Bastardbowl is coming.
I don’t think I’ve ever posted about HBO’s Game of Thrones, but frankly- it’s pretty much the only show on cable/TV that I watch these days, so why not talk about the upcoming “Battle of the Bastards” AKA Episode 9 of Season 6.
The entire season has been building to this- heck, most of the past seasons have. The North has been suffering under the sadistic rule of the Boltons- now solely Ramsay Bolton thanks to some handy knifework. But now, a rebellion has mobilized under the banner of the mostly-devastated Starks, led by Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and his sister Sansa (Sophie Turner).
So how is this set up? The Bolton Army is on one side, occupying the Starks’ ancestral home of Winterfell and led by one psychotic, sadistic and brutal bastard who has seemingly been on a roll of winning since his first appearance. Ramsay has been built up all this time as being cunning like a fox, keeping one step ahead of his enemies or just having all the cards in his favor. Stannis Baratheon AKA the biggest badass of Westeros up until he murdered his own daughter for a bit of sunshine- was defeated by him. Sure, Stannis’ army was outnumbered due to desertions (who knew sellswords had a soft heart for little girls?), had no cavalry, was half-frozen, half-staved and demoralized… but credit where its due, it was Ramsay and his ‘twenty good men’ burning up Stannis’ supplies that was instrumental to the Baratheon’s demise.
The Bolton Army has been seen to be large- with a sizable cavalry, archers and lots of footmen. Ramsay hasn’t shown himself to be a keen tactician (he IS daring, given his night raid idea) but so far he hasn’t had any need to given that he’s always had the odds in his favor. At this point, he can even be more confident given that aside from his army, he may also have on the field the troops of House Karstark and House Umber- the two largest houses in the North. While theories are out that question the loyalty of the Umbers, I think the show has made it out that the Karstarks are pretty loyal (really… Robb SCREWED UP). Would the Umbers try a sudden face turn in the middle of this battle?
Now, about the good guys. Jon was able to convince the Wildlings to fight, thanks to some help from Tormund and Wun-Wun. That’s about 2000 fighters, all fierce and hardened (by Hardhome- HAH) but probably pretty disorganized. Forget tactics- just point them at the enemy and let ‘em rip. Maybe some of these are archers, so if Jon is smart he’ll put those guys (and maybe gals) in a group.
But that’s not all! Jon, Sansa and Ser Davos were able to gather a ragtag bunch of men from the smaller Norther Houses- the most distinct probably being the 62 fighters from Bear Island, led by the 10-year old spitfire, Lyanna Mormont (the writers had better not harm a hair on this darlings head, or we riot). I wonder if Lyanna’s boast of each Bear Islander being worth ten mainland warriors will be proven right? That would be awesome.
Aside from the Bears, according to Davos the rest of the Stark army consists of 200 Hornwoods and 143 Mazens/Masons(?). Conceivably some of these may be cavalry, giving Jon’s forces soemthing that Stannis lacked last season.
So the good guys are quite obviously outnumbered. What can be done? From the trailers, we are seeing the Wildlings charging straight on at the enemy (or are they?), which seems a pretty bad thing to do given that the more organized Boltons are looking calm, collected and waiting, with archers that will no doubt thin the ranks of any oncoming horde and soften them up for the main force. I do hope that Jon and Davos are smart and do something… well, awesome. I think after being resurrected, Jon has done fairly nothing much for someone built up to be the show’s hero (at this point), so he needs to prove himself as a leader and someone who can think clearly. So far, rushing in like he is doesn’t look like it. But we’ll see.
But then, all may not be lost. What about reinforcements? Sansa sent a letter to someone, asking obviously for help. Some clever fans online have already deduced the letter is to Littlefinger, asking for the Knights of the Vale to come and win the war for Jon. It seems that all this has been done by Sansa behind Jon’s back- why? It seems that Sansa wants to have HER say in the battle with HER army- which is clearly not Jon’s assorted menagerie. Sansa clearly doesn’t believe they can win, and she is doing all she can to win it herself- which may end up winning the battle- or causing a big backfire.
And then lastly, are the Knights of the Vale coming? Will they arrive in time? Will they swing the battle in the favor of the Starks?
Or will a Tully Army- released by a repentant Jamie to Brienne- arrive as well? Perhaps this will be a step in the redemption we’ve been looking for in the Kingslayer all this time, as he did promise doing this to Brienne…?
Now, onto another, even darker aspect of the battle. Who may die?
Obviously hundreds will die. This is going to be bloody. I do hope though that somehow, the wildlings don’t suffer a catastrophic loss of life. The Free Folk need to survive this, somehow. That said, I don’t think Tormund will die- as the only remaining person of importance among the Wildlings, him dying basically kills them as a faction or as something to care about. He dies only if every other Wildling dies, which I refuse to believe Jon would allow. As for Wun Wun… the lovable giant unfortunately doesn’t have a good chance of surviving. Given that he’s so dangerous, enemy forces would surely focus on him. Not sure if arrows can bring him down, but cavalry might. I do hope he somehow makes it out. Hell, he survived zombie hordes!
Davos is another character feared to bite it in this battle. I say, nope. I believe he’s too important, too awesome. He’s on of the few truly good men in all of Westeros. If there is any justice, he survives this show to retire at the end as maester to Lady Lyanna Mormont on idyllic Bear Island. Sigh. I still think he has lots of parts to play still. Davos, don’t die!
As for Jon and Sansa- not a chance. Jon is effectively unkillable now, after being already killed and resurrected. Sansa is the last real Stark (despite being married to Ramsay and Joffrey), so she is also too important. Rickon? What about the most useless Stark in the show? Eeh… kill him. Cut his throat. Whatever. Hahaha.
Will Ramsay actually meet his end here? I really have no idea. I guess this episode- the biggest battle on the show so far- would be an awesome time to take out the evil Bastard of Bolton. Because yeah, we really need everyone to focus on the real baddie- the Night King. It’s the battle between the Living and the Dead, after all. And the Dead are coming.
Goddamn I can’t wait till Monday.