Well here we are. We’ve arrived at episode 9. Historically e9 has been the big climactic action sequence. Last year we had the Fighting Pit in Mereen, and the year before that was the massive battle at the Wall. Season 3 had the infamous Red Wedding, while who could forget the illustrious Battle of the Blackwater in S2. Season 1 might be the only exception as its 9th episode showcased the surprise execution of Ned Stark, not exactly an action scene but in terms of a climax it was unprecedented.
So what did this season’s 9th episode bring us? Not 1 but 2 large scale battles. Let’s take out my magnifying glass and explore the richly dramatic contents and details of this episode.
The Most Valuable Dwarf
We start with Mereen, under siege by the Masters, with bombardments hitting so hard that Daenerys and Tyrion can barely have a conversation. My my those are a lot of ships attacking the city, whatever will they do? Not only that but inside the city the ground troops: The Sons of the Harpy, have begun killing the citizens and of corse, Dany’s forces. Tyrion is a bit embarrassed when Mommy comes home to find her house is a mess. In his defense he explains to Dany how the city was doing quite well due to his improvements, and that’s it’s because of Mereen doing so well that their enemies are furious. Dany believes him, and is eager to deal with the attack. This little 1 on 1 reminds us that Tyrion can talk (not necessarily lie) his way out of almost any situation, and that Dany has confidence in him. This is great, because I feel that their relationship will be crucial going forward.
Dany contemplates wiping out the entire regime, citizens and all in one fell swoop; However Tyrion nobly reminds her that, that’s exactly what her cray cray Father would have done, had it not been for his brother Jaime. (Careful Tyrion, you don’t want to imply that you are going to murder her.) This is quite a telling statement as it may very well pertain to a particular near future in one location of our story. Also we see that unlike her father, Dany has rectitude and patience in the heat of battle, and even when her enemies are in the midst of trying to kill her, she is not beyond listening to reason and taking a tactful approach. That’s what you absolutely have to admire about Dany, whether you like the actress or not, if you are a true fan of thrones you have to admire her passionate hatred of evil, and yet her willingness to make the extra effort to preserve the innocent. That’s what separates her from many other would be rulers, that just have to win at all costs, namely Stannis. If she can prove this to Tyrion, then perhaps Tyrion can persuade Jaime, and others of the 7 kingdoms that not all Targaryeans are cruel eccentric dictators. In fact Tyrion might actually be the only person capable of truly selling Dany’s campaign to govern Westeros, making him inexplicably valuable to her.
Getting back to the battle, Dany and Co. are discussing terms of surrender with their enemy, who is dictating the terms with a tone of bitter disrespect. They expect Dany to leave on foot and submit her “Unsullied” warriors along with Missandei to be sold back into slavery, meanwhile accepting that they will slay her dragons. Considerably, not the worst terms ever. Surprisingly they allow her to live, even though they say nothing of Tyrion, I suppose he would also go back into slavery. However, we know that words are wind, especially to these types, as Greyworm has emphatically told us, which means they would likely slaughter Dany the second they get the chance.
Regardless, Dany has absolutely no intentions to surrender, as made evident by her mounting Drogon and flying off to completely and utterly lay waste to their entire fleet.
The look on the faces of the enemy when Drogon arrives is priceless. Some of them look like that was the scariest F’ing thing, they’ve ever seen.
Even though we know Dany was not going to surrender, it was interesting to see that Tyrion’s generous treaty was not appreciated, and it’s satisfying to know that even with all his intelligence and experience Tyrion still needs to listen other people’s advice, reminding us that we never stop needing advice, and working together is key. In this instance Greyworm was right, even though you can’t blame Tyrion for trying to resolve things peacefully. Sometimes it’s better to give peace a chance even though you just have the feeling that it’s 99% unlikely that your enemy will adhere. It’s too easy to say that if Tyrion had never offered them peace then Mereen would at least been more prepared for war. Instead, you almost always want to evade war if at all possible. The anti war message has been 1 of the few clear and consistent themes through out the books and the show.
Tyrion mentioned the fleet from the enemy will come in handy; but I’m pretty sure the dragons scorched the ships into pieces. Strange. Watching the dragons soar through the sky and rain down a sea of flame is so incredibly awesome. Then, Daario leading the Dothraki into battle…I really love love this scene for all its worth. So suffice to say Dany wins the war, rather easily I’d say, but we are not done with this group just yet. Yara and Theon come to sell a package deal vacation cruise to Westeros to the Dragon queen. Boy their timing reeaallly couldn’t have been more convenient. If they had shown up just a few hours earlier…
Where did the Dragon’s go? I suppose Dany just let them fly off, seeing as how she can practically summon Drogon at will, and the others just come flocking.
Anyway Yara offers Dany 100 ships in return for letting Yara rule the Iron Islands while killing off some naysayers, and independence from Westeros. So wouldn’t you know it, ships at are at the very top of Dany’s Christmas wish list along with the Iron Throne. Tyrion points out that there should be more than just 100 ships in the Iron Fleet, but Theon is quick to mention that Uncle Eurry has’em. So you mean to tell me that when Yara & Theon snuck away from the Kingsmoot, they took their time to count out exactly 100 ships and only stole that many?
Tyrion says that along with the Masters remaining ships, that 100 more should just barely be enough to load up their men & materials and sail to Westeros, but I really don’t see how the Masters ships were obtained without being burnt. Did the Masters just jump off when they saw the dragons? Surely they would drown. Maybe their logic is “better to drown than to burn to death?” This is where the writing fails, but I can over look it, in light of that amazing battle.
So of corse Dany has to ask, "Why shouldn’t I wait for more ships?"(And more warriors for that matter) Theon is quick to point out that Euron is a manipulator who only wants supreme rule. He is not above murdering anyone that he sees fit. All four of these characters share this perspective, as their father’s were bad rulers who were murdered, and they had their birthrights denied (isn’t that the prerequisite for any and all GRRM characters?) So it becomes a, we scratch your back, you scratch ours type of deal. But Dany makes them swear no more Reaving, Roving, Raiding, or Raping (But what about Raving?) Ahhh yes the 4Rs, how could anyone give those up? That’s what makes life special. What does Dany have against Roving anyway? All kidding aside, Yara somehow agrees, perhaps out of sheer admiration or some girl power BS. It almost looked like Dany was going to seal it by kissing Yara (Blehhh)
Congratulations, you actually got the Ironborn leader to agree to stop their raping, now if only you could get the Dothraki to agree to that, hell will truly freeze over.
the War for WinterFell: Battle of the Bastards
In the North the Bolton forces and Jon Snow’s forces parley. Again 1 side expects a surrender yet they are mistaken, as their enemy shows quite a bit of resistance. Is this the show telling us that arrogance is a downfall? Scholars & philosophers will continue to debate the difference between arrogance and confidence but in this show it seems pretty clear that Ramsay is an arrogant bastard, and this is after all the Battle of the Bastards.
Jon tries a number of mind games on Ramsay, but none of his intimidation tactics seem to work against Ramsay’s truly sick sense of humor and self serving justice. Ramsay reminds Job he has twice as many soldiers & horses, he has Winterfell, and he has Rickon.
Sansa has the way of it. She leaves, knowing not to listen to his poison.
Psychological advantage: Ramsay Physical advantage: Ramsay
Ramsay, despite being an absolute prick, is no fool, quite the contrary, he is not only sly and cunning, and he is battle savvy. He has been taught how to direct an army to win, and how to exploit your enemy’s weakness. Jon on the other hand, is a bundle of raw emotions waiting to be spurred, and that’s exactly what Ramsay does, by sending Rickon to “Run Home Jack”. Sansa desperately tried to warn Jon that Ramsay would do something like this but Jon can’t help being Jon: he simply has to do what his heart compels him to do, just like when he went charging out to join Robb when he heard about the war.
So Jon foolishly and desperately goes charging off to save Rickon, as Ramsay casually entertains himself by shooting arrows at the poor boy, all the while knowing that even if Rickon manages to catch up to Jon, Jon has put himself in the danger zone. Ramsay picks off Rickon just before Jon’s arrival and Jon takes the bait by recklessly charging alone at Ramsay’s forces, allow his horse to be slain by arrows. Sure enough Ramsay’s forces come charging at Jon and miraculously, Jon survives! OMG! the tension level was through the roof.
Before the battle Jon made a stop in with Melisandre to ask that she not try to bring him back if he should die. This goes to show that Jon is putting everything on the line and beyond desperate to win, so much that loosing the fight would be a world he wants to have no part in. Yet he receives no spiritual reassurance, and questions whether he is just a mere pawn in a God’s game. He also received no reassurance from his sister. All he has is what’s inside himself.
The fight rages on and Ramsay’s archers seem to be a huge difference maker. Jon’s forces, do their best but eventually get surrounded by Bolton spearmen, who compress them into a tight pile. With no hope in sight, Jon barely survives being trampled and then suffocating under mounds of bodies. The giant Wun Wun desperately tries to push through the wall of spears & shields but to no avail. Tormund fights heroically, and tears through several men until coming into conflict with the traitorous Small Jon Umber; a man of similar size & strength. Their fight is brutal and gut wrenching, as Tormund eventually lands the killing blow, but its all for naught as the Boltons have them trapped at the edge of their spears.
That is until Sansa arrives with Littlefinger and his knights of the Vale, tipping the scales heavily in their favor. The Vale army decimates the Bolton shield line, freeing Jon’s group from uncertain death. The tide of battle immediately and dramatically changes as the knights of the Vale kill off the majority of Bolton soldiers. Ramsay knows when its time to retreat and makes a dash for Winterfell, successfully managing to lock the gates.
This is exactly where having a Giant is a huge benefit, as Wun Wun smashes through the door, allowing Jon & crew to confront Ramsay. Oddly, Ramsay takes aim at the grievously injured Wun Wun, rather than take a shot at Tormund or Jon. Just as Jon was looking into the dying Giant’s eye, trying to soothe his heart as he prepares to leave this world, Ramsay tears that away from him with an arrow to the eye. That was truly the straw that broke the camel's back in Jon’s mind, as Ramsay holds nothing sacred, and shows not the slightest hint of remorse or even mercy.
Jon charges Ramsay with new found blood lust, and knocks him to the ground. Jon, consumed by hatred, then proceeds to pound the ever living shit out of Ramsay’s face, as Sansa looks on. Jon snaps out of his frenzy when he sees her, and I guess realizes that she deserves some measure of revenge as well. After seeing Rickon body off to the crypts of WF, Sansa has 1 thing on her mind. Ramsay, having been beaten to a bloody pulp, is confronted by Sansa. Ramsay, never at a loss for words, even at the lowest pit of suffering, manages to discourage Sansa once again, by implying his impregnation of her.
Like a truly certified psychopath, Ramsay never admits defeat, never asks for mercy, and never takes any sympathy. There is nothing that exists in him except pure ego and spite.
She stares at him, probably relishing in his defeat and instead of chastising him, or mocking him, she quietly reminds him that everything he is and was will disappear. She reminds him that he inspires no loyalty whatsoever, as his once faithful dogs devour his flesh, as they did to so many of his victims. In the end Ramsay was a victim of his own cruelty, by intentionally not feeding his dogs.
Good bye, dear sweet Ramsay, there is a 9th layer of hell solely reserved for your type. Enjoy.
REVENGE !! Ha haaa, the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Starks have reclaimed the North!
I give this episode an intensely gratifying score of 10 outta 10. Outstanding!
Next time join us live form King’s Landing for the Comedy Central BBQ Roast of Cersei Lannister.
Please share your comments with us. What was your favorite part of the episode? What made you laugh, cry, scream? Who do ya love and more importantly love to hate?What are your hopes and dreams for next episode?