The Long Night Cometh

 

*Spoilers abound*

Shiver inducing. Heated battles. Pure, stunning madness. That’s the way I’d describe this episode. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The opening sequences takes us up close and personal, slowly allowing us to witness some of the heroes on the ground. Then, the intimate camera shots pan out and suddenly we’re seeing the shadow of dragons overhead. Quickly now, we’re thrown head first into the battle. A visual spectacle that Game of Thrones knows how to deliver.

One major complaint I’ve seen is that this episode was too dark and it was hard to see what was going on. Personally, I was just fine with it- it matched THE DARKNESS IN MY SOUL MWAHAHAHA 😉 In all seriousness, I think they created enough contrast for me (plus I watched it in a darkened room in the middle of the night… I make good life choices 😉 ) It evoked a sense of war- unclear, foggy and not so pleasant to look at.

I have to mention that moment when the Dothraki started disappearing into the lines of the dead. It sent chills down my spine (actually, to be honest, I couldn’t stop shaking the whole time I watched). I can’t say their tactics were any good… unless they thought feeding the zombie army was a good idea 😉 BUT it was c-r-e-e-p-y af.

not a great planBecause the tactics are so bad, I don’t suppose it matters all that much that Dany deviates from the plan. Also, it allowed for a whole lot of chaos to ensue. And for there to be really cool dragon fights! So yeah, I’m happy she messed up and made it more terrifying.

Though there was lots of scope, there were also exquisite character moments in the midst of it all. Sansa with her killer lines bonding with a witty Tyrion; Clegane coming through for Arya once again; Theon making amends with Bran.

Plot armour has (somewhat) been discarded. There were some hard-hitting deaths; there were some people I’m shocked survived. Skipping ahead a little, I found the Red Lady’s most poetic. And the saddest was by far little Lyanna Mormont. I can’t say I cared as much about some of the significant deaths, since all my favourites were nice and safe (presumably because they still have roles to play?)

Still, even if a lot more lived than I thought would, the tension was such that I didn’t feel I was robbed of true stakes. For so much of the episode I was convinced Winterfell would fall- keeping me on the edge of my seat- that I ultimately felt like the relief at the end felt well earned. Funnily enough, that sense of *there’s no escape* made me realise about five minutes before the big finale that they had to win or no one would make it out.

Well, specifically the moment the ominous music started playing, which means I didn’t really predict anything, I just took the cues I was given. As those notes played, I knew we were in for something special- though I could never have guessed just how special.

That ending was… *WOW* I have no words. I’m not including any gifs of THAT moment, in case anyone is scrolling through this site and sees it, but let’s just say I’ve watched it a lot. There is beautiful symbolism in that Arya killed death. It is the culmination of her story arc in the most perfect way imaginable. In terms of theories, there’s still a lot of the puzzle pieces to put together, yet I can safely say the meaning in the moment comes together in exactly the right way. The lines that have been woven into this song of ice and fire from the start: “Valar not todaymorghulis”, “valar doharis” and “What do we say to the god of death?” “not today”. And the cutting use of the Valyrian steel dagger to protect Bran- the same one that started it all and that he significantly gave to her last season. I’m actually really glad it wasn’t Jon or Dany- though both of them expected to do it and hoped they would be the hero. There couldn’t have been a better end to the Night King- both because it is totally unexpected and really fits at the same time. To say I was blown away would be an understatement- more like I was stabbed in the gut and shattered into a million pieces 😉

QUICK ASIDE: I have seen a number of articles calling people out who (allegedly- I haven’t seen any receipts) say Arya’s a Mary Sue. For the record, no, she isn’t a Mary Sue: she trained for six seasons, is an accomplished assassin and anyone making this claim has been watching some other show for the last 8 years. Also no, this doesn’t devalue the term (otherwise we’d have to scrap a bunch of terms people misuse on a daily basis) so please stop using this ridiculousness to defend actual Mary Sues, k?

Back to the show! I can’t believe what I’ve just watched; I also can’t believe we’re getting more episodes after that *epicness*? I usually see that point as more or less the end of the story… yet here we are on the brink of another war. I always thought the two would link- now I think I’d better quit making predictions. I have far too many questions and no idea what’s gonna happen (beyond the Cleganebowl of course 😉) I have no idea how it’s gonna trump an episode like that- but I’m excited to see where it does go from here…

So have you seen this already? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

40 thoughts on “The Long Night Cometh

  1. This was ABSOLUTELY totally amazingly EPICLY EPIC!!!! I watched it last night, and literally I went cold for about half the episode…and then when Arya became the (well-deserved) heroine, I physically almost jumped out of my skin. I had avoided spoilers LIKE THE PLAGUE, and therefore knew that it was a very real chance the Night King would be defeated, but the how was a surprise. And I was super glad, too, that it wasn’t someone you’d expect (i.e. Jon or Dany). Theon’s passing was meh for me – in my view, he did SO much stuff that made me hate him, I never really had much sympathy for him. But I was pleased that he died doing the right thing.

    THE RED WOMAN’S END WAS INCREDIBLE. Talk about a character who didn’t deserve redemption and still earned it! Tenfold! From her first appearance, lighting the Dothraki swords, to making sure the trenches finally lit, to her pep talk with Arya, and then her final moments – NO WORDS JUST SILENT SCREAMING.

    Can you tell I was impressed? 😉

    My new life goal is now to WRITE SOMETHING AS AMAZING AS THIS EPISODE.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really agree!! Yeah me too!! And I definitely think she was the well deserved heroine. The how he was defeated was a massive surprise to me too!! I’m so happy it wasn’t Jon or Dany in the end! It really fit with the themes of the show. And yeah Theon’s death was more meh than I expected- although that could be because I never really had sympathy for him either. I’m glad he got his redemption arc too though.

      So agree about the red woman!! I definitely agree- she didn’t deserve a redemption but somehow managed to make me feel for her in the end. LOVED her appearance in the episode and her role throughout!!

      hehehe I can tell!!! I was also so endlessly impressed! haha I’d say that’s my goal too… but I don’t see that happening 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That episode was truly epic but yeah I struggled a little with the lighting. I watched at 6am so probably not the best, and ended up sitting like a foot from the screen in hopes of working out who was dying and who was still alive.

    I absolutely loved that ending. I literally jumped up off the floor and screamed. Also loved the scenes between Sansa and Tyrion and Lyanna’s ending.

    I was quite shocked that they won, I thought for sure they’d lose and the Night King would make it to Kings Landing. I also was expecting a higher death count.

    Biggest disappointment though was the dragons. I couldn’t figure out which was which so the battle between them was a bit meh. I’m still not sure what happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah yeah I’m hearing that a lot- I’m beginning to wonder why I (with my terrible eyesight 😉 ) didn’t have a problem with it tbh! Maybe I’m just used to having trouble seeing 😉 Also I always sit close to the screen, so maybe that’s it 😉

      Yeah me too!!!

      Ah that was so good!!

      And me too- I didn’t expect them to win at all. I think the thing that shocked me the most was how many people survived as well.

      And that’s really fair- I think more could have been made of the dragons in the episode- they didn’t play as big a role as they could have! (especially considering they’re basically the most high tech weaponry in that world)

      Like

  3. A great episode, but I would certainly not watch it in the day… It was dark enough without any glare added!

    For me, a few highlights included Arya’s scene in the library (so much tension and a welcome change of pace), The Red Woman lighting the trenches and Tyrion and the Night King raising all the dead to spite Jon. He knew he had the battle won without them.

    I was expecting a few more main character deaths, but perhaps that is why there weren’t many. The writers want us to be caught off guard a little more.

    In terms of criticisms, I do think that the Dothraki charge was done because it seemed cool – and it did look amazing, setting the creepy scene well – but was ultimately a stupid tactical decision so worthy of criticism. As for the Arya criticism: yeah, she is no Mary Sue. Sje is a badass with some amazing scenes – BUT – I was like, ‘How the hell did she jump at him when he is surrounded by thousands of wights and at least 4 or 5 other White Walkers?’ After all, the Old Gods grove is quite a large open space so she can’t jump off a wall or anythign that far. However, I am choosing not to think too much about it as it was a great part of her story arc.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah that makes sense.

      I absolutely loved the scene in the library too. And the red woman’s role was surprisingly amazing and Tyrion was really on form in the episode. Oh yeah that was such a cool scene. I really thought they were all doomed at that point (and at lots of others to be fair!)

      I was also expecting more main character deaths too though. That does make sense though.

      Yeah I agree about the dothraki charge. But I also think it was to take them off the table as a threat in the future wars- but it still was a silly tactical error (I feel like it would have made more sense if it had been done before dany knew what the white walkers were- for instance if this had been her first interaction with them, I can imagine anyone making that blunder, but they took out that element of surprise with the beyond the world episode last season) And yeah that’s a fair criticism- I kind of feel like it’s the sort of plothole that could be filled in if they showed her stealthy assassin style approach but that any explanation would be better left out for the sake of surprise- and even if this plothole couldn’t be filled in I wouldn’t worry about it, cos it’s too cool 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I went into the episode expecting a lot of people to die, and felt kind of disappointed (something I never thought I’d say) at how many of the main characters survived. I guess D&D are a bit more generous than GRRM is and since we’re past the book plot they can keep whoever they want alive. I also thought the battle was going to last longer than one episode. I was so not expecting Arya to succeed, as fantastic of an assassin as she is. He’s just so agile and powerful. I’ve rewatched that scene so many time now. So now they have 3 episodes to go kill Cersei and tie up loose ends.

    I do think that now that their army is pretty much destroyed, we’ll see a lot more of our beloved characters dying as they go to fight Cersei, and then I’ll be hating myself for having been disappointed in the lack of bloodshed.

    I also wonder if Arya is going to be the one to kill Cersei. In the prophecy Cersei was told it would be her brother that kills her, but the whole “green eyes” thing makes me feel like it’s going to be Arya. Maybe she’ll take Tyrion or Jamie’s face? That seems unlikely, but who knows, it could happen I guess.

    Also, I wonder what’s going to happen with Jon and Dany. He’s such a little idiot for telling her right before they were about to go into battle. I was lowkey expecting her to betray him at some point during battle.

    I am so excited for these next few episodes, but also don’t want it to be over! AHHHHHH

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I did think more characters would die (GRRM certainly wouldn’t have let so many live!) And yeah I also thought it would be more than one episode- actually I thought they’d be forced to retreat and leave winterfell, so I definitely thought it’d be more than one episode. I was shocked even in the moment that she succeeded- but it was a nice move. And yeah it definitely looks like three episodes to deal with cersei and wrap up. haha yeah I do suspect more people will die- in fact, I suspect some characters were kept alive purely for that purpose!

      I do think it would make sense for Arya to kill Cersei (with Jaime’s face)- I’ve thought it would go that way for a while- although now that she’s taken out the night king, I’d be more surprised that she took out so many big bads.

      haha that’s exactly what I thought was gonna happen with jon and dany- I really thought she’d betray him! And I think that telling her was such a typically stark thing to do 😉

      Me too!!!

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  5. I still have no words for how I feel about this episode. Me and boyfriend were literally sat with our mouths open grabbing on to each other for the entire thing. The sword lighting, the dragon fights, the awful, awful feel of really being IN the battle, the creepy library scene with Arya, the almost certain feeling that everyone you loved was about to die and then THAT ending. It was beautifully done but I fear that things are only gonna get more gut wrenching which I’m very very scared of! (But also secretly very excited😉 ) I’m just praying my girl Brienne doesn’t die, at least not in a non-honourable way because my heart WILL break😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah I can understand that!! Totally get what you mean!! I thought the way they made the audience feel like they’re IN the battle was incredible!! And that ending was perfect!! Ah yeah I get what you mean. I am so excited as well!! haha I hear you about Brienne! I actually think she’ll make it though!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I got soooooo tense watching it all the way through – the dothraki lights going out was just so upsetting and when Jorah came galloping back I almost pressed my nose against the screen to see if his eyes were blue. The pacing was sooo good it made up for the darkness- to go from battlefield to interior then to the sky just hyped up the tensions. I am shocked and disbelieving that more main characters didn’t die- it seemed like all winter fell is destroyed except the faves. It’d be weird to say I’m disappointed but it doesn’t feel very game of thrones-y to have so many popular characters survive such a huge attack. Here’s hoping they can survive Cersei! (My main concerns now are for the dragons)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahh I get what you mean!! It really was so upsetting!! I definitely was checking his eyes too lol. And I loved the pacing!! So well done!! I was really surprised that they didn’t die too and I really expected winterfell to fall. And yeah I get what you mean- it doesn’t feel as thronesy as it could’ve- though I’m not as sure they’ll survive the battles to come. My main concerns are always for the dragons 😉

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  7. Theon’s death hit me the hardest out of all of them. And to think I hated him at first!

    I can’t believe people are calling Arya a Mary Sue. I mean, seriously, we had to sit through her training montages in the House of Black and White for god knows how long (three seasons). She earned that win!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s fair! I never totally loved him, but I thought his death was done really well.

      Yeah I think it’s surprising- though I’ve not seen anyone actually saying it, just people responding to it, so they could just be massive trolls. Yes I know!! I bet the people calling her a mary sue are the same people complaining about seeing her train for seasons at a time lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This episode was amazing! Great recap! I’m still recovering. I think I probably need to watch it again to take it all in. The visibility made it a bit hard to see in some bits but after a while I stopped trying and just went with it. Scenes like you mentioned and that tense scene with Arya in the library had me gripping my poor husband’s arm in dread. I was so sure Arya was going to die. I did not see that twist at the end coming (although I was wondering out loud to my husband if Arya was wearing Bran’s face and ready to pounce on the Night King. Apparently it doesn’t work that way according to my hubby!) I don’t think it mattered that Arya took the winning blow. It needed to be someone sneaky. John always tries to fight so honourably and it doesn’t get him anywhere. I do wonder though if John and Dany could have used their dragons more effectively against the undead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I really agree! Thank you! totally get that! I can understand that. hahaha! Yeah makes sense! Me too. Nor did I- although I also thought Bran had some trick up his sleeve… guess he sort of did by giving Arya that dagger. Yeah it makes sense it was someone sneaky. And yeah I do think they were less effective with the dragons than they could’ve been.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I also thoroughly loved this episode. I made the small mistake of watching it IMMEDIATELY after getting home from Endgame and so was pretty exhausted by the end of that five and a half hour journey of emotions, but WOW. I can’t stop watching that ending. I am so damn proud of our girl Arya. She deserved to be the one to slay death itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am so glad Arya got the final blow!! She was definitely the MVP of the episode and prior to the battle it’s so easy to forget that it’s actually the first time she’s been in a battle.

    I was surprised by how ineffective the dragons were in the end and tactics wise they weren’t the best!

    Lynanna Mormont is a legend in her own right. The fact that she took down the biggest monster in her last act was epic! Her death was definitely the toughest.

    I was just surprised that there weren’t more deaths.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too!! Really agree!! Oh yeah it really is- but she’s so kickass it makes sense (I also liked how this was contrasted with Dany becoming vulnerable without her dragon and not knowing how to fight- that was a clever contrast- and it made it feel so much more desperate!)

      Yeah me too actually! I thought they’d play a huge role!

      Ahh I really agree!!

      Me too, to be fair- I was really convinced a lot more people would die.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Now I’m gonna have this Buffy song in head all day xD
    I read spoilers and I am so sad one of my favourite characters died, but hey, it’s GoT, I’m glad he got to stay alive until then, haha!
    Lots of people have complained about how dark the episode was and I agree, I’ve seen glimpses of it and I couldn’t make out what was happening!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Great review! Perfect way to end the AotD with Arya, it fits in far more poetically! So with you that hope people don’t use this as a way to defend actual Mary Sue’s, though I have seen people do it on Twitter. Arya is no way a Mary Sue, she had a long try and fail moment when she was training – least Mary Sue warrior!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Yeah I really agree! And I’m really glad you agree!! That’s exactly the problem- I think people are giving a weak defence of Arya by comparing her to other Mary Sues and saying no one else could be one because she isn’t. It doesn’t do anyone any favours to write lousy female characters- and that’s what actual Mary Sues are (haha sorry for the rant- point is I very much agree and Arya is far from a Mary Sue!)

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great review. I think any of the problems with this episode (the fact that it seems overly rushed) chocks up to the quicker pacing of seasons 7 and 8, but taking that of the equation, it was still a great episode with stakes. I laughed at people saying this episode was too dark to see (like, I could’ve sworn there were darker episodes before), and I really loved Arya being the one to kill the NK; it totally makes sense, and it subverted expectations of Jon or Dany being the ones to do so. And again…IT MAKES SENSE. I swear some people are hating on the Arya twist because one, she’s a girl, and two, they wanted a Jon versus NK battle. *shakes head*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! And that makes sense. And I definitely thought it was a great episode- I loved it to bits. And yeah- I was surprised by that too- especially cos I didn’t have a problem (and I have really bad eyesight… but I guess I can’t argue if that’s how people felt). Me too!! I thought it was a great way to subvert expectations- especially cos she was the logical choice of characters to do it!! Yeah I think it was all the setup for the Jon Snow/NK battle, which the showrunners did tease.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same, I loved the subversion of expectations. I personally was rooting for Theon to be the one to unexpectedly kill the Night King before he was killed (would’ve been bombastic for his redemption arc), but Arya was a great choice too. She had the chops for it (and they did kinda call back to her fight with Brienne), so I’m with you there. 😉

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  14. I thought it was a seriously exciting episode and I was really worried near the end they wouldn’t pull it off lol. I didn’t mind the ‘darkness’ either because I thought it reflected what they were experiencing during the battle.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I finally caught up with all the episodes and am enjoying reading your reviews! This episode really was all kinds of amazing – such a chilling beginning, and an emotional roller coaster. I also loved that Arya was the hero instead of Dany or Jon, it really did feel surprising and yet fitting.

    I did have an inkling at the start of this season that we’d see the night king dealt with early, given the pace it was going at… but at the same time I’d also always pictured that as the ultimate ending, so like you I was a bit surprised by it. But the more I thought about it the more it seemed kind of fitting, because when I look back, most of the show has been about the human characters manoeuvring for power, and the focus on the white walkers (terrifying as they were) was in some ways secondary. Also part of me kind of appreciated that unlike a lot of fantasy, which ends with battles against inhuman forces of darkness and death, this seems set to end with people fighting people… anyway, it was an interesting choice, and to be honest I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about it. Such a good episode though!

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