The Last Season of “Game of Thrones” — Episode 3


Evan Suk, Staff Writer

Spoilers for “Game of Thrones” follow.

Well, we made it. At the halfway point of the eighth season of “Game of Thrones” (GOT), this episode promised action, suspense and heartbreak, and boy did it deliver. Coming straight off the back of one of the most touching and character-driven episodes GOT has ever seen, episode three, “The Long Night,” which aired on April 28, did not disappoint one bit. It was written by David Benioff and D.B Weiss, but more importantly, it was directed by Miguel Sapochnik. Sapochnik returns to GOT as a fan favorite, having previously directed the episodes “Hardhome” and “The Battle of the Bastards,” both incredible feats of storytelling and action. In fact, this episode sets a new record for the largest battle sequence ever committed to the screen, consisting of over 11 weeks of night shooting in the freezing winter of Belfast, Ireland. As far as a recap goes, most of the main cast has already been established at Winterfell and the army of the dead is approaching. This sets us up for an insane battle episode unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

This episode contains so much that it would be difficult to write a full summary without going on for pages and pages, so here are the most important story beats: As the dead overwhelm the first line of defenses, the living continually retreat back to the castle. On the field of battle, Dolorous Edd, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, dies protecting Samwell Tarly. Then, as the battle moves to the ramparts of Winterfell, Arya is incapacitated and runs from the dead in a sequence straight out of a horror movie. She is saved by the Hound and Beric Dondarrion, but in doing so, Beric also meets his demise at the hands of the dead.

Meanwhile, Jon and Dany fight the Night King far above the clouds on their dragons. As the dead begin to make their way into the inner part of the castle, fan-favorite Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) is killed by an undead giant, but not before taking him out by stabbing him straight through the eye. Then, Jon and Dany manage to knock the Night King off his dragon and attempt to burn him with dragonfire. It doesn’t work. As Jon dismounts and intends to take down the Night King in one-on-one combat, the latter raises the dead from the battle and his army triples in size. The dead manage to overwhelm Dany and her dragon and she falls off, with Jorah Mormont (Ian Glenn) rushing in to save her. As Jon attempts to make his way to Bran in the Godswood, he runs into the Night King’s undead dragon, blocking his path.

In the Godswood, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) attempts to stop the Night King from getting to Bran but he is easily dispatched. The rest of the living are backed up into a corner, seemingly unable to stop the onslaught of the dead. Finally, when it looks as if the dead have won, Arya leaps out of nowhere and stabs the Night King in the heart, shattering him into a million pieces and causing the army of the dead to collapse, defeated once and for all.

This was truly insane. Not only was the episode a visual sight to behold, but many of the decisions made here will have great implications for the rest of the final season. With the Night King gone, only the battle with Cersei is left. This might have seemed like an easy victory for the armies of Winterfell before, but now most of their forces are dead, including all of the Dothraki and a great number of the Unsullied, Free Folk and Northern warriors. This leaves them at a great disadvantage to Cersei, especially considering that she not only has the full Lannister army but also 20,000 members of the Golden Company, an elite fighting force form Essos.

While we may not have seen as many characters go out tonight as some had predicted, this leaves many to possibly die at the hands of Cersei and Euron. Although my first reaction to the story of this episode was disappointment (I really hoped the Night King would go down to King’s Landing and kill Cersei), the more time I had to think about it, the more I felt that this episode not only makes a lot of sense in the story but also will probably make the rest of the show more enjoyable. I’m not really sure if I would want to watch three more episodes without Tyrion, Jamie or Brienne, and having any of those three killed by Cersei rather than zombies would have a much greater emotional effect on the audience and story.

This episode was a total success for the show, not just because of its filmmaking but from a plot standpoint as well. It did what all of the best GOT episodes do; it left me wanting more. Now that the Night King’s storyline is wrapped up, I’m interested to see how the remaining characters will handle Cersei, Jon’s true parentage and the ultimate question of who will sit on the Iron Throne. This episode has seemingly returned the show back to its roots: a political drama with incredible, creative characters and an unpredictable plot. Anything could happen. I’ll see you next week.