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

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LIVE at 10:15 pm ET / 7:15 pm PT, Rob Cesternino and Josh Wigler recap Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 9: “The Watchers on the Wall”.  Join us each Sunday Night LIVE after the episode for the chance to hear our recap and ask your questions LIVE on the show.

In this episode Rob and Josh discuss all points from the “The Watchers on the Wall”:

  • Why was the fan reaction so polarizing to this week’s episode?
  • Was Sam this week’s MVP after he kissed Gilly and killed one of the Thenns?
  • Would Ygritte have killed Jon Snow had she not been shot by the bow and arrow?
  • Does Samwell Tarly have a foot fetish?
  • Does Jon Snow have a good plan to seek out Mance Rayder north of the wall?
  • Was there any significance to Maestor Aemon’s story about the woman that he had a relationship with?
  • What’s next for Sam and Gilly?
  • What will happen to Janos now?
  • How did Tormund Giantsbane have sex with a bear?
  • Why is it that the only thing better than Giants is Giants that have bows and arrows?
  • Was it a mistake to not let Ghost, the direwolf, free earlier in the battle?
  • Is Game of Thrones going to become a series of feature films to wrap up the series?

Be sure to join us later this week for Game of Thrones Book Club and Listener Feedback shows.

Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 9 Review: The Watchers on the Wall Recap

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

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Special Thanks to Robert Francis for making this photoshop after Sunday’s show!

  • jon dunn

    Gilly’s got DEM FEET

    • toast

      I figure in the extremely unhygienic world of Westros, clean healthy feet would be a rare wonder.
      A foot fetish for non-fungal blackened toenails would be a real thing in that universe.

  • toast

    Haven’t listened yet, but we’re gonna get a Sam impersonation overload.

    • Josh Wigler

      guilty as charged

  • Rory

    Ygritte was calling Tormund out and saying that he never actually had sex with a bear. Tormund has many titles – “husband to bears” is one, but “tall-talker” is another. I was just upset Tormund’s story got cut short. I wanted to hear more about his member. HAR!

    Jon is my favourite character in the books too (alongside Jaime), so I’m with Josh in that I don’t feel like they did him justice in the show. Not just the acting, but the writing too.

    • toast

      “Bears”. Lots of hairy, lonely Northern men about…

  • hint

    I was super impressed with Thenn, that actor Joseph Gatt is just awesome. And really damn creepy. In a show with such epic bad-asses all over the place, I think he actually steals the show and tops them all. And it was real impressive how huge they made him look when fighting Kit, there’s actually only like 3 inches difference between the 2 actors, but they made it look like a feet.

    Aaaand I now just rewatched Josephs albino fight scene from Banshee and noticed there is smth about 4 mins in that I had forgotten and what GoT fans might like :P

    • Trixie02

      The actor was amazing in this episode. I agree that he stole the show.

      • hint

        Yeah, his recent appearances in Banshee and GoT have been epic awesome. This guy has the potential to be the next awesome prolific always type-casted villain for decades. Actually my most favorite actor type I think, I mean nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than when I’m watching some awesome TV show and then suddenly someone like Željko Ivanek pops on screen, ya know :D

        Seriously if any hollywood director has seen either of his last 2 TV roles, when he will be saying “get me this really creepy super badass motherfucker guy”, he will be meaning Joseph Gatt.

        • Trixie02

          I was surprised how much shorter he looks in that clip! That clip was disturbing to me, but his performance is great albeit different from the one he gave in GoT. I think he will be the go-to actor for badass roles–at least he should be.

  • Linus Wesley

    Very impressive episode. So many cool ideas in the battle that I didn’t expect and haven’t seen in other stories, like the giant riding a mammoth, giants with bow and arrow and that “scythe” swinging down the wall. Like you guys were saying, there were 30 minutes there in the middle of the episode that had non-stop suspense and it was fantastic.

    I think some might feel underwhelmed not because a lack of great action, but because from what we’ve seen on the show, we know that anyone could die here, and nothing terrible really happened. I was preparing myself for every single character that we knew on the Wall dying, including Jon Snow and Sam. I of course didn’t want that to happen, but when the battle was finally over (and the whole episode had gone by super fast) it felt like the outcome was too good to be true. I think the same thing would have happened last episode if the Red Viper had won the fight; we would have been happy about it but surprised nothing more awful happened.

  • Guillaume Larivière

    About a quarter into the recap now, great stuff.

    But what was with the “ding” sounds here and there? Reminded me of the RHAP bell, was it some inside joke I just don’t get?

    • BogDa

      At this point I think it’s a RHAP inside joke.

      • Trixie02

        I miss his neighbors.

    • toast

      I figured someone was eating cereal.

    • My google hangout was giving me problems and I didn’t turn off the notification sounds fast enough.

  • Trixie02

    Who else but Rob can weave a Kenny Rogers song into “Game of Thrones”?

    • toast

      I was thinking “What do you get when you fall in love? You get enough germs to catch pneumonia. And when you do, she’ll never own ya…”

      • Trixie02

        It was “You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold’em”. It’s very thematic for GOT.
        I guess Bon Jovi’s “Shot through the heart and you’re to blame. You give love a bad name.” would work, too.

        • toast

          Much better. Far more literally correct.

  • Luke Foody

    I love that this episode just contrasts the stupidity of the southern lords in the show. The southern lords fight and betray for a iron chair while a ragtag group of thieves and murderers give their lives for their realm.

    Grenn and his watchmen dying to defending the gate was probally the most heroic moment in the series so far.

    Great episode

  • BogDa

    This episode was good, but in the end every person I thought would die, died. It was predicatible. I knew Ygritte would get killed by the kid, it was obvious. I knew every single nights watch person who we had seen for so long was going to die. I did think we might lose Sam. But the problem with the wall is the characters are not compelling. I can’t name the other nights watchman. I know nothing about them.

    It’s annoying when Jon Snow can stop in the middle of a battle to craddle Ygritte. I thought, —OH! this is where he gets an axe in the head. But it didn’t happen. But it should have. This is game of thrones.

    The biggest problem I have with these night time battle scenes is I can’t see what’s going on — It’s too dark. So people are dying left right and centre and I can’t even tell which side is getting killed.

    It’s hard to relate to Giants. What is their motivation? Do they have thoughts? Why are they on board with this attack? They played a bigger role in this episode than most of the other characters. It would have been stronger if the giants had personalities and we actually knew who they are. In the end I’d honestly prefer that Game of Thrones not have supernatural elements at all. I know it is about a world where these elements are leaking back in, but the politics and the scheming is really the heart of the show. Kings landing is everything.

    • Rory

      It may be the heart of the show, but it’s not the heart of the story.

      Who says the giants don’t have personalities? We’ve only just been introduced to them. From this episode we know they have emotions.

      Alister Thorne letting the wildlings in would make no sense. Partly because he’s one of the people who blindly hates wildlings. You talk about the heart of the show, but one of the key parts of it is that nothing is black and white. Thorne may have been a dick to Jon, but he’s not a terrible person. It seems like you think the show should create twists and kill off characters just for the sake of it.

      I’ll give you the point about the kid killing Ygritte though. That was very cliché TV. And I agree that the show hasn’t made the Northern story and characters particularly compelling.

      • toast

        Deliberately robbing us of the answer to the question “Will she or wont she?”.
        Cop out, or cruelty to the audience?

      • Trixie02

        After the Red Wedding, they’re probably trying to soften the blow when a beloved character dies. Having Ollie kill her made it understandable.

    • Trixie02

      Isn’t that the message, though? The Southerners can vie for worldly things when the men in the North ( a group of lowly bastards) are defending the frontier from other worldly invaders. The throne is not so important in the scheme of things.

      As for Jon and Ygritte–we were supposed to believe that time was suspended for that moment from the camera shot.

  • Luke Foody

    Can we get a GoT rewatch? Starting from S1 an episode a week until S5 :D

    • StephenDrabek

      I’m hoping Rob picks up the book 1 audiobook in the off-season and listens to it, does a new podcast with Josh talking about the book, and then does a season 1 rewatch.

      • susan appleby

        I got it for free from trying to listen in the car but it is too dark.

  • Jaymz Pookie Payton

    I thought it was a good episode… But I was a little disappointed it all focused on the wall… It was so hyped up and while it was definitely a good watch. It wasn’t what I expected.

    • toast

      Gotta leave the audience hanging out to find out what happens with them loose ends.
      I have a feeling we’ll be waiting a year to get answers.

  • Jaymz Deen Payton

    But you go SAM!!! He laid a big wet one on Gilly!! He’s ready to test the loophole in the Knights Watch vows!

  • waggenx2

    So sad Ygritte is dead, the woman of my dreams…

    • toast

      Another Bug Crushed by the Gods. A love that could have been, destroyed by war and division.

  • toast

    Ser Alistair reminds me of Ridley Scott with a botoxed forehead.


    As someone who prefers short battles (stick ‘em with the pointy end or just smush the whole head quickly) I found this episode less satisfying. I’m not really a fan of the battles in the books either and prefer the political shenanigans. But I think the boy did Jon a huge favour. That stand off was definitely going to end with either Ygritte or Jon dead and this way Jon didn’t have to do the deed himself. The nod the kid gave Jon? That was, “You’re welcome.” The episode’s silver lining is that Sam was in superhero mode, which provided the treat of Josh’s impression of Sam quoting a Kelly Clarkson song. My question is, does anyone know how that elevator works? How long does it take to get to the top? Wouldn’t the elevator be a good target for the enemy? What if it beaks down? Are there emergency stairs within the wall? (Or maybe a bunch of emergency parachutes at the top?) LOVE this podcast! :)