Game of Thrones, season 6, S06E09, entitled Battle of the Bastards did not disappoint fans nor reporters alike, as evidenced by the quick reviews available already. However many predicted and anticipated the coveted death of the worst Game of Thrones villain ever to appear on HBO’s Game of Thrones, Lord Ramsay Bolton, but it did not “spoil” a single moment!
In fact, for a few short, terrifying moments, when Jon Snow found himself not only lacking in army but completely and utterly without defense, it appeared that the popular leader of Game of Thrones season 6 may have been cruelly brought back from the dead by the Red Witch, just to die again on the battlefield. Now, apparent to this author, the way Jon avoided arrows, spears, knives, swords, horses’ hooves and other means of dying proves that he has been “chosen” in some way to live and is looking infallible at this point.
Another anticipated event to most of us dedicated GoT watchers, was the appearance just in the nick of time of Littlefinger’s cavalry of the Knights’s army of the Vale. Why Sansa did not tell Jon she had sent a message is still puzzling. Was she not sure if they would arrive and didn’t want to give him false hope? Or is there some other reason, to be discovered when Littlefinger spells out what he needs in repayment for his part in reclaiming Winterfell? Next week’s Game of Thrones season 6 finale will no doubt leave us for the summer with some new bombshells.
The best part for the fans of Game of Thrones happened of course, within the gates of Winterfell that were busted through like kindling and the last act of the big Wilding giant Wun Wun. As he kept coming riddled with Bolton arrows closer and closer to those gates, the big giant was showing signs of slowing down but not until Ramsay committed his last act of an arrow to the head, did the big guy fall. That was the moment when Jon Snow’s opportunity unfolded to leap upon the wicked, evil, sadistic, murderous Ramsay Bolton and beat him to a bloody pulp. Because Sansa was watching, and she deserved to be involved in the actual kill, Jon did not finish the deed but had the bloody mess of a man flung into a dungeon.
Yes, again predictable and anticipated, but not disappointing one bit, the satisfying “sequel” to Sansa Stark Bolton’s wedding night rape, the torture of Theon Greyjoy and the killing of the innocent Walda and baby (and now Rickon Stark’s death) was delivered. Bolton had set up his own torturous way to die by starving his vicious hounds who no longer put loyalty over hunger; Sansa unleashed the beasts into Ramsay’s cell and watched as they killed the man who would make her a widow.
As Sansa turns her back, an episode ending of merit, with the little smile that said it all, one was reminded of how much the character of Sansa Stark has evolved over the 6 seasons of Game of Thrones. Arya Stark was the feisty one when they were girls; Sansa was the proper one, the one who learned womanly things in preparation for a life as a Lady, wife and mother. This was a moment in the Game of Thrones series that Sansa Stark has joined the ranks of other powerful women like Cersei Lannister, Danaerys Targaryen and Yara Greyjoy. I predict good things in store for her in the final 2 years of the Game of Thrones dynasty.
It was very well thought out of the writers and producers of Got to have the battle last week of reclaiming Riverrun by the Kingslayer, Jaime Lannister as by wits more than blood. The only fatality in fact was that of Blackfish which wasn’t even shown on the screen. Too many bloody battles can turn even an avid fans’ stomachs, and director Miguel Sapochnik, who delivered the epic episode Hardhome last year between the Night’s Watch, the Wildings and the White Walkers, was also the director of this week’s Battle of the Bastards. It was extremely visual and violent; slashing, shooting, spearing, trampling and even biting close-ups entered our living areas. Many GoT-inspired dreams and nightmares may have perpetrated throughout the night.
Other storylines besides the battle for Winterfell were handled well also if not secondary. Perhaps, the dragon trio and Danaerys should have had their moment last week instead of sharing the marquee with Jon Snow. I had predicted either a dragon battle or the arrival of Yara and Theon Greyjoy to the Essos city, and actually both happened. After the annihilation of the slave masters in their ships in the harbor by zooming, dipping, deadly dragon firepower, the Greyjoys have an audience with Queen Dany.
An alliance between Yara and Dany is fodder for some good material in the week and seasons to come. Another side storyline that will need to be addressed soon is the truth coming out to Ser Davos Seaworth (who also survived the Winterfell battle as well as Grisbane) about what really happened to Stannis’s daughter and the part played by the Red Witch. In fact, there is much material and unanswered questions in this battle for the 7 Kingdoms to warrant an interesting and eventful finale next week. Where is Arya Stark at this point? Sam and Gilly? What is happening in King’s Landing and north of the Wall? It is hard to believe that the 6th season of Game of Thrones on HBO is coming to a close.
Best quote of the episode:
“You’re going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton,” Sansa Stark told her husband the day before the battle; “Sleep well.”