“Battle of the Bastards” is the penultimate episode in Game of Thrones’ season 6, and what a spectacle it was. Fans were treated to one of the most remarkable battle scenes on television, complete with scutums as an offensive weapon.
But because this is television, and many of the events here have been set up several episodes in advance, many moments gave off a whiff of predictability. But then again, because this is Game of Thrones, even the predictable events don’t quite play out the way viewers expect them. Here are some moments in “Battle of the Bastards” that were half predictable, half unpredictable, and all fabulous.
The Battle of the Bastards
I knew this battle was going to be good. I didn’t realize this battle would be great.
Although the armies in the Battle of the Bastards were a given considering the title, the battle itself was a feat of choreography, cinematography, and bloody carnage. Specifically, we saw how chaotic and random battle really is. Jon Snow may have faced death a dozen ways on that battlefield, but his life was most threatened by being crushed to death under the weight of his retreating men and a pile of corpses. It was a brilliant twist—a hero almost dying in one of the least heroic ways possible.
We also saw a disciplined army in action with shields and spears. There’s a reason battles make history. Because they’re awesome, that’s why. (Anyone who agrees with me should see the opening scene in the HBO series Rome).
Sansa is a better leader than Jon
Seriously, Sansa was the one who warned Jon that Ramsay likes to play with people and hurt them. She told him to not act predictably. Did he listen? Not even a little. Despite her warnings, Ramsay bated him into attacking by killing young Rickon Stark in a very public and painful way.
[He’s good at that.]
Considering that Jon, Davos, and Thormund agreed that their only chance was to wait for Ramsay to attack, that was a mistake no real commander should have made.
Sansa also told Jon that their brother Rickon was as good as dead. Sadly, as Ramsay put an arrow through his heart after leading him, we saw she was absolutely right.
Seriously, this was so predictable even the characters were aware of it.
[R.I.P. Rickon Stark]
The Giant Dies
North of the Wall, there are wargs, White Walkers, and even giants. One of them, Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun, had come South to help Jon Snow take back Winterfell.
[You would think he could take down an army himself. Alas, you’d be wrong.]
This lone giant stands out like big painted target with the sign “Shoot me” on his back. Looking at him, my husband said, “He has twenty minutes to live.”
A full twenty-four minutes later, and Ramsay…well, let’s just say some of GoT’s special effects budget has been freed up.
The “Surrender” of the Masters
The Masters of the neighboring cities had agreed to end slavery, as per their arrangement with Tyrion. Instead, they gathered a fleet to attack Meereen. Tyrion, Grey Worm, Missendei, and Daenerys met with the Masters to discuss terms of her surrender.
Oh, did I say “her?” I meant, “their.” Dany calls to her dragon Drogon, hops on board, and blasts the attacking fleet with dragonfire. (Her other two dragons, Viserion and Rhaegal, join in on the fun.)
Predictable, yes. But just because we knew it was going to happen, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a delight to see. Which it was. Go, Dany! What wasn’t as predictable (to me, at any rate): She left some of the attacking ships uncharred so she could take them for herself.
[Besides, what’s Game of Thrones without a little dragonfire?]
Dany tells Yara and Theon what-for
Yara and Theon Greyjoy arrive in Meereen just in time to not fight in the naval battle, I noticed. But in their conversation with Dany and Tyrion, they find that they all share something in common: fathers who were horrible people. Ah, bonding.
The Greyjoys offer Dany their fleet of one hundred ships in exchange for Dany’s support in taking back the Iron Islands from their uncle Euron. Dany agrees to make Yara the queen of the Iron Islands on one condition: The Iron Islanders had ravaged and raped wherever they sailed, but no more. They would, all of them, leave the world a better place than they found it.
[Yara. Now with more joy and less grey.]
The Ironborn siblings agree. But they warned Dany that Euron was en route. As he’s the most horrible person in the show currently alive, I assure you this isn’t good.
Speaking of still alive…
Sansa watches Ramsay die horribly
Sansa and Ramsay hadn’t been married for long, but every minute was painful for the abused Sansa. In order for her to achieve Aristotelian catharsis, she would need to have a hand in her abuser’s demise. So far, so predictable, right?
Actually, it’s the way in which Sansa brings justice to Ramsay that brought the shock value up to lightning strike. While he was tied to a chair in his cell, she brought in his hunting hounds which had been starved before battle to make them more aggressive. They took one lap of his bloodied face, and it was snack time.
Yes, Sansa fed him to his dogs. I don’t even think Aristotle saw that coming.
[When I grow up, I want to be a princess military commander.]
Deux ex machina on the Battlefield
We’ve seen it since the 5th century B.C.E.—hell, we saw it when Stannis saved Jon’s bacon back in season 4’s episode, “The Watchers on the Wall.” Just when we think all is lost for our heroes, another army swoops in and saves the day.
Although we didn’t know who Sansa sent that Raven to in a prior episode, yeah, we totally knew. It was just a question of time before Robin Arryn’s army, led by Petyr Baelish, broke the Bolton shield formation.
[Obviously Littlefinger will want something in return.]
To be perfectly honest, this moment was a little too predictable. But at least our heroes survived.
OTHER EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS
Davos stumbles upon an old fire, where he comes across the carved deer he had made for Shireen Baratheon last season. Davos knows she had died. But after seeing the burned ground, he realizes that the person responsible for Shireen’s death must have been Melisandre.
Melisandre, winter is coming. And so is Davos.
[Pray to your god.]
Featured Image Credit: HBO.