The final moments of Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 8 were grisly for sure, but the overall proceedings were rather civil when compared to the carnage we witnessed tonight at the wall.
Melisandre has often noted how the night is long and full of terrors and that is just what Jon Snow and his brothers experience on Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 9.
What the viewers were treated to, though, was one of the most entertaining and visually impressive episodes to date.
Mance's signal to begin the attack was meant to instill awe and fear. The sight of it from the top of the wall was striking, but it was the perspective of those fighting on the ground that really blew me away.
Following Ygritte through the fight was spectacular; from the scene of her firing the Night's Watch's own flaming arrows back at them to hearing her heavy breathing as she loosed shot after deadly shot.
It would not have been an epic battle without at least one rousing speech and we were lucky enough witness several. Alliser Thorne, who earlier showed humility in admitting to Jon that he was right about sealing off the gate, showed his mettle when he called to mind the 100 generations of men who had previously fought to protect the wall, rallying his men in the courtyard.
Another pivotal moment came at the gate when Grenn lead his small band of brothers in a recitation of their vows as the invading giant sprinted toward them.
The best cinematic shot of the fight was the one that spanned the entire courtyard when Sam made his way to unlock Ghost. The direwolf's glowing red eyes were a beacon of hope, signaling a turn in the fight as Jon hit the ground running.
After having his face slammed into an anvil by Styr, it was only fitting he finish the Thenn off with a hammer to the head.
Then came the reunion so many fans have waited for. Ygritte once again had Jon Snow dead to rights ... and once again she hesitated.
Her moment of indecision ultimately proved fatal, but before she drew her last breath, she proved she never stopped caring for Jon and what they briefly had together. She reminded him one last time that he was not nothing.
A sentiment that was not lost on Sam, either, as shown in his conversation with Pyp before the latter was killed by one of Ygritte's arrows. Sam underwent the biggest transformation as he found new strength of character in this defining moment.
I made a promise to defend the wall and I have to keep it. That's what men do.Sam
A couple of scenes that really stood out amidst all the action were the giant archer's shot up at the wall and later the massive scythe being released on Edd's command.
In the end, however, they were just two brief moments in just the first night of fighting. Edd's cautioning words to the others about how loudly they cheered reminded us just how staggering the odds were still stacked against them.
For this reason, Jon Snow set off on an equally unpromising mission to try and kill Mance single handedly. It may not be a good plan, but it might just be the
best only option they have. As he emerged under the cover of daylight from the wall, I just wished he had taken Ghost with him.
Will Jon Snow live to see another night or was he most assuredly marching off to meet his death?
Here is your first look at Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 10, "The Children."