Editorial Season 4 Speculation

Looking Forward, Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 9 and the Fate of the Epic 9’s

Around this time last year prior to air, I authored a Looking Forward for Season 3, Episode 9 that discussed traditions and in the process, may have accidentally coined the phrase, the Epic 9’s.

But admittedly, I had no true idea as to whether or not the prior two season’s ninth episode climaxes were just a coincidence or if we were in for a dramatic event of historical television proportions.

Then the Red Wedding happened. And the internet exploded.  And the following days were filled with a media frenzy that could only be compared to, well, nothing.

The question is, is there any way in hell the tradition can effectively be maintained?

Historically, series television of the past has predominantly followed the trend of a cliffhanger/climax for their respective season finales.  For one reason or another, Game of Thrones began a tradition of climax on the episode prior to.

Not that a refresher is needed for this lot, but here is the elementary trend that looks to be on a continuing course:

Episode 109: Dramatic Death

Episode 209: Battle of Blackwater

Episode 309: Dramatic Death(s)

Episode 409: Battle at the Wall

In regards to 409, what has been disclosed thus far is that the entirety of the episode will most likely be at the Wall.  If this fact holds true, it would likely mean: No beheadings in King’s Landing; No Stannis invasion (unless the GoT teleport machine get tripped); And no wedding (unless Cersei and Loras are taking vows, or in an attempt to be with Jon, Ygritte takes the Black).  Both are either highly unlikely or invariably impossible.

But before we get into expectation of the arduous task of carrying on the Epic 9’s, it might be relevant to review the shocking ends (and trends) of this Season alone.  Here goes:

Episode 401:  Death of Polliver

Episode 402:  Death of Joffrey

Episode 403:  Death of Pissing Champion

Episode 404:  Death of Baby (or at least, the death of baby as being human)

Episode 405:  Death of Locke, Rast, and Karl

Episode 406:  Death of justice

Episode 407:  Death of Lysa

Episode 408:  Death of Oberyn (and quite possibly, Gregor)

This season could arguably be considered the “who will die at the end of this hour” season.  Sans 406, it is a noticeable trend that has led many to criticize the series for being predictable in the sense that someone at least somewhat significant is likely to lose their life near or at the end of every episode.

In fairness, it is also at least a portion of what has led to GoT becoming the most watched series in HBO history and one of the highest rated shows on television, for we never know who will meet their demise or how it may transpire.  The show (and presumably the books) has somehow kept the known unknown full of shock and intrigue.

My enquiring mind wants to know, can the shock and awe be maintained for the already signed and confirmed Seasons 5 and 6?  And in a way, the answer to this question in my mind begins with this Sunday night.

If in fact this episode takes place entirely at the Wall, can it be one that continues the institution that has become the annual climactic installment?  Can the biggest fire the North has ever seen compete with the extravaganza of visual feast that was the explosion of wildfire?  Is it even fair to expect the expectation of continued excellence that we anxiously await for 10 weeks out of the year?

Thrones has rarely disappointed me, and I have no reason to believe it will on Sunday.  Even with the obvious misfires, the show hits on enough cylinders to make the bumps in the road excusable.  Nothing is perfect.  Nothing is just nothing.

But there is an expectation that I can’t ignore; a level of shock value that I want to talk about at the water cooler on Monday morning; the fulfillment I get when the morning show talking heads who know nothing try to explain to their audiences why twitter exploded the night before; and the joy of the true reaction videos of the Unsullied army.

Maybe the shock of this years’ ninth episode has been spread over the course of the Season this year as implied in pre-season interviews.  And maybe it wouldn’t matter due to my admission of the unrealistic expectation I have even if that expectation has been created by the author and the show-runners themselves.

But I don’t care.  You blew our minds when you poisoned Joffrey.  You broke my heart when you had Lysa fall to her death.  And you melted our brains when you crushed Oberyn’s head.

We’ve only got two experiences left before we are rendered thirsty again for another long nine and a half months of drought.  Melt it again.  Break it again.  Blow it again. May the Battle at the Wall be as blistering as the wildfire at Blackwater.  And long live the Epic 9’s!


“Unbowed.  Unbent.  Unsullied.”

I can be found meandering on twitter @ozofthrones.  Join me.



  • The epic 9’s has been a staple of this show this far. I don’t see that changing this episode. I, like you, am unsullied and I can’t wait to see what amazing visuals and plot twists come from this episode. Unlike the other season finales, episode ten can’t be just about the aftermath surrounding episode 9… It has to be about the aftermath surrounding many plot points from throughout the season, so it should be flipping phenomenal as well.

    Super pumped.

    Someone, hold me.

  • jentario,

    I agree with you guys! Even as a sullied it’s not sure WHAT will actually happen in the (final) episodes! I’m so excited!

    And if the Eyrie (or anything in the Vale, I’m not that picky now that they’re going on a trip) doesn’t make it into the opening credits untill the end, I will officially write a complaint. Or has anybody found out why it’s still not there, and I missed it, even though being very atentive?

    Oz, on another note: Your recaps and looking forwards absolutely make my day every time, I love it! Keep up the good work!

  • both episode 9 and episode 10 are going to be epic and probably candidates for best episode of GoT throughout all seasons.
    However, I am interested to know, Oz, who do you think will win the battle at the wall?

  • vlad,

    People don’t really care about the wall? You shloudn’t talk in general, maybe you don’t care about the wall but I do care. And I’m glad that they focus a whole episode to the wall. The mayority of the episodes were all about Kings landing and I like that but the NW needs minutes to, and this is the best battle in the saga so far to me. So I think tha tthere is a lot of people that wants to see what happend on the wall.

    Sorry if I have some mistakes in the text, english is not my original language.

  • I laugh when someone says GOT is becoming “predictable” because someone important dies every episode.

    Yes. The old cliche of someone important dying every episode. That old chestnut that has never happened before until this season.

    It’s only “predictable” when you get to 4.09 and realize how many people just died.

  • This will be an uneventful episode, the biggest fire the north have ever seen will be used for roasting smoares and all the chicken in the north. The Wilding and the Night’s Watch will share ale and fun stories with each other. It will be an hour of boring talking and nothing exciting.

    House Tully: Family, Duty, Honor.

  • Oz, I have a feeling that neither of the remaining episodes this season will disappoint. I just wish GoT were on 52 weeks a year till it finishes!

  • GeekFurious,


    Isn’t there generally a major death almost every episode anyway, since season one? Jory, Drogo, Viserys, Ned, Robert, etc etc all from season one. Death isn’t a newcomer to the show.

    That whole ‘Beautiful Deaths’ thing with an artistic take on a big death for each episode. Saying ‘death is predictable’ is only slightly less absurd than saying ‘breathing is predictable.’

    In a show about wartime conflict, deaths are going to be a regular occurrence.

  • I fear the Nights Watch will pay dearly for not listening to Jon Snow. Maybe it’s still lingering shock from previous episode 9’s, but I don’t have a good feeling about their fate.

  • NomadicDirewolf,

    I agree with gbnf. I also think that the end result will have a major bearing on the rest of the story as it moves forward and it is unwise for anyone to not have an interest in what happens at the Wall.

    Regardless of the outcome, I’d hope that somehow Jon survives. But I am pumped about seeing Mance, the Thenns fighting someone other than some helpless farmers and drunks, and Joseph Gatt speaking.

  • Ours is the Fury,

    Aye aye, Captain.

    This Sullied just dropped in to say Great Job on this Looking Forward, Oz! As always, your articles are intriguing and fun. Much appreciated.

    Thanks!! Going back to reading Book 4 now…


  • Sullied- CUT IT OUT. Getting really tired of people offering their opinions about Unsullied’s predictions. Stay out of the post.

    (I don’t mind people dropping in to hello to say Oz, but it’s out of control. Readers should not be offering ANY COMMENTARY on episode 9. None. Thanks!)

  • I’m fairly sure more recurring characters have died in the first 48 episodes of Game of Thrones than appear in 48 episodes of most TV shows.

  • Of all the episodes, I am looking forward to not watching this one the most.

    Love your posts, Oz. Keep on keeping on.

  • Oz,

    The Number 1 question I have about Episode 9 is the same one Pyp has: How are 102 Night’s Watchmen going to stop 100,000 Wildlings? As a fellow Unsullied, I have NO idea what’s coming. That both excites and worries me. I hope you know something about surviving an onslaught of Wildlings, Jon Snuhh!

  • I am super excited for the last two episodes…but sad at the same time. The wait is so very long ans once the series starts it zings right through. I am ready for the battle at the wall. Truly hoping those two a-holes who treat Jon like poop are the first to go. Janos Slynt & I dont know the other ones name. The credits say Bran learns more about his calling. May they knock oue socks off.

  • Victor Colina,

    I very much care about the wall! Jon Snow, even before Kit Harrington has always been my favorite character. Yes, I’ve pollutted my mind and read the books. But I do not dish out spoilers. I hate to have things ruined for me…so I post with that in mind.

  • Hodor’s Bastard,

    Oh1 I see, sorry I just went straight to post after seeing the post on the other blog, I completely forgot about this being an OZ post and just placed it on the very top one and didn’t pay attention, my bad.

  • BTW, my recaps are not for the Unsullied…unless you like being potentially spoiled. Sorry should have said that earlier…didn’t notice this post was for non-bookreaders right away. My apologies.

  • Completely unrelated the little banner ads (sometimes animated) floating on the bottom of the page that you can’t close are the worst. They are obnoxious, distracting and make me vehemently hate the product and this mobile site at the same time. There has to be a better way…

  • gbnf,

    Maybe Castle Black will just collapse and the Wildlings will break south of the Wall! That would be glorious!

  • GRRM warns us on his blog, be scared folks!

    Battle Is Coming, Blood Will Flow
    Jun. 7th, 2014 at 11:06 AM
    Tomorrow night, on HBO.

    Neil Marshall returns, with a battle even bigger than “Blackwater.” Should rival or surpass any battle ever seen before on television.

    Keep your swords sharp.

    And be afraid. Be very afraid.

    (No, I haven’t seen the episode yet).


  • Hard to imagine a battle bigger than Blackwater but I shall be very impressed if tonight comes anywhere near that amazing episode.

  • Well done, Oz. As a book reader whose spouse is unsullied, it’s fun to read your posts. It gives me a good idea of what he might be thinking. I think I’ve done a good job of answering his questions (there are a LOT of characters in this story) without giving anything away. It has been a test of my acting abilities!

    And soon, we may all be unsullied, anyway. Love your posts and your clever take on things. You are truly the Great Oz of the unsullied!

  • Im guessing Alliser Thorne is either dying or heavily injured during this battle. I will find it odd if they mention the whole election of Lord Commander earlier this season and do not use this battle to progress the story so Jon becomes Lord Commander. What sealed this for me is the whole speech Alliser delivers during the preview about, “I promise, Castle Black will stand.” No way a battle this hyped will pass and there isn’t a “big” death, so Thorne should be among those to die defending the Wall.

    Episode 10’s usually wrap up the past season and set up next season, so it would fit perfectly for Jon to be voted as Lord Commander in a “King of the North” type moment and end the season on a high. Unless something bigger happens that could end the season better. Can’t imagine what could possibly happen during 10 to make it so epic and match the episodes we’ve seen and will see. Pumped! I’m ready for this.