Since then, we've caught up and been made current. Last night was the first time we watched an episode when it actually aired. And what an episode to watch live.
Even as only recent additions to the GoT viewership, last night's episode was remarkably satisfying. I can't even imagine how gratifying it was for people who've been waiting four years to see someone get their due.
The episode used several elements that are amongst my favorites, because they're often overlooked. It used silence. Waiting. The stillness before the slaughter. When you play bass guitar you understand the significance of a pause. Sometimes a song needs a breath, as does a story. Prince said, “I learned a lot about space from Miles [Davis]. Space is a sound, too.”
It also showed the folly of man. Or, specifically, the irrational actions of one particular man. Jon Snow is largely considered one of the primary heroes of the show, and yet he showed he was fallible. His heart led him into a trap, despite Sansa's warnings about Ramsay Bolton. The writers didn't feel the need to make him a saintly savior who, despite everything, thought of some ingenious way to overcome his enemy. Were it not for the actions of another the outcome of the battle would have been very different.
It showed the payoff of calculations. From Danaerys to Yara to Sansa, the fate of many lay in the hands of women who were able to foresee needs and vulnerabilities and make decisions with the desired payoff in mind. Danaerys learned to compromise from the wisdom of Tyrion. Yara learned to compromise from the wisdom of Danaerys. And Sansa had already compromised and set aside her pride to seek help from the one force left that could sway the outcome of the battle of the bastards. Ultimately, all attained success with their missions as a result.
In the end, the episode still had the ability to surprise. While you found yourself questioning what could possibly be the most fitting end for one of the most hated villains on the show for the last four years the ultimate resolution of the episode not only hit the perfect note, but it revealed how Sansa has grown from a naive girl into a determined woman who will not allow herself to be abused again.
Life lessons for Ramsay Bolton? I guess a dog will bite the hand that doesn't feed it.
From before we'd ever watched a Game of Thrones episode we'd heard of the Red Wedding. It's an episode that's stood out as a benchmark, a stunning hour that changed the course of the plot lines and decimated a family that had once been strong.
Exactly three seasons after the Red Wedding Game of Thrones delivered what may be one of the best episodes its ever done, and in large part that's due to the fact that it was the payoff for so many storylines that converged, with a few surprises in the mix to deliver as exact justice. It can always be tempting to rush the plot, but GoT shows the value in patience. Any one of the several storylines could have been significantly advanced or resolved in a separate episode, but the combined layering of these resolutions and advancements did a double duty of tying up loose ends while setting the stage for the wars to come, and all I can say is that one week from now, I, like many other fans of the show, will be anticipating the end of a long winter so that I can see season 7 when it airs next spring.