Thanks for stopping by.  If you have not seen Game of Thrones (GOT) Season Six Episode 9 (S6/E9) titled ‘Battle of the Bastards’, please come back after you have.  There are going to be loads of spoilers in this little recap.  If you keep reading, you’re going to know how it all went down.

In case you are a skip-the-first-paragraph kind of person, this post will contain spoilers for GOT S6/E9 ‘Battle of the Bastards’.

Final warning!

I originally intended these recaps to be quick and concise.  I’m doing some other writing, and it can be slow going.  This provides a nice break and a change of pace.  The last few posts started getting a little long.  I am going to try and get back to the original intent.  Besides, there are already so many good GOT reviews and recaps.

1.  The 9th episode in every GOT season is epic, and ‘Battle of the Bastards’ can proudly claim its rightful spot in that Pantheon of awesomeness.  The director and writers skillfully covered two important, huge battles, and neither suffered from splitting time.

2.  Sooner or later, it seems like word is going to have to get out that if you are working against Team Daenerys, you should send deputies to explain to her that she has been defeated and needs to surrender or flee.  She tends to turn the tables in those meetings, with fiery, disastrous results for her opponents.

3.  Daenerys’ meeting with the Masters during the naval siege was powerful and dramatic, but I did find myself thinking that a lot of slaughtered citizens of Meereen probably would have preferred that she skip the lengthy discussion and send in the dragons straight away.  The meeting allowed Daenerys, Tyrion, and Greyworm to correct the Masters’ mistaken impression that they held the upper hand, but it seems like Daenerys could have accomplished that by sending a messenger after her dragons had lit up half of their fleet.  That’s one reason among many that GOT has not invited me to write for the show – my version would have effectively killed a great scene.

4.  The meeting between Daenerys, Yara, and Theon was fantastic.  The writers did a great job with the fast-paced but thorough back and forth exchange.  The actors delivered those lines perfectly.  Daenerys genuinely looked surprised when Theon said (paraphrased), “oh no, not me, her.”  Side-note:  the Greyjoys appear to have some seriously fast ships.  Reminded me of the abduction scene where Inigo Montoya points out that a masked man in black is following them.  “I wonder if he is using the same wind we are using.”

5.  Let’s turn now to those bastards Snow and Bolton.  (Clarification for anyone reading who does not watch the show – the label bastard is used commonly throughout Westerosi culture.)

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Image from (first time using an HBO image, I hope that’s cool)

Tense, emotional meeting between Jon Snow, Sansa Stark, and Ramsay Bolton (and their advisors) on the field outside Winterfell’s walls.  Jon Snow pulled the old single combat challenge to rattle him, similar to teams calling timeouts right before big kicks or free throws.  It was a very Jon Snow thing to do, and was an effective means of demonstrating that Snow could benefit from Bronn’s Street Smart Fighting School.  Rickon’s prospects, never good, did not improve.  (The guy on the left in that image looks a little like Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai.)

6.  After the meeting, Sansa wisely cautioned Snow that Ramsay set traps, he did not fall for them.  Snow, to his credit, asked her a couple of times what she would have him do.  She acknowledged that she did not know, and that she was not schooled in combat and strategy.  Struck me during this scene that she could have used it as an opportunity to mention something important, but she chose not to.  More on that in a bit.

7.  Tormund and Davos.  I am probably not the only one who wishes these two could jointly rule Westeros.  Or perhaps Tormund and Brienne, with Davos as their Hand.  (That’s only if Tormund’s influence would lighten Brienne up a bit, rather than making Tormund overly formal.)  I figured there was a decent chance this would be Tormund’s final battle, so I was glad they worked in the walking chat between Tormund and Davos.  They finished by discussing pre-carnage rituals (drinking, walking, finding a discreet “throne room”), and then we followed Davos as he made his way outside the camp.  I wondered whether he would happen upon a Ramsay intrigue, possibly at the cost of his life, or find evidence of Shireen’s (sp?) final moments.  The latter.  Cue the music.

8.  It was heart-wrenching to see Ramsay send Rickon on a deadly Apocalypto race.  Despite walking right into Ramsay’s trap, it was inspiring to see Snow ride out for him.  After the scene, I wondered how Ramsay would have reacted if Sansa had been on the scene for a galloping rescue attempt.  Would it have thrown him for a loop?  Seeing the two armies lined up reminded me of Braveheart.  Not a bad thing, great movie.  (Too soon for a reference to 1979’s ‘The In-Laws‘, starring Alan Aarkin and Peter Falk?  Probably, sorry.)

9.  The battle was horrific.  The director put the audience right in the middle of it, giving us a sense of the confusion, the terror, the violence, and also the courage.  Anyone else find it hard to breathe as Snow desperately clawed his way out from beneath the mass of dead bodies and stampeding warriors?  Gandalf and Eomer’s Rohirrim…sorry…Baelish and the Knights of the Vale arrived just in time to hit Umber’s shield and spear infantry.  As Baelish and Sansa looked on, I imagine a lot of us wondered why Sansa didn’t tell Snow that she had sent a raven, and that they should hold off attacking until they had heard from Baelish.  I think the next episode is going to have to address that question.  I also thought that it was a risky move for the ever-calculating Baelish, but he always leaves himself an out.  If the Knights of the Vale had been just a little too late, do any of you think Baelish would have turned Sansa over to a grateful Ramsay?  Or secret her away to the Vale?

10.  Some final notes.

It was awesome seeing Wun Wun smash the gate, but it was sad to see him go.  How about a second trip to the Princess Bride well.  The Dread Pirate Roberts to Fezzik the Giant:  “…but for now, sleep well, and dream of large women.”

Sansa:  “No one can protect me.”  Realism or an unknowing, hidden reference to Arya?