David: Good morning Vietnam (and doublefeaturepreachers readers)! Welcome to the first installment of TV Tuesdays! We decided to put this together because we noticed that everyone is plagiarizing the many conversations we have about the show Game of Thrones. Today, we are going to be giving a review of Sunday’s episode 9 “The Battle of the Bastards.” I think it goes without saying that this will probably be a spoiler filled discussion, so if you haven’t watched it yet, I’d avoid it for a least a few days. So Ryan, where would you like to start? It’s Game of Thrones, dawg!
Ryan: Hey, Dave. Thanks for inviting me to join you for the first of what I assume to be many TV Tuesdays. The first thing I want to say is, DAMN those battle scenes were awesome! I was amazed at how well they were executed. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a battle scene where I felt the utter chaos of war, while still being able to process what was happening on screen. It was incredible. How many battle sequences have you seen where fast moving images are strung together to create intensity, but you find yourself wondering what the hell you’re looking at? The shots holding frame on Jon Snow while the armies collided were perfect.
No big surprises plot wise. I think most GoT fans assumed things would play out the way they did. Ramsey was one of the few characters, if not the only character of the GoT world that is just flat out evil. Why would they keep him alive any longer? He’s a one dimensional psychopath. He won’t be missed.
David: The arrival of Little Finger and the troops from the Vale evoked some of the best scenes from the LOTR series, in my mind. First, Gandalf’s arrival at Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers. Second, I think it was repeated in Return of the King when Aragorn swept in with the Army of the Dead at the Battle of Minas Tirith. Seeing the cavalry charge the helpless pikeman gave an overwhelming thrill. (And the pikeman made me think of the Spartans in 300). I really like the way that the battles show the true carnage of war. GoT is often accused of glorifying violence, but I think they did a good job here at showing the true horrors that befall armies fighting each other.
Who do you think will be set up as the next Big Baddie? Do you think they’ll finally move onto the White Walkers?
David: One more thing: Another shot that I have to speak of is Jon’s rebirth from the pile of bodies. Kit Harington was interviewed and brought up an interesting point. His emergence from the Wildling Crush is reminiscent of Dany in Season 3’s “Mhysa”. I attached a picture here, and it kind of illustrates another point. Dany and Jon ARE the Ice and Fire that the book is written about. It’s there in the color schemes – Dany’s drenched in warm colors, Jon in the deep blues and blacks. What more could we possibly need to confirm this theory?
Ryan: I’m glad you brought up Little Finger and the Vale cavalry, because this hones in on my biggest problem with the episode. Why did Sansa keep Jon in the dark? I guess we are to assume she’s afraid Jon will refuse the much needed troops because of Little Finger’s involvement? I can’t think of any other reason. This is the battle to take back Winterfell, for Ned’s sake! The Bastard of Bolton has Rickon! Enemies make strange bedfellows, and it’s not as if the Vale and Starks are unfriendly. Sansa held her tongue as Davos, Jon, and Tormund planned for battle. Once the other men left she pleaded with Jon for to wait for more soldiers. Why not speak up? How many lives could have been saved? So then what happens? Jon does everything Sansa told him not to do. Sansa tells Jon that Rickon is as good as dead. Sansa tells Jon that Ramsay doesn’t fall for traps, he set’s them. And guess what? Everything she warned about, happened.
I did like Jon challenging Ramsay to a duel. We haven’t seen anyone stand up to Ramsay the entire series. It was a cathartic appetizer before we enjoyed the final meal. (sorry for that joke) But Ramsay isn’t dumb and sure enough he lays out a trap of his own by releasing Rickon, only to later kill him with an impossible bow shot 500 yards out. Chaos ensues and just when we think Jon’s ragtag bunch is doomed, Sansa and Little Finger appear over the horizon to save the day, smug faces and all.
One continuity bit I noticed: Sansa was not present for Ramsay’s “I haven’t fed my dog’s in a week” line, yet she delivers that same phrase just before Ramsay “bites it” (again sorry).
David: I’m not sure either. Sansa has to be just this side of effed in the head after all the trouble she has gone through in this series. Do you think that her treatment at the hands of men like Joffrey, Ramsay, and, perhaps most critical, Little Finger have left her afraid to truly trust anyone, even her own flesh and blood? Or perhaps she simply doesn’t know if Little Finger will ride to her aid (we know that he will, because, come on, but maybe she has doubts after the way she laid into him)? I’m not sure. She seems to be fairly logical (again, a fairly Little Finger – esque trait) about everything, so it doesn’t seem to make much sense to the viewers.
I was a bit depressed at the way Rickon’s death was played out. It was obvious as soon as Ramsay untied his hands what was going to occur. For a character that has had so much happen to him off-screen, it would have been better to give him a death that was at least interesting.
I agree. It was a nice “treat” (Can’t help myself either) to see Jon stand up to him. I also think it shows Jon’s development as a character. When he first joined the Night’s Watch, he wouldn’t stand up to anyone. Now he’s challenging a rogue Lord to a duel with the fate of thousands of lives resting on his sword.
I will forgive that continuity mistake by saying that Jon probably talked to her off-camera. Maybe.
Let’s move to the Mother of Dragons. What did you think of that scene between Tyrion, Theon, Yara, and Dany? I was especially amused when Yara threw the marriage joke in there (It wasn’t as good as Daario’s “riding the dragon” comment a few weeks ago, but I’ll take it). I think Yara is in for death, and shortly, but she can be a fun foil to Theon’s dreariness now. How fast do you think Dany will get over to Westeros now?
Ryan: I too enjoyed Yara and Dany bonding over having had terrible Dads, on Father’s Day no less. I enjoyed watching Dany burn down ships with Drogon even more. That was pretty wicked. Similar to the bastard battle, we knew the good guys would prevail. Dany and her dragon posse destroyed the slavers while Daario and the Dothraki decapitated the Sons of the Harpy. Speaking of good guys, it looks like Dany is not “breaking bad” as some have predicted. When discussing terms with Yara, she emphasizes leaving the world a better place. If she is poised to become a villain, I would have hoped to see some hints this episode.
I’m not sure about Yara, for some reason I think she will stick around for another season. Maybe her and Dany team up with Sansa and the power women trio storm King’s Landing, each on dragon back. With so many characters, though, and the remaining episodes so few, your hunch might be right. We need more focus for the home stretch. Speaking of which, how do you think this season will end?
David: I think that the hints were there. In her conversation with Tyrion, she is close to burning entire cities to the ground, including the women and children that live there. She is only kept from doing it by the reminder of her father and his Wildfire plan… which leads into your next question.
I think we are going to see Cersei lose her shit and blow up half the city. We’ve had hints of it throughout the season, and multiple characters have referred to it happening. I think along with that, we are going to hear that the Walkers have finally approached the wall, leading to confusion with Jon/Sansa/Little Finger and where they should send their armies: South, to take King’s Landing (possibly with Dany) or North, to protect all of mankind. Well, I don’t have too much to say besides I’m looking forward to next week. What about you?
Ryan: I agree, I think Cersi, destroys King's Landing while escaping with the Mountain and Qyburn. Winterfell will be all falling action. The Starks will mourn Rickon and send crows to the Houses of the North. I think they will be heavy on the Bran's story line next week, and we’ll learn Snow’s origin. I can see the episode closing with a massive army of White Walkers headed toward the wall. I bet that we see Dany leave for Westeros by the end of next week’s episode as well.
I have no idea if we will see Arya or Varys any more this season. Do you?
David: I would doubt it. I imagine if we see one of the two, it’ll be Varys and it will just be something cursory.
Can’t wait for next week. Join us for the season finale of Game of Thrones and the second installation of TV Tuesday.
David and Shannon write about movies.