Welcome to the Fresh Prince of Westeros, a Game of Thrones Recap. Needless to say, MAJOR SPOILERS lie within these walls. Enter at your own caution. This week, we recap ‘The Watchers on the Wall.’

Direwolves and giants and mammoths, oh my… Wasn’t that a damn good episode? This is only the second Game of Thrones episode ever to have every scene take place in one location (the other was ‘Blackwater,’ the penultimate episode of season two), and the first to not have any scenes in King’s Landing.

What happens: The Wildlings arrive, both north and south of the Wall, with wargs, giants, and wooly mammoths in tow. The Wall’s crappy leadership shows its true colors: Ser Allister may be a sadist jerk, but he grudgingly admits a lapse in judgment to Jon and proves to be a brave leader, leading the charge against Ygritte and Tormund’s raid. The brave Jason Slynt, meanwhile, runs to defend a dark hidden corner of the bread pantry, manned only by an unarmed pregnant woman and her baby.

But in the end Jon and Sam, along with Grenn, Pyp, Ed, and other Nightswatchmen whom we may or may not have been introduced to, take arms and lead the Night’s Watch to victory against overwhelming odds. It’s a horribly discouraging fact that this was only a small fraction of the Wildling army – the vast bulk waits in the burning forest, ready to move on the Wall again, which now stands with depleted defenses and greatly reduced numbers. But it is still a victory, and its consequences are significant. But first, a moment for the Game of Thrones deceased:

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The Highlights:

Giants and Wolly Mammoths – I mean. That one giant shot an arrow over the Wall, which is ostensibly about 70 stories high. The other lifted the gate by himself. Those are definitely guys you want on your side. But oh damn, are they ugly. The mammoth was a good touch too – a litte bit fantasy, but not so much as to completely suspend disbelief.

Tormund’s Badassery – Portrayed to perfection by Kristofer Hivju, he’s a raw killing machine, but seems under all that to be a rational individual and possibly even not so bad a guy. Maybe I’m misinterpretting him, but either way, I’m glad they took him alive.

Jon and Sam’s Growth as Leaders – Jon was always set up to be a leader. From the moment we realized he is basically the Stark runt, we knew that Jon was going to overcome his bastard station to defy social convention with his loyal spirit, roguish good looks, and willingness to bend the rules to do the right thing. He’s been a bit boring this season, not really having much to do, but in this episode he shines.

But who would have ever thought Sam would be good at anything? He’s escaped a mutiny, saved a woman and her baby, killed a White Walker, trekked through the wilderness back to Castle Black, and been faced with countless hard decisions. He hasn’t had much to do this season either, but I found myself really caring for Sam again as he helped instill bravery in his bros, even rousing to action the terrified little boy who would soon kill…

Ygritte – Called it! Love her or hate her, Ygritte’s fate seems inevitable. We all wanted Jon Snow to have some happiness, and he seemed to for have some for a while with her. But there was no way it could work, and we all know what happens in Game of Thrones when you fall in love with someone. ONE OR BOTH OF YOU DIES. Either way, I can’t help but feel a little sad that she’s gone.

After the battle, Jon Snow leaves the north gate, unarmed, to meet with Mance Rayder, who in case you’ve forgetten is this guy:

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Still can’t remember him? Yea. For a show with a cast this big, that’s forgivable. Mance is the Wildling leader; he’s united hundreds of clans to march south, because if they don’t, they’re “all going to die.” From the cold? Something worse? My money is on ‘something worse.’ A simple *knock knock,* ‘Mind if we come south?’ might have sufficed. But where’s the drama in that?

Closing Thoughts:

Where the $#% is Raisin Bran?

Tyrion and Jon are both literally and figuratively walking to their likely deaths. Are we gonna lose another fan favorite? Two?

Does Khaleesi have enough peroxide for her long stay in Meereen?

How are Missandei and Grey Worm gonna… you know…?

Why is there only one of Game of Thrones episode left? It feels like Joffrey just died last week. This is a fantastic series, and as sad as I am that it’s over, it’s a small comfort to know that they are currently writing andcasting the next season.

Exactly how many people died? There were too many kills for me to even do a count – someone out there, somewhere on the Web, has taken the time to do so… but that person is not me. Some notable losses:

  • Ygritte
  • Styr the cannibal and his warg buddy
  • Every single Wildling that attacked the Wall, except Tormund
  • Grenn and Pyp, killed by a giant and shot through the neck
  • Beaucoups of Night’s Watchmen
  • I can’t add Janos Slynt and Ser Allister to this list, and that’s a shame.

And when will this become everyone’s favorite drinking game…?

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Until the next and last time, here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming on Sunday: