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Game of Thrones Review: The Watchers on the Wall

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All Images are credited to HBO.

I was not satisfied with this season's supposedly most climactic and nerve-wracking if not heart-breaking episode. Episode 9 of Season 4 just did not measure up with its seasonal counterparts. If the Red Wedding of Season 3 had us all shocked, bordering on repulsion, and Ned's beheading on Season 1 equally torn, I almost did not feel anything for Jon Snow's lover.

Ygritte's death was just not dramatic to me. Maybe it's because as far as television is concerned, the star-crossed lovers' romance had gone stale since the last season. Their exhibited love or affair was simply aired ages ago. And their moment together for this episode was just too brief and fell short of emotions. I don't know, maybe it's on Jon Snow's part. As for Ygritte, she's still as brass as ever even in death with her famous words, "You know nothing, Jon Snow".


If I were the screenplay writers, I would have done it this way:

Ygritte contemplating on shooting Jon Snow from afar (shot in slow motion) and while she's tightening her grip on her arrow, another arrow shot through her heart (from the front just like in the book, not from the back like what HBO did). Imagine this arrow shot in slow-mo through her chest and you hear her sweet gasp. She then fell (still in slow motion). Then the camera will pan in her perspective, complete with the looking up vision, vision slowly fading. And while the sounds of fighting blurs around her, suddenly, a vision of Jon Snow gets in line of her sight... as if in a dream, except that he's real.

The camera will then shift back into viewing them both, focusing on Ygritte's dying face with her eyes on Jon Snow. Jon Snow will still deliver his original lines from the book. And then that throaty remark, "You know nothing, Jon Snow."

And so on...

I think that would have been heart-warming than this Paris-shooting-Achilles-with-Briseis-watching-and-running-for-him almost-ripoff of Troy scene of theirs.

The Watchers on the Wall is like The Battle of Blackwater with a touch of Red Wedding when romance is concerned. Except that I don't feel this romance when it comes to Jon Snow and Ygritte. But then there was Sam's first kiss! A pudgy one at that.

But what I expected from the book was not delivered in the television series when it comes to the action sequences. The fight on the steps with that burning oil as a last resort, with the wildlings mostly on the ladder (the ladder that the Night's Watch must climb through to the old-fashioned elevator) before Jon Snow burns them was gone. To me, that was the most epic part of the last quarter part of the book.

But that huge scythe made up for that. I didn't see that one swinging.


What I did notice ever since Season 3 is that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are more brutal than George R.R. Martin. In season 3, they killed Robb Stark's wife and their supposedly nonexistent baby. This season, they killed the funniest duo of the Night's Watch when they're both supposed to live through the fifth book.


I understand that Grenn's supposed to make up for the absence of Donal Noye's character. But then, Pyp? I almost can't accept why Pyp must die! But since I already said that they're both a duo, one almost can't exist without the other. So if Grenn must die, so must Pyp. That's the tearjerking part for me in this episode. Among all of Jon's friends, only Sam and Dolorous Edd is left for his company.


If there's any alteration done in the series that I greatly appreciate, that would be the beginning of the episode. Really, I can tell that the writers (Benioff and Weiss) are so intelligent and that they gave this series so much thought.

Sam pointing out that the Night Watch's vow is open for anyone's "interpretation" when it comes to getting intimate with women is just pure genius! So no, Jon Snow has not broken his vow with Ygritte.

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