Warning: spoilers for Game of Thrones, season 6, episode 9, “The Battle of the Bastards” follow…
Game of Thrones fans have come to expect great things from the ninth episode of the season. Shocking deaths, epic battles, and show-altering twists have all been on tap. Normally, the entries delight fans and are fodder for energetic water-cooler conversation both virtually and in person.
Last night's “Battle of the Bastards” seems to have divided the fanbase, however.
I have to wonder if part of the issue is that setting up an audience to expect the unexpected is inherently problematic. We all also seem to have different notions of what Game of Thrones ought be as a series, which is in many ways a result of the fact that it functions on multiple levels. Finally, we're simply different human beings with various tastes and perspectives. And healthy disagreement is part of what's enjoyable about experiencing these things together as a culture.
One big question that arose last night was, “Why didn't Sansa tell Jon that help from the Vale may be on the way?” There are a number of potential reasons: 1. She sent word but wasn't certain the army would arrive and Jon was too far gone to pull back from the battle because he was determined to save his brother, and not entirely listening to her. As such, didn't want to either give him false hope or have him accidentally tip their hat to Ramsay. 2. Sansa didn't trust Jon not to reveal their secret weapon and decided to hold it back from him. 3. Jon did know that it was possible that they may arrive, but also knew they needed to move forward if they had any hope of getting Rickon back.
Still, the fact that it appeared that Sansa held that information back from her brother is an understandable cause for concern for some viewers.
Here, Alan Sepinwall and Roth Cornet debate the merits of Sansa's choice and the overall nature of Game of Thrones' big battle episode this season.
Take a look in the player above or below and chat with us here or on Twitter.