Winter is coming and you’d better be ready (season 5, episode 8)
I hope you’ve all come out from behind the sofa after last night’s incredible episode of Game of Thrones. Picture the scene: I usually watch Game of Thrones with my housemates on a Monday night, with a cup of tea and some lovely chat. Last night I watched it alone, I felt a bit like Jon Snow. Nobody should have watched that episode alone.
There’s nothing like an episode of The Walking Dead, er, I mean Game of Thrones to make you feel prepared. Since season one we have been told that ‘Winter is coming’ and, yes Ned, we get it, but in this latest episode, we finally got a taste of what it will be like when winter is actually here. We can learn several lessons from being prepared, the Stark motto teaches us that we should always be ready should the worst happen (…perhaps Robb should have suspected that something was afoot at the Red Wedding).
With only two episodes left in this season, last night really set the ball rolling for what promises to be another nail-biting finale. The message of episode eight was that alliances are essential to survival. We finally got to see Daenerys and Tyrion discussing tactics together, it felt like that scene was what we had been waiting for for five seasons. And after having watched the trailer several times, hearing Daenerys finally declare, ‘I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel’ was just too exciting. However, Tyrion is the angel on her shoulder, offering her not just advice, but a reality check. Who is she going to rely on for allies when she finally mounts an assault on King’s Landing? Yes, she may have a legitimate claim to the throne, but there are several others who also believe this. I won’t lie, my heart broke somewhat when my love, Jorah was banished AGAIN from Meereen, can that guy not catch a break? Nevertheless, in the cut-throat business world of Game of Thrones and arguably the Square Mile, knowing your strategy and who you can trust is essential if you’re going to be successful climbing that corporate ladder. The alliance between Daenerys and Tyrion is one of equal minds and equal nobility but Jon Snow’s alliance with the Wildlings was one of necessity and desperation.
I think you’ll agree that Jon’s meeting with the Wildlings escalated quickly. Never was an exodus more hurried or needed than in the final twenty minutes of the episode. Perhaps Jon should have left some of the Dragon Glass back at Castle Black with Sam because now all he has to fight the White Walkers is his magic Valyrian steel sword (who saw that coming) which is great but not everyone has one of those. In what was possibly the best sequence of Game of Thrones so far, Jon proved himself not only as a worthy Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, as someone who understands the need for diplomacy and negotiations but also as a leader on the battle field, scrambling together an effective defence when it looked like there was no chance. The name of Snow marked Jon as an outsider from the beginning, forcing him to the Wall and cutting off many opportunities that he would have had if his birth had been legitimate. However, Jon’s strength of character has on many occasions throughout the series enabled him to rise above his illegitimacy and prove himself as a worthy son of Ned Stark and a leader capable of leading much more than the Night’s Watch.
In the past seasons, the tipping point has come in episode nine, so I will make sure that I am not alone to watch that one. Though we’re sure that Jon and Daenerys are more than capable of making their own strategies, they might do well to read Game of Thrones on Business, which could offer some helpful tips when winter is here.