The long wait is over as the most anticipated and eagerly awaited episode of the show is upon us, or rather was by way of the third episode of the current and final season of Game of Thrones.
As hoped, it had all the feels of an emotional rollercoaster. One that most fans wouldn’t mind getting on more than once. It was the total opposite for “Endgame” fans as viewers could not stop talking about over on social media. Whatever spoiler cap and threats to unfriending people on Facebook as a result of spoiling the events of Avengers: Endgame, it was a free-for-all forecast and reactions for Episode 3 as I personally was spoiled on youtube when I was searching for a different topic altogether.
But before you read further, let me warn you again that there are spoilers abound. If you have not seen the show, better watch and comeback. If you have already and would want to see if my Top 10 jives with yours, then simply read on.
I don’t want to harp on what the episode could have been or what the writers should have done better, but instead would like to focus on the things that made us gasp and cover our mouths in surprise and in shock. The show has always delivered many a surprise, throughout the 8 seasons that it has been on air. These are my top, gasp-worthy or WYCYM (When You Cover Your Mouth) moments for the show’s penultimate 3rd episode of the final season of Game of Thrones, titled, “The Long Night.”
10. Melissadre arrives and lights up the Dothraki swords
When the hooded figure was looming in the distance and was approaching the forces at Winterfell, some viewers were hoping that it was Uncle Benjen Stark who came back to aid the forces of the North against the Night King and his hordes. But once the figure came into the light, the red cloak signaled the return of a character everyone loved to hate. But love her instead is what you will feel, for she gave viewers and the awaiting combatants hope. Upon arrival she asked Jorah Mormont and the rest of the Dothraki forces to hold their swords up. After a brief moment of reciting an incantation over their weapons, while held high, they all suddenly came aflame. The panning of the shot as the flames illuminated the night was a cinematic sweep that ran from left to right of the screen, all throughout the Dothraki forces, worthy to be played most specially on the big screen as well.
9. Dothraki decimated
Whatever sense of hope that was ignited after that moment, it was slowly extinguished as the Dothraki forces charged into the darkness of the night, meeting the enemy head on and one that they could not shed a light on. One of the complaints on social media was that the episode’s lighting was too dark. How can one appreciate the scope of the battle being played on the small screen, much less the enemy, when the shots were too dark for anyone to see. But we mourned the Dothraki as their light was extinguished far off into the distance, one by one. And with that light gone, the impending darkness resumed and viewers knew that no battle like that could be so easily won. The stakes quickly escalated.
8. Attack of the Wights/Entry into Winterfell
We all knew that any battle of this scope would need to overwhelm our heroes and the undead certainly did that after the Night King had members of his army fall on the lighted trench surrounding the castle. Doing this, they were able to stanch the fire, long enough for the rest of the undead cast of the Walking Dead (Yup, cross plugging and referencing another show) to come walking and storming the castle and it’s walls. The director said that the inspiration for this episode was the Battle for Helm’s Deep in the Lord of the Rings movies. While the episode didn’t have Orcs and Goblins, it certainly had undead creatures, mimicking the living and with only one purpose in mind. Yes, for one evening and for the better part of an hour, it was also World War Z again.
7. Goodbye Edd
While the beauty of the show not only lies in the scenic cinematography, the locations and the production value, how audiences relate and root for a character also reflects that. When Jon Snow’s best friend, Sam is pinned by a wight and with a dagger dangerously close to his face, he is surprisingly saved by Dolorous Edd, a member of the Night’s watch and the current Lord Commander. We all breathe a sigh of relief up until another wight sticks the pointy to Edd, from behind. He was the first casualty of the night.
6. Dragon Battle
Apart from the final showdown between the Night King and Jon Snow, the reckoning that must happen among the 3 dragon siblings, Viserion, Drogon and Rhaegal was something that fans eagerly wanted to watch and speculated much on. While two against one would prove to be a mathematical formula that trumps any other equation any time, it wasn’t always the case. And in this episode, we were all at the edge of our seats when the Night King brought in the snow and wind, thereby clouding the sky and making it difficult for Jon and Daenerys to see where they were going and where their enemy was.
One shot that was too close for comfort was when Viserion (now the Night King’s undead dragon) shot up from below and threatened to injure and incinerate Daenerys and Drogon with Blue dragon fire.
5. Night King unfazed and unharmed by Dragon Fire
While the Night King had mastery over the cold, it was always assumed that he would fall to the power of Fire. But when Daenerys, after unseating him off his dragon, brings the full force of Dragon fire upon him and he comes out unscathed and with a smirk to boot, it was the only confirmation we needed to see that he was no easy kill.
Following that befuddled moment, the Night King reached for one of his spears and threw it at a retreating Daenerys, hoping to repeat the same act that killed one of her dragons and allowing him to spawn an undead one in the process. Like everyone else in their homes and in the reaction videos online, we all gasped a wide “No”!
4. Jon against the Wights
This episode was directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the same director who helmed the landmark episodes, “Hardhome” from Season 5 and the Battle of the Bastards from Season 6. Much was expected from his treatment and he delivered it like a present with a bow for everyone to unravel and unfurl. Hardhome was the first encounter that Jon Snow had with the Night King and his hordes. In that episode, Jon ventured far off north to recruit the Wildings in an effort to combat the rising threat of the White Walkers. But he was met with the Night King and he showed him that he is not only death incarnate but also its master as he was able to raise all of the dead Wildlings, with a single gesture. That is just by holding both his arms up and commanding them to rise.
He did the same just outside the castle walls of Winterfell when Jon was attempting to engage him in hand to hand combat. History repeats itself and this time, Jon is in the middle of it with no great sea between him and the undead.
3. Dogpiling Jamie and Brienne
All throughout the episode, most of our favorite characters have been inundated and dogpiled with their share of wights. No amount of dragon glass or Valyrian steel could’ve helped. No skill with the blade or sword would be able to help against a foe that is numerous, relentless and never tires.
In different sequences, we see these fierce warriors become beset with more than enough wights to hold them down, pin them against the wall and make us the viewer fear for their lives. They are our heroes. Nothing bad should ever happen to them. But if you are a sadistic writer on the show, you know that no one is and should be safe on the show. The past 8 seasons should’ve taught us viewers something.
2. Arya in the library with Wights
This is the scene where the tension is raised one more notch as Arya is caught in the Stark library with some wights lurking around and looking for prey. It is to her advantage that she is a master in the art of stealth which allows her to go far as she can. The only drawback is the sound of her blood dropping on the floor. This sound gave the wights an idea that a prey was within their midst. But of course, we know that Arya is no easy prey. Skilled in hand to hand combat and with a fierceness that none of the Stark children possessed, her tutelage under so many masters was put to the test. And while we know that she will pass with flying colors, it still doesn’t exempt us from worrying about her.
1. Kill Shot by Arya
This is the surprise move that no one saw coming except the producers who knew 3 years ago that it was Arya who was destined to kill the Night King. Nearing the end of the episode and just when all hope was lost, Bran was left to face his fate with the Night King in the Godswood, that is up until Arya deftly comes from behind in an attempt to stab him. But once again, the Night King is not an easy kill as he turned around to grip Arya by the throat and for a split second, we thought that was it.
But like the Night King, Arya has also gained much experience in her years and resorts to the deceptive knife-drop move that she used on Brienne and was able to stab the Night King with her Valerian dagger called Catspaw. A single stab had the desired ripple effect reverberate throughout the rest of the White Walkers as they all shattered one by one into several pieces, like glass.
This proves how skillful Arya is and that significant win left a lot of viewers guessing. Could she be the true Azor Ahai and not Jon Snow or Daenerys? But of course, we will never know if she was the Prince or Princess that was promised until the end of the show or even if the show will expound on that theory at all. So far the show focused more on teasing and later confirming Jon Snow’s true lineage.
So that’’s it for our Top 10 WYCYM (When You Cover Your Mouth) gasp-worthy moments for this episode of Game of Thrones. if you have any other moments in the particular episode that you feel should be included, just comment below and let’s compare notes.
Till the next episode, Valar Morghulis!