After more than 2 months of waiting, rumors, excitement and impatience, the ‘Battle of the Bastards’ has come. With its budget of 10 million dollars, its 500 extras, 600 crew members, 25 days of shooting and its hour-long, ‘Battle of the Bastards’ carried the promise to be one of the most epic episodes of the whole saga. It didn’t disappoint.
10/10 out of IMDB. This is how much the ‘Battle of the Bastards’ ravished critics and fans alike. As soon as Monday morning, the web was all over the place. Fans on social media were both thrilled by the episodes and excited for the one to come. And indeed, the ninth episode of this season kept its promises. With impeccable filming, impressive moments, great actors’ play and a good amount of special effects, there is almost nothing to reproach. Of course, you will always find your quota of unsatisfied audiences, people who wanted more, or different, and if you look for them, you can find small breaches in the scenario (like, for instance, why did Rickon so foolishly run on a straight line?). However, there is no doubt that Game of Thrones’ Season 6 Episode 9 will remain as one of the best episodes of the whole series. It is to be put on the same level as the Red Wedding or the Battle of the Blackwater.
Here are the features of this week’s episode that most draw fans’ attention:
No doubt, all Game of Thrones’ fans got up this Monday happier than ever. Ramsay Bolton, who has been like rock in our shoe for 4 seasons already, has finally bid us farewell. After an entire episode where he looked upon the remaining Starks with the confidence of a man to whom nothing happens, the final 20 minutes set up his faith. He led to his own undoing, his loyal dogs turning against him after being starved for 7 days.
Word to the wise: we are all only pieces of meat in the end.
This week’s episode also saw, to the greatest pleasure of fans, the confirmation of Dark Sansa. She finally gets her revenge on Ramsay, corroborating the feminist turn taken by the series this season. Her political plot saved her half-brother, with Littlefinger and the Vale arriving just at the right moment to save Jon Snow. Her look of superiority at this moment makes her the real victor of the Battle of the Bastards. If Jon Snow is a good fighter, there is no doubt now that he is a terrible leader, falling into the trap Sansa warned him against. Let’s bet that we see rising the new Lady of Winterfell and Warden of the North.
Rickon frenzy agitated Twitter on Sunday night. Fans got mad over the fact that he ran straight in the battlefield. It is a legitimate concern. When a psychopath sets you free to go to your family through a battlefield, you better expect being chased or, in this case, being the target of arrows. In each of these scenarios, you raise your chances of survival by zigzagging. Rickon didn’t, Rickon died.
Dragons and Shipping time
Daenerys part had a great deal of action this time. The first point worth noticing is her balanced political decision to not burn all the masters’ cities. Daenerys supporters were quick to highlight that she didn’t follow her father’s path this time and may outplay the Mad Queen’s theories.
We also saw the return of, not one, but the three dragons that delighted us when answering to Daenerys’ command, “Dracarys”, by beautifully burning the masters’ ships. The Mother of Dragons has got her children back, she has a fleet, an army and some great counselors. It feels good being on Daenerys’ side!
Talking about ships, on this week’s shipping we have Daenerys and Yara, who aroused every fan’s imagination. Beyond sealing a pact that will grant the Salt Throne to Yara and give Daenerys 100 more ships (no jokes here!), the episode showed a certain complicity between the two characters that didn’t go unnoticed. This episode was indeed as much about the Babes as it was about the Bastards.
But the real question that bothers us all is: Is House Bolton really dead?
By the exchange between Sansa and Ramsay, one can highly doubt that the Bolton line is over. Even if Sansa denies any memory of Ramsay for the future, his allusions to him still being part of her can be read in two ways: he can make a reference to the fact that his actions marked her, both physically and psychologically, changing her into the Dark Sansa we like. He can also alludes that she is pregnant. And this is a theory that has been around for a while this season. New clothes, lack of appetite, allusions: they all point out toward the possibility of a new Bolton in the Game. However, the escape in the snow (episode 1), the stress, the cold, the battle are all intense moments in which a pregnant Sansa could have lost her baby. Maybe then, the question has to be twisted: if Sansa is indeed pregnant of Ramsay, what will she do?
Finally, we have here an episode that marks a turn in Game of Thrones. After 5 seasons of brutal violence and patriarchy, for the first time an episode 9 not only spares the “good” main characters (leaving some hope for the Starks) but also shows the power and intelligence of women as leaders. In Meereen like in Winterfell, lives are spared thanks to the wise decisions of women. These women do not remain as secondary characters anymore but are taking the lead on the action. Yara on the Salt Throne, Sansa Queen of the North, The Sandsnakes in Dorne, Daenerys on the Iron Throne: more than ever, these conjectures are becoming real possibilities, the possibilities of a new world like neither the 7 Kingdom nor ours have ever known.
More questions and remarks for next week Game of Thrones’ season finale:
- Is Daenerys finally coming to Westeros?
- How will she find King’s Landing?
- How will the relationship between Jon and Sansa evolve after she saved the day behind his back?
- What will Littlefinger ask in exchange for his help?
- What will happen to Cersei, Margaery, Tommen and the High Sparrow?
- And finally, will something happen between Daenerys and Yara?