Have you processed last week's GOT? I still have not. I wanted so badly to have a big "Dallas" scene where Prince Oberyn comes out of the shower saying "It was all a dream. I beat the Mountain, Tyrion is safe and all is right with the world!". Alas, that didn't happen =( This will be an unusually easy episode to recap as we have one main scene: The battle for Castle Black. I must admit, I have not particularly enjoyed all the Castle Black lead up. But this past Sunday's episode lived up to the hype! The special effects were pretty damn amazing. We had giants AND mammoths. Giants riding mammoths! Giants shooting fiery arrows! It was pretty damn cool. But this episode mostly showed the strength (and weaknesses) of it's watchers. Jon Snow dominated and (le sigh) he lived!
The episode begins with Sam and Jon on the wall lamenting their impending deaths, and Sam is mourning what he thinks is Gilly's death. He asks Jon what it was like to "be" with a woman. Jon, ever the gentleman, kind of sidesteps it, basically says it's amazing but says "I'm not a damn poet!" Jon was kind of surprised that Sam would contemplate breaking his vows, but Sam found a loophole: the vows state never to marry or have children, but says nothing about getting one's groove on. Jon is highly impressed and so was I. Never underestimate Sam the Man!!! Sam then goes to the library because he cannot shake the horrors of what he thinks happened to Gilly. Master Aemon appears and asks why Sam is burning precious candles just to read. Sam can't get Gilly out of his mind and that's when Master Aemon reminds Sam that he too was once young and in love. Sam gets startled and says "NO! I don't love her". Master Aemon says "oh yes you do boy" and that leaves Sam all riled up. Master Aemon says "Nothing makes the past as sweet a place to visit than imminent death". #TRUTH. Sam leaves the library and hears a scuttle: It's Gilly trying to get into the castle!!! Pyp is still abiding by the rules like they aren't going to die soon and refuses to let her in. Sam swears and tells him to open the damn gate. Pyp never heard Sam swear before-Sam says to get used to it! hahahahaha. Gilly comes in and Sam embraces her with the promise to never leave her again-until a few minutes later when he brings her to a room he feels she will be safe in. She calls him out on breaking his promise not even five minutes after making it and he says that he must fight and that he will be back for her. Lets hope.
Ser Alliser and Jon are looking out and see the night sky will up with flames, signaling that the battle will begin. It's really cool how they did that. Ser Alliser admits to Jon that he should have listened to Jon and blocked the tunnels but he couldn't be second guessed in front of all his men. I wanted to him to tell Jon that he underestimated and deep down likes him, but nope. He basically said "I still don't like you and your girlfriend should have finished you off". Oh well. I will say that if you ever find yourself in a battle with giants, mammoths and cannibals, Ser Alliser is who you want to lead you. While they are up on the wall sending flaming arrows down to try to stop the impending thousands heading their way, they are unable to keep them at bay. The wildlings-lead by Ygritte, get through the south doors and Ser Alliser turns the top of the wall over to another Ser (who ends up hiding with Gilly. Yup.) and heads down the elevator. He gives a surging rally speech to his men about not dying today and goes sword first into the fray. He can be a jerk but he's not a hypocritical jerk-he went right into the thick of the fight. He is impressive but ultimately gets hurt and his men have to take him to safety. Alliser screams "HOLD DOWN THE GATE!!!" He knows if they get through the gate, they are in trouble. Meanwhile, Sam is trying to train Pyp how to use a crossbow. Sam steps up BIG as he has his girl and her baby to live for now. Pyp shot his first wildling and was so proud-then Ygritte ends up shooting him with an arrow right through the heart. Sam pleads for Pyp to stay alive but to no avail. Sam is PISSED. He takes the crossbow and heads up to the top of the wall to get Jon and more men. They are clearly losing this battle. Ollie, the little boy they took in when the wildlings killed and ate his parents, is terrified and helpless. Sam tells him that he has to get Sam up (and the back down) the elevator and he knows Ollie can do it. Ollie regains some sense and starts the elevator. Sam tells Ollie to get a weapon. Ollie obliges.
On the top of the wall Jon and company are doing what they can to keep the wildlings from getting up the wall and near the gate. There are giants and mammoths that are trying to take down the gate! When Sam reaches Jon and tells him what's going on downstairs, Jon again hands the wall over telling his men to "light them all up". And they DO! Jon and Sam go down the elevator where Jon takes in all that's going on-and he is fired up! This has been three years in the making here and he is ready for it. Jon is fighting with the biggest, ugliest cannibal there and then Ygritte see him and Jon fighting. Ygritte has them in her sight-you think she will kill the cannibal since she warned them all that Jon Snow was her kill, or that she will kill Jon right there but she does neither. Jon gets hold of a hammer and nails it into the guys skull. YES!!! Jon then sees Ygritte but doesn't see her taking aim at him, he just sees her. And he smiles. Swoooooooon. It's the sweetest smile because with all the fighting and killing around them, and despite the crossbow in her hands, his gut reaction is HAPPY to see her. And she is confused. But that lasts all of a second because an arrow "perforates" (thank you JT!!! lol) her and she falls to the ground. Jon runs after her, looks up and sees little Ollie who nods like "you're welcome". Jon holds her in his arms and she once again reminds him "You know nothing Jon Snow". Then she says "We should have stayed in the cave" and dies in Jon's arms. The poetic justice of Ollie killing his parents killer and Ygritte being difficult til the end was really poignant. Jon takes a minute to mourn then goes back to killing. With the giants and the mammoth failing to take down the gate, and all but one wildling (Tormund) surviving in the battle, the wildlings retreat. The men on top of the wall cheer (but are told to keep it down! lol) but it's Jon who feels the defeat of his lost Ygritte and the promise that the wildlings will be back the next night. Sam runs to Gilly who says "See? I promised" and they kiss!!! It was SO SWEET!!! Sam has become a man-and what a good man. He is smarter, braver and just an all around better man for meeting Gilly and falling in love. Le sigh. Sam goes to find Jon who informs him that he is going to see Mance to kill him. Jon knows that Mance is the one he has to face down in order for the wildlings to stop-and they won't stop as long as Mance is leading this fight. Sam tries to get Jon to stay but there is no other option. So Sam escorts Jon to the gate and tells him to make sure he stays alive and to "come back". Then Jon leaves Castle Black behind him and goes to find Mance.
It was a really great episode. The special effects were phenomenal but the growth of characters we love is what really drove it. Plus, our favorites stayed alive!! YESSSSSSSSS!!!
Next week is the finale. I'm so scared. I can't believe it's almost over...but Tyrion better live. That's all I have to say about that!!! =)