*Warning! This is full of spoilers! If you haven’t seen this episode, I strongly encourage you to avert your eyes!*
Another week and another major death. When will it stop? This week on Game of Thrones in “The Watchers on the Wall”; we finally get to see a battle that has been brewing for quite some time now. Jon Snow has tried to prepare his fellow comrades for what is about to come, but has been ignored. Now, the Wildlings are here, and it’s do or die, Game of Thrones-style. There are three things I want to touch on in this weeks recap, so let’s get started
First I would like to talk about Sam. I would not necessarily call Sam a coward, but he is definitely not the strongest man on the Watch, but in this episode we get to see him rise to the occasion. He still has fear, but having that fear seems to help him do what he is supposed to do. Sam realizes that his feelings for Gilly are more than he thought, and it seems that love and honor is what he needs to step up to the plate. Two of the best lines were delivered by Sam before the battle begins. In reference to the white walker he killed, Sam says, “When you’re nothing at all, there’s no more reason to be afraid.” And then in response to him still being afraid he responds to his fellow comrade with, “Yes, well, I’m not nothing anymore.” Sam has always thought little of himself, which makes it great to see that he now understands what he has to do. He has to protect Gilly, who now resides in one of Castle Black’s locked rooms, and he has to honor the oath he took by fighting a long side his brothers. Sam has finally arrived and it’s a great thing to witness.
Now, to the battle itself. The Wildlings have been waiting near by to charge Castle Black, and the time has finally arrived. They send thousands of people towards the gates and the arrows start flying. There are Giants and Woolly Mammoths; there are Thenns and some emo-looking people in hoods. The fight is bloody from the beginning, but the first holy s**t moment comes when a Giant shoots a giant arrow and sends a Crow flying to his death. Ser Alliser, who left the wall to fight with his men, gets wounded and that leaves Jon in charge. This is where it kind of becomes action movie-like because once Jon takes over everything seems to be going much better. The men actually listen to him, and want to fight for him. Jon then sends his good buddy Grenn and five other men to hold the gate from a Goddamn Giant (they all totally die, including the Giant). Sam makes his way up to John to tell him that they need more help down below, so Jon abides and he himself jumps into the action.
As Sam, Jon, and the other men come down the elevator, yes elevator, Jon barrel rolls out before it hits the ground just to show how badass he is. He starts killing people with ease. He sent Sam to let out Ghost, which he does, and Ghost starts tearing into people. Jon then gets into a battle with the main Thenn, and of course, when it looks like he is going to lose he grabs a hammer and bashes his head in. This is where Jon eyes Ygritte for the first time and she has her arrow drawn on him. But she can’t do it, and he knows, but then she gets shot with an arrow by the little kid that Sam talked into picking up a weapon, which makes Jon sad, and no one likes a sad Jon Snow. He holds her till she dies, and her last words will echo through the series, “You know nothing Jon Snow.” It’s a touching moment, but Jon knows that the battle must go on.
Lastly I would like to talk about what I call “The Rise of Jon Snow”. Jon has been a character on this show that most fans love, but he hasn’t done much until now. Even though he is not the official leader of the Night’s Watch, he has asserted himself as someone that all will follow. He’s proven he can make decisions under pressure, and when the only woman he has ever loved dies in his arms, he knows he must keep fighting for everyone’s survival. At the end he takes matters into his own hands and heads out to find and kill Mance Rayder, knowing that the only way the Wildlings will stop attacking is if he is dead. Sam tries to stop him, but he can see in his eyes that he is determined, and there’s no stopping him. We all knew there was a badass inside of Jon Snow, and now we get to see what that badass can do.
One more episode left for this season, and they spent this whole episode on one set of characters. They still have a lot to wrap up, and a lot of characters to touch on, and I’m sure some of them will die because that’s how this show rolls. Tune in next week after the finale for the next and final recap of the season.
Michael Kirkpatrick is an expert in all things on screen, big or small. He has a degree in Media Studies from Northern Illinois University and works in the film industry. He lives in Illinois.