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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

GoT S6 E09

I finished watching GoT S6 E09 this morning.

Spoiler alert in case anyone needs it at this late date.

A few thoughts.

I was struck by the scene where the giant Wun Wun breaks down the gate of Winterfell, allowing Jon Snow to enter and win his ultimate victory, but giving his life in the process.

This is an inversion of Hodor's scene in an earlier episode, where he sacrificed his life holding the door so that Bran could escape from the weights. It's the opposite along just about every imaginable axis.

I have this notion that everything in ASoIaF is an inversion or reflection of something else in the story. The show runners seem to have picked up on that idea in this instance.

Ramsay's final words suggested that Sansa might be pregnant, and her conversation with Littlefinger a couple episodes back had people wondering if that might be the case. I think her words to Ramsey foreclosed that possibility. At any rate, after thousands of years, House Bolton is no more, and that is very good news, indeed.  Ramsay's death was nearly perfect, and bloody ironic. Revenge is inherently an ugly emotion. Sansa somehow made it weirdly and horribly beautiful.  But - and it's a pretty big one - the always excellent Alt Shift X has a thoughtful take on all of this that is quite compelling.  His video is embedded below.

The battle scene had a lot of historical precedent. The show runners talk about it in the inside-the-episode segment. This link gives some additional perspective. Anyway, it's horrible, and all too representative of the human condition.

I thought the Deus ex Vale-of-Arryn aspect of it was hokey, but oh, well. Jon Snow tried to out-wit Ramsey, but he was out of his league, and lacking in resources. Jon is a good dude, was an excellent Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but is a pretty bad failure as a battle commander.

Had he been less rash, the battle would have started a bit later. If he'd simply out-waited Ramsey, the reinforcements would have arrived either before the battle or early in it, potentially saving thousands of lives. But Ramsey had a trap baited in a way that Jon could not resist.

Alas, poor Rickon. You had no chance.

Mereen played out exactly as one would have expected. No surprises there, but still satisfying.

I suspect that the show has diverged so far from the books that this episode's action will not have much in the way of spoilers for book readers. Certainly the battle of Winterfell will play out very differently. I expect the Manderlys, who played no part I know of in the show, will be the critical actors in the book. I still expect Stannis to survive, and hope for him to become Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, if there is such a thing in the future.

I still keep some hope alive for Rickon. There are many dead show characters who are still alive and more or less well in the books.

Lots more detail and excellent analysis in the vid.

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