Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 review: 'The Long Night' sees heroes emerge as the dead arise in Winterfell

Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 review: 'The Long Night' sees heroes emerge as the dead arise in Winterfell

It took me some time to really take in all that had occurred in 'Game of Thrones' season 8 episode 3 'Battle of Winterfell'. The longest episode of the show had a lot happening, and with what is now termed as one of the biggest war sequences of television, the adrenaline was high not just for the warriors but also for me. Every scene and episode of the show since the first season was built up just to give us this episode and it was nail-biting from the get-go. Which of the theories would be fulfilled? How will the Northerners and Daenerys Targaryen's army win the fight against the Night King? Not if, because, there was no question of them losing. It was always a matter of the losses that Jon Snow and the Starks will incur during the war that circled in my head.  And the solution came in the most unexpected forms - Melisandre and Arya!


The episode began with the men and women in Winterfell taking their rightful places to face the war. Brienne of Tarth, Jaime Lannister, Hound, Gendry, Podrick, Edd, Samwell, Tormund, Beric, Sir Jorah, Grey Worm and his men, and the Dothraki people - they are all out on the field to face the wights. They are equipped with weapons made of dragonglass, and are ready to face the undead. Arya and Sansa are on the wall as they see the proceedings and Jon and Daenerys are near Godswood waiting for the Night King to come for Bran Stark - their dragons at the ready. They are as prepared as they can be against an army of the dead, but things do not go as planned and that is what makes the war itself a brutal affair to watch. 

A still of Jon Snow from the 'Battle of Winterfell'. (Source: HBO)

Melisandre, the Red Priestess comes just in time to equip the fighters with fire on their swords to help in their fight. When that isn't enough and the soldiers fall back, she also lights up the trenches to stop the wights from entering, but that does nothing to help. The wights manage to break through and as Jaime, Brienne and Hound try to do as much as possible, it isn't enough. None of it is, as the Northerners do not have enough men to fight whereas the wights seem to be crawling out of everywhere. 

Daenerys and Jon waiting for the Night King near Godswood in 'Game of Thrones' season 8 episode 3. (Source: HBO)

The most disappointing was when Dany and Jon, who were riding the dragons couldn't do much to help the people fighting the war. They were caught up in a storm followed by Rhaegal getting into a fight with Viserion, the Night King's Dragon. Jon, who fell off the back of his hurt dragon comes face to face with the truth as he sees the Night King, also off Viserion, facing Drogon's fire, but nothing happens. He is unhurt and instead throws his ice staff at Dany who tries to get away from him, hoping that Drogon too doesn't face the same fate as Viserion. It is left to Jon to stop the Night King, but before he could, the King turns the dead soldiers into wights and that moment truly marks the lowest point for team Jon Snow in the battle. Grey Worm, Jaime, and Samwell watch as their dead friends rise only to become wights.  

Arya, on the other hand, is rescued by the Hound and Beric, who gives up his life for Arya. As they escape, they come across Melisandre, and when the three are holed up together Arya has an epiphany. She realizes that the Red Priestess had foretold what she would do as No One. She also hears that it would be her would close blue eyes as well and that is when Arya walks away, as if possessed. 




Here's where I would like to mention the background score. The symphony, with the sound of the piano taking the lead, builds during the war. It records the desperation and hopelessness of our heroes and the men facing the Night King's army. As the Night King's army of white walkers approach Bran in Godswood, as Theon is killed by the Night King, it builds up to a crescendo to end when Arya, out of nowhere, lunges at the Night King. While he does manage to catch her in a chokehold, Arya is smart enough to swipe her weapon and strike the Night King with her dragon bone dagger. and he bursts into speckles of ice to mark the end of the battle. The entire sequence that marks a transition from utter hopelessness to victory gives one the chills. It is also satisfying to see the white walkers and their king combust at point of contact with Arya's weapon. To those who are asking how did the Night King not realize Arya was coming at him, one of the white walkers did sense her presence. But Arya Stark is, after all, No One, and I am going to give her the leeway when it comes to camouflage.


Theon Greyjoy died trying to save Bran in 'Game of Thrones' season 8 episode 3. (Source: HBO)

Interestingly, the episode also saw one of the fan theories take form. The Crypts that everyone promised was safe? Was not safe after all as the Night King used his powers to raise them from the dead. While we did not see any of the Starks we know come at Sansa or Tyrion for that matter, many were killed. Sansa, equipped with Arya's weapon, has a moment with Tyrion as the two seem sure that this is their end. She hands over the weapon to him who fights the white walkers and manages to stay alive till the end. There is a lot that can be expanded on from the episode, and we do have a lot more questions about what is next, but the 'Battle of Winterfell' was worth every minute that we got.


Sir Jorah, Edd, Beric, Lyanna Mormont, Theon and everyone who lost lives in this battle, may you rest in peace.

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