Game of Thrones episode three, by Jim Shelley

Rest In Pieces the Night King! The Battle Of Winterfell copped-out of a cull. Arya Stark’s shock strike then saved brother Bran and the show in Game Of Thrones, by Jim Shelley

  • Warning: Contains spoilers  

Game of Thrones was disappointing but not an anti-climax.

On the contrary…

The Battle Of Winterfell proved a surprisingly ponderous, murky, mess for most of the extended but relatively uneventful 82 minute special. 

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GoT: The Battle Of Winterfell proved a surprisingly ponderous, murky, mess for most of the extended but relatively uneventful 82 minute special

Then, even more unexpectedly, the holy alliance of Arya Stark and Melisandre the Red Woman saved the day, the massed ranks fighting hopelessly against the Army Of The Dead, and the episode as a whole.

By then it seemed those of us looking forward to the long-awaited showdown resulting in a cull of minor (and possibly major) characters were to be frustrated.

Viewers had speculated at least one significant figure would bite the dust – a veteran warrior for example like Grey Worm, The Hound, Ser Davos, even Jaime Lannister or his amour Brienne.

Hero: Then, even more unexpectedly, the holy alliance of Arya Stark (pictured) and Melisandre the Red Woman saved the day  

The heavily hyped encounter looked destined to turn into an even bigger cop-out when they all narrowly, often improbably, avoided a bloody demise though and even the likes of Podrick, Samwell, and Gendry somehow survived the Dead’s onslaught.

The exit of small fry such as Lyanna Mormont, Eddison Tollett, and Beric Dondarrion seemed scant consolation.

Ironically the death of someone none of us had worried about proved to be better than all the others combined – far more dramatic and important to the story: namely, the Night King.

The show’s principal enemy shattered when Arya stabbed him through the chest. The White Walkers, their million Wights, and Viserion duly followed.

No wonder she looked stunned.

Before death: Ironically the death of someone none of us had worried about proved to be better than all the others combined – far more dramatic and important to the story: namely, the Night King (pictured) 

Game Of Thrones would have been draining, bruising, television at any time of the day or night it was shown.

But at two in the morning, ‘The Battle Of Winterfell’ shredded the nerves and battered your senses so relentlessly the abiding feeling for viewers at the end was probably not much different than the poor souls fighting it: not elation or even relief, just shell-shock.

This was mostly because – ironically for GoT – director Miguel Sapochnik wanted to make the battle real, or at least as frenetic and frightening as an encounter with the Army Of the Dead could feel.

Just as Christopher Nolan with Dunkirk, Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan, or Oliver Stone and Platoon.

Intense: This was mostly because – ironically for GoT – director Miguel Sapochnik wanted to make the battle real, or at least as frenetic and frightening as an encounter with the Army Of the Dead could feel

Unfortunately this meant the characters whose fates we were trying to follow got lost in the darkness, the shadows, the dust, the smoke, the fog, or even the snow (when Daenerys and Jon Snow embarked on their dragons’ raids).

Above all though of course, they just disappeared in, or under, all the bodies.

This was one of the main problems with our heroes and heroines fighting The Army Of The Dead: the Wights just swarmed everywhere and over everyone.

Jaime, Brienne, and The Hound were deprived any space to show off their skills. Arya Stark’s display was the only set-piece scene GoT is renowned for: somewhere between a ballerina and a Ninja.

In the murk and mayhem several times it seemed Ser Jorah, Jaime, Brienne, Tormund, and Samwell had gone under, only for them to reappear minutes later miraculously unscathed or suddenly safe at the top of the ramparts.

Dragons: The other problem with a battle that could not be won was how to save the characters the writers wanted to, especially when Daenerys fired a long blast of dragon’s flames straight at The Night King

The other problem with a battle that could not be won was how to save the characters the writers wanted to, especially when Daenerys fired a long blast of dragon’s flames straight at The Night King only for their nemesis to emerge, unaffected, and look up at her with an incongruously wry smile.

In fact, considering they comprised so many legendary soldiers and formidable armies, the alliance was astonishingly inept in terms of their tactics and preparation.

Their opening gambit – of sending the horses in – proved an own goal when the Dead promptly came riding back on them, having instantly extinguished the Dothraki en masse.

The contingency for this disaster made you wondered why they hadn’t just lit the trenches of fire in the first place.

Deploying only Theon armed with his trusty bow to guard Bran (The Night King’s prime target as the earth’s ‘memory’) never had seemed a very good plan. Even this went awry when the Wights arrived and Theon quickly ran out of arrows.

Magic: We had assumed Khaleesi’s dragons were their only hope but luckily they had another trump card: The Red Woman

Then when Daenerys and Jon Snow took to the skies they were undone and unsighted by blizzards, seemingly provoked by their opponents. The way Ser Davos waved two torches around, shouting ‘she can’t see us!’, like a manic member of Gatwick Airport’s landing staff was comical.

The drama of a Dunkirk-style air-fight (except with dragons) was somewhat undone when Jon Snow, Dany, and The Night King all fell off but none ultimately came to any harm.

It was all as much of a damp squib as when Sansa and Tyrion held hands as they were hiding, exchanged soppy speeches (‘You were the best of them’, she said when he quipped that maybe they should have stayed married), drew their daggers, and prepared to meet their maker.

‘We can’t beat them!’ The Hound had lamented, giving up. ‘They’re death. We can’t beat death!’

We had assumed Khaleesi’s dragons were their only hope but luckily they had another trump card: The Red Woman.

Remembered: Arya remembered she’d said they’d meet again, and that she would ‘shut many eyes.’ ‘Brown eyes, green eyes… and blue eyes,’ Melisandre nodded. What do we say to the God of Death?’ ‘Not today!’ cried Arya, revitalised

Having arrived fashionably late, Melissandre began by using a spell to set all the Dothrakis’ swords alight. Then, just as the Wights were about to break through the barricades, she cast a huge trench of fire around the castle.

Finally, she found Arya in uncharacteristically resigned mood after Beric had been killed saving her.

Arya remembered she’d said they’d meet again, and that she would ‘shut many eyes.’

‘Brown eyes, green eyes… and blue eyes,’ Melisandre nodded. What do we say to the God of Death?’

‘Not today!’ cried Arya, revitalised.

Dead: The Night King foiled her first attack by grabbing her arm but too slow when she dropped the dagger into her other hand and plunged it into what remained of his rib cage. The King was dead (hopefully)

So the prophecy proved when The Night King dispensed with Theon, walked slowly up to Bran, and moved his hand to execute him only to find Arya leap on him, brandishing her Valryian sword.

The Night King foiled her first attack by grabbing her arm but too slow when she dropped the dagger into her other hand and plunged it into what remained of his rib cage.

The King was dead (hopefully).

And so the fight for the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms could begin. 

Game of Thrones Episode Four teases battle of King’s Landing

Game of Thrones Season Eight Episode Three was filled with bloodshed and the death of some of the show’s biggest characters.

But with Arya Stark fatally stabbing the Night King with Littlefinger’s dagger the war with the White Walkers came to a sudden and stunning end.

After the episode, HBO gave a look into Episode Four of the series, where the war heads South.

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Headed south: HBO gave a look into Episode Four of the series, where the war heads South

https://youtube.com/watch?v=ksTqLXLUvQ4%3Ffeature%3Doembed

The trailer opens to the smoke and destruction at Winterfell, then cuts to Cersei Lannister standing in a tower, looking down on her new army , the Golden Company.

‘We have won the great war,’ says Daenerys Targaryen as the camera pans over the faces of Arya, Sansa Stark, and Jon Snow.

She then announces, ‘Now we will win the last war,’ while flanked by Missandei and Varys.

Daenerys is next seen petting one of her dragons and the people of Winterfell are seen heading out of the castle.

New army: The trailer opens to the smoke and destruction at Winterfell, then cuts to Cersei Lannister standing in a tower, looking down on her new army , the Golden Company

Leaders: ‘We have won the great war,’ says Daenerys Targaryen as the camera pans over the faces of Arya, Sansa Stark, and Jon Snow

Next victim: She then announces, ‘Now we will win the last war,’ while flanked by Missandei and Varys

Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Euron Greyjoy is seen getting on his knee in front of Cersei.

While in the North, Sansa watches two dragons fly with each other and a fleet of Targaryen boots are seen sailing.

‘We will rip her out root and stem,’ says Daenerys over frames of Cersei looking out with her crown on.’

A modest proposal: Meanwhile in King’s Landing, Euron Greyjoy is seen getting on his knee in front of Cersei

Flying high: While in the North, Sansa watches two dragons fly with each other and a fleet of Targaryen boots are seen sailing

Promises: ‘We will rip her out root and stem,’ says Daenerys over frames of Cersei looking out with her crown on’

Game of Thrones Season Eight Episode Three saw a number of characters’ journey come to an end.

Dolorous Edd, the acting Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, was killed off after saving Samwell Tarley.

Lyanna Mormont, the Lady of Bear Island, dies while killing an undead giant. Beric Dondarrion, the Lightning Lord, finally met his final death.

Rebuilding: Much of Winterfell was destroyed in the battle, but the North looked to be rebuilding

Theon Greyjoy was killed by the Night King as he attempted to protect Bran Stark. Jorah Mormont also met his demise while defending Daenerys.

Of course, the biggest death of the night came when Arya jabbed a dagger into the Night King, shattering him.

Melisandre also died, after inspiring Arya to kill the Night Kind.

The next Episode of Game of Thrones will premiere on HBO Sunday, May 5, at 9pm ET. 

Coming soon: The next Episode of Game of Thrones will premiere on HBO Sunday, May 5, at 9pm ET

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