Since I have some newcomers to my blog, I thought I would write something fun and light this time around. I originally had a list of my favorite bits of Game of Thrones: Season 6 along with a few things that I missed. However, my first bullet point, Episode 9: Battle of the Bastards, turned into its own blog. The battle between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton is the best battle scene I have seen on television. It rivals the battles of the big screen, and in my opinion, surpasses the best hand-to-hand combat movie scenes from Braveheart to Lord of the Rings. I watched most of Season 6 before my husband, but I told him to wait to see Episode 9 until I could watch it with him. It was THAT good. Let me break it down as to why.
Jon Snow is still Jon Snow
Throughout the seasons, we (most of us at least) have come to love Jon Snow. He stands for justice and all that is right. He is guided by his heart rather than his head. Which is his weakness, but we weren’t certain that dying and resurrecting hadn’t changed that. So when Snow foolishly retaliated in reaction to Rickon’s death, the audience was reassured Jon Snow, well, still knows nothing. He didn’t have the patience to go with the plan made the night before, and Ramsay did exactly what Snow had planned to do (proving patience was the wiser decision). Ramsay won that battle, showing he was a formidable, tactical military leader in addition to being a ruthless brutal slimeball. But Jon Snow would be better off learning from the encounter. He got lucky, yet again.
Maybe I’m wrong on this one, but when Snow broke through the pile of bodies, blood all over his face, and gasping for air, it was a rebirth of sorts (without Melisandre’s help this time). And I hope in this next life his heart hardens just enough to let his brain guide his actions.
Bodies = Barrier
This was genius. Yes, I know the producers researched several battles going back to ancient Greece, and didn’t make this up on their own, but the concept was nothing short of awesome (and horrifying). Casualties on the front line, piling up into a massive wall. And those surviving behind it become surrounded by the enemy with a circle of spears. No, there were no rolling logs on fire, or tar pits on fire, or fancy catapults. This was pure strategy, using minimal resources on hand.
The camera work placed you right in there, on the field, in the middle of it. You felt the chaos. The camera wasn’t steady, or completely in focus, or slightly raised above the actors like we’ve seen over and over in film. You sensed the squeeze, the lack of room, the suffocation of Snow. At times it was hard to tell what was going on. Attacks from all sides, not knowing friend from foe, noise drowning out thought. I imagine THAT is true, raw battle.
Oh, and that smile
One of my favorite character arcs is that of Sansa Stark. We met her as a young teen, foolish and selfish. I think most women can relate to being that way at some point in their teen years, wanting what they want without regard to the impact on others. Her experiences guided her maturity, and in Season 6 she is matured, hardened, and wiser than her half-brother-technically-cousin Snow. When Ramsay was defeated, it was only fitting Sansa got to inflict/watch his final demise. As she walked away, she smiled. I don’t know if the intent of the scene was to give the viewers satisfaction (finally Sansa got revenge!). But, I, however, worry about Sansa. That smile reminded me of another strong woman—Cersei. Cersei Lannister thrives off of seeing her enemies suffer. I worry the hardened Sansa will become the Cersei of the North, and with the devil still by her side (sidenote: in the first scene Sansa and Littlefinger met in Season 1, he was convincing her to hate The Mountain—always the devil on her shoulder guiding her emotions) I think her future actions may be disconcerting.
Do you have a favorite episode or scene from Season 6? Feel free to share in the Comment section below!