Thoughts on “The Watchers on the Wall.”
While waiting for the Ubisoft press conference to start I thought I might take some time to talk a bit about last night’s Game of Thrones episode which took place mostly on the Wall. Starting things off it was sad to see the six-man squad fall in battle holding the inner gate. One has to know however that giants are not conscripts or peasant levies, and that their might is not the same as human beings. Being much larger in size and so on it was reasonable to assume that the squad down in the inner gate area would have to use numbers as their advantage, though it was nice to see Grenn rally his comrades as the giant charged the inner gate. Grenn indeed was the embodiment of what a man of the Night’s Watch ought to be – shame the same cannot be said for the former commander of the King’s Landing city guard Janos Slynt. Turns out his time as a commander was rather useless would you not agree?
The battle for Castle Black was well done. Whoever directed the scenes did an excellent job in portraying the brutality of medieval warfare and the utter hatred one side has for the other. Indeed Sun Tzu’s philosophy comes into play here in that the Night’s Watch have been placed on death ground, and thus they were to fight without fear of pain or death for it was in their best interest to fight lest they wind up as food for one of those Wildlings who practiced cannibalism – death of course being the main focus for why these men fought without fear or hesitation. Now it is understood that the fight was already predetermined through the books, but it was still nice to see some of Sun Tzu’s teachings come out in the battle; though it may just be myself who notices these bits, and that the directors and writers never considered this while following the book’s main plot.
The show did an excellent job in showing how even a character like Samwell could evolve and not remain static. This is important for a story arc as while it was entertaining to see Samwell the coward go about his business, having him develop courage to fight – even for a short bit – brings forth a sense of progress: that the wall is doing its job of turning thieves, rapists, beggers, deserters, and so on into men of the Night’s Watch – not that Samwell was any of those, but you understand where this is going. Though it was a shame to see Pyp die in battle as he along with Grenn added flavour to the environment- both characters were with Jon from the beginning, and it would have been nice to see Grenn and Pyp help Jon cement his position as a leading figure within the Night’s Watch. Watching Pyp die in Samwell’s arms shows that even the least likely person to develop courage can be the most trusted comrade of which in your final moments they will be able to comfort you until you pass into the Emperor’s hands.
However watching Jon mourn the loss of Ygritte was sort of strange to say the least. The little boy Olly must have wondered: “why is he crying over a Wildling? Especially the Wildling who killed my parents?” Indeed Olly must have been frightened during the battle; he looked no more than ten years of age. That said however Olly quickly turned into a soldier which was exactly what needed to happen as he effectively saved Jon’s life with that shot.
The final scene where Jon went beyond the wall to hunt down Mance was indeed a nice conclusion to the battle. They way the camera showed the remains of the five Watchmen and Grenn was indeed a strong scene in that they held the line though at the cost to their lives – showing a great deal of dedication in the face of imminent death. When the gate opened to reveal the north and as Jon stepped through with the screen fading to white, that right there was a powerful moment. Serving on the wall is a thankless task, and Jon Snow is becoming the Night’s Watchmen that is needed now more than ever. Civil war raging in the south, and Wildlings and White Walkers roaming in from the north, the Night’s Watch will be stretched to the point there they face complete obliteration: let us hope the story arc roughly follows the books for the final episode. Right now the main thing the brothers on the wall need – out of all the things they require to function – is additional manpower. Numbers alone – “alone” – confer no advantage, but that does not mean that numbers does not play a key role in battle.
Now if you will all excuse me I will return to waiting for the Ubisoft press conference from E3 2014: thus far the previous press conferences and released material is not all to enticing for someone who is heavily invested into PC gaming. That said E3 is E3, and so this is to be expected. Have a good one folks, and I will catch you next time.