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GAME OF THRONES: ‘The Long Night’ – The Battle Between Ice & Fire

Keli recaps and reviews the third episode of Game of Thrones’ final season: The Long Night.

The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers previously held the title for the longest battle in cinematic history. The third episode of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones firmly knocked the film off the top spot and broke records with its Battle of Winterfell, which aired a full gripping eighty-two minutes. Resulting in one of the most epic conclusions in television history, the battle scenes included more than 750 people both on and off the camera and was filmed over eleven weeks.

Fans have been long-awaiting Sunday’s episode since the final moments of A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms aired – ending with hundreds of The Night King’s generals, and his white walker soldiers outside of Winterfell. It did not disappoint.

Season 8, Episode 3, ‘The Long Night’

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The beginning of the episode is a class act of anticipation. We open on the shaking hands of Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) as he arms himself with dragonglass and makes his way to the front line. Bearing the expression of uncertainty, he looks around at those led to the Crypts underground, visibly nervous on what he has to face. Walking past, Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) heads towards the armor, hurrying through a crowd of Unsullied Soldiers who are preparing for battle. Chugging a flask of wine onto his shoulder, with a dagger in his hand, he is met with the eyes of Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) being pushed by Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) to the Weirwood Tree out as ‘bait’ for The Night King.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

With tension still remaining before we are met with the enemy, Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is seen on the ramparts before the battle begins, as are Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), when the screech of Daenerys’ dragons are heard as they sweep overhead. The Unsullied soldiers quickly get into formation with catapults ready for the big attack, as everyone waits for The Night King to arrive.

The outset of this episode is an elemental conflict that loomed until its end. With its extremely inventive silhouettes and high contrast colors giving the impression of an unrelenting hellscape, the amount of clarity that was lacking gave the episode a feeling of fear and ultimate confusion; so it almost threw us off when we noticed someone, without blue eyes, on horseback approaching the battlefront. Revealed to be Melisandre (Catrice van Houten), she tells Jorah Mormont to tell the Dothraki warriors to lift their swords. Doing as the witch says, Melisandre inspects one of the weapons, gripping the blade, and chants ancient High Valyrian words – when all of a sudden, the Dothraki blades are set ablaze in an epic spectacle.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The Red Priestess, who worships the Lord of Light, has used magic at several key points in the series. She first birthed a shadow with Stannis Baratheon’s face that murdered Renly Baratheon back in season two; burned a pile of leeches filled with Gendry’s blood to curse Rob Stark; controversially burned Shireen Baratheon to benefit Stannis’ army; and, most famously, brought Jon Snow back from the dead after The Night’s Watch mutiny.

When she resurrected Jon, Melisandre stayed with his camp until Davos discovered that she was responsible for Shireen’s death. Filled with regret, The Red Priestress tells Jon about what she did and asks him to sentence her to death – but he instead banishes her and warns her that she would be executed if she ever returned back to Winterfell.

The Red Woman was last seen with Varys in Dragonstone, when he pointed out that she was keeping track of Jon Snow and Davos and should get out of there immediately; to which she revealed that she was heading to Volantis next, saying, “I’ve done my part. I’ve brought ice and fire together…my time whispering in the ears of kings has come to an end.” Then, without elaborating further, she tells Varys that she would be returning to Westeros again in the future: “Oh, I will return dear Spider. One last time. I have to die in this strange country, just like you.” That was the last time Melisandre appeared on our screens, and the fact that Thoros is dead, The Red Woman is the only character we know of who is capable of bringing people back from the dead.

When Melisandre gave an unexpected return, she was met with some uneasy looks – not just from Davos Seaworth, who was ready to kill her for what she did to Shireen Baratheon seasons ago – but from Ser Jorah Mormont too. Her arrival was instrumental in helping Winterfell achieve victory, though as the battle went on, the joy of the light had started to fade. Melisandre always warned everyone that “The night was dark and full of terrors” – and this episode proved how right she was.

Riding through the Unsullied ranks, Davos calls for the gates to be opened for her. Melisandre is met with him, saying, “There’s no need to execute me, Davos, I’ll be dead before the dawn,” as she looks and sees Arya glancing at her from the ramparts, just as screams can be heard.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The Dothraki warriors, with their flaming weapons, charge ahead on horseback, with Jorah in tow, as Jon and Daenerys watch from their elevated position – while flaming balls are fired from catapults. The unexpected return of Melisandre sparked a ray of hope that was evaporated instantly by the faceless horde of wights. That first commence from the Dothraki, triumphantly waving their flaming swords before quietly extinguishing, one human life at a time, was the most chilling scene of the whole episode. The wights proved that they are the most terrifying elements of the show, and that single shot proved that, as well as the chaos that followed after.

The remaining warriors on the battlefront are tense, afraid, waiting for what’s going to happen next, when all of a sudden a horse comes running back towards them, along with several others on foot, with Jorah injured – who shares a frightened look with Tormund (Kristofer Hivju).

Above the battlefield, Dany looks ahead in awe and turns to leave when Jon holds her back and tells her, “The Night King is coming,” to which she responds, “The dead are already here.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Throughout the dark battlefield, the screams become progressively louder and louder as the white walkers prepare for attack – Grey Worm putting on his helmet when hearing this. The flood of panic grows on every depending soldier standing on-screen, a flush of dread as the wights linger closer. Constant readjustments and pinching of skin is made from each character, but it does nothing to stop their rapid breath as the wights weigh in like a pulsing mass of insects on the battlefield. “Dovaogēdys!” is called for the Unsullied army to march and take halt, but that doesn’t give any effect to the sheer volume of the fearless rotting flesh. The nightmarish, apocalyptic tone of the episode rivals in as we witness the characters that we’ve adored so much get brutally outnumbered, and their skill and organization coming across as seemingly ineffective.

Brienne’s left flank weighs in on the battle, but she is taken to the ground, with Jaime trying to save – desperately in need of another spark of luck – just when Dany comes soaring through the sky with Drogon, and Jon riding next to her, flooding the wights with fire and lighting the dark battlefield up.

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Flying further, Jon spots the white walker leaders on horseback standing near the forest, when a strong wind hits him and binds him up into a whirlwind of a wintry storm. Daenerys carries on lighting the battlefield, but is struck with the commotion the further she rides, causing the blaze of the fire to fall short too soon.

Back at Winterfell, Arya and Sansa look out at the battle from the ramparts. Frantic, Arya turns to her sister and tells her to go back to the Crypt, to which Sansa replies that she’s not abandoning her people. Handing her a dagger, Arya tells the Lady of Winterfell to take the weapon and go, but Sansa becomes hesitant when she takes the dragonglass, saying, “I don’t know how to use it.”

Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Being the eldest daughter and second child of Lady Catelyn and Lord Eddard Stark, the Warden of the North, Sansa Stark has never been the one to pursue in warfare and training like her younger sister, Arya. Filled with the enjoyment of proper “lady-like” pursuits, Sansa has always been good at sewing, embroidering, history, poetry, and literature. Since she was young she dreamed of being a Queen like Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), and wrote epic songs that ventured tales that she would meet her knight in shining armor some day. Unlike her other siblings, she was considered to be beautiful her whole life – and was often seen in contrast with Arya, who has neither her looks nor her accomplishments within feminine activities and behavior. However, these abilities didn’t seem to accumulate any factors throughout the past seasons. Up until this unprovoked attack from the white walkers, Sansa has maintained a strong stand as Lady of Winterfell, but her continual leadership and ability to hold power over the castle doesn’t seem to do anything useful for her, or the people, during these countless attacks.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

It almost seems that Sansa has missed out in evolving into a warrior like the rest of her family, and seems quite oblivious to the simple traits of fighting – even the use of a dagger. Understanding the issue, Arya tells Sansa to “stick them with the pointy end,” words she was told by Sylvio Forel back in season one.

At Weirwood Tree, a strong wind sweeps over Bran and Theon, while Jorah, Brienne, and Tormund fight for the lives on the ground. In the midst of the battle, The Hound and Jaime are looking completely overwhelmed, when Samwell is saved by Dolorious Edd, before being abruptly killed by a wight. His watch has ended.

Down in the Crypt, Sansa heads to safety with the women and children, and the non-fighters, Varys, Missandei and Tyrion, who drinks from a flask.

Outside, Jon is flying blindly through the winter blizzard but clashes into Dany with the result of them both trying to get to their bearings. Calling out for his Queen, Jon can’t find her, and on the ground, Bran waits for the inevitable, as a dragon swoops down and perches himself on the castle’s roof – carrying his brother.

Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Back on the battlefield, Tormund and Brienne are instructing the survivors to “fall back to the gates” as they all rush inside (Lyanna Mormont) giving the order to open the Winterfell gates), pushed back by the undead army. More pull themselves through the gates, all bloodied and battered, as they rush in, while the Unsullied warriors try to hold back the undead with their spears…but are simply outnumbered. Arya tries to shoot down some of the undead with her bow and arrow as the Unsullied call for a retreat, falling back into the Winterfell’s entrance, while the wights fight their way through the army. Grey Worm calls for the trench to be lit, with Davos waving the torches, but Jon and Dany care unable to see the signal due to the winter storm The Night King has created. Faced with panic, they try to light it with flaming arrows, but it just isn’t working, with several who have tried being tackled down by wights.

The task of setting it alight is fell to Melisandre (with an assist from an Unsullied protection guard, led by Grey Worm). The Red Priestress starts to repeat a prayer to the Lord of Light to light the trenches, but the apocalyptic threat starts bearing closer and closer towards her. In that moment, she is just a few feet away from the attacking undead, fear – and even doubt (which has been with her since the Shireen incident) – is washed across Melisandre’s face as she tries to concentrate and use her spell to light up the trench. Quivering, she starts saying the prayer with desperation, and right when the wights get to her, the trench is lit, forming a fiery barrier between the dead and the Winterfell castle.

In the sky, Daenerys spots the light and heads towards Winterfell, as does Jon.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Inside the Crypt, the sound of crying babies and the cackling of the fire is all that is heard. Sighing, Varys mentions that “At least we’re already in a Crypt“, which leads Tyrion to complain that, “If we were up there, we might see something everyone else is missing. Something that makes a difference.” Varys scoffs at this, causing Tyrion to remind him of the Battle of the Blackwater, were he brought everyone “through the mud-gate, to which Varys interjects, saying that he got his face cut in half along the way. Stating that it made no difference, Tyrion goes on about the change he would make in the battle but it interrupted by Sansa saying, “You’d die. There’s nothing you can do.” Throwing his empty flask on the floor, the Hand of the Queen walks towards Sansa declaring, “You might be surprised that the lengths I go to avoid joining the army of the dead –  I can think of no organisation less suited to my talents.” Brushing off his “witty remarks”, Sansa tells him that they’re all down in the Crypt because they can’t do anything, saying the most heroic thing they can do is “Look the truth in the face.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Listening to this, Tyrion jokes that they should’ve stayed married, with Sansa saying that he was the best of all of them, leaving the little man to choke and says “What a terrifying thought.” Smiling, Sansa notes that it wouldn’t work, and that the divided loyalties for The Dragon Queen would become a problem. Missandei, angry that they are talking ill about her Queen, overhears, saying, “Yes, without The Dragon Queen they’d be no problem at all. We’d all be dead already.” She walks away with more than a little disgust, leaving Sansa silent and Tyrion to look after her.

At the Weirwood Tree, Theon tells Bran that they lit the trench, and turns to him, amid apologizing, but is cut off when Bran tells him, “Everything you did brought you where you are now. Where you belong. Home.” Swallowing hard, tears start to glisten in Theon’s eyes as he stares back at Bran. Eddard Stark may have “kidnapped” him and raised him in Winterfell alongside his children, and his loyalties may have been divided once, but not now. Not anymore.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

There he finds The Night King riding his dragon who reaches out his hand, as the undead start walking into the lit trench, one by one. They eventually start a path for the rest to get through, as Davos yells for everyone to “Man the walls!” as they race to the ramparts, finding the wights climbing up the walls. Podrick starts slaying them with the dragonglass weapons, as does Samwell, Jorah and many others, but they keep getting through. The army of the dead infiltrate Winterfell fully, as Brienne and Jaime try to fend them off and fight their way through.

The slow creep of the undead, steadily, inevitably gaining more ground, was deeply unsettling. Melisandre’s role did little more than buy a bit of time for Winterfell to defend its self with more dragonglass, as her flaming barricade was smothered by a heap of disposable corpses. The terrifying breach at the Winterfell fire wall is smothered, but that doesn’t stop Arya embarking in the fight – killing wights left and right with her modular spear – as Davos looks on, impressed.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The Hound, on the other hand, is paralyzed, breathing heavily, and leaning against a wall away from the battle. Beric Dondarrion calls to him, but he doesn’t respond. “Clegane!” Beric screams at the Hound, “Clegane, we need you!” “Fuck off!” The Hound tells him, “We can’t beat them. Don’t you see that, you stupid whore? We’re fighting Death! They can’t beat Death.” Taking an exasperated breath, Beric points towards the Winterfell castle where Arya is clinging from the roof, hopelessly outnumbered by wights but still fighting back, and says, “Tell her that.” The Hound looks up and snaps out of it, running after her.

Meanwhile in the courtyard, an undead giant breaks through the Winterfell gate, batting Lyanna and the remaining guards to the side where the rotting flesh lays. Bleeding from her head, Lyanna doesn’t give up and instead charges at the decomposing wight, screaming up an anguish of pain and anger. Catching her running up to him, he holds her in his skeletal hand and lifts her up, proceeding to snap her bones as he squeezes her tiny body.

Bleeding from the mouth, she takes her last breath to do possibly the most terrifying thing of her life, and she’s not fazed by it. Taking the dragonglass dagger from her side, she stabs the giant in the eye, causing the pair to both fall to the ground, defeated. Lyanna Mormont died a heroic way, and a death that will be remembered throughout the whole of the series. The character’s fear seemed to have disappeared at that moment in time, and it was insane. Instead of staying on the ground, the young lady of Bear Island decided to make a difference – saving countless compatriots within this.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Above the battlefield, Dany and Jon fly above the winter storm to search for The Night King, but he finds them before they find him. His dragon, Viserion, starts to spew blue flames at Daenerys and her dragon, Drogon, who begins to screech loudly. The Night King dives back to the earth, disappearing, leaving Jon and Dany to plunge down after him.

Back in the Winterfell castle, Arya is inside, and so is the army of the dead. Sneaking through rooms, she is alone and without a weapon, breathing heavily and walking lightly past bookcase to bookcase. Bloodied and battered, she finds two wights in the library with her as she tries to evade them – managing to hide under a table out of sight. As blood proceeds to drip from her face, a wight hears it, but she carefully slips away before she is discovered. There are at least ten wights grunting around the library where she stands, so she throws a book to distract them, and runs to the exit – only to bump into a wight, silently cutting its throat, making it out in one piece. Hearing more of the undead storming in, she runs for her life, but her fate is uncertain.

In the Crypt, everyone waits in silence. We see the worried look on Varys’ face, as well as the little girl from the previous episode, Teela. Nervous breath fills the room, until a loud bang startles everyone. Soldiers start to plead to open the Crypt’s door, as they hear the undead screech above them, but no one does – there’s nothing they can do, and they all know it. Death is at the door, and they’re helpless. Cries of help fill the air, and the sounds of blood being spilled hit the floor. Sansa stares at the staircase that leads out (and in), holding her breath until the noise eventually quiets down.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The Hound and Beric Dondarrion are making their way through the Winterfell hallways, led by Beric’s flaming sword, with Sandor wielding an axe behind him. Silence is all around them, they don’t see anything and they don’t hear anything – but death is evident, and they know it.

Muffled sounds of the undead are heard in the distance, and they make their way towards it. A door in front of them flies off its hinges, along with a wight pinning Arya onto the floor with it. Stricken with panic, Arya releases a scream just when Beric throws his flaming sword at the wight, landing perfectly, allowing Arya to free herself. Beric helps the girl to her feet, just when a horde of the ravenous undead rush into the hallway, one of them stabbing Beric in the calf. Pushing Arya away from them, she runs to The Hound, and grabbing her, he tells her to run. And they do.

Beric reunites with them throughout the hallways but the enemies catch up to him, stabbing him over and over. Sadness falls across Arya’s face as she picks up an ax and tries to fend off the wights killing Beric, but there’s more than a dozen that’s appeared in the hallways, so The Hound picks her up and runs away. Beric tries to follow, but the wights proceed to stab him. Distracting the enemies so that his friends can escape, Beric stands in a Christlike pose (a symbol to his belief of the Lord of Light), but manages to free himself for the second time. He catches up with The Hound and Arya, and the three of them make their way in a room and close the door behind them – The Hound barricading the door with a chair and a pew.

Beric falls to the floor, and Arya goes to him. He looks as if he’s about to say something, light in his eyes, but before he can, he dies.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The Lord brought him back for a purpose.” Recognizing the voice, Arya turns around and is faced with Melisandre, who speaks to her. “Now that purpose has been served.” Anger pulls on Arya’s face as she says to The Red Woman, “I know you,” to which she replies, “I know you.” Standing up, Arya recalls that Melisandre said that they’d meet again, leaving the witch to say, “And here we are. At the end of the world.” “You said I’d shut many eyes forever. You were right about that, too.” Smiling, Melisandre repeats what she said to her all those years ago: “Brown eyes, green eyes, and blue eyes.

Giving emphasis on the “blue”, the three of them turn to the door were the undead army lurk behind it. “What do we say the God of Death?” Melisandre asks. The room is filled with the loud screams from the wights behind the door, until Arya replies to the question that Syrio Forel used to ask her back in season one…”Not today.” Arya looks at Melisandre and runs away towards her destiny. Again, The Red Priestress has played another hand in The Battle of Winterfell, this time delivering the right words at the right time, and inspring Arya Stark to go and kill the blue-eyed Night King.

Back at Godswood, Theon, Bran, and the others are still safe from attack, until sounds of the wights are heard close-by, alerting everyone to ignite their arrows and aim, with Theon telling his men to “make every shot count.” And in just a few seconds, dozens of the undead come running in.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The Night King makes another appearance, swooping down on Winterfell, and setting off a fiery blue blast at the Winterfell walls as Jon’s dragon fights Viserion, biting and clawing at each other. The two tumble around in the sky until The Night King has his spear at the ready, trying to kill Jon, but is tossed off his dragon, when Daenerys and Drogon come flying in, allowing Jon’s dragon to take it down, as it falls to the earth with a thud. Jon, entwined with it, falls too, but miraculously comes back as strong as ever.

As Dany hovers over the battlefield, Drogon makes a call (Jorah hears this from the Winterfell courtyard), just when she spots The Night King getting up from the ground. Looking up, Daenerys gives her most famous line out of show, “Dracarys,” which orders her dragon to set The Night King ablaze, which it does, as he stands there in flames. Jon watches from the ground as everything burns, but the flames subside. Dany looks down in disbelief as the leader of the white walkers comes out completely unscathed, and posing a smirk at The Dragon Queen.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Untouched by the fire, The Night King proceeds to pick up his spear and aims it at Dany and her dragon, but misses when she flies off immediately. Stumbling towards the combustion, Jon Snow draws his sword and follows The Night King as he walks through the ruins of the battlefield, but stops, abruptly, when The Night King hears him approaching. Turning to face him, The Night King raises his hands, goading him into a fight, as Jon charges at him, sword in hand, but the leader of the white walkers reanimates the thousands dead, who moments ago, fought against the Army of the Dead.

Inside Winterfell, all of the enemies they have slain, and all of the warriors that have been killed, rise from the dead, including Lyanna Mormont and the Dothraki, Dolorous Edd and more.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

The Night King is a formidable physical threat, not just by handling himself in combat, seeing glimpses of the future, or spearing a dragon, but he can also raise the dead. This act was first shown in season five when Jon Snow and Tormund Giantsbane are coordinating the evacuation of Hardhome. Appearing to be leading the attack, or somewhat observing it with some white walkers, he watches from one of the cliffs above the town as Jon slays one of his lieutenants with his Valyrian steel sword, Longclaw. As Jon, Tormund and the remaining defenders leave on a boat, The Night King appears on the dock and locks eyes with Jon. With a mere raise of his arms, The Night King resurrects the entirety of Hardhome’s defenders as wights, and keeps his gaze upon Jon as the boat floats away.

During the last episode of season seven, The Night King is present when the wights battle Jon Snow at the Wight Hunt, who traveled beyond the wall to capture a wight to use as proof for the gathered high lords of Westeros. When Daenerys and her dragons come and attempt to rescue Jon and his group, The Night King hurls an ice spear towards Viserion, piercing the dragon straight through the neck and causing it to crash down to the frozen lake, sinking beneath the icy waters. At the end of the episode, The Night King and his wights haul Viserion’s corpse out of the water and places a hand upon him. Moments later, Viserion is reanimated as his eyes open, now a depth-less, cold blue.

The Night King is more powerful than we can even comprehend, so when he leaves Jon surrounded by the army of the dead, it’s quite frightening to see what his next intentions are towards Bran, as he heads towards Godswood – followed by his lieutenants coming through the gates of Winterfell.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Jon fights off the undead, until Dany and her dragon clear a path with fire. Turning to her, he yells, “Bran!” to which she calls back, “Go!” Jon proceeds to run past the dead (again) soldiers into Winterfell, and as he does, the dead that Dany didn’t kill overwhelm Drogon – which causes her to fall off. Hitting the ground surrounded with rotting flesh, she sees her dragon fly into the air, flapping his wings, as the dead fall to the battlefield like snowflakes. But they’re still alive, and one charges at Dany just before Jorah beheads it. He proceeds to slay more wights to protect his Khaleesi, as she grabs a sword herself, looking desperate.

Fighting his way into the Winterfell courtyard, Sam is overwhelmed for the third time. Hope looks lost for everyone as Jon tries to fight his way inside, and it’s a devastating picture. The dead are everywhere, so he quickly makes his way into an inner room and shuts an iron gate behind him. Just after doing that, the ceiling crumbles around him and the undead dragon Viserion lands on the Winterfell wall, blowing blue fire everywhere, as Dany and Jorah continue to fight side by side on the battlefield.

Inside the Winterfell Crypt, the undead start to claw their way through the walls, as the peaceful scene quickly becomes a panic. Claiming victims by the second, Sansa and Tyrion take shelter behind a large tomb. She begins to breath heavily, looking away from the action, but Tyrion can’t help but watch. He turns to her, and they exchange a look of infinite sadness. Terrified, Sansa takes out the dagger Arya gave her, as Tyrion pulls out his own weapon, and they give each other a long meaningful look. Tyrion grabs Sansa’s hand and kisses it. Taking a deep breath, the pair move out.

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In the Godswood, Theon and his men are trying to protect Bran, whose still in the form the three ravens, when the soldiers are overrun. Out of arrows, Theon switches to a spear as he fends off the undead while Bran still harnesses his greensight. Proceeding to kill everyone that advances a threat, it’s just Theon and Bran left near the Weirwood Tree now –  at least that’s what it seems.

The Night King and his lieutenants arrive, which causes Bran to wake up and say, “Theon. You’re a good man. Thank you.” Turning to look at him, Theon releases a tear that falls from his cheek. Smiling, proud and sad, he knows what his fate is. Holding his spear out, he screams, and charges towards The Night King, who runs him through with his own weapon. Theon falls to his knees, then to the ground; dying a hero and protector of Winterfell.

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In the Crypts, Tyrion and Sansa make a move towards Varys, whose keeping Teela safe, and watch as those who haven’t died yet run from the tombs. Meanwhile, Jon tries to sneak up on Viserion but nearly gets burned alive in the act. Jaime and Prodick look near death, as does Brienne, as Samwell cries, while The Night King walks over a dying Theon and heads for Bran at the Weirwood Tree.

While approaching The Three-Eyed-Raven, Ramin Djawadi’s haunting piece of music, titled ‘The Night King’, plays in the background and it’s probably one of the most mind-blowing moments of the episode. As The Night King stands face to face with Bran, the nine-minute piano-led composition starts to accompany the villain’s dramatic end beautifully, as the musical theme starts to build up for its quiet moments of terror and massive twists filled with shock.

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The Night King and Bran stare each other down, as Bran portrays a look of sadness over his face, which makes the enemy tilt his head with curiosity. The Night King reaches for his sword but, out of the darkness, Arya leaps towards The Night King with a scream. Spinning around, he catches her by the neck and left arm. The moment filled with an abundance of tension, Arya drops her dagger from her raised left hand to her lower right hand and stabs The Night King with her Valyrian steel dagger (the weapon that was used in an attempt to kill Bran in season one) – leaving him to explode into thousands of tiny ice shards, and killing all of the white walkers and Viserion en mass. The fall of the dead finally arrived, and it was incredible.

Breathing heavily, Arya stands tall and smiles at her brother while being surrounded by remains of the dead that haunted Winterfell for seasons. At the courtyard, looks of shock are planted on everyone’s face as they look around at the devastation of the mournful victory.

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Back on the battlefield, Jorah Mormont is stabbed in the chest but still stands with Daenerys, though eventually collapses to the ground when he is hit with his final blow. He dies as he stares into the eyes of his beloved Queen, having fulfilled his vow to protect her while Daenerys grieves and weeps over his body – only to be accompanied by her dragon, Drogon, who uses his wings to surround her in a makeshift hug of endearment.

The episode concludes with The Hound walking outside with Melisandre, exhausted, as The Red Woman walks through the massive carnage, and self-fulfills her own prophecy from earlier in the episode, by taking off her necklace and ageing exponentially instantly as she walks into the winter night; dying within seconds as the episode comes to a close.

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Game of Thrones (2019) – source: HBO

Sunday night’s episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones featured the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell, and, as many expected, it featured the deaths of several characters. But now that one of the biggest threats in Westeros has been defeated, the real battle is about to begin. The conflict and desire for the Iron Throne still remains in the next three episodes, and we can’t wait.

Game of Thrones season 8 will air each Sunday on HBO until its final episode on May 19, 2019.

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