Game of Thrones S6E09: The Battle of the Bastards

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I know, I know, we’re late again for the American audience, but hey, I’m lazy. Sue me. Anyway, here’s our review-cap for what could possibly be the greatest episode of Game of Thrones ever. Enjoy!

Allergy Warning: May contain spoilers.

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Lewis: I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that “The Battle of the Bastards” was potentially the best Game of Thrones episode we’ve ever seen.

Ben: I don’t think you are, it’s definitely the best one I can remember. Perhaps because the good guys won for a change? Anyway, where do you want to start?

Lewis: It’s probably going to go downhill from here, but it really was nice to have an episode where everything hung in the balance as usual but the good guys actually came out on top. As for where to start, shall we talk about Dany’s little battle before talking about the main event?

Ben: Yeah go on then, let’s get the side show out of the way. All the dragons came together to kick some ass with some solid computer generated effects.

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Lewis: They were a lot more impressive than they have been in the past, and we got a nice look at just how powerful they can be (and they’ll only get stronger as they grow).

Ben: They will indeed, the Masters didn’t stand a chance. So, now Dany has crippled the masters and removed the Sons of the Harpy, surely she is going to Westeros next with the help of the two Greyjoy’s?

Lewis: Well I don’t think the Masters are entirely finished yet, but given the incredible pace at which this season has been moving I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she turned up at Kings Landing at the end of the finale.

Ben: In past seasons it would have taken the entire 10 episodes for Dany to get away from the Dothraki, so you may be right. What do you make of the Tyrion/Dany/Greyjoy meeting?

Lewis: I really enjoyed that scene, especially the dynamic between Dany and Yara with the casual flirting (potential relationship?) Although the one gripe I have is that they seemed to manage to get to Meereen very, very, quickly considering just how far away it is from the Iron Islands.

Ben: It was quite entertaining, and I kind of get that vibe, but I don’t think anything will come of it.
I suppose you are right there but we don’t know how much time passed, and if I am being honest, I’d much rather things jump forward cutting unimportant parts rather than drag everything out.

Lewis: The thing is that journeys have always played a big role in the development of characters in Game of Thrones, like the Hound and Arya, Jamie and Brienne, and when the Starks headed down to King’s Landing, so it’s a shame for them to skip this particular one, especially when the characters (Yara in particular) aren’t as fleshed out as others… I do see your point though.

Ben: I take your point, perhaps she will be focused on more in the next series. Do you want to move to the main event?

Lewis: Yeah I suppose we should, considering just how goddamn epic the entire thing was.

Ben: So epic I don’t really know where to start. I suppose the first confrontation between the bastards Jon and Ramsey, where Jon tries to play the game attempting to get Ramsey to over commit and make a mistake. Which, to be honest, probably played a hand in Rickon’s very public execution.

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Lewis: Yes, although as Sansa said, I think Rickon was dead no matter what they did. It was interesting to finally see Jon and Ramsey meet, even if it was just to trade (kind of) witty banter and promise each other death. Sansa also got quite a nice snide remark in too, which was satisfying.

Ben: Oh yeah, but I think Jon’s attempt to goad Ramsey was the reason why he killed him the way he did. Then we had the confrontation between the siblings in the tent about the plan for the next day.

Lewis: Yeah, that was pretty good, and Sansa did have a good point about her not being a kid anymore. However, WHY DIDN’T SHE TELL JON ABOUT LITTLEFINGER? They could have planned a tactic that still would have caused Ramsey to engage his entire force without getting most of Jon’s army killed! For all she knew Jon could have died!
Look, I’m happy that Sansa has turned into a bit of a badass, but that doesn’t justify gambling on her family’s lives.

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Ben: I did wonder why she did what she did, I suppose she didn’t want Jon to stop her from going for help? I am definitely happy she is finally standing up for herself though.

Lewis: I’m not that happy about it, she’s spent too much time around Littlefinger for my liking…

Ben: Shall we move onto the harrowing battle?

Lewis: I suppose we should mention just how incredible/disturbing/depressing that sequence was.

Ben: It was incredibly grim, but at the same time wonderfully shot with incredible sound-editing which came together to produce the harrow, grim reality of medieval warfare.

Lewis: Oh yeah, the direction of this episode was absolutely superb. My favourite shot was when Jon was getting ready to face his doom at the hands of the charging cavalry, I got goosebumps over that scene. The follow-up continuous shot was pretty awesome too.

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Ben: It was pretty relentless, I was edging closer and closer to the edge of my seat throughout.

Lewis: Just to clarify, I never, ever talk/shout at the TV for anything, but this episode I was continuously swearing at the characters, muttering “no, no, no” and punching the air with excitement. I tip my hat to the creators for this one, top job. I was convinced that Tormund or Ser Davos were going to die though.

Ben: Oh yeah, there was a lot of shouting on my end, and I honestly thought Tormund was a goner too. So much for your theory about the Umber’s changing side when it came down to the fight.

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Lewis: Hey, listen, that’s not “my theory”, I read it online…

Ben: Well you mentioned it here so, by association, it is your theory.

Lewis: That won’t hold up in court and you know it
Anyway, I’m glad Tormund didn’t die, and, to be honest, I know Wun Wun was a great guy and all, but if anyone had to go I’m glad it was him.

Ben: At least Wun wun died like a hero, he became a character I really wanted to see because he was a bad ass.

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Lewis: Yeah he was a big brave bastard…
Speaking of bastards, how bloody satisfying was it to see Jon beat the shit out of Ramsay?

Ben: Some heroes hold the door, others break them down.
Never has a more vile character deserved such a grim ending.

Lewis: Indeed, it was nice to see the smug, sadistic smile slip from Ramsey’s face. It was also nice to see the Direwolf banner being raised over the battlements of Winterfell once more.

Ben: Got bloody goosebumps as the Stark emblem was raised. What do you make of the Sansa Ramsey confrontation before his grim death?

Lewis: I liked that Sansa finally served the justice we’ve all been waiting for, and he deserved everything he got, but I’m still worried about the direction she’s headed in.

Ben: Yes, after all she has gone through she deserved some violent vengeance. What do you make of Ramsey comments about always being a part of her? I’ve read a theory that she’s pregnant with a Bolton baby?

Lewis: To be honest I really don’t buy that theory, and I really hope it isn’t true because it feels a little weak. I’m certain he just meant that his abuse of her has changed the way she treats other people and views the world (like the way she manipulated Jon), and that he has had a lasting effect upon her mentally, becoming part of her.

Ben: Your theory makes a lot more sense, and you are right it would be a weak plot decision. Just thought it was worth a mention, even if it was to hopefully debunk it.

Lewis: It was definitely worth a mention, and it might even come true because of how ambiguous it was (although I hope it doesn’t). So next episode it looks as though Ser Davos will be confronting the Red Woman over the burning of Stannis’ daughter.

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Ben: It was a nice little scene with Davos and Tormund before he found the burnt stag. I was a bit worried it would affect his judgement in the battle, but it seems like he will be after some redemption in the next episode instead.

Lewis: Ah yeah, that was a good scene, I’m glad they’re getting along. I don’t think he’s confirmed his fears just yet, but he’s definitely suspicious. It’ll be interesting to see what Jon makes of it all, since he’ll probably be the one who has to pass judgement.

Ben: So am I, two top-blokes right there. It would be an interesting watch as he battles between the two sides.

Lewis: Indeed, punish the Red Woman for burning a child or deny Ser Davos justice in order to keep her counsel… I suppose that’s just about it then?

Ben: I guess it is. What a bloody good episode.

Lewis: The best yet I reckon. Bring on the season six finale then!

Ben: Hear, hear!

 

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