Spoilers Review: Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 9 “Battle of the Bastards”

Call me a nerd.  I’m actually upset at myself sometimes for being able to predict movie plots and twists.  When I saw Aidan Gillen listed in the opening credits, I connected this with the knowledge that Sansa Stark wrote to the Vale to ask Peter Baelish (ie. Littlefinger) for help in the previous episode.  I knew that the knights of the Vale would come in at some point to turn the tides in the battle of the bastards.  The question was how late.

As late as possible, pretty much.

That aside, the episode itself was nothing short of incredible.  With a reported budget of over 10 million (I got the feeling that the producers saved much of the season’s budget for this episode, hence the dullness in some of the earlier episodes), the episode was well-shot, with almost-seamless CGI, greatly choreographed, and intense.  The moments when Jon Snow was being trampled felt incredibly claustrophobic, very well done by the cinematographer.

The battle at Mereen was entertaining, as well, with strong dragon CGI, and witty dialogue that were to the point.

One more thing about the Bastard’s downfall.  While other reviewers were expressing their enjoyment of watching Ramsey getting the shit punched out of him by Jon and the subsequent doggy death, I was clenching my fists thinking “stop! you’re killing him too fast! Don’t give him a quick death!”  Ramsey’s psychotic, murderous, raping, and ravaging path spanned over seasons, starting with the torture of Theon.  To have him die within a day was way too easy for him.  I would have liked to have seen them keep him prisoner and do to him some of the things he’s done to people.

Some are labeling this their favorite Game of Thrones episode ever.  I’m not too sure about that.  The episode lacked the emotional gravitas compared to the episode where Tyrion gave his epic speech at his murder trial, or when he kills his own father, or the one where Jon kills the whitewalker.  I’d certainly place “Battle of the Bastards” in my top 5.

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 1 Review (7.5/10) (Spoilers alert)

 

Entertaining as usual, the season 6 premiere of Game of Thrones thrusts us right back into where we left off in season 5, with several mouth-dropping and awesome events in its last three episodes (the battle beyond The Wall with Jon Snow and the White Walkers / the fight in the arena / Jon Snow’s death)

More so this time around than in previous lessons, it felt like the season premiere struggled a tiny bit in its balance between refreshing the audience on what has been going on in the many plot lines and advancing them them with interesting events.  While the longer scenes featuring Brienne and Sansa, Jamie and Cersei, and at the Night’s Watch, the scenes with the Boltons, Arya, Jorah and Daario, felt a bit like fillers.

The highlight of the episode to me was definitely when Brienne and Podrick fought Bolton’s men, which not only saw a reunion of characters but also capped off one of Brienne’s sworn missions to fulfil Catelyn Stark’s wishes to protect her family.

Overall, a solid premiere.  Now that this episode has done its job in bringing us up to speed, the next one should be much more enjoyable.