The great thing — well, one of them — about the battle of Castle Black was the abundance of sleazebags on both sides who had it coming.
Creepy bald cannibals? Point-black crossbow shot to the face! Rapists forced to take the Black? Flaming arrow through the groin!
Of course, there were plenty among the fallen free folk and Night’s Watch we didn’t want to see go, like Sam’s sweet friend, the persistent giant at the South Gate and especially Ygritte, who nonetheless got a more just and poignant death from HBO than she did in the books. And now Rose Leslie can presumably have whatever roles she desires. I’m thinking Red Sonja.
Tormund Giantsbane, the most flamboyant of the wildling generals, is the last attacker standing. “I should have shoved you off the top of your wall,” he snarls while being captured.
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“Yes, you should have,” Jon Snow says, striding off in full Clint Eastwood mode. Kit Harington got top billing in “The Watchers on the Wall,” which was the first clue it would be an all-Wall week, but for once the guy deserved it.
Even faced with the embodiment of bureaucratic ineptitude, aka Janos Slynt, Jon seems to have lost his tendency to snivel, Alliser Thorne finally shows us why he’s Lord Commander, and Samwell Tarly finally kisses Gilly.
As Season 2’s “Blackwater” did for the War of Five Kings, Sunday’s lovingly filmed melee somehow conveyed the essence of the Night’s Watch as never before, just in time to see their corpses stacked in piles at the end.
As Eastwood said in “Unforgiven,” “We all got it coming, kid.”
Which is a good thought to hold onto until next Sunday, when we’ll presumably spend a little more time with Tyrion back in King’s Landing.