This sentence is the shield that guards the realm from spoilers. Turn, reader, if you must spare your eyes.
The Battle of the Bastards was an incredible bit of television, one of those sobering moments that reminds you of the reality of war. Wars are not fought by generals, looking at maps and tactics. They’re not about shining knights and great deeds. Wars are about mud and blood and pain, about climbing over the bodies of your fallen friends as you try to survive.
Before the actual battle though, there was the standard scene of tactics in a tent. Jon Snow, Davos Seaworth and Tormund Giantsbane all put their ideas forward, watched by a silent Sansa Stark. When the meeting broke up, Sansa rounded on Jon for not including her in his planning – after all she knows how Ramsey Bolton’s mind works. We do see her point, he should have thought about it. But also, Sansa love, LEAN IN. You could have said something without waiting to be asked.
The battle was grim, and looked lost until the Knights of the Vale swept down on horseback (with their sigil that looks oddly like the Twitter logo). Wun Wun, the last remaining giant sacrificed himself to break down the gates of Winterfell and the Starks were back in their ancestral home. Jon beat Ramsey nearly to death. It was Sansa who delivered the final blow. God, it was satisfying knowing Ramsey would die in the way he had killed others. Sansa clearly felt the same, smiling as the hounds started to tear flesh. Revenge is sweet, but taking sadistic pleasure in anything is always disturbing. What has Sansa become (and what have we become along with her).
The North could go several ways now. Will we be looking at a Queen if the North? Sansa is the oldest legitimate Stark child, with her similarly legitimate brothers all dead or missing. Will Littlefinger be looking for a bride in return for his help? Or is there an outside shot of all the northerners deciding they’re done with royalty and setting up a People’s Republic with the representatives of Giantsbane, Seaworth and Snow?
Over in Mereen, Daenerys Targaryen had to, yet again be talked about of her “Burn them all!” battle tactics. However, her fire power and Tyrion’s strategy saw off the Masters. Good job, as it lead to an interesting scene between Daenerys and Yara Greyjoy. Yara and brother Theon had made a pretty swift journey to Mereen, beating their uncle Euron to an audience with the Dragon Queen. To the best of our memory, it’s the first woman-to-woman negotiation scene where both the power players are women – and not women who hold their positions because of men, either. Two daughters of mad kings. Two female rulers. Ships for Dany and dragons for Yara. And no one having to marry Euron Greyjoy to move things along.
“And I imagine your offer is free of any marriage demands?” asks D.
“I never demand, but I’m up for anything really,” was the swaggering reply.
Yara, don’t go changing.
Imagine if the gluten-free idea kicked in earlier, and had m ...