TV Review: GAME OF THRONES (Season 6 Episode 9) – ‘Battle Of The Bastards’

Published by Shah Shahid on

The good times will not stop in Season 6 of HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones‘. Tonight’s episode is further proof that going off book is doing wonders for the already massively successful show. The adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s books, have become an integral part of the Television season, and the penultimate episode of Season 6 does not disappoint. In last week’s Review, I mentioned it was the best show of the Season. I retract that statement as Episode 9, is now the best of the season. 

Read on for my completely spoiler filled Review of Episode 9 of Season 6 of ‘Game Of Thrones’ on HBO. 

As the title of the episode teases, it’s the ‘Battle Of The Bastards’! Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) goes head to head with Ramsay Bolton (Ewan Reon), in an attempt to take back his childhood home, and that of (the man he believes to be) his father, along with seeking vengeance for the abuse of his sister Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner). But despite last week’s previews, there’s a lot more going  on. But the episode still provides a healthy amount of an enormous action set piece, that is one of the best battle sequences ever produced on Television.


Picking up directly from last episode, Episode 9 deals with the return of Danaerys (Emilia Clarke) to Mereen, at the moment the Masters are waging war on the interim administration of Tyrion (Peter Dinklage). After a brief scolding with her eyes, Dany successfully completes her story arc that’s been building from Season 1. Danaerys reunites all three Dragons as they lay siege to their attackers, and also getting their mommy some ships in the process. This episode properly culminates her story arc, in fulfilling an unspoken promise between the makers of the show, to the audience, from the Season 1 cliffhanger. The moment when Danaerys Stormborn steps out of a funeral pyre unscathed, with a trio of infant Dragons, we all know that the pay off to that moment, would be astounding. And it happens here. And it was.
TV Review: GAME OF THRONES (Season 6 Episode 9) - 'Battle Of The Bastards'

finally… she IS a badass!

Which is also something that was the motivation behind her character Season 1 & Season 2, but somehow got lost during the last few seasons, with her… side projects. 


The coming together of characters all Season long continues as Theon (Alfie Allen) meets up with Dany, offers his fleet and loyalty, and forms a solid, yet flirty alliance with her, through his sister. Which makes you wonder why there’s isn’t more gratuitous lesbian depictions on this show, given it’s attachment to other explicit imagery and content.


So now, Dany finally has the soldiers she needs (Dothraki herd) and the ships she needs (Iron Fleet) to carry them to Westeros and challenge the status quo. Success! This coming to fruition of a storyline which seemingly was abandoned Seasons ago, as she went on freeing people, causing problems and then having to fix them, is unimaginably satisfactory. It was a source of major frusrtration for me that Danaerys was never the bad-ass that the idea of her seemed to be to everyone in the show. 


And as this plot point reaches a conclusion, another one starts with the outcome of the Bastard Battle. 
Without boring you with the details of the fight itself, the battle between Jon Snow’s Wildling and farmer army, meeting Ramsay Bolton’s actual soldier army, was everything from thrilling and nerve-wracking, to claustrophobic and riveting. Without the cinematic arrogance seen in movies, this episode properly displays the harsh clumsiness of fighting in the trenches, with bodies, blood and dirt thrown up in one’s face. The blend of CGI effects with practical stunt work was impressive for a TV production. 




While the resolution of the fight happens through a surprise twist, that isn’t all that exciting. After heeding the word sent by Sansa in last episode, Lord Baelish (Aiden Gillen) comes to their rescue when all seemed lost. But at what price? While there is some major feel good vibes by the end of this episode, there’s other complication that will (obviously) arise from what happened. The preview for next week’s final episode of Season 6, shows that Baelish’s help comes at a price. And I personally think that price, is Sansa

Lord Littlefinger’s Intentions

At the conclusion of this episode, a Stark sits at Winterfell once again. Albeit a woman who, in this patriarchal society, isn’t considered done deal since there is no true born heir of Ned Stark. (Jon’s a Bastard, so doesn’t count.) So if Baelish’s condition to help was to be married to Sansa, that would mean that by default, he becomes the Lord of Winterfell and the Warden Of The North. This isn’t that significant to the over all storyline, but it begs the question if Baelish will be as willing to go against the crown as the Warden of the North. Not to mention that given everything Jon’s fought for,  him not being able to be Lord f his father’s home, would be supremely insulting to the journey of all these characters. 


‘Battle Of The Bastards’ satisfied me to no end. Action. Suspense. And immensely satisfying end to storylines that have been happening from Season 1.


With the last episode of the Season left to go, it seems the show is running out of conflicts to resolve. Too many happy endings is not a complaint on would have ever expected from a show like ‘Game Of Thrones’.  After all this, the only conflicts left to deal with is Snow and Sansa opposing Jamie (Nikolas Coster-Waldau) and Cersei, (Lena Headey) along with the King. Not to mention Cersei still having to be sentenced at trial for her…. incestous actions.


But that may be moot when and if Danearys arrives in Westeros with Tyrion, Theon and the Dragons in tow. Obviously they’ll ally with Jon and his crew, given that Theon saved Sansa and Tyrion loved the Starks. There’s also Arya (Maisie Williams) on her way back, as outlined in the last week’s episode. But there’s still Bran (Isaac Hamstead Wright) and the Whitewalker storyline, which looks to be the biggest plot point still remaining to be unsolved, not to mention the true lineage of Jon Snow. 


What did you think of tonight’s episode of ‘Game Of Thrones’?


Subscribe to the site for more Reviews here.

Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad

1 Comment

Little_Birds · June 20, 2016 at 10:30 AM

I felt the exact opposite, last 2 episodes were the worst of the season for me (except maybe the first one because.. Dorne).
We went from a thoughtful, subtle, morally-ambiguous, trope subverting story to a LOTR-style Manichean, cliched mess full of cheap, emotionally bland, shocking scenes.
Arya and Riverrun were awful last week.
The battle in the north was awful this week.
That’s not the standards GoT has gotten us used to, they never (re)introduced characters only for them to be killed of (without any emotional attachment) before Hardhome last season.
Since then it has become the norm (Osha, Brother Ray, Rickon, Shaggydog, Smalljon Umber).
It seems, sadly, that there is a direct inverted correlation between the budget and the standards of writing.

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *