Image courtesy of HBO

GAME OF THRONES- S6:E9 ‘BATTLE OF THE BASTARDS’ PAGE TO SCREEN REVIEW AND RECAP

Finally!  The Battle of the Bastards! Up first though, Meereen.  Tyrion nervously attempts to put a positive light on the current situation in Meereen.  He claimed they are attacking the city because commerce is up, which sounds ridiculous.  It’s not very Tyrion.  Tyrion would have pointed out that she left her people.  This situation is on her, not Tyrion.  She informed Tyrion of her new plan, which was probably not the best idea.  Her new plan is to kill all of the masters and their soldiers, as well as burn their cities.  Tyrion gave her a bit of a history lesson on her father, explaining why Jamie killed him, drawing comparisons to the Mad King’s plan and Dany’s.

If I recall, book Jamie doesn’t discuss the Mad King’s plan with Tyrion, or anyone for that matter.  There has been a lot of talk in the past few episodes about burning cities to the ground.  That talk, combined with Bran’s vision, and the mention of caches of wildfire in the Sept, could mean something fiery going to happen in King’s Landing soon.

Later Dany, Tyrion, Greyworm and Missendei meet with the 3 masters, Yezzen, Razdal, and Belicho.  They were under the assumption that they were there to discuss terms of Dany’s surrender.   When Drogon shows up, they are informed that was not how it was going to go down.  Dany hopped on Drogon and the began to set the invading ships on fire below.  Rhaegal and Viseron bust out of their basement apartment, which looked very easy for them.  Why didn’t they do that before?

Greyworm tells the master’s guards that they can stay and fight for them, or go home to their families.  They left.  Tyrion informed the masters that they violated their pact by attacking the city.  Missendei informed the master’s that one of them must die to pay for their crimes. Razdal and Belicho push forward the lowborn Yezzen.  Jokes on them, Greyworm sliced their throats, leaving Yezzen to spread the word of what happened when Danaerys Stormborn and her dragons came.

Back in the city, the Son’s of the Harpy are murdering the Meereenese people, when the Dothraki horde, lead by Dario, ride in and make short work of the Harpy’s.

Image courtesy of HBO
Image courtesy of HBO

Theon and Yara finally made it to Meereen, and meet with dany in the throne room.  They offer her their men and ships, in return for the Iron Islands.  They shake on a deal, as long as the Iron Born support her claim, and stop the reeving and raping.  This is not what what she wanted to hear, but Yara will be able to rule the Iron Islands, so it’s satisfactory.  Now, I’ve read some uproar about the fact that both Dany and Yara look at their hands, so to speak, (both men), before making the deal.  I don’t think that this takes away their power.  This is what a leader does.

Dany isn’t the Mad King and Yara isn’t Euron.  Those men made thoughtless and irrational decisions.  That also differs from when Sansa was depicted as weak, in need of Theon of all people, to survive.  That was infuriating.  This at least makes sense.  They sought council, they didn’t ask for permission.

Jon, Sansa, Davos, Tormund, and the adorably fierce Lady Lyanna (not the head of House Mormont in the novels), rode out to meet Ramsay and his men.  Ramsay basically tells Jon to surrender.  Jon instead challenged him to one-on-one combat, and Ramsey declined.  Apparently on the show, Jon is great swordsman.  Apparently that is the rumor getting around, sword skill, not that he was resurrected.    While this is not the case in the books at all, Jon would beat book Ramsay in one-on-one combat, as Ramsay is closer to Sam in physique and ability than he is Jon.  There was no way Ramsay would have ever agreed to that.  Sansa peaced out, tired of hearing Ramsay talk, but not before informing him that would die the next day.

Back at the Stark camp, Davos, Jon and Tormund go over battle plans.  Tormund justifiably fears Ramsay’s cavalry after experiencing Stannis’s first hand.  Jon explains to him that Ramsay won’t be able to do that now.  Davos then stressed to Jon the importance of making Ramsay charge at them.  They key, stressed greatly by Davos, is to be patient and not charge.  Jon admitted to Tormund he never thought Ramsay would fight him on-on-one, but he wanted to make Ramsay angry.  He also truly believed that if Ramsay’s men knew he was unwilling to fight for them, they wouldn’t want to fight for him.  he’s very much like Ned in his idealism.  Basically, the conversation was a giant foreshadowing.  While it was going on, Sansa stood back, looking pissed.

Tormund and Davos leave, giving Jon and Sansa an opportunity to talk.  Now, this is where everything for me, falls apart.  Show Sansa is the worst.  She was not pleased about being left out of any talks regarding Ramsay.  Yes, she knows his temperament, but knows nothing of battle plans.  Not only that, no one ever told her she couldn’t speak up.  All of the men in that room would heed a woman’s council.  There was no reason for this other than to create drama between the Stark siblings.

Not only that, previously she stated that they needed to save Rickon.  Now she’s like “He’s dead,” which also makes total sense to believe.  Rickon is the only true-born son of Ned Stark that is alive with whereabouts known.    So while the writers have her saying the right things to Jon, they’ve written her as a pouty and spoiled, snot.  There’s nothing empowering about her, right now.  Before she leaves Jon, he promises to protect her.  She makes it clear she will end her life before going back  to Ramsay.  She tells Jon, “No one can protect anyone,” and leaves.  So, Jon is basically saying he will give his life to protect Sansa…back to that in a bit.

After Sansa left, Jon went to see Melisandre.  She informs him she wasn’t at the meeting because she doesn’t know anything about battle plans.  Interesting.  The total opposite reaction of Sansa’s.  We’ve seen Mel involve herself in events leading up to a battle, when she believed Stannis to be Azor Ahai.  She never stood in the back pouting.  Jon has sought her out to let her know that if he dies, he does not want to be brought back to life.

Unfortunately for Jon, he isn’t going to get his wish.  She tells him that she has to try to bring him back, because she follows the Lord of Light’s orders, not his.  She admitted it’s possible he was only brought back to die in this battle.  Mel seems really depressed, and it’s looking more and more like she has seen something in the flames that may affect her own safety.  That harm is looking more and more like it will come at the hands of Davos, and not Brienne.

After leaving Jon, Davos and Tormund walk and discuss the men they previously followed.  Davos now sees that Stannis had demons, and Tormund realizes that Mance Rayder, burned by Stannis, was not the man to free the wildlings.  In the novels, both Stannis and Mance are still alive.  Rattleshirt has been glamoured by Melisandre to look like Mance.  He is the person burned alive.  Mance was sent to Winterfell with wildling women posed as washerwomen.  Stannis is camped out outside of Winterfell, with Theon and Asha (Yara on the show).  Both men realize that they have accomplished nothing by following King’s, but because Jon isn’t a King (foreshadowing?), he might lead them to victory.

Tormund leaves to drink sour goats milk, and Davos walked on, to think and shit.  On his walk, he finds the pyre that Shireen was immolated on, her wooden stag at the base.  Okay.  How on earth can people just find random shit in Westeros?  Dany’s ring?  Now a wooden stag in a pile of wood, covered in snow? (Speaking of snow, there should have been way more of it).  Mel’s somber mood while looking into the flames might make more sense now.

Image courtesy of HBO
Image courtesy of HBO

The next morning, as both armies are lined up for battle, we immediately discover that Sansa was correct.  Ramsay sends Rickon out to run towards Jon. Jon frantically gallops towards his brother.  Rickon, in the most idiotic arrow escape attempt in history, runs in straight line towards Jon.  Not a single zig or zag!  Rickon was struck down mere feet from Jon.  Davos, watching from their line, has hardcore finger crossies that Jon doesn’t charge at Ramsay.  Unfortunately, Jon did, and their battle plan of patience no more.

 

Davos immediately sends the men out to aid Jon.  Jon, on foot at that point thanks to a horse full of arrows, unsheathes Longclaw, preparing to die.  (Interesting tidbit- that wasn’t a CGI wall of horses running at Kit, those were real mounted horses).   Jon’s men are able to reach him, just as he approaches the Bolton forces, and the battle begins.  Based on the Battle of Aggincourt and, more recently, Civil War battles; the behind the scenes look is very interesting.

Ramsay is just decimating Jon’s army with his archers.  Volley after volley, the arrows aree cutting down men, and not just Jon’s.  Ramsay gives zero fucks that his men are being slaughtered by their own archers.  So much for Jon’s earlier theory about the men not following him if they discovered he didn’t care about their lives.  Interestingly, Davos ordered his men not to loose arrows, for fear of killing their own men.  I would like to believe this was just so that their own men wouldn’t be killed, but I also believe he realized they did not have the men to spare if they were taken down by friendly fire.

If you watch the video linked above (and posted below), you’ll have learn that they had intended to do the same pincer move to Jon’s troops, as Stannis did to the wildlings.  Because this ended up not being feasible, they ended up going with a shield wall.  The wall of bodies, (despite looking ridiculous, is something that has happened historically, specifically in the Civil War), was used very well by Ramsay.  His foot soldiers were able to surround Jon’s remaining troops on three sides, with the body wall on the 4th side.

 

Jon and his commanders were caught completely unaware, and by the time they realize what has happened, they are fish in a barrel.  As the shield wall moves in, Smalljon Umber, (died at the Red Wedding in the novels, running for his sword belt after throwing a table over Robb to shield him from arrows), and his men go over the body wall, cutting down any of Jon’s men that try to escape.  Why didn’t they have the giant kick a path through the wall of dead bodies?  Actually, why didn’t the giant have a damn weapon?  Not even a tree trunk!  That would have made a huge difference.  Alas, the being odds on Jon’s side, do not a dramatic battle make.

Jon is in the middle of his men, being suffocated, when Davos hears a horn.  The Knight’s of the Vale suddenly appear and make short work of the rest of Ramsay’s men.  Sansa watches from a ridge above, with Littlefinger.  They both look so smug.  Sansa watches as Jon, Wun Wun and Tormund take off after Ramsay.  I can’t really read the look on Sansa’s face.  Is she disappointed Jon survived?  Is it smugness over saving the day?  I think it’s both.

She withheld this information from Jon.  When she was having her tantrum the day before, she mentioned not having the Blackfish and his army.  That means she received a raven from Brienne.  Littlefinger and his knight’s were much closer to Sansa’s camp, so she would have definitely received word in time to let Jon know that they would show up.

 

Would this have prevented Ramsay from sending Rickon out?  Probably not, but if Jon knew the knight’s of the Vale would eventually show up, he may not have recklessly charged Ramsay’s line, costing the lives of hundreds of their men.  Sansa wanted to say “I told you so.”  And it cost the lives of many men.  They’ve made her a villain.  In the novels, Sansa is in the Vale, posing as Littlefinger’s bastard daughter, Alayne, and courting Harry “the Heir,” while engaged to her cousin Robyn.

Littlefinger, if you recall, set everything into motion.  He was the one who had Jon Arryn, Robert’s hand, poisoned.  That set every moving part of the series- books and show, into motion.  He even offered to help Ned out back in season 1 when shit hit the fan, but Ned being Ned, declined.  While the Vale army has not yet been involved in any battles in the books, Littlefinger is definitely planning to use them at some point, as he is Lord Protector of the Vale (after killing Lyssa, Sansa’s Aunt), and has plans for Sansa.

 

Jon, Tormund, and Wun Wun race after Ramsay as he retreats back to Winterfell, intending to start a siege.  Wun Wun, breaks down the castle door.  He’s riddled with arrows and obviously hurting.  As Jon reaches out to thank him, Ramsay shoots him through the eye, killing him. Wun Wun’s death stung more than Rickon’s.  Perhaps it’s because he’s the last of his kind on the show.  In the novels, there are hundreds of giants, and they ride mammoths.

Now that Jon is inside the castle walls, Ramsay wants to battle him one-on-one, with a bow.  Jon blocks the arrows with his shield.  Each arrow plunges through the shield, closer to Jon’s face with each step.  Jon is able to knock Ramsay to the ground with his shield, as Rams attempts to notch an arrow that would have surely made it through Jon’s shield.  Jon beats the shit out of Ramsay, and most likely would have killed him then, but he looks up and sees Sansa, and stops punching.  Rickon’s arrow riddled body (surprisingly intact despite an army running over it), is brought into Winterfell.

 

Jon tells the men that he wants his brother buried in the crypt next to their father.  In the novels, Tyrion sends Ned’s bones to Cat while she’s at Riverrun.  She arranges for Hal Mollen, the new Captain of the Guard in Winterfell, to escort the Silent Sisters that have traveled with Ned’s bones from KL to Riverrun, on to Winterfell.  During their journey North, Victarion Greyjoy, (not on the show), takes Moat Cailin, cutting off the group.  Even if this had not happened, Theon takes Winterfell soon after. There are many theories as to where Ned’s bones are.  One is that they are in the Neck with Howland reed.  Another is that they ended up in the Sept of Baelor, with the bones of a group of Silent Sisters, (those taking his bones to Winterfell), who were apparently attacked on the road, their bones brought back to King’s landing.

Later, Sansa asks Jon where Ramsay is…wasn’t she there when he was taken away?  It doesn’t make much sense.  Anyway, Stark banners are replacing the Bolton banners, and Sansa finds Ramsay in the dog kennel, tied to a chair. Somehow, from outside of the gate, she has let his dogs loose.  Ramsay tells her that his dogs are too loyal to ever hurt him.  She informs him that they may have been, but now they are starving.  How does she know that Ramsay hasn’t fed his dogs in a week?  She left the pre-battle meeting with Ramsay before he threatened Jon with his starving dogs.  Anyway, thanks to Jon his face has been beaten into a nice, tenderized face steak.