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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Game of Thrones S04 E09: “The Watchers on the Wall” (there might be giants)


(previous: “The Mountain and the Viper”)

Has there ever been an episode devoted wholly to the Watchers on the Wall before? I can’t recall one… but I am declaring them the Klingon episodes of Game of Thrones. You know, still good and all, but not my favorites. A bit too, hmm, one-note for my taste. Too much honor and bravery and good-day-to-die. Not that these aren’t noble things (well, except perhaps the good-day-to-die stuff, cuz even Klingons, er, I mean, members of the Night’s Watch don’t really want to die, do they?). There’s just not much dramatically interesting in the flip side to that. I mean, down in King’s Landing, even the awful things that so many people do seem to make a cruel sort of sense. I get why Jaime pushed Bran out of that window, for instance, even if it was a despicable thing to do, and even more importantly, it upped the intrigue and contributed to a very tangled web of twisted soap opera. But a “warrior” who wimps out at the first sign of trouble and goes and hides in the pantry? He has done nothing but remove himself from the drama.

If only there could have been more stuff like the elevator boy who finds his courage and then gives Jon Snow a proud nod after he kills the Wilding who was threatening Jon. You know, this Wilding:


The kid done good. But that was a major anti-Cupid moment. Poor Ygritte. There was no way she was gonna be able to kill Jon. There was no way she was gonna be able to not kill Jon. Perhaps the kid did her a favor.

But hey! If love has been lost, love has also been found:


Also not a surprise.

This episode had one of the best lines ever in this show, and maybe in anything ever: Jon Snow’s “Those are giants riding mammoths down there!” I’m going to use that the next time someone fails to appreciate the danger of a situation, like that we are out of ketchup or something.

And the giants are bit Klingon-y looking:


*sigh* I just cannot get all that excited over battle scenes that go on for an hour. Can we get back to Tyrion next week, please?

(next: “The Children”)

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  • Froborr

    Having read the books, there’s something I know is coming, and I *really* expected it to happen at the end of this episode. It didn’t, and instead we got basically no payoff at all. Just an hour of barely-visible night fighting between men in fur coats and other men in fur coats.

  • David_Conner

    Well, I enjoyed it, but I get the impression that Martin has been doling out actual plot motion in the “Wall and Parts North” storyline at a much slower pace than elsewhere. Which results in a lot more padding, since for various reasons the show can’t just ignore these characters simply because not much is happening with them.

    I liked the action and character bits in this episode a lot better than most of the Far North bits, which tend to be boring and/or squicky (the Keep of the late, unlamented Craster). But I’m actually starting to like Jon Snow, who’s spent most of the past 3 years wandering aimlessly around Iceland while living down to Ygritte’s interpretation of his level of knowledge.

  • Yes, Jon is starting to get mildly interesting. He even smiled once in this episode!

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah, I’m surprised that they put this story here. In the past they’ve used episode 9 for the big fireworks. This all seems like an episode 8 story.

  • crowTrobot

    This show doesn’t always have to be an intense character study of majorly fucked up people and can just shoot it’s wad. It was a nice break between the head smash and the shit coming up.

  • Bluejay


    Wow, Game of Thrones gives us an actual Conventional Romantic Death! No visible gore, an Anguished Conversation while looking deeply into each other’s eyes, a Final One-Liner, and the bereaved hero cradling his lover while the world around him slows to a crawl. I was quite moved by it, actually. We get so many other kinds of random, brutal death on this show that I thought it was nice to get a Hollywood death for a change.

    I guess a little fall of rain can hardly hurt her now.

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