True to stereotypical HBO Game of Thrones season pacing (and CGI budgeting), they break out the big special effects guns and focus on one thing: Wildings versus Wall.
I can make this really short for you – not much happens outside the battle. A few sub-characters die – namely Ygritte, who we haven’t seen much of since Jon left her. Frankly, the season didn’t give us much in the way of reminding us why we care about her, so her death felt a little anti-climactic (though, I did love her and also wish they could have run off together in the caves – can we trade that for Bran’s upcoming adventures??).
Fan favorites Pyp AND Grenn also bite the big one in this episode – which is a huge disappointment because they both live in the damn books. What the heck, GOT? I really liked Grenn and his beardy loyalty. For the love of all things holy, DON’T DO THAT TO DOLOROUS EDD.
An interesting tidbit of information shared is that Maester Aemon is one of the few remaining Targaryens – in fact, at one point he may have been king. Which means that he is Danerys’ great uncle! I believe we’ll learn more about how he ended up at the Wall in future episodes, but let’s suffice to say it wasn’t easy for him to sit at Castle Black while Robert Baratheon and co. were over-throwing his brother.
What now? Well, the Watch leaders are pretty much gone: Lord Commander Mormont has been dead for an entire season, Master of Arms Alliser Thorne is either dead or severely wounded and thus incapacitated, and Janos Slynt is essentially a deserter. So who’s left to save the Wall from the next Wildling onslaught? Jon, of freaking course. Here, he goes willingly as a heart-broken assassin, instead of being sent away in a plot by Thorne and Slynt to kill off the homecoming queen.
With one more episode left in the season, I assure you there’s still some uproar left to be had. Quite a bit, actually. Here’s hoping they take the 9 minutes that were cut short from tonight’s episode and use them for the next episode!