SPOILER ALERT for Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 9, "Battle of the Bastards."
Despite the title, the battle tonight wasn't only between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton. We also saw a glimpse of the fight in Meereen, which Daenerys handled in the most Daenerys of ways. Scroll through to relive the highlights of GoT's most intense episode this season.
(Missed out on last week's episode, "No One?" Catch up with our recap (opens in new tab).)
1) Daenerys is not happy. Since she made a surprise return to Meereen last episode, Daenerys is not pleased that her city is under attack. She takes her anger out on Tyrion, who tries to humor her into making a compromise with the masters rather than burn their cities altogether.
2) Khaleesi takes control—again. The masters meet with Daenerys to present her with terms of her surrender, but she already has something else planned. When they tell her her reign is over, she confidently retorts, "My reign has just begun." In classic Daenerys fashion, she rides off on Drogon over the city, followed by her other two dragons, who have been freed by Tyrion, and burns the ships firing at Meereen. On land, Daario Naharis and the Dothraki attack the Sons of the Harpy. To finish things off, Grey Worm sends the masters' soldiers home to their families and slaughters two of the three masters. Tyrion tells the surviving master to tell his people that he lived by the mercy of the Queen.
3) Jon and Ramsay face off: Part 1. Jon Snow, backed by Sansa, Davos, Tormund and a few other men in his party, meet face to face with Ramsay Bolton and a group of his men. Ramsay suggests Jon's army step down since they're outnumbered, while Jon suggests a duel instead. "Let's end this the old way. You against me," Snow tells him. But Ramsay, knowing he'll lose, decides to stick with the full-blown battle. To prove they have Rickon Stark, Lord Umber (who is on the Bolton's side) throws the severed head of the boy's direwolf, Shaggydog, to the Starks.
4) The Stark army makes its battle plans. Jon, Tormund and Davos decide patience is key, determining they should wait for the Bolton army to charge in the next day's battle. After their meeting, Sansa insists they still don't have enough men, but Jon says they'll fight with what they have. She reminds him that Rickon is a truer heir to Winterfell than herself or Jon, so he is the most at risk and might not survive the battle.
Desperate for help, Jon goes to Melisandre for advice; she very helpfully starts with, "Don't lose." He tells her not to resurrect him if he dies in battle. She tells him she doesn't have power, only what the Lord of Light gives her. Maybe Jon's only here for a small part of the lord's plan, she suggests: maybe he's here to die again.
5) Davos realizes what happened to Shireen. In anticipation of the next day's battle, Davos walks restlessly beyond the camp. He comes across the remains of a pyre covered in snow, but finds the deer-shaped trinket he gave Shireen Baratheon when she was younger. (Backstory: A few episodes ago, we learned this is the same spot at which Stannis's army camped before fighting at Winterfell.) He picks it up and looks back at camp—most likely for Melisandre—as he sadly realizes that Shireen was burned as a sacrifice.
6) The Greyjoys meet Daenerys and Tyrion. Theon and Yara Greyjoy finally make it to Meereen to meet Daenerys. They offer her 100 ships from the Iron Fleet in exchange for her help taking back the Iron Islands. They tell her about their Uncle Euron, who is out to kill them and seek Daenerys's hand in marriage; once she's queen of the Seven Kingdoms, he'll kill her and take the crown. After a few sharp back-and-forths (Daenerys says the Greyjoys' father was a bad king, to which Yara responds, "You and I have that in common." OUCH.), they end with a pact. "We are going to leave the world better than we found it," Khaleesi says, spiting their fathers. She promises to help them but in return they must support her claim to the Iron Throne with integrity. That means no more "reaving, roping or raping" even though that's the Greyjoys' way of life.
7) Rickon Stark is the first casualty of the war. Ramsay Bolton starts the battle off with a sick mind game. He brings Rickon Stark forward and sets him free, telling him to run to his brother on the other side. As he runs, he shoots arrows at him, and Jon rushes forward to save his little brother. He's not fast enough. Rickon is shot just before Jon catches him. In a fury, Jon charges forward, forgetting the plan of patience he and his men decided on the night before. His army follows him. The battle has officially begun.
8) Jon and Ramsay face off: Part 2. The war scene is intense and extremely bloody. Jon's horse is shot as he charges across the field, so he is left fighting on the ground, slaughtering whichever Bolton man crosses his path. Blood spills left and right and dead bodies pile on the battlefield. Though Davos kept a portion of the Stark men behind to shoot arrows from afar, he decides they'd be more useful fighting on the field. Ramsay sends his bowmen to fight as well, and the difference in numbers becomes more obvious. The Bolton army surrounds the Starks with an impenetrable wall of shields and spears, and slowly closes in on them. Things are really going downhill. Jon begins getting trampled by his own army, Tormund is losing to a fistfight with Lord Umber and all hope seems lost for the Starks. Until...
9) The Knights of the Vale save the day. The bloody battle is interrupted by the sound of a horn, signaling the arrival of the Arryn army to fight for the Starks—all thanks to Sansa. Both Jon and Ramsay are equally surprised. As Jon looks over, he sees Sansa and Littlefinger standing in the distance. (The theories (opens in new tab) about Petyr Baelish being the recipient of Sansa's mysterious letter were correct.) Ramsay rides away, but Jon is after him.
10) Jon and Ramsay face off: Part 3. Ramsay thinks he's safe in Winterfell, but it's not long after he rides through its gates that Jon and some of the Wildlings arrive to find him. The Wildling giant breaks through the doors only to be fatally shot upon entry. Jon and Ramsay meet face to face for one last time.
Ramsay concedes to Jon's proposal of a one-on-one duel, but this time it's his bow and arrows versus Jon's sword. When he shoots, Jon picks up a shield to guard himself, inching closer and closer until he can beat Ramsay with his own hands—but he doesn't kill him just yet. While punching at Bolton's face, he looks over at Sansa and decides to save the rest for her.
11) The Stark banners hang on Winterfell once again. The Starks take back rightful rule over Winterfell. Jon decides to bury Rickon in the crypts, next to his father.
12) Sansa finishes Ramsay. The tables have turned. This time, it's Sansa's turn to torture her twisted husband. Ramsay, bloodied and wounded, is tied to a chair in his dogs' pen. He tells Sansa that his hounds are loyal and won't hurt him, but she reminds him that he hasn't fed them in seven days, and they're hungry. She's right. She walks away with a smile on her face as Ramsay is eaten alive.
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Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There is a 75 percent chance she's listening to Lorde right now.
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