Game of Thrones and the Battle of the Bastards

Jon fighting in Battle of the Bastards

“Battle of the Bastards” was a long time in coming, but it was the women who won the episode.

(Stop, children, what’s that sound? It’s the sound of Game of Throne’s SPOILERS!)

I’ve been sitting here in my comfy chair trying to figure out some way to finish the article for Game of Throne’s “Battle of the Bastards.” It was a was a long time in coming and now that it’s over I’m almost at a loss for words. A lot of writers are going to write about the battle between Jon and Ramsay. Rightfully so. It was an epic battle.

The dead of the Battle of the Bastards
Although there may be some CGi involved, the time and choreography it took to stage the battle took talent and a lot of time.

Benioff and Weiss have stated that the next two season are going to have less episodes than previous seasons because of the time it takes to create each season. After watching the battle between Jon and Ramsay you can see what they meant. The battle scene was the biggest, best battle we’ve seen on Game of Thrones. I’d be willing to argue the battle was not only one of the best battles ever filmed for television, but is on par with anything that we’ve seen in theaters.

Jon, Sansa, Davos and Tormund meet Ramsay.
It was tradition for opposing generals to meet before battle. Ramsay laid the bait to lure Jon into hasty judgment, but Sansa called it when she said Ramsay would be dead at dawn.

The battle was loud. It was muddy. It was chaotic and it was very, very bloody. The battle did an excellent job creating tension not only in the characters, but in the viewers. Who was going to survive? Jon told Melisandre not to revive him if were to fall in battle. At one point it looked like Jon and everyone else was going to die as Ramsay Bolton’s army surrounded them. It wouldn’t be the first time showrunners pulled a character out of the flames for no reason.

Ramsay plays a game with Rickon
We didn’t need anymore proof Ramsay was evil just for the sake of being evil. Instead of simply killing the last known Stark male he makes him run for his life.

So it seemed Ramsay would go terrorizing the North and viewers. It seemed that way until Littlefinger swept in with the Knights of the Vale. It wasn’t a cheap tactic. On the contrary, it felt awesome. Sansa had told Jon they needed to wait until they had more soldiers on their side. Again, Jon went with the Rumsfeldian idea of fighting with the army you had not the one you wish had. Why didn’t she tell Jon she had the Knights of the Vale waiting in the wings? We may find out in the season finale or we may never know. Game of Thrones can be a fickle mistress.

Davos Seaworth thinks about the past.
It’s small scenes like this one that really flesh a character out. Will defeating Ramsay bring some peace to Davos for standing by as Shireen was burned to death?

The battle between Jon and Ramsay wasn’t the only battle being fought. Last week, Daenerys returned to Meereen while the Masters’ fleet was bombarding the city. Daenerys victory over the Masters was a foregone conclusion. It’s how she defeated them that was awesome. The dragons and the fleet may have been CGI, but it was still pretty impressive to watch them breathe fire onto the sails and burn the ships into the ocean. We saw the Dothraki, who swore allegiance to Daenerys, cut down the Sons of the Harpy. The Battle of Slaver’s Bay was just exciting as the Battle of Winterfell.

Daenerys and her Dragon ready for battle
Daenerys told us what she was going to do over Tyrion’s objection. We knew she would come back, but the final battle was worth the season long wait.

The battles did more than just restore Daenerys Targaryen to power and return  Winterfell to the Starks. The battles also ended two storylines that went on too long and needed to be ended so the story could move forward. I’ve mentioned it before, but it bares repeating. Ramsay Bolton was a character who had outlived his purpose seasons ago. There were plenty of vile characters in the series before Ramsay Bolton. When he was introduced it seemed only to fill the void of character we love to hate left by Joffrey.

Sailors about to be burned on Slaver's Bay
The CGI used in the battle scene didn’t distract from the battle.

Another long storyline has come to an end assuming the Dothraki killed all the Sons of the Harpy and if there are any left they will lose the support of the masters. There were enough religious zealots in the series. Ending these two storylines will let the plot move towards its ultimate conclusion. If there are indeed only two more seasons with less episodes the showrunners are going to need all the time they can get. What they’ll need to do next week is put an end to the High Sparrow and his flock.

Dothraki charge the Sons of the Harpy
The Dothraki swore allegiance to Daenerys. When will she use them to move on Westeros? It has to be next season to keep the series’ momentum going.

Benioff, Weiss, and Martin have taken serious flack over their portrayal of women in the series. They’ve had to defend themselves against two needless rape scenes and the excessive amount of female nudity in the series. However, “Battle of the Bastards” was all about the women.

Theon and Yara talk to Daenerys
The Greyjoys have ships for Daenerys. She’ll need them to move on Westeros. Will we see her set sail next season or will the tradition of teasing viewers last until the final episode?

Ah, but it’s called “Battle of the Bastards,” you say? Bastards are men. Jon defeated Ramsay. This is true, but who warned Jon not to fall into Ramsay’s trap? Who had the foresight to contact Littlefinger? Who, with one look, stopped Jon from beating Ramsay to death? And who smiled as Ramsay was devoured by his own dogs? Sansa Stark, a woman, that’s who.

Sansa looks on as Ramsay's forces fall
Winterfell is once again under the Stark banner. Will other houses swear loyalty to them or will there be more battles. We may not know this season, but will this affect events in King’s Landing?

In Meereen, who brought men to their knees? Who controls the dragons? Daenerys Targaryen, a woman, that’s who. Not only is Daenerys back in control of Meereen she made a pact with Yara Greyjoy, another woman. Some folks are going to make a lot of the smiles between Yara and Daenerys. Will they or won’t they end up between 1000-count Meereeian sheets? We know Yara is partial to the women, but Daenerys has never shown the inclination. Either way, you have two women on the brink of shattering a male dominated world.

Daenerys looks over Slaver's Bay
With only two seasons left, showrunners have to start speeding the story up to get to the final battle between Daenerys and the Lannisters. Who will sit on the Iron Throne?

“Battle of the Bastards” was an episode for the ages. It didn’t offer anything we didn’t see coming episodes back. It’s like watching your favorite action movie. You know how it’s going to end, but watching the fights is half the fun of those movies. Plus, we haven’t had a feel good episode in a long time, if we have ever had a feel good episode. Yes, it was a feel good episode. Tyrants fell, people were avenged, and the story moved on. That’s a feel good episode to me if there was every one. I’m going out on a limb here, but this should have been the series finale. There is no way, unless the High Sparrow is hanging from the rafters, the series finale will top “Battle of the Bastards.”