Game of Thrones: Episode 9 – Battle of the Bastards
I burn you, and I burn you, and I burn you too! Image from HBO
It was all we hoped for and more. Considering the general pace of this season so far it was never really in doubt that episode nine would deliver the goods; and what beautifully-shot, wholly-satisfying goods they were. This is why we love Game of Thrones: when it's good, no other television programme comes close. Read on for our awestruck review. There are spoilers, obviously, because we're so excited we couldn't keep this a secret if we tried.
Jo: Did we wish for more violence last week? Yes we did.
Nicki: Did we get our wish? Yes we did.
Jo: So many people died, so much satisfaction.
Nicki: My brain is exploding. Yes satisfying, that’s the right word.
Jo: It was amazing.
Nicki: It looked fantastic.
Jo: I can see why it cost so much. The CGI dragons looked good, the battle looked good. It was all GOOD. That whole scene with Jon being trapped under people was so claustrophobic, it was fantastic. I’m not big on period/war dramas so I don’t have an awful lot to compare it to but honestly thought that was one of the best battle scenes I’ve watched in a TV program.
Basically Golden Axe
Nicki: But let's go back to the start as there was another battle we don't want to forget about.
Jo: Dragons. PARTAY.
Nicki: BURN IT ALL WITH FIRE.
Jo: Not sure who impressed me more in that whole scene - Dany with her cool, calm dracarys action, or Grey Worm’s nifty slicing.
Nicki: Dany was perfect. She’s got the Targaeryn strength/slight madness but is willing to stop and listen to Tyrion’s advice.
Jo: Yup. She still followed his guidance and didn’t burn down any cities, which is nice. Much foreshadowing for Cersei next episode.
Nicki: Oh definitely, Cersei will be the ‘mad queen’. Wildfire in the Red Keep you say?
Jo: “Hey, I’m gonna mention all this wildfire that’s dotted around King’s Landing. Remember that? Wildfire? Stuff go boom?"
Nicki: Though it will be odd if King's Landing does go boom as you kind of imagine that will be where the final fight for the throne would/should be?
Jo: Maybe she’ll only blow up part of it, where the Faith are. I like how we’re just assuming this WILL happen, although I think it’s pretty much a done deal. It would be major trolling if it didn’t now.
Nicki: It will be so weird if not. Did you see we only got a tiny Dothraki moment over in Meereen?
Jo: Yup, I’d forgotten about them. I was all like, yay three dragons! Burning ships! It was a good day for collecting ships. Oh hi masters, I’ll have those. Theon has turned up? Sure I’ll have those ships too.
Nicki: Yes, I’ll have those and those for my collection.
Jo: It went very Golden Axe when they showed up.
Nicki: Ha it so was. Also can we talk about the intense lady-flirting?
Jo: Of course. Much smizing from Yara. Oh hey, did I mention that we’re both totally ladies? Men, amiright? HOES OVER BROS.
Nicki: I like all this season. This was the season of most of the women being badass. But it manages to never feel forced, like oh we should do this because it will be PC.
Jo: Yep, it’s because they’re all smarter than most of the others. I’m a little worried for Dany going up against Euron, although he’s probably only built about three boats by now. Still concerned he has a dragon horn hidden somewhere.
Nicki: Ha ha she knows what to expect of him now. Yara let her know in no uncertain terms, and we know Dany is not into men who think they can marry her and steal all her ships. Sure I read they weren't going to include the dragon horn in the TV series?
Jo: I hope not too. But what’s the point of him otherwise, other than to go up against Dany at some point next season? The Iron Born are such big POV characters in the books.
Nicki: Very true. He just seems so ridiculous at this point, they should have let us see the dragon horn so we'd know he’s a serious threat. Right now dude’s trying to build 1000 ships in a week.
Get a good night's sleep, see you at camp bright and early
Jo: Then over to the other battle.
Nicki: We had the pre battle chats! ‘Casual Bastard Meet-up 2016’
Jo: So civilised before battle. Let’s have a quick chat and arrange to kill each other.
Nicki: They gave us a cheeky glance of tiny Lady Lyanna Mormont looking pissed at Ramsay which I LOVED. It just looked like she smelled something bad.
Jo: I loved all of their reactions to Ramsay. Her and Tormund especially, you could see they were just confused by this smarmy guy and wanted to squish him.
Nicki: Though it was so very polite of them all to be like. ‘So. Let’s all get a good nights sleep, see you in the morning.’
Jo: ‘See you at camp bright and early!’
Nicki: ‘Have a nice sleep, and maybe a shit, and we’ll meet back here. Shall we say 9am?’
Jo: So... I know time passes in weird ways in this programme, but how long did they have Rickon captive for because he looked about 25.
Nicki: He had definitely got a lot older. And how lucky/unlucky was Davos just stumbling upon where Shireen was burned :O
Jo: Yeah, people are remarkably good at finding tiny things in vast landscapes in this show. I had a feeling he’d find the stag, although how it survived when everything else burnt is another question. Oh hey I’ve randomly walked over here and there are a few piles of wood and I’m gonna kick this exact spot and hey looky here.
Nicki: Completely intact. Because plot. Well, Melisandre will have some explaining to do in the next episode.
Jo: It’ll be interesting to see what he does about it. D’you think he’ll try and kill her?
Nicki: Seems to look like Davos is appealing to Jon to do it in the trailer.
Then the armies set up in the morning after a good night's sleep. If this battle was won on awesome facial hair, Jon’s team would win.
Jo: It was very beardy. Extra armour.
Nicki: Wun Wun was there too. Oh Wun Wun. You were right. But he smashed so good.
Jo: He did smush good. I did think he could’ve smushed some more, but he still did good.
Nicki: Yeah at times I was like Wun Wun, just STEP ON THEM.
Jo: THROW STUFF AT THEM. THROW PEOPLE AT THEM. I suppose being poked with pointy sticks puts you off a little.
Nicki: I did shout lots during the battle… “Rickon just lie on the floor!” was one
Jo: Rickon. He was never going to make it. And we were wrong about it being a ploy to take down Ramsay. No, the Umbers really did just hand them over.
Nicki: I know! Bad Umbers. And it was really Shaggydog too.
Jo: I spent the whole time when Ramsay was on screen saying “he’s such a shit”.
Nicki: Then after Rickon was killed Jon obviously remembered Sansa’s warnings about not falling into Ramsay’s trap and didn’t take on a whole army by himself. Oh hang on YES HE DID.
Jo: He still reacts emotionally, which is what Jon does. I LOVED the whole battle scene. All of it was so cramped and bloody and exhausting.
Nicki: It was so clever that they took you down into the fight at their level and made you feel all claustrophobic. Not the typical sweeping aerial shots.
Jo: Yup. I’ve already seen people complaining about it but MEH to them. I thought it was brilliant.
Nicki: Oh no that was what made it! Stuck with all the legs and horses and dead people. Amazing.
Jo: That crush at the end where they were all penned in was pretty much my experience of being at the front at Reading Festival. Slightly less bloody.
Nicki: Yes the squishy bit, we’ve all been there at a gig. Luckily most people don’t bring spears, like a stabby Kerplunk. Body mountain was SO amazingly gross, in most fight scenes dead people die nicely spaced out so the fight can continue.
Jo: Yeah, I don’t know how realistic the body mountain was really but it worked well.
Nicki: Then when all hope seemed lost. Littlefinger! All is forgiven creepy dude.
Jo: Yes, he rode to the rescue at the last minute, which was a little cheesy but, well, he likes to make an entrance. I do still find it weird that Sansa didn’t tell Jon about it at all. What do you think her thinking was? Do you think she held back because she wasn’t sure they’d turn up?
Nicki: I don't think she really knew he’d turn up for her. She basically gave him what for last time they met, and he’s not the most reliable. He’d go with whoever he thought would win, he’s not massive on loyalty is he? In the trailer it shows Jon telling her they have to trust each other now.
Jo: I feel there’s an element of her wanting control of it too, so that she can show her worth/power. But yes, a little telling off. “From now on, if you have a massive secret army you should probably tell me, ok? Otherwise people might get hurt."
Nicki: I was nearly squashed Sansa. Squashed. If you mentioned he was five minutes away, I might have held off.
Jo: Do you know what that mud did to my manbun Sansa? This’ll take forever to tease out.
Nicki: He he.
Jo: Ramsay. Fed to the dogs, as we suspected. Very Sin City.
Nicki: Yeah he only casually mentioned that they were SO HUNGRY. Did you also notice how after Jon smashed him in the face he was laid on the ground like his sigil?
Jo: No, I didn’t. Also did Sansa whip up the new Stark banner from her craft store?
Nicki: Ah Sansa’s crafting bag - the hidden hero of this season.
Jo: She was wearing her sparkly Stark outfit for battle. Gotta look fancy for battle.
Ok, we didn't see that coming
Jo: Dany got stuff DONE.
Nicki: They gave us everything we wanted.
Jo: The battle of Slaver’s Bay wasn’t so much of a battle because dragons.
Nicki: But they know we love us some dragons and we’ve been so deprived.
Jo: They spoiled us.
Nicki: They really did. We lost some people but no one that made me freak out/we didn't expect to die.
Jo: I had my concerns for Rickon but wasn’t sure what would happen. Ah well. He was on screen for a whole 15 mins this season.
Nicki: I know, well done hitting puberty and all. Bye. I feel like this season the main thing we didn't see coming was them giving the fans what we’ve been waiting for.
Jo: True! We’re so used to the long game that seeing things come together so quickly has been more surprising. It’s making me look forward to the books though because I want to read all the subplots and weaving storylines. I like all the battles and shit getting done, but I do miss the subtleties.
Nicki: Yes, it’ll be a different reading experience but will be nice to fill in gaps/see the differences. Shouting at the book rather than the TV that IT'S DIFFERENT.
We totally called it
Jo: Jon won, Wun Wun got smushed, Littlefinger rode in to save the day. Ramsay got eaten. It was pretty obvious all of that was going to happen though, they haven’t been particularly subtle.
Nicki: Yeah foreshadowing has been strong this season. I can see people being critical of that, but we have had five seasons of nothing going as planned so I'm ok with it. We deserve some fan payoff after this many years I feel?
Jo: I’m ok with separating it from the books at this point. I wasn’t sure I would be, but honestly I’m just ok with good TV. There are so many plot holes and so much foreshadowing but that’s ok. It’s fun to watch. And we’ll still all end up in the same place, more or less.
Nicki: Yeah me too, I’m more enthusiastic about this season in some ways as now it’s just a TV show to me. Any doubts I had about this season have been completely proved wrong. There really hasn’t been a bad episode.
Jo: No, there have been a couple of slower ones but only in comparison to episodes like last night and the opening ones.
OMG WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN?
Jo: WELL. I think we’re still on for Cersei burning the Red Keep with wildfire and so we’re likely to lose a few characters. I’m still calling it on Tommen - he’s not making it out of this series alive.
Nicki: Yes definitely, as we didn’t predict so much Dany this episode we already predicted a lot of Cersei stuff that will likely be in next week's episode.
Jo: Bran is in the trailer, so I’m guessing he’s heading for the wall and we’ll get more flashbacks. Hopefully a conclusion of sorts to the ToJ story. Although I doubt they’ll give us everything.
Nicki: They’ll give us something as we’ve seen the blood in Bran’s flashback, but I doubt we’ll see a baby.
Jo: Geez, well we have quite the cast list according to IMDB. Everyone ever. Apart from Arya.
Nicki: So what might happen? EVERYTHING. Season cliffhanger prediction?
Jo: Hmm. Jon’s parentage I’d guess. Though they usually end on a sweeping shot so I’d guess the white walkers will be involved. I don’t think it’ll be the calm episode 10 we’re used to.
Nicki: Yeah I think either Tower of Joy or the Night’s King at the wall too.
Jo: It’s gonna be soooo good.
Nicki: I think so. Then the looong wait for either a book or the next season begins again.
One episode to go. One. We're not prepared for this. What is life when there isn't a new episode of Game of Thrones to look forward to? What will we talk about every Tuesday morning? We might actually have to talk about the real world and that's really quite terrifying. Join us next week for our season finale discussion with a side helping of existential dread.