EPISODE REVIEW: Game of Thrones-The Watchers on the Wall
It seems I got a bit mixed up last week due to us being deprived of a highly addictive Game of Thrones episode because of Memorial Day weekend in America and thought last week’s episode was the penultimate episode of this spectacular series, when in fact it’s this weeks’ that’s the second to last episode. Regardless, I stand by what I said last week- the previous episode was a gripping episode and we are gearing up for what I can only guess is going to be a thrilling finale to season 4!
Unlike most multi-stranded Game of Thrones episodes, this episode only focused on one story line- the narrative revolving around the fearsome and brutal battle that engulfs The Wall between the brave Jon Snow and his fellow Night’s Watchmen, and Mance Rayder’s blood thirsty wildling army. This plot technique is unique as there’s always so much going on in Game of Thrones, you don’t want to steel your eyes away for a second, the only other episode that springs to mind that centres on an epic battle is Season 2’s Blackwater.
The bloody battle might have been avoided has the Watch’s stubborn Lord Commander, Ser Alliser had heeded Jon Snow’s warnings about the Wildlings and blocked the passage through the Wall to prevent Mance Rayder’s army from coming through. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot going down in this action packed episode, in which the stakes are high and every character involved has got something to lose. Suspense is initially instilled as sweet Gilly and her baby, having been spared by the spirited Ygritte in last episode’s raid on Mole’s Town, arrives looking for sanctuary at Castle Black, knowing besotted Sam will grant her entry. Hiding Gilly and her child away safely Sam reluctantly joins the fight, knowing he has to protect Gilly at all costs. Meanwhile, in the wildling camp a scorned Ygritte vows that she alone will kill her ex-lover Jon Snow, in revenge for him leaving her to return to the Night’s Watch. In the end, when the two come face to face, it’s Olly, a child serving the Night’s Watch that (rather hilariously) I might add pieces Ygritte with lethal arrow, leaving her to touchingly die in devastated Jon Snow’s arms.
The battle is hard to call at the start, with the Wildling army, complete with giants and mammoths having trained, erm, in the wild and outnumbering the dedicated Night’s Watch men of 150 with their terrifying and vast army of 100,000. They also have the spine chilling Styr and Tormund Giantsbane fighting among their ranks. But with the Night’s Watch have defended the impossibly high and impenetrable wall (another big defence on their side) successfully for the past hundred generations and Ser Alliser, the nimble and gifted sword swinger fighting on their side, the odds could also be in their favour. Either way, what ensues is a gruesome and deadly battle shot skillfully using dark lighting and convincing special effects-check out the axe-to-the-head Jon deals to the formidable Wildling, Styr and the fatal arrow to the chest an unfortunate soul of the Night’s Watch gets impaled on as the shooter, a giant, sends him soaring over the wall, seemingly to just flex his muscles-resulting in a suspense filled battle from start to end.
Though the courageous Night’s Watch manage to eventually fend off the Wildling assault, they concede that they won’t be able to for long. Will the Wildlings invade Castle Black and beyond and what lies ahead for Jon Snow, who leaves beyond the wall, determined to kill Mance, believing that’s the key to defeating the Wildlings?
A violent and shocking episode, I will mourn the end of the possibility of Ygritte and Jon rekindling their romance, which was, for the most part unusual and really entertaining, but I can’t wait to see what happens to other characters in next week’s long awaited season finale!