This weeks episode opens on Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly standing guard on the wall. Samwell asking Jon what it’s like to be with a woman, and arguing the wording of the Night’s Watch¬†vows, that they do not necessarily forbid intercourse, only marriage. After reassuring him, Jon sends Samwell to sleep, while he waits for the Wildlings to come.

Ygritte and Tormund tell stories around the campfire, as they wait for their time to descend on the Crows. Ygritte defends her warrior’s honor to the other Wildlings, and declares Jon Snow is hers to kill.

Samwell hears a woman pleading at the gate to be let in, he runs to find Gilly with her baby and demands that she be let in, against orders. She begs him not to let them send her away, and he swears that no matter where she goes that he will go too. As they speak, the alarm is sounded, the attack is under way. Jon peers over the wall to see acres of forest in flames. Thorne admits to Jon Snow that they should have sealed the tunnel when they had the chance. Samwell hides Gilly deep inside the keep. She tries to convince him to hide with her, but he tells her that he has to keep his promise to the Night’s Watch. He kisses her and promises her that he wont die.

The Wildlings descend on Castle Black, with giants riding mastodon. Arrows fly in both directions. One of the Giants works on smashing through the outer gate. Tormund battles with Thorne. Samwell orders Olly to get him to the top of the wall, and to get himself a weapon. Sam gets Jon to go down to fight on the ground with him, as the giant lifts the gate open, leaving 6 men to fight him. Jon tells Samwell to go, but Sam says that he can’t protect him forever. Jon Snow then hand him a key and says, “I need him more than I need you.” Sam nods and takes it. He goes and lets Fang, Jon’s Dire Wolf, free.

Ygritte gets Jon Snow in her sights, hesitating as he smiles at her, she is shot through by an arrow from the boy watchman Olly. He runs to her and holds her in his arms.She says,¬†“Do you remember that cave? We should have stayed in that cave.” He tells her that they will go back there. She looks at him, and with her dying breath says, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

The men at the top of the wall drop the scythe, enormous, it swings along the wall and kills all those climbing up it. To the Wildlings left, Jon Snow commands that the battle is done. Tormund yells, and Jon shoots him with an arrow. He is dragged off swearing revenge on Snow.

When the battle is over Samwell goes to find Gilly, he finds Janos Slynt hiding with her. Janos is the man who held down Ned Stark as his head was chopped off, and the first name on Arya’s list.

Jon Snow leaves to find Mance Rayder and try to kill him, leaving his Valyrian sword in the hands of Samwell for safe keeping. As he goes through the tunnel he finds the bodies of his men and the giant. They held the gate. Fade to black.

An action packed episode, though hard to do justice in a recap. Some how battle, battle, battle doesn’t quite do it justice. Though hundreds of men die, still less bloody than the single death in last week’s episode. One more episode to go, and knowing what must come next, an eventful finale it will be.