After The Thrones Game of Thrones Recap

Recap: After the Thrones, HBO’s “Epic Weekly Recap Show,” Episode 9

The ninth episode of After the Thrones, HBO’s in-house “Epic Weekly Recap Show,” has arrived. You can watch it on HBO Go, HBO Now, HBO on Demand, and HBO.

Hosts Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald immediately dive with great gusto into the “Battle of the Bastards.” Chris reminds us that “Game of Thrones always shows us that war is hell.” Adds Andy: “And there was very little heroic about the way [Jon] won. It was just ugly.” I was blown away by the cinematic scope of the episode ,and Andy comments on how this installment really gave us a movie-type experience:

I’ve spent a lot of years writing about TV’s supremacy in ways and how it’s sort of taken the role of movies in the larger culture, certainly in terms of emotional storytelling and audience affection . . . the thing that movies have always had over TV is pure physical spectacle . . .a blockbuster kind of feeling. This episode did that for me. It took the crown from movies.

Battle of the Bastards

With so much territory to cover, the hosts immediately bring guest expert (and great GoT t-shirt wearer) Mallory Rubin on board for REWIND THE THRONES. The gang tackles the end of the episode first, with Chris and Mallory debating Andy’s selection of Sansa as the character who WON THE WEEK.

Andy: “The thing that really impressed me about Sansa this week, is that she was much more clever about what was going on than a more traditional hero like Jon. She was right about Rickon. She did not look at the world through sentimental eyes any more . . . Rickon, as soon as he was in Ramsay’s possession, was as good as dead . . . Ramsay is exed out now. She won.”

Chris responds, arguing that Sansa both bailed on Rickon and withheld the possibility of Littlefinger’s cavalry coming to the rescue, information which may have helped Jon plan for a different and less costly kind of battle against Ramsay:

Chris: “Look, this is a very satisfying end to her story (in this episode) but I think there is some ambiguity to the way it ends: her smirks at the end, the way that’s she’s sitting next to Littlefinger–she doesn’t exactly high five Jon coming off the battlefield, I think there is a little tension there.”

Sansa and Littlefinger Official

Moving on to the “thrilling, thrilling experience” of the battle, the gang immediately gives a shout-out to director Miguel Sapochnik, and then move on to the ramifications of the victory, starting with Sansa’s deal with the devil Littlefinger:

Mallory: “What’s the key line Littlefinger actually issues to Ned Stark? ‘It’s only treason if you lose.’ That’s his entire M.O. and always has been. We talked a little bit a couple of weeks ago how Sansa is better positioned than any character on the show to know what trusting Littlefinger can do to your life.”

After a fond farewell to Wun Wun in a lighthearted who WUN THE WEEK segment, the conversation turns to Rickon’s north-south running pattern, a bad tactic when trying to escape a north-south traveling arrow, and Dany’s current situation in Meereen, armed as she is with a new navy and Dothraki cavalry, not to mention her Unsullied, Second Sons, and three dragons. One big question is the nature of Dany’s growing sense of absolutism and how she might be following in the villainous footsteps of her father, the Mad King.

After Ep 9

In THE BIG IDEA of the episode, the idea of “breaking the wheel” comes up. Mallory revisits Daenerys’ previous dialog and Chris summarizes the idea as “you could smash history, that you could get out from under these cycles and start something new.” Chris notes a “subtle shift” in this episode from patriarchy to matriarchy with Sansa in the North and Dany and Yara in Meereen. Andy and Mallory add to the discussion on Dany:

Andy: “Is Daenerys in love with the idea of radical change more than actual accomplishment? This fits her narrative very well, that we are going to overturn everything. There is a very intense line in that scene (Yara and Dany in Meereen) where they talk about our fathers made the world bad and we’re going to make it good. That is very neat and tidy and one thing we know about the show is neatness and tidiness rarely work out.”

Mallory: “And there is such great baked-in irony. How is she (Dany) trying to affect that change? By making the same mistakes over and over again.”

Daenerys, Yara, and Theon Official

The conversation moves on to how the potential winner on Game of Thrones may well be one who can recognize their own failures. Candidates are welcome.


This was a neat, naturally flowing episode, improving as the format gets looser.

19 Comments

  • Sansa won?
    I don’t know why I read this articles talking about this fools show…
    Anyways yeah Sansa won but at a big cost, her brother died and one can argue that Sansa could avoid that by telling Jon about the Vale army,but again if she had told Jon,and the Vale army would had been present from the very beginning Ramsay would hide behind Winterfell walls and he would had the defensive advantage.I read many arguments in this case,but I still believe how Sansa handled all was bad.
    Yes she’s a big player now but with LF how will that go down?LF doesn’t bring good to no one.
    Mallory as always is wrong about Dany,I rather say Sansa repeats her mistakes over and over,Dany like show runners told is embracing her Taragryen side,she’s not mad but she’s not taking BS anymore like she used to in the past.She acts a bit hot head in many situations but again that’s why she has her advisor Tyrion,who’s doing a great job and Varys working in the background for her.
    She walked away with ships and less collateral damages then Sansa in the North.

    • I don’t think there was any way to avoid Rickon Stark dying (sadly).
      He was dead as soon as he was turned over to Ramsey.

      Ramsey was not stupid. He was a strong battlefield commander, a good archer :(, an excellent mental strategist and a sadistic monster.

      I think Sansa will come to a bad end, not so much cause she deserves it (and she doesn’t), but because of how her life has shaped her to think and act.

  • This show still airs? Wow! And the network is complaining about budget, here’s where the cuts should begin. I’ll trade this crappy talk show for half an episode more on the next season. Hell, an epilogue…

  • I’d have a sense of absolutism if I could walk out of funeral pyres and ride dragons, I think danerys has stepped into that other worldly place.

    • Dany definitely has an illusion of her own invincibility.

      But a single arrow, sneaky dagger or WW touch can end her.

  • Just before his dogs attack him, Ramsay says to Sansa, “You can’t kill me – I’m part of you ….” [I couldn’t make out the last word.] What does he mean? Does he mean that he will always be in her memory? Or does he, the rapist, mean that she’s perhaps pregnant? Did he mean to terrify her one last time with that horrible possibility?

    • He meant psychologically.
      And his words were proven true before he said them.

      He had hurt her physically, which she will never forget…
      But, and more importantly, he had marked her mentally. He changed the way she approached people, how she approached the issue of trust, how she approached her entire outlook on life. He was right. She cant kill his influence without killing herself :(

  • Anyone notice Sansa had left scene where Ramsay says he hasn’t fed his hounds in 7 days, and yet later, Sansa reminds Ramsay of that detail just prior to his death?

    • Anyone notice, clueless people can’t figure out that Jon told her what Ramsey said after she left?

  • So dave, you think jon snow just let sansa kill ramsay without her talking to him? He wouldn’t let there be any chance of ramsay hurting her or escaping. So if you needed it spoon fed to you then lets pretend they wasted 5 minutes of the show where jon snow goes, “he said his hounds haven’t aten for a week” and then sansa does her snooty little smile. There you go dave, you full or do you need more spoonfuls?

    • Sansa didn’t kill him because from what we can tell, it was Sansa who asked where Ramsay was. She went to see him. So happen, for whatever reason, the dogs didn’t attack until she got there. Sansa did not kill Ramsay. Likely didn’t even have the key to open the gate anyway. Let’s find out who put him in the kennel with his dogs rather than whatever prison/cell Winterfell has.

  • The best part of my week is coming here to watch you guys bitch about an article no one forced you to read about a show no one forced you to watch. Damn hilarious that your lives consist of such vast emptiness.

    The show is for casual viewers, not hardcore theorizing bored people with too much time on their hands. HBO makes TV, not publish novels. So glad this show will last the rest of the series [don’t care about the show but the weekly whining here is great]. It gets better ratings than half of HBOs half-hour series’ ever did and has to have a budget of coins found in couch cushions.

  • This show is for idiots like you “name”. We will continue to shame this show, and every recap of it. Mwahaha