April is the gift that just keeps on giving in terms of entertainment. We get Line of Duty, perhaps one of the best cop dramas on television, Avengers, which has already made over $1 billion and perhaps the biggest television show in the history of television, Game of Thrones. If you needed any more convincing that Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive and highly produced shows out there Season 8 episode 3 titled “The Long Night” will confirm this for you.
I don’t quite know where to start. This episode was basically just an orgy of war. Well let’s just quickly recap what happened shall we? So basically the army of dead led by the mysterious Night King finally marched on Winterfell and they just tore sh*t up. Quite literally. Winterfell is basically rubble and ash. Game of Thrones of old would spend the next 3 episodes focusing on physically rebuilding Winterfell. Let’s hope we get a time jump or our heroes forget about the mess and begin marching down to Kings Landing.
On the surface this is a magnificently produced episode. Probably the best of the series although Battle of the Bastards comes close. This is basically the culmination of what has been building since episode 1 season 1. Our heroes are finally face to face with the dead and it is literally a battle of survival. Some of the visuals are truly stunning. The dragons flying above the crowds, the Dothraki fire swords going out one by one, the lighting of the trench. Seriously, when I could see what the hell was going on, it was quite something. Almost film-like and the producers did promise us this. But this leads me onto my first issue.
Don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy the episode as I was watching it (apart from the ending and we’ll get to that) but on further reflection I actually take offense to a lot of what went down in the Battle of Winterfell. The episode was just full of things that didn’t make sense and dare I say, it fell a bit short in some regards.
So let’s begin. Now I don’t know about you but I had a bit of a hard time figuring out what the hell was going on because it was so dark. I get it, the episode is called “The Long Night” but you couldn’t like crank the ISO up a bit or have Melisandre in every scene just lighting stuff up so we could see. The amount of times I tried to crank up the brightness on my laptop even though I knew it was at its full brightness. I’m sorry but during production someone must have said, “Its a bit dark” like surely. Like there were some parts it was so ridiculously dark I didn’t know if I was looking at bloody Brienne of Tarth or Drogon. But alas, I can forgive this. The darkness I guess adds to the mood of the episode and I dunno, the fact that it was night.
But less talk about the main reason why this episode was getting so much hype. Everyone was convinced that a bunch of our favourite characters were going to die this episode. And had this episode been in the first few seasons of the show I would’ve believed that. Plus, the episode that preceded this was basically building us up to this fact. Showing us all our favourite characters together in what would probably be the last time. But I never really jumped on that band wagon. Game of Thrones has seemed to be a bit protective of their characters recently. What we loved about the show was that anyone could get it. Ned, Robb, Joffrey… all shock deaths. But the last character of any significance they killed off was frikkin Petyr Baelish. And he had it coming. So in this episode what we’re left with is characters, who if they were anyone else would surely be dead, literally surviving against impossible odds. Here is a list of characters who survived who should most definitely be dead.
There was at least one instance in this episode where one of these characters got overrun with wights. If they were a tertiary character they would be dead. And let’s just talk about Jorah quickly shall we? This is just an example of how this episode doesn’t make much sense. Jorah charged into the depths of the unknown with the Dothraki. He was at the front, yet he survived and the rest died. That was complete trash and nonsensical. I mean I understand why they needed to keep him alive, so he could have that moment with Dany at the end but if that’s the case then just don’t put him in that situation.
But let’s quickly talk about the people that did bite it. Huge props to Lyanna Mormont and Theon. Although I wish Theon didn’t die by charging in like a moron, the smackdown he was laying before this was pretty incredible. And we all loved the head of house Mormont ever since her epic speech in support of Jon as King of the North. And I am thankful she went out like a boss. I just wish her taking out the giant was witnessed by someone. I hope that she gets some recognition in the aftermath.
Let’s talk about Bran. A lot of people are pissed off at Bran because he didn’t do much. To be honest the thing that pissed me off most about him was his last exchange with Theon. I mean it was a bit of a dick move. He basically said “You’re redeemed, now go kill yourself”. But a lot of people are saying he could have warged into a dragon of the giant or literally anything to help Winterfell in their hour of need. And yes he could’ve but let’s not forget that Bran knows more than all of us. Also the whole three eyed raven thing is still a bit confusing to me and I’m still not totally convinced that Bran is on the same side as the people of Winterfell. But he did lead the Night King to the Weirdwood tree where Arya snuck up on him and gave the final blow. Anyone remember earlier this season when Arya snuck up on Jon in the exact same location?
But now let’s actually talk about the Night King and how he met his end. I think it’s safe to say that we were all expecting some sort of confrontation between the Night King and Jon Snow. Honestly I wanted an Anakin vs Obi Wan kind of duel and I thought we were going to get it. But of course the Night King is too resourceful for that and literally raises everyone from the dead gaining a new army. So when this happened I was thinking, okay I don’t think Jon is going to be the one to take him down… but if not him then who? The writers said that it didn’t feel right for Jon to be the one to kill the Night King. Erm excuse me… I think that would’ve been the rightest thing to have happened. Instead what you did was try to be clever and unexpected and instead have made the Night King’s demise a little cheap. I don’t mind that Arya was the one to kill the Night King but there could’ve been more of a confrontation. We saw earlier in the episode that Arya is a dab hand with a spear. A duel between Arya and the Night King would’ve been epic and her giving that final blow would’ve felt a little more earned. Also I wanted there to be more of a moment between Bran and the Night King. We don’t know much about the Night King but if we were to learn anything new it would’ve come through Bran and this was the perfect opportunity for us to learn something new about him. This moment for me was a little bit wasted.
Anyway I don’t want to talk too much. The big question for the final season was “Who’s going to survive?” Well with things going the way they are it looks like everyone is going to live. Because if you think about it if a lot of characters were going to die they would have got rid of at least 2 this episode. For this battle to have any real weight a Stark had to die and there were some moments where I thought Arya was a goner.
All in all I am somewhat satisfied but also feel a little bit cheated. I enjoyed the episode thoroughly but just wish they could’ve done a few things differently. I became more incensed when I thought about both Thanos’ and the Night King’s kills. Who did Thanos kill again in Endgame? Oh yeah no one! Sorry spoiler. And the Night King only has Theon on the board… unless I’m forgetting someone. And if I am then they’re obviously not that significant.