Game of Thrones ~ “The Long Night” (S8 E3)

It was a very long night indeed – 82 minutes, most of it devoted to the battle which pitted the living against the dead. It was a dark episode in more ways than one, and I hear a lot of viewers were angry with how difficult it was to see anything – and some wrote irate tweets about it. I too had a difficult time seeing things, but when viewed on a smaller screen (I re-watch episodes on my iPod) things were much clearer.

Even if the episode was still muddled on my iPod, I side with the production team and director. (It’s a LONG NIGHT for christ’s sake, not a long, CLEAR night illuminated by the moon.) Director Miguel Sapochnik (who directed both “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards”) has a delightful habit of putting the viewer right in the midst of the action. He is one of the few directors who’s successful at doing this – and “The Long Night” was no exception. As a viewer, I got to see and feel exactly what was happening to the characters. The Night King and his ilk BRING winter, and they would absolutely take advantage of the darkness its cover would provide.

Now, on with my Post…which is bit of a follow-up to my previous Post.

MVP goes to Arya Stark for killing the Night King.
Honorable Mentions:  Melisandre and Lyanna Mormont.

There were few main character deaths:  the Night King, White Walkers, and all the wights (including Viserion), Dolorous Edd, Jorah Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, Beric Dondarrion, and Melisandre all met their demise. Daenerys’ army of Unsulled and Dothraki were reduced significantly – I have more to say on this. The free folk and Lannister army also took big hits.

Everyone was a hero. Well, almost everyone. Without her dragons, the Unsulled, and Dothraki to hide behind Daenerys proved herself an inept and foolhardy “queen”. There was a time when I saw her as a warrior. A leader of armies. She’s not even that.

While Danerys and Jon/Aegon stood somewhere safe, it was Melisandre who rode through the dark to reach Winterfell and powered-up the Dothraki swords with fire before they met the enemy. While Daenerys was flying around on Drogon (seemingly blinded by the snowy winds), Melisandre once again came to their rescue by setting the defensive trench afire.

Once Dany and Drogon could see this blaze, they were able to blast the wights with dragon fire. My question is why didn’t they keep at it until ALL the wights were burned? They only did a few sweeps then headed North, along with Jon/Aegon (riding Rhaegal). I’ve read that they were going to hunt down the Night King – even though Bran Stark had positioned himself in Winterfell’s godswood as bait. This “mission” made no sense whatsoever. You wouldn’t have caught Jaime or Brienne making such a rash move. (If I were in command of two dragons I’d make damn sure all the wights were incinerated.)

Having quite a large supply of dead still on hand, the Night King commanded some of the remaining wights to form a bridge over the buring chasm, thus allowing the rest of the wights to storm Winterfell and leaving the army of the living to be mowed-down in the process.

As an aside, it was quite impressive to see the wights bridging the fire AND creating a ladder of themselves up the sides of Winterfell. As the wights scrambled up and onto the ramparts I pondered why no one had thought of shoring up a supply of wildfire. (Presumably because all the supplies of wildfire were detonated in the Sept of Baelor at King’s Landing?)

At this point, without Melisandre the battle would’ve been more grim than it was for the living. Which leads to the arrogant remark made to Sansa by Missandei in the crypts, “Yes, without the Dragon Queen there’d be no problem at all. We’d all be dead already.” (Daenerys’ followers act more like fanatical zealots – with the Dragon Queen being their cult leader. Again, not what I’d look for in a ruler.) This was said right before all the Winterfell dead rose up from their resting spots. What did Missandei do to defend the women and children therein? Answer:  diddly-squat. It was Sansa and Tyrion who stood ready to take on the dead.

Cut to where Daenerys and Drogon stumble upon the Night King. She’s all “dracarys” thinking Drogon’s going to make shish-kabob of him. But WE knew that the Night King’s impervious to fire. I loved the smirk on his face when the fire died-down, showing him standing as if nothing had happened. Score a big one for the NK and and big slap in the face for Dany!

Cut to Jon/Aegon racing through a field of dead towards the Night King. What was he thinking? He’s been here before. Perhaps Sansa’s comment to Daenerys (S8 Ep2) that “Men do stupid things for women. They’re easily manipulated.” is at work here… Of course, the NK summons the dead up which drives Jon/Aegon back to the halls of Winterfell (to futilely face yet another wight:  Viserion)

Amidst all these empty attempts by both Dany and Jon/Aegon we see the REAL heroes valiantly battling an onslaught of death:  Jaime, Samwell, Brienne, Gendry, Podrick, Jorah, Grey Worm (who, by the way, Missandei doesn’t deserve), Theon, Bran, Tormund, 12-year-old Lyanna Mormont (taking on a Giant wight), etc.

Finally, if it wasn’t for Arya all of this would be moot. (And didn’t you love the quizzical look the NK gave Bran as the young three-eyed raven looked “death” in the face. But of course, Bran already knew the Night King’s fate…)

In closing, neither Daenerys nor Jon/Aegon are fit to sit upon the Iron Throne. Right now, I have more (grudging) respect for Cersei. Arya wouldn’t want the title, but Sansa would make a great Queen of the Iron Throne.

My choice:  Tyrion. After all he’s been through, the shit he’s taken left and right – and given his keen intellect and sense of justice – I’d love to see him reign over the Seven Kingdoms!!

Some great comments/insights on “The Long Night”:

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