The Writing on the Wall: An Ode to Spectacle

 What do we say to the God of Death? Not today.

What do we say to the God of Death? Not today.

The spectacle of Game of Thrones is famed and infamous. We can never forget the wildfire that spread across Blackwater Bay, our wide eyes reflected in Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) shocked horror at what the “pig shit” was capable of. We were quietly terrified when the Night King raised his army at Hardhome. We were sure that Jon (Kit Harington) might very well drown in a sea of stampeding bodies at the Battle of the Bastards because that’s the kind of show this is. Now we have the Battle of Winterfell, perhaps the biggest battle to rule them all.

What makes battle sequences tick from a writing perspective are the characters within them. It is one thing to write pure spectacle and that in and of itself is quite difficult. Ask a plethora of writers, whether they are writing fantasy, historical fiction, or even a nonfiction recreation of a battle and most if not all will note the immense difficulties that come with that responsibility. There has to be a cohesion in the battle sequences, an ability to visually construct a scene that is thrilling yet not so overwhelming that it becomes a byzantine mess. I have no desire to knock writing that is based on spectacle, for that on its own can be quiet enjoyable.

The visuals are often stunning on Thrones, accompanied always by a gorgeous score from Ramin Djawadi. It’s often a pleasure to look from one scene to the next, just seeing exactly how many screensavers you can garner from just one episode. In “The Long Night” alone there are a plethora of simply gorgeous scenes. The opening charge of the Dothraki is stunning. The shot of Rhaegal and Drogon descending through the full moon lit clouds with Jon and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is breathtaking. The colors of Drogon encircling a mourning Daenerys and the body of Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) are haunting in their elegiac quality.

Brienne of Tarth Jaime Lannister Season 8 803 The Long Night

That aforementioned sense of catharsis comes from when writers are able to focus on a character within a battle sequence. That first and foremost requires an ability to understand who these characters are. Would Bronn (Jerome Flynn) be in a particular battle? Why would he be there? How would he act besides self-preservation? Samwell (John Bradley) killed a White Walker but in spite of his bravery at Castle Black, he is not a warrior at heart. Would he be out there, stabbing wights left and right? Probably not. Would Edd (Ben Crompton), in spite of all his camaraderie-laced snaps at Samwell, save his friend’s life and die in the process? Yes, he would.

The Battle of Winterfell ended in ways that I simply did not expect, but what made its internal mechanics click from a writer’s perspective is how the writing weaved characters in and out of the technicalities of the battle sequences and largely in an organic manner. I was tense and stressed not necessarily out of the sheer “ooh and aah” of what was on the screen before me, but out of a concern that far too many of the characters I had come to know and love were going to perish at literally any given moment.

I was the most concerned for Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson). Writing-wise, Grey Worm was in an incredibly difficult position. He was, in a failure of writing to be quite honest, the only member of Dany’s armies we had come to know. He had been given a truly touching romance with Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), a romance that had become all the more truly enriched when you remember the sheer trauma and suffering the two of them had gone through together. On a personal level, I wanted this Black love to succeed in spite of all the narrative odds that said a resounding ‘no’.

Grey Worm Unsullied Season 8 803 The Long Night

There were several moments when I thought that it was it for Grey Worm. At his heart, Grey Worm is a kind and honorable man with a deeply rooted sense of loyalty and commitment. He is committed to his Unsullied brethren, his Queen in Daenerys and his love in Missandei. His sense of personal attachment to them all is intertwined with his sense of duty towards them. Those moments where I thought he would die worked as the writing required. Grey Worm would absolutely sacrifice himself to light the trenches because that meant that the two most important women in his life would have a better chance at surviving to dawn. It makes sense that he would do so for a tactical reason as a military man, lighting the trenches when the men trying to do so were all falling rapidly bit by bit. I was terrified that he was going to light the trench himself and die after giving the living a better chance at making it to the next day. That’s good writing.

Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) was intended to be a one-scene character before the showrunners realized just how powerful of a character they had on their hands. The Lady of Bear Island is a child in years, but she is a fierce warrior at heart who stands shoulder to shoulder and indeed quite often, ahead of the grown men who have a socially accepted grip on warriorhood. She is a warrior who would never back down from a fight, but not for any reasons of machismo or wanting to just prove her mettle. She was in a position of leadership and she took that position quite seriously – and if she was going to lead the people of Bear Island, she was going to do it from the battlefield, goddamnit. Plenty of grown adults would have run from that giant, but not Lyanna. She knew that she could muster the strength to take down that giant wight who was going to kill countless others and she did with all of the strength she had left. It was a fitting end for a giant of a leader.

Lyanna Mormont Season 8 803 The Long Night

Arya (Maisie Williams) would always be at the front and center of a battle. She has been a warrior of prowess since the beginning of the series, fighting back literally and figuratively against a patriarchal system that did not have any space for who she wanted to be. So she carved out that space. She trained with the fierce Braavosi Syrio Forel (Miltos Yerolemou), she went on a terrifying journey of survival with Yoren (Francis Magee), and fought through the war-ravaged countryside with Sandor (Rory McCann) by her side. She trained to the degree of almost losing her sense of self and for a while her literal sight under the auspices of the House of Black and White and the literal God of Death. It makes complete sense from a writing perspective for her to be the character who, after facing so many variations of Death, is ready to meet its most terrifying harbinger yet head on.

In a story where the narrative was just as obsessed with prophecies and traditions as its characters, it would be Jon who deals the killing blow to the Night King. That may be what a lot of us expected, but it is not what Game of Thrones is. There are certainly plenty of questions that “The Long Night” leaves behind but the writing is more concerned with the living characters than anything else. Game of Thrones is a subversive show in many ways and it certainly challenged the audience yet again with “The Long Night”. But it may have committed its most subversive act yet amidst the spectacle, terror, and melee when a young girl who had been fighting her whole life to be who she truly is was able to become her true self in spite of all the trauma that life had seen fit to throw in her direction. Expectations and prophecies be damned.

Moments like Arya ending the Night King by the same trick she used with Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) in “The Spoils of War” work because the spectacle of it all is lifted by true character heft. This surprise would not have worked if we had not gone on this long, traumatic journey with Arya and watched her learn, fail, and grow. It would not have worked if the writers hadn’t combined those lessons, failures, and growth and applied them to her fight choreography. Seeing Arya victorious works because it combines the best of what Game of Thrones has to offer: layered character work that builds to an earned payoff and the simultaneous subversion of what we have come to expect, even from a show that thrills in writing the unexpected at most of its narrative turns.

Valar Morghulis.

203 responses

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    1. Nicely written article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I too worried intensely for Grey Worm throughout and in that moment before he locked eyes on Mel, I thought he would sacrifice himself to light the trench (especially after their “Valar Morgulis” exchange – I thought that was a nod to him dying in the battle. I am glad he didn’t as I think the relationships between Missandei and Grey Worm and between Sam and Gilly are important to the ‘sweet’ part of the ending. I really hope he doesn’t perish in Dany’s next war.

      I also agree with what you said about Arya and I think her killing the NK, certainly in the show, works well. However, this sentence “Arya (Maisie Williams) would always be at the front and center of a battle. She has been a warrior of prowess since the beginning of the series” applies to Jon as well doesn’t it? We have seen him develop into an extraordinary fighter (better than he is in the books), yet I personally feel pained by how sidelined he was in this battle. Having him kill the NK might have been too ‘predictable’ as D&D stated, but having him sit out the battle on dragon-back feels like we followed him for 7 seasons in his battle with the AOTD and the NK especially, to then sit out the match. From a narrative perspective, it feels incredibly disappointing.

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    2. Che,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      I totally hear you. I think it a part of it for me is that I feel far less connected to Jon than to Arya, so there is that, but also can see why Jon perhaps should have had a stronger moment or two in the episode.

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    3. Great article! Enjoyed reading it.

      And while Jon may not have been the one to kill the NK, he still had a very large role in all of this spread across all the seasons.

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    4. Thank you Akash, i agree with this entirely. I was lucky enough to have near to no problems with how dark the battle was and found myself swept through the field of death and fire along with the characters , always thinking we were seconds from tragedy and loss. Despite the lack of deaths from named cast the sense of foreboding defeat was expertly built layer upon layer.
      During the almost overwhelming last 15 minutes (both on and off screen) I was pleased yet shocked at the ending and although i understand others criticisms of aspects of the episode, I was thrilled and entertained throughout its journey. perfect no, but truly epic spectacle, tension, horror all amplified so much by the character arcs that its founded on. It took everyone of these cripples, bastards and broken things to rediscover and rebuild themselves and unite to create one opportunity and take it.

      I have a feeling that we have much more to come from the last 3 episodes

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    5. sellsword,

      Please, please keep complaining with the same shit. It’s really enjoyable to read multiple times! Perhaps you should consider hiring a writer to make your posts for you…
      —-
      I like how people rate the writing on how many and which people die. Absurd

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    6. sellsword:
      bu they didn’t perish, they all miraculous survived, the writing was poor, hardly any dialogue, comon guys, you got ayra killing the night king in one episode, you got jon screaming at a dragon, you got the dothraki charging into the unknown ,
      you got a dragon fight no one could make sense off. a library scenethat made no sense,
      people in crypts without weapons,hardly anyone dying,
      this is just basic flaws in writing, add to that no one could see anything, direction and editing was terrible who knew what was going on who could see,, it wasn’t even a battle it was a few main characters. fighting, you didn’t even get a single white walker fight, a wolf fighting with dohraki say what? and even he doesn’t die, a dead army lots of giants but only one is seen and killed bya little girl
      and how in gods name is sam and wormy still alive,
      pleaseeeeeeeeeeee no more kool aid,it was super hero nonsenseand where was the red woman why even leave, poor poor writing,

      Serious question. You couldn’t see the episode, but you saw all of that?

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    7. The visuals are often stunning on Thrones, accompanied always by a gorgeous score from Ramin Djawadi. It’s often a pleasure to look from one scene to the next, just seeing exactly how many screensavers you can garner from just one episode. In “The Long Night” alone there are a plethora of simply gorgeous scenes.

      There really, really are!! It’s too bad some people choose to watch it on their 1978 Coleco Electronic Quarterback handheld device which the show isn’t optimized for. 😉

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    8. Clob,

      I’m going to have to go back and screenshot the scene where the dragons are flying in front of the moon. *Swoons*

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    9. Che: applies to Jon as well doesn’t it? We have seen him develop into an extraordinary fighter (better than he is in the books), yet I personally feel pained by how sidelined he was in this battle. Having him kill the NK might have been too ‘predictable’ as D&D stated, but having him sit out the battle on dragon-back feels like we followed him for 7 seasons in his battle with the AOTD and the NK especially, to then sit out the match

      Well there is three more episodes to go, its not over so maybe there will be more Battle Jon? 🙂 His true purpose, his true arc

      Im the biggest Jon fan girl out there, but he has been front and center of almost every single battle in the North – Watchers on the Wall, Hardhome, Battle of the Bastards, Beyond the Wall… The plan was for him to be on a dragon to protect Bran. He tried that, it failed, then he pursued on foot…. he was ready to fight the NK but NK was like hell no I aint fighting you, so he raised the dead. And Jon tried so hard to get to them, but he just couldn’t. And for once, it wasn’t him to save the day.

      That’s how I see it? I don’t know.

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    10. The Wolves of Winter,

      Its not so obvious to the naked eye but yes, the reason they were where they were was all because of Jon. If not for that, they would all be dead, or well, part of the AOTD. So Jon is really the reason they were able to defeat them. He brought everyone together to fight together, starting from the wildlings.

      Anyway.

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    11. I think that unfortunately Grey Worm is still probably doomed. I expect that the battle against Cersei and Euron will claim his and many other lives. There may be more casualties fighting the Mad Fuckers than there were fighting the Night King.

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    12. Clob,

      I know I read an article about how this episode is one of the lowest ranked on rotten tomatoes, and it explained critics issues with it, and then some fans issues, and how one of them was like, not as many people died. UMMMMMM OKAY???????

      LOL

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    13. sellsword:
      Clob,

      oh did my opinion hurt your feelings, sorry here is a bottle of kool aid

      I really don’t mind if you also want to continue to display your obviously superior intellect either. 😛

      My comment wasn’t so much about having issues with certain things within an episode or even being disappointed. My problem is people like yourself that just continually whine about the same thing repeatedly without any ability to do so in a manner that can instigate proper discussion. In other words, you’re just spewing garbage without seeming to have any desire to have a reasonable discussion. This sucked, that sucked, that’s the way it IS! This is a site for fans and a place for proper conversations, not simply for bitching.

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    14. In a story where the narrative was just as obsessed with prophecies and traditions as its characters, it would be Jon who deals the killing blow to the Night King. That may be what a lot of us expected, but it is not what Game of Thrones is.

      And therein lies the rub.

      Respectfully, this statement is not true; or at least, once upon a time it wasn’t true. The books upon which the series is based are created so that coldly, mercilessly logical choices of real people can lead to unexpected dramatic outcomes. That is because those outcomes in GRRM’s books go against our expectations formed from reading — and watching — fiction that is written from an illogically premised perspective of dramatic setup and payoff, GoT succeeded because in following a coldly logical premise, it became something new.

      But in season 6, 7 and 8, the writers have gone into new territory and have moved beyond the books. It also clear now that the rules of what Game of Thrones is have also changed. We are no longer watching a story by GRRM where the logic in the tale can lead to unexpected outcomes. Now, we are being fed very traditional fare, written using very traditional Hollywood beats, where there is setup, payoff and twists for the sake of twists.

      GRRM didn’t do that. That isn’t what ASoIaF is. And it isn’t what Game of Thrones in its first five seasons was, either.

      But it is what it has become now. GRRM didn’t twist for the sake of a twist. Ned was executed because that it what the logic of the tale demanded. The Red Wedding occurs because that is what the logic of the tale demanded. Jon spares Ygritte because that is who he is. And Ygritte shot Jon because that it who she was. The officers of the Night’s Watch kill Jon because that is who they are.

      And R’hllor raised Jon from the dead because?… Hmm. Why did that happen again? We have no answer to that. We will never have a satisfactory answer to that. The climax of Episode 3 robbed the viewers of the payoff to that setup over 70 epsisodes in the making. The Battle for the Dawn is over. How did that happen?

      Well, that was because GRRM had set up a complicated prophecy of fate which required Jon to be alive in order to do The Most. Important. Thing. Ever. That important thing was to win the Battle for the Dawn. That was the logic and premise of GRRM’s tale. The entire series and Jon’s hidden parentage is literally named for Jon being the Song of Ice and Fire.

      But that’s not what we saw in Season 8, Episode 3. What we saw was a story which broke from its entire premise and changed that outcome merely for a Hollywood moment. A twist for the sake of a twist. Not because the logic of that outcome was inevitable or shocking. No, it was instead written merely to surprise a viewer. A setup with no expected payoff. The Hero of the entire tale was inexplicably shown to SHOUT in impotent fury at an undead dragon — instead of swinging his Valyrian bastard sword in his hand at its exposed head.

      All so we can be distracted from what the camera isn’t showing us?

      You may be satisfied by D&D’s Hollywood writing style. A twist for the sake of a twist. I wasn’t. And if Game of Thrones was premised upon such writing – it probably would have failed by Season 2. It certainly would not have become the global phenomenon it now is.

      What we saw in Episode 3 in its climax was not what made Game of Thrones successful. It is, however, what Game of Thrones has become: a mere imitator of itself. It is no longer the genuine article.

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    15. Steel_Wind,

      I respectfully disagree with the characterization of the twist, but to each their own in that regard, of course. We simply have different views on how those final moments fit or do not fit within the overall story.

      I would prefer that my words not be given context outside of what they are saying, which was defending certain aspects of the battle and the final twist with Arya.

      Nowhere am I saying that Jon, who as far as I’m concerned is not the singular hero of the story anyway, was utilized without problems.

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    16. I hope Ten Bears doesn’t look at the site again before watching tomorrow night. I love the picture used for the article/thread, but it’s a HUGE spoiler (for him since all he asked last night is if ASNAWP survives).

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    17. Steel_Wind:

      And R’hllor raised Jon from the dead because?… Hmm. Why did that happen again? We have no answer to that. We will never have a satisfactory answer to that. The climax of Episode 3 robbed the viewers of the payoff to that setup over 70 epsisodes in the making. The Battle for the Dawn is over. How did that happen?

      If Jon hadn’t been raised from the Dead, then Winterfell would not have been recaptured from the Boltons and Daenerys wouldn’t have known about the threat until it was too late. The Army of the Dead would have rolled over everything and everyone. You needed somewhere to defend, plus a strong army from the North plus Daenerys’ army. Without any of these factors they would have lost.

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    18. Dee Stark,

      Yes this! And I said this in the Unsullied threat, it was Jon that gave her Needle which kickstarted Arya’s journey into who she is now.

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    19. sellsword,

      You should really watch ‘Game revealed’ on youtube for this episode.
      The people behind this episode are absolute artists if you see how and why they made it.

      Also, Melissandre was in Volantis, as she said last season when she spoke with Varys.
      Jon will most likely still serve his purpose. Killing the NK obviously wasn’t his to do so, we’ll what’s still to come for him.

      I loved this episode. I’m still in awe 🙂

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    20. While I had Arya on my deadpool to kill the Night King, I still expected Jon to do it. That was, until after Arya actually did it.

      Then some things made sense to me. The Night King watched Jon kill a WW at Hardhome in 1 on 1 combat. He definitely heard about the second one Jon killed 1v1 beyond the wall.

      The Night King knows that if he dies, so do the rest of the WWs and the AOTD. He’s not going to get into a 1 on 1 fight with ANYONE, never mind the dude who already killed two WWs in 1v1 combat. He’s going to do everything in his power to avoid Jon Snow. And he did.

      This leaves the only opening to reach him a sneak attack. Arya was perfect for it, and she still ALMOST FAILED. He caught her before she could stab him in the back. Her little knife trick, which we’ve seen her do before, was the last ditch effort that she needed to actually get him.

      I understand people had high expectations for this big duel between Jon and the Night King (I would’ve LOVED to see Kit swinging his sword around with the biggest of bads too) but THAT would’ve been fan service. No way the Night King lets that happen without trying to overwhelm Jon with wights and other WWs.

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    21. Miss Comfypants,

      I’m sure Jon still has things to do, but he DID serve his purpose. Uniting the wildlings, the North, and the Dragon Queen together, a task which started in season 2 with the wildlings, was his purpose.

      Without Jon uniting all those forces, taking back Winterfell, and gathering all the information he did against wights and the WW, no one would’ve been able to get anywhere near the Night King.

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    22. Looper,

      The only thing that was valuable about the shortsighted “Beyond the Wall” mission was that they found out that when they killed a WW, all of the Wights he turned died too.
      So at least they did get one very important bit of knowledge from the mission…
      But now that I’m writing this, I would think Bran would have known this already or Sam would have found it in a book. Do you think they will still use Sam’s books he stole from the Citadel. He didn’t need them at all so far. Something else must be going on.

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    23. Looper:
      While I had Arya on my deadpool to kill the Night King, I still expected Jon to do it. That was, until after Arya actually did it.

      Then some things made sense to me. The Night King watched Jon kill a WW at Hardhome in 1 on 1 combat. He definitely heard about the second one Jon killed 1v1 beyond the wall.

      The Night King knows that if he dies, so do the rest of the WWs and the AOTD. He’s not going to get into a 1 on 1 fight with ANYONE, never mind the dude who already killed two WWs in 1v1 combat. He’s going to do everything in his power to avoid Jon Snow. And he did.

      This leaves the only opening to reach him a sneak attack. Arya was perfect for it, and she still ALMOST FAILED. He caught her before she could stab him in the back. Her little knife trick, which we’ve seen her do before, was the last ditch effort that she needed to actually get him.

      I understand people had high expectations for this big duel between Jon and the Night King (I would’ve LOVED to see Kit swinging his sword around with the biggest of bads too) but THAT would’ve been fan service. No way the Night King lets that happen without trying to overwhelm Jon with wights and other WWs.

      Exactly. Even if Jon had been brought back to life to destroy the NK, prophesy can fail. The NK did everything in his power to keep Jon at a distance and in the end he kept him out of the godswood too. What was needed was someone who was small, quiet, invisible and underestimated. A hobbit of sorts, albeit one trained as an assassin.

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    24. Looper: I’m sure Jon still has things to do, but he DID serve his purpose. Uniting the wildlings, the North, and the Dragon Queen together, a task which started in season 2 with the wildlings, was his purpose.

      Without Jon uniting all those forces, taking back Winterfell, and gathering all the information he did against wights and the WW, no one would’ve been able to get anywhere near the Night King.

      “No one would've been able to get anywhere near the Night King"

      Well, that would be true, mainly because the NK would still be North of the Wall!

      The magical barrier that kept the Realms of Men safe for 6,000 to as many as 8,000 years.

      There must be a delineation between what Jon did before he died, and what he did after. Jon goes beyond the Wall before he dies. He rescues the Wildlings before he dies. He kills the WW with his Valyrian Steel before he dies. He sends Samwell Tarly south to research the WW and learn where more dragonglass might be found before he dies.

      After Jon dies, he wins the BotB and ultimately brings Dany north along with a lot of dragonglass. Arguably, bringing Dany north is WORSE than not bringing Dany north. The dead don’t get South of the wall in nearly 8,000 years. They don’t manage that until Dany is prompted to bring a dragon north of the wall and provide a target for the NK to bring down and claim for the Dead. Viserion is what allows the AotD to pass the wall by knocking it down.

      The participation of the Dothraki in the Battle of Winterfell amounts to a non-event. They are wiped out with little damage done. The Unsullied, I will grant you – were important and more of a factor.

      But the dragons were as much a hindrance than a help, especially when the role of Viserion in bringing down the wall is calmly taken into account. On balance, undead Viserion helped the NK FAR more than live Rhaegal and Drogon harmed the AotD.

      That may be unpleasant to consider, but it is nevertheless true. That’s what happens when the story becomes driven by Hollywood moments.

      No. If the NK being vulnerable to Valyrian steel was already known before Jon’s death (and it was), the outcome of the Battle of Winterfell — if it even occurred in the first place — wasn’t greatly changed by the Dragon Queen’s Army and her dragons. Indeed, it appears to have been enabled by them far more than won by them. And if it can all by won by a single dagger thrust? Then the rest doesn’t matter much.

      That’s the problem when you start picking apart a tale written on the basis of setup and dramatic payoff, rather than a take premised upon an author’s strategy of writing interesting characters and the cold logic of their personal human motives leading to logical yet dramatic outcomes.

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    25. Dee Stark: Well there is three more episodes to go, its not over so maybe there will be more Battle Jon? 🙂 His true purpose, his true arc

      Im the biggest Jon fan girl out there, but he has been front and center of almost every single battle in the North – Watchers on the Wall, Hardhome, Battle of the Bastards, Beyond the Wall… The plan was for him to be on a dragon to protect Bran. He tried that, it failed, then he pursued on foot…. he was ready to fight the NK but NK was like hell no I aint fighting you, so he raised the dead. And Jon tried so hard to get to them, but he just couldn’t. And for once, it wasn’t him to save the day.

      That’s how I see it? I don’t know.

      I hope you’re right! I too am clearly such a massive Jon fan and I have some hope as his ending will be satisfying (I’m more convinced he’ll die now though); but at least it will be an ending we can’t question as we know GRRM has said the ending of the main characters will be the same in the show as in the books.

      I wrote a lengthy reply about the believability of the dragon riding on the other article, which I’m sure people don’t want me to repeat!! I don’t want to become a broken record, but this place is my safe GOT place where I can talk to intelligent people about GOT till my heart’s content. No one in my real life wants to discuss it at length like I do – everyone I know is definitely a show-only, casual-viewer fan and my husband hasn’t even watched the latest episode. It’s killing me 😂

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    26. Steel_Wind:

      But the dragons were as much a hindrance than a help, especially when the role of Viserion in bringing down the wall is calmly taken into account. On balance, undead Viserion helped the NK FAR more than live Rhaegal and Drogon harmed the AotD.

      That may be unpleasant to consider, but it is nevertheless true. That’s what happens when the story becomes driven by Hollywood moments.

      Don’t the tactical limitations of the dragons in this battle run counter to your “Hollywood moments” theory? In most Hollywood style spectacles the dragons would be the flashy style-over-substance keys to victory. In episode 3 the dragons were all undermined in various ways shifting the decisive aspects of the battle onto the men and women (and undead). That seemed very anti-Hollywood to me.

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    27. Steel_Wind

      While I have more than one issue with Ep 3, I find it truly perplexing how many people are surprised that Jon didn’t strike the final blow, or are convinced that’s how it was supposed to happen.

      GRRMs story has consistently subverted expectations. Having Jon, the “white knight” show up at the last minute and deliver the final blow would have been the very definition of cliche. Personally I would have been pissed if it went down like that. Will Arya be the one to do it in the books? Who knows. But I’d bet my bottom dollar that Jon doesn’t strike a final death blow in the books (when we finally get them). Fulfilling “prophecy” and doing what’s “supposed to happen” is Lord of the Rings stuff, not Game of Thrones.

      Also, I don’t see how Jon not killing the NK ruins his arc. The only reason there was a battle (and an opportunity to kill the NK) in the first place was cause of Jon. He was critical in putting all the pieces together, so absolutely his actions are worthy of the Lord of Light bringing him back. Berric was brought back many times, and he never accomplished anything remotely as big or important as what Jon did uniting all those people.

      I think you can make an argument whether or not all the pieces were properly set to make having Arya do it make complete sense… But I think having Jon do it just cause he earned it is just as much if not more “Hollywood”.

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    28. It seems that some have been spending to much time with Cersei, Tyrion, and the late King Robert.

      Whine! We need more whine!

      The complaints about Jon not delivering the death blow sound like sports fans that complain that their favorite star player didn’t score the winning touchdown, goal, basket, whatever, even after their team won, and after that star player still contributed greatly to make that final score possible.

      Jon may not have struck the final blow, but without him engaging the NK in dragon vs dragon claw-to-claw combat, Dany wouldn’t have been in position to knock him down from Viserion, and if he doesn’t go down, then Arya never gets the chance to kill him. He was an integral part of what happened, so anyone thinking that he was mostly sidelined wasn’t paying enough attention.

      But for them is all cries of “But Jon and the prophecies!”, never mind that it was spelled out a long time ago that interpreting prophecies and their actual meaning can be misleading.

      Arya delivering the final blow actually make sense in a grand cosmic scheme of things, considering that her entire story arc put her on the path to be trained by the very organization that acts as a the auditor of death by making sure death and life are balanced. The NK messed up that balance by bringing back so many people who were supposed to be dead, so Arya killing him and making the dead truly dead again does serve to balance things out once more.

      As for the complaints about the darkness of the images, that was kind of the point. To make you feel closer to the point of view of the characters and make you share those emotions of panic and disorientation they were experiencing. Having said that, even with the darkness, by no means where things impossible to see. My TV is a cheapo 10 year old LED flatscreen and I was still able to immediately recognize every major character as soon as they popped on the screen, or discern details of battle like the dragon vs dragon fights without too much trouble to figure out who was who, and what was going on. I’d assume people complaining had their TV settings at levels not ideal for the episode, and when they realized it was not ideal, they never bothered to adjust the TV settings.

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    29. Dutch Maester:
      Steel_Wind,

      If this has been going on since season 6 in your opinion, why on Earth are you still watching this?

      It absolutely has been going on since Season 6. I am hardly the first to observe it. It’s been written about and Vlogged about by many,

      I watch because I enjoy the show immensely. I enjoyed Episode 3 a great deal too. Right up to the point where Jon is hiding from an undead dragon — and then SHOUTS AT IT — while D&D pull off their plot twist.

      I would have been perfectly fine if Arya’s twist happened during the course of Jon’s epic fight with the NK – who proves to be a better swordsman than Jon. Arya saves the day during that? Bring it on.

      But no, instead we get Jon shouting at a dragon in fury instead of swinging at its exposed head with a Valyrian steel bastard blade. That is, quite literally, the nadir of the show. It’s worst moment in 70 episodes happened right there. I have no idea why Miguel did that. It was offensive when I saw it. As a fan, I am even more pissed off by it today than I was 2 days ago.

      As for dismissing Jon Snow’s fighting the NK as ‘fan service” — whoever said so clearly doesn’t know what the term “fan service” means. The 69 episodes before the 70th pointed to that moment. It was denied for the sake of a surprise twist.

      The shouting at the Viserion part, in particular? No. I didn’t like that. I loathed it and was truly angered by it. It’s 2 days later — an I still pissed off by it. Shouting and not swinging? Why? That was shitty writing/directing. Anybody who could try and defend that beat is just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. That was not “Game of Thrones” being Game of Throne. That beat was pure bullshit.

      Two months from now? I might have calmed down about it by then. Maybe not? I guess I will find out.

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    30. The longest battle scene in cinematic history and the Night King died too quick? I don’t follow fan theories on reddit, or speculation based off on set photos. I don’t dig for spoilers. Anyone paying the slightest bit of attention (a.k.a. people who visit blogs on the topic) knew the outline to this season already. First three episodes were going to focus on the war up North, with the most epic battle in the history of TV in episode three, then the focus will shift to Kings Landing, and the conclusion.

      In what world does the Night King live beyond episode three? He has no business to conclude in Kings Landing, and is The Night King vs. Cercei something people are interested in watching? How long did this episode need to be until the Night King could die? How long did the battle need to last? This war was much more than one episode. The Night King crushed the wildlings at Hardhome leading to Jon’s death trying to save those wildlings. The Night King won the battle at the Lake, when Daeny lost a dragon. The Night King Massacred the wall and the Night’s Watch at East Watch. We saw the remains at the Last Hearth. The Night King survived a 2v1 aerial dragon battle, survived a direct blast from dragonfire, raised an entire army after his first wave was practically defeated.

      The Night King’s death still required a last ditch effort by Arya. An assassin who trained her entire life to achieve it. It paid off a line of dialogue from season 3, a move GRRM would be proud of! The Valyrian steel dagger meant to kill Bran in season 1 ended up saving him in season 8. The Night King was stabbed in the same spot in which he was created with dragonglass. That kill was earned.

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    31. Steel_Wind:

      I watch because I enjoy the show immensely. I enjoyed Episode 3 a great deal too. Right up to the point where Jon is hiding from an undead dragon — and thenSHOUTS AT IT — while D&D pull off their plot twist.

      Hahahaha ok. That at least clarifies your passion and presence in this comments section. Not so much why you skip over 81 minutes of this episode (and the set-up it provides) to complain about the final minute in multiple posts the size of essays ;-).

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    32. Steel_Wind,

      Hindsight is 20/20, yeah? No one knew the Wall was magically keeping the WWs out. (Do we even know for sure? It was never said in the show one way or another. People just assume…).

      Jon and friends were operating under the impression that the WWs and their forces were marching South no matter what. They figured the AOTD would get around the Wall, and they needed to act.

      Perhaps Viserion was a huge mistake that gave the NK the only key through the Wall he needed. Perhaps there would’ve been another way for him to do it.

      Jon worked to protect the living under either option. Whether Beyond the Wall was poor writing or not, the Night King was coming through that Wall, and Jon was the only person in Westeros who worked tirelessly through death itself to bring forces to Winterfell in order to stop him. That was Jon’s purpose.

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    33. Dee Stark,

      “The plan was for him to be on a dragon to protect Bran. He tried that, it failed, then he pursued on foot…. he was ready to fight the NK but NK was like hell no I aint fighting you, so he raised the dead. And Jon tried so hard to get to them, but he just couldn’t. And for once, it wasn’t him to save the day.”

      This!!!

      Do people not remember the plan? Dany and Jon were supposed to lay back in the cut watching Bran’s back at the Godswood because the NK wanted Bran! Dany got baited into fighting at the front lines when she saw the Dothraki practically get decimated. So Jon followed. But he eventually goes back to his post sitting Rhaegal along the perimeter, and waits for NK.

      Once NK appears, and has the wights use their bodies to snuff out a section of the fire, Jon actually took his dragon on a head to head and lunged at undead Viserion as they tore each other up thousands of feet above ground. That’s when Dany swoops in and knocks NK off Viserion. Jon gets knocked off as well only to watch Dany and the dragon fire fail to kill NK. Then, that naturally heroic sonofabitch tries to set off a 1v1 combat. NK cockblocks him by raising the dead. Once Dany clears a path, he continues his pursuit on foot and his only focus is to reach Bran at the Godswood. While slicing through Wights, he has to deny the urge to stop and help his best friends because he had a job to do. Protect Bran. But he’s being held back by Viserion He just couldn’t get there on time.

      All in all, Jon put in work this episode. It’s just that with everyone distracted and dying, Arya was the only one who could effectively get there with her stealth ninja skills and get the kill. But she was seconds away from getting her neck snapped in the process.

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    34. So funny how all the echos attack. Nothing wrong with everyone having differning opinions on the show. If you didn’t like it you must be this or that or some sort of gist. Children children children!!!

      Fun to watch. Visually stunning when you could see it but the story telling was poor and left to many holes. Cheapens the whole Aotd and some characters as well.

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    35. Sunfyre:
      Steel_Wind,

      I loved Jon’s frustrated defiant scream at Viserion. Was one of the high points of the episode for me.

      Dude,

      You need to learn to troll better. Take an online course maybe? Work up to it in a series of posts increasingly peevish posts? Go for a walk, latte, have a smoke, whatever.

      Me? I’m good though. 🙂 Thanks for the attempt. It’s always nicer to be noticed than ignored.

      Cheers!

        Quote  Reply

    36. Excellent analysis, Akash.
      I really, really loved this episode and boy did I cheer for Arya.
      I do get why people complain though to some extent, even if complaining is one thing and going on a hate-fest is another.
      A. It was sometimes tricky to tell what was going on – but although at times that pissed me off too (I thought I saw Jaime die like 20 times and I still don’t know what became of Rhaegal), I guess night battles with fire plus a snow blizzard don’t make ideal TV circumstances, and they did cut regularly to the crypt or other places where things were clearer.
      B. I also felt that both Jon and Daenerys did not live 100% up to our expectations. I would have certainly expected them to use more those dragons. But I am ready to accept that air force does not work well during blizzards, the show never made a point of Dany being a trained swordswoman and yes, the Night King would not take the risk to face Jon in one to one combat, having seen him defeating walkers before. Cheater! So even if I was expecting (and looking forward to) a show-down between the two, I find it logic that it never happened.
      C. I was surprised by Arya (to the point that when watching I found Berric’s death underwhelming – like, “dude, you have been risen from the dead like ten times and for what purpose, save Arya? Go save Jon”). But. Now that I think of it, she has been training for that for years. And, I felt that where Endgame (yes, crossover) totally failed in having a genuine woman-power moment, GoT succeeded triumphantly. Arya killing the NK does not mean Jon is not important. It just means that this is not a Messiah story. Even if we all (me included) just love Messiah stories.
      D. Not enough cast members died. Well, they were enough for me. They all died good deaths though, I mean really valiant ones, true to their destiny (oh, Theon…), so I am good. Other cast members we cannot understand how they are still alive, but, you know, my great grandfather fought wars constantly from 1912 to 1922 (the two Balkan wars 1912-1913, WWI, the expedition in Minor Asia 1919-1922)and he came back in one piece, so I guess PEOPLE CAN GET LUCKY SOMETIMES!
      And I am optimistic about Greyworm. GoT has been so much criticized for not having a diverse cast, that I feel positive that they won’t kill off characters of colour. I truly hope that Worm and Missandei will get their tropical retirement plan.
      E. I am bummed about the Dothraki though because yes it was a great scene and all but what a waste. At least the people of Essos got definitely rid of them.
      F.Ghost, we love you, but you were irrelevant during this battle. Anyone knows where he is now?

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    37. Looper: No one knew the Wall was magically keeping the WWs out. (Do we even know for sure? It was never said in the show one way or another.

      Yes, UnBenjen tells Bran the he cannot pass the Wall. The only way the Wights do in the first place in Season 1 is that they are carried through it.

      My pet theory, back in the day before Viserion, was far more pedestrian. It was that during a particularly long and nasty winter, the Others hurl storm after storm at the Wall and over a series of years, the Winds of Winter howl and the snows come hundred of feet thick in several parts along the Wall. And then the drifts begin to reach the top of the lowest parts of the Wall as it traverses the length of the North where it is only a few hundred feet high at the top of a valley.

      This is how glaciers are formed in the real world. It’s just with magical assistance this time.

      There has to be a reason you built it 800 feet high in some parts, right? Old Nan reminds us why you would want to build something that *stupidly* tall.

      “Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet
      deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north
      .”

      So they just walk over the top of it, in the end. That sounds more like GRRM to me.

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    38. Sunfyre:
      Steel_Wind,

      Huh? I honestly loved that moment. Are you so narcissistic to believe everyone shares your opinion about one scene in a fantasy show on television?

      I loved it too. All that rage because he saw there was nothing he could do. Perfect

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    39. Steel_Wind,

      Jon was trying desperately to find a window to strike the Dragon, but just couldn’t find one. I just interpreted his scream as a “f*** it, I’m about to charge, even though I’m probably going to die” moment… Similar to him drawing his sword against the calvary charge during the BotB.

      He wasn’t swinging at the Dragon because he’s no where near in range of its head when he reveals himself from behind the rock.

      I personally loved the desperate feeling the scene created in having Jon trying to get past an enemy that’s simply insurmountable.

      I think the ridiculous amount of plot armor around the characters on the front lines, Brans commitment to saying and doing nothing, and the problematic use of the “destroy the king/queen and kill them all” plot device are far bigger issues with this episode.

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    40. Dee Stark,

      Thank you!

      The Jon was sidelined complaint seems to always forget that it was Jon’s idea to be on the sideline. Dany was the one that jumped into battle and Jon still held his plan. Dany tried lighting up the NK and he just laughed in her face and Jon was surrounded by the reanimated dead. The idea that the war with the NK was going to take multiple episodes is crazy IMO. What were the living going to do? Run away? Hide? Where? How many would make it? and then what – Cerci with no dragons, elephants, or a real plan was going to defeat the AoTD?

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    41. What makes a good pop culture phenomenon? Fans who will apologetically write essays about how great it was even though it was one of the biggest disappointments of the year.

      Was it nicely directed? Yes, Sapochnik proved yet again that he is one of the best TV directors. Could we have seen the effort of all departments? Yes. The production values speak for themselves. But at the end, was it a good episode? NO. And that is one resounding no.

      Yesterday, I watched “Game revealed” and after 40 minutes of it, all I could feel is sorrow for the good work those people did that was squandered by epic failure of a script. Nothing in that script made sense. From Dothraki foray into the night to Arya being a new hero, the only way to enjoy the episode was to simply give your brain a rest. Even on the most superficial questions, entire thing falls like a house of cards.

      There are people on the Internet who call Arya a new Mary Sue. And honestly, can we blame them? Arya, who is one of the most beautifully written literary heroines was given this? She has a Valyrian blade, she is quick, so she is our “Princess that was promised”? Arya never needed this to prove her worth. Arya never needed to be a hero, to be an amazing character. But, Arya, just like so many the past few years, have been sacrificed at the altar of unexpectedness. Red wedding, Ned’s beheading. Cersei’s Big Bang, all of those worked as gamechangers because they made sense. Arya killing NK doesn’t. And yes, it would be perhaps expected to have Jon or Dany ending the war. That is the price of the story’s integrity, something that I feel no longer exist. To be fair, it didn’t exist for quite some time but this was a culmination of nonsense pouring left and right for quite some time.

      This will never be THE best episode of Game of Thrones. This will never be THE best battle of Game of Thrones and for all its inorganic records that they were pursuing, it will never hold a candle to Helm’s Deep. We have seen the brilliance, we know how it looked like. We didn’t need 55 days of shooting, we didn’t need the hype, we needed an intelligently written story that will challenge us and everything we know. This, unfortunately, wasn’t the one to do so.

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    42. Okeno:
      Steel_Wind,

      Jon was trying desperately to find a window to strike the Dragon, but just couldn’t find one. I just interpreted his scream as a “f*** it, I’m about to charge, even though I’m probably going to die” moment… Similar to him drawing his sword against the calvary charge during the BotB.

      He wasn’t swinging at the Dragon because he’s no where near in range of its head when he reveals himself from behind the rock.

      I personally loved the desperate feeling the scene created in having Jon trying to get past an enemy that’s simply insurmountable.

      I think the ridiculous amount of plot armor around the characters on the front lines, Brans commitment to saying and doing nothing, and the problematic use of the “destroy the king/queen and kill them all” plot device are far bigger issues with this episode.

      +1 Exactly how I interpreted the AeJon/Viserion scene.

      As for the plot armor, i am not some bloodthirsty fan, but I do think there should have been 1 or 2 more deaths. Someone out of Grey Worm/Pod/Varys/Missandei/Davos/Gendry/Tormund/Brienne should of fell. The main cast (Dany, AeJon/Sansa/Arya/Tyrion/Jaime) still must have roles to play as does Bran. But really not sure how or why Pod didn’t die.

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    43. Mladen,

      The funny thing is that not everyone agrees that it was a disappointment, so branding everyone who wrote and or talked about it otherwise as being apologetic fanboys is kind of insulting.

      I have my own problems with the episode, which I’m partially holding off on depending on what happens in the remaining three, but that’s that.

      There’s plenty of folks who don’t like this episode, which is fine. I didn’t care for the Frozen Lake Excursion or the Battle of the Bastards as much, but there’s plenty of room to not stake one’s own opinion as being the definitive one.

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    44. Looper:
      While I had Arya on my deadpool to kill the Night King, I still expected Jon to do it. That was, until after Arya actually did it.

      Then some things made sense to me. The Night King watched Jon kill a WW at Hardhome in 1 on 1 combat. He definitely heard about the second one Jon killed 1v1 beyond the wall.

      The Night King knows that if he dies, so do the rest of the WWs and the AOTD. He’s not going to get into a 1 on 1 fight with ANYONE, never mind the dude who already killed two WWs in 1v1 combat. He’s going to do everything in his power to avoid Jon Snow. And he did.

      This leaves the only opening to reach him a sneak attack. Arya was perfect for it, and she still ALMOST FAILED. He caught her before she could stab him in the back. Her little knife trick, which we’ve seen her do before, was the last ditch effort that she needed to actually get him.

      I understand people had high expectations for this big duel between Jon and the Night King (I would’ve LOVED to see Kit swinging his sword around with the biggest of bads too) but THAT would’ve been fan service. No way the Night King lets that happen without trying to overwhelm Jon with wights and other WWs.

      Thank you, for speaking that out. The choise to let Arya do the final blow, was the perfect one. She knows Death and has seen and served him. She protects her Family, Bran ist her Family. It’s been explained, that each and every one had his/ her purpose in this game. It is on us viewers and our high expectations, that we were so sure that Jon would kill the NK. The battle itself, why so many feel it was not a good one or well written or even well played by the actors… no… just personal viewer expectations that were not fullfilled. I for myself have no absolute favorite character (okay I f*ing hate Cercei, but who doesn’t?) so I was in awe for everyone and surely surprised and overwhelmed by this Episode. Even Hours later, while rewatching it, I had goose bumps and felt the same awe as before. Every detail, every move, even the Darkness was fitting. The puzzle was perfect and who wants to see flaws will find them even in perfection.

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    45. I found the episode immensely satisfying on many levels. That my favorites survived, for the most part, was never a reality downer. Complaints of plot armor, and all the various failures people have drawn out to sharpen their knives on have really just gotten on my nerves since Sunday. How ungrateful can fans be?!

      We got their sweat and blood in that episode, literally. So much was given to us to make this visual ecstasy of forms, musical chords and soaring emotions. Who thinks they could do a better job? I am not delusional that I could! And which of the many haters, critics and damned pussy-arsed complainers could have accomplished even half what the talented GOT bestowed upon us in episode 3?

      Was it perfect? No, never had those expectations. Did it deliver? On so many degree, yes absolutely. Now let’s get on with it, and stop attaching the spokes of reality to fantasy.

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    46. “We were sure that Jon (Kit Harington) might very well drown in a sea of stampeding bodies at the Battle of the Bastards because that’s the kind of show this is.”

      No. WE were not sure. Casuals maybe. But if you say WE on this site, you mean us fanatics who obsess over everything. And I’d be extremely surprised if a lot of US were sure he’d die. On the contrary. It was very obvious that he’d survive. All of the Big 6 (well, except maybe for Sansa, whose death was predicted every season – by haters I might add:) ) were safe after the Red Wedding in fact.

      The problem (not HBO’s, but mine) is that GOT is heavily and exclusively tailored to fit the needs of casual viewers.

      All the reaction videos on youtube only exist because the show lives for shocking moments. It’s undeniable that D&D go for shock over drama. That’s a concession to the casual viewership.

      But even taking that into account, how (!) Arya killed the Night King is just unworthy of the series. That is The Walking Dead-level bad. She comes out of nowhere. LITERALLY. They show it in the Behind the scenes. I don’t have a problem with Arya killing him at all, but we should see her sneaking. Like that, it’s utterly ridiculous. Compare it to LOTR and Eowyn killing the Witch King. There is still a lot of tension and still it’s cause and effect.

      An interesting question, I find, is if GRRM’s faux protagonist schtick which basically made the show is detrimental to later seasons. Expectations had been built up (Everyone can die.) that could not be met. Simply because at the end of season 3 the faux protagonists (except Stannis) were dead, so they started to introduce new characters (Oberyn) or kill important secondary characters (Tywin). Jon’s death was already a cop out. S6 and S7 had no important deaths, but a lot of spectacle.

      So when people are disappointed by S8E3 because no important characters died, then they are right, because that’s what the show set out to do. No mercy, Valar morghulis, everone can die at any moment. The Battle for the bloody Dawn did not deliver on that front.

      So I am very interested in how the “Scouring of Westeros” will work out.

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    47. Thoros: You still mad at us, boy?

      Gendry: You sold me to a witch.

      Thoros: A priestess. I’ll admit, it is a subtle distinction.

      Beric: We’re fighting a great war. Wars cost money.

      Gendry: I wanted to be one of you. I wanted to join the brotherhood, but you sold me off… like a slave. Do you know what she did to me? She strapped me down in the bed. She stripped me naked.

      The Hound: Sounds alright so far.

      Gendry: And put leeches on me.

      The Hound: Was she naked, too?

      Thoros: She needed your blood.

      Gendry: Yes, thank you. I know that.

      The Hound: Could have been worse.

      Gendry: She wanted to kill me. They would have killed me if it wasn’t for Davos.

      The Hound: But they didn’t, did they? So what are you whinging about?

      Gendry: I’m not whinging.

      The Hound: Your lips are moving and you’re complaining about something. That’s whinging. This one’s been killed six times. You don’t hear him whinging about it.

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    48. Entertained:
      Dee Stark,

      Thank you!

      The Jon was sidelined complaint seems to always forget that it was Jon’s idea to be on the sideline. Dany was the one that jumped into battle and Jon still held his plan. Dany tried lighting up the NK and he just laughed in her face and Jon was surrounded by the reanimated dead. The idea that the war with the NK was going to take multiple episodes is crazy IMO. What were the living going to do? Run away? Hide? Where?How many would make it? and then what – Cerci with no dragons, elephants, or a real plan was going to defeat the AoTD?

      The complaint is that he was sidelined by the writers of the episode, not in-world characters.

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    49. Vally: So I am very interested in how the “Scouring of Westeros” will work out.

      If we were working through it logically, I would think that Sansa’s potential “claim” to the Vale and Riverrun would be the lever to gain more troops. Her cousin (of uncertain health) sits in the Vale of Arryn, while her Uncle is a prisoner… well wherever Edmure is.

      They might still go that route, if the direction is to gain a reason Sansa becomes Queen. And they may well do that.

      Of what is left in the North, we have a castle at Deepwood Motte of traitors that would use a visit by a pair of dragons. And all of his children and other heirs to become wards to ensure Lord Glover’s loyalty, too.

      There is also whatever troops Howland Reed might have at Greywater Watch. As ever, the problem is that ravens can’t find it. There may also be the remains of the NW and Wildlings gathering at Winterfell. They were summoned by Rave in Ep 1 this yer but it seems they never arrived in time for the Battle of Winterfell. Though why they would march South with the Starks, let alone the Dragon Queen, is unknown. I think they wouldn’t. But… maybe?

      It’s all thin pickings though. Dany seems to be moving troops – and it isn’t clear she has more than a few hundred left to put in her fleet as shown in the preview.

      I am inclined to think it’s a Dario moment in the Golden Company. I suppose it could be a Faceless Arya taking out the commander of the Golden Company and assuming his identity. I would have been predicting that, but after her moment against the NK — to go to the Arya well again, however logical, seems to play against D&D’s penchant for preferring to surprise us. And yes, for Arya to do that has some Mary Sue elements, too.

      Logically, I would think it would be a strike mission involving the threat posed by the widfire caches still concealed beneath KL A petulant Cersei burning them all is on character for her. Maybe one of Sam’s stolen books detail where they are? The intro so Season 8 seems to spend a lingering look beneath the Red Keep – that much is true. I think there’s a reason for it.

      Still – at this point, I am growing tired of the prediction game. It was more fun with GRRM writing it as you knew he would be logical about it. You could figure it out with GRRM at the helm if you thought it through. With D&D? Not so much. They clearly aren’t about that.

      It’s three episodes left and at this point, given David Benioff’s promise to stay far from the Internet and get drunk as the fans lose their collective shit over the controversy brought on by the ending?

      The only prediction I think is most likely to happen is that I’m probably going to be one of those fans losing his shit! I am preparing for some version of Queen Sansa at this stage. If it is as the bride of her cousin Jon, I can live with it. I somehow think that won’t happen though. Blech. As a book reader I default to disliking Sansa Stark.

      At least is will be an ending. Which is more than we have from GRRM, sadly.

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    50. beautiful written piece.

      And I want to add one thing to the comments here. Somebody give critic about the episode, yes maybe to forcefully and loud, so what? And I see more than 5 commenters attack that commenter on a personal level, when he only was critical on the show itself. Shame on you guys, sorry I love all of you’re enthusiasm of the show but I can’t understand when somebody attack the show not the fans, you start attack him personally instead of his arguments.

      Can’t we all not respect each other, the ones who had problems with the episodes to the ones liking the episode and the ones who liked the episode to the ones that had some critic about it. Nobody has the same opinion about everything. And why do you want somebody to say he loved something when he clearly didn’t. I’m still baffled by it.

      Jack Bauer 24:
      When was the last time there wasn’t a “Previously On” segment?

      Episode 1×01 my guess.

      Mladen,

      I agree with you almost fully. (only not 100%). I liked the episode a lot, it was fun and excited to watch. I cried with the death of Theon and Jorah. I feared for Dany’s live and drogons, I literally jumped to the front to my seat at that moment, damn I was scared there. (Me scared for Dany there you have it).
      But it didn’t come close to Helms Deep or the battle of Minas Tirith. And for GoT, for me the other battles were much better written, maybe not better visualized.

      I still gave much praise for the actors, director, crewmembers for all their hard work. I even give praise to D&D who got the job of writing one of the hardest episodes out there. It’s by far easy to write an episode like this. I think this episode was the hardest to write, so still praise to those 2, and without them we wouldn’t have this show.

      But for me, the other battles of GoT top this one.

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    51. Looper: Hindsight is 20/20, yeah? No one knew the Wall was magically keeping the WWs out. (Do we even know for sure? It was never said in the show one way or another. People just assume…).

      Literally everyone knew the Wall was keeping the WW out. That’s why it was built. As for the magic, it was mentioned on the show. Benjen mentions it in Season 6 Episode 10.

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    52. Jack Bauer 24:
      When was the last time there wasn’t a “Previously On” segment?

      Season 1 Episode 1. I have all the “previously on” segments on my computer, and there’s one for every episode, except the most recent one, and obviously the pilot.

        Quote  Reply

    53. Nick20: Season 1 Episode 1. I have all the “previously on” segments on my computer, and there’s one for every episode, except the most recent one, and obviously the pilot.

      Thank you!

        Quote  Reply

    54. Nick20: Literally everyone knew the Wall was keeping the WW out.

      How? The majority of the people in Westeros (save from some people in the North) don’t believe in the WW in the first place.

        Quote  Reply

    55. Nick20,

      No, literally everyone didn’t believe WW existed. They all thought the Wall was to protect them from wildlings.

      And okay, I forgot Benjen mentioned it. It was to Bran. He never had a chance to tell Jon before the Beyond the Wall catastrophe, so that was still done when MOST people didn’t realize there was magic protecting them. Benjen also told Bran in 6×05 that the Night King would “find his way past the Wall, one way or another.”

      The rest of my point stands.

        Quote  Reply

    56. Dee Stark,

      Exactly as I was thinking! Jon’s path to Bran was one obstacle after another, almost as if something was conspiring to keep him from reaching his goal. I have watched it 4 times now and SO get it!

        Quote  Reply

    57. I wont lie, i expected more from this episode.. Little bit disappointed, cos it felt like i was watching How to train your dragon all over again LOL. The Dragon battle was ridiculous

        Quote  Reply

    58. Tron79: Do you think they will still use Sam’s books he stole from the Citadel. He didn’t need them at all so far. Something else must be going on.

      I agree, They had Sam remind us of it, too, in episode 2. Something’s going on there.

      I think it has to do with the wildfire caches. That plus the intro showing us below the Red Keep suggests that below KL is where some of the remaining three episodes are set. Just as the crypts were important, so will the dungeons and sewers, maybe, beneath KL.

      If not, then I have no idea at all what can be in those Citadel books of any moment so far as Cersei is concerned. So, I’ll bet on wildfire. Sam took one as he thought it might be useful as a weapon. Or a map to beneath KL and the Red Keep?

      Other than that, I am out of reasonable ideas.

        Quote  Reply

    59. Clob,

      I know, right!

      A co-worker of mine was spoiled on ASNAWP killing the Night King in the comments section of a website that had nothing to do with GoT.. Such a bummer! It was such an exhilarating (and briefly heart-stopping) moment.

      Here’s hoping he gets to watch it unsullied!

        Quote  Reply

    60. Solar,

      Thank you! You said it all so perfectly.

      And yes, the darkness was intentional. I know it made me feel like I was there, in the dark, scared sh*tless, with them. When Jon and Dany couldn’t see when the ice storm came in, we weren’t meant to see either. It was very effective.

        Quote  Reply

    61. To The Payne,

      Night King pulled a Ramsey…”Your the greatest swordsman who ever lived. I don’t know if I’d beat you hand to hand…but I know my army will beat your army.”

        Quote  Reply

    62. Akash of the Andals,

      Certainly. But the issue here is that they started comparing the episode to one of the greatest cinematic battles of all time. The one people hold in highest esteem. Honestly, “Long Night” struggles even with comparisons with Battle of the Bastards or Field of fire which have been, at least IMO, executed much better.

        Quote  Reply

    63. I have to say, the e4 preview…
      In the hall with Dany raising a glass…
      Looked a lot like the Frey hall celebrating after the red wedding.

      Just saying.

        Quote  Reply

    64. I was just listening to a random GoT podcast and they threw out the idea of Bran raising (some of) the dead at Winterfell for a “good” aotd that they’ll take to KL. That of course would take Bran actually having that sort of power in the first place. It sounds really of silly and they were just throwing stuff at the wall, but thought I’d at least share. It’s amazing how nothing seems to get left out of theories with this show.

        Quote  Reply

    65. Steel_Wind,

      You made a great point about cold logic, but IMO you have completely failed to make the right coclusion out of that.

      Look, I know how you feel: I felt the same yeasterday (or was it day before yesterday?) – cheated, ruined and made a total fool who fell in love with something totally unworthy. But then I started thinking…

      Let’s think it through from the point of the Night King’s cold logic. The Night King knew that Jon had a Valyrian steel sword that could cut through his armor and was a great swordsman. He killed two WW, and the second was not even a big deal: Jon bested him is seconds. And there was that prophesy of the PTWP and Jon was revealed to be a prince right on the eve of the battle. Moreover, he showed to accept his role as a protector of the realm. So, if you were the Night King, would you risk to go against Jon one-on-one? I think not (I certainly wouldn’t). The Night King’s mute response to Jon’s challenge was the same as Ramsey’s: “I don’t know, if I beat you, but I know that my army will beat yours”. And it was the same as Robb’s answer to Jaime’s challenge. So, there is a pattern and there is cold logic, we simply misread it clinging to an archetypical duel, cause it’s really hard to overcome archetypes. I’m not even sure we should: achetypes are the basic structure of our perceptions and cognition. However, sometimes it worth to think outside the box and keep in mind that your enemy may chose following cold logic, rather than rules of a fair combat.

      For the moment, my explanation is that Bran was using Jon and Targarians in general as a decoy: the Night King was watching everything continuously, so the decoy had to be big and believable. And it was successful: we were totally misled as viewers and so was the Night King – also a viewer of sorts:)

      The main problem is what happens now and how the story will remain compelling without the looming existential threat. It’s risky to underestimate Cersei, but the Good Guys are overpowered to the maximum: the have the 3-Eyed-Raven and ASNAWP on their side; they can deal with Cersei and Euron in a fortnight without breaking sweat. However, our failure of imagination doesn’t mean that D&D and/or GRRM suffer from the same problem. Let’s wait and see, although I do agree that they are playing a dangerous game and they may lose the whole story, if they fail to provide a proper ending after all these twists.

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    66. Steel_Wind:

      The shouting at the Viserion part, in particular? No. I didn’t like that. I loathed it and was truly angered by it. It’s 2 days later — an I still pissed off by it. Shouting and not swinging? Why?

      Well, I look at it this way. If Jon had gotten anywhere close enough to Viserion to swing at his head, Jon would be dead right now. We saw the entire courtyard fill with blue dragon fire. How could he have survived that? There is just no way that I can see that he could have gotten close enough without being fried, and I think his yelling was not so much at Viserion, but out of complete frustration that he couldn’t do anything. If people think that as a Targaryen he could have survived the fire, maybe. But without knowing for certain? When he knows he was burned by that lantern before. Why should Jon risk his life when he more than likely would have failed to get close enough to do any damage? Unless everyone who is bothered by this think him being burned to a crisp was a risk worth taking. I think (hope) Jon still has important things to do, so I’m glad he didn’t take that chance.

      Now he could have picked up a spear somewhere and given it a toss….

        Quote  Reply

    67. The Wolves of Winter: How? The majority of the people in Westeros (save from some people in the North) don’t believe in the WW in the first place.

      The majority don’t believe that the WW exist anymore. But most people are nevertheless aware that the Wall and Night’s Watch were created thousands of years ago to defend from the WW.

        Quote  Reply

    68. Looper: No, literally everyone didn’t believe WW existed. They all thought the Wall was to protect them from wildlings.

      Not really. There was no difference between the First Men who became Wildlings and the other First Men until the Wall was built. The building of the Wall is what led to those stuck beyond it to becoming so-called “Wildlings”. Before that they were the same as the other Men of the North.

      Everyone has heard stories about how the Night’s Watch and Wall were originally built to guard against the Walkers. That’s why it’s called the Night’s Watch. Whether they believe that Walkers still exist is a different story.

        Quote  Reply

    69. Tron79,

      I’m thinking Qyburn, who has a grudge with the Citadel, would be happy to see it destroyed. Leaving Sam with whatever books he stole, wikiBran and the Westeros version of the “Red Book of Westmarch”, and a willing assistant (Gilly).

        Quote  Reply

    70. Steel_Wind,

      Regarding bringing Dany north being WORSE than not bringing Dany north in terms of cold logic. First of all, I assume that the Night King had some idea how to get on the other side of the Wall even without a dragon. You don’t stars mustering an army, until you have a solution how to overcome the main obstacle. Most probably, the Night King would have waited until the sea freazed enabling him to bypass the Wall by ice. I wish the showrunners would have made such probability more clear: Melisandre mentioned it only once, but maybe it was just obvious for them that seas freaze in cold winter and they assumed that we would take it for granted.

      Anyway, Jon’s actions both before and after resurrection (namely his attempt to evacuate the wildlings, bring in dragonglass, dragons etc.) provoked the Night King to march out earlier than planned. And everyting went well and he became overconfident and this led to his demise. So, it could have been the 3-Eyed-Raven’s plan all allong: to lure out the Night King into the fight on his own terms on the chosen battlefield. That’s what strategists do, and that’s the key of success. And Jon as well as others have always been just pieces of chess in this game: not pawns, but not players either. The player was the 3-Eyed-Raven and in Ep 410 he said that he was watching not just Bran but all of them. So, he was just carefully moving pieces across the board until he got a perfect combination.

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    71. Steel_Wind,

      I think those books are totally irrelevant. Sam’s role was: 1) find about dragonglass at Drgonstone; 2) find a proof of Jon’s true lineage, although he didin’t notice at first; and 3) heal Jorah so he could protect Dany. However, everything except dragonglass was meant to boost the decoy.
      And the books are just books: the best things about the WW they could possibly hold were Old Nan’s stories, but the Stark kids knew them anyway and from the primary source. Had there been a book containing a credible record on the WW, the maesters would have taken them seriously: you know those scolars every written word is a holly script, every oral account is shit even when it comes to eyewitnesses:)

      Sure, the books may still play some role, but I don’t think we can expect much out of that.

        Quote  Reply

    72. Dee Stark,

      I agree with you here. Jon did everything he could to get to Bran including passing up on a struggling Sam. (i think Sam should have died here to add some impact on that choice) They did the best they could riding those dragons; not only did they collide with one another, but Jon nearly buries Rhegal into the ground when he hits all those trees. One additional scene of Jon parked on the battlements spraying fire at the onslaught of Whits before getting distracted by the Night King would have been a nice touch, to show him actively defending the castle like a turret, but thats petty.

        Quote  Reply

    73. Inga,

      But those particular books already served their purpose back when Sam was at the Citadel, he already knows about dragonglass, Rhaegar’s annulment and how to cure Jorah’s greyscale.

      Surely the new batch of books is a hung gun? Unless the “stolen books” – which are mentioned twice already in a very tight script – are only set-dressing for the gorgeous new library set?

        Quote  Reply

    74. ShameShameShame,

      I like the name WikiBran.

      The longer this week goes the more I wonder what else is up.. The First Men did win their battle against the NK too. That keeps nagging at me. I don’t know if that means he comes back or just goes to sleep again?? Does that mean that the NK is just sleeping and the ice recombines sometime in the future… I would have thought WikiBran could have seen what happened with the First Men to see how they won and what happened to the NK when he was defeated the first time. I’m thinking about those cave drawings. The First Men worked together with the children and won before. Did they shatter the NK back then too? or did something else happen back then? I really hope they ask WikiBran this question. The longer the week goes on, I’m just thinking something else is up here…

        Quote  Reply

    75. So was Arya’s whole timeline engineered by Essos?
      Direct training by Syrio Forel First Sword of Braavos, in Essos.
      Jaqen H’ghar become her protector and eventually she winds up at
      The House of Black and White (Braavos, Essos) for crucial training….
      (H’ghar’s relation to Arya is very mysterious.)
      Super stealth and a move that Nobody taught her.
      Interactions with Melisandre of Assha (from Essos) who seems to know
      Arya’s importance from their first meeting.
      An elaborate dagger with a dragon-bone hilt and a Valyrian steel blade,
      forged with dragonfire in Old Valyria(?)… was this blade made in Valyria thousands of years ago with a purpose? (Essos again.)

        Quote  Reply

    76. Thanks for this post Akash!

      She trained to the degree of almost losing her sense of self and for a while her literal sight under the auspices of the House of Black and White and the literal God of Death. It makes complete sense from a writing perspective for her to be the character who, after facing so many variations of Death, is ready to meet its most terrifying harbinger yet head on.

      I loved that it was Arya who killed the Night King, mostly because, as you said, it completely subverts the fantasy trope.

      As Archmaester Marwyn said : “Gorghan of Old Ghis once wrote that a prophecy is like a treacherous woman. She takes your member in her mouth, and you moan with the pleasure of it and think, how sweet, how fine, how good this is… and then her teeth snap shut and your moans turn to screams. That is the nature of prophecy, said Gorghan. Prophecy will bite your prick off every time.”

      So the teeth snapping is essentially Arya 😂

      I think one of the downfalls to Stannis was that he got caught up in believing Melisandre and her complete faith that he was the Prince Who Was Promised. She was reticent in openly saying Jon and/or Dany was this person, but only admitted that they each had a role to play — because prophecy can indeed be treacherous. Not sure whether or not GRRM is leading up to this point but I would also enjoy it if it happened in the books. Even the Ghost of High Heart smelled death on Arya.

        Quote  Reply

    77. Tron79,

      On a non-GoT forum I frequent, someone off-handedly mentioned that the NK had probably touched raven-Bran when he was all cloudy-eyed, and uploaded his code. (!) So, yes I completely understand being on the lookout for a twist with the Night’s King.

      Because some answers are still needed here, you and I are on the same page my friend. What happened during all those Long Nights in the past, and how were they connected to the Night’s King?

        Quote  Reply

    78. Steel_Wind,
      GoT has been corrupted to television-for-television’s-sake, outcome centric story telling. I don’t doubt that GRRM foresaw exactly these kinds of outcomes when he expressed doubts about whether ASoIaF was really a filmable concern. The first four seasons worked well, even with limited budgets and resources, the rest has veered so far off course as to be scarcely recognizable as a continuation of the origin. D&D, evidently, don’t seem to agree with the take that the journey is as at least as important as the destination in storytelling. I also suspect that neither D nor D has even a glimmer of the respect for the genre that GRRM has, which in turn may very well have jaded their attitudes over the course of time. Popularity based success has spoiled, and too often ruined, GoT

        Quote  Reply

    79. Another excellent and thought-provoking analysis, Akash – thank you!

      As someone whose favourite character – despite several other strong contenders – has been Arya from the moment I encountered her character voice in A Game of Thrones, I was delighted by the part she played in this episode.

      But I am now a lot more worried than I was before about what will happen to her during the next three episodes, which I take to be the show’s equivalent of A Dream of Spring.

        Quote  Reply

    80. Ok finally got to sit down with DH to watch this horrible episode. I will start by saying I read the first three books ages ago,and yet am a huge fan of this show, despite some hicups and WTF moments along the way However, I was never into the prophesies. I knew a few like L+R=J and Cersies, but it was never my focus; i was more interested in what the characters were going to do next. I understand these prophesies meant a great deal to many people, and many were upset the show did not use them. Didn’t matter to me, I figured if something was important I’d get it.

      Before I watched, I watched the half hour video that DD put togethre in the making of this show. It was so good, I decided I wanted to watch, but had to wait for DH you get home. So I spent much of the day reading comments from horror struck fans who took the prophesis to heart, and just knew they had to happen. And knew either Dany or Jon would be th PTP. Se we settld down to watch, and we were both riveted for 80+ minutes We fortunately did not have any trouble seeing, and despite my military brat DH telling me what they were doing wrong, we thought it was an amazing piece of work and everyone involvd should be pleasd.

      I understand that much of the plot centered on the wall and jon, and honestly I want that intereted in him in the books. KH grew into a great actor on this role, as someone who was able to bring together people for a common cause (like Mance, actually) But someone else was tasked with the kill, and with her training (read hre sections in the book for more than the show gives you), she’ the one that could pull it off, I dont think it ruins the story at all, and I think now the people involve d can gather together again and fight the next war. So I am looking forward to the next 3 Sundays

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    81. one last, and then I really must get off screen – watching jon being frustrated because he couldn’t get passed Viseron reminded me of how I am in traffic during Snow Bird season ‘just GO already!’ I think if he thought he’d be successful with the sword it would have been used (and therefor become Dragon Slayer), but he went a differnt way to get to Bran and it worked. So it just not a big deal

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    82. Okeno,

      On Jon and his src, i agree. Jon is STILL the hero of the story. Think about what would have happened had Jon not rallied the North and sought out Daenerys: 1) No Unsullied, which played a critical part in the defense of Winterfell; 2) No Dragons; 3) No dragonglass, which was critical to efforts in ep3; 4) Importantly, No Arya — remember, she only came back to Winterfell because of Jon’s presence there. I think it is fair to say that the AotD would be rolling towards the Neck if it weren’t for Jon Snow, and the fact that he did not personally do in the NK does not detract from what he has accomplished. I was thinking and looking forward to a confrontation between AeJon and NK but in reality, Jon had done what a leader does — give his followers the best chance possible for success. To paraphrase Tyrion from 8×2, we have Jon Snow to thank for survival. So looking at seasons 6-8 as a whole, I think Aejon’s arc holds together (so far).

        Quote  Reply

    83. I think this was a bottom tier battle in terms of the writing and script. There are others in this show superior to this. The concerted effort to sideline the main male and female protagonist of this story is something that will forever bother me about this episode. Jon and Dany are flying around in a blizzard for half of the episode, literally disconnected from the story unfolding below them. Ghost ran into battle (for some reason Jon allowed this) and never returned, yet we know is alive. So what did he do just run off somewhere? Never returned to protect Jon? Bran flew off in the ravens for about 25 minutes of the episode doing…what? He found the Night King. Okay. So? He didn’t do anything by finding him and then what did he do after that? How do you have this massive fight and never once have anyone do battle with an actual White Walker? Not once. You arm all these main characters with Valyrian Steel swords and they never once face down a White Walker for the entire 84 minutes.

      The visuals and VFX of this episode will NEVER be topped on television. Ever. Period. But for me, this is a bottom tier episode in terms of the script and the writing. I know these guys can write. They created show only scenes in the early seasons that were phenomenal and matched the spirit of the books perfectly. But this was deeply disappointing to me. I of course will watch the final 3 episodes, but this one stung and will have a permanent effect on how I look back at this series.

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    84. Upon rewatch, I realized what I found unsettling about John’s frustration with Viserion. It reminded me of Curly from the 3 stooges.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GNR12vGALI
      look at 3:05 minutes into it

      But otherwise, the spectacle was amazing. I usually never watch the behind the scenes bits, but, was thoroughly impressed by the artistry and commitment to excellence by both crew and cast.

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    85. Akash of the Andals,

      It is remarkable how many people do not get that! The most important part of writing is storytelling: and dialog often plays a small role in that.

      David A: On Jon and his src, i agree. Jon is STILL the hero of the story.

      There is no “hero” to this story. Jon is one of five primary protagonists: his character evolution is no more important than Daenerys’ is, and only marginally more important than Tyrion’s, Arya’s or Bran’s. Jon might seem to be the most “heroic” of this lot in an action-adventure sense, but he’s also the only “whole” male. His contributions to the plot are notable: but this is a story, and those Jon’s contributions to that are both much more important than his contributions to the plot, but barely any more important than those by Arya.

      orange: Jon and Dany are flying around in a blizzard for half of the episode, literally disconnected from the story unfolding below them.

      They are not in the clouds for anywhere near that long. Moreover, their job was to hunt down the Night King and try to defeat him with a 2 dragons to 1 dragon advantage. There were a lot of WWI parallels in this battle. The most obvious was Dothraki charging into the lines of the dead: for all the fact that so many people decry this as unrealistically stupid, the British & French took only two years to stop trying this tactic during WWI. (Yes, military intelligence is an oxymoron: even after WWI, military officers argued that WWI was a fluke and that cavalry would be just as important as ever in future wars…) The dragon dogfight was reminiscent of aerial battles during WWI, particularly when cloud cover interfered. Remember, WWI pilots had no radar or sonar, and no way to communicate with each other beyond hand signals. (Trying to get above clouds to get a view vs. trying to get in them to hide was the big question!) And you really didn’t know if that plan you could dimly see and hear through the clouds was one of your guys or one of theirs. By your reasoning, was the Red Baron not actively engaged in the war even though he never was in the trenches?

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    86. Wimsey:
      Akash of the Andals</strong

      There is no “hero” to this story.Jon is one of five primary protagonists: his character evolution is no more important than Daenerys’ is, and only marginally more important than Tyrion’s, Arya’s or Bran’s.Jon might seem to be the most “heroic” of this lot in an action-adventure sense, but he’s also the only “whole” male.His contributions to the plot are notable: but this is a story, and those Jon’s contributions to that are both much more important than his contributions to the plot, but barely any more important than those by Arya

      Fair enough. My point was that those who suggest that Arya destroying the Night King undermined Jon’s narrative arc in regard to the confrontation with the NK and the AotD needed to look at the larger canvass.

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    87. Dee Stark: Well there is three more episodes to go, its not over so maybe there will be more Battle Jon? 🙂 His true purpose, his true arc

      Im the biggest Jon fan girl out there, but he has been front and center of almost every single battle in the North – Watchers on the Wall, Hardhome, Battle of the Bastards, Beyond the Wall… The plan was for him to be on a dragon to protect Bran. He tried that, it failed, then he pursued on foot…. he was ready to fight the NK but NK was like hell no I aint fighting you, so he raised the dead. And Jon tried so hard to get to them, but he just couldn’t. And for once, it wasn’t him to save the day.

      That’s how I see it? I don’t know.

      Spot on dee. shit happens, and it happened to jon on this occasion. And, the nk orchestrated some of it, and coincidence orchestrated the rest ( I actually believe that the white walkers themselves summoned the blizzard to protect them from jon and not the nk as some suspect. Hey! jon was a main player and he had been identified by the nk as such. That’s the kind of thing that happens to a mvp in a football game. They are identified by the opposing coach after watching endless replays of the last few weeks games, and plans are put into place to nullify him. It is what you expect of anyone with the power to reason.

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    88. Dee Stark,

      anyone who takes notice of such things as rotten tomatoes is looking for someone else to tell them how they should feel about something before they decide exactly what they feel, or, looking for validation of their feeling, pretty much the same thing. When it comes to this kind of thing i always harken to the great minds who say such things as ‘if you are a director/producer and start lending your ear to the critics, then sooner or later you will be sitting along side them.’ do what you know is right in your gut, your gut will tell you, and give the finger to everything else.

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    89. Tron79,

      Well, it’s obvious that the First Men didn’t defeat the Night King during the Long Ningt. They simply forced him to retreat and hide presumably with the help of the 3-Eyed-Raven who gave them information or even actively coordinated their actions. This time the Night King is done for good, cause there are no more COTF to remake him. However, DEATH has many faces and I hope, we’ll see another one.

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    90. Tron79,

      And yes, I would like Bran to do some “game revealed” and answer some questions. I don’t want to be left with only fan theories at the end.

        Quote  Reply

    91. Am I the only person that half-expected Bran to also shatter to pieces after a dramatic pause? Yeah? Cool. 😜

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    92. Knight of The Walkers: If Jon hadn’t been raised from the Dead, then Winterfell would not have been recaptured from the Boltons and Daenerys wouldn’t have known about the threat until it was too late. The Army of the Dead would have rolled over everything and everyone. You needed somewhere to defend, plus a strong army from the North plus Daenerys’ army. Without any of these factors they would have lost.

      True. Arya could never have gotten anywhere near to NK as she did without the set up and the NK feeling he’d beaten Jon and getting cocky and careless. Jon also failed at Battle of Bastards. But there too he’d made the set up for another to be victorious (Sansa & the Vale). And go back to battle at Castle Black. In the tent in the woods, he’d lost and his intention discovered. But he’d provided the set up for Stannis to save the day. You could even add he’d failed when they searched out the wight and there it was Danerys who saved the day.

      Each time, Jon’s recklessness doesn’t result in the final blow and win. What he continues to do is set up for another to do so.

      This leaves Ep 3 as logical writing, contrary to all the critics, according to why Jon was saved by Rhollor. His talent at uniting forces, and one might add recklessly charging to his eminent demise, was needed.

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    93. Loved this piece of writing. Thank you for the clear reasoning and fantastic analysis of the characters in the battle.

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    94. So, here is where we stand now with who is left on the board, of course there are still going to be deaths to come, but I would break it down like this

      TEAM: Aegon Targaryen / Jon Snow
      – Sansa Stark (Vale through Yohn Royce & Robin Arryn)
      – Arya Stark (Sandor Clegane, Gendry)
      – Bran Stark
      – Brienne Tarth (Podrick Payne)
      – Davos Seaworth
      – Samwell Tarly (Gilly)
      – Tormund (Wildlings? left)
      – Maester Wolkan
      – What is left of the Northern armies

      Allies (Possible): Meera Reed, Edmure Tully (Riverlands still in play?)

      =====================================================

      TEAM: Daenerys Targaryen
      – Tyrion Lannister (Hand)
      – Grey Worm
      – Missandei
      – Varys
      – 2 dragons (will one switch to Aegon/Jon?)
      – what is left of her unsullied army
      – Yara Greyjoy (Iron born followers)

      Allies: Daario Naharis/Second Sons (still in play? she will need more troops)

      =====================================================

      TEAM: Cersei Lannister
      – Euron Greyjoy (Iron born followers)
      – Gregor Clegane
      – Bronn (possible turncoat?)
      – Qyburn (you know he has cooked up something)
      – What is left of the Lannister army (and any other soldiers still under her control)
      – Harry Strickland (Golden Company, 20,000 men)
      – Tycho Nestoris (iron bank, neutral?)

      =====================================================

      Wildcard: Jaime Lannister – will he follow Tyrion/Dany or Brienne/Aegon?
      I feel initially he will want to stay with Tyrion.

      Outliers: Jaqen H’ghar, Archmaester Ebrose, Hot Pie (gone for good?)

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    95. Prediction: Pure speculation. After S8E3 I wanted to look at who was left and how it might play out. I don’t want to speculate too much who dies or who will take down who, but more the overarching story I think will be told.

      I think Aegon/Jon has the best shot at the Iron Throne in terms of stability and advisors for endgame success. A claim to the throne is still important in Westeros, why else establish Aegon/Jon as the legitimate heir? If it was all about his bloodline then being a bastard wouldn’t matter… his claim is important in the show. If they need further proof, well he can also control a dragon. Aegon/Jon journey has always been one of forced upon leadership – he never really wants it, but most agree he is the best one for the job.

      I know some people want Sansa, but I don’t think she wants to be THE Queen anymore. She saw firsthand how difficult, dangerous, and thankless a job it is. Even though Sansa has learned to play the game, I think she is also smart enough to not want to play the game all the time! If there is one thing Sansa has learned is that family and home is where she belongs, with people who love and respect you and you don’t have to worry about someone lying and stabbing you in the back all the time. Sansa is for The North, as she has repeated over and over again, and as much as Arya loves Aegon/Jon – she will stand with Sansa, her family and the North as well.

      Since this season started they have been highlighting Daenerys volatility as a ruler – but I think it is important to note that they are also showcasing how alone Daenerys really is, and with Jorah’s death that leaves her without a completely devoted confidant. I thought Grey Worm and Missandei would be with her until the end, but even they are already thinking of leaving her (surprised me!)… Daenerys has no real friends/allies, she has loyal followers but only to a point, but they are not really as emotionally attached to her (as I previously thought). We have seen over and over again this season how many people are emotionally attached to Aegon/Jon and the Starks… Davos, Sam, Edd and Tormund to Jon, Theon to Bran and Sansa, Brienne to Sansa, even Sandor and Gendry to Arya… each has formed a deep connection to others, Daenerys really hasn’t anyone other than Jorah, he was her constant and he is now gone.

      Daenerys has always been above everyone as a Targaryen, how her brother raised her… she tried with her Drogo but he died, and to the Dothroki she has always been their Khaleesi, her followers call her mother, or savior – but few are her confidants or friends. Missandei will advise and support her loyally, Grey Worm will fight and strategize for her, but it seems neither can provide the level of emotional support, at least not on the same level as Jorah – in the end they will serve her without question, they have no ties to Westeros to really care how the people and places there are treated (especially given how they are treated). We saw how disturbed Tyrion and Varys were after the loot train incident, Westeros is their homeland (Varys – always serves the people remember), and seeing it destroyed will take its toll on them. Her tentative relationship with Jon/Aegon is now strained and I feel it will completely break once he sees her becoming too radical in her attempts to seize the throne at all costs. I feel initially Jamie will stay with Tyrion, but I suspect that Jamie and Sansa will convince Tyrion (and Varys also) to join team Aegon/Jon. Perhaps Tyrion will be a betrayal for love (of Sansa? Homeland?)

      It feels more and more like Cersei will be difficult but not impossible enemy to defeat. We know that Cersei won’t stay on the throne. She might even blow it up if she feels like she might lose it. She has a big army, but Daenerys has dragons, they will destroy a lot of that army. But Cersei has been planning for this battle for a while, she won’t be easy to take down. And from the people’s perspective, Cersei will be defending them against a dragon riding ‘mad’ Targaryen. Wouldn’t surprise me if Cersei has been doing some politicking and sending ravens to everyone about how the Tarly’s were treated and hyping up the anti-Targaryen, anti-dragon sentiment amongt the people. Daenerys’ dragons will not be seen as a savoir to the Westeros people (who are not slaves, and have been through years of war already) and she will look like the villain in their eyes.

      All of this will start to break Daenerys, as she has come so far she won’t be able to control herself in attaining her goal. Even if that means using the dragons too liberally against Cersei’s forces. She will make a huge tactical mistake. I’m sure there will be a great battle and several more of our characters will die, another dragon will fall to those dragon killing weapons, but in the end I think that before Cersei falls, Team Aegon/Jon will convince him to turn on Daenerys, she will be the final boss. Perhaps Jamie will try to reason with Cersei to join them or surrender to stop the destruction, one last plea for their child? She will most likely will die before the end, but if pregnant, maybe allowed to live until she has the baby? Or enough time will pass between episodes for her to have the child. Maybe Jamie can raise it and for once he will be able to have an open relationship with one of his children. Otherwise Tyrion or Brienne will.

      Aegon/Jon isn’t out for power, control, or complete submission. He will give his allies what they want. If Sansa wants control of the North, he will give her the North. Connections to the Vale (Sansa), and what is left of the Riverlands (Edmure-Starks), Stormlands (Davos), the Reach (Sam, Brienne), maybe even Iron Islands (Yara). I think all of their allies will help to rally to support for Aegon/Jon among the people over Daenerys and her too destructive dragon(s). I actually think Varys will play a big role here, he has been around for a long time, has little spies everywhere, and has made connections to people in all kinds of places… I look to see him doing something significant before he dies (as Melisandre predicted). It would also be nice to see some call backs to past seasons with characters we haven’t seen in a long while, like little Robyn and Edmure Tully (wish Blackfish was still alive and kickin’).

      Show will end with an emotional send off for Daenerys with Aegon/Jon regretful that it had to come to this. In the end Aegon will probably rule a much smaller Westeros, or abdicate in favor of individually sovereign territories as he doesn’t want the rule, what sane person would? Too much territory, too many problems. But if forced to, he will do his duty as always, but also be as inclusive as possible – there will be a lot of rebuilding / restructuring of houses / territory to do. Nearly every family house has been eliminated.

      As for Bran/3ER… he is a true wildcard. I have no idea where they are going to take this character next. The magical stuff throws me – I’m sure he will still be important, just not sure to what extent. If he is being useful, then I could see him helping Aegon/Jon to the throne… if other theories are true and he is up to something… who knows how all this will play out. If could turn everything idea i have on its head 🙂 There are really wild theories out there! Many too elaborate to do in the time remaining I think, but would be ‘interesting’ I guess… we will see. I do hope he does something though and I hope it is good/worth it! Him being the collective of all history – are they going to do something with that? Does he need to write it all down – what good is it if it is all stuck in his head until the right question is asked? lol I’m assuming there is more history to explore that will be useful, or if Bran/3ER is really evil incarnate – well that could be interesting too.

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    96. Steel_Wind,

      I was reading on sharon pennman’s site where she had a heart to heart with grrm and she implied that the reason winds of winter was taking so long was that he had killed off a character that he had later come to find that he had needed. her exact statment was to the effect ‘have you ever got to a half way point in writing a novel only to find that you have arbitrarily killed off a character that you now find is integral to the plot?’ something along those lines, but, she was referring to a conversation that she had with grrm about wow in particular. So, I do not think that Dan & Daves, or indeed extend that to grrm himself, reticence in killing off characters arbitrarily now is necessarily a bad thing or even unwarranted. Yes, the fact that they were gungho enough to kill off sean bean in season1 was to their great credit and the red wedding etc. but now, everything is build up to the finale, and it is too late to bring in any new characters and put enough story time into them to get us invested in those characters fate. Meaning, that what we have left now needs to last us until the end, and they can not afford to be arbitrary with it or they will rob the finale of too much gut punch.

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    97. Nick20: The majority don’t believe that the WW exist anymore.

      That’s only the people in The North because they are descended from The First Men. In the south they don’t believe the WW ever existed because they are descended from the Andals and they never witnessed The Long Night. They arrived afterwards. They of course have heard the stories, but for the south they are just that, stories.

      This is what Tyrion says to Jon in s01e02:

      Yes, against grumpkins and snarks and all the other monsters your wetnurse warned you about. You’re a smart boy, you don’t believe such nonsense.

      Tywin from the History & Lore videos representing the opinion of the south on the Night’s Watch and the WW.

      An absurd lie, a fairy tale, spun by many a wetnurse in the North. To be sure, a giant wall does exist – a triumph of engineering, perhaps, but not of “magic”. As for the Night’s Watch, there may have been a time, centuries ago, when there was prestige and honor in the miserable, monastic life of a Black Brother.

      But now the Wall has become a glorified penal colony, full of outcasts, criminals and assorted ne’er-do-wells. Today, a typical man of the Night’s Watch most likely started out a lowly beggar, or a rapist, or a village idiot. As for the few highborn watchmen, they either fought on the losing side of a war, or were disowned by their parents for one reason or another.

      Those who persist in defending the Night’s Watch will claim the Seven Kingdoms need protection from the wildling tribes of the Far North. But there’s little to fear from those primitives. They’re a nuisance, but not sophisticated or powerful enough to be a significant threat to the realm. And any talk of “White Walkers” returning with their armies of the dead and their giant spiders and their snarks, is just that: Talk.

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    98. Dark Sister,

      I would argue about the whole subversion of tropes thing or at least I would argue that another interpretation is possible.

      Basicly, what we had in “The Long Ningt” was the same combination we had in the LOTR: the superhero created the diversion and an underdog did the job. And this combination includes two arhetypes: the good god beating the bad god (usually it’s the god of thunder beating the chtonic monster) and an ordinary mortal outmaneuvering a god.

      Usually, those two archetypes occur in separate stories, but that’s because simple stories simply do better. Complex stories are harder to grasp and demand more investment from both the creator and the recepient and it’s always easier to screw a complex story than a simple story, etc. However, when someone manages to create compelling complex story combining various archetypical stories into a single narative, it wins the day.

      So, no let’s look how GoT used those archetypical stories compared to LOTR.

      LOTR simply married them: superhero/good god Aragorn always knew that small man/mortal Frodo was destined to destroy or to play the ultimate role in the destruction of the Ring, so he protected Frodo and finally used himself to create a diversion and buy Frodo a chance. When the plan worked, Aragorn got a full satisfaction. Frodo – not so much, because at the last moment he failed and the Ring was dropped into the fire not by a willful action but by accident/will of god/third party interference. This was one of the factors that destoryed Frodo’s further life and prevented him from healing: he knew he failed to be a hero everyone hoped him to be. Still, when the Ring was destroyed Frodo felt a deep and well-earned relief and we as the audience were given an opportunity to share both his and Aragorn’s emotions.

      Meanwhile, GOT sort of confronted those archetypes with each other. First of all, it splitted the good god/superhero entity into two: Bran/3-Eyed-Raven played the good god/planner, Jon implemented his plans. Again this arhetype of a god and a follower-champion is nothing new, but in this case the novelty was that the champion was totally tricked about the god’s plans: Jon thought he was supposed to kill the monster with his own hands (which usually results in the champion becomming a god), it turned out that he was just a decoy, which was a major letdown both for us and for him, because decoys don’t become gods. This feeling of a letdown and failure is something Jon shares with Frodo now; however, contrary to Frodo who was simply humbled and and forced to accept his failure, Jon (and the audience) was left with a feeling of an outrageous injustice and desire to riot against the will of gods, which creates a promising setup for his character further development.

      And when it comes to Arya, she may appear as an embodyment of an underdog/ordinary mortal, but she is not. From the very beginning she had a gift of extraordinary skills. One can argue that she trained, but so did Sam and there was no training that could turn Sam into a great fighter. So, once again, Arya had skills as a gift. She also had encouragement: every man in her life (Ned, Jon, the Night’s Watch recrutor (forhot his name), Jaquen, even the Hound) gave her weapons and experience and never once for the price. Even her trainig with the FM came at no price: she lost her sight, but regained it; she got a few wounds, but recovered; and there was no real threat that she could lose her identity. In other words, she simply tricked the gos and escaped with a boon and there was no price or retribution – at least so far. I would like to tackle Arya’s motivations, too. I was thinking of those and came to a conclusion that those motivations were rather selfish: she didn’t kill the Night King so save something dear or simply to stay true to her stand like Lyanna Mormont; she killed the Night King out of pure pleasure to trick and best DEATH. “Girl’s power”, but this power is toxic. And this means that retribution is comming, cause nobody can trick forever. I’d like to quote G. J. Ceasar: “Immortal gods can wait and sometimes they send luck only that mortals could better taste the bitterness.” Taking that into account, I fear for Arya’s character future development and fate more that for anyone else. But going back to the plot structure, the Big Bad/chtonic monster was beaten bu a “good god” 3-Eyed-Raven (who took Bran’s body to infiltrate Winterfell) and a semi-godly trixter Arya, who haven’t paid for her skills, yet (and this makes her more like a Loki/Devil type character who helps to achieve the divine goal but creates problems afterwards), whereas Jon fell into the archetype of an ordinary mortal – more a loser than a victor (which definitely makes his endgame more promising and interesting).

      So, to summ up: the tropes/archetypes were not subverted, but used in a creative and innovative way. Bulding the main protagonist as a semi-divine superhero just to throw him back into the dirt is a great twist in terms of the character development setup and it will be genious if the showrunners (and GRRM) manage to come up with a proper denouement. And there should be a retribution for Arya, too.

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    99. the unburdened,

      ooh, I wonder which character?

      Right, even if i would have wished for more deaths, we have a set cast of characters, several who are going to survive to the end… a few more battles to live through/die in, so we need to spread them out, especially to achieve maximum impact when they go, and honestly I really don’t want too many more to die!

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    100. Looper,

      Benjen educated the viewers in the episode where he saved bran that the wall was protected by magic, and that was the reason that not only the aotd but he also could not get past it.
      I agree with you that even without the dragon the aotd was going to get past that wal one way or the other. They were heading for it long before they got the dragon. the dragon made it easier, sure. But, with or without it the nk had his plans. Maybe he was going to build an ice bridge around the end of the wall, out into the bay that the aotd could walk around it. would have taken a lot longer but the nk had nothing but time on his side.

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    101. Sou,

      B. I also felt that both Jon and Daenerys did not live 100% up to our expectations. I would have certainly expected them to use more those dragons. But I am ready to accept that air force does not work well during blizzards, the

      I feel that the dragons killed upward of 20,000 aotd in that battle. That is not insignificant. It becomes less significant when the nk raises all of winterfells dead. But, if the living had to kill all the aotd that rhegal and drogon took care of as well as what they already had on their plate, the end quite probably would have turned out differently, maybe, quite probably arya would never have made it to the godswood. go back and rewatch every pass that rhegal and drogon made, and factor in that you quite possibly did not see every pass that they made, there were quite possibly some off camera passes. And then start doing quick counts and realise that those dragons are wiping out some where around 1,500 to 2,000 whytes per pass. I think Daeny and Jon did ok in this area, they could have done better, but, jon was always struggling with the ‘all this is for naught if i can just ping that nk’, and probably rightly so, as it was always bran that was his priority consideration.

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    102. viki:
      So, here is where we stand now with who is left on the board, of course there are still going to be deaths to come, but I would break it down like this

      TEAM: Aegon Targaryen / Jon Snow
      – Sansa Stark (Vale through Yohn Royce & Robin Arryn)
      – Arya Stark (Sandor Clegane, Gendry)
      – Bran Stark
      – Brienne Tarth (Podrick Payne)
      – Davos Seaworth
      – Samwell Tarly (Gilly)
      – Tormund (Wildlings? left)
      – Maester Wolkan
      – What is left of the Northern armies

      Allies (Possible): Meera Reed, Edmure Tully (Riverlands still in play?)

      =====================================================

      TEAM: Daenerys Targaryen
      – Tyrion Lannister (Hand)
      – Grey Worm
      – Missandei
      – Varys
      – 2 dragons (will one switch to Aegon/Jon?)
      – what is left of her unsullied army
      – Yara Greyjoy (Iron born followers)

      Allies: Daario Naharis/Second Sons (still in play? she will need more troops)

      =====================================================

      TEAM: Cersei Lannister
      – Euron Greyjoy (Iron born followers)
      – Gregor Clegane
      – Bronn (possible turncoat?)
      – Qyburn (you know he has cooked up something)
      – What is left of the Lannister army (and any other soldiers still under her control)
      – Harry Strickland (Golden Company, 20,000 men)
      – Tycho Nestoris (iron bank, neutral?)

      =====================================================

      Wildcard: Jaime Lannister – will he follow Tyrion/Dany or Brienne/Aegon?
      I feel initially he will want to stay with Tyrion.

      Outliers: Jaqen H’ghar, Archmaester Ebrose, Hot Pie (gone for good?)

      This is a good breakdown of how the pieces in play (people) are aligned at the end of 803, but I wonder if Team Aegon/Jon will be necessary, as I don’t think he wants to make a play for the throne, not at the moment anyway. And if he doesn’t go for it, where does that leave the people aligned with him? Most would surely align with Dany as everyone hates Cersei more than Dany and she just helped them save the world with her armies, which bought time for Arya to knife NK.

      In the preview we see him and Davos riding off somewhere. Filming news related speculation:

      We know he filmed with Lena Headey in Dubrovnik. I wonder if he is going to try to broker a piece treaty with her. I desperately hope he isn’t; as that would be truly stupid of him, to head off with Davos alone to meet Cersei (you’d hope he’d bring Arya with him in disguise). She would undoubtedly use him for some evil gain, but he wasn’t with the others in the great hall and he and Davos are clearly going on a mission. The trailer shows a shot of him at Dragonstone with Dany, so maybe he isn’t riding off to meet Cersei just yet… or maybe he does meet with her and then regroups with Dany at Dragonstone. I love not knowing what’s going to happen, but I am very nervous for everyone who is still alive, especially for Jon and Arya. There is also the possibility the Dubrovnik filming was a ruse… though I doubt they’d invest so much money in filming a fake scene.

      Just rewatched that riding out scene and actually, it’s not Davos and Jon on their own at all… so ignore my speculation!

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    103. Tron79,

      The first men defeated him but he was not killed, he just retreated further up into the land of always winter. The first men could not kill him, they did not have valerian steel. He is actually dead now.

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    104. viki: Allies: Daario Naharis/Second Sons (still in play? she will need more troops)– Tycho Nestoris (iron bank, neutral?)

      The fleet that brought the Dothraki ‘hoard’ to Westeros , is , as far as we know, still intact. As far as we know there are still , millions?, of Dothraki left in Essos (there did not seem to be 100,000 with Dany).
      Dany is still, seemingly, Empress of Meereen and other cities of Slaver’s Bay?
      She would have the resources to buy millions of sell swords.
      Have a feeling the show won’t use this, tho were was the Targ Fleet going in preview of episode 4?

      Tycho Nestoris, you know Mark Gatiss said , during season 7 he would be back, then in between he said he would not be back, was he casting a faint because he had dropped a spoiler?

      They pointedly brought Yara back, she could be a factor,

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    105. Che: This is a good breakdown of how the pieces in play (people) are aligned at the end of 803, but I wonder if Team Aegon/Jon will be necessary, as I don’t think he wants to make a play for the throne, not at the moment anyway. And if he doesn’t go for it, where does that leave the people aligned with him? Most would surely align with Dany as everyone hates Cersei more than Dany and she just helped them save the world with her armies, which bought time for Arya to knife NK.

      In the preview we see him and Davos riding off somewhere. Filming news related speculation:

      I separated it terms of loyalty – some of them might start off on Dany’s side, even Aegon/Jon, but in the end I think they will stick to the people they know and trust.

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    106. Bufferzone,

      A nightmare of spring will be 4 and 5. a dream of spring wont be until 6. there is way too much death and carnage to come yet for us to be thinking of dreams.

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    107. How cool would it have been tow watch Jon and Arya fighting back-to-back the White lieutenants? How emotional and gorgeous would that have been to watch – two Starks at the peak of their fighting skills!

      Honestly, there was room for both Arya to deal the killing blow to the Night King and for Jon to shine as well. To do the “unexpected”, D&D did not have to sweep away 69 episodes worth of story foundation by sidelining the main male protagonist, one with such a deep-rooted connection to the White Walker story besides. Now, we are left with half the viewers (at least) forever deeply dissatisfied, feeling tricked.

      I’m finding it very hard to feel excited for the remaining 3 episodes.

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    108. viki,

      That’s a nice summary of the players and teams who are left.
      I predict Bronn will take Tyrion up on his offer and accept more money from Tyrion. He may very well turn the tables with the cross bow and take down Cersei at the last moment. That’s just speculation on my part, but I could see it happening since Tyrion has repeated his pledge to pay Bronn several times over the series and a Lannister always pays his debts.

      Also, since they didn’t kill off Gendry in episode 3, that’s a big sign for me that as the last Baratheon, he will probably have a major role to play with Arya and possibly make it to the throne. I thought for sure Gendry was done and his arc was completed after helping Arya “know what it was like”. Now that he’s still here after the battle, I think D&D have a major role in mind for him in the days to come. You can see a quick shot of Arya kissing him again in the preview. Strategy wise, I don’t see Gendry or Arya really caring that much about the throne though, but it’s possible nonetheless that they end up there.

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    109. Tron79:
      viki,

      That’s a nice summary of the players and teams who are left.
      I predict Bronn will take Tyrion up on his offer and accept more money from Tyrion. He may very well turn the tables with the cross bow and take down Cersei at the last moment. That’s just speculation on my part, but I could see it happening since Tyrion has repeated his pledge to pay Bronn several times over the series and a Lannister always pays his debts.

      Also, since they didn’t kill off Gendry in episode 3, that’s a big sign for me that as the last Baratheon, he will probably have a major role to play with Arya and possibly make it to the throne. I thought for sure Gendry was done and his arc was completed after helping Arya “know what it was like”.Now that he’s still here after the battle, I think D&D have a major role in mind for him in the days to come.You can see a quick shot of Arya kissing him again in the preview. Strategy wise, I don’t see Gendry or Arya really caring that much about the throne though, but it’s possible nonetheless that they end up there.

      It would add a nice meaning to his return (and role in the story), but in my opinion, he is too minor a character to be the ruler of the seven kingdoms by the end and there’s no proof that he is Robert’s bastard beyond his word. Davos knows it to be true, but he has no proof either. I really don’t see how Gendry could end up on the throne unless it’s through conquest, but I don’t see how going that route from his minor-character position. Unless everybody who has a claim dies, not many people are left, no one really wants to job and Davos pipes up, “Hey, this guy is Robert Baratheon’s bastard, will he do?”, I can’t see it.

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    110. lucy:
      How cool would it have been tow watch Jon and Arya fighting back-to-back the White lieutenants?How emotional and gorgeous would that have been to watch – two Starks at the peak of their fighting skills!

      Honestly, there was room for both Arya to deal the killing blow to the Night King and for Jon to shine as well.To do the “unexpected”, D&D did not have to sweep away 69 episodes worth of story foundation by sidelining the main male protagonist, one with sucha deep-rooted connection to the White Walker story besides. Now, we are left with half the viewers (at least) forever deeply dissatisfied, feeling tricked.

      I’m finding it very hard to feel excited for the remaining 3 episodes.

      I feel the same, but I’m starting to make peace with the decision. I don’t want to feel bad for the remainder of the season and I am just going to hope that Jon has something satisfying to conclude his story later down the line. If not, I riot 😂

      The survey carried out last May by WOTW (of only 2500 people to be fair) ranked Jon as by far and away the most favourite character in the show.
      http://watchersonthewall.com/fandom-wide-survey-ratings-game-thrones-part-2-good-evil/
      Other surveys I found through google seem to go between Tyrion, Dany, Jon and Arya (but none were all that recent and things have changed so much, so who knows); so it’s safe to say there are a lot of Jon-fans out there who may be feeling the same. They always did say this season would be divisive.

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    111. Okay, I’ve figured out the ending. Calling it now. Cersei is defeated, everybody lives, Jon and Dany get married, move into Winterfell and rule the seven Kingdoms from the north. They have a son. One day there is a light snowstorm, and the kid goes out to build a snowman. He finds two bluish stones to use for eyes and walks back inside the castle. The camera remains on the snowman. But wait, do the stones have a faint bluish glow? Then a huge question mark appears as the scene fades to…

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    112. Anyone see this? When I was watching the video about the show, I remember hearing that, just before arya made her jump. So I was surprised later to hear people thought he was yelling at the dragon. Your thoughts?

      “Jon screamed at the undead dragon to distract it so Arya can run past and kill the Night King. The undead dragon was protecting the entrance to the Godswood. Watch it again, you can actually hear him scream ‘GOOOOO – GO – GO.’ 10 seconds later the scene you can see the hair of a White Walker flying up when Arya sprints past the group of White Walkers. Jon once again was ready to sacrifice himself to kill the Night King.”

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    113. Inga,

      Thank you for that great mini essay! However, I don’t think her act was entirely selfish. Her home, family and friends were on the line as well. During the War Council she was the first to tell Bran, “We’re not leaving you alone out there.” I think you make a good point about potential consequences and repercussions for Arya after having killed the Night King. I do wonder what they could be and how they can manifest.

      I personally hope that the “denouement” (which I also think GRRM hints to) will be that there actually is no Iron Throne at the end. I’m not entirely sure what that could mean politically. Perhaps the Iron Throne is destroyed but a Great Council is still called to vote in the next monarch, or perhaps it’s something else entirely.

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    114. lucy: How cool would it have been tow watch Jon and Arya fighting back-to-back the White lieutenants? How emotional and gorgeous would that have been to watch – two Starks at the peak of their fighting skills!

      I think this is a good example of the dilemma D&D faced. Because that is probably one of the absolute worst things they could’ve depicted, in my opinion. Way too Hollywood for my liking. What one person considers amazing, another might find cringeworthy. I don’t envy the balancing act they had to try to pull off.

      I wasn’t a fan of Arya chopping down wight after wight on the battlefield either. I much preferred her desperate escape through the Winterfell corridors to her acting like she was in The Matrix.

      And I think a one-on-one duel between Jon and the Night King could’ve been desperately cliched too, and would likely have sidelined Bran more so than he already was. At least as things stand, Bran can be viewed as the mastermind behind the Night King’s defeat. And the Night King has been as much a part of Bran’s story in these final seasons as Jon’s.

      I actually find Arya disappearing halfway through the episode to lie in wait for the Night King and Jon being repeatedly stymied in his attempts to get close enough to the Night King for a duel very Game of Thrones. Like Robb being given the runaround by Tywin and never getting to meet the Lannisters in the field to strike that decisive blow. Or Jon going to treat with Mance Rayder with the intention of murdering him, as a last roll of the dice.

      These are my feelings at the moment anyway. There’s still time left for the narrative and the characters to go completely awry and the producers’ choices in the last episode to be undermined to the point of feeling like major missteps.

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    115. ash:
      Anyone see this?When I was watching the video about the show, I remember hearing that, just before arya made her jump.So I was surprised later to hear people thought he was yelling at the dragon.Your thoughts?

      I missed that one. If that is in fact true, I totally missed it and I would say they should have made it clearer. I never got the sense that Viserion was just blocking the entrance to the godswood in particular. He was taking up the whole courtyard. It just looked to me that Jon was frustrated.

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    116. Wimsey,

      One of my favorite comments so far—thank you for the bit of military history!

      Slightly OT: I received an email from Amazon two days ago, informing me that an item I’d ordered in January would be shipped “unexpectedly” earlier than originally estimated. Was it the McFarlane Toys Viserion, originally scheduled to arrive mid-May? Why, yes it was! 😂

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    117. ash,
      If that was the case, then I would have loved to actually be aware of it as a viewer while watching it and not have to read about it afterwards. But I guess, that train left the station long ago. I didn’t like the shock moment last season with Sansa and LF and I don’t like it this season, but as I said above, they write this show for the casuals, and they go for the shock. I agree with Ramsay’s 20th Good Man, it’s an unthankful position to be in. I’m not gonna die mad about it, I get that HBO wants to sell this product to as many people as possible (and that’s mostly casuals). Still love the whole universe, still excited about what’s to come, but also a bit disencouraged.

      And also I can’t stop wondering about that whole crypt business. What did we get out of it? There must be something, because if not, it was incredibly unnecessary to the whole story. Not showing it would not have made any difference. So what was the point?

      I only see two things that could be important for the future story:

      -The Sansa-Tyrion conversations
      I can’t say if Sansa is genuine or if she plays Tyrion. We can see that he is still very affectionate with her (Hand kiss) and she encouraged it (you were the best). D&D also made a point about Sansa mentioning how good a man he is quite a few times now.

      -Missandei’s stanning
      I don’t know if that means Sansa will see Dany in a different light very soon or that Missandei will have to re-evaluate her own position on the dragon queen very soon.

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    118. Tron79: I missed that one. If that is in fact true, I totally missed it and I would say they should have made it clearer. I never got the sense that Viserion was just blocking the entrance to the godswood in particular. He was taking up the whole courtyard. It just looked to me that Jon was frustrated.

      I just watched using closed captions and unfortunately it just says Jon “yells”. That would have been cool if he saw Arya and gave himself up.

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    119. Dark Sister,

      Tyrion suggests that to Dany early in S7, when he brings up the Ironborn and the Kingsmoot. The greatest question about Dany’s arc, imho, is will she actually break the wheel? Right now that’s looking like a resounding “no,” but I’m ready to be surprised again.

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    120. ash,

      Tron79: I never got the sense that Viserion was just blocking the entrance to the godswood in particular. He was taking up the whole courtyard. It just looked to me that Jon was frustrated.

      Tron79: I just watched using closed captions and unfortunately it just says Jon “yells”.

      I would think that when they were talking about that scene they would have specifically said that’s what Jon was doing. Otherwise it just sounds like people trying to come up with the reason he stood up. It’s a sound suggestion that makes sense, but I don’t see anything at all that tells me Jon saw Arya. I knew Viserion was blocking the entrance to the godswood. That is why Jon stayed there and trying to get past him. I just think he’d run out of ideas and knew he was out of time. As Tron mentioned, the CC just says “yell” and not “go.” Did he have a plan? I don’t know. To me it was just their final shot at the viewers to make us think they’ve lost and are all going to die.

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    121. In a story where the narrative was just as obsessed with prophecies and traditions as its characters, it would be Jon who deals the killing blow to the Night King. That may be what a lot of us expected, but it is not what Game of Thrones is.

      I think one could argue that Jon DID, in a sense, deal the killing blow to the NK, by arming Arya with Needle in the first place. That single act, perhaps more than any other, started Arya on the path to becoming a warrior, which ultimately culminated in the deathblow she dealt in the Godswood.

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    122. Random observations:
      – I’d say Dany and Jon are pretty much kaput as a long term couple. When Jon takes Dany’s wrist in his hand saying “The NK is coming.” She forcibly repels his touch exclaiming “The Dead are already here!” The body language on her part is not that of a tender lover. Indeed, it is that of an affronted senior to a junior’s transgression. That and the reveal at the end of ep 2 in addition to the facial expressions of the two in the trailer/preview for ep 4 doesn’t give much in the way of warm fuzzies re: the long term prospects of these two.
      – Does the adage “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell” still apply?
      – What is Bran’s role for the last three eps? Does he even care who wins out? What are his loyalties to, even, the Starks at this point?

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    123. Further observation. Was there a purpose to Davos’ being the particular and sole witness to Arya’s martial gymnastics on the walkway prior to her entering the library?

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    124. Dark Sister,

      Sure, calling Arya’s act “selfish” was an overstatement from my side. She has always been fiercely loyal to her family and she has been protective, too: she rushed to save her father, but was stopped; she rushed to save her mother and brother, but was stopped, because she pas unprepared. Now there was no-one to stop her and she was prepared, so she got a legit retribution for those two failed attempts to save the ones she loved.
      However, I stick to my point that the showunners intentionally moved the stress of her motivation to another point (“I know death, it’s got many faces, I’m looking forwards to see this one”) and made the victory a bit too easy. Had Arya died killing the NK, that would have been a satisfying end. But she survived, so there’s a question: where does she goes from here?
      And the same question applies to other protagonists: Jaime’s arc could have been satisfactory closed with a heroic death in the battle, too, but he survived, and now his situation looks almost worse than death. Same as Jon’s or even Dany’s, although she still stick to the idea of getting the IT. So, the further story may really be interesting, if done right.

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    125. The Wolves of Winter:

      And while Jon may not have been the one to kill the NK, he still had a very large role in all of this spread across all the seasons.

      This.
      I loved Arya’s moment. And while it wasn’t predicted by prophecy, I believe it made sense not just for her character (to which I say, what about Jon’s character?!), but for the storyline.
      I don’t think this makes Arya Azor Ahai or TPtwP. How many times have people noted that prophecies are tricky, not necessarily literal, interpreted many ways, etc. I still see Jon and/or Dany as fulfilling the prophecy. Big picture, people! None of this would have come together without Jon and his single-minded goal – leading the NW, uniting all of the North and the Wildlings, going after the dragonglass and bringing Dany to the fight. He (and Bran) was the NK’s nemesis that drove his defeat, not Arya.
      And Dany – hatching dragons, gathering armies and diverting them to fight the most important war of all.
      I see Arya not as “the” hero but one of them. She played a role that made sense for a highly trained assassin… she was the “finisher” after everything they did to bring the NK in to place. She may not have been aware of, let alone have her sights on, the NK for most of her life..and yet everything in her arc was preparing her for this. It makes sense after following her journey, even when it led away from the main story and other main characters, that it led to something this big. In pre-episode discussions I honestly thought predictions of ASNAWP getting the NK kill were off base. But the way it went down, it all came together for me.
      People love that GoT subverts tropes but hate this? I don’t normally play these games, but is it not ridiculous that in many stories “the” hero is the guy who manages to do it all, be everywhere, the key person every step of the way, always at the right time against all odds?
      What if there was a melee with all the Valyrian steel and other top fighters with dragon glass against the WW in the godswood, would the one who got the lucky shot be THE hero of the story? That’s what this whole battle was…everyone taking on the army so someone could get to him. Perhaps we should examine how we cling to certain narratives.
      I personally would have also been happy to see Jon kill the NK, but then I’d be reading all the sophisticates complaining about predictability and tropes.
      I would have loved to see Jon do more…drive Longclaw into Viserion’s nose and kill him, and/or cutting through WWs which distracts them from Arya’s attack. But it is realistic that after this hero of ours rode his dragon through the battle, faced off against impossible odds, cut his way through all the wights while strong men around him were falling…but couldn’t get past a MFing dragon.
      So while I would have liked better for Jon, I don’t have a beef with that. I do have a beef with the way show!Jon’s capabilities have been compromised from way back, up to and including the poor strategy for this battle. But that is a different topic.

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    126. Zen-Face:
      Further observation. Was there a purpose to Davos’ being the particular and sole witness to Arya’s martial gymnastics on the walkway prior to her entering the library?

      I wondered that too!

      Another random observation…when Dany and Jon dismounted on the hill, Drogon and Rhaegal snipped at each other. Either just a reflection of the tension between riders after the crypt conversation, or a foreshadowing of brother turning on brother (Nooooo!!!) …but it was on purpose.

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    127. Inga:
      Dark Sister,
      However, I stick to my point that the showunners intentionally moved the stress of her motivation to another point (“I know death, it’s got many faces, I’m looking forwards to see this one”) and made the victory a bit too easy. Had Arya died killing the NK, that would have been a satisfying end. But she survived, so there’s a question: where does she goes from here?

      It would absolutely not have been a satisfying end to her arc. Not even close! And I’m not saying this as an uber Arya fan, I’m saying this as someone who appreciates and values good storytelling. As I’ve said before, Arya’s arc has never been about being a sacrificial hero. Her story is far more complex and intricate than that, and that kind of an end would be cheap, uninteresting, and boring.

      The question of where she goes from here, however, is an interesting one. I agree that the story does demand that she face up to her dark path of vengeance in some way, so we will see what comes of that in the few remaining episodes. However, I will firmly stand by my assertion that she will survive the story, so whatever consequences she’ll face, she will endure.

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    128. Enharmony1625: It would absolutely not have been a satisfying end to her arc. Not even close! And I’m not saying this as an uber Arya fan, I’m saying this as someone who appreciates and values good storytelling. As I’ve said before, Arya’s arc has never been about being a sacrificial hero. Her story is far more complex and intricate than that, and that kind of an end would be cheap, uninteresting, and boring.

      The question of where she goes from here, however, is an interesting one. I agree that the story does demand that she face up to her dark path of vengeance in some way, so we will see what comes of that in the few remaining episodes. However, I will firmly stand by my assertion that she will survive the story, so whatever consequences she’ll face, she will endure.

      I ask this genuinely out of curiosity – because where you are an Uber Arya fan, I am so with Jon. So I want another perspective on this.

      You say you appreciates and values good storytelling. I see you thought this has been served in terms of Arya’s arc, but may I ask, what do you think of Jon’s? Do you think his 7-season long journey to this point and how he had no real participation in the climax of what has been his part of the story was good storytelling and satisfying for his arc? And do you feel satisfying Arya’s arc (which is a more ethereal link in her storyline with death rather than the literal link to the AOTD and the NK himself) was done at Jon’s arc’s expense? I ask because I’ve read a lot of what Jon fans think about his role in this, but I know you to be a true Arya fan (along with TB), so wanted your take on it.

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    129. Che: I am just going to hope that Jon has something satisfying to conclude his story later down the line. If not, I riot 😂

      Ditto!!

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    130. I find it rather funny that people are so upset about Arya killing the NK. I think people are upset because it actually makes a lot of sense and, in hindsight, it has been set up very well. Trained assassin. VS dagger, Jon even asked arya (in ep 1 or 2) how she managed to approach him in the godswood without him hearing her!

      People are upset because it was kind of obvious but they didn’t see him coming, or they wanted their favourite character to do it. Things don’t tend to go down like that in GOT.

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    131. Che,

      Very good (and fair) question. Jon is pretty much my second favourite character, and I personally don’t feel his arc suffered in this episode. Arya may have struck the killing blow, but defeating the AOTD was a team effort on all fronts, and Jon’s role in it is nothing short of pivotal.

      Nobody could have united people together the way Jon did against the NK and his army. Without Jon, they wouldn’t have had Dany’s dragons or her armies. Without Jon, Arya probably would not have returned home to Winterfell. Jon’s ability as a leader to mobilize everyone to fight against the NK was paramount.

      What I really appreciate about this storytelling is that it turns the trope of the “leader” also being the one to have the epic 1v1 fight to save everyone on its head. There are many heroes that deserve recognition in this fight for their various roles. Theon defending Bran for as long as possible giving Arya a chance to strike, Beric and Sandor protecting Arya, Mel giving Arya her purpose, Jorah saving his Queen, etc. And Jon as the leader. If he is indeed AA, why does that dictate that he needs to kill the NK? I love that the show turned that on its head. It’s the most “Game of Thrones” the show has been in the last couple of seasons!

      Furthermore, the show went out of its way to show how the NK was not going to be defeated by any conventional means. He immediately notices Jon approaching from behind, laughs in the face of fire, easily dispatches Theon.. The NK was very much aware of Jon and of Dany and their power, so he would always have been prepared to face it.

      Lastly, we still have three episodes to go, so I am as curious as everyone else to see how Jon’s arc evolves from here. Is there more to him being the PtwP/AA as a leader? I think we should not be so quick to jump to conclusions with only half the season over.

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    132. Enharmony1625:
      Che,

      Very good (and fair) question. Jon is pretty much my second favourite character, and I personally don’t feel his arc suffered in this episode. Arya may have struck the killing blow, but defeating the AOTD was a team effort on all fronts, and Jon’s role in it is nothing short of pivotal.

      Nobody could have united people together the way Jon did against the NK and his army. Without Jon, they wouldn’t have had Dany’s dragons or her armies. Without Jon, Arya probably would not have returned home to Winterfell. Jon’s ability as a leader to mobilize everyone to fight against the NK was paramount.

      What I really appreciate about this storytelling is that it turns the trope of the “leader” also being the one to have the epic 1v1 fight to save everyone on its head. There are many heroes that deserve recognition in this fight for their various roles. Theon defending Bran for as long as possible giving Arya a chance to strike, Beric and Sandor protecting Arya, Mel giving Arya her purpose, Jorah saving his Queen, etc. And Jon as the leader. If he is indeed AA, why does that dictate that he needs to kill the NK? I love that the show turned that on its head. It’s the most “Game of Thrones” the show has been in the last couple of seasons!

      Furthermore, the show went out of its way to show how the NK was not going to be defeated by any conventional means. He immediately notices Jon approaching from behind, laughs in the face of fire, easily dispatches Theon.. The NK was very much aware of Jon and of Dany and their power, so he would always have been prepared to face it.

      Lastly, we still have three episodes to go, so I am as curious as everyone else to see how Jon’s arc evolves from here. Is there more to him being the PtwP/AA as a leader? I think we should not be so quick to jump to conclusions with only half the season over.

      Thanks for responding. We view it very differently it seems. This episode must certainly be one of the divisive elements we were warned about that this season had in store. I’m sure there are more to come!

      For the record, I didn’t need Jon to be the one to kill the NK, but I do strongly feel that the past seven seasons haven’t just been setting Jon up as the uniter of people. The past seven seasons have set him up as a warrior of great skill, fearlessness (verging on recklessness) and willing to sacrifice himself to save others. They have shown personal conflict between Jon and the NK on two occasions and built up a connection between the two characters. Jon knows the NK; the only one who really does. Yet in the battle, the climax to the threat the NK poses, Jon is kept out of the battle on a dragon and then kept sidelined by an undead-dragon without a single meaningful fight in the whole episode. Speaking as a Jon fan, narratively, this is the least satisfying conclusion to what has been the biggest part of his story I could have imagined, bar him being killed at the beginning of the episode. I also value good storytelling and in Jon’s case, I don’t think we got it.

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    133. Enharmony1625,

      Perfectly summarized. The reason I see stated the most for people not liking the ending it that it wasn’t Jon, that Jon was sidelined, that Jon didn’t get his big badass moment, they wanted Jon to go 1on1, they wanted Jon to be AA, as if the one that made the killing blow was the only act that mattered. It seems that Jon stans can’t recognize his accomplishments unless it involves him being the ultimate badass and saving the day (ie, Jon wasn’t the one getting all the cheers) thus he won’t get the credit.

      It was clearly a massive group effort by so many people doing their part, all of which could not have even been possible without Jon’s leadership and dedication to preparing for this battle. He did a lot during the battle, he fought on dragon back, he tried to confront the NK, but the NK does recognize Jon and knows that one hit from Jon’s sword will kill him, why risk a 1on1 fight? It wouldn’t be a fair fight for the NK. He knows Jon is gunning for him, so he sends Viserion to block the Godswood entrance – Jon did everything he possible could, but the NK was thwarting him at every turn. I really don’t see how Jon could have done or tried more. He even stayed focused on the goal, when he passed a struggling Sam (that was great too, an exhausted crying Sam can’t even stand up anymore, but still not giving up!) that was a nod to the earlier battle where he let his feelings override his sense… here he makes the right choice to push forward, keeping focused on the bigger picture.

      I thought is was a great Jon episode. I thought Dany was fantastic as well, favorite moment was when she picked up a sword, she isn’t trained, but she helped the best she could, and I thought they handled it well, it was great to see her fighting. I never loved the Unsullied more, they were so great, especially Grey Worm I loved every scene where he is featured. I could go on, so many great moments, Jorah, Theon, Lyanna, Beric… and I guess I got lucky, my TV was fine, didn’t seem too dark for me – I was on constant alert to all the faces on the screen just waiting for the deaths to come, lol

      This is an ensemble story with several main protagonists who we have been following the entire series. Arya had her big moment (that really fit with her entire story arc as the show presented it – and here was that payoff). I’m sure the other mains Tyrion, Sansa, Dany, Jamie, Cercei and Jon will also have their big season finale moments.

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    134. Clob,

      A man doesn’t know why his other comment went to internet purgatory, but kudos for putting the bitchers and purveyors of douchebaggery in their place!

      A man would also like to thank you and Ten Bears for the delightful kool aid…lol

      ASNAWP!!!!

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    135. Boojam: The fleet that brought the Dothraki ‘hoard’ to Westeros , is , as far as we know, still intact. As far as we know there are still , millions?, of Dothraki left in Essos (there did not seem to be 100,000 with Dany).
      Dany is still, seemingly, Empress of Meereen and other cities of Slaver’s Bay?
      She would have the resources to buy millions of sell swords.
      Have a feelingthe show won’t use this, tho were was the Targ Fleet going in preview of episode 4?

      Tycho Nestoris, you know Mark Gatiss said , during season 7 he would be back, then in between he said he would not be back, was he casting a faint because he had dropped a spoiler?

      They pointedly brought Yara back,she could be a factor,

      Good points, it felt like they lost so much, that her numbers are way down. It is hard to remember all the people at her disposal (literally).

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    136. viki:
      Enharmony1625,

      Perfectly summarized.The reason I see stated the most for people not liking the ending it that it wasn’t Jon, that Jon was sidelined, that Jon didn’t get his big badass moment, they wanted Jon to go 1on1, they wanted Jon to be AA, as if the one that made the killing blow was the only act that mattered. It seems that Jon stans can’t recognize his accomplishments unless it involves him being the ultimate badass and saving the day (ie, Jon wasn’t the one getting all the cheers) thus he won’t get the credit.

      It was clearly a massive group effort by so many people doing their part, all of which could not have even been possible without Jon’s leadership and dedication to preparing for this battle. He did a lot during the battle, he fought on dragon back, he tried to confront the NK, but the NK does recognize Jon and knows that one hit from Jon’s sword will kill him, why risk a 1on1 fight? It wouldn’t be a fair fight for the NK. He knows Jon is gunning for him, so he sends Viserion to block the Godswood entrance – Jon did everything he possible could, but the NK was thwarting him at every turn. I really don’t see how Jon could have done or tried more. He even stayed focused on the goal, when he passed a struggling Sam (that was great too, an exhausted crying Sam can’t even stand up anymore, but still not giving up!) that was a nod to the earlier battle where he let his feelings override his sense… here he makes the right choice to push forward, keeping focused on the bigger picture.

      I thought is was a great Jon episode. I thought Dany was fantastic as well, favorite moment was when she picked up a sword, she isn’t trained, but she helped the best she could, and I thought they handled it well, it was great to see her fighting. I never loved the Unsullied more, they were so great, especially Grey Worm I loved every scene where he is featured. I could go on, so many great moments, Jorah, Theon, Lyanna, Beric… and I guess I got lucky, my TV was fine, didn’t seem too dark for me – I was on constant alert to all the faces on the screen just waiting for the deaths to come, lol

      This is an ensemble story with several main protagonists who we have been following the entire series. Arya had her big moment (that really fit with her entire story arc as the show presented it – and here was that payoff). I’m sure the other mains Tyrion, Sansa, Dany, Jamie, Cercei and Jon will also have their big season finale moments.

      Speaking as a Jon fan, this doesn’t sum up how I feel nor summarise what I have been saying whatsoever. I haven’t actually read anyone saying or implying that they are upset that Jon didn’t get to sacrifice himself or take credit. People are frustrated because he has built up almost his entire tenure on Game of Thrones for this moment and then doesn’t even get to join in. As a comparison, imagine Arya’s training and skills not being used in season 8? Wouldn’t everyone go “Well then why in the hell did she spend 7 seasons becoming such a kick-ass fighter and assassin? What was the point?” This is what I am feeling (and many others from what I have read) – what was the point in having Jon become a kick-ass fighter (because Arya isn’t the only one who has had that progression), develop a personal vendetta with the NK, only to have him sit out the fight on a dragon? It’s not about him getting the credit; it’s not about him being the one to kill the Night King; it’s about him not participating in the battle as the warrior we know him to be. It’s about his personal vendetta against the NK not having a sliver of a resolution to it because he doesn’t get to engage him or any of his generals, he is kept out of the battle. It’s disappointing. It’s unsatisfying. This is the problem I (and many others) have.

      Also, the second point I bolded, is very relevant. Yes, Game of Thrones is an ensemble show, but there have been a large amount of plot threads to follow and each character has lived, for the most part, in their own part of the story. The AOTD and the NK were Jon’s part of the story. He finally managed to bring everyone else into it last season and it was wonderful to see everyone fighting together…. except Jon. He was on a dragon for most of the episode, or blocked by one for the rest. Again, it’s just so unsatisfying, speaking as a Jon fan.

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    137. Tron79:
      viki,

      That’s a nice summary of the players and teams who are left.
      I predict Bronn will take Tyrion up on his offer and accept more money from Tyrion. He may very well turn the tables with the cross bow and take down Cersei at the last moment. That’s just speculation on my part, but I could see it happening since Tyrion has repeated his pledge to pay Bronn several times over the series and a Lannister always pays his debts.

      Also, since they didn’t kill off Gendry in episode 3, that’s a big sign for me that as the last Baratheon, he will probably have a major role to play with Arya and possibly make it to the throne. I thought for sure Gendry was done and his arc was completed after helping Arya “know what it was like”.Now that he’s still here after the battle, I think D&D have a major role in mind for him in the days to come.You can see a quick shot of Arya kissing him again in the preview. Strategy wise, I don’t see Gendry or Arya really caring that much about the throne though, but it’s possible nonetheless that they end up there.

      I don’t know, it would be nice if Bronn would make a heal turn on Cersei, but I could also see him trying to kill them… maybe misses and it takes someone else down? But Bronn as amiable as he is, did say he would kill a baby if you paid him enough… don’t be fooled by a likable personality. He he friendly, but not a ‘real’ friend, but he is a fan favorite, so who knows 🙂 Cersei will be either Jamie or Tyrion to deal with, it needs to be personal/emotional for her final death.

      Gendry surviving does make me think he will survive to the end. I feel like Sandor and Gendry are here to ‘complete’ Arya’s story. It is clear since all of her interactions so far has really been with them. Sandor and Arya have so much in common, probably no one could understand the other more and they will continue to help each other ‘heal’. plus they both have unfinished business with the Mountain. I feel like Sandor will take on the Mountain with an assist from Arya.

      Gendry is there to help her ‘feel’ normal again. She clearly cares and loves her family, but she is still closed off and emotionally distant, hardened. She seems a little more like her old self (season 2-3) when she is with him, they have history, inside jokes, chemistry, etc… if he continues to survive, then it is clear they will develop a relationship and that will be important for Arya.

      I don’t see any possible way for them to be King and Queen at all, in any circumstance – I mean literally everyone would have to die for that to happen, and I really don’t want that! Besides, that’s not them. At best I could see Gendry being knighted (like he is in the books by Beric) or legitimized by Jon so he isn’t a bastard anymore, but really Arya wouldn’t care about that so it isn’t necessary… but Jon and Sansa probably would so yeah, I could see that happening – but it would be a little detail, that would be nice, but not necessary… would be great if Jon (or whoever, Jamie or Brienne) knighted the survivors at the end of the series – when they start dividing up all the territories/castles, even Tormund, lol Sir Tormund or Lord Tormund

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    138. Che: It would add a nice meaning to his return (and role in the story), but in my opinion, he is too minor a character to be the ruler of the seven kingdoms by the end and there’s no proof that he is Robert’s bastard beyond his word. Davos knows it to be true, but he has no proof either. I really don’t see how Gendry could end up on the throne unless it’s through conquest, but I don’t see how going that route from his minor-character position. Unless everybody who has a claim dies, not many people are left, no one really wants to job and Davos pipes up, “Hey, this guy is Robert Baratheon’s bastard, will he do?”, I can’t see it.

      I think Varys also knows about Gendry – he was the one who keep tabs on all Robert’s bastards and warned the blacksmith (forgot name) to send Gendry away. In the books his looks are so striking and many people recognize the resemblance to Renley (Robert’s younger brother) Remember the Baratheon genes are strong, lol. Really it would be best if fewer people new the truth, Dany might want to take revenge J/K, lol
      Yeah, his claim is slight, he temperament is wrong, not sure why people want to take this turn for the character, unless they just like the idea of Arya being a Queen? Royal titles are overrated and don’t make a character ‘better’, imho

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    139. Che: Thanks for responding. We view it very differently it seems. This episode must certainly be one of the divisive elements we were warned about that this season had in store. I’m sure there are more to come!

      Indeed. 🙂

      I do disagree with your view that Jon’s fighting ability has been as important to his arc as his leadership. Yes, he’s presented as a great warrior, but there hasn’t been any progression on that. He was good from the get-go. Arya trained her ass off for 7 seasons to get where she is now. His leadership, charisma, and ability to unite people against a common goal has always been on the forefront of his arc for me, so in that way, their victory at the Battle of Winterfell was a satisfying conclusion to that part of his arc. He accomplished what he set out to do as the leader!

      Furthermore, I don’t really see any convincing way they could have had Jon “participate” in a meaningful way in the defeat of the NK. As someone else pointed out, a 2v1 fight (Arya/Jon v NK) is Hollywood cliche. His supposed “GO, GO, GO” yell that some are suggesting is completely insubstantial and trite. Having Jon kill one of the NK’s generals would also be completely useless given that Arya would eventually kill the NK which kills them all anyway. That would feel forced just to give Jon a cool fight.

      I also applaud D&D for taking the risk they did in giving Arya the kill; in having confidence in the characters and the story to do that. I recall Benioff saying in an interview once that “… [email protected] it, you have to take risks with this.” Yes you do, because the worst thing we could have had in this final season is for it to be boring and uninteresting.

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    140. Che: Speaking as a Jon fan, this doesn’t sum up how I feel nor summarise what I have been saying whatsoever. I haven’t actually read anyone saying or implying that they are upset that Jon didn’t get to sacrifice himself or take credit. People are frustrated because he has built up almost his entire tenure on Game of Thrones for this moment and then doesn’t even get to join in.

      I’ve seen a lot of these comments. They expected it to be Jon, Jon was sidelined, useless, did nothing (wtf?), etc…

      Doesn’t get to join in? Because he is on DRAGON back? He is a Targaryen now, of course they are going to have him riding one of the dragons. In the show, only Targs can ride solo on dragons and control them.

      Che:
      As a comparison, imagine Arya’s training and skills not being used in season 8? Wouldn’t everyone go “Well then why in the hell did she spend 7 seasons becoming such a kick-ass fighter and assassin? What was the point?” This is what I am feeling (and many others from what I have read) – what was the point in having Jon become a kick-ass fighter (because Arya isn’t the only one who has had that progression), develop a personal vendetta with the NK, only to have him sit out the fight on a dragon? It’s not about him getting the credit; it’s not about him being the one to kill the Night King; it’s about him not participating in the battle as the warrior we know him to be.

      So they actually did this, gave her character arc a purpose, but because it was her THIS time and not Jon you are upset? There is a lot more story to unfold, and Jon will play a pivotal role – I’m 90% certain the story will focus on Jon/Dany/Cersei going forward, with Tyrion, Sansa and Jamie playing important assist roles. It feels like you are arguing that you want Jon and only Jon to be the main focus all the time, otherwise you are unsatisfied.

      Just cause you feel that way doesn’t mean you are right about the story. Are you unhappy he is one of the only 2 people in the story who has the magical ability to ride solo on a dragon. Do you resent that special ‘gift’ because it denies you the pleasure of seeing him fight? You have seen him fight in so many battles, this time he is one of 2 Targaryens flying on dragons and you feels he is being made less ‘special’ because of this?

      Jon was a kick-ass warrior, he was fighting a lot, making his way though the entire battleground trying to get to the Godswood, it took a dragon to stop him from moving forward… and even then he never gave up and was willing to do something stupidly impossible to try and pass that dragon.

      Plus Jon isn’t the only kick-ass fighter. I would even argue that Brienne is a better fighter than Jon, she would mop the floor with him. She has better training, weight, height, and strength over him. She has a valerian sword too, so it would make much more sense for her to face the NK strategically, if winning was their goal. Brienne isn’t the only one, even with one hand, I’m sure Jamie could hold his own against Jon. Grey Worm, Jorah, hell even Bronn… there are a lot of really good fighters in GOT, they are almost a dime a dozen…

      Che:It’s about his personal vendetta against the NK not having a sliver of a resolution to it because he doesn’t get to engage him or any of his generals, he is kept out of the battle. It’s disappointing. It’s unsatisfying. This is the problem I (and many others) have.

      Vendetta? the NK is a force of nature, I never saw it as a personal vendetta – it was a life or death situation that if not stopped would end humanity… it wasn’t personal, it was for the survival of mankind… the NK might have taken notice of Jon, but he wasn’t after Jon… he was after Bran… if anything the NK has a vendetta against Bran. Jon is just someone he noticed because of his special sword (not his fighting skill) and needs to avoid, and he did.

      It is indeed your problem, as you only choose to see Jon’s role as that of just a kiss-ass fighter. To me Jon is a fighter, but he is also much more than just that. He is a leader. I think he will be KING. No one else could have accomplished what Jon did to bring everyone together, but that isn’t enough for you… you also feel that the NK should written to be dumb enough to risk taking Jon and his one-blow killing sword on 1-on-1 because it would somehow make it better and more satisfying for you?

      Che:Also, the second point I bolded, is very relevant. Yes, Game of Thrones is an ensemble show, but there have been a large amount of plot threads to follow and each character has lived, for the most part, in their own part of the story. The AOTD and the NK were Jon’s part of the story. He finally managed to bring everyone else into it last season and it was wonderful to see everyone fighting together…. except Jon. He was on a dragon for most of the episode, or blocked by one for the rest. Again, it’s just so unsatisfying, speaking as a Jon fan.

      And perhaps bring everyone together was his role! He couldn’t defeat the NK any other way, he needed to be the leader who saved the realm, that doesn’t also mean he personally needed to fight and or defeat the NK as well.

      You are entitled to feel that way, but it seems like you are putting your feelings over how you want Jon to be depicted over the story being told and don’t want to accept that perhaps Jon doesn’t need to do everything, fight every boss, be everywhere (he actually was everywhere this episode he traveled a lot, most people were stuck in place), in every battle he is in. Like I said above, Jon is going to play pivotal role in the next 3 episodes. He will most certainly have multiple chances to shine and be kick-ass. Are you going to complain every time another character does something that you feel Jon could have/should done? They are writing for multiple characters, each with their own stans – let them have their moments too. Jon doesn’t need to be over powered, over emphasized more than he already is. It is the final season, all the main and supporting characters are going to get standout moments… Jon isn’t the only main character and his only role isn’t to be a fighter. He will be the reluctant leader who becomes King. At least that is how I think it will play out.

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    141. Wow this is insane! There are so many visions of how the episode should have happened just in these comments (and seemingly, none so far line up quite so well with my own either).
      What some loved, others loathe. What some didn’t care about, others loathed… or loved.

      Lighting issues: That is not relevant to this particular episode only. GoT has gotten dark a couple seasons ago. It was a stylistic choice by the show creators. I do not like that choice, but others do. Whatever… as long as I can make out the important bits.

      Arya: Arya killing the Night King just fits perfectly with Arya’s journey through the years (and seasons). At long last, what I often considered a stupid poorly written storyline, is redeemed. I had to watch an immortal jumping beast noone-Arya in order to get someone capable of killing the Night King (let’s be real here, Jon would have no chance in a duel – he barely managed to kill a simple White Walker lieutenant that up to that point didn’t even realise he was in any danger). Clearly the Night King could not be beat in a regular fight, a sneaky assasination is needed.
      All that said, I would have loved if the show made slightly more realistic/understandable how Arya physically got through the White Walkers to the Night King (would have been a perfect moment to show some fast gymnastic artistry of Arya literally jumping off of another White Walker unable to catch her – if you asked me).

      Jon vs. Viserion: after initial random ice fire bursts from Viserion, he “targets” Jon after he notices him and from that point on, Jon is basically trapped. He cannot outmaneuver Viserion, he’s limited to close range combat (I guess he could throw his blade, but I don’t think he ever did – thus would probably not even hit – and he actually needed his Valyrian sword against the Night King, thus potentially losing it was game over anyway). So after a few attempts, Jon humanly gives up, shouts and is probably thinking of “yoloing” in, Jaime vs. Drogon style. In doing that, he dies and also doesn’t get to Bran, game over.

      What my issues with the episode were? Discarding the minor “darkness” and “invisible Arya” nitpicks, I really needed far more weight to the episode to counterbalance the joy/hope/happiness of the previous ep. I precisely loved “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” because it brought so many character arcs to closure, to a srory high. This battle provided the best imaginable exit point for them where they believably could not all survive. Many could have sacrificed themselves for others.
      The fact the Night King is defeated was expected, but the gravity of the situation asked for more poignant deaths (only 1 really carried weight for me – Theon; Lyanna Mormont was glorious, but in the end she was a very minor character, Jorah received a fitting death, but like Beric and Melisandre, he was long on a borrowed time). Out of Sam, Jaime, Grey Worm, Brienne, Podrick or Tormund, a couple had no place surviving.
      Similarly in the crypts, the only effect of dead Starks was seemingly to feature a heart warming scene between Sansa and Tyrion. Worthy cause indeed, but in the almost absolute absence of weaponry and the general panic, deathtoll should have been higher and personnal (AKA at least featuring one known character).

      Well, that’s it from me. Just in case it wasn’t obvious, i still loved large portions of the episode and was enthralled throughout (those dragons!).

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    142. TOIVA,

      Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. Technically, my issues with the low amount of significant deaths in “The Long Night” could be solved if those characters I mentioned had another important role to play.
      That is technically still possible, I guess (and would be great, I far more enjoy to like episodes of GoT than not), but unfortunately, given the sheer amount of characters and only having about 4 hours of screentime, that is extremely unlikely. And I do not want to set myself up for another disappointment. Better to accept a previous episode was bad than hoping a future one will fix and complete it (damn showrunners talking in interwievs previously to Ep 3 how it should be viewed along with Ep 2 in a nice combo – eve of battle + battle, like “Blackwater” was by itself).

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    143. G-dangit!! I thought after an evening at the bar I’d come on to see Ten Bears reaction!! There are just a handful of us that go overboard on our ASNAWP, and I’m embarrassingly anxious to see his comments about this one…. 😕

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    144. Clob,

      You’ll just have to wait until Ten Bears stops rewatching each and every scene containing Arya. That will be quite The Long Wait, I suspect. 😉

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    145. Nick20: Season 1 Episode 1. I have all the “previously on” segments on my computer, and there’s one for every episode, except the most recent one, and obviously the pilot.

      Season 6, episode 7 doesn’t have a previously on. The Broken Man that cold opens with the return of the Hound.

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    146. Clob:
      G-dangit!!I thought after an evening at the bar I’d come on to see Ten Bears reaction!!There are just a handful of us that go overboard on our ASNAWP, and I’m embarrassingly anxious to see his comments about this one….😕

      I am willing to bet he’ll be quite pleased with Sandor, too. 🙂

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    147. Pigeon: I am willing to bet he’ll be quite pleased with Sandor, too. 🙂

      Definitely! I loved when Sandor sprung into action when he saw her in danger.

      I think he said he was going to watch it tonight, so hopefully not much longer! I wonder if he’s going to do this for the remaining 3 episodes? Ha. Ask here if she survives to determine whether he’ll watch the episode. Honestly, I can’t blame him. Even though I was 98% sure she’d survive 8×03, that 2% chance put a pit in my stomach for the whole week.. Damn you GoT!

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    148. Clob,

      Have you seen Torchwood Boy’s reaction on YouTube? He’s a mega Arya fan as well, and his reaction to her big moment is on point!

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    149. Clob,

      Pigeon,

      LOL, I’m back checking to see if Ten Bears has posted anything! I’m mostly a lurker but I’m a fan of Arya and have smiled at all the ASNAWP love that gets posted. Especially during the “Long Wait!” I hope TB is thrilled with the episode and, of course ASNAWP, and look forward to reading TB’s posts.

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    150. Enharmony1625,

      Good point: Arya has never been a sacrificial hero (although she kind of wanted to be in the beginning). However, in terms of a monomyth, there are only two ways a hero or a heroine can take after achieving an ultimate victory: sacrificial heroes go to heaven (in other words, there’s either glorified death or a bit of happines on earth in lighter stories); non-sacrificial heroes go to hell (cause power corrupts). The promo shows Arya kissing with Gendry, so it looks like a “heaven of earth”, but there was no real sacrifice: losing parents and a big brother or hetting a few stabwounds would have been sufficient in many other stories, but not in GoT which plays with higher stakes. So, Arya’s way from this point is more likely to be to hell, than to heaven: Melisandre saw darkness in her, V. Furdik’s tweet also stressed the importance ot the touch of the Night King. So, in every way Arya is being set up to become the Night King’s replacement: not a literal Night Queen, but an embodyment of death nonetheless. Well see, if my prediction comes true: I have failed many times, but I don’t see Arya’s story concluding without a retribution.

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    151. Che,

      I know how you feel and you have every right to feel this way: we as Jon’s fans were misled and tricked in a cold blood and so was our boy. But what we have been hearing time and time again? You know nothing, Jon Snow.

      The Night King has never been Jon’s kill: it was Bran’s (or rather 3-Eyed-Raven’s). Time and time again we have been told that Bran was the most important person in this world (Jojen), that, when the Night Kind made his way into the realms of men, he should be there waiting for him (Benjen), etc. However, we haven’t seen Bran doing much: only Ep 1 and 2 gave as some hints that he was moving pieces with some plan in mind. But blink and you miss it, so we never took it seriously. However, when you look back you can see things more clear. Bran had a plan and he implemented it using Jon/Targarians (and even Jaime and Brienne) as decoys and Arya as an actual executioner. In this sense both Jon and Arya had been just pieces in Brans hands: important pieces (especially Jon, cause paraphrasing my favorit Agata Christi, murder is simple, the whole trick is how to cover it or create a diversion in this case), but they were pieces nonetheless. So, once again the victrory against the Night King has alway been Bran’s victory and in this sense it is highly satisfactory, especially if we get some sort of “game revealed” next episode or at the very end (It might be that Bran’s game cannot be fully revealed, yet; there’s something between the 3-eyed-raven and the LOL/MFG and I imagine that it may require some settlement or retribution, too).

      Now back to our boy Jon/Aegon and storytelling. Storytelling depends on the story. We have allways been told that GoT is not an epic saga, but rather a story of character development and survival. Back in Ep 101 Jon decided to become a sacrificial hero: that was his goal, he was almost running around as asking someone to take his life for a good purpose – he would have been so happy to give it. But everyone around was telling him: no, you have to value your life and die cursing and screeming. The LOL even orchestrated Jon’s assassination to show him that there was nothing (no afterlife, no glory) after death – Jon remained stubbornly determined to become a sacrificial hero. He believed that this was his destiny and we were led to believe it, too, because the loss of the purpose of life had to hurt for real.

      Again, a hero rising from ashes of his former self and finding a new way in life is an archetypical narative. But most stories evolving around that put the loss of purpose/ the ultimate dream somewhere in the beginning and due to that revelation of the scope of the real tragedy becomes impossible: readers/viewers take the tragedy for granted and quickly move to the next chapter/episode to concentrate on hero’s recovery. So, maybe it was worth to spend 70 episodes of character development to make us feel and realize the scope of tragedy of losing the purpose of live at full extent. Now we are cursing and screeming and rioting, but it makes us think and feel. Catastrophies of losing the ultimate dream happen rather often, but then people are like, – ye, you’ll get over it. Jon’s story has demostrated us the full scope of catastrophy, precisely because we have been invested into his purpose of life almost as much as Jon himself. But the story is far from over: Miguel Sapochnik said that Ep 3-4-5 are the beginning, the middle and the end. So here’s the beginning: our boy has just lost the ultimate dream of his life in the most unfair way possible. Where does he go from here? Kill the boy and let the man be born.

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    152. Steel_Wind,

      Ummmm…
      Specifically about the screaming. Feels like many view battle scenes as stand alone moments and not as being informed by all that the character has faced in the battle itself. Jon was being f****d over every step of the way. Nothing was going as per plan. Finally even as he was trying to take viserion out he was again being thwarted. The sense of hopelessness and fatedness in those final moments with undead viserion is wonderfully portrayed. Jon most likely came to the realization that it was all over. Frustrated beyond anything he’s felt. And at a moment like that anyone would just SCREAM. Let alone the one person who was 200 percent invested in making sure humanity survives from the get go. So can you imagine that level of frustration and realisation of imminent defeat of the worst kind? That screaming moment there was completely necessary for his character. The beats after, when viserion rears up for a last time, are probably when he would have charged swung his sword. Kamikaze style. But we would never know. Cos Arya 🙂
      So please don’t waste your energy feeling angry for years on end. Take heart from a moment of great character writing. And not Hollywood style tokenism.

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    153. Inga,

      Thank you for this post and all your others Inga. You always make very valid points and have a way of changing my perspective. I don’t always agree with each point, but your posts are a pleasure to read, so thank you.

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    154. Inga,

      One more point I would like to make. Jon being robbed of his 1-on-1 with the Night King literarly puts him on the same page with Dany. Their stories always have always paralelled. Jon developed his great belief that he was destined to lead and win the fight against the external threat same as she developed her great belief that she had been born to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Now both of them have learned that they were wrong from the beginning and they are equals once again.

      Where do they go from here? Well, probably they’ll learn that it’s dangerous to put all the eggs into one basket and try to develop a more balanced life, because adulthood is always more about balancing and compromising, than about sacrificing everything for a single goal. And this cold shower on the hubris will do good for both of them.

      Sure, Dany will struggle with the acceptance of her mistake for the upcomming episode or two. But I think that the Long Night made her realize several things, or she’ll realize them processing what has happen. So, I think that both Jon and Dany are safe both in terms of survival and integrity, because both of them are set on the path of rising from ashes and developing new more balanced identitie after experiencing the greatest tragedy that can possibly happen to a person.

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    155. Nice article

      I recall watching the extra DVD content for LoTR back in the day, in particular Helms Deep

      People – and this includes myself – to a degree have been a little critical of the lack of battle tactics but I recall Peter Jackson saying the thing with Helms Deep is after a while it just started to feel like two Armies going at it, so he made sure to always be focused on the characters to keep people engaged

      Sounds like Sapochnik did the same thing here

      Some have criticised it but I absolutely love the opening sequence, some great atmosphere as Sam walks through nervously and we go from character to character and everyone is hurriedly walking into position

      More people have survived than I was expecting, but we are at the stage where a given character represents a faction, so Tormund is the Wildlings, Grey Worm is the Unsullied. It’s a shame Dany’s bodyguard as Khaleesi didn’t see his time in the show through, but as we saw Kono has died

      While the Dothraki are effectively written out of the show, wouldn’t quite go as far as to say they are extinct as the women and young children are presumably still in either Dragonstone or more realistically Vaes Dothrak. Nevertheless losing most of the fighting age generation will be a hammer blow and it will take time for the youngsters to be of same fighting ability (good for the Lamb Men perhaps?)

      Back to Grey Worm though, guy is an absolute hero in covering the retreat or rather the rout of Brienne, Wildlings Vale Soldiers and co. A real moment for the Unsullied to shine – don’t forget they covered Mel during the Trench lighting too

      I actually loved Arya sneaking around the Library while concussed. I actually wanted to see more of this type of thing in her HoB&W arc actually. Instead of a Terminator chase for mine the Waif showdown would have been better if it was more like this and Arya detecting poisons etc as it was highlight her as a trained assassin. The Waif as an assassin wouldn’t want to be drawing attention to herself while going after Arya

      As I’ve said in another thread, the Episode is getting a bit of stick, but lighting issues aside (Long Night is supposed to be dark and full of terrors and there is a fog of war issue) I actually think it was fantastically directed in terms of the over-arching vision.

      In this case rather than having them as a coherent army going back and forth like say Orcs in LoTR and make a coherent battle ebbing and flowing like Pelennor Fields for example, they have gone for the World War Z swarm effect and dread. And within that vision Sapochnik did brilliantly with all the Dothraki Lights going out and the tidal wave hitting the Unsullied and Melisandre barely getting the torches lit and I was psychologically engaged

      People are criticising the episode, though for mine this probably goes down to being a bit unhappy with how the White Walker/Night King arc has been tied up but this is holding true for how a few arcs like Sansa have been going

      In defence of the Showrunners though copping a bit of stick, they and we all presumed there would be more book material to be adapting and OK, they lack the flourish of writing twists that GRRM has but so does everyone else

      I will say that in terms of the over-arching vision, the WW’s wouldn’t collapse with Night King, half the Wights would have, they could have flown Viserion and some WW’s down to RL and elsewhere ice flaming a whole heap of people and leaving a WW or two to raise them as Wights and then besiege a few of the other locations. Fine kill the NK at Winterfell plus half the Wights but we should have had a follow up Episode of them chasing down the remaining WW’s at other locations (and smoking a whole heap of Wights with Dragons). That way it wouldn’t have felt like 8 seasons of build up and then…that’s it.

      Showrunner probably view it as like when Robbs Army was crushed very quickly?

      I didn’t mind Lyanna Mormont killing a Giant on the way out, some are criticising it but it is a good meta for the odds of the situation and smallest person on battlefield killing biggest works iconically. And of course that’s where Wun Wun was killed. Probably should have had her knocked over by the Gate as that is survivable and if instead of charging with an axe and getting picked up and then stabbing out with a sword(?) if they had her run up onto the top battlement and jump onto the giants head and stabbing him through the eye that may have been less “cringey”

      Last issue is I think when the Night King entered the Godswood, instead of making it a drawn out suspenseful moment with great piano music, if it had been more of a pitched battle like Ned and co vs Ser Arthur Dayne with Theon getting killed, Jon and Night King going at it and Arya shanking the NK Howland Reed style that would have made more sense of Arya’s character as an assassin which is how people gauge her rather than as a Ninja

      Perhaps we would have less criticism of the Night King supposedly getting “Snoked”

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    156. Inga:
      Inga,

      One more point I would like to make. Jon being robbed of his 1-on-1 with the Night King literarly puts him on the same page with Dany. Their stories always have always paralelled. Jon developed his great belief that he was destined to lead and win the fight against the external threat same as she developed her great belief that she had been born to rule the Seven Kingdoms. Now both of them have learned that they were wrong from the beginning and they are equals once again.

      Where do they go from here? Well, probably they’ll learn that it’s dangerous to put all the eggs into one basket and try to develop a more balanced life, because adulthood is always more about balancing and compromising, than about sacrificing everything for a single goal. And this cold shower on the hubris will do good for both of them.

      Sure, Dany will struggle with the acceptance of her mistake for the upcomming episode or two. But I think that the Long Night made her realize several things, or she’ll realize them processing what has happen. So, I think that both Jon and Dany are safe both in terms of survival and integrity, because both of them are set on the path of rising from ashes and developing new more balanced identitie after experiencing the greatest tragedy that can possibly happen to a person.

      Yeah people keep complaining about the PttwP prophecy etc and this idea that Jon was meant to fight Night King but rather than being about the Night King it may have more to do with the new Dawn post WW’s

      And it probably is a matter of a team. This could include Bran and Arya and even Theon along with Jon and Dany in terms of Night King (Bran and Arya became Prince and Princesses when Robbs Kingdom ws declared – as did Theon and Asha/Yara)

      Though in terms of Jon AND Dany, this could hold for both as a team in terms of new Dawn (Wheel and all that?)

      But Jon did have his one on one with Night King on Dragonback

      Dany got her Dracarys moment which didn’t work, as I said above perhaps Jon could have had his moment in the Godswood, I wouldn’t have minded if he was struggling though ala Dany and NK and ala Ned with Arthur Dayne but then Arya snuck up and shanked him which would have been fitting as an assassin on one hand (not a Ninja) and the themes of defending her bro Bram with the VS dagger and saying no to death etc

      It would have been a female Stark undoing him too ala Eowyn and Naazguul in LOTR (which is what I think it required, it is a female CotF who made him with Dragonglass which is probably half the puzzle)

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    157. Inga:
      Enharmony1625,

      I don’t see Arya’s story concluding without a retribution.

      This would explain Bran’s face when he looked at her? May have been just robot Bran (I hope so) but it struck me that there didn’t seem to be any smile, nod, pride…the look on his face seemed like he knew something we didn’t yet, this wasn’t quite the happy moment it seemed.

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    158. Winterkat: This would explain Bran’s face when he looked at her? May have been just robot Bran (I hope so) but it struck me that there didn’t seem to be any smile, nod, pride…the look on his face seemed like he knew something we didn’t yet, this wasn’t quite the happy moment it seemed.

      I have rewatched his reaction a few times and I was really searching for any sign of a smile, but instead, he just seemed his usual spaced out self. I know he’s not Bran anymore, but you would think that he would be relieved that his 3-Eyed-Raven knowledge had not been destroyed and show some sort of reaction to that? Nope.

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    159. Ghost’s Lunch: Yeah people keep complaining about the PttwP prophecy etc and this idea that Jon was meant to fight Night King but rather than being about the Night King it may have more to do with the new Dawn post WW’s

      This is what I am thinking as well. I think that is what the title of PtwP means, the promise of a better king and by that a better future. Especially given the long sad history of shitty kings Westeros had to endure.

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    160. I generally don’t like mass battle sequences in movies because they tend to drift into ultimately meaningless displays of tiresome special effects.. Hats off to the GoT team for remembering that the key to making good, watchable battle sequences is to keep the audience invested in, and caring for the characters caught up in the fighting and the horror. I hope whatever remaining battle sequences are to come live up to this standard.

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    161. David A: My point was that those who suggest that Arya destroying the Night King undermined Jon’s narrative arc in regard to the confrontation with the NK and the AotD needed to look at the larger canvass.

      That is definitely true. Yes, Jon is a slightly more prominent protagonist in the tale: but Arya probably is the 4th biggest. She is almost as much of this story as Jon is, and there are some really strong parallels between the two.

      Nick20: But most people are nevertheless aware that the Wall and Night’s Watch were created thousands of years ago to defend from the WW.

      They know that is the story. However, something that comes up briefly in one of the books is that the southerners think that the stories are heavily embellished and that the stories turned men into monsters.

      Nobody ever makes any deal of it, but we learn enough about the Andal’s mythology in the books to know that there does not seem to be any “Long Night” story in their mythos. (There is for some of the peoples in Essos; and we get some of the classic Grimmsian differences between their versions of the story and the First Men’s versions.) As such, the southerners should take the stories about as seriously as (say) Christians & Muslims would take impending signs of Rangarok! (“Man, that’s a long snake; and have you seen how big the wolves are??”)

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    162. Che: but you would think that he would be relieved that his 3-Eyed-Raven knowledge had not been destroyed and show some sort of reaction to that? Nope.

      Well, now we know how the 3-Eyed Raven Reacts to these things!

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    163. Che: I have rewatched his reaction a few times and I was really searching for any sign of a smile, but instead, he just seemed his usual spaced out self. I know he’s not Bran anymore, but you would think that he would be relieved that his 3-Eyed-Raven knowledge had not been destroyed and show some sort of reaction to that? Nope.

      Yes to both of you! I was so please by Bran telling Theon that he was a good man and thanking him, but NOTHING for Arya?? I was puzzled to say the least. It doesnt bode well….

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    164. The Long Night for me is the best battle episode GOT has ever done. That said though, this is a show which long prided itself that anyone could die and the story would regularly kill off big characters (Ned, Rob Stark, Jon Snow etc.) yet here we are a huge battle, we see thousands killed but only Theon and a handful of supporting characters fall. All our main heros are amongst the few hundred survivors with no serious injuries too. Something just didn’t sit right with many including myself.

      Don’t get me wrong I loved the episode on re-watch but this was something I felt was missing in terms of realism. For example Missandei being killed tragically in the crypts could have worked. Pod could have fallen as he’s no fighter, Jamie realistically with one hand would have fallen. Tormund could have died when the whites were brought back inside the walls. Sam goes from one scene to another in peril yet somehow makes it through.

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