Was the Best Battlefield Scene Ever on Game of Thrones This Week?

Game-of-Thrones-liveblog--Battle-of-the-Bastards (1)Spoilers for Game of Thrones are in this post.

I watch Game of Thrones live every week with a few friends. Yesterday I did something for the first time ever: After a certain segment of the main battle, I picked up my remote and rewound for about 15 seconds to watch it again. It was quite possibly the best 15 seconds of any battlefield scene on television or film.

A day has passed, and it’s occurred to me in the meantime that the entire battle was one of the best I’ve ever seen. There are a number of epic movies with giant battlefield scenes, most notably the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Braveheart. But I think The Battle of the Bastards might be even better. Here’s why:

  1. It pits a truly great villain against a truly great hero. I don’t think I’m alone in despising Ramsay. But man, he’s fascinating to watch, largely because he’s so damn clever and cruel. His strategies are brilliant. And Jon Snow is as sympathetic a hero as you can get.
  2. I didn’t know who would win the battle. Maybe you knew, or at least had a strong hunch. I didn’t. George RR Martin has created a world where sometimes the bad guys win. The uncertainty this provides added to the tension and stakes of the battle.
  3. I felt like I was on the battlefield. Lots of these epic battles end up just looking like hordes of ants running over each other as you watch them from above. This battle puts you in the middle of the chaos, whether its horses charging around you or a wall of shields constricting upon you.
  4. It was not fun. Look, I love watching Gimli and Legolas flirt with each other on the battlefield. But real fantasy battles aren’t fun. They are fields of death and mud and horror. They are places where you get trampled and suffocate under bodies. Not that realism always equates to entertaining, but it works here.
  5. The cinematography is captivating. It’s stunning. Not just the overhead shots, but also the uncut in-the-moment shots that last way longer than you normally see in a battle. Instead of 1-second cuts, we get 5, 10, even 15 seconds of uninterrupted combat. That’s unheard of.
  6. There’s a giant. Just like The Rock, Giants make every battle better.

Best battlefield scene ever on television or film. That’s my opinion. I’d love to hear yours.