Battle of the Bastards

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Game of Thrones is a fictional TV show that is set in a somewhat medieval atmosphere.  The plot surrounds the quarrels of families of power in a world called “Westeros”.  The Starks, Lannisters, Targarians and the Tyrells are the 4 most powerful families in the world.  The world’s seasons are much longer than ours and take years to complete.  The show’s slogan is “Winter is Coming”.  There is an enemy that comes with the winter that will destroy the world as they know it.  Each family deals with the different seasons and has different strengths. The Starks are a northern family and are portrayed as being much tougher and harder working.  The Lannisters are southern and are richer, more persuasive, better looking and overall better off than the northerners.  These families are rivals and battle over domination. Little do they know, the real enemy will force them to band together and fight.

I chose to review the episode “Battle of the Bastards”.  It is the second to last episode in the sixth season of the show.  On 7/17/2017, season seven is starting just to give you an idea of where we are in the show as viewers.  I chose it because it is the culmination of many story lines and has a good mix of action and story-telling.  As the show progresses, the producers increased their budget in areas like battles and more serious moments.  They are quoted for saying that they spend more than $10 million per episode in the six season.  In this battle scene particular, they used 600 crew members, 500 extras, 70 horses, 160 pounds of gravel and many more factors.  The whole sequence was immersive and really grabbed my attention.  With all of the moving parts, it really took a lot of production and turned out well.

In “The Battle of The Bastards”, there is a lot of build-up between two characters.  Jon Snow, who is one of the main characters and Ramsay Bolton who is quite evil.  Bolton stole Jon Snow’s former home and terrorized Snow’s sister Sansa in the process. Snow has a much smaller force and is at quite a disadvantage.  He is also attacking a fortress, which is a challenge itself even with an equal army.  There is a lot of build-up and tension is built quickly.  The battle runs for over 30 minutes and is intense for the entire time.

The values range from character to character.  Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton are both bastards (hence the title).  They have been shut down their entire lives and have been told they wouldn’t be anything.  They have perseverance and motivation, whether it be good or evil.  Jon Snow was raised in a noble family and always felt like he had nothing, but had feasts and lived quite well.  Ramsay was shoved away and didn’t have much. Doesn’t give him an excuse to be evil, but it just shows what their base values might have stemmed from.  Jon has the smaller force and must be crafty to win the battle. Ramsay thinks he has the win in the bag and is cocky.  At one point, Jon is buried under a pile of dead bodies and the battle looks lost.  He almost suffocates and eventually pulls himself up.  Then, his sister’s ally saves the battle. Somehow, Jon Snow and his force of misfits wins the battle over all odds.

The battle is obviously violent, but this is carnage.  It begins with two forces of horses colliding at top speed.  This is shot from the perspective of Jon Snow, so it captures the absolute brutality of battle. From then on, it is unreal action.  Body parts are flying, people are getting chopped up.  Gore galore. The fight ensues for over 30 minutes and it is nothing short of amazing.

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In terms of portrayal of women, Sansa (Snow’s sister) comes out on top by calling in her “reserve forces”.  She saved her home and Snow’s life.  As the show progressed, Sansa becomes more powerful and has a larger role.

Game of Thrones is my favorite show of all time, and it gets better every episode.  Battle of the Bastards is a culmination of multiple story lines and plays a huge role in advancing the story. The production is nothing short of amazing and makes the episode worth the watch.

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