In one of the most stressful Game of Thrones episodes of the entire series, the "Battle of the Bastards" kept viewers on their toes, despite the widely expected outcome of a Stark victory. A lot of the derived tension came from the way director Miguel Sapochnik presented the actual battle, which was almost entirely through the perspective of Jon Snow.
It was also through his lens that Jon — with the Stark forces overwhelmed and surrounded by the Boltons in a Carthaginian-esque encirclement — was almost crushed to death by his own men fleeing from Bolton spears. The claustrophobic, near-death experience was described by actor Kit Harington during HBO's behind-the-scenes look at the fight sequence.
"I've never really seen Jon give up on anyone or anything, and that was the difference in this battle," Harington said. "And the difference for me after coming back to life was, what if he just stops? What if the fatigue gets to him? And the first moment we found that was when the crush starts happening, and he just slows down and he's lying on the ground, and it's that thing of finding peace for a moment. 'I could just stay here, I could let it all end.' And then something drives him to fight up."
When Jon does get up, it is, in Harington's own words, strikingly similar to the final sequence of season three, in which Daenerys Targaryen is held up by the freed Yunkish slaves, chanting "Mhysa," or mother.
"That moment where he comes up and he gasps for breath, reborn again in a way, I found weirdly reflective of the moment of Dany being held aloft at the end of season three," he added.
Given Harington's own admittance to the similarities, it certainly appears intentional from HBO. At the very least, it's a fascinating contrast with the two characters who are, by and large, the primary protagonists of the series.
Moreover, given that George R.R. Martin's book series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, some fans interpret Jon and Daenerys as the embodiment of ice and fire, respectively. Perhaps, as many fans believe to be true, this contrast is also deliberate because the two are related.
Ultimately, though, these moments were huge for the characters. Dany freeing the slaves of Yunkai was her first power play in Slaver's Bay, while Jon's defeat of Ramsay Bolton in the "Battle of the Bastards" allowed the Starks to reclaim their ancestral home, Winterfell (while beating up a universally despised psychopath to boot).
You can check out the behind-the-scenes of the technically complex "Battle of the Bastards" — which featured 600 crew members, 500 extras and 70 horses — below: