In this Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 review, the most noteworthy part is the way that it didn’t delay – by one way or another, an hour and twenty minutes of relentless battle flew by.
While I have a couple of reactions of the manner in which the story of the White Walkers finished, on a technical note, the fight was skillfully executed. Rather than a tumultuous bunch of sword swinging, there was moderation; haziness lit up just by blasts of fire.
This was the battle between ice and fire, dragons and witchcraft being the main relief against the dark void of the undead. Outwardly, the scene was amazingly imaginative, outlines and high difference hues giving the impression of an unwavering hellscape, the absence of clarity adding to the fear and confusion.
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The unexpected return of Melisandre, “Gandalf the Red,” started a beam of expectation that was in a split second, devastatingly extinguished by the faceless horde of wights. That first charge of Dothraki, triumphantly using flaring swords before quietly extinguishing, one human life at a time, was the most chilling scene of the episode; the wights have never been as startling as they were in that single shot and the chaos that followed.
On the front line, the wights resemble a beating mass of creepy crawlies, the human army miserably outnumbered, their skill and association apparently ineffective against the sheer volume of fearless rotting flesh. In any case, that sadness ended up being a dream – the death toll episode was amazingly, disappointedly low.
It’s an odd thing to gripe about, maybe, however, I needed to be emotionally devastated by this battle – the crushingly low chances, the nightmarish, apocalyptic tone, didn’t convey genuine outcomes. As a matter of fact, a large portion of Jon and Daenerys’ military has been crushed, however, the majority of the main characters survived, apparently through nothing but luck.
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But the slow creep of the undead, relentlessly, definitely increasing more ground, was deeply disrupting. Melisandre’s job did minimal more than buy a bit of time for Winterfell, as her flaring blockade was covered by a heap of the disposable corpse.
As the dead leaked through the cracks in Winterfell’s barriers, Lyanna Mormont went down like a hero. Figuring out how to kill a zombie monster with a single blow – not terrible for a thirteen-year-old. Edd, the old friend from the Night’s Watch, is wounded by a wight, after protecting Sam, who truly shouldn’t have survived this battle. As much as I adore Sam, he’s a genuine obligation on the front line.
Meanwhile, Jon and Daenerys fly blind through the frosty fog, squandering the wonderful capability of their dragons; this is the thing that happens when you fly excessively near the person who brings the storm. However, at last, the two meet the Night King in an air battle, and Jon’s dragon is crushed by Viserion.
It’s never been totally clear why Viserion’s flame is brilliant blue, other than the reality it matches the Night King’s sense of style. I thought the undead monster’s blue blazes demonstrated a more sizzling temperature. However, that doesn’t generally bode well – so I guess the flame is just charmed. Regardless, the blue blazes spilling out of Viserion’s throat openings are a nice detail.
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Daenerys, who has the most personal motivation to despise the Night King, figures out how to knock the King off his stolen steed, and falling from a great height doesn’t appear to stage him by any means. At the point when the Night King lands unscathed and permits Daenerys to absorb him in dragon flame to make sure he can grin at her, we, at last, get a trace of human emotion from the creature.
Jon, whose dragon has crash-landed, struggles to catch up with the King, in an intense scene that results in frustration. The agonizing sprint isn’t quick enough, as the Night King raises the dead before Jon can draw in him in battle. It’s a little disappointing that Jon, who has been very much aware of the threat beyond the Wall for several seasons, never at any point got the opportunity to take a swing at the Night King.
It’s even more frustrating that, after being completely encircled by the dead, the next scene shows Jon safe, admittedly helped by his dragon, but still a bit of a cheat. There are several scenes which show our favorite characters seemingly dying, hopelessly outnumbered by corpses, and then managing to not die, somehow.
Of course, the mass raising of the dead inevitably awakens the corpses in the crypt but at least said corpses are old and crumbly, having the texture of soggy biscuits. Sansa and Tyrion manage to hide from the worst of it, but really, Tyrion should have seen this coming; time to cut down on the wine, perhaps.
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Theon and Bran share a really inspiring scene, in which Theon apologizes for all his horrible offenses, while Bran consoles him not to stress over it – Theon has done what he required, as his last intention is to defer the Night King for a couple of moments.
But in all seriousness, Theon’s character arc really has been tremendous, having shifted from treacherous coward, to pitiful slave, finally redeeming himself as a noble hero.
There’s a lot of predestination running through this episode. Having received the Valyrian Steel dagger from Bran, Arya appears to have been destined to slay the Night King (I told you so). Melisandre gives up her artificially extended life after the battle is won, having served her purpose, while Beric Dondarrion, the man who was resurrected several times, was destined to save Arya.
There’s a great deal of destiny going through this scene. Having gotten the Valyrian Steel knife from Bran, Arya seems to have been bound to kill the Night King. Melisandre surrenders her falsely expanded life after the battle is won, served her purpose, while Beric Dondarrion, the man who was revived a few times, was bound to assist Arya.
And Arya’s heroic moment bothered me too. After losing her spear and seemingly panicking, intimidated by the wights, Arya flees (the ensuing scene in the library was fantastic, extremely tense and unsettling to see the wights simply walking around, searching for a target).
But after Melisandre encourages her, Arya loses all trepidation and just … pushes through the wights, who have massively increased in number, and manages to get straight to the Night King, flanked by his White Walkers.
Arya’s big moment was foreshadowed in her previous sparring scene with Brienne, in which she pulled the “dropped dagger” move, and by Bran handing her the blade in the spot where she would eventually use it to kill the Night King.
But I don’t understand why she needed to be saved by the Hound and Beric, only to move almost effortlessly through the lethal crowd to kill the Night King. As heroic and uplifting as her moment was, it was undercut by the question of what allowed her to get there in the first place. Was Melisandre’s pep talk really that inspiring?
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Regardless, the stabbing results in a mass die off, as the Night King’s ever-growing army of undead collapses, as does Jorah Mormont, who has survived a great deal up until this point.
Daenerys watches as the most loyal man in the history of Westeros finally falls, defending her to his last breath. It’s the extinction of House Mormont, arguably the most significant death of the episode.
Finally, Melisandre takes off her enchanted choker and dies, seemingly with a sense of relief, like taking off uncomfortable shoes after a long, long shift. The Lord of Light seems to have orchestrated the death of the Night King, seemingly in a collaboration with the Many-Faced God, who gifted Arya her abilities.
And that’s it. The supernatural threat, foreshadowed for seven seasons, has been eliminated; Cersei’s gamble paid off, and now she is in a position to crush her rivals. And to be honest, I’m glad the Night King is dead.
I always wanted Cersei to be the primary antagonist of this story; the Night King had no personality, no relationship to any character. He was a force of nature, like a hurricane, infinitely less interesting than the selfish Cersei Lannister, who manages to be both utterly loathsome and oddly sympathetic.
Not only that, the situation between Jon and Daenerys has just gotten extremely interesting, and the status of the North is still unresolved. The Night King was the common enemy holding these conflicting interests together, but now that he has been defeated, the real battle is about to begin.
It’s always been about who gets to sit on the Iron Throne, and there’s something very petty, and reassuringly human about that.