Game of Thrones Battle of the Bastards

I’m an avid fan of Game of Thrones. The story is intriguing and characters are well developed. You never know exactly what is going to happen next or if they are going to kill off another character. Some times the bed guys die, but mostly the good ones do. Let’s face it, if the good always prevail there wouldn’t be a story. However, Sunday nights episode the good finally did win, probably because the season is wrapping up. But this episode was so well done I had to blog about it–from a writer’s perspective.

Recap of the Episode

Meereen is under attack by the ‘Masters’. Daenerys Targaryen wants to wipe them all out, but Tyrion Lannister convinces her a better way that doesn’t end in killing innocent victims while gain a fleet of ships. They have a meeting with the three masters to discuss their terms of surrender. They scoff at them, saying they’re not surrendering. They’re more powerful than the dragon queen. Her reign over Meereen is over. Daenerys tells them, her reign has just begun. She shows them who really is more powerful by taking a quick ride with her dragons and burning down a couple of their ships. All the while Daario Naharis and her army of Dothraki stop the Sons of the Harpy killing off innocent citizens of Meereen.

Once the battle is over, Theon Greyjoy and his sister, Yara, pay Daenerys a visit. They offer them their ships and help to make her queen of the 7 kingdoms in return they give them Iron Kingdom and kill off a few relatives. Daenerys at first hesitant about their help if it meant making Theon, another man, king. But when he says, not me, my sister as their first queen, Daenerys is more than overjoy to team up with them. Another victim to save from oppression.

On the other side of the world, Sansa Stark and her half-brother Jon Snow are preparing to battle Ramsay Bolton to take back Winterfell and save her younger brother. Jon and his Wildlings have a game plan to wait until Ramsey attacks, giving them an advantage. Sansa doesn’t think it’s a good plan. She offers her advice since she knows Ramsey, intimately. She warns Jon that he likes to play games and very good at it. He needs to think out of the box or he’ll lose. But Jon is over confident and believes he’ll outsmart Ramsey.

Morning of the battle Jon quickly learned he should’ve listened to his sister. Ramsay drags his brother in the middle of the battle field and has him run to Jon while shooting arrows at him. Jon rushes to save his younger brother only to watch him die in front of him and realize he placed himself in peril. Ramsey’s army descends on him, standing alone, but luckily his army reaches him at the same time as Ramsey’s.

Jon’s army is quickly reduced in numbers and they are surrounded, slowly being picked off one by one. Just as you start to wonder if he is going to lose, Little Finger’s army comes to the rescue, killing off the Ramsey’s guards.

Ramsey runs to Winterfell trying to keep it, but he didn’t consider Jon would have a giant break down the gate. It didn’t take long for Ramsey’s remaining army to fall, leaving Ramsey standing alone with a bow and arrow. He tries to shoot Jon, but Jon is on a mission. Taking a shield he rushes Ramsey and takes him down, beating him with his fists into a bloody pulp.

The show ends with Sansa sicking Ramsey’s dogs on him. Letting them eat him alive. The once shy girl, stood and watched with pleasure finally getting her revenge after everything he done to her.

Writing Notes

What I thought stood out the most about this episode and worthy to discuss on a blog was the way they handled the battle. Yes they followed the popular formula where the underdog is pitted against the arrogant bully, but some-how or another, he manages to prevail. But how they executed the scene was more powerful and moving then I have seen in a long time. They did it in a way that wasn’t too over dramatic as such a scene could lend it self to be, but also where you, the viewer, actually experience it.

Here you have Jon rushing to save his little brother, barely a teen, despite any danger only to watch him die at his feet. Then you watch as the anger floods through him and he foolishly race to get revenge while heading right to Ramsey’s army.

This was powerful, because they played off what the audience themselves fear would happen to their children and how they would react afterwards. Making the scene hit home. As writer’s, your best tool to capture readers interest and keep them is to use real life experience to generate an emotional attachment and reaction.

Now that they hooked the audience, they kept us hooked by continually placing Jon in one peril after another. First he is standing alone on the field as Ramsey is barreling down on him. He pulls out his sword, preparing fight while dying. But as the army reaches him, so does his. Which as  one of the audience was a nice twist.

Using a twist, basically not doing as you thought would happen, in this case Jon dying epic-ly, is another great tool to keep the audience interested. Most readers, if they know the outcome, they lose interest and stop reading. Throwing in a few twists keeps them wanting to read more.

Boy did they have several twists and turns in this episode. One of the most interesting and cinematic was Jon being slowly buried alive under dead bodies. I could almost feel as if I’m suffocating along with him by the use of sound and imagery from his point of view.

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Using POV is another great writing tool. When you use third person, it keeps reader at a distance from the scene, which is good when trying to get a wider view of the situation, but bad if you’re trying show a personal experience. Take the scene with Jon. If all you saw was him being buried from a distance and then pop out, it wouldn’t have been as dramatic or powerful. However, using the first person POV, it allowed the audience to actually go through the experience with him. In writing you can do the same using a readers POV. Showing how they feel, what they see and hear.

Finally, the last moment when Little Finger’s army comes to the rescue and Jon is able to go after Ramsey, Ramsey runs. When Ramsey is standing alone, he still acts like a weasel trying to kill Jon with a bow. This was another powerful scene, because it kept the characters true to the end. Ramsey is overconfident, but a back-stabbing weasel who’ll fight dirty to win. Jon is stronger, stronger than he realizes, and driven. He believes in justice. However, he also values life and doesn’t like to kill. So when he had a chance to beat Ramsey to death, he didn’t take it.

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Staying in character helps the audience to identify with the scene and their actions. If they don’t stay in character and deviate even a little it’ll upset the reader. For instance the movie Aliens 3 where Ripley gives up and lets herself die. Seriously. I’m still pissed off about the movie and stopped watching the others after it.

Staying in character also helps the reader to understand when something doesn’t happen as they hoped, like Jon beating Ramsey to death. However, it also can be uplifting when they do something you wanted them to do like Sansa killing Ramsey.

She had suffered many hardships and Ramsey raping her repeatedly was the last straw. So when she let the Ramsey’s dogs into his cell, the audience wasn’t surprised nor were they upset about it. They wanted him dead as much as her.

Anyways, if you haven’t watched the episode, you should. It is well worth it.


About The Author

C. Zablockis is an Indie author of paranormal, dark fantasy and horror novels. She published Lexi Greene’s Dangerous Lesson, Lexi Greene’s Grim Awakening, Monster (The Zeuorian Series) and My Watcher (The Zeuorian Series) YA Dark Fantasy Thriller.

 

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