'game of thrones' season 8, episode 3 recap: an epic battle

A handful of beloved characters fell khổng lồ the Night King's army in what HBO is billing as the longest battle scene ever filmed. Others found glory, & lived khổng lồ fight another day.

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Courtesy of HBOBefore we get into what happened in “The Long Night”—otherwise known as Season 8, Episode 3—I just want to take a moment to reflect on what we just experienced. Not just the climax of what could go down as the most successful TV franchise in history, và not just the longest battle scene in cinematic history (per the show’s creators), but a rare communal moment for a huge chunk of the culture to lớn gather around our high-def campfires & witness an extraordinary act of storytelling.

Sure, there’s plenty khổng lồ quibble with. But let’s start by acknowledging that it’s rare, exciting, and pretty cool khổng lồ see a group of professionals at the đứng đầu of their trò chơi take a swing this big and more or less connect.

As a longtime Arya fan, I also want khổng lồ say up front that it was entirely unexpected but very welcome lớn see her come through at the last possible second & rescue humanity from eternal death và darkness. Nowwwww I get why she had lớn spend several seasons becoming a ruthless và supernaturally skilled assassin!

This episode was all about action, first & foremost, and mood. Starting with that opening scene of Samwell having a weapon thrust upon him, his bravado from the previous episode long forgotten. Not that you could blame him. The war against the Night King’s army felt well and truly unwinnable at the outset of this episode, no matter how dashing all our heroes looked arrayed in front of their armies.

And sure enough, as Jon, Daenerys, and their respective dragons observed from a nearby mountaintop, things got pretty ugly pretty quick. The Red Woman’s trick of giving all the Dothraki flaming scythes was a morale-builder, until every last one of them blinked out on the horizon as the army of the dead overwhelmed them.

At first, I thought Jorah was dead, but no—not yet, anyway. He came rushing back, và before long the battle became as conventional as a zombie war can be, with all our faves fighting Iliad-style as one nameless undead soldier after another bounced off their weapons. Early on, I actually believed we might thua trận some big characters abruptly, but it soon became clear that any time someone whose name you could immediately recall got overwhelmed, someone else whose name you know would come save them. The creators had bold moves in mind, but they weren’t about khổng lồ start sending name-brand actors trang chủ without proper send-offs. Not that I blame them!

For a thrilling few seconds, it looked like Daenerys was going to lớn sort out the army of the dead herself, by directing Drogon’s fiery long breath at the field of battle. But the Night King has a lot of tricks up his sleeves, including the ability lớn control the weather—hence the whole “winter is coming” business, I guess. So next thing you knew, Drogon and Rhaegal were being bounced around in a snowy storm cloud. They even crashed into each other at some point. It would help if Jon & Dany had harnesses of some kind—with seatbelts, ideally.

Do you know the name Edd Tollett? Because he was the first “name” character khổng lồ die, even though he wasn’t on the betting pool that my brother-in-law in Mississippi sent us earlier today. He and Sam were both members of the Night’s Watch, so it’s fitting that he died while helping Sam peel off a few zombies. R.I.P., Edd! We may have finally figured out your name only last episode, but still! You’ll be missed.

Team Humanity knew they weren’t going lớn be able to lớn hold off the zombies forever, so their plan was lớn retreat back into Winterfell castle & then light the surrounding trenches on fire. The first part worked great. The second part, not so much. Ser Davos’s big strategy of waving his hands over his head to get Dany’s attention was undone by the winter cloud, so Melisandre had to walk out and say a bunch of stuff in High Valyrian khổng lồ cast a fire spell. That was all right, but then the wights figured out that they could create unhuman bridges over the flaming trench by throwing their worthless bodies onto it, so they did. That’s when things got really ugly.

We were all wondering what was going to lớn happen with the crypt, and for a long time the answer was not much. Tyrion didn’t want lớn be there. Sansa told him to lớn shut up. Then she started throwing shade at “the rồng queen” và Missandei shut her down. That’s about it, really. But it was suspenseful! You knew they weren’t going to be able khổng lồ hide down there forever.

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After bridging the trenches, the wights started climbing the walls. So it was up khổng lồ Gendry, Jaime, & the gang lớn fight them all off one by one—a project that was manifestly futile from the start. Still, it gave Brienne a chance lớn save Jaime’s life, so that was nice. Meanwhile, all the fire was giving the Hound the heebie jeebies, which Beric found annoying, since they still had a lot of fighting lớn do. The Hound had pretty much given up when he saw Arya in full berserker-mode fly across a rooftop, chased by wights. That brought him back into the fray.

Meanwhile, an undead giant slammed through the front gate, threatening lớn take the inevitable Winterfell renovation bills to a whole new level. Lyanna Mormont didn’t seem lượt thích much of a threat to him—until he picked her up in his hand & she stabbed him in his glowing blue eye. A heroic final act for this precocious young warrior—or was it final?

No sooner have Jon and Dany’s dragons have figured out how to achieve cruising altitude above the clouds than the Night King comes lớn spoil the fun by trying khổng lồ roast them with xanh fire. Meanwhile, back at the castle, Arya is using her home-court advantage and her assassin skills to sneak through some rooms without being mobbed by zombies. It’s a fun, inventive sequence that isn’t really worth rehashing, but it leads lớn a big reunion rescue at the hands of the Hound & Beric—who finally croaks once & for all, his purpose having been fulfilled at last—and then an encounter with Melisandre, who restores Arya’s faith that tonight will kết thúc in something other than disaster. “What vì chưng we say to the god of death?” “Not today.” and off Arya goes . . .

The undead Viserion, with the Night King on his back, is really a pain in the ass, & here he is flambé-ing Winterfell. Jon doesn’t like that, & so begins a big confusing dragon fight. The Night King is knocked off Viserion, and Jon’s dragon throws him too. What happened to lớn Rhaegal after that? Your guess is as good as mine. Daenerys is so proud of herself when Drogon unloads a lungful of fire at the Night King, but lo and behold—he’s unscathed. Disappointing! So now Jon has khổng lồ go after him on foot. Is it me or does the Night King suddenly have a whole new swagger? He looks like a character in a 1970s cop movie here.

Anyway, did you think he was going khổng lồ engage in a fair fight with Jon? Nah, bro. Instead, he’s going khổng lồ raise up a whole new army of the dead using all the people his original zombie army killed. So that will keep Jon, & everyone else, busy while he saunters back to lớn the godswood to lớn take out Bran & erase humanity’s memory or whatever it is we agreed was the reason he wanted khổng lồ kill Bran. But first Dany has lớn save Jon from being overwhelmed by zombies. And then Jorah has khổng lồ save Dany from the same fate. Và then there’s this great piano music over all this incredibly dark action, as the wights invade the crypt và start killing everyone down there (except all the people you’ve heard of). & all our heroes are getting So. Damn. Tired. And then Bran tells Theon he’s awesome, never change, and then Theon for some reason charges the Night King, và … well, it was real, Theon. We kinda knew you weren’t going khổng lồ make it lớn the end, but thanks for the memories. You really went through . . . A lot.

And Viserion is still blowing blue fire at Jon so he can’t get khổng lồ Bran, và Jorah và Dany are still whacking away at zombies, and now it looks lượt thích Jorah is going down too. And that’s someone we really vị care about. Like, that’s a big loss. That’s gonna leave a mark.

And now it looks like the Night King is just gonna kill Bran và that’ll be the end of it. No wonder he looks so cocky. He’s got his trắng Walker bros to lớn back him up. What could go wrong for him now? and then here’s Arya flying in from absolutely nowhere—the professional assassin và professional sneak. But the Night King grabs her hand và she drops her dagger—into her other hand and plunges it into his torso! và now he’s turning to glass and shattering, và in seconds the same fate has befallen his entire godforsaken army.

It’s over now. It’s all over. Except the crying over Jorah, & one last nude scene for Melisandre, the Red Woman. She said she wouldn’t survive until dawn, but she seems fine. But as Ser Davos watches from the gate, she walks out onto the battlefield, removes her cloak, removes her necklace, removes her clothes, and returns to her ancient self. Và dies.

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