"Tell Them To Lift Their Swords" Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 "The Long Night"
Okay, this was one really long continuous battle scene, so it is going to be very hard to do it the correct amount of justice.
As always *Spoiler Alert*
“The Dead Are Already Here”
One small complaint to start off with, I have never,, in my entire life, watched an episode of any show that was filmed in near total darkness. I totally get that this is how the combatants would have experienced it, but it makes nearly impossible to follow the action watching the screen. Even after turning my lights out, I was having a damnably hard time seeing what the hell was happening on the screen.
Second complaint...Does anyone who writes for this show or who was in the fight ever consider strategy beyond a single level of depth?
Why in the world would the Dothraki cavalry charge when they can’t see a damn thing, have literally no idea the numbers they were facing, and could not be deployed Strategically? I do get that to some extent that is what Dothraki do, but I suspect they don’t do it at night and without recon (or else they would not have lasted as long as they have). When you know that every single fighting man or woman is incredibly precious, why would you risk one of your best fighting forces on a lark?
Why in the world would the defenders not assume an army of the dead would not sacrifice themselves to overcome a fire barrier? Why not create a much wider pit and at least make them sacrifice a lot more walkers?
Why in the world would Jon and Daenerys go hunting for the Night King (and Dragon) instead of just roasting the army of the dead in support of their troops? In other words, force the Night King’s hand? I get that it was hard to see but the army of the dead didn’t seem to have archers at all...so why not just fly low?
Why did it only take Daenerys and Jon about 20 seconds to blow off the protect Bran plan?
Also, what in the hell was Melisandre doing, just chilling near Winterfell waiting for the right moment to show up? Am I crazy here?
And don’t you worry, I will be taking a few victory laps in a few minutes.
“That’s why we are down here, None of us can do anything”
Just a sad reminder, from Sansa, that Tyrion and Varys have been entirely neutered on this show. Even Sam got to fight in the battle. Hell, Sansa at least has needle and could possibly have done some damage.
When was the last time Varys, previously one of the most important and influential characters on the entire show, did anything of importance (tapping foot)?
“Stick Em’ With The Pointy End”
It is incredible to see the end of the Night King come from the “dagger that started it all” as Bran once called it (and this is arguably true), This was the dagger that was used in attempt on Bran’s life way back at the beginning of the entire series, tied to Littlefinger (which is how Arya obtained it...through Littlefinger and Bran). So, the dagger that was used to try to kill young Bran ultimately saved Bran’s life at the end.
I hear that some people were complaining about this, but this is actually a VERY GRRM thing to do and one of the few things that I suspect Benioff and Weiss precisely followed directly from the instructions given to them by GRRM.
In addition, Arya is the best trained assasin in Westeros, it is no surprise she could pull of a sneak attack on the Night King. Melisandre told her she could represent someone with “blue eyes” and next thing you know she was infiltrating the walkers.
Finally, this was a real and interesting inversion of the hero stories we have been told throughout the entire series:
Jon was not the hero, in fact, he lost a dragon battle, got saved by Daenerys, and then was just about to get killed by the Viserion when Arya takes care of business.
Daenerys was not the hero, or even good at her job, for once. She appeared rattled throughout, appeared to have no idea how to fight dragon to dragon, and for some crazy reason decided to land Drogon (she could have accomplished the same rescue of Jon from the air most likely). Really, but for Jorah’s intervention, she would be the Undead Queen of Dragons right now.
Brienne was not the hero, The Hound was a hero but not the hero, Theon tried about as hard as one could try..he was a hero for sure, but not the hero.
In the end, it was Arya Stark, in the Godswood, with Littlefinger’s dagger.
I might also mention that Arya only reached that point because of assists from Beric and from Melisandre, The followers of R’hlor had a heroic night as well.
And she definitely used the pointy end.
A sad goodbye to a number of our old friends, RIP:
Theon Greyjoy (by Night King)
Jorah Mormont (by accumulated wounds)
Lyanna Mormont (by Ice Giant)
Eddison Tollett (by walkers)
Beric Dondarrion (by walkers)
Melisandre (who the heck knows)
I am sure I missed some folks, but as I mentioned before, it was really dark throughout the show, let me know who I need to add.
Let;s give an extra-special goodbye to Theon who finally redeemed himself (as if being tortured and reduced to “reek” wasn’t penance enough). You were a good man Theon Greyjoy!
I feel pretty vindicated, around two years ago I published a series of articles debunking the Bran = the Night King theory. They were my most popular articles ever but not universally accepted. Pretty clear I was right here (and in debunking many of the other theories about the walkers).
Anyway, for the hundreds and thousands of haters back when those articles were published, I told you so (giggle).
Also, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, now Daenerys is almost entirely weakened and Cersei is just waiting to clean up the scraps. Daenerys still has Drogon but her army is decimated. She has no cavalry, no navy (although Yara will show up with an absurdly large navy magically), and her Unsullied have probably lost over half their number. Sansa continues to suggest that she has no interest in supporting Daenerys. I am just confused as to why Cersei isn’t already on her way to pick the bones.
Anyway, all hail Arya, she clearly was the biggest badass tonight (and she should just demand the Iron Throne or just take it).
One last thing, in the “after the episode” breakdown, Benioff and Weiss talk about how Rhaegal is “Daneyrys’ dragon” so Jon can either follow her lead or stay behind…What a bizarre take on GOT Dragon lore. Short form, once a Dragon rider and Dragon bond, it doesn’t work that way at all.
Okay, see you next week.