‘Game of Thrones’ Season 6, Episode 9: The Hungry Dogs of War

Jun 19, 2016 · 490 comments
CityBumpkin (Earth)
Lazy writing. In an attempt to deliver emotional satisfaction, the writers resorted to some rather inexplicable twists. An army of Knights of Vale marched through the north invisibly, leaving Ramsay with no clue a large force of men and horses were on his front steps? Ramsay, who was portrayed as hyper-competent and devious, doesn't know a big clanking army marching through his lands along with every northern lord?

Likewise, John Snow was portrayed as being reasonably intelligent and cool-headed if a bit too trusting, decided he would take on the entire Bolton army by himself even though he had been warned about his brother's death and how Ramsay might goad him?

These twists deliver no satisfaction when they are so transparent as to show you the hands pullong the strings behind the curtain.
Maxine (Los Angeles)
Consider the possibility of a new player on the scene: Sansa's child. We know that Ramsey was pure evil and we know also that he raped Sansa. The result of that event might well be a "bad seed," one whose presence is not yet known but soon will be.
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
Who's to say the child won't inherit the Stark gene? Why so negative, Maxine? Also, what do we know about the inheritance of evil? All sorts of factors are at play in mental illness and mental health. To wit: Electra and Orestres (good) and Agamemnon and Clytemnestra (bad).
silty (sunnyvale, ca)
It was nice, if predictable, to see Ramsay get his just desserts, though both Jon and Rickon were incredibly dense. Ramsay was an able commander, but he ruled by fear, and I would have liked to see his downfall involve his men turning against him, as happened to Stannis. Dany is showing increasing signs of her father's madness - I think she's going to slip over the edge of sanity and do terrible things before the series is over.
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
Rickon is, like nine years old. You expect strategy from a child? He's not a Little Lady Mormont.

As for Dany, she acts more and more regal, rational, responsible, compassionate, with each and every episode.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Just thinking about Cersei's trial in the next episode: as far as I can remember, she is to answer for 1) relationship with Jamie, and 2) conspiring with Lancel to murder King Robert.

From the High Sparrow's perspective, nothing is more important than the legitimacy of King Tommen, whom he now totally controls. The charge of incest would topple Tommen, the charge of murder could still undermine Tommen's rule (he ascended to the throne not by divine will but result of tawdry family feud).

The initial charges were used to imprison Cersei, and she already confessed to affair with cousin Lancel. She's ostracized no matter what. So there is no reason for High Sparrow wanting to win the trial on the two remaining charges right?

So did Cersei miss a great opportunity in refusing to go see the High Sparrow? We can understand her reluctance, but what could he do to her now - she's already on trial on those serious charges.

Perhaps he was going to offer her a deal: in exchange for trial by the Seven, he would make sure she is found innocent of both charges. That way he doesn't lose face or appearing not to be in total control by losing trial by combat, and she get some guarantee that she will be left alone after the trial...

So it looks like both of them missed a great chance to come out this with results they both want.
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Not one word about the feisty Arya coming back. The smartest one of the bunch who never holds back.
Beth (usa)
"I have two words for you, Rickon: zig and zag."
- I'm sure viewers of a certain age would remember Alan Arkin and Peter Falk in The In-Laws: "Serpentine!"
Mark Gleason (Balsam Lake, WI)
The funniest part of that scene (Alan Arkin and Peter Falk) was that Arkin was halfway to Falk when he shouted "Serpentine, Sid, Serpentine" and then Arkin turns around and goes back and starts over, running serpentine. Hilarious.
BWalters (Davenport, IA)
There will be a tithe to pay to the Lord of Light for Jon's return to life and miraculous survival throughout the battle.
Allan M Cohen (New Jersey)
I'm sorry, but I must take umbrage with all who feel the outcome of the Battle of the Bastards was predictable. We have seen so many occasions where a main character was killed. Having our hopes answered is not a predictable outcome in Mr. Martin's world. I watched this wonderful episode, hoping that Sansa's threat would be upheld, that Jon would in fact survive, but not exhaling until both occurred.
Tom B. (Philadelphia)
There is suddenly a shortage of truly bad guys with sociopaths Joffrey and Ramsey gone. Lannisters are crippled and busy just surviving. Old man Frey is doomed and irrelevant at this point. And as Jeremy notes, it's hard to call the White Walkers villains as they are just supernatural ice monsters with human form -- it's hard to picture them becoming villains without actually saying anything. Is this whole thing just going to become another zombie movie pitting monsters against relatively more sympathetic humans?
T. Wiley (Chicago)
Euron Greyjoy is filling up an application as we speak.

And even though we really still don't understand what the high sparrow's motives are, he could turn into one very quickly.
AC (Outside the Loop)
Jon Snow says of Lord Bolton: "If he was [sic] smart, he'd wait inside the walls of Winterfell and wait us out." Davos makes the point that "if the other houses sense weakness on his part, they'll stop fearing him." Hence Ramsay's rationale for the battle: he can't afford to look weak.
But what's Jon's rationale for the battle if the larger plan is to retake Winterfell? Snow could have sent one 1/4 of his forces to face Ramsay on the field and the rest directly to Winterfell, where Wun Wun would have removed the door within a matter of minutes, and the majority of Snow's forces could have taken Winterfell without a fight. Ramsay would have locked himself out of Winterfell, Wun Wun would still be alive, and relatively few deaths on the Stark side of the ledger would have been necessary.
You know nothing Jon Snow . . . or Jon Snow's showrunners.
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Jon Snow has never been the sharpest tool in the shed. As for villains, Cersei is still around.
Neil & Julie (Brooklyn)
The world is changing- and one of the changes, mirroring our own world, is that women are stepping into very powerful positions. There are also a few players who seem to actually have the people's interests at heart- The High Sparrow (i.e. Bernie Sanders), Tyrion, Varys, even the Hound seems to have taken up the Just Cause, and maybe even Good King Tommen.

Could Westerous, and even Easterous, be on the verge of a socialist revolution from the top down? If it can happen there....
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
The High Sparrow has no-one's best interests at heart except his own.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
I think we can all agree about the following about the High Sparrow:
1. His message is pretty radical.
2. He may preach love, but he’s not above using violence, torture to achieve his goals.
3. He’s very manipulative, highly political, counter to his message of humble simplicity.

This makes him look hypocritical, dangerous, untrustworthy, but I don’t think ultimately he’s just a selfish power player like the Lannisters (get as much for myself as possible, forget anyone who is not us). I think he honestly believe in what he preaches (we don’t see him secretly living in luxury, all those decades living in poverty is not some kind of long con). His problem is fanaticism/extremism, which is different.

For the average person, our involvement in a religion is basically about the faith itself: we seek knowledge/wisdom, we need sources of inspiration, strength, etc. Our practice and motives are very pure.

But for religious leaders, so much of their involvement in the faith, at least in terms of daily responsibilities and goals, are not spiritual, but highly political in nature. They have responsibility to preserve and grow the church, make it financially viable, protect it from hostile outside forces, etc. By necessity they are politicians. And in a medieval world like GoT, being able to influence/control the secular power is the surest way to achieve those goals.

He is a player in the game of thrones, but I think his original goal is better than that of most players.
yl (NJ)
And that, makes the High Sparrow more dangerous than any of the other, past or present, "game" players. Fanaticism is always more dangerous than mere hunger for power.

And, you know what they say about the road to hell...
Sharon ODonnell (Normal Illinois)
Honestly if A Clockwork Orange is ever remade, I would want Mr Rheon to play Little Alex
Sam (Falls Church, VA)
I think if Jon were listening to Sansa, she might have told him about the potential reinforcements. But he was dismissive and set on doing things his way, so she went and did it her way.
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Jon was never the sharpest tool in the shed.
John B (Charlotte, NC)
I typically love GoT because its plotline is so unpredictable. But while this episode's plot was utterly predictable (Ramsey's death, Rickon's death, Jon's survival), it was one of the best episodes of the series because of how artfully choreographed it all was. The battle scene at Winterfell was the best I have ever seen on television, and Ramseys death at Sansa's hands was exceptionally gratifying. Hats off to the director.
Cracka (SF)
Really, I thought for sure Snow was going to die suffocating at the feet of his men. Sansa would be Warden of the North and unite with the Dany and Yara to peacfully rule the seven kingdoms.....of course they have to make it through winter.

.....and how come no one ever says "Winter is coming" anymore? That is all we heard the first season. From the looks of it, Winter will be here this Sunday. But somehow all the Valerian swords need to unite before that happens.
miniver (New York)
Bravo! One of the best written commentaries I've ever read on a Game of Thrones episode.
RSYY (San Francisco)
I'm really surprised that Game of Thrones did not include Iwan Rheon in its Emmy ballot submissions. I agree with the article's author Jeremy Egner in that I didn't find Ramsey one-dimensional either. His was a sadistic, tormented, conniving, tortured (recall the early scenes with his father when he was still a Snow) character. In a twisted way, I even found him a bit sexy in one scene from a prior season, where he confronts Yara trying to free Theon and is shirtless and bloodied from fighting her men (reminiscent of a Brad Pitt scene in "Fight Club"). I was eagerly anticipating the demise of his character, wanted it to be a brutal and slow death, am glad it came at the hands of the Starks - but I'll also strangely miss what he added to the show. Mr. Rheon deserves many accolades for what he brought to a character that certainly could have been one-dimensional, but wasn't.
Sarah (Samuelson)
I'm with the reviewer, as I told my daughter when discussing the episode, who knew that death, violence and inhumanity could be so beautiful? It was wonderfully imaged and directed. The shots of Jon Snow gasping for breath and life have been haunting me since I watched it. I want to return to watch it again but hate to ruin the memory. Well done.
Danddd (Chicago)
Zig zag, exactly my thoughts. Must of took a couple of centuries to figure that out.
Paul Erb (Orange, VA)
When I read, about a television show, the giddy words, "In a similar fashion, the grinding decimation of so many men conveys on a gut-level the destruction and human misery wrought by the sort of craven striving for power, family and legacy that has defined this show so far [. . .] seeing a literal pile of corpses makes us feel the need for a new way forward," just after reading in the same newspaper about (very) real-world young terrorists training themselves by beheading rabbits and then watching the videos of same, I feel, for the first time in my life, an urgency for censorship.
AC (Outside the Loop)
"the grinding decimation of so many men conveys on a gut-level the destruction and human misery wrought by the sort of craven striving for power,"

"Decimation" means one-tenth. I fear the number may be slightly higher here.
Bart Grossman (Albany, CA)
The battle scenes in this episode topped anything I've seen in a feature film. GOT helped demonstrated that television has become the more effective method of story-telling but now we see that it can equal or top film making for spectacle.
anne (il)
Agreed! I was reminded of Braveheart, but this was even better.
starhops (z)
Ah, yes. Lest we not forget the stores of wildfire under the Sept of Baelor of which Tyrion reminded us during his recount of events for Dany. Cersei's "little birds" trump card for the season finale?
starhops (z)
I really enjoyed the beginning of this episode. The true power of Drogon was such a treat! And he is HUGE! Is there any doubt now the Dragon Queen is here?

I agree the battle was filmed with an edge that made looking away near impossible. As for Sansa keeping the Vale army from Jon, I do believe her abuse clouded her vision for the sole purpose of taking Ramsey down, irregardless of the consequences. I did enjoy Jon's retribution punches. He is one hellava fighter!

Tyrion showing why he is the master of waxing the poetic never displeases me. I do enjoy Mr. Dinklage's discourse.
kobomac (kobo)
The reason why Tyrion was good this episode is that he had a purpose like he did back in King's Landing. since then, he had been a sideshow and boring.
Milliband (Medford Ma)
I knew that Ramsay Bolton would lose face when he confronted John Snow but I had no idea.
T. Wiley (Chicago)
It's comments like these that makes me come back and reread this section over the course of the week. Call me an idiot :)
Suzabella (Santa Ynez, CA)
The ladies Rule! That's my take on this episode. At the helm in the south we have Dany, Yara, and the evil sisters. In the north Sansa stands supreme. It would be interesting to see some romantic tension between Sansa and Jon that goes unfulfilled because they are related. But what will happen when Jon's real parentage is revealed?

Iwan Rheon was a delicious as one of the last villains standing. I think the show is eliminating them slowly. Who's left? Tara's Uncle, the high Sparrow, the evil ladies in the south, Melisandre?

Who will save Cersi? She will probably see Tommen die to fulfill the prophesy, but for now her prospects look dim. I have begun to feel sympathetic towards her. How much more atonement does she need to make? Hopefully Jamie will come to her rescue and dispatch the High Sparrow from power.

Overall, I liked this episode.
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Has no one mentioned the resurgence of Arya, the smartest of the bunch?
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Atonement for Cersei? She knew the monster she created in Joffrey but let him get away with it? Incest? Vindictiveness?
yl (NJ)
Agree about the first two, but I'm afraid Sansa is just a patsy of Little Finger, who is the true victor of that battle.
James (Washington DC)
Everyone has their flaws -- Jon is an awful field marshall -- but did no one in the entire army notice that they sent a giant into the field with no weapons? Give Wun Wun a small boat for a shield and a small oak for a club, and he'd have taken out half of Ramsey's army by himself. I'm not saying the show should be "realistic," but these people are supposed to be fighters, and what kind of fighter brings a fist to a swordfight?
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
Agreed. He was less effective here (admittedly against greater numbers) than he was at Winterfell and elsewhere.
pjt (Delmar, NY)
Yara and Dany form a partnership, and Sansa evolves into being a leader, as GOT basically declares itself to be a babe empowerment tale.
murraypatrick (Ottawa)
Bought a new 55" TV with this episode of GoT in mind. Good call, me. What fun. Glad to Lord B go but sad to see such good acting go too. Loved Dara's "I'm up for anything" line. Best of the episode.
rollie (west village, nyc)
Iwan Rheon played the Ramsay Bolton part fantastically, but he owes a debt of gratitude to Malcolm McDowell and his Alex character in Clockwork Orange
He really reminded me of that. If you've never seen it, he plays a monsterous character in a similar smirky evil way.

I thought this was a great episode. I'm glad we has high sparrow respite
One hopes he gets his in the finale. You don't think he measures up in the evil cup? You said you'd miss your evil character dose. The stankin sparrow is pretty despicably evil
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Cersei anyone? Evil personified.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Jeremy – you raised a lot of good questions about Sansa withholding information from John.

The only reason I can think of is that Littlefinger made it a condition of his aid. He could’ve said “like I said, Jon is only your half-brother, and I don’t have enough men. The only way this will work is if Jon starts the fight first. Only then can I exploit the opportunity to defeat Ramsey. Trust me, this plan works best when no one knows. Jon would have waited if he knew. And Ramsey would surely changed tactics to wait us out in a siege that we cannot win.

Travel is unpredictable. It’s hard to say exactly Littlefinger will arrive. And timing here is crucial. Caught in the middle, Sansa probably thought the best thing she can do is buy more time. But when pressed a reason for the delay, she couldn’t say it.

Finally, we see Sansa and Littlefinger watching over the battle together. Did they pre-arrange a meeting place? Or did Sansa deduce the possible route and was impatiently waiting for him this whole time?

Sansa cannot go from a naïve princess to master manipulator overnight. If she were she’d be able to convince more people in the North, including relatives like Blackfish to join her cause. She got very lucky. So we should be carefully not read too much into this apparently huge success. After all, she’s in a precarious situation where Littlefinger can crush all of them if he wishes to.
BlueDot RedState (Mississippi Gulf Coast)
Nailed it!
T. Wiley (Chicago)
It still doesn't make sense because she could have told him they're coming and just change the strategy. They couldn't hold out in those tents indefinitely, but maybe another week?

People have criticized Jon's act of nobility in running after Rickon. That's just who he is and why he inspires people to fight and die for him. If not for acts like these Wun Wun would not have thought of Jon worthy enough to give up his own life.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
I doubt he'd put it in those terms (being so brazen about sacrificing Jon, etc.). Furthermore, it's hard to believe Sansa would go for that, even to get back at Bolton.

I suspect it was more just about uncertainty as to whether he'd come and if he'd be there in time.
T. Wiley (Chicago)
Aha, watched it again and found an error. When Sansa is outside the cage with Ramsey all chained up she tells him "you didn't feed the dogs for 7 days". How did she know? She galloped away on her horse before Ramsey shared that morsel to scare off Jon's posse. It's doubtful the guys would have shared that with her that night.
Glassyeyed (Indiana)
Honestly, I thought the endless battle for Winterfell scenes were just boring after a few minutes. Slash, slash, kill, kill, yawn, yawn. I enjoyed Dany's conversation with Yara much more.

And I've been yelling at the TV screen for weeks now for Sansa to summon LIttlefinger to help with that battle, but nooooooo. Thousands have to die before we bow to reason and sanity. I thought it was sloppy writing, along with a lowbrow desire for ever more intense violence. After a while it doesn't really matter how revolting the scene is, it doesn't carry any shock value anymore and is just boring.

Daenarys has always been my favorite character - well, maybe aside from Tyrion - although she can be rash and would do well to listen to Tyrion's council. The dragon scenes were brief enough to be engaging, and I was glad to see Drogon's siblings finally released from their cells.
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
Tyrion's counsel? Tyrion's counsel almost got Meereen destroyed.
Tmayo (Portland)
Of course Sansa kept the info to herself. She's in the game now. First, by staying silent she lets Jon take the brunt of the attack as she knew he would. Second, she knew Ramsey was a capable strategist and wouldn't commit his full force until victory was assured. Third, she has eliminated her awful husband and significantly reduced Jon's loyal followers. She's angling to be Queen and leader of the Stark family if not the whole shebang.
Ricardo Maturana (<br/>)
It was a well crafted episode.
The battle scene reminded me of the continuous filming technique used in "The Revenant".
I enjoyed Geoffrey's death more than RB because he was way more annoying but yes it was long due.
The last minute cavalry arrival has been used and reused in this series too much and a more innovative plot should have been written. Maybe Wun Wun would have broken the Lancers by whipping them with a pair of dead horses, seeing this Ramsay races back to Winterfell to then see the castle had already been taken by Sansa. She is holding his dogs and icely tells him to run as she lets them go.

Regardless it was a Great episode.
Beth Joselow (Lewes DE)
How do you bury a dead giant? Where did he go so quickly?
Happy Looker (New York)
431 comments! A new record, for sure.
I will only add (sorry if others have) that I think Sansa wanted to teach Jon a lesson about ignoring her--it was a big mistake on her part, however. Clearly, Jon has a thoughtful creativity and strong strategic sense. She should have told him about Littlefinger's army.
But also, perhaps she was ashamed to be seen reaching out for help to a man who has done so much to bring about her degradation.
I'm sure I'm not the only who is more convinced than ever that Jon is just looking for his Dany.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
Not even close. Some Mad Men episodes had over a 1,000.
Holger Buerger (San Francisco, CA)
Great show. But to see Wun Wun die was sad. He was the only one who has no weapon during the battle other then his fists. His impact on defending during the pincer move or opening the Winterfell gate would be quite different if he had been equipped with a club or similar accoring to his size.
Sorka (Atlanta GA)
Special support group meeting to be held for normally gentle people who cheered when Jon Snow pummeled Ramsay Bolton's smirking face, and even counted the punches (21).
gonza (Argentina)
Does anyone else feel that the CGI done by GOT producers are incredibly lousy?
When Daenerys climbs on Drogon it seems as if she has stairs. And the hound that ate Ramsay walked as it was made of air, like it had no weight in its steps. It makes me angry that the great work of actors and writers is not followed by a propper FX's...
T. Wiley (Chicago)
If you have access to HBO Go watch the "making of" episodes that come along with every episode. Perhaps you will not be so critical after seeing the amount of difficulty that goes into making the scenes.

And also not all of the battle was CGI. There were 80 horses involved in a controlled mayhem. Also those were real horses and riders charging at Jon, not CGI.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
I thought the same. It also bugged me the way she held onto the dragon's 'mane' (scales). It didn't look like much of an effort and no sensation of momentum or speed (i.e. straining against the accelerative force).
Len G (Batavia, Il.)
Once again the New York Times fails to consider the possibility that Lord Baelish has a real claim, indeed a right, to the Iron Throne. Just because he is a Lord from a far off and obscure province in the Northwest corner of Westeros his very real potential is ignored. Littlefinger is a true political outsider with proven business and financial entrepreneurial skills developed in Kings Landing.

He can be and should be King Balish of Westeros, The First of His Name!
Sam (Falls Church, VA)
Is that a thinly veiled ad for Trump?
Len G (Batavia, Il.)
Not an ad or advocacy for Trupm.
You do recall what Littlefinger's business operation is, don't you?
norah sellen (california)
love, love, LOVE this show, and love, love, love all the deliberation here. but one thing bugged me about this episode - maybe i missed something: in sansa's reply to ramsey about the dogs, she said something like, "you starved them for seven days. you said so yourself." but watching the epi again, when the combatants met before the battle, sansa told ramsey he'd die, bade him farewell and rode off. it was until after she'd left that ramsey told jon he'd starved his dogs. so sansa couldn't have known ramsey said that. right? a nit, i know, but . . .
Rocky (Canada)
You're right about Dansa not originally being present when Ramsey spoke of his dogs not feeding for 7 days. But she could very easily have been told that by Jon offscreen. Not a major faux pas by the writers IMHO.
Kevin K (Connecticut)
An arch Fathers Day reference from those kids with issues, since Sunday 1st anniversary of potty interruptis. And now Cersei gets to be all Medea ....and Jamie and the Mountain stay mute? Me Thinks Witchy woman goes for Number 3....sorry kid.....
Ben (NYC)
This was one of the best GOT ever.
Robert MacDonald (NYC)
Next week - I think.....
The "girls" take over, Davos kills the Red Woman and in doing so Jon dies which is an unintended consequence so Stansa prevails.
Somehow The Starks get reunited, most of the Lanesters get their come upence with Jamies death from a friend.
The Dragons enforce. And independence is given to realms - the ones with Queens.
At least that is what I see in the hints of past two weeks.
Bill (new york)
In the book Sansa wasn't too bright. Yes into shallow things but a dim bulb. I guess she grew some brains.
John Smith (DC)
Great battle scene. It really gave you a sense of the chaos of ancient warfare with a cavalry charge. But this has turned into the perils of Pauline with so many events saved by the last second emergence of dragons or the cavalry. It will be interesting to see how this comes together at the end. It's an American show, so it has to have a happy ending. As for Melisandre, I'm not betting on her demise yet. Davos may disappear in a puff of black smoke this Sunday.
Just a side note: it seemed as those miss Dany had some kind of mind power over the dragons. Maybe giving reason to why the two broke out all of a sudden!
T. Wiley (Chicago)
They heard Drogo bellowing overhead.
Excuse me as I pick my jaw off the ground.

THIS EPISODE WAS INCREDIBLE!!!! Best episode in the series!

I am a big acting critique, and their was not a flaw in this episode. The acting was unbelievably suburb! Also visual effects and cinematography were just way up a huge notch. The entire episode was a piece of art... Stunning!

I think that this was ALL played by Sansa, she knew what she was doing this entire season. She waited for perfect timing to pull all the right strings. If the Vale would have been their early, Bolton would have made other plans, but haha surprise. Also, I think Ramsey knows that Sansa was pregnant, thus he said 'I am part of you.' I believe that Sansa will say it was Littlefingers and that will be that!. Cheers! What a bloody wonderful episode. Honestly, I am still flabbergasted.
Granita (San Francisco)
Am I the only one who got scared that Sansa was pregnant with Ramsey's child when he said he will be with her forever?! Thank goodness it wasn't the case. Fingers crossed...you never know with GOT
Daniel (New York)
While this episode had some emotional payoffs, it's becoming clear how the more the writers have freedom to depart from the source material, the more conventional and banal the story becomes. There's a reason George R R Martin's books were so grand--the complexity and pacing were masterful.

I wish there was a little less worry over getting enough action, enough torture porn, and enough speeches about vengeance. Also, can we please acknowledge how long travel takes, just a little bit? The Iron Born have built 100 ships (which would take untold months) and sailed halfway around the world to find Denaerys in....how long? LittleFinger miraculously arrives from the hundreds and hundreds of miles away on the exact right day, just at the right time?

Things move slowly. Travel is long and arduous. Forgive me, even in my fantasy material, I want a little realism, sometimes.
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
Yara and Theon already had the ships. It is the evil uncle who has to build ships.

Westeros is the length of South America.
Jonathan Wills (Oregon)
They "stole" their own existing ships, forcing their uncle to build new ships.
anne (il)
I disagree. I think this season has been the best precisely because the writers don't have a book they need to follow.
passthesalt (texas)
The slave masters in Mereen knew Dany had dragons, but didn't know yet that she could actually control them.

I don't think Sansa was withholding information from Jon about expecting reinforcements from the Vale. As far we know from the show, she never received an answer and had little confidence that Littlefinger would help given his past betrayal.
Mark NOVAK (Ft Worth, TX)
Sansa was right not to tell Jon about the extra troops. They were not so much holding back as waiting for the right moment. Bolton had, had committed his troops on well structure plan. The could them attack their undefended flank as the troupes lack the flexibility to form defensive squares.

Had Bolton know of the additional forces he would not have fought on an open field.
Serg (Los Angeles)
Dear Jeremy Egner, why write an article about an episode you've never actually seen? Tormund didn't die as you erroneously claim in this article. that's kind of a big oversight. Get it together.
Jim (NYC)
Dear Serg, why write a comment without comprehending what Jeremy wrote? He never claimed Tormund died, only that some other characters have ongoing plot elements that make them safe, while Tormund is not "protected" by such plot elements. Get it together.
Todd (Saint Louis)
I'm hoping the full hour next week will be devoted to Ramsay's continued consumption by his hounds.
Marshall (NY State)
Plots are getting very predictable-scenes, special effects still eye catching

I keep thinking Daenerys is going to fall off the dragon-a little ridiculous her holding on for dear life-I know it is what it is-but how about a dragon saddle?
Charms207 (New york)
While I absolutely loved this episode - exciting, emotional, funny lighthearted, and overall vindication - I do think they could have spared young Rickon's life that to me would have been a welcome twist and made the episode that much sweeter!!! I also have a little mixed feelings about Sansa in this episode....while I love her transformation from naive little girl to a woman not to be reckoned with, I feel like she did a disservice by not giving Jon a heads up that she reached out to littlefinger. While it could have been because she wasn't sure if he would come - I just think she's let little fingers influence completely overtake who she is- its almost like she doesnt really see him as her brother after Little finger brought up that he is "your half-bother". Like you're certain your younger brother is going to die, so you're willing to let you're Only living kin (albeit half kin) die when you can tell him some critical info that might keep him alive??? I know her motives were much more about revenge (And i dont blame her) where his were more about love - I don't fault him for going after Rickon or charging alone for that matter- it's what he was fighting for his family and his home....what was she fighting for? I could be reading too deep into it but I feel like we have to keep an eye on her- I hope I am wrong... I'm just happy Jon didn't die...nor Onion knight, nor Tormund...well done overall though...
JM Lawrence (Boston)
Sansa's sly fleeting smile brought to mind the old proverb: when you dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change. The devil changes you.
josh (atlanta)
You can tell when someone isn't used to during certain physical feats under stress. I am sure doing a zig zag in that sort of moment is more easily said that done.
Jon Husch (Lawrenceville, NJ)
A number of commenters have suggested that Sansa did not tell Jon about Littlefinger's offer of the Knights of the Vale because she knew Jon would fall into Ramsey's tactical trap and did not want to waste them. I have a slightly different take on this.

I believe that Sansa DID tell Jon about the Arryn forces, albeit off camera, and that the battle played out exactly as they planned it. Jon would lead the largely wildling forces on a suicide charge as the bait to lure the overly confident Ramsey out into the open where the Knights of the Vale would execute the "pincer" movement discussed during the pre-battle strategy conference. Jon and Sansa did exactly what they said they needed to do, use Ramsey's overconfidence to their advantage.

The fact that Jon and Sansa were willing to do exactly the same thing that Ramsey did, sacrifice their own forces in order to gain an ultimate tactical advantage, only shows how they have grown as leaders, but also how morally ambiguous everyone in GOT can be, even the heroes.

Perhaps all this will be clarified next week.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
That doesn't fit with Jon or Sansa's character. I don't think he knew. He offered Ramsay single combat to save the others; but Ramsay rejected it and then managed to goad Jon into doing something idiotic (and not very believable from my perspective).
Donald Clayton (Seneca SC)
This was the weakest thrones installment of them all. The screen writers have run out of creative ideas. So guts and gore fulfill American rapacity. Every act, every line, was predicted by me while I watched. And as satisfying as it was to see Ramsay Bolton go up in bites, it was too predictable. I offer this counter screen script: when Ramsay calls "cavalry charge" one galloping rider gets too close to Bolton smug on his horse and runs him through the back with his lance, whereupon the cavalry stop their charge and retreat to a pacific waiting. One leader walks out to talk with Jon Snow and clarifies that they did not want to fight for the cruel Bolton but rather wanted him gone and Winterfell back where it belongs. But no, these writers (I do not believe that JRR Martin has been formative for years now) could only offer what every adolescent viewer wanted. Sad after so brilliant beginning seasons. And the arrival of the Arryn cavalry was tooooo much!
Robert r (NY NY)
Don't agree. A great show. Maybe best battle scenes ever with suffocating effects and interesting slaughter strategies enacted. Plus dragons in first portion raised this to a classic installment.
Heather (Upper West Side, New York, NY)
I'm guessing that people who loved this episode were also wowed by Star Wars: Force Awakens. Long on battle scenes, short on character, and riddled with plot holes.

Your alternative to Ramsey's fate is better than what was offered here. His cowardly refusal to Jon's challenge should've raised dissent among these Northerners, added to his patricide.

But that would've denied the audience what they craved.

Lazy scriptwriting, especially Arya's botched storyline, it's hard to see how much longer the producers can keep this going.
Bachar (NY)
Good point on the predictability of the scene. However your scenario isn't a good alternative; that's just another "more" predicable and a less dramatic one. After all if we have been acclimated to surprising unexpected twists, doesn't mean their absence is a weakness or a downgrade trend in the show.
Fred (NYC)
Well... I didn't think I had it in me. Stood up and cheered as Ramsey got belted in the face by Jon Snow. Jumped up and down on the couch as the dogs ripped him to pieces. Even for a pacifist... it was a truly delightful bloody and painful end to Ramsey. Couldn't the writers milk the scene a little longer?

Yet he will be missed. Can the red witch show up to resurrect Ramsey so he can die again in some horrible fashion? How about a Ramsey spin off as with Saul in Breaking Bad? Better Maul Ramsey?

Anyway... I prefer my sour goat milk straight up in a bourbon glass.
Despina (LA)
I get why Sansa wouldn't tell Jon the nights of the Vale are coming, she didn't trust him to use them strategically enough and took the matter in her own hands- the matter of outsmarting Ramsey. But why didn't Jon think of asking for their help I do not get. It's the Starks aunt, now cousins kingdom for gods sake . Ahm which kind of proves her point.. I strongly believe that these two will fallout, which will coincide or bring about Jon finding out his true lineage.
Also I liked Ramsey, well not liked but enjoyed him- especially in this episode his was excellent in his brilliant psychotic way.
Pat (Connecticut)
Maybe he didn't think of the Vale because it was the family of Catelyn Stark (who hated him, as he knew). Also, they are not a Northern house. Maybe he knew that they had stayed out of the War of the Five Kings and figured that they wouldn't be any more inclined to jump into this one. If I recall, Catelyn was unable to convince Lysa to send men to help Robb.
Frankie (Houston)
House Arryn didn't aid the Starks when Catelyn begged her sister for help, when Ned was taken captive in King's Landing, nor when Rob was declared King in the North. There's no reason for Jon to assume House Arryn would aid him now.
S (Canda)
Jon not asking them for help is simple, he doesn't have the same ties to House Arryn as Sansa does. House Arryn is indebted to the Starls through Littlefinger's actions to Sansa. And while Sansa's and SweetRobin are cousins Jon and Sweet Robin are not. Robin is the Son of Lyssa Arryn nee Tully the sister of lady Catelyn who is not Jons mother. Also, the Knights of the vale have been historically neutral (they rejected helping Robb even when Catelyn was asking her own sister for aid) so it makes sense Jon wouldn't expect them to aid them.
LiveAndLetLive (NY)
My take away from the episode....never let my dog go hungry. Debated whether to give him a treat this morning and I ended up giving him two.
Angela (Elk Grove, Ca)
Due to the fact that several characters who have not been seen since seasons 1, 2 and 3 have come back for season 6, I've been watching season 1 again. I am amazed at how much information is available in these early episodes. As someone who has not read the books I felt overwhelmed with the number of characters, plotlines, and locations of this sprawling saga. I am now going back and getting the finer details that I missed in these early episodes. I intend to continue on with seasons 2 & 3. I feel as if I'm getting background material on what is happening now.
Tom Feagin (Readfield, Maine)
I've been doing just that, and am now on early season five. Continue to pick up small clues to future action, which makes the work of the writers ever more impressive.
LLynN (La Crosse, WI)
Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targareon.
Serg (Los Angeles)
um, no... Jon Snow is the bastard son of Eddard Stark (Ned). His mother is unknown to anyone, even Jon himself, as his father never told him.
Jonathan Wills (Oregon)
Jon's exact parentage is a source of constant consideration. It's far from as settled as you make it out to be.
Leslie (Maryland)
Serg, you have to get up to speed with the latest internet theories. LLynN is repeating one of the most popular theories.
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
For the love of God, people, it's Jon Snow, not John Snow!
AC (Outside the Loop)
You mean, . . . for the love of Gohd.
Julian M (Mountain View, CA)
I think that Jon is getting a lot of undeserved criticism after this episode. In defending The Wall in seasons past, and even in the way he had initially planned for this battle, Jon has proved himself to be an able military tactician. The way he acted at the beginning of the battle is completely in line with what we know and admire about this character: if there was the slightest chance of him rescuing his little brother, he had to take it, even at the risk of his own life — and yes, you can argue that it wasn't only his life, but the decision to charge and support Jon was not his own, it was Davos'.

With respect to not waiting for the proverbial cavalry to arrive... The fault for that one rests completely with Sansa.
A (Cc)
Nice man-splaining, woman-blaming. Jon owns his responsibility for his massive almost-fail, risking all of his men and strategy for a Hail Mary save.

I'm not saying that it wasn't heroic. But it wasn't the act of a thoughtful warrior King. And blaming Sansa ( who saved the day - if she was lucky enough to know Littlefinger was coming) is like blaming the fireman for not getting to the blaze soon enough.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
Jon, in the past, has shown both admirable restraint and intelligent battlefield tactics. In this case however, he was totally out of his depth. I guess it's up to each viewer to determine if it was 'realistic' for him to be so enraged by Ramsay's murder of Rickon as to lose his wits. I can only imagine what Ser Davos was thinking (as he'd seen the same thing several times with Stannis).
Jon snow proves he's the soul of the show, not the brains.
ZAW (Houston, TX)
And to answer the question about why Sansa didn't mention Liftlefinger's army to Jon. It makes sense that she wouldn't, if you understand that she doesn't trust him (and rightly so - nobody should). She couldn't be sure his army was actually coming until they got there. He's the kind of guy who could well have made a deal with Ramsay and wound up fighting on the other side....
Tracy (FL)
She knew Ramsay would never leave the castle walls and expose his army unless he was sure he could beat Jon Snow. She had to let Jon be his dumb self: go attack Ramsay and begin the fight. Then littlefinger sweeps in and mops up. Boom. She didn't want to lie to him, but she had to so he'd follow his instincts and attack immediately, drawing Ramsay out. Otherwise ramsay holes up and it's a long siege. And Sansa wants him dead NOW.
Serg (Los Angeles)
Best explanation for this issue that I've heard, by far. Nicely done. Sansa is proving to be quite calculated. I guess we'll see if this is the beginning of a falling out between the siblings.
ZAW (Houston, TX)
I'm surprised the nod to Lord Of the Rings in LittleFinger's arrival was not mentioned. The white horses were very much in line with Gandalf's arrival, also on a white horse, at Helm's Deep. And then the overrunning of Ramsay's army, cinematically reminded me of the overrunning of the orcs by Aragorn's army of the dead in Gondor.
Am I the only one who saw this.
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
ZAW - Not a few have mentioned it before you, in the comments section.
Elizabeth George (Kentucky)
Agree - I noticed the parallels to Lord of the Rings as well.

You are not alone :)
Friederike (Stuttgart)
No, I definitely said that even before they arrived - "and the knights of the Vale are going to sweep in Gandalf style"!
Izzy (San Francisco)
In regards to those that think Sansa gave up on Rickon to quickly, remember she was the one standing there when her father's head was cut off. She did everything in her power to help him and was betrayed by the people she admired most at the time (Cersei, Jeoffrey, before her eyes were oped to who they really were). John has been in battle and seen those he cared for perish, but this was possibly the first time he has witnessed his family being slaughtered an arm's length away. She saw it coming, and knowing Bolton, was better prepared to accept it, as callous as that may seem.
MrsDoc (Southern GA)
Jon saw his Wilding lover Ygritte similarly slain. He seems to be a character whose heart stays open and innocent, maybe he inherited that trait from his mother, the beloved Liana.
Pingles (Seattle)
Thanks for confirming I wasn't the only one yelling "Serpentine!" during Rickon's run across the battlefield.
Mark NOVAK (Ft Worth, TX)
Bolton must have been the best archer in the 7 kingdoms to hit a stark running away and better than 100 yards.

Snow would have down what he did on;y for a brother.

I think they are alluding to the reason this world never got to an industrial age because of the battles between houses for power has kept progress down.r
Susan (Brooklyn, NY)
If you remember his first scene, Ramsay has a lot of experience bow-hunting humans.
Alex p (It)
Thinking about Ramsay's abilities, this is yet another call to the "Lord of the Rings" in using the arch even at the short distance at Winterfell against Jon Snow, just like the elf Legolas did during his battles.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
Rickon ran on a straight line. It was only a matter of ranging, and he had a few tries. Probably not that hard with moderate experience.
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
"Your words will disappear" - Sansa's soliloquy the best ever in this series. Shakespearean even. Sophie Turner's theatrical training gave us a great Sansa this season. I FF a few times just to listen to it, over and over.

"My rein has just begun" - Dany to the masters, paralleling a younger Ned Stark "No, it begins."

I don't find Dany boring at all. Quite the opposite. She has emerged as one tough little queen.

Can Bran inherit now? In Celtic literature, a maimed ruler is not allowed to rule (but can serve as the equivalent of a Hand). GRRM bases GoT on French and English wars, but Theon being unable to rule due to his damage is clearly an Irish trope (see, for example, the Battle of Mag Tuired).
Libertas (Connecticut)
Part of me thinks Sansa didn't tell Jon the Knights of the Vale were coming because she wanted Ramsay to think the battle was won. Like she said, she knows him best. She was determined to take Winterfell at any cost, thus her detached acceptance that Rickon would die, and she had a strong feeling Jon's army would get crushed ("we don't have enough men!") which they did, providing her the opportunity to take Ramsay unexpected with her secret weapon, thanks to her tangled and nuanced alliance with Littlefinger.
Charlotte K (Mass.)
I would have liked to see Lady Mormont at the planning session where they were teaching Tormund about battle strategy. Still, good to see her at the parlay with Ramsay. I hope she made it through the battle--we didn't see her after did we?
PrairieFlax (Somewhere on the Appalachian Trail, with days off to watch Game of Thrones)
It was past her bedtime.
Mary (PA)
What a terrific bit of casting that was! Lady Mormont was absolutely riveting during her screen time before, and I was equally happy to see her at the parley. I hope she didn't actually ride into battle, though.
Erdal Bakan (Switzerland)
You wouldn't say that to her face, would you?
Shaun Narine (Fredericton, Canada)
Re: Melisandre and Davos: what Melisandre did to Shereen was terrible, but Davos can't exactly claim innocence. He knew that Mel was burning people alive, often innocent people, from the outset. He saved Gendry from a terrible death for exactly that reason. Stannis' willingness to be complicit in this savagery and Davos' loyalty to Stannis really compromises his position.

As for the rest of the show, I knew that, thematically, Snow had to beat Bolton. Even so, this is Game of Thrones - how often have the heroes been killed or failed? Usually, that happens in the 9th episode of a season and I'm pretty much expecting a major heroic fail by this time next year. Anyone who thinks that the war for Westeros won't be filled with tragic moments hasn't been paying attention.

As for the dragons, I'm willing to bet money that all or at least two of them will be dead by the end of the series - Drogon for sure! Again, it's GoT and George R. R. Martin - there are no happy endings here!
Julie W. (New Jersey)
The dragons have to have an Achille's heel of some sort. Otherwise, they're just too powerful. They can just swoop in and incinerate everything in sight. Anyone know what happened to the earlier dragons? Did they die?
souriad (NJ)
Old age.
gonza (Argentina)
The Dragons, according to the books, were sometimes killed by other dragon riders or by ranged weapons, like harpoons, or by magic. Still not all dragons were as big as Drogon...
jash (SoCal)
The show seems to be leading to the resurrection of Lady Stark for the finale - lots of action in the Riverlands with her Tully family; the Brothers without Banners whose red priest holds the power to bring back the dead; and Brienne & Jaime nearby to act out the Lady's vengence
Suzabella (Santa Ynez, CA)
I seem to remember Lady Stark did live after the Red Wedding in the book, but she really wasn't the same person afterwards. Mu guess is on TV, she's a closed chapter. If you can, read the book's version of the Red Wedding. I had tears in my eyes as I red it. GRRM was at his best writing it. The TV version just didn't have the same impact that the book had.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
Actually, I'm sure like many others, I thought Ramsay's end was just too quick and easy. But the dogs were justice.

It was very odd to watch the 'Vicious' special just before GoT with Iwan Rheon in a much different role. To be honest, I didn't realize right away when watching Vicious previously that it was the same actor.

I actually thought the fight scenes were NOT well done. As usual, it was very confusing. Someone needs to come up with a good 'battle conceit' that allows for events to be more clear and who is killing whom etc. In this case, the cameras were much too close to the action to get a clear picture for the most part (apart from the overhead views, which framed the start and end of the battle for the most part). It made no sense that Jon Snow would be left alone in that charge or that Rickon would run straight out through the field of battle, without trying to evade the arrows he knew were coming, since the first one missed. And the pile of bodies so perfectly placed was ludicrous.
maatkare (los angeles)
Wasn't the point that battle is horribly confusing and chaotic?
Cham (Berkeley, CA)
They were trying to show how brutality and the chaoticness medieval battles. Whether you live or die can be entirely based off chance.
Todd (Saint Louis)
The fog of war indeed.
Wezilsnout (Indian Lake NY)
Game of Drones? Those dragons come in handy when one is under siege. Sometimes the parallels to present day are intriguing. I mean, a wild-haired devious big mouth bully who lies whenever he speaks getting his comeuppance from a long suffering and much abused woman? Sound familiar?
AC (Outside the Loop)
If only the wild-haired devious big-mouth bully who lies was called Littefingers the comparison would be complete.
econready (Los Angeles)
Love this episode.

Last season ended with Cersei pretty much tracking to a mega rage revenge on Elliot Carver. We are now at the end of this season and she is having the perennial Chicago Cubs experience, so far. It would be a huge let down if she does not wreck major havoc next week or dies trying. BTW, who is next in line for the Iron Throne if Tommen turns turtle?
David Doney (I.O.U.S.A.)
Maybe the most satisfying episode ever. Watching the ladies ascend to power is something to behold...will they rule all the kingdoms, with Dany as High Queen?
Susan (Brooklyn, NY)
She did say she was going to break the wheel...
Julio (Las Vegas)
Lots of great comments, as usual, in response to Jeremy's always entertaining summary. Here are some responses to points raised by various individuals.
1. Ramsay's prowess with a bow (and proficiency with a sword) was previously established: bow - hunting the "escaped" Theon and other poor hapless prisoners; sword - when fighting off Yara and her raiding party in their failed attempt to rescue Theon. In any event, whether or not he actually hit Rickon was irrelevant. The point was to goad Jon into abandoning his battle plan; given Ramsay's overwhelming superiority in forces, Rickon would be dead soon enough. Incidentally, Ramsay probably took Jon's measure during the parlay the day before and figured correctly that sentimentality would get the best of him.
2. Agreed that Ramsay shooting Wun Wun instead of Jon, or at least not shooting Jon immediately after Wun Wun (who trashed his precious gate) was inexplicable.
3. Probably just as well Sansa did not tip Jon off about the Knights of the Vale. Had Ramsay any inkling of this, he would never have emerged from Winterfell in the first place.
4. All need not have been lost when the Knights of the Vale appeared. Those shields and pikes are classic defenses against mounted cavalry. The Bolton infantry could have pivoted and "formed square" and presented a four sided box to retreat in good order back to Winterfell.
5. I agree: Who let the dogs out? Baha Men? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He82NBjJqf8
Hannah (Denver)
Ramsay shot Wun Wun first because he saw John reaching out to him as he was dying and he couldn't pass up an opportunity to emotionally wound/anger John. He arrogantly assumed he could then easily put an arrow into John next.
sylviag2 (Palo Alto, California)
Well, the reviewer must be more insightful than I am. I did not go directly from Ramsey's not feeding his dogs to victory and his being their meal. In fact, ever since the Red Wedding I never quite believe in a victory for the good guys. I was deeply troubled watching Jon Snow gallop toward Rickon, absolutely certain the child would die and probably Jon as well.

The incinerating of the slave masters ships (at least some of them) was more predictable. I like the team of Dany and Yara.
Susan (Brooklyn, NY)
I loved their exchange: so you're not going to make marriage a condition? "I never demand, but I'm up for anything." Wink wink.
William Schindler (Los Angeles)
Did no one think Yara agreed to give up reaving and pillaging a bit too readily, given it's "what they do" in the Iron Islands? Perhaps she was willing to wait and see what the Dragon Queen might have in mind for them. Or she just felt short on options. Or was it...love?
Kathleen (New York City)
As Lady Catelyn once said, "Never trust a Greyjoy."
Mark Aguirre (Washington, D.C.)
Ramsey deserved to be chased around that cell and more slowly ripped apart. Sansa could have loosened his ties just enough to make that happen. Then again we would have missed the visual references to "Psycho" and "Silence of the Lambs."
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Ramsey is no Hannibal Lecter, but he did get the Mason Verger treatment.

*Note: do not google image search 'Mason Verger' if you have not seen the movie or the TV series 'Hannibal'.
Mark Aguirre (Washington, D.C.)
Thanks for the heads up about 'Mason Verger.' The "Silence of the Lambs" reference is about the conversations between Agent Clarice Starling through cell bars with a bound, seated Hannibal Lechter. The "Psycho" reference is from the last scene as Anthony Perkins keeps his head down then looks directly into the camera. Iwan did the same.
Greg Keane (Boston)
I relish these post-episode dissections. Delicious! Jeremy, your reviews are always the first place I come after devouring each episode. Picking through the meaty carcass of this episode was par-tic-ularly satisfying
Hannah (Denver)
A lot of people are questioning why Sansa did not tell John about the Vale forces - I am wondering if it was a calculated move by Littlefinger. In last season, Littlefinger talks to Cersei about becoming Warden of the North by letting the two northern armies battle it out (at that time Stannis' army and Bolton's) and then sweeping in with his army to conquer the victor. Not telling John, may be part of Littlefinger's plan to rule the North with Sansa as his wife. It would be easy to take Winterfell by force with John's army gone. In addition, would Ramsay have met John's army on the battlefield if he had the additional Vale forces? It would have been more evenly matched and Ramsay would not want to take the chance of losing - he would just have let a siege happen. The Vale forces sweeping in at the last minute ensured a battle would take place and that Ramsay would be surprised.
Denisea (Oakland, CA)
Maybe she didn't tell him because she did not actually know for certain whether the Knights would show up, either because he did not respond to her note, or she was not sure she could trust his response.
Indeed, Ramsey would have just stayed behind his walls if he knew the Knights of the Vale were coming and it was actually an even fight!
RPS (Williamstown)
We understand that Jon made a tactical blunder when he emotionally proceeded to attack Ramsay's army following Rickon's death. It is known.

I'd like to take us back a few weeks when Jon Snow was resurrected in Episode 2. In this week's episoded, Jon's near suffocation by the soldiers and corpses getting more tightly and tightly packed together reminded me of the scene in "There Will Be Blood" when Daniel Day Lewis is "re-born" after his climb out of the deep hole.

Similarly, I felt that we saw Jon's resurrection earlier this season, then just witnessed his re-birth. The next question is: what direction will he go next? Or in what direction will the game of thrones take him? It's just a matter of time before Bran arrives back in Winterfell. That should bring lots of accurate information about old and recent history.
Kenneth Brown (Athens, OH)
I think we saw Jon's fatal flaw which will be his eventual downfall. He can't control his basic impulses. Despite Sansa's warnings, he did exactly what Ramsey wanted, charging out into no man's land to try to rescue Rickon, and then having his troops charge Ramsey's army in a frontal assault. He would have been totally defeated, and killed or (worse yet) captured, had it now been form Littlefinger's forces. In the end, he will go down because of this flaw.
Quen Zorrah (Seattle)
Jon won't fall because of this flaw, he will marry Danarys and their flaws and strengths will be balanced.
Denisea (Oakland, CA)
Jon is Ned Stark's son, and he shares some of his key character qualities such as honor, loyalty, virtue, integrity.....and indeed, those may be his downfall.
fredo (LA)
Biggest tactical blunder by Jon was the woeful misuse of WunWun. Why did he have no weapon? Give him a tree sized battle axe and maybe some plate mail and he could cut through any pike line with impunity.
He could have rode a Elephant with a big joust pole
JLM (Indiana)
Well done Iwan Rheon for some of the most exquisite acting done in Game of Thrones.
Hope none of the character sticks with him!
Agreed, Ramsey was the best and most artistically acted parts of the series. Those roles do not come around often and Iwan Rheon did a fantastic job!
Tim Hughes (Chichester)
Watch the BBC series Our Girl, about a woman serving in a British combat unit in Afghanistan, for a very different but equally believable role from Iwan. He has a lot of range as an actor, and a very bright future.
Joe S (Carrboro NC)
the "Battle of the Bastards" was visually striking, horrifying, amazing in almost every way
and i know a story of a mythical land full of dragons and magic isn't "accurate"

so i know i'm just nit-picking, but... there is no way in any world that the Bolton army comes at you in perfectly disciplined battle lines, like a Greek phalanx or Roman Legion; that kind of fighting takes massive amounts of training and discipline
and what kind of men does it to carry huge,full-body shields in one hand, long spears in the other AND be able to maneuver? if Ramsay actually had an army like that, Westeros just lost a military genius
Ian (Brooklyn)
There were shield men but behind them were pike men. Shield men were likely armed but they were not the ones thrusting the spears.
Geoff (VA)
While I agree with your thing about marching in ranks (that was probably a little too perfect), there was an aerial shot of the Bolton formation that showed separate men holding the shields and spears, I believe. It looked like one man held the shield, and another behind him positioned the long pike through the gap!
Fred Birchmore (Boston)
I'd have to look closely at the battle again to be sure, but I think it was one rank of men carrying the shields, and another rank of men carrying the spears. The ranks alternated in moving forward a step.
Johnny C. (Washington Heights)
didn't little finger decide to ride to Sansa's aid on his own, a few episodes ago?
Constance (NYC)
He did. But though we, the audience, were privy to that information, there's no reason to suppose that Sansa knew of Littlefinger's decision. To those who fault Sansa for not telling Jon that the Knights of the Vale were on their way, I'd say that she probably hadn't learned that they were. And, if she had, having learned the horrible lesson that "no one could protect (her)" she may well have felt it necessary to keep some information to herself.

Season 6 Sansa is indeed a 'sadder but wiser girl.'
Bry Guy (Georgia)
Can we get Melisandra to resurrect Ramsey Bolton so Sansa can kill him again? Dogs were good, but I'd like to see him flayed as well.
Tom (Illinois)
What, they didn't see those dragons coming?
ljmc (Dallas)
When last the Masters were in Mereen, cutting the deal with Tyrion, recall that the Queen, and Drogon, were missing in parts unknown. The Masters likely thought they could attack while she and the one loose dragon were still away.
Tom (Illinois)
Sansa was certainly right about Ramsey not walking into Jon's trap. She saw her brother's life as a sunk cost and was able to plan dispassionately. Jon was blindsided by what he should have expected and abandoned his rational plans. The original defensive plan was the kind of strategy that the English used at Agincourt and had a good chance of working with fewer losses.
Pamela G. (Seattle, Wa.)
Ramsay got a smidge of what he deserved, however Iwan Rheon's acting will be missed.
Should have burned him at the stack, worse death possible
Milliband (Medford Ma)
My Dad said that when he was in the Army in WWII, an occasional pastime was for his buddies to try and think up the worst death imaginable for Adolph when they got him and I am sure many other people were having similar conversations. I wondered if any of them thought of a demise similar to Ramsay Bolton?
Pat (NY)
My thought process was that the Vikings Blood Eagle would be a suitable ending, split open, all fours chained, and left alive in an open field for the animals to feast.
Al (Harrisburg, PA)
Where is Floki when you need him? Someone send a raven!
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
Good call on the Blood Eagle. Great idea. Slow burning/roasting might be good too; but not too quick.
Tom (Illinois)
I found the special effects of the battle unconvincing. The central figures, usually Jon and whoever is about to get killed standing beside him, are clearly part of a different shooting sequence digitally spliced into the broader action. You can see the layers of action from foreground to background.
Bates (MA)
The special effects is very very good for where the technology is today.
Tom (Illinois)
I don't think these were state of the art special effects, which is understandable. This is something like A 10-hour weekly series, not a $100 millions dollar blockbuster film. There are likely both time and financial constraints. I would have preferred fewer special effects and more old-fashioned film-making.
ACW (New Jersey)
I think there are two kinds of Game of Thrones fan. One is watching primarily for the story; the other, for the spectacle. I confess I am the first kind, and don't give a flip about whether the special effects are entirely convincing. Heck, I grew up on live theatre. And on my beloved classic Star Trek epsodes, and their effects budget was $1.98 per ep, which even in 1967 didn't go very far. And the best episodes - The Empath, City on the Edge of Forever, Conscience of the King, among others - could be done on a stage with very little more than lighting and costume changes. Coleridge, I believe it was, wrote of 'the willing suspension of disbelief'; and if you have that, all the fancy CGI is gilding the lily (as Shakespeare - whose actors supposedly performed in street clothes on a nearly bare stage - didn't exactly say).
Still ... though I would have preferred to see Rancid Bolton become the literal expression of his sigil, I'll settle for his becoming Alpo.
Jan Erling Klausen (Oslo, Norway)
George Martin's scriptwriting is sorely missed in season 6. In S6E9 the underlying nihilism that really drove the story in the preceding seasons gives way to old Hollywood-style scenarios where the good (well, the not-so-bad) prevails while the bad desist. The red wedding seems distant history, so does the execution of Ned Stark. The death of Rickon is meagre compensation for the predictable victories of Dany and Jon/Sansa. I hope the series returns to the utter unpredictability that was so satisfying in the previous seasons.
suzanne (new york)
Unpredictability means that sometimes the "good guys" will win. If only horrible things happen, that is too predictable.
lauren (New York, NY)
My feeling is though that if the "good" guys are always losing, that also becomes stale and predictable. If the Starks lost again last night, would that really make this a good story worth telling? Or does it just become the epic of how everyone beats up on this one family and they never ever win?
Qev (Albany, NY)
Hear, hear!
Kenneth C (NY)
It is me, or with it's attack on Patriarchy, is GOT getting us ready for a woman president. Except for Cersi, the female leaders have been, in general, better than the Males.
Michele Z (Walnut Creek, CA)
Queen Arya, anyone?
Beth Rachkis (Haddonfield)
Who rules the world? Or at least the 7 kingdoms?
Bates (MA)
My vote is for the gal in the leather pants.
Barbara (Arizona)
It seems strange that in the space of one program, two seemingly hopeless battles are saved by the arrival of new allies to save the good guys.
osborne (Pasadena, ca.)
This is too easy: I prefer my Goat's Milk shaken.
Leslie (Maryland)
not stirred?
jhillmurphy (Philadelphia, PA)
I prefer to have my sour goat's milk blended and frozen, like a smoothie. Perhaps with a nettle garnish.
scubaette (nyc)
Did no one else notice the ridiculous number of close calls Jon Snow had? Couple that with the ('don't bring me back/I can't agree to that") conversation he had with Melisandre; I predict she was a little too thorough when she brought him back and we will learn of the fallout.
Kent Karlson (Pasadena, CA)
Any real hero, and IRL there are some, has survived a ridiculous number of close calls. Someone has to.
Jim (Knoxville, TN)
I have no idea how not one scout or spy for the Bolton forces failed to notice over a thousand knights on heavy horse approaching Winterfell. Then again, I suppose I should have asked that in Jackson's Return of the King. (Tolkien IIRC had them riding in a secret road through the hills). Then again, maybe Ramsay HAD no scouts or spies out, out of pure vanity.
Heather (Upper West Side, New York, NY)
Because then there'd be no deus ex machina or Ramsey's death to satisfy the audience. Same with Jon's out-of-character military blunders.

It's lazy writing that shoehorns characters' motivations to fit the story.
Peter Scribner (Rochester NY)
The writers at GoT were clearly thinking of the Battle Cannae when they designed Bolton’s battle plan. Hannibal, outnumbered by the Romans, designed the classic ‘double envelopment’ strategy. His army formed up a straight line; as the Romans attached the center, it seemed to be giving way. Actually this was the plan; the center fell back in a tactical retreat, drawing the Romans into a trap. Once the enemy was fully committed inside the horseshoe-shaped line, surrounded on three sides, Hannibal sent his cavalry reserve around the back to cut off any retreat. Sound familiar?

The genius of Hannibal’s - and Bolton’s - strategy was that the surrounded troops were forced into a tighter and tighter mass. Only the soldiers on the outer fringe could engage the enemy; the vast majority were hopelessly packed inside the pocket, unable to fight or even move.

Military strategists ever since 206 BC have attempted to recreate this squeeze play. The similarities between the battles could not be a coincidence.

Of course, Bolton included his own sadistic flair in the plan, by intentionally killing his own soldiers along with the enemy with flights of arrows raining down on the hand-to-hand fighters, creating the morbid wall of dead to seal off retreat. Davos pointed this out to his own archers in case the point was missed. Also Bolton outnumbered Snow two to one, the opposite of Hannibal, who defeated a Roman army several times his size.
Ann (US)
Very interesting!
As Bolton's army was encircling Snow's, though, I wondered why Wun Wun didn't just walk around the circle kicking down the soldiers?
Yeah I watched the shows Extra's too!
EWood (Atlanta)
We always watch on Monday evenings On Demand when HBO adds the "Behind the Scenes" segment with the show runners. They said they drew on Hannibal and Civil War battles where the corpses were piled into obstructions.
Jamey Evans (New York City)
To answer Jeremy's question, I believe Wun-Wun was described last season as "the last of his kind." The look on Ramsey's face made me think of those creeps who pose with the close-to-last of their kinds in hunting trophy pictures.
Jay (Sunnyvale, CA)
Would love to see HBO do a spinoff centered on the dragons. Maybe a comedy.
Debra (Chicago)
Sansa did not know if Littlefinger would respond - she doesn't trust Littlefinger. So she couldn't tell Jon Snow that she asked Littlefinger for help. He may not show.

Next Jon and Sansa disagree about revenge on the Freys. Resolution arrives when a small force comes from the Wall with news of Whitewalkers. Jon leads an expedition to reconnoiter Whitewalkers. Here they meet Bran, and Jon finds out from Bran about his parentage. Meanwhile, Jaime's army is heading north to retake Winterfell.

In undefended King's Landing, it is starting to snow as Dany is attacking with her dragons. Only Tyrion's diplomacy saves the city, though Tommen is killed through Cersei's bungling. Tyrion fills in Dany about snow and the coming winter.

Studying at the Citadel, Sam has discovered novel properties of wildfire in battling Whitewalkers. He sets out for King's Landing, and encounters people from Castle Black who fled before Whitewalkers.

After assassinating Walter Frey, Arya meets up with the Hound. She sneaks into King's Landing to assassinate Cersei, but saves Mountain for the Hound as a peace offering. When Sam arrives in King's Landing, Tyrion convinces Mountain and the Hound to fight Whitewalkers together.

When Brienne is killed by Whitewalkers, Jaime meets Bran at Winterfell to swear allegiance of his army. Dany takes the dragons and wildfire north, where she finds Jon Snow defending Winterfell. Bran wargs into a dragon and Jon Snow rides the third dragon.
Bonnie (Detroit, MI)
Are these your hypotheses or did you read winds of winter leaks and ruin game of thrones for the rest of us?
ACW (New Jersey)
If Brienne goes, so do I.
Sooz (San Francisco)
Beautifully done. Would love to see that. Swift and lively - we could only hope!
John Smith (Buffalo, NY)
The two Stark girls have grown up to be Stone Cold killers each in their own way. Dany and her dragons are a Force of Nature to be reckoned with. If the last one standing in the Seven Kingdoms is a man I will feel cheated.
linda5 (New England)
The show is past its prime.
Woe to us
Blair (greater NYC)
Ramsey survives in Sansa's smile, sadly.
T. Wiley (Chicago)
And his baby in her belly
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Yup, Ramsey was immediately proven right: having a prisoner eaten alive by a pack of hungry dogs is something Boltons do. Ned Stark and the Sansa before she met Ramsey would never do that.
Clara (Third Rock from the Sun)
If so, she would have remained to watch until the hounds had eaten every bit of Ramsay.
underhill (ann arbor, michigan)
Can't help having the creepy intuition that Ramsay has left Sansa pregnant-- "I am inside you now" he says. I think that Sansa would have liked to see Jon die in the battle, leaving Winterfell open to her alone, but she is the one who will die, next season, in childbirth, like her aunt. My overpowering intuition, which I hope isn't true....
Kenneth Brown (Athens, OH)
I noticed Ramsey's comment, too. And thought the same thing. I'll bet you're right.
Constance (NYC)
One can only hope that the Seven Kingdoms are more progressive than the Republican party with regard to abortion.
Pat (Connecticut)
Sansa herself alluded to it a few episodes back. Throw in all the heavy cloaks and she's doing her best to hide it. I thought for that reason, the showrunners might keep Ramsay alive just to foam at the mouth about his heir.
Snake Plissken (Irvine, CA)
Any chance the Starks will feed Ramsay's dogs actual food and rehab them to replace all the dead dire wolves?
Terry (California)
What do you want to kill them too?
John Brady (Canterbury, CT.)
I will say "Game of Thrones" is much more interesting than "Harry Potter". On the other hand I think the child's story, "The Little Engine That Could", is a much better role model for the kids. Skip GoT and HP and the tears of psychotherapy. (O Wun Tun you were a noble Giant. May you rescue the "Princess Bride" in the after life.)
Melisande said that the Lord of Light was bringing back "The Prince Who was Promised" ( Azor Ahai ). The Prince Who was Promised ( Targaryen descent ) was suppose to be Stannis. We now know this wasn't true. Melisandre asked the Lord of Light to bring back Jon Snow if indeed he was The Prince Who was Promised ( her words were a form of Norwegian ). Since it happened, it wasn't because Jon Snow was nice. Ned Stark was seen in a Warg recall to be at the Tower of Joy were Lyanna Stark was held as prisoner. It is believed she is pregnant from Rhaegar Targaryen. A baby was born and it was Ned Stark who went up the tower and found out his sister had a illegitimate baby. Ned took the baby as his own, lied, that child is Jon Snow. So that makes Jon Snow Targaryen and a suitor for Dany. Aslo makes it likely that Jon Snow will become The Prince Who was Promised by finding "Light Bringer" in the darkness of Winterfell. Lyanna Stark's statue there and Stanza once said it was unusually warm down there. The bearer of Light Bringer will become Azor once again. Also Frey's will be destroyed by Lady Stoneheart who is the resurrected Catelyn Stark. This is achieved by Beric Dondarrion of the Brotherhood Without Banners giving up his life. Why else bring these characters back a couple episodes ago.
Ann (US)
why does dany need to marry a Targaryen?
Bates (MA)
Jon Snow is Dany's nephew. so the suitor thing is probably not gonna happen.
MT (Ohio)
Targaryens marry their kin, sometimes their siblings according to GRRM's The World of Fire and Ice, which actually makes for fascinating reading in terms of world- building.
Susan Slattery (Western MA)
I was really sorry to see Wun Wun die, glad to see Ramsey get his comeuppance and cheered when the Knights of the Vale came thundering round the bend in all their cool blue glory. I fairly jumped off the couch. The KNIGHTS OF THE VALE!!!

I am however a little perplexed why the two dragons that our fair lady chained in dungeon for however long seemed to come roaring back to her aid. Yes, Drogon, but the other two? Really? Don't they hate Dany by now?
Helen (Portland, Oregon)
I was confused regarding the other dragons, too! It was just too convenient...
scubaette (nyc)
Tyrion unchained them a few episodes ago, but left them in the dungeon
MT (Ohio)
My guess is that they heard and saw Dany and Drogon.
jlc (Canada)
Dany needs two other people to ride Rhaegon and Viseryon. My money is on Arya for one of them.
anne (il)
Yes, and Tyrion for the other.
Gort (Southern California)
My money is on Jon Snow and his twin sister, Meera Reed
N Yorker (New York, NY)
R.I.P. Wun Wun.
Good riddance to Ramsay, so glad to see him get his justice.
Milliband (Medford Ma)
The only army training that my WWII Dad passed on to me at a very early age was that if someone was shooting at you, and you were running away zig zag so they can't draw a bead. Simple advice that would have save Rickon's life.
Milliband (Medford Ma)
I saw a bit of Alexander Nevsky as the giant and warriors were trying to breach a lance studded shield wall.
IfIhadaplaneIdflyabanner (Manhattan)
There is no doubt that Iwan Rheon (a.k.a. Ramsey) can deliver a line. But thank goodness we no longer have to watch him. No matter how well he can act it became redundant watching him. The writers had proved how heinous his character was and everything became more of the same. Sansa, not John Snow, is the heir of the Stark line now. We have three queens, an evil mother, a number of duplicitous men with designs on a throne and then, of course, all those stupid zombies.
Anonymously (CT)
Sansa said she didn't know anything about warfare.

But Snow?

A numerically inferior force charging rather than taking a defensive position behind well-fortified entrenchments?

Sansa was smart enough to realize her brother was a goner.
LAZ (Bronx, NY)
Goal was to retake Winterfell. Taking defensive positions would not get them that. The were lucky enough that Ramsey was willing to engage him at all because he could have waited them out in Winterfell.

I enjoyed the battle which was intentionally realistic. However, Snow being trapped behind a wall of dead bodies struck me as contrived. It is seemingly intended by Ramsey but I don't think Ramsey could have counted on one being created in reality. I've heard of mounds of dead in these battles Unless someone can point me to a historical example of someone actually be trapped behind one I feel it was a way to enhance Ramsey's cleverness and Snows failure for falling into a trap.
Tim (Tappan, NY)
In a show with fire-breathing dragons and Red Witches bringing people back to life... you found Jon Snow trapped under bodies contrived? Come back to us, LAZ. ;-)
Ekes (ma)
I don't see how Sansa is now indebted to Littlefinger. I thought Littlefinger coming with the Arryn army was paying back the debt he owed to Sansa for making her marry Ramsey.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
In removing the Lannister appointed Guardian of the North and helping the traitor Starks, he's in open rebellion now. That is a big deal.

But then again, we could argue by marrying Sansa (accused poisoner of Joffrey) to the Boltons, both he and Boltons should be considered traitors too...
PamelaT (Burlingame, CA)
Jon Snow is downright peevish and grumpy about his resurrection even telling the Red Witch not to bring him back again if he dies in this battle with the Boltons. Insights?
Howard Kaplan (Los Angeles)
Maybe the best battle I've ever seen on TV. HIghly moving. Eager to see Arye reuinted with the gang next week. As a novelist myself, I'd guess someone will come up with a way to kill one or maybe two dragons? Black smoke? The showrunners are smart my guess is something new we haven't seen.
Michael Quinn (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
The downfall of this episode has been in the works for three seasons--Ramsay isn't an interesting character.

It's fair enough to say that he's not "a one dimesional sadist," but in a show that is entirely about the moral grays of conflict, the entire battle is about as good-versus-evil as we've gotten before. There's no complication--there's never anything deeper revealed about Ramsay before he dies, Sansa takes blind pleasure in watching him die, and I'm almost certain that the whole "Sansa doesn't tell Jon about the game-changing forces on their way" won't be discussed at any point and was just a cheap move by the writers to build artificial suspense.

It's a shame that the battle scenes were SO GOOD but the story just doesn't back it up.
Heather (Upper West Side, New York, NY)
Battle scenes are easy to write.

Good story isn't.
ACW (New Jersey)
Battle scenes aren't 'easy to write'; very easy to lose track of the choreography, particularly when you're moving around so many different factions, each of which has its own capabilities, armaments, and peculiarities. I have no doubt the writers need a 'war room' with maps and little lead soldiers to move about, to remind them who is where at any given moment.
It is true, though, that good story requires a different, subtler kind of talent. And managing to produce both, with story and spectacle in symbiosis (say THAT five times fast) is a gift given to few writers. I like Game of Thrones, but feel that often the balance is one or the other, or one then the other alternating - scenes that advance one or another subplot, alternating with lots of fighting which, as far as I'm concerned, almost always goes on too long.
Constance (NYC)
I suspect that Sansa not telling Jon about the possibility of allying with the Vale will absolutely be a plot point in episodes to come. Further, I dispute that Sansa's reaction to Ramsey's death is "blind pleasure." Rather, I suspect it's a callback to him having told her "I'm in you now." Whether that reference was to Sansa's potential pregnancy--as some have posited--or to Sansa's having learned--from Ramsey, in a sense--to take pleasure in the pain of an enemy's defeat is an open question. But, again, I suspect both of these issues will have repercussions that will be covered in upcoming episodes.
Kandace Olsen (Mahtomedi, MN)
Jon Snow lets his heart, not his head, rule his actions. The women--Sansa, Daenerys, Yara, Margery--do not. Simplest difference, I think.

I loved this episode (though I spent most of the battle standing up and pacing the living room!). I don't think Sansa was sure Littlefinger would come through and that's why she didn't mention it to Jon. I believe if she'd heard word back from him that they would come to her aid, she would have told Jon. She and Jon lucked out that they came in the nick of time.

The battle scene was fantastic and brutal.

I'm hoping Arya will stroll up to the gates of Winterfell in the season finale.
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Google The Civil War Horse to see the bronze statue of an emaciated horse commissioned by Paul Mellon to honor the 1,500,000 million horses and mules who died in the Civil War. I saw one of them outside the Virginia Historical Society and nearly wept.
R. Marmol (New York)
"Was it just lazy writing?" Most definitely. Scrip writers do this all the time. The temptation to manipulate characters in such a way that they act against their nature is too hard to resist, because the quick payoff in drama is too tempting. Making characters consistently act in their best interest takes hard work and genius, and George R. R. Martin (or whoever wrote this episode) is simply not at that level in his craft.
Mark Gleason (Balsam Lake, WI)
Totally agree... excellent points.

Another example of lazy script writing is the last episode of Sherlock. the BBC series, and the solution of Sherlock vs Magnuseen. Sherlock just pulls out a gun (that security guards didn't bother to search for) and shoots Magnussen, making Sherlock a murderer. No, sorry, doesn't work.

Another thing that bothers me about this episode of GOT is: How did the cages for the dogs get opened? They're supposedly starving for 7 days, and they just sit in their open cages while whoever opens them walks away? And then they conveniently wait until Sansa is done taunting Ramsay? I realize it had to be done that way for the sake of the scene, but doesn't make sense. Starving dogs like to eat like, right now.
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
The series proceeded forward faster than Martin could write. The show runners are doing this.
Casey (Tampa, FL)
the parallels to Hannibal's nearly flawless victory at Cannae using a double envelopment against a much larger Roman force were very well done. Jon's only chance was to force Ramsey's aggression and not take the bait, using the same strategy against him that Hannibal took. Aggression can be a supreme weakness or a huge ally. Jon committed the cardinal sin of any commander, immediately giving up strategic advantages and pressing the fight based on emotion and not understanding the fluidity of battlefield. Sadly, his stupidity led to the complete destruction of his cavalry and nearly all of his heavy infantry; the heavy cavalry from the Vale and Wildling light infantry and archers are now the entirety of the North's army. The Umbers, Karstarks and Bolton forces are now also completely destroyed. Westeros better have a plan, quickly, to bolster their forces against the army of the dead and stop killing one another. Professional armies are not an asset easily found.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
That's the part that is so frustrating: even when he rode out to save Rickon, Jon could still make it work by turning back once the enemy cavalry charged. He would've turned the table by using himself as bait to lure Ramsey into committing his force first, the northern forces can then proceed with the strategy laid out earlier.

Question: if encirclement can work with a smaller force, and Ramsey has twice as many man as Jon, couldn't he ordered say half of his man to turn around to face the Knights of Vale, or was it just too late?
Tim (Tappan, NY)
As you mentioned in the notes, watching Rikon run; all I could do is yell the words of wisdom that Peter Falk gave to Alan Arkin in The In-Laws as they dodged bullets: "SERPENTINE!"

One week Al Swearengen, the next week Phryne Fisher gets it and now Wun Wun. It's been a tough month for some of my favorites.

Jon Snow wins my Will Robinson Award, given to a character on any show that doesn't do what they're told, because it will get everybody else in trouble. – Prof. Robinson: "Will, Whatever you do, don't leave the ship!" Will Robinson: "OK, dad." ...Leaves the ship seconds later.
Hychkok (NY)
Plot musings

I think it's possible Sansa is pregnant ("I'll always be a part of you" or something in that vein)

I think Littlefinger knows (That's why he leaned toward her and said, "half brother," reminding her that Jon cannot inherit Winterfell).

Sansa will marry Littlefinger so her child will not be thought of as a Bolton, because if her child is a male, it will inherit Winterfell. Sansa does not want a known Bolton in charge of Winterfell

Thus will begin a new Sansa-in-Peril at-the-hands of a wicked-male-tormentor plotline.

Remember when everyone thought Sansa was a new woman at the Vale after she consciously lied to save Littlefinger's skin? Yeah, well. Look how that turned out. "New Sansa" is always replaced with "Original Sansa" in this show. (And what will be worse? Ramsay's sex plundering or having to endlessly listen to Littlefinger's insufferable stage whisper as the actor does his best to sound like a rattlesnake?)

Or maybe none of the above
At least for me, the episode far exceeded the "holding my breath" test -- both before and after Jon Snow was gasping desperately for his. And Dany's attack was straight out of Harryhausen. I love the show, but I definitely felt totally elevated when it ended, and it's been a long time for that (ever?) with all the episodes ending in sheer horror. Bravo!
Amy (Denver)
As Jon held out his hand for Rickon to grab, he should have pointed in the direction for the poor kid to run. If it's alligators or arrows, you have to zig-zag. Stupid Stark boys.

That battle sequence was thrilling, and I hate battle scenes usually. I have never seen anything quite like it. That was brilliantly directed.
Allison (Austin, TX)
In the book, when Sansa dreams of being a queen, she imagines wearing fine clothes, being surrounded by beautiful people at court, and marrying a handsome, charming prince -- the Disney princess version of royal life.

Now we see her turning into a younger Cersei: plotting, keeping secrets, sacrificing those who can't be saved, and enjoying the gruesome deaths of her enemies. In other words, she's getting a taste of what it really takes to wield the power of a true queen.

Jon Snow still resembles a human being -- he can still be hurt by personal loss. He wants to rescue his brother, and thus he's weak. Sansa has learned the hard way how to put her own feelings aside. It's a good thing/bad thing. I certainly envision her turning into a northern version of Cersei. If Littlefinger thinks he can mess with her, he's probably got another thing coming.
Kandace Olsen (Mahtomedi, MN)
Cersei vs. Sansa: except Cersei never had to suffer the way Sansa has. Cersei has always lived in the ivory tower. I think suffering is the key in GoT.
pat (connecticut)
Sansa vs Littlefinger is going to be a very interesting dynamic to watch. She has some significant cards on him. He's made a number of enemies like Lord Royce who would side with her against him. And his luck is due to run out.

But we're talking about one of the best players at the Game, alongside Tywin, Olenna, and Varys, who may play the long game better than anyone else. Sansa may see his first or second move out but will see the further out moves he may have already made? We're talking about a new player with some significant chips against a manipulator with a good 20+ years of experience. Should be good!
pat (connecticut)
but will *she* see the further out moves
nssanes (Honolulu)
"I sent a raven to Littlefinger". That's what Sansa didn't say. Did she get a reply? A raven reply would go to the commander, and there is no evidence she got any ravens except for Briene's admission of failure. It ain't text or phone, it's a scroll on a trained bird and you don't even know if the raven you send ever reaches its destination.
Leslie (Maryland)
I agree with just about everything others have posted:
- one of the best episodes ever
- 2 epic battles in one episode; Yes!
- loved the Yara/Daenerys interaction
- stammering Tyrion; you don't see that everyday
- zig zag Rickon!
- I agree that Sansa was playing her own game and holding back on the Knights of the Vale intel

So, here is something new. I usually hate the "Where was [fill in the blank]?", but here I go:

Where was Ghost??? Why wasn't our silent direwolf by Jon's side or, better yet, at Ramsay's throat?

I'm still singing:
"Oh yes its ladies night
And the feelings right
Oh yes its ladies night
Oh what a night!"
T. Wiley (Chicago)
A final disappointing note on Rickon was the lack of a rescue attempt by Jon and Sansa. Winterfell is not impenetrable. Osha got in and out of there when saving Rickon and Bran. Even Yara Greyjoy got into the dungeon somehow trying to save Theon. So now two Winterfell born (in case of Sansa) and raised could not find some back secret tunnel to get in there and at least attempt to save their brother?
Frankie (Houston)
Osha was already in Winterfell when the Ironborn seized Winterfell. She didn't sneak in.

Yara broke into the Dreadfort to attempt to rescue Theon, not Winterfell.
Jason Galbraith (Little Elm, Texas)
They should have waited for Brienne to get back and sent her on that mission. Preferably with Jon going along.
T. Wiley (Chicago)
You're right about Dreadfort, but Osha sneaked back into Winterfell to steal food for the stowaways and had a final conversation with Maester Luwin.
MEM (Brooklyn, NY)
There were three key issues with the plot this week which significantly mar an otherwise commendable achievement in television:

1. There was no guarantee Ramsay could hit Rickon with an arrow at a significant distance. In fact, you could easily argue he had much less than a 50% chance of hitting a moving target. Why would he leave his entire battle plan so exposed, while potentially letting the only indisputable Stark heir live? It makes no sense. (If Ramsay is the GoT version of Katniss Everdeen, that has never been established in any way and cannot simply be taken for granted.)

2. After Wun Wun breaks down Winterfell's door, Jon is entirely too cavalier with his own life, and Ramsay makes an out-of-character choice. Jon takes a long, unprotected minute to stare at the wounded/dying giant, brought back to reality only by Ramsay's arrow flying into his big friend's eye. But why didn't Ramsay shoot Jon with that arrow? He was wide open, just begging to be killed. Jon was the important target, one who wasn't already dying. Ramsay would have shot him in that scenario. Lazy writing in the service of the ostensibly dramatic, and it tears the scene apart with its implausibility.

3. Sansa never told Jon about the potential Vale soldiers she'd asked Littlefinger for. Would she so cavalierly endanger the entire battle, Jon's life (not to mention Rickon's), and the lives of all those people just to have a shot at making a point? I think not.

Bad writing is a theme this season.
joe swain (carrboro NC)
way back when he tracked down Theon, he's been good with a bow, so i bought it
pat (connecticut)
1a. it was established in earlier seasons that Ramsay was excellent with a bow and arrow. Knives too, if I recall.

1b. the show is often lacking in logic. If a huge army or Littlefinger can travel great distances of hundreds of miles in an episode, why can't one little arrow stay true over a few thousand feet?

As someone else here predicted, next episode will end with Arya at the door of Winterfell because, well, dramatic license!
DMS (San Diego)
Thank you, GoT, for turning me into a blood-thirsty monster. I cheered the dog food! Woe is me.
anne (il)
Ramsay Bolton was the greatest villain I've ever seen. His smile made him all the more frightening, and reminded me of Alex in a Clockwork Orange.
Beth Rachkis (Haddonfield)
Yes - Alex!!!
Shane (Calgary)
Great comparison!
Maggie Murphy (CT)
I am suffering a GOT hangover. It was a more intense battle scene than any of the LOTR battles ( and I loved those), and I was so glad to see the Riders of Rohan aka the knights of the Vale show up on cue. Now that Rickon is gone, will Bran factor into the Stark dynasty more? Will Sir Davos stick the Red Witch with the pointy end of Shireen's carved wooden stag? And let's hope they burn Ramsay's corpse, because nobody wants a White Walker Ramsay Bolton!!!
jerrychu (nyc)
I was surprised that the dire wolves did not play a role in the battle....
Jack (Salisbury, NC)
The dire wolves operate best in small unit actions and patrolling. When they go up against overwhelming odds, they may take a lot of the enemy with them, but they die. John probably ordered Ghost to stay in his cage at their camp to save him for that purpose in operations against the Army of the Dead. Remeber, Ghost alerted John to the danger of the zombies attacking the Lord Commander way back near the start of the series.
Steve (New Jersey)
I don't think the writers illogical about Sansa's advice to Jon before the battle. It makes sense that Sansa didn't tell Jon that Littlefinger was on his way with the Arryn force, because she didn't know for sure that he was. She only sent a message to Littlefinger (apparently apologizing and begging for him to renew his offer of aid) but I don't remember seeing that she got any reply. She wouldn't tell Jon that reinforcements were on their way if she wasn't certain Littlefinger would actually show up.
Heather (Upper West Side, New York, NY)
I'll go against the consensus here. Satisfying? Predictable and by-the-numbers writing is more like it. The quality has continued to fall off this season especially when they botched Arya's storyline.

Jon blundered into that trap like a dunce. Every possible thing he could've done wrong militarily, he did. It's not Jon's character, it's just bad writing.

Was there any doubt the Tully knights would save the day like the 7th Cavalry? It's yet another deus ex machina like Dany arriving in the nick of time to save Mereen or Stannis arriving in time to save the Night Watch.

Finally, battle scenes must be used sparingly or you run the risk of repetitiveness. What will be left for the climactic Battle with The White Walkers? Bloodier, bigger, more slo-mo?
CJD (Hamilton, NJ)
The battle was visually stunning, but the writing is silly.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
The only suspense in this episode is the way Jon making the typical Stark mistake: after much furrowing of brows, pushing pieces on the map with much deliberation, and mansplaing fancy jargons like double pincer and flanking maneuver to the uninitiated, the commander of the entire Northern forces just threw away all that in the heat of the moment. Imagine the consequences if Ramsey was aiming at Jon instead of Rickon.

That said, in real life quite often people acting out of impulse/reckless but gets away with it in the end. However when they do that twice in a row, first with Arya, now Jon, it feels like plot armor. We want our heroes to be worthy of their victories.
cats rule (NY)
So, does the year of the five kings result in the reign of the three queens? It seemed to me that Sansa wrote off her young brother just a bit too quickly, and for the reasons she stated to Jon, although with a more sinister purpose. Her baby brother was, as far as she knew, the only remaining legitimate male heir to Winterfell, and she does keep reminding Jon --over, and over! that he is not, as he is illegitimate. Which would make her-once baby bro is out of the way-the only remaining heir to Winterfell, and presumably, heir to her brother's title of Queen of the North.

It also seemed to me that Sansa would not weep had Jon fallen in battle after taking Winterfell for her. That would also explain why she did not tell him that the cavalry was coming, in the form of Balish and her cousin's forces.

Isn't this all so reminiscent of the War of the Roses, including the final battle when Henry Tudor's stepfather waited until the last moment to see who was likely to reward him and then swooped in to Richard III's dismay and death?
anne (il)
Bran Stark is the heir to Winterfell.
No, more like she was beaten, cut, raped and mentally tortured by this man who hates Starks. As far as Sanza is concerned Jon, they never seen eye to eye. She was a spoiled child and he was the basterd child.
AM (Austin, TX)
True, but Sansa doesn't know that he's alive.
dennis (new providence nj)
Parts of the battle reminded me of the start of Saving Private Ryan. The only story bring told was how terrifying it was to be there.
Brian (Brooklyn, NY)
Also see Orson Welles' Battle of Shrewsbury in Chimes at Midnight! The muddiest battle on film, until last night.
Fred Musante (Connecticut)
That episode was some of the most thrilling dramatic action in the history of television. I believe the major awards must pay it its due.

I seriously disagree with Jeremy’s take on the battle as a tragedy for the little guy fought for “other people’s power, family and legacy.” It’s true that Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and Davos Seaworth recruited allies under the premise that they would fight for Sansa to restore the Stark dynasty. But let’s face it, we know what is really at stake. This battle was a struggle to unite the North against the existential foe from beyond the wall, and that is as much a fight for the little guy as for the lords and ladies who live in castles. Moreover, in the societies depicted in GOT, as in our own in real life, it matters who is in charge. So even if they weren’t facing an imminent threat of an invasion by an army of zombies led by nearly invulnerable vampires, the common people have a definite stake in the outcome of the battle. Restore the Starks and you are treated justly and humanely. Fail and you and your family are under the reign of a junior league Caligula who practices cruelty as entertainment.
Jennifer (Salt Lake City)
Great points.
holbee (New York, NY)
As horrible as The Red Witch's advice for killing Shereen was, she ultimately did not put the girl on the stake. She is a religious zealot with a religion that actually works. Supernaturally. And if not for her we would not have Jon back.
Dr. Glenn King (Fulton, MD)
I wouldn't call Littlefinger a "monster." More of a sneaky little turd ...
entrenched (new york)
Leave it to the NYT to be the first place I've seen the MOST OBVIOUS POINT being discussed. Why the hell didn't Sansa mention anything to Jon? Is there some ulterior? Also Jon's emotional reaction to tactics seems on a par with Dany's, how come she does better with it? Dragons?
Michael Evans-Layng (San Diego)
I wondered about Sansa not telling Jon about the Vale cavalry too. Why not wait for the reinforcements? All I could come up with is that she didn't know for sure if or when the help would arrive. If she told Jon ahead of time that she had asked Balish for help unilaterally he might have distrusted her even more for going behind his back--especially if the help didn't come. Why not at least bounce the idea off Jon? My guess is that she's simply fed up with being sidelined because of her gender and took matters into her own hands because she could. She could easily figure that it's better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. In one stroke Sansa established herself as a major independent player and Jon will never again exclude her from council.
Jennifer (Salt Lake City)
It's maddening. I hope cats rule (above) and others are right and there is a calculated reason for Sansa to have withheld this information, but what happened with Arya's storyline last week makes me fear the worst.
Hannah (Denver)
In last season, Littlefinger talks to Cersei about becoming Warden of the North by letting the two northern armies battle it out and then sweeping in with his army to conquer the victor. Not telling John, may be part of Littlefinger's plan to rule the North with Sansa as his wife. It would be easy to take Winterfell by force with John's army gone. In addition, would Ramsay have met John's army on the battlefield if he had the additional Vale forces? It would have been more evenly matched and Ramsay would not want to take the chance of losing - he would just have let a siege happen. The Vale forces sweeping in at the last minute ensured a battle would take place and that Ramsay would be surprised.
Brian (Brooklyn, NY)
My only disappointment with this write-up:"[O]thers will make the Peter Falk “Serpentine!” joke" is just a way to make the Serpentine! joke without admitting that you're, you know, making the Serpentine! joke. It's a good joke! Own it!
Elizabeth (West palm beach)
HBO NOW had an outage at 9 for almost an hour. Apparently this lead to panic by some fans. The Twitter feed addressing this was enjoyable and hilarious! My favorite: "the site is dark and full of errors." Fans of this show were brilliant with their gifs and comments.
Cindy Ossias (San Francisco)
Does no one else cry for the horses, forced into battle under the guise of competing and pleasing their 'masters' (reminding me of the racetrack, often with similar ultimate consequences)?
Michael Evans-Layng (San Diego)
As a horse owner I was glad a battle scene FINALLY showed how horribly war horses can suffer in battle. It's hard for people to sympathize or mourn if they don't see the damage.
Jennifer (Salt Lake City)
I was very distraught for the horses while watching.
Sheila Bloom (Alexandria, Virginia)
Paul Mellon commissioned a bronze statute of an emaciated horse to honor the animals who died in the Civil War.
LilBubba (Houston)
As for Sansa withholding, I think it boils down to trust. Yes, Sansa and Jon are half siblings, or so they believe, if the theories are true. But Jon has always been on the outside of his family. He is a bastard after all. A scene earlier in the season underscores that in some ways they are not on equal footing, as she has legitimate birth rights and he does not. And they were never exactly close. I don't think Sansa was proud to have to reach out to Littlefinger either. It was clearly a last resort move on her part. Her experience has taught her to trust no one. Maybe she has applied that even to her own brother. The line about no one being able to offer protection is telling. She has learned to do it herself. She relied on Littlefinger for protection and he arranged for her to marry a monster. I think her choice to withhold makes sense if you consider what she's been through. There seems to be a scene coming where Sansa and Jon reconcile this breach between them.
Jennifer (Salt Lake City)
I thought it looked like Jon was trying to reconcile, but I didn't think it looked like Sansa was...
Peter Scribner (Rochester NY)
As for Sansa and the implication she was withholding information about the Riders of the Vail, the most likely explanation is the most hackneyed: like the cavalry in a old Western, they arrived over the hill just in the nick of time. They did, in fact, arrive over a hill , and they did, in fact, arrive just in the nick of time.

Had Littlefinger’s forces been in the neighborhood the night before, then somehow neither Snow nor Bolton noticed them, AND Littlefinger chose not to reveal his presence to Snow AND and somehow Sansa alone learned of their presence AND chose not to share this with Snow. The simpler explanation is Littlefinger & Co. arrived only that morning to Snow’s camp, found it empty save for Sansa and a rear guard, learned from her the battle plan, wheeled around, and galloped toward the fray.
pat (connecticut)
After rewatching the scene where the Knights show up to save the day, I noticed, as some others have, the look on Sansa's face when she saw Jon emerge from the pile of soldiers. She didn't look happy. Possibly disappointed. I don't know that she was hoping he'd be killed or if she was willing to accept his death as a possible plus. On some level, as much as she loves her home, I think family matters to her too.
I think we're going to find out that LF knows something (or has guessed) about Jon's parentage that he mays use to drive a wedge between the two Starks.
Lou (New York)
Anyone else hoping that Dany and Yara get together? The ultimate power couple to rule "Queen's Landing". (Sorry, Daario.)
spenyc (Manhattan)
I know it's a soft-headed dream, but I would like to see Dany and Tyrion grow into a couple. Between the two of them, they'd be a brilliant ruler.

Not to mention, then Tyrion could ride dragons whenever he wanted!
Katharine Horowitz (Minneapolis)
I don't have anything witty to say about this episode because I was literally tensed up, nerve-wracked, and I think I can count on one hand the number of times I blinked. It was magnificent. Who choreographed the Winterfell battle sequences and/or thought up the Bolton attack strategy? Please give that person or team all the awards.
Golden (New York, NY)
"Sansa’s withholding seemed inexplicable for a woman desperate to convince Jon that he needed more men. Was it just lazy writing intended to produce a momentous swing in the fight?" I disagree with your reading of this Mr. Egner. I think her withholding of the information was directly on point with exactly the maturation process that you and others have traced with Sansa's character, and the staticity of Jon Snow's for that matter. Sansa truly is the, or has become, the strategic force of the family, just as her mother was while Ned, while noble in effort, clearly was not cut out for the "game" of thrones as Cersei put it in Season 1. Sansa knew telling Jon of the Knights of the Vale would have changed his tactics -- as you pointed out -- and it would totally ruin the element of surprise. As Sansa said to Jon in that important post-script to their strategy meeting, Ramsay is smart, smarter than him and would easily sniff out any of his moves. Sansa knew playing the Baelysh card close to the vest was the only way to eventually outthink and outwit the Bolton bastard. And she was right. Just as Jon played into Ramsay's hands in the beginning of the battle, ultimately Ramsay played right into hers.
Jennifer (Salt Lake City)
I love your argument and I hope you're right.
K Henderson (NYC)
G, in all of that text you still dont justify why Sansa would withhold that info from Jon, while saying you dont agree with the article writer on that point....
Golden (New York, NY)
I thought I did. So if not, let me make it more clear. By telling Jon, that basically forecasts the move to Ramsey. Telling Jon would make him adjust his tactics for the attack and the Bastard being the smart guy that he is -- Sansa went to great lengths to explain this to Jon -- he would be able to see the strategy. At the end of the day, Bolton's gift was for playing the long game. When it came to direct combat, no match for Snow. Sansa, however, different story. Everything in this episode made this pretty explicitly clear, IMHO.
SW (Little Rock, AR)
I think the author made a really good point, comparing Jon to his father and brother, because ultimately the three men think very similarly. Ned and Robb were both undone by their belief in honor - Ned, for believing that Robert Baratheon's decree would be honored by the Lannisters, and Robb, for believing that marrying the woman he loved was the honorable thing to do. Jon is motivated by similar feelings, as we can see in his reaction to Ramsay's torment of Rickon on the battlefield. Jon is great at dealing with a straightforward enemy like the whitewalkers, because they are not deceptive or underhanded like the traitors who killed him in the Night's Watch, the Freys, the Lannisters, or Ramsay Bolton If Jon had just died, then the parallelism between his story, Robb's, and Ned's would have been perfect. This makes me think that Littlefinger's help will prove a double-edged sword, because honorable Jon will be vulnerable to Littlefinger's ability to lie and deceive (Ned started to trust Littlefinger, and it cost him his life). Even Sansa is still vulnerable to Littlefinger's influence, and it could prove detrimental to her success. Whether or not Jon is Ned's biological son, he is definitely a Stark child, and he was raised with Ned's code of honor. We can only hope that Sansa has learned her lesson from experiences with men like Joffrey, Littlefinger, and Ramsay, and that Jon has learned from his experiences being murdered by his own men and almost defeated by Ramsay.
Ned is not Jon's father! Stay tuned.
AC (Outside the Loop)
You suggest that Robb has honour for "believing that marrying the woman he loved was the honorable thing to do." However, he also believes in the honour of keeping his word--which is what he fails to do in marrying for love and breaking his agreement with the Freys. If Robb can't uphold his commitment to the Freys . . . what honour does he have?
As for Ned, he actually strikes a bargain with the mother of the false king (Cersei) to let her and her children leave King's Landing. Joffrey is not a child, he's an imposter--and Ned foregoes the honour of his office as Hand of the King (the true King) in allowing the usurping bastard child of incest to escape. That's not honour and it's not smart.

As for Jon Snow, he's also broken his commitment by leaving the Wall. He committed until death to the brethren and he's clearly not dead, so he's just another Stark oath-breaker, like his half-brother Robb. There's no honour in leaving the Watch that you commit to, there's only moral relativism.

There is no honour, as there's no justice. There is only vengeance and violence.
But that's the game.
SW (Little Rock, AR)
I see your point about Robb, but Ned's willingness to let Cersei and her children go is an attempt at mercy. It isn't smart - but it is honorable. Jon Snow died at the hands of his own brothers - his watch has ended.
Ed L. (New York)
"Was it just lazy writing intended to produce a momentous swing in the fight? Or was it a plot point that will come into play later, perhaps as Littlefinger tries to turn Sansa and Jon against one another?"

The first one. Or the second. It doesn't matter. It isn't the characters who are manipulated in GoT. It's the viewers.
Jennifer (Salt Lake City)
Too true.
Jon and Sanza never seemed to be on the same page and there is a very good reason!
I have just one question: WHERE IS TORMUND???

Well, two questions: Who else was reminded of Ralphie pummelling Scut Farkas in "A Christmas Story" when Jon was beating Ramsey?

And an observation: It's clear that it's the women in this story (and Tyrion) who are the clear thinkers. Those who do not find glory in armed combat are in a better position to find actual solutions.
Carl (Virginia)
Glad you brought up the "serpentine" line - I was screaming it at the TV while Rickon was running as a target across that large, empty field. I guess he never saw the "The In-Laws"...
I was yelling ZIG ZAG!
Maurelius (Westport)
I thought Jon Snow would get killed as you can't go into battle by being emotional and that's what Ramsay was attempting to do to them.

Sansa was smart in telling Jon that he should not underestimate the enemy.

Fitting that Ramsay Bolton died the way he did!
Leslie (St. Louis)
Great recap for an exciting episode. And it's true that the actor who played Ramsey really had his game. (The only thing that kept me from having nightmares about Ramsey is that i've seen the actor also as the darling dimwit in "Vicious.")
I wouldn't go all out in praising the battle sequence, though. Yes, it was artful. But it also was obviously CGI generated during much of it, which completely took away its veracity for me. Give me the old real-life filmed "battles" that are maybe less bloody but look like actual men fighting.
spenyc (Manhattan)
A particularly effective bloody-battlefield-with-swordsmen sequence is in Kenneth Branagh's "Henry the Fifth."
JPK (<br/>)
And here I was, wasting my life thinking The Battle of Helm's Deep would be the the best fight I had ever seen. Thank you, cast & crew of GoT, for delivering the most entertaining and beautifully shot battle I have witnessed to date.

And shout out to Daario Naharis for leading the Dothrakis. That got me out of my seat!
C. L. Ball (Chicago IL)
Cavalry clash sequence was impressive; someone had clearly read Keegan's "Face of Battle" or other pre-motorized battle analysis.

I was waiting for a dog to bite onto Ramsay's hand to close the Ramsay-Chow shot.

So, wooden Mormont shield can stop arrows at 10 yards, but no one thought to deploy those for infantry under archer range?

Why would Sansa not have told Jon about the Vale? Or even the idea of summoning the Vale? The "you didn't ask my advice [but I don't have any to give]" was silly. It made Sansa look petty when the point is that she actually has strategic insight.
Guess they never watched Braveheart
Sorka (Atlanta GA)
I thought of a cool twist the writers could have done instead of Ramsay dying by his own dogs (crummy master for starving them): When he hears growling, and tells Sansa that his dogs will never turn on their master, she coolly replies, "This isn't your dog." And out would come Ghost.
Ivan (Chile)
Well thought
Chuck Wortman (Wilmington, De)
That reminds me of the pInk Pnather movie where Inspector Clusoe asks "Does your dog bite?" The old man replies "No, my dog does not bite". CLusoe goes to pet the dog and it bites him. "I though you said your dog does not bite?" "That is not my dog"
Ro (Philadelphia)
I think that ghost is too good to participate in the jaw eating activities that brought about Ramsey's end. Love the thought though. Here's to hoping for more twists in the plotline!
Josh F (New York, NY)
I get the cynicism regarding Sansa, but she clearly loves Jon, even if she mistrusts his basic kindness. Many are saying that she intentionally failed to tell Jon about the army of the Vale. I would counter that she did not wish to discuss Littlefinger due to other concerns and her lack of faith in him. In addition, although she sent out the raven, she may not have received word back, and, thus, would have had nothing definitive to tell Jon.
Satisfying episode on many levels! Love how the women are emerging as the true leaders.
PS. Did anyone else think of Silence of the Lambs during the wide shot of Ramsay behind bars, tied to a chair, immobilized and beaten but still able to muster a sociopathic smirk at Sansa? I half expected him to say, "Hello, Clarice...."
Jennifer (Salt Lake City)
I, too, thought of Silence of the Lambs.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Sansa's reply then should be: "A sadist once tried to break me. I fed his liver to his own dogs along with his face while enjoying a nice Chianti."
Tom P. (Brooklyn, NY)
Clearly Rickon never saw "The Inlaws" film: "Seperntine!!"
Bob (NYC)
A key exchange not mentioned on this recap was when Tyrion told Daenerys about her father's plan to burn down King's Landing. I suspect the mysterious rumor discussed by Qyburn and Cersei in the previous episode concerned the huge stashes of wildfire still sitting under key buildings, including the great sept where the trial will take place in the season finale. I'm hoping for some fireworks!
Matt Hallauer (Kansas City, KS)
I believe Tyrion used up a lot of the wildfire during the Battle of the Blackwater, partly because he hated for Cersei or Joffrey to have such a weapon. He needed it, and he needed them to never have it.
jackzfun (Detroit, MI)
Is there any connection between the belief system of The Red Woman and The Sparrows? If not, this feels like a collision in the making. Are there only Priestesses in the Lord of Light? I don't recall seeing a Priest. If so could this be part of the emerging Dany-Sansa-Yara coalition?
Working Mama (New York City)
You're forgetting Thoros, the red priest who rides with the Lightning Lord.
NMY (New Jersey)
Thoros of Myr, who brought back Beric Dondarrion is a priest of the Lord of Light. We saw him in Ep 8 when Sandor Clegane found the Brotherhood hanging the three men.
Sandor: They killed a friend of mine
Thoros: You have friends?
Sandor: Not anymore
Lisa (NY)
One of my favorite episodes! Not only because Bolton finally got his comeuppance and became dog chow but the battle scene was equal to if not slightly better than that of Braveheart. Let's add Sansa finally joining the ranks of the other no nonsense, strong female characters on the show. Bravo, Sansa! Arya would be proud. I'm proud! Bring on the season finale.
Geoff (Columbus, Ohio)
Congrats on the Peter Falk/"The In-Laws" reference; "serpentine!" was the first thing I thought of when Ramsay told Rickon he had to run.

Two great set piece scenes last night - they've set the bar pretty high for next week's episode, but Tyrion did mention the hidden stockpiles of wildfire in King's Landing, so I'm wondering if they're planning on sending the High Sparrow out with a bang. Of course, if Cersei has a hand in it, it'll backfire.
Mark (Texas)
First, you used 3 words, not 2, in your advice to Rickon.(picky) I am wondering if the next volume will be out before next season begins.
As for the show, I felt that it sort of depicted what such a battle must have been like. Much haphazard death, crazed combatants, etc. I agree that Iwan Rheon did an excellent job playing a villain. His little smirks made one what to smash him in the face much as Jon did.
I suspect that the White Walkers have some means of dealing with dragons and I'd hope for a trio of women to lead, but that won't happen.
Lastly, where is Caitlin Stark? She has a role to play.
I am not certain about all the praise for Ramsay as a battle tactician. The fact that he was not aware of another entire army approaching, through lands he supposedly controls, was a complete failure on his part to do appropriate information gathering through scouting or other means. I can't imagine he would get much praise from Sun Tzu.
Tanaka (Southeastern PA)
I disagree with the view that the battle against Bolton was a forgone conclusion (unlike the battle at Meereen). Getting ones just deserts is hardly what this series is about. Also as Jeremy notes, "Ramsay’s departure leaves a hateability hole in the story." For a long time, I thought Joffrey would never die. When he was finally, and thankfully, killed off, I decided that was only because there was a new candidate for The Most Hated - Ramsay. Killing Bolton off without a successor was not totally predictably. Also, had Bolton lived, it would have set off a titanic match between Good (Dany) and Evil (Ramsey). Still, I feel as happy as a Cleveland Cavaliers fan.
Edie clark (Austin, Texas)
A note on the command Dany shouts to the dragons- the word is
"dracarys" which means dragonfire in high Valerian. She taught the dragons to breathe fire on command to cook their food when they were very young. We first heard the command when she had the dragons burn Pyat Pree alive after she is betrayed in Qarth.
jlc (Canada)
There was an earlier scene in Season 2 when the dragons are still little and she teaches it to them. I don't remember whether the explanation was in the show or the book, but she chose the word because she needed a word that the dragons would not be likely to hear in any other context.
I'm not sure Sansa was sure that the knights of the Vale were coming. Had Littlefinger replied to her message? Would it have been worse for her to tell Jon -- "hey, Baelish is coming with more men, so let's hold off" only to have them NOT show and have the Stark's army captured without a fight?

I apparently was not the only one who commented that "you know nothing, Jon Snow" was a completely appropriate line when he raced into battle, having been warned by Sansa not to fall into Ramsey's trap. I like how Sansa was the only one to acknowledge that Rickon wasn't coming back alive and that plunging into an unwinnable fight wouldn't save him. Too bad Jon Snow couldn't understand that.

Interesting how the Game of Thrones seems to be coming down to a battle of queens -- Dany, Yara and Sansa. An alliance between those 3 against the forces of Cersei and (you've got to believe) Margery will be fascinating to watch.
William Schindler (Los Angeles)
Don't forget the Sand Snakes, the other queens in waiting.
Vince (NJ)
I thought this was one of the top 3 episodes of this TV series. One of the great expects of this series is that you never can be confident that the "hero", i.e. Jon Snow, would be triumphant because viewers have been conditioned to expect the worse outcome imaginable. The twist and turns of the battle were kept me on edge about the outcome, even though they telegraphed the Knights of the Vale coming to the rescue, I still wasn't sure it was going to pan out until they arrived. The only thing more satisfying then watching Ramsey die at the behest of Sansa, was knowing that it was his own loyal subjects that turned on, the only true family he's ever had.

This episode also had the feeling of the tide turning in favor of the "good" side in this story, although in the Game of Thrones that side is never clearly defined.
ALB (Maryland)
The best and most unique thing about Game of Thrones is the fact that the women act no differently than the men (except that some of them wear dresses). The women are truly powerful, and every one of the women, whether evil (like Cersei, Marjory, Obara) or good (like Arya, Brienne, Sansa, Yara, Dany) is smart, incredibly strong mentally, and often strong physically. The women of GOT are taking over -- Sansa, Dany, Yara, Obara -- which means the series finale in Season 8 should be one for the ages.
I believe there are more giants like Wun Wun beyond the Wall where the Wildings are originally from. They may just be Wight Walker / Wilding since Season 5's depiction of the Night Walker King and his army coming down from the north beyond the Wall to attach them. Giants need to make other giants. Three simply won't do. Wun Wun needed to have cut down a tree to make a club where he could swing it in combat rather than fighting only with his hands. He should have grabbed more than one of Ramsay’ men at a time. He should have picked up a handful of them and crush their pretty little helmet wearing heads.
Sunday's episode was amazingly intense. Jon Snow looked like he was resurrected once he dug his way out of all those dead bodies that buried him momentarily. I had to take an additional blood pressure pill to keep my pressure on an even keel right away when I saw GreyWorm slice off two heads in one swing with a small knife. PHENOMENAL!
Where is the Hampton Roads Virginia GoT club house located? I want to join a GoT Anonymous group.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Just for this week you should change your username to "Run like Jaguar Paw" :)
Tracy (FL)
Sansa knew that Ramsay wouldn't bring his army out to fight unless he was sure he could beat them, due to his larger force. She tricked Ramsay more than she tricked Jon. The fight had to begin with Ramsay thinking he had the upper hand. Otherwise he holes up behind the castle walls and it's a siege. Ramsay isn't stupid.

She also probably will be the one to dictate, or already has, terms with Littlefinger for the help.

I think they made last week's episode so boring and weak to really punch us awake with this one. Great episode. I found the scene with Dany riding the dragon to be childishly awesome, meaning that it made me feel like a full-throttled cheering 10 year old in a very perfect way. I so enjoy these books and shows.
A Reader (Detroit, MI)
A most excellent episode. As far as I'm concerned, they could have ended the season, or, in fact, the series, last night. Who run the world?
badphairy (MN)
I really like where this is going, which of course means everyone I like will die horribly in the next few episodes. Oh well, I knew that when I signed on.

I think the show is rather uneven, and I really hope the guy who directed 'No One' is sacked for next season. We don't need T-1000s, thanks buddy.

However, each time the show disappoints me, it makes the anticipation of the books that much higher, because likely they won't be disappointing in the same ways.

I'm sad it's almost over, but what a ride!
A (Cc)
I can't believe Mr. Egner takes Jon Snow's rash, idiotic risking of his entire army (not to mention his sister's safety) and ignoring all of the strategic decisions his commanders had made THE NIGHT BEFORE for one harebrained rescue attempt and attempts to blame Sansa in part for the destruction of Jon's army. OF COURSE Sansa held back on Jon Snow -- he may be her heroic brother, but he is impulsive, emotional, and not obviously fit to lead an army. If Sansa had told him that Lord Bolton's army was coming to help, he would have just risked the Knights of the Vale as well, or would have never put his army at risk for this military maneuver. Best case scenario, Ramsey would have pulled in for a siege. Sansa's plan -- to catch Ramsey offguard and encircle them -- was brilliant.

But instead, it's Sansa's fault that so many men died? Give me a break. She was the hero of the day. If not for her, every last man in Jon's army would have been slaughtered, and/or tortured.

I loved the episode. It made me regret that Ramsey has been played as the off-kilter psycho rather than brilliant but truly evil strategic mind (as he was tonight, which was far more interesting). I really did think all was lost, and that while Sansa would escape, this was the last we would see of Jon Snow. After all, how many happy endings in Episode 9 have we had?
Maybe it is our sickness to blame women at first cost.
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
Ramsay was always something of an evil genius in addition to being a sadist. After all, he managed to raise himself from bastard son to head of House Bolton and (briefly) ruler of Winterfell and Warden of the North.
pam (houston)
Nice to see power shifting to the women - Danerys, Sansa, Yara all coming into power along with the Dornish queen. Marjorie Tyrrell will make her move, too. Look forward to Aryia coming back to Winterfell with her skills and clear resolve. Brianne will return.
So, how many direwolves are left (one with Brandon, Ghost and one Aryia shooed away)? who owns a Valyerian steel sword - where are all of the swords? And, what kills Whitewalkers besides obsidian? fire. What delivers a lot of fire really quickly on a battlefield? Dragons. Looks like they are setting up Danerys to save the 7 Kingdoms when Winter arrives. Put the dragons to use for the good of the kingdom instead of burning villagers.
Jon Snow will be revealed to be the son of Robert Baratheon, the seed is strong, he's not blonde like the Targyreons. Mirra will be his twin.
Belinda (New Jersey)
What? Umm please look up R L=J
anne (il)
I agree it's most likely that Jon is Robert's son. But on the other hand, dark-haired Lyanna Stark and blonde Rhaegar Targaryen could also be the parents of a child who looks like Jon Snow.
oshbeg (Marion Illinois)
Off topic, I know. Tyrion found out about the Mad King's hidden wildfire before the Battle of the Blackwater. Is it possible he disposed of it or removed it from under the Sept, Guild Halls and Red Keep after his discovery?
MadMax (The Future)
I agree with most commenters (Jon is a good man, and a poor tactician; why didn't Sansa tell him about the cavalry on the way; what will Little Finger's price be?).

But I did find it quite vexing that the writer's/director essentially wasted the presence of Wun Wun in the battle scene. He appeared to have no weapon of any kind. If he had simply picked up a smallish tree trunk, or wielded an over-sized quarterstaff, combined with his reach/height he could have broken through the Bolton shield wall pretty convincingly. I know, it served the plot to have them desperately ringed in. But still, it seems like a giant missed opportunity...so to speak.
Alex p (It)
I guess we can say the dogs are gone and the wolves are back (also the dragons).
I think Sansa is going to regret her choosing the minor of the two evils (Littlefinger over Ramsay), and will probably pay her brother's win with another marriage, this time with her first cousin of the Vale.
The battle was indeed a clash/carnage, which cinematographically well rendered what it means to be on the ground in the middle of horsemen. Also i liked so much how Jon's long breath i.e. "reborn" foreshadowed the arrive of the cavalry of Petyr "Gandalf" Baelish with his white banner. I guess he catched the same flying metro just as Blackfish should had been from the farther Riverrun had he survived Lannister's army.
Someone prefers ravens (Bran and Sansa), while some other dragons (Daenerys). Just seeing how they had to stand still to burn one ship makes me think they will be shortlived unless they go trough some training, There's no way they will survive dornish lancers. Maybe Sam can help devising them thanks to "The Hobbitt" 2° part, while of course Rickon didn't watch Apocalypto's scene of zig-zagging to flee the spear.
I'm sorry but Wun Wun has to die. (Please re-check the article. Midway i find "the deaths of other favorites, like Tormund").Wun Wun was the best underused resource of Jon-Davos-Tormund army. The terrifying effect of snapping a man's head is zero to the army of skinned man's banner. With a giant spear in his hands, there'd have been no need for the Vale's cavalry.
Alex p (It)
For sure, we can't see Ramsay revived. It seems the only condition for reviving is having the whole body ( That explains also why Robb was decapitated when the Brotherhood passed through and.. you-know-what happened, maybe )
Heather (Cozumel Mexico)
Littlefinger may name a price for his assistance, but that doesn't mean Sansa will pay it. From my perspective, he OWED her that save with the Knights of the Vale. In fact, it could be argued that he can never fully repay her for selling her off to the Boltons.

Visually, an amazing episode. Girl Power!
Joe (New York)
What a father's day gift! Ramsay eaten by his pets, finally! I levitated straight off the couch with satisfaction.

The battle scenes were masterfully depicted like a grand scale masterpiece painting in a museum. Horses were part of battles even in WWII and so vividly expressed in Picasso's Guernica as the ultimate cry of the agony of war. This was the day of dogs, horses and dragons, captives of human misery.
adam M (Ottawa, Canada)
They could have at least given Rickon one line in this episode. I mean come on, the kid needs acting credits! At least he could cry out "Jon!" or something. No, Rickon says nothing, again (he said nothing in his other appearance this season too). The guy is a Stark and has fewer lines than a Mole's Town Whore!
Cat Anderson (Portland, Maine)
Is anyone else puzzling over the meaning of Ramsay's comment to Sansa that he's "inside [her]"? Sansa herself alluded to something like that in her last in-person exchange with Littlefinger. The obvious interpretation is that she's pregnant with Ramsay's child, but I wonder if something even more vile than Ramsay spawn isn't residing in Sansa's body.... A disease, perhaps? Or maybe it's nothing at all. On this show, one never knows! I enjoyed this episode tremendously and can't wait for the finale.....
anne (il)
I took it to mean that the effects of Ramsey's sadistic torture will forever remain with Sansa. And in fact, she is truly changed, trusting no one... and that little smile after Ramsey's demise. The thought of pregnancy never occurred to me—hope it's not that!
Joyce (Earth)
If she is with child, why wouldn't she just seek the counsel of the Red Woman, I'm sure she has some tricks up her sleeve. After all she's been through I can't imagine she'd want a child by a sadistic psychopath.
zootalors (Virginia)
I like the plot developing with Yara. I was disappointed when her mysterious uncle showed up and disrupted her taking of the throne, but what's happening now is more interesting. As for Sansa, she's perfectly capable of deciding on her own that she wants to rule; she doesn't have to be tricked into feuding with Jon by Littlefinger. Sansa's abuse hardened her, and now she is developing confidence in her own judgments. And we've all seen Jon's weakness -- like Ned's -- is in always taking action based on what he thinks is the right thing to do.
Truc Hoang (West Windsor, NJ)
I cannot believe that as an ultimate weapon, Wun Wun did not have get wood body armor, shield, and knuckle. He fought bare hand. He dressed worse for war than a female Gothic fan. Even bears have claws and Tarzan has his long tooth.

Imagine what Wun Wun can do if he has chain mail gloves, mace, halberd, giant rolling rock boulders. Or he just pick up dead bodies from a giant pile behind him and throw them at the shield-spear men line, he would flatten them all. Wun Wun has so many things right at the battle site to use as offensive and defensive weapons, and he fought with his bare fists.

So disappointed! Episode 9 is so rushed!
Ann (US)
Yes, totally agree!! Even as he was, he could have done much more - kicked Ramsay's soldiers out of formation while they closed in, for ex. Or maybe he was strong but very slow-witted?
Jack (Salisbury, NC)
You fight as you have trained and from experience.. The giant was from north of the Wall, where fighting was mostly un armored small clans against each other until Mance united the clans into an Army. There, the giant clan had no need for armor or weapons, bare hands were more than enough if threatened..
Larry (The Fifth Circle)
He didn't even use one of his signature tricks of using one body in a hand to sweep at a line of other fighters. That was pretty effective last time.
Bates (MA)
Very good episode. Ramsey got it from his dogs, how appropriate. And Jon has to be one of the most inept "Generals" in history. Sansa's pen was mightier than Jon's Valyran stteel sword.
Bob (NYC)
I know it was easy to hate Ramsay Bolton, but the character I've most wanted to see gone for a while is the High Sparrow.
Jamakaya (Milwaukee)
I loved Dany's negotiation with the Greyjoys and Dany's smile when Yara says forced marriage is out of the question but other than that "she's up for anything." They have a lot in common, but I wonder how long that will last. I thought it was strange that Dany did not take Tyrion to task upon returning and finding Meereen besieged and in chaos. I know she's the Mother of Dragons and soon had everything under control but no questioning of his leadership? And in a series known for its gruesome realism, what about Ramsey's head? Anyone who sustained 20 blows to the head like he did would have no teeth, broken nose, jaws and eye sockets, and a head swollen to the size of a big, fat Wisconsin pumpkin. I guess the director thought the hungry hounds were more than enough, and I'm kind of freaked that I've descended to the point where I care about such things.
Judy (Gainesville, Florida)
The battle itself was remarkable. It managed both to feel like something I'd never seen on the screen and something I was prepared to understand somehow. But I never saw Apocalypto or 300 and did not think of Braveheart at all.

At the outset I was reminded of Agincourt in Olivier's Henry V (also recalled by Davos's midnight strolling), except that Ramsay Bolton tricked the "good guys" into being the cavalry against the archers. As things got going, I kept thinking of a line in Malory about King Arthur's being covered in brains and blood. Jon Snow's berserker turn got me believing the arrows would just bounce off him, and blades slide off. But the mountains of the dead had a World War I horror to them, unromanticizable though saved by the medieval-looking knights.

Wun Wun's death reminded me of Kurosawa's Macbeth figure in Throne of Blood.
Carl (New York)
Ramsay was smug even until the end. Even surrounded by accurate Wildling archers, he still couldn't help but goad Jon Snow. For Jon, he still shows his ignorance, uncertainly, and cockiness all at once. He prevailed due to a much mature and wiser Sansa, who rebounded from her torturous marriage to Ramsay not with fear or blind revenge, but with poise and intelligence.

The battle scene was epic. The tendency these days in media for big ancient or medieval battles is to just have two opposing armies run into each other with no sense of tactics or intricacies of maneuver. Granted, there was a headlong charge by opposing cavalry, but as Sansa guessed correctly, Jon fell right in lock step with Ramsay's plan. You could almost sense Ser Davos sigh as he ordered the cavalry forward to "follow your commander." Jon, you are now a commander in charge of an army. You didn't lead and were more an warrior than a leader. You let you emotions get the better of you and (again) Sansa warned you that Rickon's life was going to be short. The Wildlings were sent pell mell into the middle of the fight, I don't think the word tactics is in their vocabulary (pincer certainly isn't). Maybe if Mance were still alive he'd have through it through than Tormund's run to the middle only to be surrounded. The protagonists won, barely. Jon's army was destroyed. Hard to rule the north with nothing left considering the Frey and Lannister armies are whole.

Jon, you still know nothing.
Jason Galbraith (Little Elm, Texas)
Davos should not take out Melisandre himself. . .she should be marched down to King's Landing and turned over to the High Sparrow. Let the dueling Faiths destroy each other.
Brandon (E.)
Really looking forward to Sam and Gilly reuniting with Jon Snow. Hopefully at Winterfel. You can never have too many valerian steel swords.
Mimi (Eugene)
Or smart women
Laura Reich (Matthews, NC)
How I loved when the Bolton flags were taken down and the Stark flags were put back up!
What will happen with the Lannister/Frey alliance?
I never get tired of this show.
Nick (FL)
The question of why Sanda didn't tell Jon about the Knights of the Vale could simply be that she wasn't sure they were coming.

We know from the previous episode that Brienne had sent a raven to inform Jon and Sansa that the Tully forces would not ride north, but we have no idea if Littlefinger responded to Sansa's request. The easiest explanation is she wasn't sure and didn't want Jon awaiting help that might never come.

I also second the assumption that if Sansa did know, she might have still held back for other reasons.

First, if she is truly playing the Great Game, she knows she cannot trust Littlefinger to follow through. It isn't until the Knights of the Vale trample Ramsey's men that we can be sure which side Littlefinger has decided to support. More than any other character, he keeps his own counsel.

Second, she was clearly right about Jon. He fell directly into Ramsey's trap. Jon, much like Ned and Rob, relies too much on honor and emotion. She was well justified in ensuring he didn't squander their one advantage if she knew it was coming.

With that said, the most likely scenario is that she didn't know and Littlefinger, who had already brought the Knights north, waited until he saw the opportunity to increase his own power base before committing to a side.
LAJ (Rochester, NY)
Most impressive battle since Kenneth Brannaugh slugged it out with the French, in the pouring rain at Agincourt.
stilluf (new jersey)
I loved the first half of this episode, and the CGI of the dragon BBQ was fantastic. And I enjoyed some of the northern battle scenes. But agree with Jeremy that Jon falling into Ramsey's trap (after being EXPLICITLY warned by Sansa) was really lazy story telling. The hall mark of this series (and GRRM's writing) has been to blow up the fantasy clichés, like the Grand yet Futile Gesture; but here we had Jon Snow charging the entire Bolton army by himself! Weak.
Pretty cool to see the Dire Wolf banners at Winterfell again. Too bad for Rickon (why didn't he at least try to hide behind the burning X's?)
I will miss Ramsey. He was evil, but that actor did a great job making us love to hate him. RIP Bastard of The Dreadfort.
I don't know what the season finale will hold (worried about The Wall!) but hopefully will be as good as all the other finales!
Old blue (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Best battle scene ever made for television. When will a Stark find out that Littlefinger betrayed their dad? I'm pretty sure Sansa's first husband knows that story. Of course Littlefinger's obsession with Sansa is really all about the mom. Is she still (sort of) around?
Jazzmandel (Chicago)
The ferocious battle montage in Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight seems to me the most influential in how the Snow-Bolton carnage was filmed -- chaos up close and fragmentary. But indeed, the director drew from many prior examples and aded his own touches. I dont recall ever seeing a phalanx so well deplayed.

Didn't Drogon aim one blast of fire at the dungeon where the other dragons dwelled, thus setting them free?

And now the most despicable characters are the subtle, conniving ones. Littlefinger, the High Sparrow, Melisandre, and of course Cersei, whose trial next week ought to be climactic. Euron we hadly know. The Freys are dispensible pawns. I was also pleasd to see young Lady Mormot at the talk between Jon and Ramsey, her face squinched up like a mishappen green pepper. Hope she and Arya meet up. All the women are triumphing, the men (not only Jon but Jamie, Tyrion, Tommen, Theon) mostly their supportive or hapless tools.
SamTrane (Baltimore, MD)
What an awesome battle! As engrossing and suspenseful as any that came before it. Seeing Jon in the thick of it, with arrows wheezing, spears thrusting, horses thundering, and the limbs of the dead & barely living piling up, it gives you an appreciation of how honorable leaders were back in those days. Wouldn't it be the best deterrent if today's world leaders had to strap on their boots & army fatigues and personally lead their soldiers into battle every time they declared a war. Wars would definitely become a thing of the past. Bush would have lasted all of 1 second in The Battle of the Bastards, and maybe a day in Iraq.
Otherwise, what a beautiful symphony of chaos, fury, tragedy & vengeance that culminates in a crescendo of Sansa's smug grin after she had fed that excuse of a human flesh for a man to those treacherous hounds. By far the most self righteous and satisfying GOT episode ever. Thank you for having mercy on us.
Given that wars were not in short supply when leaders engaged in battle, it doesn't seem as if making that a requirement would eliminate war.
That is a great point! IF only our leaders had to lead every war they started.
Qev (Albany, NY)
Final thought: Emilia Clarke seems to be growing weary of Daenerys Targaryen. Last night was the first time she'd unleashed her dragons all at once in battle and while mounted yet (to me) she lacked that commanding intensity we saw on the Plaza of Pride when she took Astapor. Her "Dracarys" was uttered almost lazily. It HAS been six years.
Jamakaya (Milwaukee)
I agree. Even earlier, when she returned to Meereen to find the city besieged and in chaos, she looked complacent, almost expressionless, like "ho-hum." With the exception of the meeting with the Greyjoys, Clarke's performance was slack.
Dan (Kansas)
With Jeremy's permission;

Since we didn't get to see any of Sandor Clegane this week and that's just wrong--

A community member wondered in a late comment last week about The Hound's stated preference for chicken when he sat down to eat with The Brotherhood Without Banners. This was always one of my favorite scenes of The Hound and I think it makes clear his thinking on hut cuisine:

(language warning is obvious, duh)
Charlotte K (Mass.)
I'm tired of plot holes/bad writing. So while I'd like to assume that the reason Sansa didn't tell Jon is that she didn't KNOW the Vale would come. Or that she told him "off screen" (that seems to be an excuse like Jon's not discussing his resurrection) and he chose not to wait because they didn't know. She didn't have to tell him LF was involved, she could have just said she'd written to their cousin Robin. I'm not a book reader but I can see them struggling to make the kinds of connections they had when the author was more firmly at work on the writing.
Alle C. Hall (Seattle)
It was pretty hot between Yara and Dany, in the throne room, there; but a small quibble: how in the Sam Hill did Yara and Theon get all the way to Mereen so quickly? Isn[t about half-way around the world? Back in the day - seasons 1 & 2 - I loved those road trips; Brienne and Jamie, Arya and The Hound. Now it's like: Cut! Next scene: we're in the Iron Islands, already.

Small quibble for a great, great episode. Amazing battle cinematography. We watched on NetFlix, and were able to see the special feature where they directors, et al., discussed the making of the battle scenes Highly worth the 11 minutes.
anne (il)
Why didn't Sansa tell Jon beforehand that Little Finger's troops would be arriving??
Suri (FL)
A magnificent and satisfying episode that gives new meaning to the words "Fight like a girl!" I think they should end the season now!

Like several other commenters, I wondered why Sansa didn't tell Jon about the Arryn army beforehand. But then I realized that maybe she knew he would squander that resource, too, just like he squandered any hope of winning when he rushed into battle. You know nothing, Jon Snow.

And right now, the dragons seem invincible. It will be a cakewalk against the white walkers, much less Kings Landing. I wonder what twists the writers have in store to even up the odds a little - for the bad guys.
Dan (Kansas)
Good insight into Sansa's possible thinking Suri.

See Robert of Yonkers NY's comment below for an additional angle on this subject as well.
dennis (new providence nj)
Perhaps the dragons can't live for long in the cold!
Kurt (Long Valley, NJ)
There was a reason why Jon wanted to attack: he didn't want what forces he had to decimated by the weather. He didn't want to end up like Stannis. Had he known the Knights of the Vale were on their way he probably would have waited.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
GRRM really love symmetries: Hodor is a big hero for keeping the door closed. Wun Wun is a big hero for breaking open the door.

The shield Jon picked up was that of House of Mormont. So perhaps Lady Lyanna Mormont deserves some credit for saving Jon's life as well.

Ramsey was such a great character: laughing like the Joker when Jon was punching his face into the ground, arrogant and unrepentant until the very end.
Dan (Kansas)
Interesting observation David Ho.

Also, Wun Wun broke down the door at Castle Black and saved ser Davos, Dolorous Ed, Ghost, the loyal brothers, and the body of Jon Snow.
Qev (Albany, NY)
The attack on the cave of the three-eyed crow (Hodor), the battle for Winterfell (Wun Wun) and Daenerys's triumphant return (three little birds) are all beyond GRRM's books. That's all HBO.

In fact, with the close of the Riverlands campaign last week, the series can now, for the first time, TRULY be said to have completely departed from the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
mkc (ca)
I was so hoping they would kill Sansa. Shes been a weeping punching bag for so long I cant give a crap about her even now that she has a backbone. I still have hope someone will snuff her out in the next season.
Jamakaya (Milwaukee)
I've never liked Sansa either from the first season when she wanted to please the craven young Joffrey. She has shown poor judgment and been incredibly passive until this season. I think the weak acting skills of the actress make her a very bland presence. One the other hand, not every girl/woman is scrappy like Arya or strong and noble like Brienne. For all the criticisms of sexism and sexual violence in earlier years of the series, the story is now populated by interesting and active women characters fully engaged in the GoT.
Dactta (Bangkok)
No way, .. she adds some regal elegance amongst the muck..
Gandalf47 (Santa Barbara, CA)
Sorry, Lord Bolton - you got your face ripped off by your loyal hounds at the hands of your "punching bag", Lady Sansa of House Stark, now in command of her own destiny, not the pawn of others through no fault of her own. My money's on Sansa sitting on the Iron Throne when all is done (if there IS an Iron Throne at the end of this thing, and not and "Ice Throne").
Julio (Las Vegas)
A most satisfying demise for Ramsay indeed, though I am not sure what that says about all of us who enjoyed it. The battle mayhem was spectacular, though key bits were borrowed: Rickon's run from "Apocalypto," Ramsay ordering his archers to shoot into his own men from "Braveheart," and the synchronized chants during the shield and spear pincer movement right out of "300." Indeed, as to the latter, I expected a cry of "We are . . . Wildlings" in response. Then again, maybe I simply watch too many war movies.
Dan (Kansas)
Yep, Jon went all Rick Grimes on Ramsey but it was Tormund who took out a throat or ear or eyeball with his teeth.

I thought about Braveheart and old Long Shanks during that scene too, but the shield chanting had my inner voice saying "We are the Boltons, huh huh, the mighty mighty Boltons, huh, huh" from 'Remember the Titans'. Haven't seen Apocalypto yet but I did see 'Dead Rickoning' so there's that.
Aaron (Boston, MA)
Ya, but in Apocalypto they knew to not run in a straight line... I have trouble believing that in a world where every other human being has a bow and arrow, Rincon wouldn't know to zig zag... It doesn't matter how good a shot you are if it takes 5 seconds for the arrow to reach its destination and you aren't a mind reader.

The other two things, I can excuse by saying they were borrowed from history before they were borrowed from a movie.
RIchard (Scituate, MA)
Actually I thought the chanting was out of "Zulu".
pat (connecticut)
Nice mirroring: the aerial shot of Jon emerging from the pile of bodies to rise above the surrounding men was reminiscent of the season 2 or 3 aerial shot of Dany amongst the slaves she had just freed (a controversial one), as well as the earlier scene this season in Vaes Dothrak (after killing all the khals).
Mary (PA)
And his gasp of air was similar to when he was resurrected. He rose from death, in a sense, at both times.
Allison (New York City)
Poor Rickon. Didn't even get old enough to hit his Stark emo phase. Pretty gnarly and short life you had there, kid.
Kd (Nairobi)
Can he be brought back to life, perhaps? What exactly is the threshold for the level or degree of injuries sustained from which one can be brought back to life?
Dan (Kansas)
Starks we have. Bring back Wun Wun!!!
underhill (ann arbor, michigan)
In the middle of that grim scene, I had to laugh: 'Little Rickon' was taller that Ramsay...
MauiYankee (Maui)
Great to see the most expensive special effects back in action.
And you have to LOVE the command to breath fire:
Rikon death.....fully expected. John Snow falling into the emotional trap....the predictable cavalry coming over the hill.
Middle Finger will surprise the widow Bolton with the price of that support.
The shot of the quiver as Bolton pulled an arrow out....great shot
Bolton emerging from the front line with Rikon great shot
The battle scene/carnage....well filmed.
The cavalry charge by Team Snow, beautifully filmed (Kurosawa still stands as the filming of horses IMHO).
The initial clash of the two cavalries.........terrific.
Cinematically one of the best episodes in the entire series
Snows re-emergence from the bottom of the pile to the choas above.
Horses, tons of horse flesh, Snow, Bolton, Arryns, Dothraki.
Query....how did the Snow archers get to Winterfell without out a single horse soldier?
Run Run had quite a run
The beating of Ramsay jumped the shark....no structural damage to his face or JS's hand. Come on. If you have ever punched someone in the face (or been the recipient of one....done both) you know the damage done to both.
No swelling, deformation, clear diction.....please.....
Mimi (Eugene)
Dracarys, but I like Icarys just fine.
Gerard (Everett WA)
It isn't Icarus, it's Dracarys. And it was Wun Wun, not Run Run.
Annie Towne (Oregon)
It's not "Icarus." It's "Dracarys." High Valerian for dragonfire.
Qev (Albany, NY)
That Was Unwise, My Lord..
My five word take on Lord Commander Snow's strategic choices at the battle for Winterfell last night.
pat (connecticut)
I'd like to know why the two other dragons decided that now was a good time to break out. Were they fed up from the HBO outage like the rest of us? Were the stones loose enough? Or did the sound of Drogon motivate them? I'd like to think Tyrion had something to do with it.

The battle was really well done, especially the near suffocation of Jon Snow. But I'll take the psychotic one at Hardhome and (maybe) the one at Blackwater over this.

The face-off next week between Davos and Melissandre should be interesting. Does Brienne come back in time to weigh in? Or is she rowing in the same direction as Gendry?
Mimi (Eugene)
Tyrion undid their chain locks right after Daenerys went out of town.
Dan (Kansas)
Maybe the dragons have means of communicating with one another that transcend those of normal critters on whatever planet this is?

As far as ser Davos and Lady Melisandre are concerned, don't forget that Brienne still has a bone to pick with her for her Smokey Stannis trick.

And rumor has it Gendry has joined the Brotherhood Without Bearings and was last spotted off the east coast of Westeros.
pat (connecticut)
I know, but that was some weeks ago. Perhaps they've been slowly using heat to wear it down.
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Not much plot to chew over this time:

1. Sansa tells Jon he does not have enough troops to win.
2. Jon start the fight anyway.
3. Sansa tells Jon to give up hope about Rickon, warns him not to do what Ramsey wants him to do.
4. Jon abandons the one plan that gives him any chance at winning, and does exactly what Ramsey want.
5. Everyone is saved by Sansa in the end.

Davos and Tormund were right. Jon is no king.

RIP Wun Wun.
Jezzhani (OKC, OK)
Jon may not be a crowned King, YET... but I heavily suspect it will be revealed in the next episode that he has King's Blood.
T. Wiley (Chicago)
The big question is why didn't Sansa tell Jon there was help coming so he could change his plans?

I know the sight of the cavalry charging in to save the day is cool for TV purposes, but it wasn't very smart act on her part.
melibeo (miami)
While Jon is no king, in his defense he also seems slightly off his game as he comes to grips with his resurrection. He clearly needs to let his hair down, as it were, and pay more attention to his sister.
It also seems that at the series nears its end, the main characters need pals more than ever (Jon/Sansa, Dani/dragons, Cersei/Jamie, Yara/Theon, etc.). That certainly goes for the character who has been told time and again that he knows nothing.
Robert (Yonkers, NY)
OK, let's talk about the elephant in the room. I can't believe that Sansa didn't tell Jon that they could expect help from Littlefinger's army of the Vale. Especially after Sansa knows that the army of White Walkers is coming and they need every fighting man for that. Less people would have died in their army. Now most of Jon's army is gone.
What was Sansa's motive for this? May be she didn't want to pay the price she no doubt has to pay Littlefinger now. (Marry him? Marry Robin Arryn?)

Otherwise this was a highly satisfactory episode, with two battles decided, and the two most arrogant Masters and Ramsay killed. Ramsay definitely was the most skilled tactician on the battlefield. He played Jon like a fiddle. Sansa was right: Rickon was already dead.

And the best repeat line in the show: Dhrakaris!
Despina (LA)
I am wondering about that too. The only answer I can see is that she played him, because she didn't trust him not to mess up that extra soldier power- had it been under his command. Instead she was the one strategizing against Ramsey and - well; she won.
Dan (Kansas)
Dead on about that elephant in the room critique Robert. I had the same issue since she first sent the raven and deceived everybody about it but I hadn't thought about the angle that she was hoping for a win without Baelish and the Vale but wisely (and luckily?) timed it so they'd get there just in time and just in case. Nice analysis. What does she owe Baelish now?

But what about the dragon in the sky issue? The Wise Masters didn't see Drogon circling up there as they were making their ridiculous demands for total surrender and return of all their property, specifically property "stolen" from people the dragon had just BURNED UP?

And then Theon and Yara appear out of nowhere like the Spanish Inquisition in that Monty Python skit. Some newbs might have gotten confused that they were with the Wise Masters' fleet or something. Tyrion had a different shirt on though so there was that.

Speaking of best lines-- it's hard to beat some of that back and forth between Dany and Yara imho.

And anytime Dany orders those dragons to light something up it's pretty awesome indeed.
James D. Hahn (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Maybe I missed it, but how do we know Sansa was sure that Littlefinger would show up in time or at all?
Improv (New York, NY)
If the GoT ladies had moved to the fore faster maybe they'd be remaking Ghostbusters, though one woman unlikely for the long haul is Melisandre, given Ser Davos opportune (as in convenient) discovery of the horse he carved Shireen. The Battle of the Bastards featured a couple of Mel Gibson shoutouts: Apocalypto for the unfortunate Rickon (where's Peter Falk to yell "Serpentine!" when you need him) and Braveheart for the almost Irish-ly appearance of Littlefinger's horsemen. What now for Jon Snow; am I the only one who thought Sansa seemed half-disappointed at Jon's surviving the battle?
Despina (LA)
Mellisandre seems a goner judging by that last scene of Davos holding the toy
Omrider (nyc)
If only Rickon had seen the In-Laws, he's still be alive!
Dan (Kansas)
Pretty sure that horse had antlers.

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people are pretty mad at Jon for blowing up the battle plan and getting so many killed, but I don't think Sansa was half-disappointed at his surviving, just maybe as Robert points out above that now she owes Baelish whatever she owes Baelish but if Jon had just followed the plan and accepted that Rickon was already dead they had a fighting chance to win before The Vale got there with a ton more troops still alive.
T. Wiley (Chicago)
"Cry havoc and let slip the Dogs of War" was written by Shakespeare for this episode. Satisfying for the blunt end of quite a few of supporters of the old world order but also the inevitable tragic demise of two of it's more beloved characters . Was Wun Wun truly the last of his kind? Is Daenerys becoming more Targaryen or Dothraki? I half expected her to strip one of the slavemasters and have him tied to the back of Drogon as he went about his business. Otherwise completely awesome photography of the mayhem of medieval wars and the history lessons of how warships became useless after the weaponization of aircrafts. They just couldn't protect themselves from the fire above.

Looks like the Red priestess is coming due for a reckoning for what she did to Shirin and Little Finger wants payback for coming to Sansa's aid.
Tom Siebert (Califreakinfornia)
Weakest season unexpectedly delivers best episode of series. Bravo.
zvelf (New York, NY)
Nah, season 5 was far weaker. That whole season was setups with no payoffs leaving cliffhangers for episode 10. This season has lots of payoffs and episode 9 is the king or perhaps I should say queen of these.
Tom Siebert (Califreakinfornia)
I was more engaged w/ S5. Felt the dialog was much better, the tangents less dull. But it was def the weakest until this one. At least until this amazing ninth episode, that is. Thanks for your civil response!
pat (connecticut)
Queen's Landing. Nice touch!
Sansa did her best to warn Jon to not do what Ramsay wanted. But Jon fell for Ramsay's manipulation and nearly had his side destroyed. His plan for a pincer failed and it was Ramsay who used a pincer. However, let's not rush to laud Sansa just yet. If she had told Jon about the Arryn army beforehand, the Stark army could have waited another day and a lot of wildling/Mormonts/other northern lives would have been spared. Here's hoping that both Starks have learned the lesson of listening and trusting the other. They'll need a united front against the master manipulator, Littlefinger (though I'm hoping Bran shows up early in season 7 to poke big holes in Littlefinger's stories, especially the ones Sansa doesn't know).
As gratifying as Ramsay's death was, the comeuppance of the 3 masters was also quite good from Dany's line about the day her reign began to Grey worm's quick execution. I think the days of men underestimating her are officially OVER.
Grace Hinson (UK)
Tyrion is the power and wisdom behind Daenerys' throne. Let us not be too hasty with praises for the dragon queen. She was quite clueless, but with the help and advice of Jorah and Ser Barriston she has survived. So far as I can see, all her three mentors have been men!
Lizbeth (NY)
Regarding Sansa--I was wondering if she wasn't sure that the Vale would show up. We saw her send the letter, but we never saw a response. Maybe she didn't want to get Jon's hopes up if they weren't coming?
kobomac (kobo)
Sansa will never learn. She was a selfish idiot before, she is a selfish idiot now.. The only difference is she is now a cruel, selfish, idiot.
Julie W. (New Jersey)
This was a great episode, definitely the best since Hardhome. Orchestrating two major battle scenes in the span of an hour takes quite a bit of directorial skill. The aerial scenes from the dragons-eye view in Meereen were stunning. The battle for Winterfell reminded me quite a bit of Lord of the Rings, but in a good way. The claustrophobic scene of Jon being trampled and buried was particularly well done. Littlefinger's arrival with his army wasn't exactly a surprise, but it was welcome, so no complaints from me.

It was good to see Sansa finally take her revenge on Ramsay. I think most people had correctly guessed how Ramsay would meet his demise, but it was satisfying nonetheless. RIP Wun Win. Not a good season for the big guys.

For me, this episode completed the transition of the women from abused and powerless characters early on to strong and dominant players now. Between Dany, Yara, Sansa, the Martell women in Dorne, and Margaery Tyrell (who I suspect is plotting behind the scenes in King's Landing), the women are now truly running the show. The fact that this change feels believable is a credit to the storytelling in this series.
Thomas Baker (arizona)
Ramsey has a new name and it is P U R I N A! However, they will have to pump their stomachs to avoid food poisoning!
Dan (Kansas)
"The fact that this change feels believable is a credit to the storytelling in this series."

Absolutely. Well put.
Gary H (Elkins Park, PA)
Yes, and I think that PuRIna is the closest to an RIP that Ramsey will get.
Mary (PA)
So fitting that the show was broadcast on Father's Day, in light of the remarks by Dany, Yara, Tyrion, and Theon!
David Ho (Los Angeles)
Definitely, the kids are taking over, and the world will be better for it. The patriarchs of most major houses are gone, the closest we've got to elder statesman now are Kevan and creepy uncle Littlefinger.

From the look on the face of Jamie in the preview, I'm not sure Walder Frey will be long for this world.
Gandalf47 (Santa Barbara, CA)
"the kids are taking over, and the world will be better for it." That's what they say, but I wouldn't be money on it, though we may never know, except in the movies, should they decide to generate a gazillion dollars in box office revenues.
DSM (Westfield)
A very exciting and satisfying episode, well summarized.

Fine acting by Yara (one of the most charismatic characters in the show, and a reminder that women need not be beautiful and naked to catch male viewers' interest) and Theon.

I wish, however, the show did not continue to indicate that all is but a long prelude to a dragons vs. White Walkers showdown, with the dragons seeming invincible.

Worst prediction of the show, other than by Bolton: Jon Snow saying Bolton's men would turn on him for not fighting for them or when things went poorly (or, as it turned out, when he was wiling to kill many of them in a rain of arrows).

Anyone else who was disappointed that Jon proved a poor tactician bailed out by Littlefinger? Seeing Bolton pounded and eaten was fine, but I wish we had seen the arrogant twerp outsmarted first by Jon.
pat (connecticut)
It would have been great if Jon had outsmarted him. But he fell for Ramsay's game (his last one). Say what you want about Ramsay but he clearly took some of Roose's warning about being a wild dog seriously and learned from it. If not for the Arryn army, he would have won.
Despina (LA)
He was outsmarted by Sansa. That was way more satisfying. Jon has a lot going for him but .. boy got issues.
AW (California)
John Snow has never been a politically tactical genius. He's much like his "dad", Ned Stark in that sense. His isolation in the North, living by some code of honor (Nights Watch pledge), has made him ill-equipped to deal with adversaries who have only a thirst for power at all costs. Sansa has matured and has learned how to read the motivations of others and recognize Machiavellian plots. I'm not at all surprised that John fell for each of Ramsay's lures, even after being warned about them. To do otherwise would have been quite out of character for him. Sansa is not the Sansa of old, and I would not be surprised if she handles Littlefinger and his price quite handily.
tony (undefined)
Now that Ramsay Bolton is gone, whom will we direct our animus at? Throughout the history of the show, it's always had a truly awful, mythically sadistic villain to hold our attention. I see no one on the show now that fills that role. And to quibble on a plot point, why would the Masters launch an attack on Mereen without first being 100 percent sure that the dragons were either dead or in some way out of pocket?
But the battle scene between Winterfell and Jon's rag tag bunch was brilliant, almost as good as the Hardhome fight. And we finally got to see Davos learn what's happened to Shereen.
But...which major character will die on next week's season finale? Every season has seen a pivotal character die. Didn't see Arya in the preview -- did I miss it? Is that a clue?Or will Sansa get it right after she's grown to something more than just being a perpetual victim.
DB McWeeberton (Seattle)
As far as loathsome villains go, we still have Walder Frey...
Despina (LA)
Mimi (Eugene)
Clearly, the Red Woman is in the sights of fate. She must be reliving that last awful battle. As to the slavers, for all they knew the dragons were still chained and Drogon was gone forever. Surprise! A very satisfying ending.
Pippa (Cape Cod)
Brilliant, tense, bloody and satisfying, terrifically directed and acted, the best drame on television. Drogon definitly deserves an special Emmy.
Bsheresq (Yonkers, NY)
I especially loved how you could see Drogon materialize far in the distance behind the Masters as they were so arrogantly taunting Dany, and you see him almost lazily flapping his wings, bringing the slaver's their doom, as they remain unaware (for a few seconds at least). Fabulous!
LuckyDog (NYC)
Sisters are certainly doing it for themselves on GoT - and Jon Snow still knows nothing. Ramsay's psychological digs - calling Jon names, and killing Rickon to egg Snow into the very trap on the battlefield that Sansa predicted - lasted to the very end. His taunts to Sansa, even as he sat bloodied in the very place that he killed his stepmother and newborn stepbrother via dogs - ugh. But this episode also featured the loss of yet another beloved follower - we recently suffered the loss of Hodor, protecting Bran. This week, Dundun was done, helping Jon. We will miss Dundun. The battle scenes were horrific and hard to watch, but beautifully directed and filmed - now we know why the last 3 episodes were dull, and a lot of deaths were offscreen - the Waif and Blackfish - to save the budget for this week's epic battle. Truly frightening, it reminded me of the opening 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan - you did not want to watch, but could not turn away. Well done, GoT cast and crew.
pat (connecticut)
it's Wun Wun actually. Or was. :-(
pat (connecticut)
which makes him Dun Dun now.
Mimi (Eugene)
Brian (Newtown, PA)
Did anyone else have the urge to yell "Serpentine, Rickon, serpentine!" ??
patricia (NM)
Kate (Stalker, PA)
Yelling out loud 'Zig zag, zig zag!!!!!'
NMY (New Jersey)
Yes, my son kept saying, "Why doesn't he zig-zag?"
See also