Episode 9 has arrived. For the past two seasons, that’s meant at least one shocking Stark death. This year, the pattern has been suspended. This episode is less about the surprise than the arrival of the inevitable. The wildlings, like winter, have been coming foreverrrrr, and they finally arrived to wreak havoc on the Wall.
The episode begins relatively peacefully, with Jon and Sam standing watch on the Wall.
Sam still thinks that Gilly is dead, and that he’s about to die too, so he’s pretty much missed the love/sex boat. Sam’s grilling Jon about Ygritte.
“What was she like?”
“She had red hair.”
“Really, how big were her feet?”
i don’t know, but i did find brienne’s feet
I guess because of Jon’s flowing romantic hair, we forget that he kind of sucks at feelings; his responses are pretty gruff and manful. Jon’s surprised that Sam and Gilly never got it on, but then, “She just had a baby!… And she never offered.” Jon’s also surprised that Sam would have broken his Night’s Watch vows; Sam goes on a bit of legal acrobatics that warms my cold lawyerly heart. The vows are “open to interpretation”; they explicitly say you can’t marry or have kids, but there isn’t much detail on “other activities.”
This whole exchange just reinforces the cultural weirdnesses of the Wall. There are adult Crows, from back alley rapists to victims of political warfare, that have already lived relatively normal adult lives and are forced to give that up at the Wall. Then there are kids, like Jon and Sam, who joined before they could even imagine what they were giving up. Looking back at the Winterfell boys, it looks like Theon’s really the only one who took full advantage of his fun bits before they were lost by severance, celibacy or death.
Anyway, Jon results a dumbed down version of 2 Become 1 before exclaiming that he’s “not a bleeding poet.” He lets Sam off the hook on watch duty (good idea when you know an attack’s coming?) and he goes down below. Jon goes back up to the Wall, and there’s a meaningful shot of Jon then a meaningful shot of an owl-y looking bird, which means it’s a warg.
Yep, it’s a warg, and the next shot is of it’s terrifying cannibal master.
I guess being a warg isn’t as special as everyone told Bran it was; they seem to be running rampant up north. Tormund, Ygritte, and some gross cannibals are sitting around the fire telling stories of their sexual conquests. Ygritte interrupts Tormund just as he launches into a gross narrative about fucking a bear. She wants everyone to stop having a good time and start thinking about killing some Crows; she’s viciously whittling arrows with Jon’s name on them. She also gives a very tiny bit of exposition about the history between the wildlings and the men of Westeros; basically, the men came, took wildling land, put up a Wall, and now come past the Wall and kill them sometimes. Sooooo… basically the story of Israel and Palestine? This series really needs a Silmarillion. I’d read it. Anything to avoid studying for the bar.
Ygritte then gets called out for pining for her Crow lover. This pisses her off, and she stomps right up to the gross cannibal a foot taller than her and gives him a piece of her mind. Her “ginger minge” is not for anyone, but her arrows are for Jon.
Meanwhile, Gilly and her baby are sneaking away from the camp; the baby chose a fortunate time not to cry, for once.
Rather than go to bed, Sam has gone to the library to read about wildlings (and my mind goes to Buffy and Giles in the library!) He’s reading about all the horrifying ways wildlings kill people, and imagining them all happening to Gilly.
He’s interrupted by the Maester. What with all the storylines flying around, we haven’t seen much of this guy, but he’s a welcome interlude.
despite what this picture suggests, this was actually an interesting talk.
In case you’d forgotten, he was once a Targaeryn and heir to throne, but he gave it up. As a future king, girls were dropping their panties for him left and right, but it only made an impact once. I could’ve done with about twenty minutes about this ancient Targaeryn love tragedy, but all we get a is a lesson: “Love is the death of duty.”
Sam finally heads off to sleep, but before he can get there, he hears a familiar voice at the Gate. It’s GILLY! (And Baby Sam.) Sam makes Pip open the gate for them, and I have my first cry of the evening as they reunite. Before much more can happen, the horn up on the Wall blows, cause the wildlings have arrived. Sam locks Gilly in the larder to keep her safe, but he goes back up to fight cause “that’s what men do.” If I am learning from Game of Thrones, I’m pretty sure the primary role of men is to rape people, but whatever. He promises not to die, which always work out well.