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Game of Thrones Book Club | Spoiler Discussion of Battle of the Bastards, Season 6 Episode 9

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in the thick of the "Battle of the Bastards"

Kit Harington as Jon Snow in the thick of the “Battle of the Bastards”

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Welcome to the Game of Thrones Book Club, the Post Show Recaps podcast that talks about HBO’s Emmy-winning series from the perspective of those who have read George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and related material. You are listening and proceeding further at your own risk.

It’s a late book club this week, but Josh Wigler (@roundhoward) and Terri Schwartz (@Terri_Schwartz) are nonetheless sinking their teeth into “Battle of the Bastards,” the ninth episode of season six, and easily one of the most epic episodes of the entire series. They fan out over the achievement of the episode for a good little while, before letting their minds wander into all sorts of theories about “The Winds of Winter.” The episode, not the book. Insert sad clown womp womp noise here.

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  • susan appleby

    Nice podcast. I do think you guys are underestimating how much of a cliffhanger this season can end on. They can touch on a number of stories if they are setting the stage for the next season and not wrapping up the last episode. I mean, from the trailer we are going to a number of locations, we can’t expect to get resolution from them all. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended with a fireball starting or something similar. After what they tried to do with Jon Snow last seaso, I’m certain we get cliffhanger ending.

    • susan appleby

      Very glad to be wrong about the cliffhanger!!

  • Paul

    How far into TWoW do you think the bastard bowl happens? Do you think Stannis vs Ramsey and Jon vs Ramsey are separate battles? Or does Stannis die and then Jon “continues” the battle?

    • GeekFurious

      I don’t think the “Bastard Bowl” will happen at all. Stannis will fight Ramsay and just barely lose but take down most of his military. The Vale will show up later and take back Winterfell. Jeyne Poole will return to Winterfell to face Ramsay… and, with the blessing of Sansa, will choose the manner of death for her “husband.” Perhaps a resurrected Jon Snow will come with her, but I suspect his journey will lead him elsewhere.

  • Austin

    I think the very last scene of the finale will be the Tower of Joy. I think Jon will have to wait until next season to find out about his heritage. While other characters may have their suspicions about Jon I believe the only person who knows for sure is Howland Reed becasue he survived the Tower of Joy.
    Also I hope they introduce young Griff into the story like have him on the same ship as Arya or something. They can’t leave him out of the show right?

    • GeekFurious

      They’ve ended most seasons with Dany. I think they will do the same this time. Most likely with her leaving for Westeros on dragon-back. However, I am rooting for that to be the second to last shot… then cut to the Wall where we’d get something like the end of season 2 type thing.

      • Asher Forrester

        I feel exactly the same! Bran & The White Walker’s storyline feels like the most fitting for a final shocking moment. Maybe we end the season with a vision from the future, where Bran encounters some version of his future self??? That would be spine-chillingly insane!!! >__<

  • GeekFurious

    Just restating my opinion… I believe there is ZERO percent chance Cersei is blowing up King’s Landing with wildfire at the end of this season. Zero. The Sept, sure. But not the whole thing.

    • Brendan Fitzpatrick

      I also think it’s just the Sept, and that Tommen will be inside. Cercei wont know til after, that Tommen was in there, and she killed her own Son. Fullfilling that part of the prophecy herself, and then Jaime will kill her when he returns to KL next season, that won’t happen in the finale.

      • GeekFurious

        Glad you brought this up… AND I don’t believe Tommen will be inside. It just makes no sense to me that Cersei would be that careless when the last conversation we saw her have with Qyburn seemed so calculated. Obviously this season is full of poor plotting JUST to get us to a moment that forwards the story even if it is done stupidly, but this just seems like too much of a gamble, even for Cersei, to put her own son in harm’s way if blowing up the Sept will essentially eliminate ALL her enemies and leave her in a major power position. She’d need Tommen alive. Not to mention, he’s her last child. Unless she plans to be inside when it happens, I don’t see any reason it is going down that way.

        Also, and I can’t find where I saw it, but I remember some kind of teaser where Tommen said to Cersei “Did you always hate her?” or something to that effect. We have not seen that scene yet (I’ve looked for it in all the main teasers but can’t find it so it must have been in some minor preview, but I know I saw it). That has to be coming… and I think it is coming after everyone in the Sept has been killed. Tommen is still alive and sad about his wife’s death. I bet Cersei is gloating.

        But I’ve made this prediction before… in last week’s comment section. :)

        • Christine Larivière

          The last time King’s Landing was under siege, she was about to kill Tommen. It fits that she would do it accidentally this time.

          • GeekFurious

            Because she thought they were going to be murdered by the conquerors. In her mind, she was SPARING her son that horror. This would be actually murdering her son out of spite. It has absolutely nothing to do with her character. She loves her children even when they hurt her.

            To suggest otherwise and to believe she would kill Tommen in this way is some bizarre universe version of Cersei and not even D&D would do it. The only thing that makes sense is that he dies despite the fact that she tried to protect him. That something she does causes his death because she couldn’t foresee it.

            I believe the wildfire on the Sept will be a surgical strike. Cersei and Qyburn have a plan. And they would do everything to keep Tommen safe.

            His death will come after.

          • susan appleby

            She may not kill him at all. But we do see him getting ready for the trial. Perhaps he kills himself if his mother is found guilty?

          • GeekFurious

            My theory is that Cersei asks him to not go to the Sept. That she doesn’t want to be judged in his presence. He already recused himself from his uncle’s trial so there is precedence for it. And then she blows up the Sept… she returns to King’s Landing and meets with Tommen, who is devastated that his wife is dead. Cersei tells him she will find him a new wife. He jumps to his death.

            Sure, maybe it is all simpler and he just dies at the Sept, or Cersei blows up King’s Landing… but that just doesn’t feel like the kind of plot even this new lazier version of D&D would write for her.

          • susan appleby

            We were very close to the truth. But I didn’t see Cersei becoming Queen.

      • susan appleby

        I’m still out on Jaime killing Cersei unless it’s a mercy killing thing. Jaime loves Cersei as part of himself. Jaime is a highly trained and skilled warrior, he won’t just leg out and kill the woman he has loved literally all his life.

        Maybe he kills her for mercy and then himself?

        People thinking Jaime kills Cersei are basing it off two things in addition to the presumed death of Tommen: 1. That she burns down Kings Landing, which may not happen depending on the set up of wildfire and 2. The part of the book prophecy that isn’t in the show yet. Maybe they will do another flashback and show the rest of the prophecy about the little brother, but it isn’t in the show yet. Also, there is some discussion that the word “valinwuar” is gender neutral, and it could mean a girl or a boy. (Same as with the prophecy about dragons and the prince who was promised maybe being misunderstood as to gender.)

    • susan appleby

      Isn’t the wildfire designed so that it goes everywhere except the Keep? My thinking was based on the idea that one cache exploding would ignite the others. If that isn’t true, then I agree with you.

      • GeekFurious

        Shrug. We don’t know so much about how the show is handling this… I won’t be surprised if it is illogical.

  • It’s inconsequential, but it was Syrio that first started calling Arya “boy” and was really the first that introduced the notion of appearances and identity don’t really mean anything.

    I do agree though that Arya has never really known who she is. During peacetime in Winterfell her existence was mainly made up of resisting everything that was expected of her, her closest bond was Jon who’s also had an identity crisis his whole life, and generally she’s completely ignored the class system and hung around the most working class people possible.

    So her declaration of “I’m Arya Stark of Winterfell” doesn’t really hold much weight. She won’t rule or has no interest in playing the game of thrones, she won’t marry a high lord, her kill list has mostly been completed or will be completed without her. I have no idea apart from a happy reuniting with Jon and to a lesser extent Sansa where her story ends up.

    • susan appleby

      I don’t agree. Arya still has people on her list (at least one of whom I expect her to kill this week) and she has valuable, unique skills. She was never going to rule anything.

      I think she has a destiny beyond the wall. I can see her becoming an explorer of sorts by the end. I’m wondering who her partner might be.

      • I don’t mind that idea of Arya going off and exploring Sothoryos or what’s west of Westeros actually. Apart from Tyrion, Arya is probably the character who has travelled the most in the series learning new things along the way, so that could be a good fit for her.

    • GeekFurious

      When winter is gone and summer has returned… they will find Arya’s corpse still clutching her Needle.

  • Joel Rainey

    Am I the only one who sees the broken stark sigil on the ground next to the Flayed man in the opening credits

  • Beefcake

    I kinda like the idea of Littlefinger knowing that R+L=J. It coud come up this week if there is a dispute as to who takes over as lord of Winterfell. With Rickon dead (and Bran presumed dead), Sansa would be next in line, but a lot of people might be hesitant to follow a teenage girl and prefer the bastard warrior. Littlefinger could be all like, “Ummm, yeah, but y’know he’s not really Ned’s son at all” in order to put Sansa on the throne.

    But in order to stand up in court, I think you need an actual witness, and the only witness to R+L=J is Howland Reed. I think Bran gets a vision and finds out about Jon’s parentage, then tells Meera to take him to her father. That’s about as far as I think R+L=J will go this season.

  • Beefcake

    Also, the three heads of the dragon are Dany, Tyrion and Jon.

    C’mon, we all have to agree on that by now, dammit!

  • jjules63

    Honestly Josh has the silliest theories. Littlefinger tells Jon of his parentage? And what proof does he have? Jon just believes him? And fuck Sam and Gilly. It’s like watching wet paint dry watching those two.

  • GeekFurious

    I got real close… :)