**SPOILERS** **DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE WATCHED SEASON 4**
ANOTHER Game of Thrones post ! This may as well be a Game of Thrones blog to be honest. But after last week’s episode, and as we teeter on the edge of another season finale, how could I not dedicate a small post to the epic-ness that was Season 4, Episode 10 of my beloved GOT ?! Yep, ‘The Watchers on the Wall’ stayed faithful to the tradition of the penultimate episode being the most action-packed, and exceeded all of my expectations. In fact, on second viewing, I would even say that ‘The Watchers on the Wall’ was not only the best episode of the whole season, but possibly the best out of all previous episode nine-ers, of which include Ned Stark’s beheading, the Battle of Blackwater Bay, and the infamous Red Wedding.
Like most people, I suppose I was expecting the showdown between the Mountain and the Viper (or quite possibly another event which hasn’t happened yet so I shall not give it away) to be the focal point of Season 4, taking centre stage in the penultimate episode. Of course, when I saw the title of Episode 9, how could I not have guessed it would instead be the ultimate face-off between Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch vs. Mance Rayder’s Wildling army. I think a lot of people were slightly apprehensive about whether or not an entire episode devoted to JUST the Night’s Watch would work – even I admit that whilst the Night’s Watch/beyond the Wall scenes are visually stunning, the action can sometimes be lacking in excitement and purpose, not helped by Kit Harington’s often wooden portrayal of our Byronic hero, Jon Snow (that guy has absolutely perfected the thousand-yard stare!) Yes, unfortunately, like the rest of Westeros who only regard the Night’s Watch as motley crew of outcasts protecting the realm from ‘grumpkins and snarks and all the monsters your wet nurse warned you about’, people often seem to ignore the band of Black Brothers in favour of Khaleesi and her fire-breathing dragons, or Arya and the Hound’s strange mentor-mentee relationship. I’m only generalising of course. But my point is that the prospect of a whole hour dedicated to the Night’s Watch was rather disconcerting at first. ‘The Watchers on the Wall’ proved the naysayers oh so very wrong. Very VERY wrong !
Anyway, I don’t want to give a whole review of the episode, I just wanted to share with you some of my favourite parts, as I really was blown away by how amazing it was. I mean, the effects and the filming were just beautiful ! That 360 tracking shot of the ongoing fight at Castle Black was pure brilliance, not to mention the jaw-dropping scene when the scythe was freed from its icy confines, sweeping along the wall to take out some rather eager Wildlings who were getting too close for comfort. Something else which I really really loved was Ser Alliser Thorne’s speech, both to Jon Snow and to the rest of the Night’s Watch – as a character who has done nothing but more or less bully Jon Snow throughout the whole series, letting his petty emotions and pride stop him from doing what was in the best interests of the Night’s Watch, he proved that he could indeed back up all his bravado. Unlike Janos Slynt, former commander of the City Watch (when will he SHUT UP about that ?! We get it), Ser Alliser did not turn his back on his brothers like so many would expect him to do. Instead, he proved that he could admit to being wrong, and gave an impassioned speech about defending Castle Black before leading the attack on the Wildling invaders, even taking on the one and only Tormund Giantsbane.
My absolute favourite scene, though, was that heart-stopping moment when that massive giant, clearly out for revenge, ran towards the gate that was being protected by the ever-loyal Grenn and a few other brothers. Grenn has been one of my most beloved secondary characters – people always see Sam as being Jon Snow’s truest and loyalist friend, which I’m not doubting he is (I am a Samwell Tarly fan!), but I think Grenn deserves that position too. I mean, he was the first brother to volunteer to accompany Jon Snow to Craster’s Keep in order to kill the mutineers, and he went down to the tunnels to protect the gate on Jon’s orders without question, despite knowing that it would probably result in his death. I thought it was a brilliant, proud, sad, inspiring moment when Grenn stood before the charging giant, encouraging the others to hold their ground, whilst they all recited their oath and draw their swords, all because Jon Snow had told them to defend the gate at all costs. I was weirdly moved by this touching moment, and as we only really ever get to hear snippets of the Night’s Watch oath I thought I’d post the entire thing here 🙂
Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
Unfortunately for Grenn (and dear old Pyp !), we must finish the oath with the words ‘And now his watch is ended.’
BRING ON THE SEASON 4 FINALE ! From then on, it’s just another struggle to stay alive for the next year so that I may continue watching the awesomeness that is Game of Thrones.