Love is the Death of Duty: Episode 9, Season 4 “The Watchers on the Wall”

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The defining moment of the episode. © HBO

The Battle of Castle Black is bigger, better, and more exciting than Season 1’s Battle of the Blackwater, which Neil Marshall also directed. If I had to rate “The Watcher’s on the Wall,” I would fly in the face of some critics and give it a ten. The emotional heart of the episode parallels that of many real wars: love.

~~Warning: This post contains the odd violent animated giff.~~

When you read about the wars of the fourteenth and fifteenth century, it’s surprising how many men went to war for love: to better their families, feed their families, and protect their families. In some cases, men fought in wars to safeguard their families’ inheritance. The two themes of “The Watchers on the Wall” — love and war — aren’t as odd of a pairing as they might initially seem.

Tonight’s episode was masterful, primal, and vital. For Jon and his friends, the relatively green newly graduated recruits of the Night’s Watch either became men, or they die.

This is the HBO preview:

 

The Prelude: Talk of Love

The episode opens with talk of love. Sam and Jon are on duty on top of the Wall. Convinced they are on the verge of death, Sam wants to know what it is like to be with a woman.

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“What our vows have to say about other… activities is open to interpretation.” — Sam (John Bradley) to Jon (Kit Harrington) © HBO

After Sam pleas he may be killed in hours, Jon reluctantly tries to put making love into words. Exasperated, Jon claims he’s not a poet. Still, Jon speaks of a near joining of souls – “for a little while, you’re more than just you” — and not the physical sensations. Jon cuts himself off, however, after remembering how it ended with Ygritte: “What did I get for it? An arrow six inches from my heart.”

Sam is still grieving over what he believes to be Gilly’s inevitable death in the Mole’s Town raid. Sam leaves Jon to pour over books by candlelight in the library.

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Maester Aemon, portrayed by the 91-year old Peter Vaughan, recalls his first love. © HBO. Meme artist unknown.

In a scene that is certainly a nod at any historian, we learn that in Westeros — just like our world — chroniclers’ accounts are not always reliable. Fretting about Gilly’s likely death in the Mole’s’Town raid, Sam is reading a chronicler’s report of a Wildling raid. Maester Aemon comes upon Sam.  The maester chastises Sam for wasting candlelight and abandoning his watch to read about the terrible things that might have happened to the woman he loves. Maester Aemon also points out that the chronicler had never been near a Wildling in his life and the stories are likely exaggerated.

Maester Aemon tells Sam that, although he is old, he knows what it is like to be in love. Quite evocatively, the centenarian tells us he can still remember his first love all those years ago: “I can see her right in front of me. She is more real than you are.”

After Sam leaves the library, he discovers Gilly who survived at the gates. But just then the war horns start going off.

**

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The Thenn warg. © HBO.

Meanwhile Ygritte, the Thenns, and Tormund sit around a crackling fire, sharpening arrows, waiting for the war to begin, and telling tales. Specifically, they are waiting for the Thenn’s warg to come out of his trance and tell them Mance has signaled it is time for them to attack.

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Tormund (K. Hivjuun) © HBO

Like the men on the Wall, Tormund speaks of love, but love of a more earthly nature. He spins a yarn about the time he had sex with a bear, his “Sheila.” Clearly on edge, Ygritte wrecks his story, “I know you never f——d a bear” — and proceeds to get into a standoff with Styr, the Magnar of the Thenn.

But, first, we learn the backstory of the conflict between the Wildlings, or Free Folk as they call themselves, and the men on the other side of the Wall. In this respect, Ygritte is the spiritual voice of her people: “When they came up here to our land and put up a big wall and said it was theirs. Then they started hunting us down. This time we’re going to do the hunting.” Ygritte is going to war because of love: love for her people and love for Jon Snow.

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Styr (Y. Kolokolnikov) © HBO

Styr challenges Ygritte, saying she will lose her will when she sees Jon Snow. He knows that Ygritte, the crack shot, missed Jon deliberately. Styr snarls that when Ygritte sees Jon, she will serve him up a nice bit of “ginger minge” (a term I naively had to google — see here if curious).  Styr has questioned her resolve, made her look weak, and she won’t let it go answered.

Despite being a foot and a half shorter than Styr, Ygritte cranes her neck to look up at him, stares him unflinchingly in the eye, and warns him that if he or anyone else kills Jon Snow before she has a chance to she will have an arrow for them – and “not one of your bald friends is fast enough to stop me” she warns Styr.

The Thenn warg emerges from his trance: a war horn sounds and it is time for the battle to begin.

 

The Battle Begins

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© HBO.

From on top of the Wall, Jon’s worst fears are realized: Mance’s army is so large that he set a forest on fire to signal the scattered tribes it was time to begin their assault. Why does Mance need such a large fire?

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Ser Alliser Thorne (Owen Teale) © HBO

An army that is the size of a city can’t fit into one localized spot and Mance needs flames so the various tribes can see it is time to attack.

On top of the Wall, commander Ser AlliserThorne rallies the men, in his typically contemptuous way. Frantically the war preparations kick into high gear:  the men begin arming their anti-siege weapons and the archers assemble at their stations.

After staring bleakly at the massive signal fire,  Ser Alliser finally believes Jon – “a 100,000 you say?” — but it is too late. Ser Alliser acknowledges that they should have sealed the North gate tunnel with ice like Jon suggested. (The North gate is crucial to their defense since it is on the side where the bulk of Mance’s 100,000 person army is located. If the gate goes, Mance’s army will flood the entire castle and seize the stronghold.)  Still despite the odds, Ser Alliser refuses to give up.

**

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Sam (John Bradley) kisses Gilly (Hannah Murray). © HBO.

Meanwhile, down below at the castle, the once cowardly Sam is hiding his love Gilly in the larder. Thrilled to be reunited with Gilly, whom he now realizes he loves, he isn’t chancing losing her again. Still, when Gilly tries to persuade him to stay with her, he refuses and reminds her he is a man of the Night’s Watch, he swore an oath, and he must fight with the other men “because that’s what men do.” Subtly, perhaps unbeknownst to even him, Sam is no longer the “craven” (cowardly) little boy.

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Pyp (Josef Altin) © HBO

In case we needed more proof, we get it.  Shy Sam kisses Gilly! He really has become courageous. And, if there was any doubt, Sam goes back up to the top of the Wall and encounters fellow recruit Pyp, who is terrified. Suddenly, Sam is the brave one. Sam has killed white walkers whereas poor Pyp has never even wielded a sharpened sword before.

**

As the siege starts and masses of Wildlings descend on the Wall, it is truly overwhelming. Hoards of people, torches as far as the eye can see, and not just war elephants, but giants riding war mammoths.

The flaming arrows start to fly. There’s some very humorous fumbling around as the untried men who were recruits just yesterday try to defend their stronghold. Plus, the Night’s Watch soon have a war on two fronts: on the North and South sides of the Wall. Not good.

The Breach

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The archers fire from on top of the Wall. © HBO

The “undisciplined” hoards of Free Folk quickly break through Castle Black’s defenses and penetrate the outer walls into the courtyard/training area. Even though the Night’s Watch have the high ground, the scant men on the Wall have mediocre archery skills and fumble with cross-bows.

Throughout all of this fighting, Ser Alliser Thorne yells “Nock, Draw, Loose” at the archers. Nock is a verb and it means to put the arrow in the bow string.

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Jonas Slynt and Jon Snow, as portrayed by Dominic Carter and Kit Harrington. © HBO

It quickly becomes clear that all the men possible are needed below. Even though he is an abrasive asshole, Ser Alliser truly lives up to what he tried to inspire in the recruits and his courage never once falters.

war-mammothSer Alliser leaves Janos Slynt in charge and hastens downstairs where his fighting skills are the most vitally needed. Ultimately, Tormund slices open Ser Alliser’s belly, but Ser Allliser never gives up. Even when wounded, he bellows at his men, “Holding the f—-ing gates.”

On the other hand, the former City Watch commander Slynt is paralyzed with fear and cannot lead the men. Grenn gives Slynt the opportunity to gracefully take his leave. The cowering Slynt hides in the larder, where he encounters a surprised Gilly.

After Slynt scuttles away, Jon takes command over the archers and men atop the Wall because frankly, after Ser Alliser, he’s the only one who can do it.

Ygritte is a superb warrior and phenomenal shot. Crouched in a top corner of the stairs in the courtyard, she picks off of the Night’s Watch with ease. Ygritte shoots Pyp through the neck with an arrow and he dies a bloody gurgling death across Sam’s lap.

The Giant and the Gate

The “undisciplined free Folk” have more than just numbers – they also have giants who appear to be about thirty feet tall (~10 m). One giant shoots a massive arrow — as long as a telephone pole —  and it might as well be a missile. The arrow impales a man in the belly and sends him flying the a wooden roof into the night sky.

Jon has to make his first hard decision of war – he sends one of his friends Grenn, and five others,  off to hold the gate – and possibly to die. Jon commands they hold the gate no matter what.

As the giants and other Free Folk try to breach the crucial North gate, the men on the Wall release first barrels of burning oil on them and then impale the elder giant. Big mistake.

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A giant rides in on a war mammoth. Image: © HBO, Giff artist Uproxx.

In a grieving fury, the surviving (younger son?) giant lifts the massive iron Northern outer gate with his bare hands.

As the massive giant comes barreling down the tunnel towards them, Grenn and the others face certain death.  Their courage does not falter.  They draw their swords and hold fast. They do their duty. This is by far the most moving moment of the show.

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© HBO. Giff artist unknown. Grenn (center) portrayed by Mark Stanley.

Wow.

Jon Joins the Battle in the Courtyard

After Pyp dies, Sam encounter warriors coming out of the elevator who tell him to ascend to the top of the Wall and ask Jon for men. at the top of the Wall again to warn Jon the castle is about to fall – they urgently need more men.

Jon and a few of the men from the top of the Wall arrive at the bottom, in the courtyard, where they encounter Sam. Jon forbids Sam to fight in the fray. But Jon asks him to release Ghost – he needs the dire wolf’s sharp fangs.

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Jon (Kit Harrington) fights the leader of the Thenn, Styr (Yuri Kolokolnikov). © HBO.

While Ghost makes the Wildlings into ghosts, Jon goes head to head with Styr, Magnar of the Thenn. Styr towers over Jon and his reach is nearly half Jon’s height. Styr’s enormous war axe sweeps in a huge and heavy loop. As skilled a swordsman as Jon is, Styr is just cleaning the floor with him. The magnar even smashes Jon’s head against an anvil and Jon’s death looks imminent. But then Jon fumbles behind for a weapon, finds a ballpeen hammer and smashes it deep into Styr’s skull – killing him instantly.

Duty is the Death of Love

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The extremely talented Rose Leslie as Ygritte © HBO.

For Ygritte and Jon, who fell in love in Season 2 when Jon masqueraded as a Wildling, duty killed their love. After Jon kills Styr, Ygritte has Jon in her sights. She wavers for a second. And, in that second the little boy Olly shoots her with an arrow. The shot is true and pierces Ygritte’s heart.

Instantly, and far too late, they both realize they love each other. Jon runs to her and, ultimately, Ygritte dies in his arms.

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Jon cradles Ygritte after she dies. © HBO. Giff artist unknown.

If Ygritte had only remembered her duty and taken the shot on Jon, she might have lived.

Knock the Wildlings Off the Wall: The Scythe

When Jon departs from the top of the Wall, he leaves Edd in charge. Jon commands Edd to stop the Wildlings from climbing the wall and stop the giants. Edd and his men figure they might as well go for broke. They shoot the flaming arrows.

Then they release a wonderful anchor-like thing they call a scythe. When the men release the scythe, it swings on its chain in an arc, sheering ice and climbers off the Wall. Highly effective.

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The incredible ice anchor or scythe, as it swings out and obliterates the Wildlings © HBO, giff artist: The Huffington Post.

The men are exuberant that it worked and then the Wildling torches go out, which means the Wildlings are packing it in for the night. Yet, the Wildlings still outnumber the Night’s Watch a thousand to one. Meanwhile Sam goes to find Gilly. And, discovers the terrified former City Watch commander in the cold storage with her.

The Denouement in the Courtyard and Elsewhere

The next day Jon and the other survivors are in the courtyard. The battle is not over yet. The Wildlings will be back that night with more giants, more men. With a thousand Wildlings for every surviving man of the Night’s Watch, the Wildlings can easily starve them out.

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The previous night Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) is cornered by Jon and his men. However, Jon does not kill him. Instead he orders that Tormund is put in chains. Is Jon planning to use Tormund as a hostage with Mance Rayder? © HBO.

Jon leaves the castle to try to treat with Mance – or kill him. Mance is the only thing holding the Wildling armies together. The risk of Jon being flayed to death is extremely high. However, he figures they will die anyway if he doesn’t try so he leaves Sam to burn the dead.

As Jon leaves through the North gate, he finds Grenn and his five men lying dead. Grenn and his men didn’t falter. They held the gate and slayed the giant. Regret passes over Jon’s face; he has to live the fact his order caused their deaths.

Ultimately, duty does triumph over love.

*

This is the best Game of Thrones episode I’ve ever seen. I realize many people may disagree. There’s certainly been sniping on the Internet about deviations from the books, and even some of my close friends didn’t like this episode. So, I’m well aware that I may have the minority opinion, but this episode – with its underlying theme of the human cost of war –  is what Game of Thrones is all about: love, tests of courage, the struggles of leadership, oaths, war, and duty coming together in one thrilling episode. “Blackwater” is also a brilliant episode, but the “Watchers on the Wall” episode packs an emotional wallop like nothing that’s come before. Bravo HBO!

My only grievance is: “Where is Ciarán Hinds?”  (aka Mance Rayder). You can’t tease us by casting an actor of that caliber – he was Julius Caesar in Rome for Pete’s sake – and not give us more of him.  Seriously HBO, let’s get him out on the screen.

By the way, Nerdalicious has a different take, so check out:
The Real Game of Thrones: The Watchers on the Wall
The Real Game of Thrones: How Tormund Giantsbane Made Love to a Bear
Game of Thrones Season 4: Inside the Episode #9 Plus Extras
 

By

Jamie Adair is the editor of History Behind Game of Thrones, a website about the history behind George RR Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" novels and the hit TV show, "Game of Thrones."

22 Comments

  • Reply June 10, 2014

    Olga Hughes

    I have to admit I am really unhappy about Styr, Pyp and Grenn. D&D admitted they used Pyp and Grenn for emotional impact, and Grenn’s scene was certainly heroic. But I didn’t like it.

    I did enjoy the episode (not my stand-out for the season though) but I think it has had so many mixed reviews for a good reason. Firstly I think the TV fans are not as emotionally connected to the characters at the Wall because the storyline has been neglected this season. I personally find it odd that people don’t like the characters at the Wall as much as King’s Landing characters but I think that is probably why. And the Wildlings characters are generally not nearly as complex as they should be.
    I think for book fans the massive departures from the books are not just in this episode, but as a whole over the season. It is obvious they are going to leave a lot out. I’m not sure how they will wrap-up next week to go into Season 5, but there is still a lot they would have to cover, unless it will just go in to next season.

    • Reply June 10, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      I actually think using Grenn and Pyp to heighten the emotional drama was a great decision for dramatic reasons. (Of course, it was terrible for the actors who lost their jobs and sad for fans of the characters.) To be honest, the scene with Grenn and the giant really worked for me. That’s what made the episode. I actually started crying when I saw it. (I don’t think I’ve ever typed a recap crying before! Lol.) Ygritte’s death was very sad, and when I read the books I was very angry she was killed. I know it is unrealistic but I kind of wanted them to get back together. But the thing is when I saw the episode, I knew Ygritte was going to die so the drama would be have been a little lost on me. However, I didn’t know Grenn was going to die – and that really got to me. So did Pyp’s death. Pyp’s fate is awful in general – arrested for refusing sexual advances (claims stealing cheese for sister), dies terrified on the first night he tries out his training. But my point is, and its okay to disagree, that sometimes it is nice to have surprises.

      HBO’s True Blood differs dramatically from the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and I think it is great they did that. I loved the novels and the series. It was nice they broke away from the novels because then I was surprised when I was watching the show.”

      TV GoT is a little different because, unlike Sookie Stackhouse, TV GoT isn’t a complete departure from ASOIAF.

      • Reply June 11, 2014

        Olga Hughes

        LOL well not to be argumentative but you have inspired me now. If they hadn’t have introduced entirely new characters as filler then book fans would probably not be so annoyed they left other characters out – see Ros “here for my breasts”. The original scene with Donal Noye and Mag the Mighty in the books was also great. But in place of Noye, who the viewers could have become attached to, we get Locke. I completely misunderstood Locke, I thought he was there for the big thing in ADWD, instead they used him for a filler storyline with Bran that was conceived and ended in about 25 minutes. Minutes that could have been used to introduce Coldhands into Bran’s story, it’s not as if he has much dialogue. We go in circles, they take out characters that they don’t consider important yet they introduce new scenes that are actually not important. What was the point of Bran being at Craster’s?

        The other problem is there is no way in hell George will ever be influenced by the television series – although I heard he has promised a Ros cameo. But Grenn and Pyp may have something to do yet. I don’t think it is a wise decision to kill off characters who may be around for another two books.

        • Reply June 11, 2014

          Jamie Adair

          Well, I’d think the showrunners would check with GRRM before killing off characters. But, just to play devil’s advocate…

          1. I haven’t studied or plotted out the pattern of their kills and creations, but the pattern might have to do with staffing in part. E.g., It might be easier/better to condense various tertiary characters into one person so you can hire a quality actor for the part. Likewise, this would cut down on the work for the casting people.

          2. re: Ros
          They distilled several of the prostitutes into one character, which to me makes sense. Still there was **way** too much gratuitous nudity in her part. I liked the spy arc she had. I felt sorry for that actress when she complained in an interview that she “finally got a costume.” 🙁 🙁 I didn’t like Ros initially but she grew on me. When she died, I found it kind of awful as a woman or something. Kind of like when Adrianna died on the Sopranos. I never liked that character, but she was killed in a way that really drove home her vulnerability.

          3. The thing is that I feel sorry for the showrunners. Everyone picks on their work, but as a writer I know how tough writing can be. I honestly have no idea how on earth they adapt 1200 pages of material. I think that would be incredibly tough. Maybe they wrote rough drafts during the five (?) years the series was in development. Otherwise, they are having to make the adaptation decisions at breakneck speed.

  • Reply June 10, 2014

    Olga Hughes

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply June 11, 2014

    Martine

    I’ll join you in your ‘minority’ Jamie I was totally gripped throughout the episode
    I’m a viewer rather than a reader in the case of GoT. I read voraciously, but in thisparticular case I made the choice to do one or the other and it was ‘view’. I digress…
    Jamie, I too was incredibly moved by Grenn’s scene, and yes it was tear inducing- the repetition of the Vows and then the holding fast to them. Frightened young men, bravely doing their duty, literally facing down fear. As we’ve just commemorated D Day, there were emotional echoes of that for me too.

    Many viewers ( as opposed to readers) seem to be commenting that they don’t feel as much emotional ‘involvement’ with the ‘minor’ characters of the Night’s Watch. I feel the opposite, I’ve been really engaged with the Watch from the start. ( I had a bit of a personal interest in that an much revered old acquaintance of mine was on The Wall!) Losing Pyp was awful! I loved his character. You’ve focused on Pyp’s backstory in the main blog- thank you! Josef Atlin was a great casting choice, as was Mark Stanley as Grenn. Seeing Dolorous Edd (I salute you, Ben Crompton!) taking command of the archers was also a ‘goosebump’ moment for me. Sam’s growing heroism is a source of joy, even in this awful context. I can’t say enough ( as I will risk writing too much) about how much I love Jon Bradley’s performance. It was tragically and heart wrenchingly wonderful to see the other Brothers in Jon’s close group ‘step up’ and take on the mantle of true heroism. As always in GoT, there seems to be a terrible price for doing this…….

    On a historical note, I know there are many myths and misconceptions about the Battle of Thermopylae
    ( I am very far from expertise on this period ) but for me there are echoes of that in this situation. I noted many commenters on other sites were calling this a ‘siege’ and I do take that point- although this was not strictly a ‘siege’ ( yet?) Although, there could be many parallels drawn here between the fighting strategies used in this episode/ chapters and the great sieges of history. ( too exhaustive and exhausting to list all that here- but maybe Carthage or Tyre? )
    Wonderful recap as always Jamie ! x

    • Reply June 11, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      Thanks, Martine! It is very nice to hear that somebody else found that scene moving. I completely agree – well put: “Frightened young men, bravely doing their duty, literally facing down fear. ”

      I called it a siege, but I hesitated first and even googled the term. I think of a siege as a prolonged standoff/blockade in front of a castle or a town. This is what Wikipedia says: “A siege is a military blockade of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault.” I think we generally think of a siege as conquering through attrition — starving people out. But, it does say assault too. Still I guess it is on the edge in terms of how people see that word.

      Oh yes! I can definitely see the resemblance to Thermopylae from the perspective of the soldiers having to face off extreme danger/impossible odds in a tunnel like/narrow pass location. Also, the size of the Persian army was similar to the size of the Wildling army.

      • Reply June 12, 2014

        Martine

        Gosh I didn’t mean you Jamie, re the use of the word siege ( and you’re totally right anyway! ) I meant other blogs – those not on the ‘8 best GoT blogs on the web’ list ( I’m SO still cheering about that! Totally deserved…) I’m still reeling from the episode , even on my third viewing.
        With his rapidly growing heroism and leadership, Jon is fast becoming another William Marshall in my estimation!

        • Reply June 14, 2014

          Jamie Adair

          Lol. No problem at all. I wasn’t offended. I actually agree with your comment about the term siege. I found it interesting because I couldn’t decide whether it use the term or not. I think of a siege as a stand-off but then if you have siege weapons but don’t stand off, is it still a siege? I don’t know. William Marshall is a really interesting character. I actually have a theory that the movie A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger is based on a hybrid of his life and maybe Chaucer. (It has been ages since I read Chaucer so I don’t remember how his Knight’s Tale goes.)

  • Reply June 11, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    I’ve read some of the books – not all. When watching Season 2 [when I hadn’t read anything], I remember thinking the Robb-Talisa romance was cheesy and the conversation just before the Red Wedding about teaching ‘ickle Eddard Stark to ride was so soppy. I thought “but this writer has a reputation for breaking writing conventions and here is a really slushy romance” though I found out later that Talisa was a “made for TV” character. (Incidentally, Oona Chaplin, who to be fair is not a bad actress and is an attractive lady, was in a BBC series about medics and nurses in World War I recently and her costume was not that different to the army-nurse dress she wore in her first appearance in “Game of Thrones”). On the whole, with the exception of the incongruous Talisa, I have not minded the changes from book to screen in “Game of Thrones” greatly (I’m glad show Daario doesn’t have blue hair). Would that have been different if I had read the books first? Perhaps. I had a bit of a rant on a history site I sometimes visit recently about the way many modern book to screen adaptations seem to want to change the original story – or even change myths – as if the primary text is not good enough and the adapters feel they can improve on it.

    I continue to like the show.though.

  • Reply June 11, 2014

    John Henry Clay

    Thanks for a great post, Jamie. I’m definitely in the “loved it” camp for this episode, both for the script and for the production. It had so many great moments. I loved how Slynt is on top of the Wall denying the existence of giants even as they’re riding mammoths towards him! Thorne showed a heroic side to his character that also worked really well – you actually end up respecting him for his courage, if not admiring him. When sort-of-apologising to Jon Snow, he even seems to recognise his own flaw of blinding arrogance. And the strange digression of Sam sending Gilly to Mole’s Town (which made zero sense to me) finally get its dramatic pay-off in this episode, so I can see why they did it.

  • Reply June 11, 2014

    Connie

    Another one who loved the episode. I think people have trouble separating the books from the TV show and realizing they are two separate entities. My husband and I have only read the first couple books, so we’re still okay there LOL.

    Both my husband and I said when we saw this episode that “Oh no, everyone’s in love, they’re all going to die…” so I was happy Sam and Gilly made it to the end of the episode. I was sorry they killed off Ygritte though, I will miss her as a character even though I understand why they had to do it in the greater storyline.

    I actually like the Wall storyline as one of the highlights of the show. This episode made me glad that Westeros is becoming the whole world again and not just Kings Landing and Meereen.

    • Reply June 11, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      >>“Oh no, everyone’s in love, they’re all going to die…”
      ROFL. So true…
      I really liked Ygritte, and I’m sad she died. I realize she wasn’t the most likable character, but she really grew on me. I admired her fierceness.

  • Reply June 11, 2014

    DukeOfLancasterVI

    Love this site. I often think people don’t get deep enough into the story, but this is a breath of fresh air! I was a bit unhappy with Pyp & Grenn’s death, but overall I think this was a brilliant episode (for what it was…an action piece with drama in it. (P.S. I’ve been trawling for GoT blogs as I have one of my own: http://infinitesilverscreen.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/game-of-thrones-s4e9.html).

    • Reply June 11, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      Thanks! Also, thanks for sharing your site. I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out. I’m sure other people will as well. Great GoT blogs are always welcome! 🙂

  • Reply June 11, 2014

    DukeOfLancasterVI

    I’m surprised there hasn’t been more discussion of England/Scotland vis-a-vis the wildlings v “Southerners” (I’m from England, by the way). The Romans of course built the wall because the aggressive tribes of Scotland were hard to tame…

    • Reply June 11, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      I definitely see your point about the North vs. the South, but I kind of see it as a border dispute. E.g., like the Percys and the Nevilles vs. the Scottish in the fifteenth century. North vs. More North. In a way, that’s the same thing though because you could argue that North = one country (Scotland) and South = another country (England).

      • Reply June 14, 2014

        DukeOfLancasterVI

        It is mostly a border dispute, but there’s been ambitions from both sides to conquer the other side. And now the wildlings hope to…conquer the “South”? Not to mention (I’m sure other people have said this) but Westeros looks a lot like Britain…

        • Reply June 15, 2014

          Jamie Adair

          @DukeofLancasterVI – You’re right it does look a lot like Britain. I’ve done a few posts on this – including one today on the Lannister’s gold. There’s a map in the post and interestingly enough nearly the same spot in Wales where the Romans mined their gold is the location of the Lannister gold mines. Likewise, Harrenhal is on the same spot as Pontefract, etc.

  • Reply June 15, 2014

    Watcher on the Couch

    I wasn’t sure where to post it, but here is a link to the Edward II blogspot [which I discovered thanks to this website i.e. Real history behind Game of Thrones]

    http://edwardthesecond.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/documentary-quest-for-bannockburn.html

    which shows the lady who runs the blog talking to Neil Oliver, the presenter who I think has hair to rival Jon Snow (not saying that he looks like Jon Snow – and NO’s hair is straighter).
    Well it does pertain to something north of the border (okay not the Game of Thrones wall border).

    Getting back to “Game of Thrones”, I’m looking forward to the last episode though of course sorry it’s going to be the best part of a year after that till we get a continuance of the TV series and I’m still in mourning for Prince Oberyn and for Ygiritte. (I know the book story up to the end of ASOS but that doesn’t mean I don’t get a lump in the throat when characters I have come to care about are “bumped off”). As for the what to cut, and what to include dilemma for the writers, I wish they could have a few more episodes per series but I doubt the budget would stretch to it.

    • Reply June 15, 2014

      Jamie Adair

      Hey Watcher,
      No, you should definitely post that link to Bannockburn – thanks! 🙂 It’s funny a lot of people don’t like Ygritte, but she kind of grew on me. Actually, GRRM was just complaining that all the other HBO shows get 13 episodes and GoT only gets 10. I think they make a fortune on Game of Thrones – I don’t know why they couldn’t budget it. It’s sad tonight is the last episode for a year. 🙁

  • Reply April 27, 2015

    Sana

    Achilles and the Queen of the Amazons

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