There are no words to describe my feelings after watching this week’s highly anticipated Battle of the Bastards. I was genuinely left awe-struck by this week’s episode. It was a total masterpiece. Granted, we only saw the story-lines in Mereen and at Winterfell, but I swear by the Old Gods and the New that it has got to be the best episode of Game of Thrones to date, and that’s saying something.
Mereen: Dreams and Dust
Following Daenerys’ triumphant return to Mereen, she quickly plans to destroy the Masters, and to burn their cities to the ground. What was particularly great about this scene was that we got to see that Daenerys truly is her father’s daughter. Tyrion then reminds her that she would be no better than The Mad King if she were to destroy Volantis, Astapor and Yunkai. Daenerys then proceeds to present the terms of the Masters’ surrender. Of course, they’re having none of it, so what does she do? She gets on Drogon, meets up with Rhaegal and Viserion and they totally kick ass. The scene with her and the three Dragons is absolutely breathtaking; kudos to the Special Effects team, and to Ramin Djawadi whose score for this episode was pitch perfect.
After Daenerys newly recruited Dothraki army show up and defeat the Sons of the Harpy, Daenerys meets with Theon and Yara Greyjoy in a scene that the feminists will love. It’s a great scene in which Daenerys and the Greyjoys promise to support each others claims in return for independence of the Iron Islands, but the Iron Islanders cannot go back to their old ways of raping, raiding, murdering etc. Then Yara and Daenerys rip in to the fact that men are bad rulers and they have a bit of under-the-radar flirting. Overall, the story in Mereen this week was on top form, which leads me to think that somewhere down the line, something is going to go horribly wrong…
Winterfell: Steel and Snows
Now for the main event… The Battle of the Bastards. Jon vs Ramsay. Snow vs Snow (even though he’s all legitimate now, if they’re calling it Battle of the Bastards, Ramsay is a Snow not a Bolton). There’s a bit of pre-battle banter between the Bolton forces and Jon’s Army which might just seem like a time-filler but I loved it as a way of building tension between the two sides. Davos and Tormund have some pre-battle banter amongst themselves, and Davos finds the pyre where Stannis Baratheon burned his daughter at the stake, with Davos finding Princess Shireen’s wooden stag which he gave her as a gift. Personally, I found this scene very effective; Davos had never really questioned Shireen’s death but he now knows that the King he worshipped burned his own daughter based on the words of Melissandre. This is surely going to play a huge part in the next episode.
Cut to the Battle; Ramsay rides up with young Rickon Stark and tells him to run to Jon. While he runs to his brother, who is riding on horseback to meet him, Ramsay fires a series of arrows at Rickon in a heart-racing scene that will have viewers on the edge of their seats. Just before Rickon reaches Jon, Ramsay shoots Rickon straight through the heart, killing him instantly. I actually cried it was so sad. My heart was in my mouth for the whole thing. Then the battle begins and it truly is the bloodiest battle we’ve seen yet on Game of Thrones. If you thought that Hardhome was the best it could get, well you thought wrong. Ramsay’s forces have Jon outnumbered, but just when all hope seems lost, Littlefinger and The Knights of The Vale stroll up and defeat Ramsay’s army. He retreats to Winterfell but Wun-Wun and the Wildlings storm the castle. Ramsay kills Wun-Wun and then Jon hands Ramsay’s ass to him on a plate. But like a good brother, he saves him for Sansa. Everything looks good. The Stark Banner is flying over Winterfell once more, and Rickon is to be buried in the Crypt of Winterfell along with Ned Stark.
The final scene, for me, was the highlight of the episode. Ramsay is locked up in the kennels, with all of the hounds that he hadn’t fed; in his arrogance, he starved them so that he could feed Jon and Sansa to them. Then Sansa lets slip the dogs of war and Ramsay meets his long-awaited demise, with Sansa walking away smiling.
Well, I for one believe that this was possibly the best episode of television in history. It had everything; dragons, blood, gore, great story telling, superb direction and stellar performances from the whole cast. I particularly enjoyed the Daenerys/Tyrion scene at the very start, which gives us a little insight into the darker side of Daenerys; the side that shows that Targaryen madness. I can’t really criticise anything in this episode. Everything was spot-on. Miguel Sapochnik (the guy behind Hardhome) really knows how to make a Game of Thrones episode. He nailed it.
I have to give Battle of the Bastards a perfect score of 100%, for its acting, atmosphere, direction, score and not forgetting the action that came with it.
Words by Anthony Cody