The battle we’ve all been waiting for has arrived but please, bear with us while we catch our breath.
The epic face-off between the Night King and pretty much everybody on Game of Thrones left that we care about took 55 days to film. If it was even half as good as we were expecting it to be, we wouldn’t have been disappointed. Nothing on TV could have prepared us for the scale and sheer brutality of the battle though, not even season 6’s infamous “Battle of the Bastards”.
The first shocking sight occurs moments after Melisandre surprises everyone by making an unexpected appearance and lighting the Dothraki’s swords on fire. The fearless herd launch themselves into the army of the dead and from a distance, we see each and every light extinguished. If each flame represents a Dothraki soul, we can be sure that there is not a single Dothraki warrior left. The rest of the armies watch in horror as they realize that the same fate lies ahead of them. No one sums it up better than the Hound who later gives up and exclaims: “This is death. We cannot beat them.”
But what do we say to death? Not today. Arya was the true hero of the episode and we got to see some amazing footage of her incredible fighting skills. The scene where she scurries silently down the crypts was a nice throwback to the season one scenes where her dancing instructor tells her to catch a cat. This time around, Arya is impossibly stealthy and if she so much as breaths too loud, the White Walkers will swarm on her and she will not make it. Of course, Arya is far stealthier than a cat and with a little encouragement from Melissandre, it is the faceless Stark who saves the day.
Every scene in the 82-minute episode was so action-packed and tense that we couldn’t possibly pay homage to them all. There were multiple moments throughout the battle that we were forced to consider the real possibility that Winterfell would not win. One of them, for example, was the terrifying scene where the Night King resurrects every fallen soldier, creating a whole new army of Dothraki and Unsullied corpses.
This happens shortly after Daenerys rains fire on the Night King, only to realize that he too possesses the power of the unburnt. The only upshot at this point is the thought of Cersei’s face in the South when the Night King comes to take her throne. Fortunately for Westeros, Arya is as brave as Lyanna Mormont, who heroically threw herself at an undead giant to save her army. At the very last moment, the young Stark takes a knife from the Night King only to shatter him and his armies with her Valerian blade.
So yes, we’re having a hard time processing the fact that the living defeated the White Walkers and accepting just how many of our beloved characters survived. Most surprising of all was the survival of both Grey Worm and Missandei in addition to Brienne of Tarth, who many people pegged for a heroic death in the episode. Even more impressive though is the fact that Samwell Tarley is still alive and kicking, despite being a frightened rabbit in the headlights. Instead, we said goodbye to Lyanna and Gora Mormont, Lord Beric and Theon Greyjoy, a departure that has been a long time coming. Ultimately, we want to shake hands with the writers and director for sparing the lives of Jon Snow, Arya, Daenerys, Sansa, Tyrion, Jamie, Brienne, and Gendry. We really didn’t see that coming.
Finally, the episode concluded with Melisandre walking out into the snow and shaking her mortal coil. Her death is symbolic of the journey’s end for all those who sacrificed themselves in the big battle. Every character’s path has led them to the moment they were needed the most and now, there is nothing left to do. Well, there’s nothing to do except fight Cersei’s armies in the South, if anyone has the energy for that.
Ultimately, no review will ever be as well-written and well put together as “The Long Night”. All we can do is give a big bloody well done to everyone involved and give a hearty thank you for what must surely be the most iconic battle in TV history. And to whoever allowed Arya and our other beloved lords and ladies to survive, we bend the knee to you.
Entertainment For Us Winter Rating: Thousands die in the most severe snowstorm yet, but there may just be a chance of sunshine ahead.