Episode 59: "Battle of the Bastards"
We open up with the ships firing catapults of flaming fire on Mereen, and Daenerys looking at Tyrion like the old Aunt Vivian used to look at Will whenever he messed up on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Her impulse is to burn the rebelling cities to ash, but Tyrion is able to temper her thirst for blood. Instead they meet with representatives of the slave masters, who think she is surrendering. Instead she tells them to surrender.
She rides her black dragon into battle while the other two dragons bust out of their confined space. She burns the ships. Meanwhile, the Sons of the Harpy that dared to fight on land get slaughtered by Dothraki forces. Basically, it's a bloodbath.
But up north, there is another bloodbath that is coming up, as Jon Snow has only Wildlings and a few men at his side to take over Winterfell. Sansa says he needs more men, but he says he's going to march and take back his home with what he has. She also warns him that Baby Stark is the last of the male Stark heirs and that Ramsay will probably kill him. Jon's men march south, then set up camp where Stannis' old camp was.
The night before the battle, CrabMan discovers the sacrifice pyre...and the deer he gave to Shireen.
And on the other side of the world, because this series doesn't have many episodes left, both Stephanie McMahon and Waterboy both immediately show up in Daenerys' court, seeking an audience with her. They tell her that they have ships, the missing componenet of Daenerys' conquest. Daenerys counters that Uncle Captain has even more ships, but Stephanie says that he wants to give them to her as a condition of marriage. Daenerys and Stephanie decide to strike a pact, but Daenerys says that Stephanie and her people have to stop pillaging people and taking what they want. Given that this attitude resulted in the mess most of the characters of this episode are in now, that's not a tough sell.
But we have a battle, and oh, boy, this one makes the previous ones look like two kids fighting.
Anwyay there is strategy. Jon Snow would divide his forces into two, forcing the Bolton Army to charge forward as the portion that broke off would come around in a pincer attack.
But Ramsay...is smarter than that.
See, he brings Baby Stark to the battlefield and frees him, and tells him to run to his brother Jon. He does, and Jon abandons the plan to go scoop up his little brother. Of course, arrows are being shot at a fleeing Baby Stark, and just as the two brothers reunite - WHIP! An arrow pierces the boy. Several more later pierce him for good measure. He's dead.
And he's just the first of many deaths.
The Wildlings charge and Jon Snow dodges arrows and blades. They meet the army of Winterfell, and even temporariy lose to them because of the pincer gambit.
But Ramsay Bolton has a gambit. You see. he tells his archers tof fire at the clash of Wildlings and Winterffell people, hitting his own men. As a result, there is a wall of corpses that traps the army. Ramsay's men then close in on the Wildlings on both sides, one side with shields in formation. All seems lost until all of a sudden reinforcements arrived. It turns out Don't Trust Me, Bro and Sansa got the knights of the Veil to join in.
As as for Ramsay Bolton, he manages to beat a retreat to Winterfell, but Jon catches up to him and beats him up, then lets Sansa decide Ramsay Bolton's fate. She then sends his dogs into the dungeon with him to devour him. They do.
There's a danger that this is peak Game of Thrones. Yes, I know that people have complained about episodes to come for reasons I mostly don't know yet, but Ramsay Bolton is clearly the best villain of the series, even if he skirted Villain Sue terrirory at times. He's evil, but not supernatural like Old Blue Eyes. He's not stupid like Incest Queen and her children. He's not religiously devoted like Madam Red. He's not aimeless like the Stone Men or the assassins. And he will get his hands dirty, unlike Don't Trust Me, Bro. He's everything you would have expected Joffrey to have been, but far worse. Given that there are a dozen or so episodes left, one would hope this would mean Incest Queen gets comeuppance, but I know this show sadly doubles down on the supernatural, which is sad because as much of a threat the supernatural poses, it pales in comparison to the depravity of men.
- Tyrion and Daenerys need each other in terms of ruling. Daenerys is far too kill-happy, while Tyrion is far too talk-happy. If these two can work together and keep the kingdom in check, well, Incest Queen doesn't have a chance
- While the scene of Baby Stark getting mowed down made me a little weepy, I have to admit this character wasn't nearly as established as the other victims. We seriously knew more about Wild Thing than this boy.
- With Baby Stark gone, the Stark name is dead. Bran's paralyzed and likely can't procreate. Jon Snow is a bastard. Arya and Sansa are girls. In a sick way, Ramsay Bolton did win after all.
- Also, with both Ramsay and Baby Stark dead, the next generation - No Joffrey or his sister, No Shireen, No Baby Stark, and we haven't seen MiniTaur in a while either. We all know that King Tom Thumb has a countdown timer over his head. While Stephanie McMahon wants to be the Iron Islands princess, Waterboy's mutilation has made it impossible for a male heir to carry on his line. Maybe Sam's going to be the only head of a house by default. Oh, and there's the Mormont girl...oh, she's yet another girl.
- As much as I want to see this as a bittersweet moment, I'm still positive Sansa's pregnant.
- How did a wooden deer not get burnt up on a burning altar? I don't know, but CrabMan's going to die.