THE FOLLOWING RECAP CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THIS EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES. YOU KNOW, LIKE A RECAP. RECAPS ARE GOOD FOR RECAPPING THE EVENTS OF A PROGRAM. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED BY THIS RECAP, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO STOP READING NOW. OTHERWISE, ENJOY YOURSELF.
If they were boys before tonight, they were all men by the end of it, as the Night’s Watch battled it out all night long to make sure they stayed on top. And while that all may sound like the beginning of a terrible-but-exciting, Jon Snow-starring pornography of many a gal (and guy)’s dreams, it’s actually exactly what went down. On Sunday night’s penultimate episode of Game of Thrones‘ fourth season, the long-awaited Battle of Castle Black was upon us, and those watchers had a lot more to do than just stare into the blackness.
After seeing so little of The Wall this season, we were gifted with an entirely impressive, visually insane, and expansive episode set in Castle Black as the boys got pummeled from all angles. They were really takin’ it like some champs. They were getting beat on in the front and in the back. Taken equally by surprise and as expected. (Sorry, this is getting really sexual, isn’t it?) The battle raged all around and Neil Marshall’s directing really amplified that as we soared over battles and up and down the wall. Ultimately, they kept the Wildlings at bay. For now.
First thing’s first: let’s get that big death out of the way, eh? Yes, even after last week, Benioff and Weiss have served up another fan favorite on a plate made of tombstone: Ygritte is dead. Shot in the chest by a wee lad named Olly (remember the kid who came to warn Castle Black of the Thenns? That one.) right as Jon Snow managed to escape and kill the Magnar of Thenn. He’d even managed to crack a genuinely-excited-to-see-her smile, that old grumplestiltskin. But of course that meant his love would die, and in such bittersweet fashion to boot: because he wasn’t sure when/if he’d ever see her, and Ygritte certainly never saw that smile coming. Ahh, young love: it’s always lost in an instant, innit?
We even lost a couple of our favorite Night’s Watchers — including Pyp (shot through the head by Ygritte) and Grenn (taken down in the tunnel below The Wall while valiantly killing a literal giant). No! Yes. Even Alliser Thorne, acting Lord Commander is maybe dead and gone; it’s true. The gods both old and new are cruel.
But this episode was bound to have a few deaths. And sure, we were all very likely to fall in love with that goddamn stoic dreamboat Jonnyboy Snow all over again for a multitude of smolder-y reasons, but did anyone expect Samwell Tarly to steal the show? Because we thought he certainly did, and it caught us by surprise (make no mistake, though: we love us some Tarly).
From the first minute of the episode, the bromance was on strong, and Samwell was the more pragmatic one, particularly when the discussion turned to sex stuff. (Not matter what Realm you live in, boys will be boys, my friends.) Perma-honorable Snow, who long felt so ashamed by “breaking his vows” when he slept with Ygritte, apparently didn’t have all that much to worry about, thanks to Samwell, finder of loopholes. Since technically he did not take a wife or father a child, he’s not broken them at all. On a technicality, there’s nothing they can’t do when it comes to sex stuff (of all kinds!) as long as it doesn’t end with a baby.
Samwell also helped us to learn a bit more about Maester Aemon, who — if you didn’t remember or realize it by now — was once a princely Targaryen and heir to the Iron Throne. (Something tells us that he would’ve made a better king than that Mad one.) His love affair with a mysterious woman down in King’s Landing was hinted at with pitch-perfect aplomb: just in time for Gilly to arrive at Castle Black and for Samwell to get his kiss on. Awww! These two crazy kids better make it work. After all, he’s “not nothing anymore.”
I couldn’t have been the only one hooting and hollering at my television, “Go, Samwell, Go!” could I?
In the end, they’ve held the Wildlings back, at least for another day, But goddamn that Jon Snow: he’s off to find and kill Mance Rayder — without his beloved sword Longclaw! And while he’s never looked like such a MAYUN before this moemnt — cranking that brood shit up to eleven. No maybe even twelve — we can’t help but worry about his fate. This is Game of Thrones after all.
Stuff and Things and Other Loose Ends
– Major points to Ghost for ripping the shit out of some necks in that episode. I mean damn, right?
– Tormond Giantsbane has been captured. But will he stay tied up for long?
– The giants and the wooly mammoths looked like creatures from a Jim Henson, acid-laced nightterror of the highest order.
– Is there a name for that crazy-giant swinging contraption that took everyone out so epically?
– Because holy cats that thing.
– Do we hate Olly or do we love Olly or do we just pity him?
– How bad is Samwell going to feel about that, considering he was the one who told Olly to fight?
– Most Gruesome Death Award goes to, hands-down, when the Night’s Watchman got shot into the air and off the top of The Wall onto a giant bloody spike (who puts spikes in the middle of the ground for no reason?) by the giant’s arrow. YIKES.
Do we think Jon Snow will actually be able to kill Mance Rayder? Let us know what you think in the comments (or on Twitter)!