‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4 Episode 9 Recap: “The Watchers on the Wall”

By June 9, 2014

I know, I know the last thing anyone wants to hear is that an episode of “GOT” will be set entirely at The Wall. No Tyrion. No Dany. Not even a little Littlefinger. (At least I felt that way.) But I have to admit, it was pretty good for an episode not featuring any of my favorite characters or storylines! I mean, hello? Woolly friggin’ Mammoths!

Instead of going through things chronologically, I’m going to just focus on the highlights of last night’s epic battle episode because it was fast and furious, yet surprisingly easy to follow. Kudos to director Neil Marshall.

Okay, here we go!

The episode opens with Sam and Jon talking about love and sex. It is definitely the calm before the storm and it has lots of sweet things happening. It gives Jon a nice moment to revisit his feelings for Ygritte (which will only heighten the sadness of what’s to come) and it lets Sam talk about the awesome loophole he’s found in the Night’s Watch code of ethics. Good boy, Sam.

Sam is reunited with Gilly and little Sam! He hides his two little loves in a safe space and promises that they will never be apart again. Sam and Gilly kiss, and then he goes to defend The Wall. I love this newly confident Sam. Vow of chastity be damned!


Massive fires ignite, which is Mance Rayder’s signal to attack. Jon was right, which I guess is a horrible thing to be right about. The army of Wildlings — including Ygritte and the Thenns — attack the southern gate while another group approaches Castle Black from the other side. Did I mention the two surly giants riding in on Woolly Mammoths? Because yeah, that happened.


Despite the fact that we all kind of can’t stand Ser Alliser, he rouses his troops and then hits the battlefield like a total badass.


So, we kind of have to like him a bit now. Even if he is a jerk to Jon Snow most of the time. He also admits it was a mistake to not seal the tunnel, which the giants easily break into. And he’s severely injured, and we all want him to live now, right?

The battle sequences are crazy, so much happens including a gruesome high dive impaling, Sam shooting a Thenn in the head, and the return of Ghost the direwolf, who manages to be pretty impressive on the battlefield himself.  And how about that Janos Slynt? Total coward. I mean I would probably flee too, but still!


But probably the biggest moment – for me at least – was the sad end to the Ygritte/Jon Snow love story. After instructing her fellow Wildings to let her kill Snow, when the time comes to do the deed, she pauses. That smile Jon gave her killed me. And then blam! Ygritte is taken out by Ollie, the boy whose father she killed earlier this season. I guess that’s justice, even though it’s not the satisfying kind. Jon’s face though when it happened. Oof.


Jon rushes to her side and gently cradles her. They talk about the cave. Her final words are “You know nothing, Jon Snow,” because of course they are. Throat lump.


In addition to Ygritte, we also lose Grenn and Pip. Somehow, the Night’s Watch manages to win the first night of battle, with Jon as their new unofficial commander. He knows they can never defeat Mance’s army, but he has a plan: kill Mance Rayder. Sam thinks it’s a bad plan. I’m pretty sure we all do. “What’s your plan?” Jon Snow asks Sam. OH SNAP! Here’s hoping he knows something we don’t.

Now here’s some Peter Dinklage for you to enjoy:


What did you think of this episode? Was it epic or did you think it was too much Wall for your taste? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Desi Jedeikin

Desi Jedeikin

Desi Jedeikin is a Los Angeles based writer and performer. She has appeared in numerous sketch comedy/improv shows at venues in L.A., including the Groundlings Theater, Comedy Central Stage, and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, where she played Squeaky Fromme in the infamous alternative comedy show Comedy Death Ray. Unfinished projects include a memoir and a musical based on the life and death of JonBenet Ramsey. She has lots of other brilliant ideas she might complete. She really just needs more encouragement. You can follow Desi on Twitter: @Desijedeikin Here: truecrimejunkie.com And here too: xoJane.com She likes being followed.