Game of Thrones Rewatch: Season Four Episode Nine “The Watchers on the Wall” and Episode Ten “The Children”

I posted these rewatches on the old site, and am now reposting them here. The night is dark and full of spoilers

Episode title: The Watchers on the Wall

Director: Neil Marshall

Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

Summary: As they keep watch for the coming invasion, Jon and Sam walk on the top of the Wall, and talk about Jon’s relationship with Ygritte during his time with the wildlings. At a nearby camp, the Thenn Warg scouts the wall using an owl, while Ygritte tells the group that Jon is hers alone to kill. Gilly arrives at Castle Black, having been spared by Ygritte during the raid of Mole’s Town. Sam finds Gilly and her baby shelter in the kitchen, and then leaves to aid in the defense after kissing her good-bye.


As Ser Alliser orders the archers to nock, another horn blast informs him that the castle is being attacked from both sides. Alliser leaves charge of the Wall to Janos Slynt, and heads for the castle to battle with the Thenns. On top of the Wall, Janos Slynt proves to be inept as a commander, so Grenn tricks him to go down to the castle, leaving Jon in charge. Several giants and a woolly mammoth attempt to pull down the large gate at the base of the Wall, and Jon sends Grenn with five men to defend the passage.


At the castle, Ser Alliser is wounded by Tormund and is taken to be treated. Pyp is shot through the neck by Ygritte and dies in Sam’s arms.


Sam then ascends the Wall, shooting the Thenn Warg while he runs through the courtyard. Upon arriving at the top, Sam informs Jon of the events in the courtyard, and Jon leaves charge of the Wall to Edd. Returning to the south side of Castle Black, Jon leads the remaining Night’s Watch brothers, along with his direwolf, Ghost.


Jon battles with Styr, and after taking a severe beating, is able to kill the Thenn. Ygritte confronts him but hesitates with her arrow. Her pause allows Olly to shoot her in the back, and she dies in Jon’s arms. Atop the Wall, Edd leads a successful defense, with the wildling army appearing to withdraw for the time. Tormund, having been hit by several arrows, is captured on Jon’s orders.


In the morning, Jon tells Sam that he will go north of the Wall, and attempt to kill Mance. As they walk through the passage, they find that Grenn and his men died killing a giant, and Jon tells Sam to have their bodies burned. Jon gives his sword, Longclaw, to Sam before departing the passage.

My take: So all of this takes place at Castle Black and it’s one huge battle, once again making the ninth episode a heck of a watch. I love Sam finding loopholes in their vows. And he gets a little sugar. As much as I hate Allister, he backs his words up. So many great moments: The way they lean the archers over always gives me the willies, and the giant with the giant arrow that sends the guy flying over the wall? Allister vs. Tormund. Mammoth. On. Fire. Grenn reciting the oath before facing tbe giant. Ghost unleashed. Jon killing Styr with a hammer. Ollie giving the bros before hos nod. The scythe. Belle: Somewhere Smokey the Bear and the Maiden Fair are crying over that forrest fire. Changes from the books: Pyp and Grenn both ​survive the battle. Jon does not face off against Ygritte before she is fatally hit by an arrow nor is it revealed who killed her. Styr is not killed by Jon. He and the other wildling raiders attacking from the south are not defeated in pitched battle, but by being lured up the switchback staircase that leads up to the Wall (which has not yet been shown in the series) and then the stairs are set on fire. The majority of the wildlings, including Styr, fall to their deaths when the fire causes the stairs to collapse.​ There is no giant scythe to kill wildlings climbing the Wall, nor do any wildlings attempt a climb. The battle does not last a few hours before Jon goes to meet with Mance, but for several days. Jon also does not go willingly to kill Mance, he is forced by Ser Alliser and Slynt.

Nudity: none

Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Moat Cailin, Winterfell, the Wall, Braavos, Meereen.

Death Count: Ygritte, by Ollie. Grenn, by a Mag the Mighty. Pyp, by Ygritte. Styr, by Jon. San kills a wilding with a crossbow. The rest of the wildlings (except Tormund) who attack the castle, several by a huge scythe, Mag the Mighty, killed by Grenn.

Quotes: Alliser Thorne: Do you know what leadership means, Lord Snow? It means that the person in charge gets second-guessed by every clever little twat with a mouth. But if he starts second-guessing himself, that’s the end. For him… for the clever little twats… for everyone. This is not the end, not for us. Not if you lot do your duty for however long it takes to beat them back. And then you get to go on hating me, and I get to go on wishing your wildling whore had finished the job.

Alliser Thorne: Brothers! A hundred generations have defended this castle! It’s never fallen before, she will not fall tonight! Those are Thenns at our walls! They eat the flesh of the men they kill! Do you want to fill the belly of a Thenn, tonight? Tonight, we fight! And when the sun rises, I promise you, Castle Black will stand! The Night’s Watch will stand! With me now! Now with me!

Ygritte: I know you never fucked a bear. You know you never fucked a bear. Right now I don’t want to hear about the bear you never fucked.


Episode title: The Children

Director: Alex Graves.

Written by: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

Summary: Daenerys Targaryen receives a citizen who brings her the charred remains of his daughter, who was killed by Drogon, one of her dragons. While Drogon has not returned, she tearfully chains her two other dragons away in the catacombs as a precaution.

Jon meets with the King-beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder, ostensibly to discuss an end to their conflict, although Jon actually plans to assassinate him. Their negotiations are cut short when they hear a horn blast, and a massive cavalry charge led by Stannis Baratheon and Ser Davos Seaworth overruns the wildling encampment. Mance surrenders to Stannis, and though Stannis thinks to kill him, Jon suggests taking him captive instead, as Mance once showed him similar mercy. After holding a funeral for the deceased brothers, Jon burns Ygritte’s remains north of the Wall, following Tormund Giantsbane’s request.


Further north, Bran Stark and his companions reach their destination: the large Heart Tree seen in Jojen’s vision. Upon approaching the tree, they are set upon by a group of undead. Though Jojen is killed in the attack, Bran, Hodor, and Meera Reed are saved by a Child of the Forest. The child takes the group into the cave under the Heart Tree to meet an old man sitting amongst tree roots, who tells Bran that while he will never be able to walk again, he will be able to fly.

The Mountain lies dying from Prince Oberyn Martell’s poisoned spear. Qyburn believes that he can save Clegane, while Grand Maester Pycelle disagrees. Despite Pycelle’s protests, Cersei ousts him from his laboratory and gives Clegane’s care over to Qyburn who cautions Cersei that, while he may be able to save Clegane, the procedure may “change” him. He assures her, however, that his procedure will not weaken Gregor. Afterwards, Cersei tells her father, Tywin, that if forced to marry Loras Tyrell, she will admit her incestuous relationship with Jaime, and that her children are the issue of such.

In the dungeons, Tyrion Lannister awaits his execution, but Jaime appears and helps him escape. They say their farewells in an underground tunnel, but Tyrion instead uses a small hidden passage to sneak into the Tower of the Hand. He finds Shae in his father Tywin’s bed, and strangle her. Tyrion then confronts Tywin on the privy and confesses that he had loved Shae. When Tywin repeatedly dismisses Shae as a whore, Tyrion fatally shoots him with a crossbow. Tyrion then escapes on a ship bound for Essos with help from Varys. After hearing the bells in the castle raising the alarm, Varys decides to board the ship as well.


Brienne and her squire, Podrick, lose their horses as they make their way toward the Eyrie. They happen across Arya and the Hound. After Podrick recognises the Hound, Brienne deduces Arya’s identity and tells her of her oath to her mother, Catelyn Stark. The Hound is unconvinced of her loyalties, pointing out her Lannister sword, and the matter quickly comes to blows. After a brutal brawl, Brienne knocks the Hound off a cliff, and unsuccessfully searches for Arya. After they leave, Arya emerges from hiding and finds the Hound grievously injured. Though he begs her for death, she instead takes his money and leaves him to die. Traveling by horse to a harbor, she buys passage on a ship bound for Braavos with the coin Jaqen H’ghar gave her.


My take: I love the moment where a wilding comes running towards Stannis and gets immediately cut down, and I love the gleeful Qyburn in his mad-scientist role. Interesting that Jamie pushes the White Book out of the way to make love to Cersei. Belle wonders if Missandei has to repeat all of Dany’s titles every single time someone cones in front of her. And how about that Harryhousen skeleton fight? Bran using Hodor to fight is pretty badass. Brienne vs the Hound. We know Brienne’s one of the good guys, but how can you prive that. This fight doesn’t happen in the books and for the first time, we had no idea who was going to win the fight, and at the end they’re just slugging it out like heavyweights. Is Arya leaving the Hound mercy, or the lack of it? I love Tywin trying to bullshit his way out of getting shot. The music at the end, with the children’s choir singing the theme us probably my favorite musical cue of the series so far.

Changes from the books: Brienne and the Hound never meet in the books. Jojen does not die fighting against the wights. He is still alive in the book continuity. ​In the books Jaime only returns to King’s Landing after Joffrey’s death. When he frees Tyrion from his cell it is the first time the two brothers have seen each other since they were at Winterfell. Jaime confesses to his brother that it is partly out of guilt and admits that his first wife Tysha was not a whore at all. Instead, Tywin made him lie about it to teach Tyrion a lesson. ​Tyrion kills Tywin with a single bolt to the pelvis, which causes his bowels to loosen. He notices “at last, Tywin Lannister didn’t shit gold”. ​The whereabouts of Varys are not described in the book after the assassination of Tywin; all that is confirmed is that he does not return to his chambers.

Nudity: none

Locations on the Map: King’s Landing, Moat Cailin, Winterfell, the Wall, Braavos, Meereen

Death Count: Most of the Wilding Army by Stannis’s army. Shae, strangled by Tyrion. Tywin, shot by a crossbow from Tyrion. Jojen, killed by a skeketon, then finished off by Meera. The Hound is not confirmed dead

Quotes: Tyrion Lannister: All my life you’ve wanted me dead.

Tywin Lannister: Yes. But you refused to die. I respect that. Even admire it. You fight for what’s yours. I’d never let them execute you. Is that what you fear? I’ll never let Ilyn Payne take your head. You’re a Lannister. You’re my son.

The Hound: I’d skin you alive for wine.

Cersei: I don’t choose Tywin Lannister. I don’t love Tywin Lannister. I love my brother. I love my lover.