Game of Thrones: Season 4, Episode 9 – The Watchers on the Wall

Warning – spoilers ahead.

Jon Snow and Sam are atop the Wall keeping watch. They get into a discussion about Jon’s relationship with Ygritte since Sam is convinced they will not survive the night.

Ygritte vows revenge on Jon Snow and her hatred is pretty evident. Before all hell breaks loose at the Wall, Gilly returns with the baby in tow, much to Sam’s relief.  The invasion of the Wildlings is quite massive and the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch admits his error in not freezing the gates when they had the opportunity.

After losing a friend, Samwell has an existential moment that is quite deadly given the circumstances. Nonetheless, Sam kills a Thenn at the last moment, proving once again that he is a survivor against all odds.

The Wildlings employ massive animals, giants, and all manner of infantry in their assault. The goal is to rip down the gate, scale the wall, attack the Night’s Watch from behind, basically a whole range of actions to make life for the brothers of the Wall miserable.

The episode is filled with a lot of fighting and action with very little occurring in the way of character development. Jon Snow and Styr, the Magnar of Thenn, engage in a pretty awesome battle to the death.

Just as it looks like Jon Snow is about to lose, he kills the Magnar of Thenn with a blacksmith’s hammer to the head.

Much of the season has been building the tension between Ygritte and Jon Snow, her angling for revenge and he hoping she understands. Ultimately, she hesitates to kill him when she has the chance and the young boy that Jon Snow ordered to take up a weapon shoots and kills Ygritte, a bitter moment for the ad hoc Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.

The Wildlings use their giants to attempt to open the gate that bars entry to the lush lands of the south. The Night’s Watch is successful in fending off this attempt but not without casualties as some series side actors bid adieu in this epic battle at the Wall.

Janos Slynt proves utterly cowardly and Jon Snow emerges as the de facto Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. It should be interesting to see how this course develops in the future.

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