My next-door neighbour is in the big battle scene in episode 9. See if you can spot him!
I mainly want to talk about the recently-aired Battle of The Bastards, but first: so what was the point of the whole Arya assassin thing? She spent two seasons trying to get the other assassins to train her, got mildly competent with a staff, and then left. I get that the big emotional arc of her character was the realization that she wants to embrace her status as a Stark and return home, but did we need two seasons of chaff before she got there?
But whatever, two Exciting things happened in episode 9: Ramsay finally died, and Dany burned shit with all three of her dragons.
I’m not going to say that finally seeing the show’s champion time-waster let loose with an army and three giant fire-breathing hell-beasts at her beck and excuses the long, excruciating build-up to reach this point– I still insist she should have been introduced in season 4 or so with Mereen already under her control– but it was still a pretty epic moment.
Sadly, I don’t think she’ll be rounding the season off by sailing to Westeros. Euron Greyjoy is still en route with his big armada, and I can easily see the show spending the penultimate season on a naval blockade and the many fun diversions it will bring.
Tyrion talking her down from destroying the slaver cities was interesting, as I think it’s the first time another character has explicitly acknowledged that Dany hasn’t fallen as far from the Targaryen tree as even she likes to assume. Some people are now floating the idea that she could end up playing more of a villain role in the big finale, which I could see happening.
On the Ramsay front, I was kind of surprised that we got to see the asshole get totally and utterly destroyed. I was convinced that GoT, with its love of ~shocking the audience~ and ~subverting expectations~ wouldn’t give him a narratively satisfying death; he’d take out Sansa or Davos or someone with his dying breath, or spring some horrible plot on the heroes as one final act of assholery. But no! He gets beaten to a bloody pulp, then dies screaming in terror and agony while Sansa watches, and it’s pretty glorious.
The show got back on the feminism horse with Dany and Yara teaming up and people not listening to Sansa. Jon and Sansa’s differing viewpoints seemed to be making the point that the uber-masculine duty-honour-blood rawr attitude so prevalent in Westeros is extremely stupid and destined to be subverted by the likes of Ramsay. Jon still clings to the idea that he can save Rickon, the last remaining Stark heir, and when that turns out to not be the case he flies into a rage and almost loses the battle, whereas Sansa has already accepted that her brother is beyond saving and cautions against falling into exactly the sort of trap that Ramsay sets.
I’m still not sure how I feel about this late-stage pivot. I think I’ll feel a lot better disposed toward the idea if Sansa ends up as leader of the North, particularly after Jon proved to be a big stupid-head during the battle.
All of my predictions thus far have been total failures, but here goes anyway:
- Cersei got that alchemist guy to poke around for the Mad King’s Wildfire caches, Tyrion mentioned in episode 9 that one of them was under the Sept of Baelor, Bran’s visions prominently featured Wildfire. Conclusion: Cersei (or possibly someone else, although I can’t think who) is going to cut the King’s Landing Gordian Knot by blowing up the Sept before her trial can start. All of her enemies will be assembled in one place, and it would be relatively easy to pull off in a way that doesn’t point back to her. Granted, this would almost certainly involve killing Tommen as well, but keep in mind Cersei already thinks he’s doomed due to that prophecy she heard as a kid; why not do the deed herself, and make sure it’s quick and painless?
- Littlefinger will get killed next episode. No particular reason for this one, I just really want it to happen.
- The episode will end with the White Walkers breaking through the wall.