Whew! Well there it was, folks. One of the most anticipated battles and episodes of TV in general has come and gone in the fastest 82 minutes ever. A lot of mixed reviews on this one, as I think there have been and will be for everything in the final two seasons of Thrones. It’s gotten to the point where the show is so massive and so popular that some people will hate every episode no matter what and others will love it no matter what. I definitely fall on the “this was a good episode” side of things — I was on edge the entire episode and I thought it wrapped things up nicely so we can move on to the battle of the living. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s stay focused on three quick things.
#1 The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors
I think the single biggest takeaway from this episode was the lighting. Yes, it was dark. Yes, it was foggy. Yes, it was snowy. And you know what? I don’t hate that. I know it was tough to see some things but those things were just generic battle. It was wights tackling and eating the living, people smacking the dead with hammers and swords, and people running away. Nearly everything worth seeing they lit up a bit so we could see. I don’t have a problem with it either — the directors and producers are very artsy and they’ve always done a good job at putting the viewer in the midst of the action. This is no different — the actual fighters couldn’t see, it was the darkest of dark, they were in the middle of a blizzard, and that just built the tension. The one complaint was the darkness/fogginess in some of the dragon scenes — those things looks too alike to not be able to tell which dragon is which!
#2 RIP Beric For Real This Time
I know Beric Dondarrion was considered somewhat of a minor character in this show but he’s actually one of my favorites. His eye patch is cool, he has a badass flaming sword, and he’s been brought back from the dead like a hundred times and just keeps on being #positivevibesonly. I really didn’t want him to die but if he had to, I’m glad it was serving his ultimate purpose. I thought they wrapped up his storyline very well with the idea that he kept being brought back for a purpose, he has now served that purpose, and without Thoros of Myr to bring him back, he dead for real. Ever since reading the book (no big deal), I thought the Lord of Light religion was just a re-brand of Christianity but the show did a great job of hammering home Beric as a parallel to Jesus. He’s been resurrected, works some miracles, serves the Light, and was basically killed in the Jesus pose in this episode. RIP Beric, you a real one.
#3 Arya For the Win
Wow. What a badass. In my discussions with people before this episode, I kept saying there was no way Arya was dying because she had barely done any Faceless stuff (shoutout to me). She killed the Freys and helped manipulate Littlefinger but nothing that really justified sidetracking her storyline for multiple seasons. Welp, I think we can all agree she has now used those skills and in the perfect way. The set up of her being scared, trying to hide within the safety of her childhood home, needing to be rescued (something she hasn’t needed in a looooong time), and having the Red Woman pep talk her with the Syrio Forel line was just awesome. I’ll be honest, in that moment with Bran and the Night King, I didn’t know what was going to happen. Does Jon kill the dragon and that somehow distracts the Night King? Does Bran finally do something worthwhile and save himself? Hell, I even thought Theon might stand up and kill the bastard. The last thing on my mind was Arya coming from the clouds and knifing that sonofabitch in the chest. I’m glad the writers redeemed themselves after making us watch her have sex last week.
I could go on forever about this episode but those are my three quick things. If you want to continue the conversation, hit me up on Twitter and we can have a nice, civil discussion, just like that site is meant for.
*The Long Night? Get the fuck out, this is the Battle of Winterfell. I get it, Old Nan and every other old person said there was a Long Night coming and this, for sure, was a long night. But everyone and their grandpa knew this as the Battle of Winterfell so just call it that.