TV Recap: Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 9, “The Watchers on the Wall”

The Overthinkers hitch their mammoth to Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 9, “The Watchers on the Wall.”

Shana, Ryan and Pete count the total number of chains used by the giants and the Night’s Watch in an extraordinarily expensive Game of Thrones episode about individualism, collectivism, and that next episode probably being awesome.


→ Download The Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 9 Recap

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5 Comments on “TV Recap: Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 9, “The Watchers on the Wall””

  1. Grim_ungainly #

    “We should have stayed in the cave.” was sort of the culmination of Maester Aemon’s quote about love and duty, right? I don’t remember exactly how it goes in the show, but in the books it goes like this:

    “What is honor compared to a woman’s love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms…or the memory of a brothers smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.”

    Jon and Yegrette should have stayed in the cave, because the gods have fashioned them for love, yadda, yadda, yadda.


  2. Grim_ungainly #

    Some thoughts on giants and mammoths:

    The existence of wooly mammoths and other Pileistocene Megafauna (including dire-wolves) is an aspect of this universe that is not quite magical, but often gets lumped in with more clearly magical things. At one point, mammoths and dire wolves did exist on this earth, whereas dragons are completely mythological. To some extent giants should be grouped with the first category, as there were extremely large apes that likely co-existed with early humans (at least until we killed them.)

    So I think we should see the giants as a exaggerated version of an extinct creature, a relict that, like the mammoths and the dire-wolves, exists in the north due to an extremely low human population density. Like Ryan said, an emblem of the wild or a force of nature rather than a mystical presence that we feel when we see the white walkers or the dragons.


    • Ben Adams OTI Staff #

      I’ll disagree with you slightly re: Giants as a wild/force of nature rather than a mystical presence. I think Giants always have a magical quality to them because of their prominence in fairy tales, etc. The mythos of giants is bound up in magic and whimsy in a way that a mammoth or even a dinosaur isn’t.

      I think if you’re drawing that line between Wild and Magical forces, it can’t be strictly determined by whether that force is grounded in reality or not. Even if paleontologists unearthed unshakeable evidence that unicorns (e.g. horses with horns on their heads) were real at one point, the Unicorn as an element in fiction would still be strongly associated with magic, not science.


      • Grim_ungainly #

        I hear what you’re saying, but I’m not sure I agree. Perhaps a mammoth or a dinosaur isn’t the right comparison. Lets try wolves instead. Wolves are represented in fairy tales at an even higher rate than giants. In those fairy tales they can speak and perform other actions that are clearly supernatural to some extent. Their mythological or fairy tale characteristics are clear to pretty much anyone who grew up in our culture: clever, vicious, conniving, greedy, scheming, etc. And this is in generations AFTER we’ve successfully extirpated the grey wolf from every place that people live.

        So what did George RR Martin (always a fan of flipping scripts) do with wolves? He makes them absurdly huge, and then ensconces them as the emblem of house Stark, who, along with their wolves, are deeply sympathetic and characterized by their loyalty, but are still capable of great viciousness. They are much less associated with magic than the dragons, or even ravens.
        I think giants in the GOT universe reflect a similar vibe as the dire-wolves (and the mammoths) primordial to be sure, but not particularly mystical.

        This is getting overly long and rambly, but I should point out that there are also unicorns in Westeros, living on the island of Skagos. I suspect they will be depicted as fairly non-magical.


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