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!

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A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms on the Edge of a Dark and Scary Night

 

Wow- this episode was magic. From the second it appeared on catch up right up until the haunting notes of Jenny’s Song as it played out, I knew I was watching something special unfold. Despite there being very little in terms of special effects, a focus on dark candlelit scenes and the sense of being on the periphery of the story, there was more tension and atmosphere here than I’d seen in a long time. Focusing on character over action, this was an episode worthy of the earlier seasons and reminded me why I’d fallen for it in the first place.

It’s the kind of episode where you feel like you want to pick up all the pretty pieces and admire them in turn, but never feel like you can put it together in a way that does it justice. Poignant and moving, I laughed, cried and laughed through tears as the impending doom settled over the entire cast. Because while we hold our breaths along with the characters, on the edge of a battle no one can escape, I had this YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE thought echoing in my mind. Which brings me onto spoilery notes…

spoilers game of thrones

AHHH DON’T LEAVE YOUR WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE CRYPTS- the enemy is a necromancer who brings people back from the dead!!! (I can’t take credit for this- though I had a niggling feeling about it the whole time cos as a fantasy rule the place where everyone is safe is not at all safe- but my friend pointed this out to me and when they did I was kicking myself cos of how obvious this is).

It’s not all terror and foreboding though- there were a whole range of the *feels*. Not least from that swoopingly romantic moment when Greyworm and Missandei kiss (she’s not gonna make it guys). But also the point that seems to have fascinated a lot of internet folk: Arya and Gendry getting it on. I could debate whether she was into it or not, but the thing that really strikes me about their scenes together is how far the show has come. Way back in season 2 I’d have shipped that, but now, with the impending doom, it feels less important… which only makes the doom seem more impending. For me, Arya’s best part in this episode wasn’t even that- it was having her deliver the line from the season trailer:
arya season 8.2

I also LOVED the callbacks to earlier seasons. So often we get to see how far everyone has come and the massive contrast with the first series- especially when we see the Lannister brothers interacting. It’s not a perfect episode, by any stretch of the imagination. There are lines I can’t imagine making their way into the book (Jaime confessing to his past sins in the crudest terms, even to his brother). And there are moments in the dialogue that aren’t great (sorry, pointing out that “really bad” is a bad line doesn’t stop it being a bad line). HOWEVER there also some very beautiful moments- with Roman ideas like:

samwell forgetting.png

I also adored this Tyrion moment:

story bran tyrion.png

Especially since I think Tyrion knowing this story could prove important- Tyrion has always been one to prove the adage “knowledge is power”.

On the topic of the Lannister brothers, Jaime’s trial was a bit of a lowpoint, since I felt there could have been more to it. That could just be me though- I made the mistake of watching the teaser and building it up in my head. Not that it mattered too much- there were payoffs in other ways. The entire episode does more than enough to reward fans- not in a fanficy way- but in a way that feels earned. In a way that says: “yes, we know you have been with us on this crazy journey for years, HERE IS YOUR REWARD!” One of the absolute best things was how Brienne and Jaime’s relationship was at the forefront of the episode. And the moment he knighted her was… *electric*. There’s no other way to describe it. I also really liked the build up- where it showed the hardest thing to do sometimes is to admit you want something- but at the same time that’s what really living is. Having a dream and given that dream a voice.

In a different way, I feel like a lot of characters have found their voice now- not least Sansa (hehe please turn a blind eye to the awkward segue). She was the *STAR* of the episode for me- which can’t be too surprising since, in the biggest TV turnaround I’ve ever had, she’s somehow become my favourite character (from being my least favourite in season 1- what does this show even do to us?!) It was one hundred percent confirmed that Sansa gets THE BEST reunions. Plus she she incredibly sharp, forgiving people when it’s politically expedient, she also knows when to stick up for the North’s interests. This isn’t simply looking out for her own self-interest- this is looking out for own people and their best interest.

This is in STARK CONTRAST to Dany (hehe pun intended 😉) All she cares about is the damn iron throne- not the people of Westeros. I will say, for the sake of the part of me that still likes her, that Dany’s hard edge very nearly softened… Until the very end of the episode and her confrontation with Jon- seeing only the worst in him when he has only ever been honourable and calling him a liar (poor Jon looked so bemused- cos, duh, he’s not trying to steal the throne from her). Not that all these squabbles matter cos the Night King is getting the throne…

Okay I jest, I jest. I think no one is getting the throne (and the #forthethrone marketing campaign is similar to last year’s “the lone wolf dies… but the pack survives”).

There were so many other things going on in the episode that I could be here a while longer talking about them all: Tormund being awesome, the little bear, Ghost’s cameo, Jaime and Bran in the God’s Wood. But I think as much as I never wanted to leave this episode, all good things must come to an end…

winter is here

So what did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy it? Are you terrified for what’s coming?  Let’s panic together in the comments!