A Turning Point
"You are going to die tomorrow, Lord Bolton. Sleep well." -- Sansa, "Game of Thrones"
Last night was perhaps the most anticipated hour of TV of the year. Throughout its run "Game of Thrones" has been known for its spectacular ninth episodes of each season. Last night was, likely, the final ninth episode of a season for the series, and it didn't disappoint.
Ramsey Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) met on the field of battle. It was everything fans could have hoped for. "Game of Thrones" is a show that eschews traditional labels such as hero and villain. It isn't a black-and-white world.
That being said, Ramsey Bolton is the closest we have to a pure villain. He is pure evil. He delights in torture and murder and has shown himself irredeemable. Jon, on the other hand, is the closest the show has to a pure, noble hero. He even fits the Christ-archetype perfectly, having sacrificed himself to save the world and been resurrected, literally.
"They’re almost a yin and a yang. They both come from such a similar place yet they’re so different. And even though they’re enemies, they’ve both risen so far as bastards, which is almost incomprehensible, and now they’re both here facing each other. They couldn’t be any more different, yet more similar," Rheon said of their meeting.
Their confrontation has been brewing for some time, and it was all we could have hoped. Ramsey was cocksure and cruel. Jon was noble and foolish. And in the end he prevailed. But it wasn't just because of him, it was because of his sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner), who swallowed her pride to win back her childhood home.
We have reached a turning point with the series. After last night's episode there is likely just 14 hours left until this story has been completed. It's time for the end road to round into shape. And as it does, I was struck by two things.
First, it is the women who've risen to meet the challenges. We saw three of them doing just that last night. Sansa overcame her shallowness and lack of knowledge about the world. She overcame being a victim and being brutalized. And she overcame her pride. All of it has made her stronger and given her the resolve needed to take back her home.
Over in Mereen, we saw more of the same. Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) began the series as a pawn of her brother. But now she's a queen, and warrior, without equal. And another strong woman, Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan), came to join her. Together they are just part of the move of strong women making moves and taking power in the world of Westeros and Essos.
The second thing I noticed was something Daenerys said. She commented to Yara and Tyrion (Peter Dinkledge) that all their fathers were evil men that left the world broken and worse than they found it. She also stated that they would break the cycle. They would make the world a better place.
Some have wondered if Daenerys is the villain. She has a streak of anger and cruelty, at times, but she is also the breaker of chains. She seeks to make the world a better place. She wants to rule, but it's the way she wants to rule that may be fascinating.
As we take the turn toward the home stretch, it will be interesting to see how these themes all play out.