This review is based purely on what I have seen on the TV series. Beware, spoilers ahead!
Jon Snow and his fellow comrades on the night watch are hell-bent on defending the wall and Castle Black against the attack from Mance and his army. Finally we have an episode based purely on just a few characters, and I don’t know where to begin!
First with a little romance perhaps? Sam wants to know from Jon what it was like to love a woman, to be with someone. Jon tries to describe it, but blusters out that he’s no poet. According to Ygritte, though, he’s a great lover and any episode dedicated to the adorable Jon Snow, is one I’m sure to enjoy!
Gilly and her baby manage to make it to castle black safely, just in time for the attack on the castle. It is the first time I have ever heard Sam Tully swear when he orders the guard to open up the gate for her. He promises that wherever she goes he will go with her, and he manages to stow her away safely in the castle.
Meanwhile, Jon is on top of the wall, but Janos Slynt hides in the castle and inadvertently leaves Jon in charge. While heroic and sweet in his treatment of Gilly, Sam manages to live another day as he is never directly in any of the fighting. He helps another comrade load a crossbow, he runs errands for Jon and lets out Ghost. He does kill one of the cannibals though.
Jon is everywhere at once. He is shouting orders, he is on the top of the wall, then he is at the castle gate, fighting several foes at once. After an exhausting fight with one of the cannibals, Jon finally comes face to face with Ygritte. After shouting to the rest of the Wildings in a previous scene that Jon Snow was hers, she still hesitates when it comes to shoot him.
In a bit of irony, she is then shot with an arrow from the boy whose family was murdered by Wildings. Moments before, the boy was huddled in a corner away from the fight, that was until Sam encouraged him to fight back. Ygritte then dies tragically in Jon’s arms and he is left stunned. “Remember the cave?” she asks him. “We should have stayed there,” she says. Jon tries to sooth her and says that they’ll go back there someday, to which she replies:
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
(As I write this my pandora station just started playing “A Drop in the Ocean” by Ron Pope! I’ll let this be my farewell to Jon Snow and Ygritte’s love…aww…lol)
Anyway, how stunning were those giants and wooly mammoths? This is why we love Game of Thrones so much – they don’t skimp on anything and that includes the special effects!
“Light those fuckers up!”
At the top of the wall, the night’s watch throws everything they can at the Wildings trying to scale the wall. Including arrows, exploding barrels and a giant hook that swings and scrapes off all those trying to climb up its side. And we get an amazing line from the top of the wall: “Light those fuckers up!”
Alliser Thorne gets injured during the fight, and we don’t know if he is dead yet. Bummer. Tormund is captured, and at the end of the episode Sam discovers that Janos Slynt has found his hiding place for Gilly.
Still stunned at Ygritte’s death, the episode ends with Jon heading out into the snow to kill Mance. “You’re not a lord commander,” Sam tries to reason with him, but Jon returns with: “Whose left?” And asks Sam if he has a better plan. Jon walks out into the snow and the screen fades to white and the episode ends.
My heart is still pounding at all the excitement in this episode. And I drank a whole glass of wine in about two minutes during the episode, too, I was so nervous about what was going to happen and who was going to die next. I was so certain Sam was going to die, and I hope Alliser Thorne eventually does.
There’s a lot that happened in the finale, after I re-watch the episode, I’ll finally post my thoughts on that one!
What I do know though: I don’t want to wait a whole year to watch the new season! Thoughts below if you got ’em!