notes.

Wun Wun went out like a boss. He should have grabbed a tree or a boat and used it as a shield. I guess Wildling don’t care for defense.

Tormund got to kill Lord Umber, the guy that turned in Rickon because he hated Wildings. Just great justice there.

Speaking of Justice. The Death of Ramsey just paid off wonderfully. I’m sure Theon will be happy.

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