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Game of Thrones - S4E9 - The Watchers on the Wall

Previously on Game of Thrones, ‘The Mountain and The Viper’

I Wanna Know What Love Is

Sam is 102.5% sure his ass is gonna die, and as such, he’d like to know what the love of a woman feels like. More to the point: What the inside of a woman feels like. Jon has a hard time breaking it down for him, but eventually comes up with this: “It’s… there’s this person, this whole other person… and you’re wrapped up in them and they’re wrapped up in you… For a little while, you’re more than just you.” Accurate.

Sam points out that their vows don’t specifically say they can’t knock boots. Jon rightfully explains that Ser Alliser Thorne isn’t really the type to give a shit about interpretations. He tells Sam to get some sleep while he takes the next watch on the wall alone. Well, he’s not completely alone - one of the Thenn’s warg is inside an owl atop the wall.[pullquote]It’s… there’s this person, this whole other person… and you’re wrapped up in them and they’re wrapped up in you… For a little while, you’re more than just you.” - Jon Snow[/pullquote]

A Woman Scorned

Ygritte is still really pissed. So much so that she doesn’t want to hear Tormund Giantsbane talk about this bear he may or may not have fucked. She wants to sharpen her arrows and imagine each one going into a crow’s heart. Styr starts talking about Ygritte’s vagina and calls it a ginger minge. I could have gone another 39 years without hearing that. Ygritte promptly puts him in his place and warns them all that Jon Snow is hers to kill.

Gilly hustles by, holding her baby, and hauling ass.

Late Night Library Visit

Sam’s in the library even though Jon told him to take his ass to bed. Maester Aemon tells him as he told Jon, “Love is the death of duty.” And this is why Sam’s ass is in the library reading up on what the wildlings do to people when they raid villages instead of doing guard duty: He’s imagining all the horrible things they must have done to Gilly in Mole’s Town. Then Aemon goes on about the women who wanted him when he was a would-be king, a Targaryen, especially one woman in particular.

He sends Sam off to bed, but before he gets there, Sam hears Gilly at the gate. Pyp won’t let her in because he has strict orders, but Sam gives not a single fuck about those orders. (This episode could be subtitled, “The Night Sam’s Balls Finally Dropped.”) Open the gates and let Gilly and her brother-son in! Pip does, and Sam promises Gilly he’ll never leave her again.

It’s Time

The horns sound, the Thenn’s warg announces, “It’s time,” and Jon makes his way to the edge of the wall to witness “the biggest fire the North has ever seen.”

Mance wasn’t kidding. That’s a big fucking fire.

As the men ready the catapults with barrels of oil, Alliser admits to Jon that sealing the tunnel was the right thing to do. Then he gives Jon a lesson about being leader: When you’re in charge, every clever little twat will second guess you until you start second guessing yourself; and then you’re all fucked. But he has no plans on dying that night and he tells Jon they will protect the wall and live to see another day where Jon will continue to hate him and he’ll continue to wish Jon’s wildling whore had finished the job.

And just when I was beginning to like Alliser… or at least hate him a little less.

Sam is going to leave Gilly and her baby locked in a room, and she wants him to stay. He says he has to do his duty, but she doesn’t think he’ll make a difference out there (ouch!), but he will inside with her. Girl, let that man go be a man for once! He kisses her goodbye (Go, Sam!), and promises that he won’t die. I seem to recall Oberyn Martell making the same such promise to his paramour last week.

Sam then goes to give Pyp a pep talk. Say that five times fast. Ygritte is scouting out the joint and reports back that there’s “a fat one and a scrawny one” manning the gate. Styr announces that it’s time to kill some crows.

There Be Giants

North of the wall, Mance’s army approaches and they have giants. And the giants are riding Snuffleluffaguses and shit. They let out a battle cry. Alliser orders his men on the north wall to knock and hold. Poor Grenn drops a barrel and gets yelled at. Before Alliser jumps in their asses even more, the horn sounds alerting them of the arrival of the wildlings and Thenns south of the wall. Alliser says he’s going down to fight and leaves Janos Slynt in charge. This can’t be good.

Alliser reaches the main courtyard and rallies the troops. He then proceeds to fuck shit up. I mean, this guy may be a dick, but now see why he was in charge of training the men to fight.

Poor Pyp is missing every shot he takes with his crossbow, and he and Sam take off running when Tormund reaches their walkway.

Atop the wall, Janos Slynt is being a little bitch. He’s not doing shit for morale and when Jon reminds him there are big-ass fucking giants down below, Slynt says there’s no such thing as giants. Grenn lies and tells Slynt that Alliser needs him below. Once he’s gone, Jon takes charge and orders his men to fire upon the wildlings climbing the wall. They do a little something something with their arrows. That is until a giant kneels and lets loose one of his arrows… that’s the size of a fucking Buick.

Meanwhile, Styr is below murdering everything he sees. Ygritte is doing work with her crossbow. And Janos Slynt is STILL being a little bitch. He bypasses all the fighting to go lock himself in the same room Gilly’s in.

Poor Pyp

Pyp finally kills someone, but is immediately shot through the neck by Ygritte. He dies in Sam’s arms. That is NOT in the books. And I am sad.

As the wildlings north of the wall approach the gate, Jon’s men let down huge barrels of oil. This stops them, but then two giants walk up and they’re like, “Fuck this gate.” They get to work attaching a chain to the gate and affixing the other end to a latch on the mammoth. Jon orders Grenn to take five men and man the inner gate since the outer gate is pretty much a lost cause. Grenn promises that they won’t let the wildlings get through.

Below, Alliser duels with Tormund and is injured. His men pull him to safety as he shouts to “hold the fucking gate!”

Sam takes Pyp’s crossbow and runs for the lift. He takes out a Thenn on his way. He encounters Grenn and his men and tells them they need more men below, but Grenn is headed for the inner gate. He tells Sam he needs to go up and tell Jon what he needs since he’s in charge. Sam gets in the lift and coaxes Ollie to send him up. Remember: Ollie is the little boy whose parents were killed in the wildling/Thenns raid a few episodes ago. Then Sam tells Ollie to get a weapon and “fight them!”

Jon’s men manage to take out one of the giants, but the one’s that’s left is pretty pissed off. He starts lifting open the gate with his hands. Sam tells Jon that they need help below since Alliser is down. Jon leaves Dolorous Edd in charge. He tells them to drop the scythe if the climbers get too high.

The Watchers on The Wall

As the giant prepares to enter the tunnel, Grenn pumps up his scared men by reciting their oath. The giant charges and crashes into them.

Jon and Sam ride the lift down, and Jon gives Sam a key “I need him more than I need you.” Then Jon heads into the courtyard to fuck shit up. There’s this fantastic tracking shot where we see all the fighting in one continuous flow, including Tormund taking an arrow to the back, but still kicking ass.

Sam lets Ghost out of the kennel and tells him, “We need you, boy.” Ghost immediately attacks and the world cheered.

Edd gives the order for the scythe to drop and it takes out the climbers. It is visually stunning.


Jon takes on Styr and here’s where you can see the beauty of Neil Marshall’s direction. Truly. Jon does well, but Styr eventually slams Jon’s face into an anvil and tosses him a few feet. Before he can choke Jon to death, Jon kills Styr with a hammer to the head. Ygritte had noticed Jon a few moments prior, and he turns to find her training an arrow on him.

He smiles when he see her because he loves her. Even in that moment. Before either can say a word, Ygritte is stabbed through the back with a flying arrow. It was Ollie, who nods at Jon. Welp. She did kill his dad. And he did tell them he was a damn good archer.

Jon cradles Ygritte who tells him that they never should have left that cave. He says they’ll go back. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” And then she dies in his arms. Damn.

And That’s Just the First Night

Tormund is surrounded, but not giving up. It takes Jon putting an arrow through his leg for Tormund to stop swinging. Jon orders him chained up for later questioning. Tormund yells that he should have thrown Jon off the top of the wall. “Aye,” John says. “You should have.”

Jon is going to go beyond the wall to kill Mance. He figures that without their leader, all the tribes Mance gathered will go back to fighting each other. Sam doesn’t like this plan, but he doesn’t have a better one. As they head through the tunnel, they find the dead giant along with Grenn and his men. They’re all dead. Jon orders their bodies burned. Then he heads through the gate, beyond the wall.

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About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

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