Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 9 Preview – “The Watchers on the Wall”

“Tonight we fight, and when the sun rises, I promise you, Castle Black will stand.”

From the official HBO synopsis: Jon Snow and the rest of the Night’s Watch face the biggest challenge to the Wall yet.

“The Watchers on the Wall” is written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and directed by Neil Marshall. This is Marshall’s first outing with Game of Thrones since season 2, when he directed the epic “Blackwater.” The story of the Wall will take center stage this week, with all action surrounding Castle Black and the imminent threat of the wildlings. Photos from the new episode featuring characters such as Jon Snow and Ygritte were released earlier this week.

HBO’s “Previously On” Recap video created for episode 9 has also been released early:

Ours is the Fury: Though the significance of the ninth episode was emphasized a little less this year, with there being major high points in other episodes as well, this is still going to be a huge one. I’m really looking forward to seeing the full extent of the effects teased in the preview. What are you all looking forward to the most?


  • Alliser’s Season 1 speech went a long way toward establishing where he comes from and his way of thinking, and that’s the only reason to have any sympathy for him. I wish his portrayal – the writing, that is – had been a bit more nuanced in this season, though. But I’m still rooting for the guy to make it out of this.

    And given the expected highlights of this season so far (the great first two episodes and ep 8) and the unexpected (Mockingbird was a gem among gems), I do hope we see yet another amazing episode 9.

  • I don’t care what anyone says about not liking that this episode is set entirely at the Wall. Jon’s storyline has gotten the shaft for the past 2+ seasons. I say it’s about damn time the show does him justice.

  • jentario,

    And now all Unsullied know where the wildling army will strike and where the biggest fire the north has ever seen will be built! Nice going jentario. You’ve just spoiled it for everyone.

  • Guesses from the “previously on” video.

    Ygritte is pregnant with baby Snow

    that little boy will kill Ygritte and/ or Styr via arrow

    Janos Slynt will do something stupid that will cause a setback

    Grenn is toast :(

  • ColdPie,

    D&D would be a couple of sick bastards to go to the pregnant lady dying route for the second consecutive season. That would seem a needless add-on. Jon loving Ygritte should be enough.

  • ColdPie,

    I can’t see them pulling the same deviate twist as the Red Wedding in regards to adding another pregnancy to a woman that dies. It just seems cheap in my opinion.

  • As a huge Neil Marshall fan I am so stoked for this. :D

    Has anyone else noticed that when Jon Snow is his more assertive, less emotional self, Kit’s acting is on a whole other level? Since the events of this episode steer him even further in that direction, it is a battle well fought.

    And also…MAMMOTHS!

    But if Ygritte says she is pregnant as she draws her last breath I might be forced to start a spinoff blog series called The Thrones of our Lives.

  • Tyroshi Barber: Will ep. 9 again be the top rated episode of the season?

    That will be VERY hard.

    So far, The Laws of Gods and Men and The Lion and the Rose have 9.8 on IMDB, and are closely followed by The Mountain and the Viper at 9.7. I can see the The Watcher on the Walls easily being one of the GOAT and better than these brilliant episodes, however, I think some might give it a low rating just because of no Tyrion resolution. It certainly does have huge potential, though :)

    In terms of most viewed… duh!

  • Agree with Tyrion Pimpslap. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I finished aSoS. My expectations are high, but I enjoyed Blackwater and D and D’s writing for this season. My only gripe is the lack of meaningful build -up for this and the general lack of focus on Jon as one of the books’ most important characters. Beyond that though, the preview looks rich and visceral. I’m simply going to avoid post-episode comments on this one.

  • Daniellica,

    Dude… spoiler tag that last line.
    You spoiler tagged the things that really didn’t need it and left that open lol.

  • I really don’t want any of Jon’s lads to die but I would rather it be Grenn or Pyp than Edd. Edd needs to be around next season to fetch blocks for Jon.

    Also, previously I was assuming that Stannis would arrive in this episode but now I feel like they might save that for the next episode. Any ideas?

    Why are people thinking that Ygritte is pregnant?

  • wizardeyes,

    They are thinking she’s pregnant because of the recap and the focus on saving the baby last episode. The recap shows her and Jon getting’ frisky, and also highlights her saving the baby.

    I really hope they don’t go that route, but who knows.

  • Given the recap:
    (1) suspicion Janos slynt may turn headless

    (2) no heads up on a stannis appearance, but the intro will surely help us understand with names, unfortunately

  • No way is Stannis being saved for ep 10. There’s no reason to show him in the preview since that ruins the impact of him saving the day. I wouldnt be surprised if the end of the episode he swaggers out of a crowd of his men as the victor and then fade to black.

  • Thoros of Brooklyn,

    Ahh I see.

    Yeah I hope they don’t do that. They already have done that in season 3’s episode 9 and it would become like a whole thing “why do game of thrones keep killing off unborn children!?” The moment of Ygritte’s death is sad enough without it. I didn’t even like Ygritte that much but its just so tragic when she says that they should never have left that cave. I felt so sad for Jon.

  • Daniellica: Has anyone else noticed that when Jon Snow is his more assertive, less emotional self, Kit’s acting is on a whole other level?

    Yes. And I think it’s been his best season. “And now you’re here. Must have not done your job very well.”

  • I think Jon’s storyline has been pretty good this season, but apparently he’s been getting the shaft? Whatever. Looking forward to this.

  • people who pay attention will be spoiled by the names in the opening credits anyway :/

  • wizardeyes,

    I still think the idea that Stannis won’t show up this episode is silly. They can’t have a whole episode about the Night’s Watch Vs. Wildlings and not show the actual resolution to the conflict until next week. That be weird. I’m very happy they didn’t hint at it in the recap. I thought they might have messed up last season since there wouldn’t be any surprise in Stannis showing up, but they’ve done a good job of throwing unsullied off this year. Most won’t see it coming, but it won’t be Deus Ex Machina either

  • Tyrion Pimpslap:
    I don’t care what anyone says about not liking that this episode is set entirely at the Wall. Jon’s storyline has gotten the shaft for the past 2+ seasons. I say it’s about damn time the show does him justice.

    Agreed. With a few exceptions, the show has always seemed to check in with him for one measly scene per episode (Valar Morghulis being the worst instance). We’ve never really gotten the chance to dig deep into Jon’s story – which is just a shame to me, considering he’s my favorite character in the book.

    So I too am overjoyed that we’ll have an entire episode devoted to the Wall. It’s just a shame, because I feel like there hasn’t been that great of a build-up to the battle. :(

  • John M W,

    With a few exceptions, the show has always seemed to check in with him for one measly scene per episode

    So, pretty much the same as every major character on the show?

  • This is definitly THE episode I’ve been waiting for a long time ! And from all we can gather so far, I really think it will deliver !

  • Fou Lou:
    Might as well put the French promo up as well. That one has even more juicy bits.

    Definitely not going to do that. It spoils too much. Even with warnings of spoilers, people still get annoyed.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap:
    I don’t care what anyone says about not liking that this episode is set entirely at the Wall. Jon’s storyline has gotten the shaft for the past 2+ seasons. I say it’s about damn time the show does him justice.

    Jon’s storyline having gotten the shaft for 2+ seasons is the main reason why some people aren’t looking forward to a whole hour at the Wall, since it hasn’t proved especially compelling in the past.

  • Just a thought abt the baby thing….

    Wouldn’t they highlight that in the preview because Gilly might show up at Castle Black AHEAD of the Wildlings? Letting them know they are on their way, I mean the NW knows they are coming…but with the arrival of Gilly – it would be that much closer.

    And give something for Sam to fight for…Also maybe Gilly tells Sam she was saved by a feiry red head…who tells Jon.

  • chez,
    I’m hoping that’s what it’s for, but they made a point of also recapping Ygritte and Jon gettin’ busy AND that baby saving scene. It’s the combo of those that makes it seem likely they’re going that route.

  • Sean C.,

    Well, if fans are unwilling to get into Jon’s storyline then they will be greatly disappointed moving forward. I have a feeling that if they would just go into this episode with an open mind, it will be really enjoyable.

  • Thoros of Brooklyn,

    Wouldn’t they just show them getting it on to enforce how they were together…I mean if someone did start watching from S4 – they have no idea of the backstory. But that recap would give them a small inkling that those 2 had something before this storm of chaos.

    Either way – ep will be great.

  • This just makes me want to yell Shut the f*** up, Alliser! The idiot dismissed Jon’s every warning about the wildling attack, now he tries to be a hero? Just shut up. Ugh

  • “Love is the death of duty,” says Maester Aemon, as we behold Jon Snow in all his glory. Jon knows who is out there. This is the death knell of the relationship between Jon and Ygritte. Having a pregnant Ygritte to lose makes Jon’s sacrifice more bittersweet, because he isn’t giving up a girl, he’s giving up a family. How about that last breath, feeling her pregnant belly, hearing her say, “I’m yohr wohman,” Jon saying, “I diden’ noeeee!” and Ygritte’s final, “Yoe noe nothen, Jon Snoh.” Everyone will cry.

    Also, we know D&D like to surprise the book readers and this is another way to do it.

    Pregnancy could explain the unnerving of tough Ygritte, visibly shaken at the sight of the wildling and babe (Gilly & Sam) and choosing not to kill them because perhaps she sees herself in them, her hope in being them. I think D&D might do this. I don’t like it but I didn’t like Talisa, either. D&D also make no secret of saying they give up their own families for the duty of making this show. And they wrote this one, maybe in homage to them.

  • Oh God. The Wall only.

    See you all in 2 weeks. I’ll read the highlights on Monday.

  • chez,

    Since it’s likely this episode will feature no nudity at all, they had to show some in the recap ! ^^

  • I’m mobile so I’ll be careful but the ending to this episode is what we all expect it to be. That’s just basic story telling!

  • Tatters:

    Alliser wasnt the one who emptied Castle Black, for attacking goddamned Crasters keep.

    we could go further to say Alliser wasn’t the one who took 2/3 of the manpower on a ranging to look for Benjen Stark.

  • If Ygritte is preggers, I suspect that the baby will be born, not die with her. Why? It allows D&D to rid themselves of the need for another character – Mance Rayder’s wife, Dalla, who has Mance’s baby & then dies shortly after the battle for the Wall. Ygritte will probably claim that the baby is Mance’s son rather than Jon’s son.

    If I’m right, expect Elio & Linda to throw a major hissy fit on Westeros.

  • MUGger,

    But we’ve seen Ygritte recently and she’s obviously not pregnant enough to be giving birth any time soon.

  • Arya’s Nose,

    And why not? He’s not a nice dude, but he has a tragic story. Let me tell you how he got to the Night’s Watch. House Thorne has lands near King’s Landing. When the Rebellion started 20 years back, he was loyal to the king and fought for the Targaryens. He was at Trident, where Rhaegar died. After the battle, Robert pardoned a lot of the loyalists nobel, all those who were willing to swear to him…. Thorne remained loyal to the Targaryens, so he was sent to the wall. Of course he’s kind of bitter, because he is one of the few innocents at the Wall.

    Of course the irony and funny thing is he hates Jon Snow…. and we know what he is :))).

  • It’s been what, two or three months of story time, maybe less, since that cave? Wow, didn’t know babies gestated that fast in Westeros! *Rolling my eyes*

  • Olive,

    The song is called “Feral Love” and it’s by Chelsea Wolfe from the album Pain is Beauty. It was featured in the first trailer for Season 4 as well.

  • Joshua Atreides:

    And I will drink those Purist tears like Mason Verger.

    Doubt you will get the chance. This episodes looks to be very faithful to the book :p. Horn of Winter and John in Mance’s tent will be in it guaranteed

  • Winterlarks,

    All of this can be accomplished without another pregnancy. Jon IS giving up the chance for a family and a life filled with love, with or without the presence of a zygote. The Talisa pregnancy was to make clear to book readers that Queen Jayne is not hiding out with the Blackfish to raise Robb’s heir. Ygritte’s mercy for Gilly is yet another way to underscore the loss of her future with Jon, but she doesn’t need to be preggers to feel that way.

  • Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Agreed. S1 for Jon was great but since then I feel like he’s been an afterthought. S2 was bad, S3 okay, and this season meh. I asked my unsullied friend if he was excited about the Wall episode and he replied with not really. And he likes Kit as an actor. I think making the Battle the episode 9 event hurt his story a bit bc they’ve had to tread water almost a whole season. And now he has sooo much storyline to cover next season.

  • Spoiler: Really, did no one else clearly hear Stannis’ music in the beginning of the preview? It’s obvious he’s showing up this episode, probably around minute 43-45 or so.

  • “Tonight we fight, and when the sun rises, I promise you, Castle Black will stand.”

    I simply cannot wait for the sun to rise!
    !:)) S:)) T:)) A:)) N:)) N:)) I:)) S:)) !

  • Tatters,

    Jon took like 9 other Night’s Watchmen, FFS. It’s no discernible difference. You’re just a dumb book purist bitching for no reason like the rest.

  • Stannis will clearly appear in this episode. Saying he won’t is akin to those saying “PURPLE WEDDING IS HAPPENING IN SEASON 3”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11.

  • Thoros of Brooklyn: Dude… spoiler tag that last line.
    You spoiler tagged the things that really didn’t need it and left that open lol.

    Sorry! I thought I did. *facedesk*

  • Arya’s Nose,

    I worry that all battles in the show will basically have the same structure the smaller army uses tricks to defend itself (wildfire; the many tricks the Night’s watch come up with), but the opposing army is overwhelming them (Stannis; thee wildling army), and at the last minute a surprise army —which you could only have predicted if you were paying very close attention— comes to defend the little guy (Tywin; Stannis.) 2/2 is worrying, but in the books the Battle of Meereen is shaping up to be similar in overall structure, at least with the surprising army coming in to save the day.

  • I love Alliser Thorne. Even if you don’t like him you can’t say he isn’t devoted to the Nights Watch. I consider him a hero, much more than Jon. He could be another Janos Slynt, having been forced to go to the Wall because of fighting for the mad king, but he cares for his men and will fight for them. He isn’t a coward, he is brave and has done a great job as acting lord commander imo. He doesn’t care about people hating him, he sacrifices a good image in order to be a tough leader and to prepare everyone for the battles and the harsh life in the wall. His speech about knowing what cold is showed that he believes he has to be hard with everybody because if they don’t become tough they will never survive in this extreme environment.

  • Luka Nieto Garay,

    I’ve thought about that as well and it seems a bit formulaic. However I believe Martin’s thinking goes like this: while there is a last minute Gandalf like savior that person is often doing it for their own personal reasons and end up as an antagonist to the ones he rescued.

  • Ashara D

    Yes, I agree. I was trying out the speculation, to see what it would be like, where it would go. It would go in the same direction as it would without pregnancy. Seriously, my eyes will roll if D&D write in pregnancy. Let’s hope not.

  • What a disappointment. All at night so you couldn’t see a darn thing. And what was the point of it? Talk talk talk and then fight and then nothing.