Warning: There Will Be Spoilers.
Even with last week’s thrilling fight that ended in the deaths of two characters and the fate of Tyrion Lannister looking grim, last night’s episode of “Game of Thrones” might have been the most exciting yet. Dramatically though, it’s a different story.
The episode began with Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly talking about love like it’s a damn Lifetime movie, not a TV show where people are regularly bludgeoned to death onscreen. Cheesy as it might have been, we knew it was just the calm before the storm. And what a storm it was—basically a Gallagher concert’s worth of blood sprayed onto viewers for about 45 minutes, with the occasional flick of storytelling thrown in the mix. Look! There’s Gilly, miraculously finding her way to Castle Black. Hey! Janos Slynt is kind of a wuss, hiding from the battle in the food cellar with her. And we were all waiting to see what happened with Ygritte and Jon Snow. But mostly it was just one big bloody battle.
On one hand, the battle was a spectacle to behold. And for a fantasy show set in a place beset by constant battle, the show is surprisingly light on actual fighting (aside from, you know, major characters dying in terrible ways all the time). Barring the battle of the Blackwater in season two, this was the mother of all fights in the show on an episode that smartly eschewed the regular multitiered storytelling to keep us held in the grips of the battle. Truly stunning were the wildling giants riding on mastodons, terrifying and even seemingly realistic.