Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Long Night

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Long Night”

This recap of "The Long Night" is long overdue, hahaha. Episode 3 features the much anticipated and much hyped Battle of Winterfell, where the Night King and his icy minions have finally arrived. Assembled on the side of the living are pretty much everyone except Cersei and Euron, who are presumably just chillin' in Kings Landing, perhaps sipping some wine and awaiting the battle's outcome.

Meanwhile, everyone at Winterfell is about to experience what an episode of The Walking Dead must be like, as they're about to face a seemingly endless onslaught of undead wights.

"The Long Night" Is Dark and Full of . . . Darkness

As the episode opened on Sam's shaking hands and shuddering breath, the first thing I noticed was how freaking dark everything seemed. I even asked my cousin, "Is it me, or is it really dark?" She agreed with me, and many viewers also complained on social media. Granted, the battle takes place at night amid icy/snowy winds, but The Battle of the Blackwater and the Night's Watch vs. the Wildlings were also both night battles, and I had no problems figuring out who was who. Apparently the episode's cinematographer responded that viewers needed to adjust their TVs. Um, I've watched the ep on 2 different TVs and still couldn't see shit. I could really only positively ID Beric by his flaming sword, Tormund by his magnificent beard, the Hound by his height, and Jon and Daenerys because they had dragons.

The Build-Up

We see shots of everyone preparing for the battle. Theon and the Ironborn escort Bran to the godswood. Sansa and Arya survey the battlefield below. Brienne is flanked by Pod and Jaime. Dolorous Edd manages to get in a lighthearted moment when he chastises Sam for taking his time joining the line of troops. It was probably the only humor in the whole hour and 20-something minutes of this episode.

Melisandre's Light Show

Everybody is still waiting for the White Walkers to show up when a single horse with a rider comes into view. It's Melisandre, arriving just in time to use her magic to light up the Dothraki's arakhs. Not only was it an impressive display, but a very welcome one because it was one of the rare times I could actually see something.

Now that the Dothraki, leading the charge with Jorah (and there's Ghost, too!), are armed with fire, maybe the odds have tipped a little in their favor? Not so fast! The Dothraki ride to meet the dead and are immediately overwhelmed. The army of wights is just MASSIVE. Their creepy screeches get louder and louder as they press forward towards Winterfell.

Zero Visibility

Daenerys and Jon have taken to the sky with Drogon and Rhaegal, but not even dragonfire is powerful enough to withstand whatever icy magic the White Walkers are throwing down. The dragonfire extinguishes almost instantly, and Daenerys and Jon can barely see what's going on down on the ground (and thus joining everyone who watched this episode). Despite having all that fire power, it's almost useless in this fight.

When I rewatched the episode, I kind of laughed at the Graphic Violence advisory that appeared before the episode started because for the most part, I couldn't make out much of the fighting. I did, however, see poor Edd get killed saving Sam. I lost count of how many times Sam almost bit it in this ep.


It's not long before the living are falling back inside the Winterfell gates. The poor Unsullied, led by Grey Worm, have to protect the retreat. From up on one of the ramparts, Davos tries to signal to Daenerys to light the trenches around the castle, but of course she can't see. The archers try shooting flaming arrows, but it's just too cold. So here comes Mel to provide some more fire power. She seems to be out of magic when her repeated attempts to produce flames do nothing, and at the very last second, just as a wight is about to reach her, the trenches ignite, and a ring of fire surrounds Winterfell. Like every other strategy that the living have employed, this one doesn't last long either because the wights just start throwing themselves on the flames, effectively putting out the fire and creating a path for them to pass through until they can scale the castle walls.

Bran Out

In the godswood, Theon tries to apologize to Bran. In that mellifluous robo-voice of his, Bran tells Theon if he hadn't done the things he's done, he wouldn't be where he is today. Then Bran peaces out and goes Three-Eyed Raven.

Fierce Ladies Who Fight Ferociously

After telling Sansa to go down to the crypt, Arya has jumped full throttle into the fray against the wights. Wielding the weapon Gendry made for her, she's slashing wights with a grace Syrio Forel would be proud of. Davos catches sight of her and the expression on his face at witnessing her mad wight killing skills is like, "WTF??!! Where'd she learn to do THAT??!!"

Lyanna Mormont's fight with a giant-turned-wight has a much sadder ending. :( The giant grabs her and is about to crush her in its hand when she fatally stabs it in the eye. Both fall to the ground, another two lost in the battle.

Fire Meets Ice

Jon and Daenerys have taken the dragons above the clouds, where they're finally free of the icy storm raging below. There's about a nanosecond of calm before the Night King turns up with Viserion. I have to say—Viserion's icy flames actually scare me more than regular dragonfire! It just looks eerie and otherworldly and somehow more dangerous.

Arya Stark, Slayer of Wights

Arya is now inside Winterfell's walls, and so are the wights. They're literally everywhere. Arya is doing a great job of staying absolutely silent as she moves around until blood from one of her wounds drips onto the floor. The wights are all over the sound, and although Arya tries to throw them off her trail by hurling a book in the opposite direction, there are just too many dead roaming around for her to make a clean escape. The wights nearly overpower her when Beric and the Hound find her. Sadly, the wights kill Beric. Arya and the Hound barely make it into a wight-free room and bar the door. Melisandre just so happens to be hanging out, and Arya remembers the previous time they met, when Melisandre predicted that Arya would shut many eyes forever: brown, green, blue. That seems to stir something in Arya, and she goes running off.

The Night King Does His Thing

Rhaegal and Viserion are locked in a vicious fight. Rhaegal does a kind of crash landing, grounding Jon. Daenerys and Drogon are still airborne, and after staring down the Night King, Daenerys has Drogon release a torrent of dragonfire. When the flames die down, guess who's still standing, completely unharmed, with a smug expression on his face to boot? That's right—the Night King. He grabs one of his ice javelins, the same kind that took down Viserion, and hurls it at Drogon. Daenerys and her dragon are forced to take off to avoid the attack, and the Night King continues his leisurely night stroll to the godswood to wipe out Bran's memory.

Jon follows the Night King, and once the latter spots Jon, he does what the Night King does best: raises his hands and in doing so, raises all of the dead that are everywhere, including down in the crypt. Remember what a *great* idea sending Sansa, Tyrion, Varys, Missandei, Gilly, Little Sam, and the women and children down there seemed? Oh wait—it was NEVER a great idea because they're surrounded by potential wights! Make that actual wights, because the dead Starks buried there suddenly find themselves reanimated. I was hoping we'd see Zombie Ned, but alas, I don't think he appeared.

11th Hour for the Living

Things are looking desperate for our heroes and heroines. The wights swarm Drogon, and Daenerys gets dropped/thrown off as Drogon tries to take off to shake the wights off. Daenerys is now on the field, weaponless and completely vulnerable. It's Jorah who saves her from near death-by-wight. Daenerys picks up a sword and does her best to fend off the dead.

Jon is *still* trying to race to the godswood, but it's not looking like he's going to get there in time as a rampaging Viserion blocks his way. In the godswood, Theon is out of flaming arrows and seemingly out of time as the Night King and his squad approach. In a poignant scene, Bran tells Theon he's a good man and thanks him. The Night King kills Theon, and with that smug expression on his face once again, takes his sweet ass time approaching Bran, and then takes his sweet ass time drawing his blade. Nothing like milking the tension here.

Just as the Night King is about to do the deed, Arya comes FLYING at him! Like, legit flying! He grabs her and is about to kill her when she catches her falling weapon and STABS THE NIGHT KING IN THE HEART!!!!!! He shatters, as do his cronies, as do all of the wights. The Long Night finally ends, but not without another casualty—Ser Jorah.

Melisandre Necklace Drop

This insane episode wouldn't be complete without Melisandre's departure. We see her walking away from Winterfell, and as she does, she removes her necklace and drops it. Without it, she's just a really, really, really, really, really old, withered lady, and off in the distance, we see her fall to the ground, her purpose apparently served.

In the Next Episode

Time to take out Cersei!

And Now My Griping Begins

OK, so I have some feelings about this episode:

  • I felt like some of the scenes favored going for artsy, cinematic shots or whatever over moving the story along. For example, I thought it was ridiculous how long it took the Night King to walk up to Bran, then draw his weapon. Sure, that bought Arya time to come flying in like the queen she is, but I half expected the Night King to also twirl his horns like a villain would twirl a mustache.
  • I don't know how I feel about the Night King and the White Walkers being defeated. I'd always pictured that battle being the final one, since the series is called A Song of Ice and Fire, after all. Jon spent so much time rallying allies with the argument that the battle between the living and the dead was more important than the battle for who sat on the Iron Throne, and now it looks like the series is going to end focusing on the battle for the Iron Throne.
  • I expected the dragons to do more in this episode? Or was the episode trying to show that having dragons doesn't mean an automatic victory?
  • When did this show become all about saving Bran Stark? Now that he's safe, is he going to play any other role, or will he just continue staring creepily at people?
  • Did I mention that this episode was really, really, really, really dark?


  1. The darkness was definitely an issue at times. I did think they effectively conveyed the dread of the approaching horde. And yes Sam- it's amazing he survived lol.

    I wish we would have seen more of whatever Bran was doing. I guess he was less a battlefield player and more of a chess piece that the NK had to take out to win, but I wish they'd been a little plainer w/ that.

    That scene with the dragons above the clouds was awesome! And I was thinking- man it must be COLD up there lol.

    I agree with your second gripe a LOT. It feels like they just dealt with the white walkers a little too fast and now the Iron Throne bit is the more important part. I think that's kinda backwards. :)

    1. There was so much buildup, even in the books, that the real threat was the White Walkers, and just like that- it's over on the show, lol.

      We definitely needed more insight into what Bran was doing! Now that the Night King has been defeated, I wonder if his Three-Eyed Raven sight will play any role in the final battle for the Iron Throne?

  2. It was way too dark! The battle looked cool, but strategically it made no sense to me.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Agreed! And thinking the crypt was going to be "safe," knowing that the Night King could raise the dead, was like the worst idea ever, lol.


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