Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall

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In "Game of Thrones" tradition, episode 9 – the penultimate episode of each season – is usually when some seriously grizzly stuff goes down. This episode follows in that tradition to an epic degree as far as crazy goes. We're here to recap our favorite moments of the battle at the Wall. Re-live your favorite moments and refresh your memory before the finale in this week's recap of Season 4 Episode 9, "The Watchers on the Wall," which aired June 8, 2014.
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  1. 1

    Bro Talk

    Bro Talk is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    Episode 9 begins and ends at the Wall, making it one of the only episodes of "Game of Thrones" to take place in only one location (the first was Season 2's "Blackwater," which also featured a full-scale battle).

    In many ways, "The Watchers on the Wall" is similar to "Blackwater" in that the episode begins with our characters backed up against a wall. There is an impending dread as Sam and Jon stand at the watch, waiting to die and discussing Jon's sexual exploits. Mance Rayder's army is coming, and there aren't enough men in Castle Black to hold them off.

    What did we learn?
    -Sam apparently has a foot fetish, which is apparent with his line, "How big were her feet?" Weird.
  2. 2

    Bear F*cking

    Bear F*cking is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    Back in the Free Folk camp, as Ygritte prepares her arrows for the battle, the wildling army enjoys a story from Tormund Giantsbane (apparently an oft-repeated story) about the time he f*cked a bear. No clue why you'd want to brag about that, but maybe Free Folk are impressed by different things than normal people. Ygritte makes it known that she wants to be the one to kill Jon Snow. Clearly she isn't over the whole, "lied to me, betrayed me, and then killed everybody and ran" thing.

    What did we learn?
    -Even in the insane world of "Game of Thrones," nobody believes a story about a guy boning a live bear.
  3. 3

    Thousands of Books and No Eyes to Read Them

    Thousands of Books and No Eyes... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    In the library, Sam is making himself feel worse by researching all of the horrific ways that Gilly may have been brutally murdered by the Free Folk. Maester Aemon finds him and tells him a story about love and loss. In some ways, life gets so much more difficult when you have something to live for.

    What did we learn?
    -Despite his blindness, Maester Aemon is the wisest man at the Wall.
    -We all forgot there was a Targaryen in exile at Castle Black.
  4. 4

    Gilly's Return

    Gilly's Return is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    Right before the mammoth sh*t hits the fan, Gilly and her baby show up at the gates of Castle Black. Somehow, she made it through the freezing icy cold, past the murderous Free Folk army, and up to the gates all alone with a baby – and survived. She did live with Craster, though, so she's clearly used to merely surviving. Gilly asks Sam to stay behind and hide with her, but he finally grows a pair and decides to fight with the others, promising not to die.

    What did we learn?
    -If Sam doesn't get laid after all this, then something is seriously wrong.
  5. 5

    The Moment We've All Been Waiting For

    The Moment We've All Been Wait... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    After seasons of build-up, it has finally happened: Mance Rayder's army of bloodthirsty Free Folk, ruthless cannibals, and monstrous giants has reached the wall. After refusing to seal the tunnel, Alliser Thorne kind of apologizes to Jon, telling him that he hopes he lives through all of this so he can continue to hate him and wish he was dead.

    What did we learn?
    -Thorne is really just a lovable teddy bear of a guy once you get to know him.
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    A Case of the Pre-Battle Jitters

    A Case of the Pre-Battle Jitte... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    Pypar is having trouble keeping his hands from shaking as the impending battle draws near. It just goes to show how little actual experience these men have. It's one thing to use a dull blade while sparring with friends, but this is the real deal. Sam tells him that the way he was able to kill the white walker was to stop being his normal, scared self and act on instinct. After all that has happened, Sam has found himself permanently in this mode. He's fearless, and kind of a badass.

    What did we learn?
    -"When you're nothing at all, there's no more reason to be afraid." This quote can be applied to almost every major character in the series at this point. Interesting to think about.
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    Giants Riding Mammoths

    Giants Riding Mammoths is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    This episode will forever be remembered as the one that brought giants into our lives via giant woolly mammoths. It was something we didn't know we wanted, and now it's something we will never forget.

    What did we learn?
    -There are mammoths in "Game of Thrones." Ridiculous.
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    Thorne's Redemption

    Thorne's Redemption is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Game of Thrones Recap: S4E9 The Watchers On The Wall
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    Thorne has always been an insufferable prick – even when apologizing, as we saw earlier in the episode. However, when push comes to shove, it turns out he's a good leader and an even better fighter. He single-handedly takes out what seems like nearly 20 men before being slashed in the belly and pulled out of commission. His fate is undetermined, but he may have survived to be a dick another day.

    What did we learn?
    -Not all of the Night's Watch members are rejects, rapists, or outcasts. Some of them can really fight.
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