Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 9: Riders on the Storm
Game of Thrones RecapSeason 4, Episode 9 **SPOILER ALERT
This week’s episode of our beloved Game of Thrones, “The Watchers on the Wall,” finally gave us two things, one lots of face time with Jon Snow (which has been missing a lot this season) and the boys at the wall actually putting their sword and fighting skills to the test. I was really hoping for a conclusion to the saga that is the Tyrion trial, but we all know that has to be saved for next week’s season finale, which I hear is going to be of epic proportions. I really enjoyed this episode because it had a lot of action and mythological, almost dreamy like sequences with the giants and the mammoths. I just started reading the book and in the beginning, there is a scene with Tyrion and Jon Snow, on their way to drop off Jon at the wall, discussing the grumkins and other monsters that are out there. They talk about these monsters that live out in the wilderness, as if they are part of the urban legends that pervade their society. When I read that a few nights ago, I thought to myself I didn’t realize that this story would ever have anything to do with mammoths, something we really only associate with cavemen and the ice age.
Well to my surprise, they are not a myth, they are not dead, they are very much real! This episode felt larger-than-life and grandiose in a sense with the backdrop of the majestic, white ice wall constantly in the foreground as not only a fortress to the night watch, but also an agent of deterrence for the wild creatures beyond the wall. This episode almost reminded me of a grand tale out of a Tolkein novel. Ripe with phenomenal imagery and a sense of duty and adventure, this episode encapsulated all that and more.
Let’s drink to our men of the Night’s Watch and chat about what went down.
The word on the street at Castle Black is the Wildlings are coming. The men are prepared and as in the title of the episode alludes, they are ready to defend the wall that separates the evil beings from going further up North. Although they seem to feel ready to battle the Wildings, the fear can be felt in their voices and the look of fear and dismay in their eyes. The fear still close to their throats, Sam keeps on reeling over the fact that he did not protect Gilly. Someone knocks on the door and it is Gilly with her baby, she has survived and truly is a fighter in every sense of the word. With a renewed sense of purpose, Sam gets up off his feet and hides her away and makes a promise to her that he will survive. He may not have believed that before, but now that he has a reason to live, something to fight for, this lights a fire inside of him and gets him mentally ready to do battle.
The Wildlings have an army strong of thousands of men, while the Night’s Watch have a handful in comparison. Regardless of being outnumberd, they are much smarter and decisive and must use a planned out strategy in order to win this war. Alliser grabs a hold of everyone and says, “A hundred generations have defended this castle. It’s never fallen before. She won’t fall tonight!” This gets everyone amped up and ready, the Wildlings also scream for glory and blood and one of the Wildling’s says, “Let’s kill some crows.” The fight is on and everyone is ready to rumble.
As they get the top of the wall ready with barrels, Alliser tells Jon that he should have listened to him and sealed the tunnels when they had the chance. Knowing that Jon was right, gave Alliser the ability to heed the responsibility of the top of the wall to him, while he goes to the bottom to fight. The call to arms sounds off and the Wildlings attack from all sides, one climbs the wall, another enters the castle and out from the wilderness emerges giants and wooly mammoths that haven’t been seen in ages. The fighting is vicious, hectic and I was definitely on the edge of my seat.
Before Alliser went to the grounds of Castle Black, he sends a group of men to secure the tunnel and keep the enemy from entering. Down below the giants and mammoths are trying to storm their way in, but the men at the gates use their swords to stop them. As they get ready to attack they repeat their oath, “I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men," in saying this it invigorates them for battle, but the look on their faces is half filled with fear and the anticipation of glory. When the giant enters they kill him, but he also kills all of them including Jon's hipster- looking buddy.
We all know Ygritte is a crazy bitch. She kills Pyp and Sam is left alone, cradling his bloody head in his arms. Alliser fights with all he’s got, but he is killed suddenly. All this sudden death, leaves people turning to Jon who instantly knows how to take command. Olly the boy whose family was killed by the Wildlings is also there and he is helping man the makeshift elevator bringing people up and down from the wall. He is also seeing the horrors unfold before his eyes. Sam hands him Pyp’s bow and arrows and tells him to use them. Although he is just a boy, he must fight and protect the wall if he wants to live.
Jon goes down to fight at the bottom and kills off Styr, the guy with the body mods who likes to eat people. Ygirtte sees this play out and prepares to shoot an arrow at Jon. Something insdie her makes her hesitate, all I kept thinking was “You are nothing Jon Snow.” I think she really loved him and couldn’t bring herself to kill him or this made her hesitates, which ultimately caused her to suffer her fate. Olly comes out of nowhere and shoots her dead.
She dies in Jon’s arms and tells him they should have stayed in the cave forever.
Jon’s direwolf, Ghost is released and he also helps fight people off. Good boy! Up at the top of the wall, the men are using a giant scythe to obliterate the Wildling’s as they try to climb up. This was truly a great fighting scene and every fight story was told well, there was never a feeling like in so many action movies and shows, where you wonder what happened to this person or that. Unfortunately some of our fave Night’s Watch boys died, but that is the truth in war, people die and it must be shown.
The only way that they can defeat the Wildlings is to capture their leader Mance Rayder. Jon believes he has no choice, but to go out and find Mance and kill him. If he does so, he believes that this will make the Wildlings disband and go back to fighting amogst themselves. Jon has gone above and beyond and we are starting to see him as the true regal leader that he actually is and he has that stoic nature that only someone like Ned Stark possessed.
I am beyond excited for next week’s finale. Seriously can I fast forward through life for the next couple of days and just get to Sunday. What did you guys think of the Castle Black fight scene?