Siena Yates: Game of Thrones just set a new standard for TV

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WARNING: This article contains Game of Thrones spoilers. Do not read if you haven't seen season six, episode nine, Battle of the Bastards.
Episode 9: In which Jon becomes the hero we all deserve. Photo / HBO
Episode 9: In which Jon becomes the hero we all deserve. Photo / HBO

Forget everything you've ever seen: Game of Thrones just aired the greatest episode of television ever.

What would come close? Breaking Bad? The Sopranos? Game of Thrones' own Red Wedding? Nothing comes close.

In one episode we had two major battles, three dragons, one giant, five armies, three badass women, one childlike empress (Lyanna Mormont) and countless deaths.

Ser Davos breaks out amidst the chaos. Photo / HBO
Ser Davos breaks out amidst the chaos. Photo / HBO

There was politics, revenge and more gore in an episode that was packed with non-stop action and actual edge-of-your-seat viewing.

We visited Meereen, in which Dany took all three of her dragons to lay waste to the Slavers' ships, while Tyrion, Grey Worm and Missandei dealt with their leaders.

Dany's three dragons attack the Slavers' ships as one. Photo / HBO
Dany's three dragons attack the Slavers' ships as one. Photo / HBO

Yara and Theon finally made it to Meereen in what was the greatest forging of an alliance to ever take place on Thrones, in which they bartered ships for endorsements.

And when Dany questioned whether there were marriage demands at hand - as there would be coming from Euron - Yara answered: "I never demand, but I'm up for anything really".

Their exchanges were full of girl power statements as they discussed their useless fathers and terrible families, and pledged to do a better job.

And when they finally shook hands the entire fandom screamed: "Just make out already." (Okay, that might have just been me).

And then we crossed over to Winterfell.

Jon Snow pulled another fake out, going to talk to Mellisandre about dying again so we would all think it was going to happen.

And by the way, if you were hoping Mellisandre might whip out some magic powers or give birth to a shadow army to help out, she contributed absolutely nothing.

Ramsay sends Rickon to Jon. Photo / HBO
Ramsay sends Rickon to Jon. Photo / HBO

Ramsay being Ramsay met Jon on the battlefield where he cut Rickon loose and forced him to run to Jon while he shot arrows at his back for sport.

As was always bound to happen, Jon and Rickon got within inches of each other before Ramsay finally killed him.

Then, Jon Snow, being Jon Snow, thought it was a great idea to ride against Ramsay's entire army by himself. Because Ygritte wasn't kidding when she said Jon Snow knows nothing.

However, the battle that followed was probably the single most well-executed battle sequence I've ever seen.

An aerial view of the battle for Winterfell. Photo / HBO
An aerial view of the battle for Winterfell. Photo / HBO

There was pure chaos and the choreography was flawless. Horses and humans and arrows all moved where they were supposed to, when they were supposed to. There were a hundred close calls, and a thousand deaths, and constant movement.

When the cameras pulled away you got an idea of the scale of the whole thing, and the sound of a hundred men screaming. And when it pushed back in on Jon Snow being trampled as soldiers tried to escape, you could feel the intensity.

Ramsay's battle plan was perfectly executed, with the formations creating beautiful shots - right up until Queen Sansa turned up with the army from The Vale to save the day, because she knew Ramsay would pull some back-handed nonsense.

Little Finger and Sansa ride in to save the day. Photo / HBO
Little Finger and Sansa ride in to save the day. Photo / HBO

Team Stark re-took Winterfell, Jon beat the living daylights out of Ramsay and Sansa visited him in the dungeon to deliver the final blow, in which Ramsay was eaten by his own hounds (complete with a gratuitous shot of a dog eating Ramsay's face).

And it all ended with Sansa walking away with a smile on her face.

But let me just say this: I am skimming the surface here, with how excellent this episode was. But frankly, it's not possible to put it into words - at least not until I've re-watched it four times and mulled over it for a week.

Still, Jon Snow finally became the hero we all deserve, Sansa got a chance to prove herself and get her revenge, Ramsay went out the only way that was fitting to such an excellently terrible character, and Dany and Yara just formed the ultimate alliance.

Possibly the best part about this is Arya and Bran now have a home to return to - hopefully in the next episode.

* The latest episode of Game of Thrones airs again on Soho tonight at 8.30pm, and will be available for streaming on Neon.

- NZ Herald

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