The Long Night: Battle of Winterfell

The night is dark and full of spoilers.

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After waiting for two years and then another two hours in two weeks, we have reached the culmination of 20-something years of anticipation. And you thought “Avengers: Endgame” was the biggest thing happening.

For “Game of Throne” fans, and most especially, fans of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, this is the very thing we’ve been waiting for since the prologues of both the book and the show. I realize I’m repeating myself. That’s fine. Let’s try a no-filter, no-edit post.

In any case, it was a difficult watch for me, being stuck in work, fearing the boss will call out my name and I’d have to pause and scoot from my cramped space. The people from downstairs have TVs on and watched it together, but, joining them didn’t feel right. Not because I’m an anti-social turd (I am) but because I felt it needed some sort of cinematic experience.

And the Lord of Light be praised. The boss had left the premises. Bought some snacks, and switched off the lights.

First thought was, damn, Ghost is back. Dragons and horse riders have been stomping that we forget all about direwolves. He later disappears again. He is called “Ghost” after all. Though I wonder what role he’ll have in the actual book. As I recall, he never really left Jon’s side. Last time that happened, Jon was turned into a pin cushion for knives.

Bran wanders off to do his thing. And this bit I enjoyed because it gives us a hint that in book format, this entire battle sequence might also take place in Bran’s perspective as “The Three-Eyed Raven.” It would be amazing and epic in so many ways. Normally, all these big battles in books are told in a limited POV or were dictated as glorious stories to POV characters who weren’t present in the battle itself. But when Bran wargs into the ravens, for the first time in the books, we will have almost all POV characters in a single chapter.

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As many of you are surprised, the death toll was significantly lower. Well, as far as main POV characters are concerned. I think the real bloodbath will happen later, during the battle with Cersei and Euron Greyjoy. The opening sequence foreshadows that giant-ass crossbow, and I keep wondering who’d be the receiving end of it.

The death of Dolorous Edd was full of disks. Not only is it such a cliché but it’s so boring. Edd deserved a more epic last stand than that. Defending his friendship Samwell Tarley is a good cause, I guess. But it could had been handled better. Like, facing a swarm of wights and getting overrun like a river, would had been awesome and sad to watch.

Lyanna Mormont is dead. Squashed, literally, by the hand of an undead giant. But “Game of Thrones” loves putting little girls in harm’s way and let them do something badass. Lyanna takes him down. Nothing like an obsidian knife plunged straight to the eye. Since making her appearance in the show, she’s been nothing but a badass. She will be missed.

Now that she’s gone though, I suppose, when all of this is over, Jorah Mormont would find his place back in… oh wait. Yeah. Never mind. I’m going to need a minute to let that part sink in. I don’t drink beer. Do you guys drink beer? I might as well have one.

As my friend put it: “At least Sam gets his sword back.”

Low blow “Mark,” low blow.

That tiny bit between Jaime and Brienne fighting hordes of undead side-by-side was too epic. As someone from Twitter pointed out, they are each using Valyrian-steel swords forged from Ned Stark’s own “Ice.” In a way, you can put it that past Warden of the North is still protecting Winterfell in some form. In that regard, we actually get little from them, save for a few shouting, desperate screaming, and fighting a hopeless battle. Since HBO is doing a more straightforward narrative, I figured these two are safe at least until the next big battle – possibly at King’s Landing.

Between Jaime and Brienne scenes, we see glimpses of Podrick and Gendry here and there. I’ve nothing to fear about them dying. HBO’s narrative dictates those two will serve a few more important purposes. Specifically, Podrick has watched Tyrion’s back once in a while, like the Battle of the Blackwater, and Ser Bronn—a good ole favorite—is out on a mission to take out the Lannister brothers. It’s an interesting thing to look forward to.

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Everyone in the show was expecting the crypts to be the safest place to be. Everyone watching the show, knows that those hiding might as well be on the frontlines of war. Arya passing an obsidian dagger to Sansa is the biggest giveaway. But things went smoothly. A few people are dead and we didn’t really spend too much time there. All things worked out, for better or for worse. I was expecting some dead Starks to rise up and somehow be Winterfell’s much needed backup, “The North remembers” after all. But still, it’s a moment between Tyrion and Sansa, and it was beautiful to watch. “You were the best of them all,” Sansa said, about Tyrion being the best of her three husbands.

Ser Davos Seaworth is alive and kicking. We don’t see much of him doing any killing. As stated again and again, he’s survived two big battles with zero combat experience. Let’s see if that luck holds out until the end of the series.

Theon’s redemption arc ended with his last stand against the Night King. I was wondering if it were possible that he survived and at least, do some sort of damage, even a minor one just to distract the Night King from whoever defeats him. Turns out nah. The Night King is the embodiment of death, after all, and he’s killed a dragon with a giant Popsicle, so of course this guy knows how to OHK.

Of course we all wanted more of an epic showdown. We wanted for Jon Snow to fight the Night King. We wanted him to lose a little, just enough time probably for other Valyrian-steel sword wielders come as backup.

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No, none of that happened. Instead, Arya soars into the air and manages to OHK the Night King, in a single fell swoop. Was it anticlimactic? Yes. Was it disappointing? Not really, not much.

I love how Tor.com puts it that, “no one” can defeat the Night King, and “Well, a girl is no one, after all.” Well put guys.

I was satisfied for the most part. Even when the episode itself was dark, I felt it was really meant to be that way. For starters, it gives sense to the term “The night is dark and full of terrors.” The enemy is in the dark and we are unprepared for it. Can’t comprehend what’s happening? That’s war. It’s vicious and it’s random. Also, it’s dark so they could mask the not-too-awesome graphics. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals are a treat, but coming off from “Avengers: Endgame” people will notice visual differences. I’ve got some people comparing the Battle of Winterfell with The Battle of Helms Deep, which doesn’t compute. Clearly the bloodbath in Winterfell was better.

I suppose I’m just a little weary from hive-mind bosses. Where, defeat the leader and everything goes to normal. I’ve felt it was something cheesy and a cheap way for the protagonists to get out of trouble. We’ve seen such things multiple times, like the first “Avengers” film.

Still, the next three episodes are looking really good and exciting. Can’t wait for next week.

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