The end of Season 4 has finally arrived and "Game of Thrones" always serves up something special for episode 9. For this season, the episode is entitled "Watchers on the Wall" which indicates that the episode tackles Mance Rayder's Wildling army and their attack on The Wall and Castle Black.
Episode 8, "The Mountain and The Viper" already showed scenes from the wildling attack on Mole's Town and the brothers at Castle black discussing the imminent danger. The focus on events in The Wall might however, indicates that the story line will veer away from Tyrion's fate after the death of Oberyn Martell. The show might very well have viewers waiting for the death of Tywin and Shae until season 5 like they were made to wait for Joffrey's demise. Many of the events that will take place in the upcoming episode can be deduced from "A Song of Ice and Fire" the book upon which the series is based.
Mance Rayder's Wildling Army attacks Castle Black from the other side of the wall. This is why Jon Snow was keen on sealing the tunnel. Mance arrives with an army over 100,000 strong composed of wildlings and giants. If that was not bad enough, Ygritte, the Thenns and Tormund Wolfsbane will be coming at them from the South. The remaining Night's Watch brothers numbering just over a hundred are in dire straits indeed.
Just like Season 2's epic "Battle of the Blackwater," the battle on the wall serves up the goods. First of all, this holds will be the long-awaited reunion of Jon Snow and Ygritte. Or at least they meet again and not necessarily reunite. Jon faces Ygritte as she lies on the brink of death near the end of the battle and they share a final moment together.
Does season 4 have the ability to shock audiences like the previous seasons? Ned Stark's beheading was a tough feat to follow but the Red Wedding still caused quite the stir even if many have read the books.
This will be the first real focus on Mance Rayder and the wildlings that he commands. The "King Beyond the Wall" as he fancies himself has taken a back seat to the other kings (and queen) who have been battling for the Iron Throne since season 1. Who is Mance Rayder and why is he attacking the wall?
Mance, was previously a brother of the Night's Watch who decided to head north of the wall and form his army. As a ranger, he was injured and by a shadowcat and was healed by a wildling woman. Upon returning to the wall, he was instructed to wear the customary black cloak and discard the wildling clothing that he had on. This caused Mance to decide to choose freedom and abandoned the watch to become a wildling himself.
As a wildling, Mance was able to do the unthinkable task of uniting the free folk and come together under his wing. Before planning the attack, he "ruled" the wildlings in an unorthodox manner wherein they recognized him as their ruler but they maintained their own freedom and continued to display animosity towards bending the knee to anyone.
The purpose behind the attack is not to destroy the wall or invade Westeros but to bring the entire wildling population to safety and remind the people of Westeros about the real enemy, the Whitewalkers. The people of Westeros have been engulfed in the war for the Iron Throne that focus has been drawn away from the impending winter and the growing threat of Whitewalkers, something that has been shrugged off in Westeros as only the stuff of legends and old wives' tales.
After the first wave of attacks, Jon Snow attempts to speak to Mance to convince him to stop the attack but Mance sticks to his strategy.
In the end, Mance attacks and nearly overcomes the Night's Watch before Stannis Baratheon comes to the rescue. Ironically, stannis barges in to save the day in pretty much the same manner that Tywin rescued King's landing in the battle in the Blackwater.Stannis maintains that he is the one true King of the Seven Kingdoms and is also the only one concerned about the real threat.
What happens to Mance after the battle will form an interesting story line for season 5 as well as the introduction of his partner Dalla and their newborn son.
Watch the episode 10 preview here: