This was the most stress-inducing episode of television that I have ever had the privilege of viewing. This is the battle Game of Thrones fans have been waiting for. The anticipation was felt to the core, as the horrors of war unfold.
Before you read on, there are spoilers in this review. Do not read if you haven’t seen the episode yet.
The darkness seemed to swallow Winterfell whole. With the dead at their doorsteps, there was a foreboding silence that seemed to wrap itself around each character, preparing them for the fight of their lives. It added an uncomfortable tension, in every moment of the episode. Waiting for our beloved characters to fall, one by one.
The Red Witch, Melisandre (Carice van Houten), appears from the shadows, igniting the Dothraki’s weapons, and their will to charge. The unnumbered enemies are near, but the darkness conceals the numbers. Charging into the night, one by one, the fires are extinguished. This does not bode well for any of them, especially when the strong, brave warriors are snuffed out.
Everyone is in their place and stands their ground, even if they know they are outnumbered. There is no turning back, only fighting, surviving. Just like they have been doing for the entire series. The retreat was always imminent, there was no denying that. Even with precautions put in place, they are no match for the number of dead, even with two dragons at the helm. It doesn’t take long for Winterfell to be breached.
All will fall, in the end
At the edge of your seat, unable to take your eyes off the screen, waiting for death to strike them down, one by one. The battle was of epic proportions, testing every character to their very limits. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), fighting side by side. Jon (Kit Harington) and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) in flight, aiding to the battle with fire and brimstone. Arya (Maisie Williams) kicking ass and taking names. Sacrifices being made.
In the sky, Dany and Jon try to take down The Night King (Vladimir ‘Furdo’ Furdik), but he seems to be a few steps ahead of them, unfailing and unstoppable. The special effects are quite impressive as these magnificent beasts fight for their lives. Even when he falls from his dragon, The Night King shows no fear. He knows that nothing is going to stop him. Jon is noble in his quest to try to destroy him, but every effort seems to be futile.
Dragon fire seems to be effective, but in the end, it is no match for The Night King. He seems to be unkillable, easily raising the dead back to their “former” glory. His power is great and far-reaching, as the many gathered down in the crypts soon find out. Nowhere is safe, and the foreshadowing to that moment was deep and resonating. Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) risk it all to fight back.
What do we say to the god of death? Not today.
Noteworthy deaths, for I’m sure that’s why you are reading something like this. Edd (Ben Crompton) died while saving Sam’s (John Bradley) life. Lyanna (Bella Ramsey), not only took down a giant, dying in the process, but she was a true warrior to the end. Beric (Richard Dormer) saved Arya and The Hound (Rory McCann) from a gruesome death. He had a part to play, and now that it has been fulfilled, there is no coming back for him, not this time.
Dany finds herself at the mercy of the undead, surrounded with nowhere to go. It looks tense for a few moments, until Jorah (Iain Glen) appears at her side, just like he always has. He has been her loyal companion and advisor for so many years, protecting her from deadly foes and herself at times. There is great heartbreak when he falls, a life well lived, in service of his queen. She is safe, and that’s all that matters.
It all happens for a reason
Theon (Alfie Allen) died a noble death, redeeming him from any past transgressions. His character hasn’t had it easy over the years, forced into many conflicting situations. At last, he can rest. There was no way to stop the night king from finding Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright), it’s something that needed to happen. What they didn’t expect was Arya, who in the final moments appears from the shadows, leading the final killing blow. The Night King falls, but so do the rest of the dead.
The massacre took so many lives, and although the numbers are not fully accounted for, it’s significant. There is still another battle to wage though. Bloodied and exhausted, will they be able to take down the well-rested and cunning Cersei (Lena Headey)? If Arya has anything to say about it, they will.
The Red Witch is the last one to perish, her job is now complete. It all comes back to Arya. She is the one who will end it all.
The only complaint I have about the episode? Just how dark the scenes were. Thank goodness for fire!