“Thousands of men don’t need to die… only one of us.” Those are the words of Jon Snow before his epic clash with Ramsay Bolton during “Battle of the Bastards,” Sunday night’s season six penultimate episode of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
The showdown between Snow and Bolton, who according to the New York Times is the “most hated man on TV,” was heralded as one of the biggest battle sequences in TV history.
It did not disappoint.
The battle between the show’s two most famous bastards, Kit Harington’s Snow and Iwan Rheon’s Bolton, for the throne of Winterfell took up the second half of the episode with a climatic fight.
The showdown started with an incredibly tense scene that had Bolton kill Rickon Stark from afar with an arrow right before he could reach his brother, Jon Snow.
This led to Snow riding his horse, sword in hand, head on into Bolton’s army right before the bloody mayhem began.
Some online said that the battle’s effects, scale and cinematography reached the level of some war films.
“Battle of the Bastards = Emmys,” tweeted Lesley Goldberg, the Hollywood Reporter’s TV news editor.
Halfway through the battle, it appeared as if Snow and his army had lost until a horn began to ring signifying the surprise appearance of Littlefinger and the army of the Vale.
Bolton retreated to Winterfell thinking he was safe until the giant in Snow’s army broke through putting Bolton and Snow finally face to face.
After avoiding his arrows, Snow pummeled Bolton to near death before tying him up. Bolton, steadfastly evil until the end, was then violently eaten by own hounds as the episode cut to black.
Unlike most television series, “Game of Thrones” does not save its biggest moments for last.
Over its six seasons, the HBO series (HBO like CNN is owned by Time Warner (TWX)) has used its next to last episodes to showcase elaborate battles in episodes like “Blackwater” and shock audiences as it did with “The Rains of Castamere.”
Sunday’s bloody conflict stands out not only due to its sheer size, but for the duality between Snow and the reviled Bolton.
Rheon’s Bolton has taken part in some of the most despised events on the show. This includes gleefully killing characters and the controversial rape of Sansa Stark last season. The recently revived Snow, on the other hand, is the honorable hero of the drama.
The “Battle of the Bastards” may be over, but the war for Westeros looks to be just beginning.
The season six finale, titled “The Winds of Winter” after author George R.R. Martin’s next book in the saga, may set up an even bigger war to come.
One between the living and the dead.