Game of Thrones S4 E9 Recap: Jon Snow Knows Some Things

(Photo Courtesy Comic Vine)

Three “television enthusiasts,” the dynamic brother-sister duo of Marci and Rusty Buehler and Zac Hirschbeck, watch Game of Thrones each Sunday night and exchange their thoughts on the show’s happenings.

 

Rusty: Well, we finally got it.  After 4 seasons of an anticipated throw down at Castle Black, Game of Thrones delivered last night.  I’m amazed every week at what this show is able to technically accomplish, and this week was firing on all cylinders.

I have nothing to compare this week’s episode to with anything else I’ve seen on TV.  Everything about this episode was cinematically epic.  The show managed to keep everything grand and bombastic, yet was STILL able to ground the story in the humanity of the characters.

Coming into this episode, I was hesitant to spend a whole hour on Jon Snow and the men of the Watch. However, in keeping it all at Castle Black, the show was able to cap off so many arcs that they’ve been working on for years in only 3-5 minute increments.  Some have argued that the pacing between all of the different characters and worlds is one of the show’s biggest assets.  However, this episode only goes to show that even if you spend all your time on one of these stories, there is still plenty to be mined in the hour.

What a way for Ygritte to go!  Even getting a throwback line in her dying breath (“You know nothing, Jon Snow!)  Being able to follow Ygritte through the hour was helpful in making her death really land with me.  If there was a Facebook for Westeros, “It’s Complicated” would be the most apt way to describe the love of Jon and Ygritte.  Do you think Ygritte would have released her arrow had Ollie not beaten her to the punch?  Also, how BADASS WAS OLLIE?  Dude’s all of 7 years old.  Just a clarifying question:  Does that mean Ollie’s already done something so heinous to warrant a lifetime membership to the Knight’s Watch?  Did he Mountain somebody on the playground?  Yeesh.

There are so many other things we can discuss, I’d love to hear what y’all thought!

 

Marci: It seems like this season we’ve been saying goodbye to basically a different character every single week, and I agree Rusty – Ygritte’s death was pretty memorable, especially her last dying words.

And yes, I believe that if Ollie hadn’t arrowed Ygritte that she would have killed Jon Show. She was tenacious, and even though she loved him, she knew there were lines drawn and she couldn’t take the side of a CROW.

Moving on from Ygritte (although I’m sure Zac will have some more words about the death of his favorite lady wilding), we got a lot of Samwell this episode and he really seemed to make the transition to being a “real man” (not like the coward dude who ran and hid in the room with Sam’s lady during the fight). He is now a man in love, and has “become someone.” I hope he lives through the rest of the fighting, even though I find him and his storyline a bit boring.

What I didn’t find boring, however, were the GIANTS in this episode! They were insane, and terrifying, and a great demonstration of special effects. This episode really used the effects brilliantly, and as Rusty mentioned, the result was a very cinematic, anxiety-ridden hour of television.

I’m not huge on action / adventure, so this wasn’t my favorite episode of the season, but it did carry a lot of weight and retained a human element even as a lot of fighting and action went down.

I will say, however, that I am very much looking forward to next week, when we’ll get to check in again with many of our other story lines.

 

Zac: While I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling this way…BUT WHY CAN’T WE HAVE NICE THINGS ON GAME OF THRONES?!?!

A week after my new favorite character’s skull was squished like a grape, my favorite wildling, and perhaps character in any of the Northern-centric storylines, is slain by a little kid. I do appreciate George R.R. Martin not proceeding to have Ollie come over and dismember Ygritte to add disgust and horror to the existing sadness. I suppose it’s mildly refreshing to have a meaningful death every once in a while that doesn’t feature gruesome violence. All the same, it’s difficult to see Ygritte go, but I can’t say it was all that surprising. Love doesn’t appear to be an enduring sentiment on this show, whether it be due to death, societal norms, or personal betrayal. Marci, I personally don’t think she would’ve killed Jon Snow. I interpreted her extended hesitance as a demonstration of that. Ygritte was undoubtedly a badass, but she also resembled a more humanistic character than her wildling associates. I think her protection of Gilly and her child exemplified that. In my eyes, and through examining the patterning within the show to this point, her demise was fitting. The minute Ygritte lost her focus and her sense of ruthlessness to gaze longingly into Jon Snow’s eyes, she was toast. DAMN YOU OLLIE! WHY DIDN’T YOU JUST STICK TO OPERATING THE ELEVATOR!

On the other hand, it’s very apparent that Jon Snow does know many things (despite Ygritte’s continuing assertions to the contrary). It was enjoyable to watch Jon Snow ascend to the heroic figure that this show has long been hinting at. His duel, and subsequent murder by hammer, of the head cannibalistic wildling was enjoyable. His decision to leave in search of Mance Rayder was an admirable one, and his success will largely decide the fate of the North. The giants were thoroughly entertaining and I’m sure that won’t be the end of our run-ins with them. Despite the triumph of the Knight’s Watch, it certainly looks grim for them moving forward. Rayder’s army is still 100,000 strong and possesses otherworldly creatures. That enormous wall in their way will eventually look like little more than a nuisance. During this whole episode I couldn’t help but think about the Whitewalkers as well. Will they figure into this battle at all? Or are they still a ways away from becoming a legitimate feature within this show? Either way, I’d very much enjoy a Whitewalker v. Giant showdown.

Lastly, it was nice to see Sam appear to find himself, but his newfound romance with Gilly remains thoroughly uninteresting. I guess when one incredible romance ends (Ygritte and Jon Snow), we replace it with one that I’m assuming the majority of the audience is largely indifferent to. After Sam and Gilly embraced one another in last night’s episode, I couldn’t help but think of ranking the best couples on Game of Thrones. Here’s a short list. Let me know what you guys think.

 

1. Ygritte and Jon Snow

No further explanation needed.

2Khal Drogo and Daenerys

How much different would this show be right now if Khal Drogo hadn’t died? Westeros would already be under the rule of the Dothraki King and the Mother of Dragons.

3. Robb Stark and Talisa Maegyr

Much like Ygritte and Jon Snow, this couple exemplified the near impossibility of finding happiness through love. God The Red Wedding was awful.

4. Ned and Cat Stark

So much sadness.

5. Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister

Not truly a couple, but I miss Brienne. And their journey alongside one another was memorable.

Others to Consider: Sam and Gilly (Eh!) Cersei and Jaime (Gross!), Stannis and his wife/The Red Lady (Who cares!) Tyrion and Shae (Not anymore!) Missandei and Grey Worm (Encouraging, but too early!)

 

Marci: Great list! I’d like to add Arya & The Hound, in my continuing efforts to make this odd couple happen. Yeah, there’s an age difference, but once she comes of age it ain’t no thang. And they already banter like a married couple, so it will work perfectly. Or even better would be finding out that The Hound had a long lost son that he didn’t know existed, who took a liking to Arya. Then we could have a “Everybody Loves Raymond” sort of spin-off, where Arya & her hubby live across the street from her in-law, The Hound. Comedic gold. I’d also like to add Brienne of Tarth as a quirky neighbor. I smell Emmy’s galore.

I would put Khal Drogo & Daenerys at the top of that list, too. No one can compare to the love of the “MOON OF MY LIFE. MY SUN AND STARS.” Not even the sweet, sweet cave loving of Jon Snow and Ygritte. And don’t forget Renly & Loras, the most fabulous couple in all of Westeros!!

How about worst romantic pairings on this show? Here’s some nominations: Littlefinger & Lysa (MOONDOOR OF MY LIFE), Robert Baratheon & Cersei, Sansa & Joffrey, Jorah & Daenerys, Sansa & Littlefinger, Brienne of Tarth & Renly (in her dreams)…I think the list could go on and on.

But the fact that we can list so many couplings just off the top of our heads goes to show the emphasis Game of Thrones puts on human relationships. That’s what draws me in most. Not the Dragons, Whitewalkers, or even the badass Giants. I watch for the internal struggles of these characters, the scheming and schmoozing, the love and the hatred. Oh, and the frequent and gruesome deaths, too!

What do you guys think will happen in next week’s finale? There seems to be a lot of stories that still need wrapping up – Jon Snow’s quest to kill Mance, Tyrion’s fate, Arya & The Hound’s next move, Bran’s quest, and what the heck Stannis is doing with all his money from the Iron Bank (probably shooting an episode of MTV’s Cribs of Westeros). I don’t know how they will possibly get to every storyline next week, but I’m excited to watch it unfold.

 

Rusty: S4E10 GAME OF THRONES, CRIBS OF WESTEROS (SEASON FINALE)

INT:  CASTLE, DAVOS

(Wide shot of STANNIS entering his master bedroom.  MELLISANDRE in lingerie on bed)

STANNIS: …And this is where the magic happens.

(music: Monster Mash) Three GIANTS and a SHADOW BABY enter and do the watusi.

——-

THE SPIN OFFS WRITE THEMSELVES!

Khal Drogo and Khaleesi are at the top of my GoT showmances.  But, I’m holding out for a Hotpie and Arya reunion in season 5.

There are so many other stories to check in on during next week’s finale!  I’ve noticed that usually with HBO shows, they seem to play all their cards in the penultimate episode (the Red Wedding being a prime example).  But, there’s still so much left on the table.  We’re bound to be disappointed, unless it’s a super sized episode.  If I had to whittle it down to three events, I’d pick….

1.) The fate of Tyrion (whatever it may be).
RECKLESS PREDICTION: He escapes with Varys.  Why Varys?  Why not!  He’ll probably just throw Tyrion in with that dude in a box and soft shoe outta there.

2.) Some sort of culmination with the Hound and Arya’s story (the Hound is on Arya’s enormous hit list…)
RECKLESS PREDICTION: Something happens involving fire which ultimately leads to the Hound’s demise.

3.) Psychic Bran tripping balls at the face tree.  OK, this one is kind of a cheat b/c it was on “Next time on… Game of Thrones!”
RECKLESS PREDICTION: Bran and the twins drive through taco bell and watch an Aqua Teen Hunger Force Marathon.

One thing I wanted to mention… Since I wrote this morning, I read that Ollie (the kid who killed Ygritte) was the child from the village that was ransacked a few episodes ago who was sent by the bald cannibals to the Wall to tell the Watch what was up.  The story came full circle!  Although, I wish it was just some random punk.

Also, Marci, great shout out about those giants.  They were AWESOME.  Especially… giant arrows?!?  I mean come on, how cool was that?  OF COURSE giants shoot enormous arrows that are basically spears propelled off of piano wire.  Insane.  Who needs a summer popcorn movie when you got this show?

Also, breaking news!  Supersized!

 

Zac: How could I forget Renly and Loras?!?! All of these sitcom pitches sound like fantastic ideas. Instead of yet another edition of CSI or some awful new family-centric, laugh-track-fueled, “edgy” show, CBS should start putting the pieces together on a Game of Thrones spinoff. Or spinoffs.

Rusty that link has me counting down the days to the finale. 66 Minutes?!?! That’s more minutes than usual! I can’t ever remember the directors and writers pumping up an episode like they are this one. So since I’m assuming they really don’t need to generate new viewership through false promises or fake expectations, I fully expect Sunday’s finale to be fantastic. Before this week’s recap draws to a close, I’d like to piggyback on some of your predictions.

I also think Tyrion lives, but I don’t think he’s aided by the genital-less one. I have no idea who’s really in position to help him though. Bronn has already resigned himself to a simpler life. Podrick is out accompanying Brienne. Shae has turned her back on him. His sister and father are eager to see him perish. I think the rest of Westeros is happy to see Lannister’s kill off other Lannister’s. Ultimately I think Jaime helps Tyrion in some way. Jaime appears to be the only man left in King’s Landing that cares about Tyrion’s fate. He also has demonstrated far more of the qualities lately that make me believe he won’t settle for his brother’s execution. The two have shared some incredible scenes over the last several weeks. I don’t know what Jaime does, but I think he orchestrates a scenario in which Tyrion keeps his head firmly intact. Knowing this show however, if Jaime does prove to be heroic, I think he dies. If I’ve learned anything from this season, it’s that positivity is often short-lived.

As far as some of the other storylines go, I hope we reach some form of an at least mildly happy ending for the Stark children. Arya and the Hound have been entertaining, but something needs to evolve there. The Hound’s vulnerability the past couple episodes have made him a bit more sympathetic, which would make his death a bit disappointing. If the Hound died where would that leave Arya? Regardless, I hope Arya is given more to do moving forward. I also hope the same for Bran. Several weeks ago I believe one of you wondered if Bran could potentially pilot a dragon with his abilities. While I don’t think that’ll happen this week, I still hope that one day we might be able to see Bran do just that. Sansa needs to distance herself from Littlefinger. Lastly, in regards to two of the show’s more featured characters, Daenerys and Jon Snow, I have no idea what’s in store. Will Daenerys ultimately decide that she’s had enough of Meereen? I hope so. Will Jon Snow successful track down Mance Rayder and kill him? No idea, but I’m excited to find out.

Let’s all keep in mind that this was the heavily featured advertising campaign for this season:

game-of-thrones-season-4-poster-0002

Should be fun!

2 Comments on “Game of Thrones S4 E9 Recap: Jon Snow Knows Some Things

  1. Comment to Rusty section 1: I think Ollie was the kid from the village that the Thenns pillaged a few episodes back. Ollie watched them kill his Mom and Dad and then the lead Thenn let him escape to Castle Black to let the Crows know the Thenns were over the wall and having their way with the villages below the wall, trying to draw some crows out of Castle Black to confront them. So, If I’m right, Ollie didn’t commit any crimes to be a member of the watch, he just has no where else to go.

    I can’t remember if this agrees with the book or not. Ygritte definitely gets arrowed, but I don’t know who shot her.

    • Thanks, Mike! I hope Ollie makes it out of this series in one piece!

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