RECAP: GAME OF THRONES S6EP9- STARK, BOLTON AND WINTERFELL
The highly anticipated Battle of the Bastards did not disappoint. The penultimate episode of season 6 delivered in every way possible, with the Starks coming out victorious and Ramsey Bolton getting nothing less than what he deserved.
Let’s get the Daenerys stuff out of the way first because while it was great, it wasn’t close to what was going down at Winterfell. This week we finally saw all three dragons reunited and together, they did more than just rock the boat. Post completely obliterating her enemies, the Mother of Dragons finally meets with Theon and Yara and discusses how to best optimise their newly found partnership. There was a very strong flirty vibe coming from Dany and Yara. Could this mean something later? Probably not but the sexual tension was pretty high in that room and Theon definitely wasn’t contributing to that.
Now back to the bastards. The Stark siblings and their allies (including Lyanna Mormont, yay!) have a direct civil confrontation with Ramsey before the impending fight. I actually loved this scene, particularly when Sansa basically tells Ramsey to shut the fuck up. It definitely made up for having to see his shitty smug face and cocky attitude. Clearly, he’s not accustomed to being cut off or spoken to like that, especially by someone who used to be his captive.
Nevertheless, nothing showed us how much she really hardened up than the fact that she pretty much told Jon to forget about their brother. She was right, of course, Ramsey was obviously going to be using Rickon to his advantage in the fight, and there was absolutely no chance that the heir of Ned Stark was going to survive. But regardless, it was stone cold.
As predicted by Sansa, Ramsey has a plot that ruins Jon’s entire strategy, which was to wait for the Boltons to mount the offensive. In one of the most intense scenes I’ve seen this season, Ramsey plays a cruel game where he forces Rickon to run away, all the while shooting arrows at his back in order to lure Jon out. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one yelling at the damn boy to zig-zag. I cannot express how difficult this scene was for me to watch, or how much it stuck with me in the aftermath. Like, Rickon is honestly such an irrelevant character that I almost forgot he existed until he randomly showed up earlier this season. But still, the sheer desperation on Jon’s face as he sees his brother for the first time in so long, and the fact that he thought that they had a chance broke my heart. This scene was captured so well, I felt like I had a direct stake. My heart was probably beating faster than Rickon’s as he ran for what felt like too long. I’m sure anyone more rational than I would have understood that Ramsey’s arrows missing his target was not by accident. But after that third arrow was fired and Jon was just so close, arm extended, I stupidly let out a sigh of relief. But of course, we all know exactly where the fourth arrow went seconds later.
The battle was glorious. The amount of work that went into it was evident. Everything was shot perfectly. The atmosphere was riveting. You felt as if you were there. You felt everything Jon was feeling from standing alone on the battlefield, to almost getting suffocated by your own men. Let’s talk about that scene for a second. It was brilliant. The feeling of claustrophobia was masterfully recreated in that instance with the extreme close ups of Jon gasping for air, only to be followed by Bolton’s army slowing moving in on the surrounded Stark forces. I could rave on about it for another 1000 words but the thing that stuck out the most was the wall of bodies. That was dark and terrifying, but a reality of what would happen in real life. Desperate men attempting to climb over while wounded yet alive soldiers made its foundation. These are the details that set Game of Thrones apart from anything else out there. Also can we talk about Tormund FUCKING BITING THE FLESH OFF HIS LIVING ENEMY. When survival chances are so limited, I probably would have done the same.
Can we have a moment to thank God for Sansa Stark. Like literally everything would have gone to shit without her involvement. I can’t specify exactly why she wouldn’t tell Jon that the Knights of the Vale were on their way – perhaps she didn’t know herself – but I can’t help but think if he had listened to her from the beginning and just waited, maybe so many lives wouldn’t have been lost. Their impeccable and highly convenient timing was truly the turning point in the battle.
Jon manages to detach himself from the heat of things, furious, filthy and absolutely blood-thirsty. With Tormund and Wun Wun in tow, he finally makes it to Winterfell and beats the crap out of Ramsey, stopping only because he knows that someone else deserves to have the last say. In the most satisfying death scene to date, Sansa watches as the starving hounds tear off large chunks of flesh from a living Ramsey Bolton. His screams were music to my ears. Of course, I can think of a million worse ways I would have liked him to go, but this will do.