Ding-Dong the Warden is dead! The Warden of the North is dead, HE’S DEAD!
It’s not every day that a Game Of Thrones episode leaves you absolutely elated as the credits roll, but “Battle Of The Bastards” definitely did! I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was nervous about the fate of some of my favorite characters - my beloved Jon Snow in particular. Thankfully though, the right people were killed off in this episode, thus giving us a false sense of security for the time being. (Hey, that’s more than enough for me, so I’m taking it!)
Burn baby, burn…
Daenerys returned last week to find Meereen under attack. The show opened with catapults still hurling burning pitch at the Pyramid while Tyrion tried to explain what had happened during her absence. It was like watching a kid try to reason with his parents when he knows he’s in trouble, but still hopes to find a way to avoid the blame. You couldn’t help but laugh as he boasted about all the peace and success he brought to the city, punctuated by vibrations and shattered remains as the attacks continued on the building. He reasoned that the masters were attacking Meereen because it had been doing well without the institution of slavery, meaning that the masters were no longer needed, and other cities would follow Meereen’s example.
Daenerys agreed and said that she would kill the masters and destroy anyone and anything that interfered with her mission. Tyrion likened her to her father, the Mad King, who had set up caches of wildfire beneath Kings Landing to destroy anyone he thought to be an enemy. He proposed instead that they call a meeting with the masters. The masters smugly sauntered in and dictated the terms for her surrender: 1) Flee on foot like the beggar queen that she is. 2) Return the Unsullied back to them since Daenerys had stolen them from Kraznys mo Nakloz. 3) Kill the dragons. When they told her that her reign was over, Daenerys gave them that smirk she has when she’s about to take care of things #likeaboss. Cue Drogon swooping in, and Daenerys climbing on his back.
An aerial view showed that the Sons of the Harpy were killing people in the streets until the most welcome sound was heard: Daenerys’ new khalasar, headed by Daario Naharis, charged in to take care of business as severed heads flew through midair. Meanwhile, Daenerys’ other two dragons, Rhaegal & Viserion, joined Drogon in the air and helped him burn down some of the ships.
As they watched all of this unfold, Tyrion, Missandei and Grey Worm tied up the loose ends with the masters. Grey Worm told the soldiers defending the masters that the men could continue to fight for people who would never fight for them or go home to their families. These soldiers definitely weren’t fools. They dropped their weapons and hightailed it out of there, leaving the masters to fend for themselves. Tyrion thanked the masters for the armada they had provided them with, but reminded them that they had violated the terms of the pact they had made weeks ago and thus needed to be punished. It was decided that one of the three must die as recompense. The two older masters pushed the youngest one in front and Grey Worm was happy to oblige – by slitting the throats of the older two in one beautiful stroke. The third man who had been volunteered was told to go home and spread the world about what would happen to those who dared to challenge Daenerys.
Why can’t we be friends…
If showrunners want us to believe that Arya can survive a life-threatening wound and defeat a highly-skilled assassin, then it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to believe that the Iron Fleet made their way halfway around the world in no time. That’s right, Theon and Yara Greyjoy reached Meereen and requested an audience with Daenerys. Tyrion gave Theon a hard time for having betrayed the Starks, but Theon and Yara quickly found themselves in the queen’s good graces. In exchange for their ships, they only wanted the Iron Islands back. Yara pulled the #girlpower card often as she found a lot in common with Daenerys – namely the fact that their fathers were horrible and that no one wanted a woman to rule. Daenerys agreed to form an alliance with them, provided that they stop with the raiding, reaving, reaping and raping that they’re notorious for. Surprisingly, Yara agreed, despite this being the Ironborn way of life.
Love is a battlefield…
And now – the reason behind the title “Battle Of The Bastards.” Jon, Sansa, Davos, Tormund and the bad-ass Lyanna Mormont met with Ramsay and a group of his diplomats to come to terms the day before the battle. Ramsay told them he was a man of mercy (cough, cough) and would return Rickon and forgive those who had rebelled against him if they swore loyalty to him and Sansa was returned. After all, with their meager numbers, it’d be a pity for so many people to die for nothing. Jon agreed and suggested that a one-on-one match between the two of them could determine the outcome instead. However, Ramsay said that he didn’t know whether he could defeat the famous Jon Snow, but he knew his army could. (Coward) At which point Sansa’s told him, “You’re going to die tomorrow Lord Bolton. Sleep well.” Attagirl! SO PROUD OF YOU!
Later that night, the final battle plans were drawn. No one felt great about their odds, but there wasn’t much they could do. When everyone left, Sansa told Jon that she knew Ramsay better than anyone and should have been consulted. She admitted that she didn’t know anything about strategy, and the only advice she could offer was, “Don’t do what he wants you to do.” That’s VERY specific, my lady.
Not that Melisandre came up with anything better. When Jon asked for her advice she said, “Don’t lose.” Well, I guess that about covers it, right? Jon asked her not to bring him back this time if he died again, but thankfully Melisandre didn’t agree to that since she serves the Lord of Light, and only he knew the reason why he gave Melisandre the gift to resurrect him. (Mr. Lord of Light, I’m sure you’re pretty busy, but it’d be cool if you kept our favorite guy alive for as long as possible. Thanks!) Ironically, Melisandre might not be alive for much longer because Davos found the pyre where Shireen was burned alive in Season 5. Once Davos gets a hold of her, it’s not going to be pretty.
But enough babbling. Let’s fast forward to the INSANE battle shot in such a way that you probably felt like you were right in the thick of things. Of course Ramsay had to be his charming self before everything got underway. He brought Rickon front and center all tied up. Then he cut the rope, set him free, and used him for target practice when the poor kid ran for safety. Now it’s no surprise that the youngest Stark child was killed, nor did we expect anything less from Jon when he did all he could to save his baby brother, but it still hurt all the same. (On second thought though, better you than the other Stark kids, Rickon. #sorrynotsorry)
Ramsay may have unnerved Jon in the beginning, but Jon’s a veteran in the field, and he absolutely crushed it during the battle. It was difficult determining who was on which side until the Bolton army had Jon, Davos, Tormund and the remaining members of the opposition surrounded. Things definitely looked bleak when what to my wondering eyes did appear, but the Knights of the Vale coming to the rescue with Littlefinger and Sansa looking on from the sidelines. Like a coward, Ramsay rode back to Winterfell with Jon, Tormund, and Wun Wun in hot pursuit. Ramsay thought he could hide behind the castle walls, but when you have a giant on your side, anything is up for grabs. Wun Wun broke down the door and was met with a bunch of arrows which unfortunately killed him, the shot to the eye by Ramsay the final blow. As Jon charged at Ramsay, Ramsay shot arrows at him in vain. Jon knocked him down and began punching him to oblivion for all he had done to his family before he saw that Sansa was watching him.
I’m not sure what Jon had planned for Ramsay, but fittingly it was Sansa who finished him off. Tied to a chair and beaten to a bloody pulp, his hounds slowly emerged from their kennels. Ramsay was so sure that the dogs wouldn’t attack him, because he was their master. But there’s no such things as loyalty when you’re starving, seeing as Ramsay hadn’t fed them in a week, in order to keep them ravenous. Thus, it was a joy to hear the pure terror in his voice when they began devouring him. Naturally, Sansa walked away smiling as I’m sure all of us did, too.
What did you think of “Battle Of The Bastards”?