The Watchers on the Wall – Recap (Major Spoilers)
In an epic episode that turned cowards into heroes and proved Ser Alliser Thorne was useful after all, The Watchers on the Wall turned out to be as good, if not better than fans had hoped it to be. The cinematography was as good as I’ve ever seen, and the fighting was most impressive. There were point-of-view shots, like Ygritte shooting her arrows at the men of the Night’s Watch, and the sight from atop the Wall was breathtaking.
Similar to season two’s Battle of the Blackwater, this episode was entirely a single location affair, with not a Lannister or a dragon in sight, which I’m sure some will have missed. It was more than made up for with giants riding mammoths and a Wildling army doing their best to climb the wall.
Sam was one of the big surprises of Sunday night’s show, as he started off the episode asking Jon what sex felt like. He even managed to find a loophole in the Night’s Watch oath, stating that it says nothing about having sex, only about not taking a wife. Maester Aemon catches Sam reading up on what the Wildling’s do to their prisoners, as he’s convinced Gilly and the baby met with a terrible end, but he had nothing to worry about as he soon learns when he hears her at the gate demanding to be let in. Sam takes Gilly to a small room to keep her safe, and after promising her he’d never leave her alone again, Gilly tries to stop him going out to fight. Sam surprised us all by planting a big kiss on Gilly’s mouth to stop her from begging him to hide with her and the baby.
Ygritte and Jon had one of the strongest bits of drama after we see Ygritte being hassled by her Wildling cohorts about her feelings towards Jon Snow. It’s no wonder as she was overdoing it with the way she insisted she be the one to kill Jon. Of course, when the big moment arrived, Ygritte had Jon in her sights, as she had an arrow trained at his chest, but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Jon was frozen in place but he knew he was safe, but next thing Ygritte had an arrow sticking out of her chest. As Jon held her, Ygritte asked Jon if he remembered the cave. (You can watch the scene again on Youtube by clicking here.) I’m sure you all remember the infamous cave, where Jon demonstrated his oral prowess to Ygritte’s delight. Anywho, it was a sad moment for Jon and I have a feeling it played a part in his decision to seek out Manse Rayder.
As the Wildling army drew up near the Wall I felt a rush of adrenaline, and the sight of the giants was incredible. They were huge and the ground shook when the walked. There were men trying to scale the Wall and when the got to a certain height, Edd had the men release a giant sharpened anchor on a chain, that swung along the Wall and slaughtered everyone in its path. Jon Snow done his best killing with a hammer, and even Sam managed to kill with a crossbow.
Alliser Thorne did us proud tonight by fighting along with his men as they tried to hold the Wildling’s back. Thorne finally gets wounded during a great scene as he and Tormund get it on, and even though Tormund kills many men, he’s finally captured and put in chains. Before Ygritte was killed we got to see her kill Pyp, who eventually died in Sam’s arms. Grenn also died but he was killed with five other men as they defended the inner gate from a giant. That particular scene was great as the giant was seen charging at the inner gate, and just before that he’d managed to lift the outer gate on his own so at least Grenn didn’t die for nothing.
I’m not sure what Jon thinks he can achieve on his own against Mance Rayder, but he’s convinced if he kills the Wildling leader, the clans will go back to killing each other if there’s no one left to organize them. We’ll just have to wait and see. Next week sees Tyrion face the music and we also get more action from Castle Black. This has been another superb episode and I’m sure next week’s finale will be just as good.
TV Recap by Ed Blackadder