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.
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.
Thousands of Books and No Eyes to Read Them
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.
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.