You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Zoom

Amid an epic battle, a tender farewell to ‘Game of Thrones’

Helen Sloan/HBO

It didn’t seem as though “Game of Thrones” could ever beat the “Blackwater” episode from season 2 for sheer spectacle. And then, last week, the makers of the outrageously good HBO series delivered “The Watchers on the Wall,” an even more compelling hour of action and imagery.

“Blackwater” may have contained plot material more relevant to the show’s ongoing political allegory, but “The Watchers on the Wall” was a more emotionally grounded pageant of sights and sounds, a vision of ice and fire that was dripping with feeling. It was both epic and intimate.

Continue reading below

The mind-blowing scenes of the Wildings’ attack on the Night’s Watch came one after the other, particularly those involving the 700-plus-foot-high wall made of bluish ice. But, unlike most episodes of the show, they were all set in the same location. The narrowed focus was a nice shift for viewers, a chance for us to stop keeping track of who’s who and for the writers to dig more deeply into the members of the Watch. We got to spend sustained time with Jon Snow and Sam Tarly, both of whom have had an uncomfortable relationship with their vows of celibacy — or, at least, their vows to not get married or father a child.

And so as cinematic as that hour was, as swiftly as the barrels fell, the scene I’ll remember most is Jon Snow being reunited with Ygritte on the battlefield, holding his star-crossed Wilding lover as she died from another’s arrow, him promising her they’d be together once again in the cave where they made love, her uttering her final words to the world: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.