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GAME OF THRONES Episode 8×3 Recap – “The Long Night”

Damn! Way to tear off our band aid while we’re still recovering from Avengers: Endgame, why don’t you, Game of Thrones.

In an intense 82 minutes of action and nonstop tension, we finally see the defeat of the Night King. But his defeat did not come without a cost. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to six amazing characters, six heroes who we’ve come to know and love.

Theon Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont, Lyanna Mormont, Dolorous Edd, Beric Dondarrion and Melisandre all died valiantly in the battle, all protecting someone they deeply cared about.

But what of the others? What became of them? I’m glad you asked. In an epic episode where the cast and crew famously spent 55 nights filming (plus several more weeks inside a studio), it was like a crossover and combination between Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.

Yet somehow, director Miguel Sapochnik somehow maintained the essence of the HBO series by weaving this epic episode into a character-driven story while giving fans the battle they so craved for.

So let’s talk about what exactly happened shall we?

Melisandre’s Return

When you’re hundreds of years old, achieved your greatest goal and Davos is just itching get a knife in you… well… you’re probably ready to say goodbye to mankind. We’re not exactly sure why Melisandre suddenly decided to swing by the Battle of Winterfell, but not only does she help our heroes with her fire lighting skills, she also gives our youngest Stark daughter a small pep talk. This in turns sends Arya running out of the room and (we now know) towards the Night King. With her mission apparently accomplished, Melisandre takes off the enchanted necklace that maintains her youth, walks out into the snow, just before dawn breaks, and turns to dust.

The Ultimate Redemption Arc in Theon Greyjoy

If I was a betting gal, which sadly I’m not, I would’ve played the pot on Theon dying. As much as I love the guy, despite his unforgivable past, no redemption arc is complete without a tragic sacrifice at the end.

So when he volunteered for the task of protecting Bran, I knew he was going to die. And let’s be real, he knew, too. Sure, the character committed several unforgivable acts but he’s lived one hell of a life and more then made up for his past actions. (Agree to disagree if you must.)

In his heartwarming last moments, Theon apologizes to Bran apologizing for seizing Winterfell back in season 2. Bran, as usual, is distant and philosophical, noting, “everything you’ve done has brought you to where you are today.”

Then when the Night King closes in, Bran says the words that Theon really needed to hear before he could truly charge head first towards his ultimate death. “Theon … you’re a good man.” And with that, Theon was ready to die.

Dany + Jon’s ‘Failsafe’ Plan

So, um, turns out that Jon and Dany aren’t exactly the greatest under pressure. Although we did get the pretty epic high-fantasy dragon fight we’ve long wanted.

Dany on Drogon and Jon on Rhaegal vs. the Night King on the turned ice dragon, Viserion.

Sadly, it didn’t seem like our two heroes could quite handle the pressure and after so much buildup propagating the notion that “Jon will be the one to defeat the Night King”, we see our only Stark man stare terrified into the Night King’s dragon, realizing that that may very well be his last few living moments.

Now Dany didn’t exactly have the best battle either. Unable to stand back and watch the Night King’s army decimate her Dothraki army, she completely throws away their previous set plan and hops onto her dragon to confront the Night King.

After trying and failing to kill the Night King, Dany gets thrown off her dragon and struggles to fight off the White Walkers. Ultimately, she loses her beloved and trusted Ser Jorah Mormant to the Dead and we sadly are forced to witness our Dragon Queen break down in tears, something she hasn’t done, I believe, since Khal Drogo.

Arya’s Dark Horse (But Totally Foreshadowed) Moment

Now I don’t want to say “I told you so” but… I told you so. Often overlooked by those around her, our young Stark finally gets her moment to shine. After a crazy Jurassic-esque moment of creeping through the hallways trying to avoid the zombies, Arya runs into Melisandre.

If you recall, way back in season 3, Melisandre had told Varys that she was going to return to Westeros to die (“same as you”). She also mentioned a foreboding prophecy for Arya.

I see darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.

Melisandre

At least she’s consistent. Melisandre has always said her mission was to save Westeros from the wintery forces of death, even if it did mean doling out death herself.

Well, when Melisandre reminds Arya of her training and her prophecy, it seemed that Arya immediately knew what she had to do and sprints out of the room. Was no one else wondering where our young warrior was running off to? No, just me?

In an epic scene, just as the Night King looks like he’s about to win and consume Bran, Arya appears quite literally out of nowhere and jumps the Night King. With her Valyrian steel dagger that she got from Bran, Arya drops the dagger into her other waiting hand and stabs him. As I said to my friend… “what just happened?!”

Was Arya using the dagger part of Bran’s plan? Did Bran see all of this happen?? Is he Game of Thrones’Doctor Strange, having seen billions of possible endgame outcomes and this is just one?

Quite an episode, answering so many questions but yet leaving so many still unanswered. A big one being “So … um… now what?”

The overwhelming threat of the season is defeated and there are three super-sized episodes left. About 20 characters are gathered at Winterfell and I’m guessing with the Night King now presumably gone, the struggle for the Iron Throne will resume.

Man oh man, I don’t think I’m quite ready for the last three episodes.

So come join us next Sunday at 9pm EST as we watch the 4th episode of Game of Thrones season 8.

By Shannon

A storyteller at her core, Shannon loves writing about the stories that inspire her everyday. When she’s not busy writing and binge watching TV, you can catch her out exploring the world and trying new foods and activities. “At least try it once. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll have a good story to tell.”