Well... That was different. An episode of Game of Thrones that focuses solely on one area, situation and set of characters is something we haven't seen too often in HBO's hit series and it was a welcome change. Of course I missed the other characters; I wanted to see how Tyrion's situation ended, I wanted to know if The Mountain died or just passed out after crushing Oberyn's skull, I wanted to check in on Sansa and Littlefinger and more. Where's Bran (or Rickon for that matter)? Where's Brienne and Pod? Where did Arya and The Hound go? What's good with Stannis and his Red Queen? Guess we'll see next episode, which is sadly the last one of this season.
This episode gave us all something we wanted - ACTION, and a lot of it. Sure, we saw Joffrey poisoned in the second episode and we saw Oberyn lose his duel in dramatic/drastic fashion in episode 8, but a WHOLE HOUR of non-stop action? This has been a long time coming. We've known for a while now that the Wildlings were on their way to The Wall and we finally got to see the confrontation that's been two seasons in the making. It was something wasn't it?! Jon Snow did work on that bald cannibal dude. Sam finally grew a set and handled his own. Ghost ate some dude's face. The giants were astounding! They rode mammoths, they shot arrows that sent normal men sailing through the sky, and one picked up the gate leading to the ice tunnel all by his lonesome. They were impressive, but the Night's Watch made their stand. How about that huge blade frozen into the wall they dropped on those dudes climbing? Gnarly! Talk about a secret weapon! Jon and the Night's Watch put it down for the North and the rest of the civilized lands by holding off this first attack. Doesn't seem like it'll be the last.
There were casualties though, and on both sides we saw characters we'd grown to love and hate bite the dust (or ice in this instance). Pyp took an arrow in the throat from Ygritte and Grenn fell holding the tunnel from the imposing giant. Of course, the two dudes everyone wanted to die, Thorne and Slynt, escaped from the battle mostly unharmed. On the other side of the field the Wildlings lost their big, bald, cannibal friend when Jon Snow MC Hammered him. (If you haven't seen those memes, look 'em up. Good stuff.) But probably the toughest loss of the episode was watching Ygritte take an arrow as she hesitated to slay her unarmed, helpless, once-lover Jon Snow. What made it tougher was seeing that it was the young boy who thought he was helping Jon. The irony of that, and the weapon of her demise being an arrow made it all the more rough to watch. Her and Jon should've stayed in that cave.
The anxiety and bloodlust everyone has been feeling this season was (mostly) settled in one episode, but it also left a bunch of unanswered questions. The writers, producers and directors are definitely going to be cramming next week. One more episode and then it's back to waiting for another long year or so until Season 5. I'll have plenty of time to get through the rest of the books, and who knows? Maybe we'll have another one before the show starts back up. See y'all next week for the (unfortunately) last episode of the season!
- Zach & The 5D Crew