“Game of Thrones” fans worldwide have been preparing themselves for the epic third episode of season eight, which promised to be the most devastating for the beloved cast yet. The nearly 90 minute-long episode was essentially one long battle scene, and was the longest cinematic battle sequence in history.
[Spoiler Alert: The remainder of this article will discuss Season 8, Episode 1 of “Game of Thrones”]
The entire team did an incredible job of shifting between storylines – breaking up the unavoidable monotony of such an extensive battle. It was, many assumed, the most death-filled episode since the infamous Red Wedding, and fans were forced to say goodbye to some of the most cherished characters in the show.
The episode opens on Sam Tarley, overwhelmed and in the way, just as we were first introduced to him in the first-ever episode of ‘GoT.’
The Red Woman plays an essential role in this episode, as she lights the swords of the Dothraki as they ready for battle. Just 10 minutes into the episode, the fight between the living and the dead begins. Immediately, it’s evident to all those involved that the odds are stacked way against them. They’re as prepared as they can be, but they’re way outnumbered, and a ravaging storm has complicated things substantially.
Throughout the ebbs and flows of the episode, there are moments of intense violence and moments of relaxation where it appears there may be hope after all.
Various characters are forced to face their most intimate fears – we see that several times with The Hound as he’s surrounded by fire. Several times throughout the episode he saves Arya as she combats the undead, and brushes with her own death a number of times. The Hound’s brother also dies as he protects Arya – for good reason.
While the living and the dead fight on land, there is also a battle going on in the sky, as the two living dragons, ridden by Daenerys and Jon, attack the dragon who fights for the Night King. Both Daenerys, Jon and the Night King are thrown from their dragons and forced to fight the undead army on foot.
Daenerys attempts to blast the Night King with fire, which proves unsuccessful, evident by the King’s smirk. In a shocking moment that many fans anticipated, the Night King then revives all of the fallen soldiers back as his own undead followers.
In the previous episode, It was said many times that the women, children and crucial characters, including Sansa, Tyrion and Gilly, would stay in the crypts during the fight, as it was the “safest place in Winterfell.” When the Night King recreates his zombie army, he’s joined by the dead in the crypt, who explode out of their tombs.
Gilly is dragged away by one of the undead, and we can only assume it led to her demise. The same can tragically be said for Jamie Lannister and Breanne of Tarth, who finally reached a pivotal moment in their relationship in the previous episode.
Also among those who die in the season’s third episode Jorah Marmount’s kin, Lyanna, who is crushed by a giant after she stabs him through the eye.
Jorah succumbs to the army of the undead as well, as he defends the love of his life, Daenerys.
Meanwhile, the Night King and his cronies march on Theon and Bran. Fans will recall that the decision was made for Bran to act as bait for the Night King, and that Theon would defend him. Theon feels an intense sense of guilt for the way he’s treated Bran throughout his life, and ends up dying in a suicide mission while attacking the Night King as he approaches Bran.
A tense moment ensues as the Night King begins to approach Bran. Then, in a turn of events that certainly made viewers stand up and cheer, Arya flies through the air and is caught by her neck by the Night King. She then stabs him through the chest – causing the rest of the undead to finally perish.
As the characters survey the carnage of the battle, we pan to Daenerys, who is comforted by her dragon as she sobs over the dead body of her most loyal adviser, Jorah.
In a conclusion that she predicted herself, the Red Woman concludes the episode by walking across the bodies into the snow, as she slowly turns elderly, then collapses and dies.
Now that the group has defeated the undead, they’ve won the great war, but now must face the politics among the living. Next week, they’ll likely take on Cersei Lannister, which has the potential to be just as gruesome.