Game of Thrones: Season 4/ Episode 9 “The Watchers on the Wall” – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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The Wildlings, and allies, have made it to the wall and for the entire episode we are left wondering who is going to die.

Review (with Spoilers)

Though people die damn near every episode of Game of Thrones, it is rare that it is because of a full on faction vs. faction battle. But with the Wildlings, and allies, challenging the crows, while the battle isn’t as epic as the one which took place on King’s Landing, it is good enough to distract you from the fact Tyrion’s fate hangs in the balance.

Topic 1: Those Who Fall

As has long been established, there is quite a bit of fear amongst the Night’s Watch when it comes to Mance Rayder and his 100,000+ army. But even with knowing of them coming for ages, they were not prepped for a two sided assault. One is led by Tormund’s group and the Thenns, and the other by two giants. Tormund and co. breach the south gate as the giants, with mammoths, as well as wildlings, go to breach the wall. Alliser takes to defend the South Gate, eventually facing off with Tormund, as Janos is to command the wall.

Thing is, Janos is a bleeding coward who ends up hiding along with Gilly, who found her way to Castle Black safely, so Jon is forced to take command. Which makes Janos warning Alliser of Jon’s rise all the more ironic since he seemingly becomes the main reason such a rise happens. But, as Jon rises, many dead bodies fall. Ser Alliser, for one, loses his battle with Tormund, and though doesn’t seem to be injured enough to be pronounced dead, he likely will be. Also, the leader of the Thenn dies, as well as the two giants; and then there is this episodes heartbreaking moment.

Topic 2: Those Who Rise – Jon Snow & Ygritte

With Jon’s rise comes him commanding both the men on the wall, and even sending a party down to defend the tunnel from a giant. This leads to him undeniably rising in rank, especially with Alliser’s health in question and Janos cowering in the basement. And while Maester Aemon is around somewhere, while his age makes him knowledgeable, as well as his talent for deciphering through BS, he cannot be the leader he needs to be. But Jon isn’t the only one who steps up. Sam, oh so lovable and fluffy Sam, he steps up as well. The former buffoon of the Night’s Watch, who was more studious than combat ready, finds himself a sort of hero. He saves Gilly from certain death, stays with a man as he dies, frees Jon’s dire wolf, and inspires a young Ollie to join the battle. Which may make you wonder how is he a hero? Well, lest we forget, not all heroes have to be in the troughs of battle to mean something.

However, while he may be a hero, in his own way, he also is the catalyst for a traumatic event. Throughout the episode Ygritte seems ready to kill as many crows as she can, including Jon. She even threatens the leader of the Thenns if he dares try to take the kill which exclusively belongs to her. So for most of the battle the two are separated and she is firing arrows left and right and thinning out the crow’s defensives, then she hears Jon as he battles the Thenn’s leader. She lets them battle, and as Jon claims victory in that battle, she has an arrow waiting for him. Despite this, there is a smile. For earlier in the episode Sam and Jon were just talking about love, and sex, and here is the woman who gave such a gift to Jon’s memories. So even in the face of death, he finds a reason to smile. He approaches her, almost welcoming death, and then an arrow flies. Ollie kills Ygritte. With this, Jon’s smile is gone and he holds his beloved and they share a moment. One in which there isn’t much malice, just a woman betrayed by someone she loved, and a man who seemingly has found himself with another death of a loved one to burden his life.

Topic 3: Those Who Live To Fight Another Day

In the aftermath of the battle, the crows have fend off the first assault, but with Jon knowing this is but the first assault of many, and likely just a taste of what is to come, he decides to try to cut the snake’s head off by going beyond the wall to kill Mance Rayder. A task which Sam thinks is ridiculous and he asks who ordered such a thing? But, looking around, Alliser is nowhere to be seen, Janos is likely still cowering in the basement across from Gilly, and Maester Aemon would likely give Jon his blessing, so Jon decides to venture out. The odd thing though is he decides to leave his sword, and not take his wolf. Meaning that all he has is his fist, the fur on his back, and the blood of Ned Stark pumping through his veins.

Things To Note

Tormund is captured and is to be interrogated.

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