GAME OF THRONES: Best Moments From Season 6, Ep. 9 "Battle of The Bastards"
Warning: spoilers ahead for season 6, episode 9 of Game of Thrones, entitled "Battle of The Bastards." If you haven't seen the episode yet, turn back now.
This season, I'm going to try to write up some quick thoughts about each episode the day after it airs. I won't get too deep into full-on recaps (you can find those all over the internet, and you've probably already read a few today if you're into that sort of thing) and will instead focus on what I consider to be each episode's best moments. This can be as many or as few as I want, and will likely vary every episode — today, there are three. I'll also toss in some additional observations that don't fit into the "best moments" category, which you can find at the bottom of the post. For the best moments of earlier episodes this season, click here. Onward!
The Battle of The Bastards
"Hardhome" director Miguel Sapochnik did tremendous work in this week's episode. I was worried the entire hour would be focused on one big battle; don't get me wrong, I like battles as much as the next guy, but an entire episode of it can get repetitive if it's in the wrong hands. But there were plenty of nice character moments mixed in, and Sapochnik turned what must have been a hell of a shoot into an epic, exciting (if somewhat predictable) hour of television. That long continuous shot of Jon in the fray was particularly impressive. (RIP, Wun Wun.)
Ramsay's Gladiator Moment
After Jon had been through hell in the battle, Ramsay, untouched by the battle, took him up on his offer to fight in single combat. It's a similar to the cowardly move that Joaquin Phoenix's character pulls at the end of Gladiator when he fights an injured Maximus. Was it satisfying to see Ramsay get his comeuppance? Of course. But Sansa's little smile as she walked away from his dogs eating him alive was slightly undercut by the sheer amount of blood on her hands because of her stupid decision-making earlier in the episode. I'm glad she got her vengeance, but now what? If she's going to be sketchy as hell with her leadership, I'm not sure she's qualified to run Winterfell. It probably won't matter for long, anyway — I'm guessing the White Walkers are going to be on the way south soon.
Dany's Dragon Riding
Last week, I wrote about how I saw some early footage of Disney's Pete's Dragon remake, which contained dragon riding that looked better than anything we've seen so far on Game of Thrones. It made sense to me that a mega-budget movie would be able to churn out better results than a(n admittedly expensive) TV show, but this week proved me wrong. Despite some issues the show's had with Dany flying around on Drogon's back and it not always looking as spectacular as it could, it was practically flawless this week. You could tell the show spent some serious money on the VFX here, and it paid off in a huge way with glorious shots of the dragons roasting some of the masters' fleet.
If someone can tell me Sansa's thought process, I'd be grateful. We see her write a letter to Littlefinger requesting help from the Knights of the Vale, and she doesn't tell Jon or Davos about this because...? I've seen people suggest that it's because she thinks Jon is a terrible tactician (which was proven true when he let emotion get in the way and went against his own plan) and she was worried about him A) inadvertently revealing that information to Ramsay, or B) insisting they wait to attack until help arrived, and Ramsay might have been able to scheme his way to victory even if the Knights were there. But the big problem with that logic is Sansa had absolutely no way of knowing if the Knights were actually going to make it to the fight at that key moment. All of the northern soldiers and Free Folk who died in that battle lost their lives entirely because of her decision, and she should be ashamed of herself.
The showrunners (who also wrote this episode) got a little cutesy with the Dany/Yara stuff, didn't they? I'm sure there are pages of fan fiction already devoted to that relationship.
Rickon. Dude. For God's sake, at least zig zag a little bit. At least try to make it difficult for Ramsay to kill you. (Did you notice that Rickon didn't utter a single word since he's returned to the show? I don't know if they just didn't want to pay the actor more, or what, but that was sort of a weird choice.)
Having Davos find the charred stag he carved for Shireen seemed a little convenient, especially since it was made of wood and probably would have just burned up in the fire. That whole subplot seems like something he should have found out about a long time ago.
Jon and Melisandre's conversation about why she brought him back served as a nice precursor to the battle, especially since she introduced the possibility that he was resurrected simply to die again in this fight. That suggestion rattled Jon, and I think a ballsier version of this story would have actually had him get trampled in the brawl. That feels like the kind of thing George R.R. Martin set out to do with this story from the start — subvert expectations. That would have been a "Ned Stark getting beheaded" moment, with everyone thinking Jon would slash through the army in order to get to Ramsay because he's the hero, but he'd actually get trampled because sometimes that happens in battle. (Same if the Knights of the Vale had arrived too late.) But Jon is too important to this story now, and we still haven't (officially) found out who his mother is, so while he might ultimately die before the series is over, there's still some ground to cover before that could happen.
What did you think?