After years of build up, countless hours of character progression, and a bunch of drip-fed moments that only teased the true power of the Night King, we finally got our clash between the forces of good and evil in Game of Thrones. Was it everything we wanted or were expectations too high?
Before we dive in, SPOILERS, obviously.
For months we have been reading how the Battle of Winterfell is the largest battle ever to be caught on film. Coming in at just under an hour and a half, it feels like they weren’t wrong on that front. The initial 10-15 minutes were scenes of everyone preparing for the long night that lay in front of them. As viewers, the suspense was high enough going into this episode, let alone having to watch as some of our favorite characters prepared themselves for a fight they weren’t sure they would see the end of. Hell, we weren’t sure either. Couple that with the few crazy fan theories that have been floating around and before the battle even started most of our assholes were already puckered.
To start, I’m glad the one theory was true. The Night King did, in fact, raise all of those corpses hanging out in the crypts that were supposed to be the “safest place in Winterfell”. DUH. Thankfully Varys, Sansa, Tyrion, and company made it through that unscathed, but how Tyrion didn’t anticipate that is beyond me. I’m getting ahead of myself here though.
A major issue with this episode is how it was filmed. The first half of it is very dark, and things can be difficult to make out. Granted, I was watching this on a big screen tv with all of the lights off, so I felt that most of it was easy enough to see, but I couldn’t help but think “thank god I didn’t watch this during the day.” Some of the shots were very chaotic. While this is a great way to convey the frantic, fast pace of battle, some things happened so fast that it felt hard to track. I’m sure viewers will be divided on this, but it would’ve worked better for the show if they slowed things down just a bit so we could really soak in what was going on around us.
Aside from that, this was an extremely anxious episode to watch. Surprisingly though, not as many characters were killed as I’m sure most of us expected would be. There are multiple occasions where you brace yourself to say goodbye to, say, Breanne or Tormund, only for them to be saved at the very last moment by a fellow brother in arms. Out of all of them, Lyanna Mormont probably had the best death. She goes out like a true warrior. That being said, fucking Sam Turley can absolutely, and should absolutely be blamed for at least two main character deaths. He would’ve been better off in the crypts, instead of getting in peoples way.
The entire episode focuses on this fight, so it’s difficult to go over every tense moment without spoiling everything. Every main character gets their time to shine though, including the dragons. Thankfully both of them are still around but have some serious wounds Danny needs to take care of before their trip to King’s Landing.
Arya absolutely steals the show, though her weapon that Gendry spent so much time on, sadly doesn’t get as much time to shine as it should have. If they were to hand out awards after these things, she would absolutely get MVP. It was nice to see the Hound show his true feelings for her too, even if prior to that, he was having a nervous breakdown in the corner.
Once everything is said and done, the episode just ends. Having spent the entirety of the episode biting your nails and cheering, then crying, then cheering… then crying again, it felt odd to just see the credits pop up without much closure. It’s an odd feeling to actually see the Night King meet his end. It’s great that there isn’t that looming threat anymore, but also odd after having it been this omnipresent cloud hanging over the series for so long.
It’s hard to keep track of just how many were lost, but there is no way they have enough to face Cersei and her 20,000 hired mercenaries. Hopefully, the show works that out without too much convenient storytelling, because that would be disappointing. Now that the Wights are gone though, it comes down to the North versus the South, and the battle for the Iron Throne. While it’s been nice to not see Cersei or Euron the past few episodes, it will also be nice to see both of them (hopefully) meet a brutal end.
Only three episodes remain in this series that has captivated so many viewers for so many years. Who will win the fight for the Iron Throne? Let us know what you think in the comments below!