Game of Thrones: The Long Night, has come and gone, and while it was an extremely tense episode, I wouldn’t quite say that it was as emotionally charged as most GoT fans predicted it would be.
We didn’t nearly lose the level of heroes that we all thought would perish, nor did any of us see how the episode would end, which in my mind robbed a bit of wind from one of the show’s biggest plot threads. Not because of how the thread was ended, I did like the surprise hero, but more because it closed a huge door on a major GoT narrative that felt like it had a bit more flesh to it than what was revealed. Oh, and you could hardly see a damn thing thanks to the horrendous natural lighting, so that frustrated me a bit too.
Anyway, you can scroll through my episode recap and top moments list below, which are both very SPOILER heavy, so proceed only if you’ve seen the episode, or if you don’t give a shit about SPOILERS.
The episode begins with a very tense feeling, which sees the camera following all of the major heroes as they prepare for the Night King’s attack. It starts with Sam, then moves to Tryion then on to Bran, then to Davos, then to Sansa, oh you get the picture. The whole opening 5-minutes was just meant to get you on edge, and it excelled at doing so by checking in on every single character a GoT fan could care about.
Considering this episode was mostly one big battle, I’m not going to be doing play-by-play, but rather I’ll hit on the major moments, so the first one would be the mysterious arrival of Melissandre, who showed up and used her powers to ignite the Dothraki horde’s swords on fire for their charge into the Night King’s forces. She also curiously stares at Arya upon her arrival, which plays into a major moment at the end of the episode. This witch knew much more than we and anyone in Westeros gave her credit for.
After their swords were lit the Dothraki make their charge, which provided one of the coolest battle visuals I’ve ever seen, which in turn ended in one of the biggest battle plan failures I’ve ever seen, because within 10-seconds the entire Dothraki horde gets wiped out by the army of the dead.
This is turn causes Dany to break from the battle plan she had with Jon, so she darts off on Drogon to get herself into the mix, so naturally, Jon follows her, officially scrapping any and all planning they had.
These two dragon riders lay down some pain on the undead, but the Night King has some sort of blizzard cooked up for them, so they get separated and their visibility is limited thanks to the storm.
Meanwhile, the melee is in full swing on the ground and we get our first named character death of the episode in the form of Lord Commander Edd. Old Edd dies while saving Sam, which just made sense for both characters, and it was an honorable sacrifice.
The dragons keep doing their thing but the ground forces are already being overran, so a retreat is called by Brienne and the other field commanders. Davos signals for the trenches to be lit on fire by Dany and Drogon during the retreat, but she can’t see the signal due to the blizzard going on, so the retreat begins to look futile. That’s until Melissandre saves the day with her magic again by lighting the trench on fire with her hands, so that’s twice now she’s flexed her skill to save the day temporarily.
At this moment the episode finally checks in with the characters locked up in the crypt. There’s a bit of drama going on between Sansa, Tryion, and Missendei thanks to Sansa still not being a huge fan of the Queen, but I think after this battle she may finally open up, at least until Dany doesn’t budge on making the North bend the knee.
From here we also get our first check-in with Bran in the Godswood, where he’s being protected by Theon and his men. Bran eventually wargs into some ravens to go check on his foe the Night King, who he does find, revealing to us the viewers for the first time that he is at the battle and poised to make his attempt on Bran’s life.
Back at Winterfell the Night King has seemingly persuaded his wights to start throwing themselves into the fire trench barrier the living setup for them, so after enough bodies pile up, the zombies start breaking through the trench fire and into the castle. More fighting and more death ensue.
While this is going on, Jon finally spots the Night King on his dragon, so he gives chase after him. The walls of Winterfell start to topple at this time thanks to the Night King and his forces, so the living’s situation becomes even more dire.
Now that the undead are pouring into Winterfell, we finally get to see Arya use her skills after seeing only brief hints at her abilities over the past two seasons. She wields her bo staff masterfully, but the sheer numbers of the undead force her to run for her life.
Dead giants and the like are now flooding Winterfell, which leads to the second named character death of the episode. We see Lady Mormont use her last bit of life to take out a giant, which was a very fitting end considering her firey nature and diminutive size, so I was sad to see her go, but loved how she went out.
While all this is going on and the castle is being overran, the Hound goes into one of his scared spells thanks to all of the fire and chaos around him. He’s mostly given up on the fight, but luckily Berric finds him and motivates him to get his ass in gear, which he does so thanks to Arya being in harm’s way.
And luckily he does, because just as Arya gets overran, he and Berric show up to save the day, but it ultimately costs Berric his life. He, Arya, the Hound and Melissandre hole up in a room, but not for long, because Arya heads out, but it’s not clear where she may be going yet.
Back in the air Jon, Dany, and the Night King are going at it on their dragons. Rhaegal and Jon are getting the shit kicked out of them, but Dany shows up and the two knock the Night King off his mount. Jon and his dragon are beat up though, so they crash land and Jon gets in on the ground battle. While Rhaegal isn’t shown again, he does live through the battle as indicated in the teaser for Episode 4.
The action then focuses back on the Night King, who is casually making his way to the Godswood to kill Bran, but Dany descends upon him and lays down what she thinks will be a kill shot, a wave of dragon fire. But, if you’re a learned GoT fan, then you know that fire doesn’t affect the Night King, so he takes a bath in Drogon’s flames and then smiles at Dany with a “How do you like them apples” expression. Luckily, she snaps out of her shock and just manages to avoid Drogon getting hit with one of the King’s ice spears.
Now it’s time for Jon’s turn to go one on one with the Night King, but as he starts charging towards his nemesis, the Night King raises his arms to bring all of the recently deceased warriors back to life, so Jon’s duel with the Night King gets cut short.
Thanks to the Night King doing his hand thing, the dead Starks in the crypt start to come back to life, so all sorts of awful shit starts to happen to the women and children down there. It really doesn’t appear that any will make it out, but more on that later.
Back above ground Jon is being surrounded by the undead, but luckily, his aunt shows up and torches all around him, freeing him to go hunt down the Night King. But stupidly, she stays grounded for too long and allows wights to climb up Drogon, so she gets knocked off her dragon into the middle of the ground battle by herself. Drogon has to take off or risk being killed by wights, so she’s left on her own in a real pickle, but luckily her man Jorah comes to her rescue.
The action shifts back to the Godswood where Theon is heroically defending Bran. He’s really giving it his all, even as the White Walkers start to encircle him in preparation for the Night King’s arrival.
We’re then taken back to the crypts where Sansa and Tyrion share a tender moment before they think they’ll die. It made sense considering their past, so it was a nice moment, even if the stakes weren’t as dire was we were lead to believe going into this battle.
Winterfell is completely hosed at this point. Viserion the dead dragon is wreaking havoc and razing the castle while also blocking Jon from getting to the Godswood. Dany has also been cornered and is being defended by a mortally wounded Jorah. Both of the dragons are nowhere to be found due to injuries, and more and more undead are overrunning the grounds, so all hope looks lost for the heroes.
Bran’s situation gets very grim as Theon bravely sacrifices himself by charging at the Night King as he arrives to take Bran out. This act fails clearly, so nothing and no one now stands between the Night King and Bran. The King, as all big bads do, takes his jolly old time in getting over to Bran, and even when he’s within killing distance, he still moves slowly, which is his downfall.
Literally out of nowhere, Arya jumps at his back, but he catches her by the neck! Just as you think he’s going to snap it, she drops her valyrian steel blade into her free hand and jabs the Night King right in the same spot that the Children stabbed him to make him the Night King. This effectively kills him, which in turn kills his entire army of the dead. The good guys did it!
The episode closes confirming that Jorah died protecting the Queen, so he’s the penultimate named character death of the episode. The final named character death belongs to Melissandre, who essentially kills herself by removing her charmed necklace. I guess her centuries old quest finally came to an end, because she wanted nothing more to do with the world apparently.
- The whole opening segment where each of the main character’s get established before the dogs of way get unleashed really helped to build the tension for this episode, and it didn’t let up until Arya’s big moment.
- Melissandre lighting up all of those swords was pretty radical
- Speaking of fire swords, seeing the bird’s eye view of the Dothraki charge was pretty damn awesome
- Of course any of the moments in which Jon and Dany are riding their dragons and fucking shit up was awesome, so I’ll just use this as a catchall, so it also includes their mid-air duel with the Night King.
- Edd goes down saving Sam.
- Melissandre again flexing her magic by lighting the trench, she definitely was the real deal in case you were still wondering.
- Arya’s bo staff clinic, as I mentioned above, was the first time we saw her using her skills in battle, so it definitely is a stand out moment for the episode and series.
- Lady Mormont taking out a giant is the most Lady Mormont thing ever and I loved it.
- Hound and Berric saving Arya is huge because it fulfills Berric’s prophecy, and it woke the Hound the fuck up from his shellshocked state.
- Just as you thought Jon would finally get to go toe-to-toe with the Night King, he goes and raises the dead, which is just cool to watch, especially because you know the Night King is just trolling Jon at this point.
- The whole scene where Dany almost loses Drogon to the undead rough to watch, because in the end, the dragons getting hurt weighs more heavily on me than the human characters. Plus it was just a super tense moment that didn’t look like it would end well at all.
- The touching scene between Tyrion and Sansa helped to bring a little calmness to this hectic episode, but really it was just a solid callback to their time together, and showcased their love and respect for each other perfectly.
- Theon’s charge was futile, but it was brave considering he stared down his own death and ran right towards it. I do believe he redeemed himself with his bravery, but something still felt a bit off with his sacrifice. It may have been better served for saving Sansa, but what do I know.
- Arya did it! Enough said.
- Ser Jorah died doing what he was meant to do, protecting his queen and the love of his life.
- Melissandre goes out on her own terms, and in my case foolishly. With her power set you’d think she’d want to see the game of thrones through, but I guess her charge was mostly in defeating the dead, and she helped do just that, and decided to take herself out before Jon and Davos could execute her.
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