'Game of Thrones': Who let the dogs out? That's right, Sansa Stark did!
Spoiler Alert: If you have not watched Season 6, episode 9 of Game of Thrones, do not read further.
First of all, a huge thank you to the show-runners for giving us an episode that was worth watching after having tortured us with mediocre and boring last three episodes. I can only describe this one as bloody darn satisfying. Battle of the Bastards was everything I thought it would be — vengeful, bloody, gory and most of all cathartic.
The show-runners are really going in for the visual symbolism — the episode quite obviously juxtaposes the fiery battle between the Masters and Danaerys in Mereen with the icy, cold, sludgy battle between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton.
Danaerys, as usual, emerges victorious with her glorious dragons against the Masters. While the scenes were not particularly riveting, it was finally great to see Danaerys say: "Dracarys!" (High Valaryian for breathing fire) and consequently, watch Drogon burn things on command. Fun. After her successful defence of Mereen, Danaerys joins hands (quite literally) with Yara Greyjoy after some friendly feminist talk.
So, this was a nice wrap-up of loose ends.
However, the most satisfying aspect of the ninth episode of Game of Thrones season six was the beautiful effort made by Jon Snow, Sansa Stark and their allies to reclaim Winterfell from the devil incarnate, Ramsay Bolton. While the obviously wonderful part was the battle, but I'd really like to focus a little more on how Sansa is becoming the true politician, the fit and rightful ruler of Winterfell. As I had mentioned in an earlier article, the women of Westeros are really coming into their own — they are stronger, more self-aware and most importantly, they know what they want.
Though the episode is titled Battle of the Bastards, it is hard to miss how Sansa Stark stands as the true winner. As Snow and his fellow army commanders are discussing the battle plan, Sansa reminds Snow that she knows Ramsay better — no amount of battle planning will help if they don't have an idea about what's going on in Ramsay's mind, how he thinks. Think about it, a physical battle might be about the brawn, but what it really takes is insight — into the opponent's mind, to be able to predict the opponent's next move. Sansa Stark is unapologetic when she tells Snow off, she lets it be known that she should have been consulted because, here, she does know more than Jon Snow.
The battle scenes are beautiful, epic, exaggerated and really quite the visual spectacle, but you cannot help but think that, if it wasn't for Sansa sending out ravens on her own, Jon Snow and co would have been dead.
Sansa uses Lord Baelish to her advantage as he marches in with a battalion that crushes the Bolton army to pulp. When the Bolton banners fall from the Winterfell walls and Stark banners go up, it's not Snow or Ser Davos' win, but Sansa's.
Throughout the show's history, everyone around her has failed her, she's realised that there is no one has got her back. She even tells Jon Snow: "No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone," and is quite pragmatic about Rickon, she knows that Ramsay will never let him live and she is fine with that as long as they take Winterfell back. There is no place for emotion in Sansa, it is about the future and making sure that there are no more unnecessary troubles ahead. While Snow got lost in the emotion of it all, it was Sansa who was determined, used her brains to get what she wanted.
Sidebar: Que Sera Sera for Rickon though. Also, who's betting that Lord Creep aka Baelish hopes to marry Sansa? It would be fairly disgusting, but then again it wouldn't be Game of Thrones without that now, would it?
But Sansa doesn't forget, even Snow backs down from killing Ramsay and lets his sister take the lead as she feeds him to the hounds and walks away with a satisfied grin.
Watch this space for a review of the spectacular battle scene.