We’ve been waiting for the “Battle of Winterfell” for a long time. This showdown with the Night King is something bloggers, fans, and conspiracy theorists have been discussing for years. We’ve wanted to know the how’s, why’s, and who’s of the Night King and his not so merry army of undead. We got our answers and at great cost, even if it wasn’t as great as some of us predicted.
This special post will be full of spoilers, including a breakdown of the best and worst moments, which of my predictions came true and did not, where we stand now, and what will come in the next three weeks. After a weekend of “Endgame” and “The Battle of Winterfell” we all could use some hugs, but even with Cersei waiting for us, there is a lot more hope than I thought there would be at this point, but is that a good thing?
And So It Begins
No time is wasted from the first scene in. It’s all business, everyone quietly heading to their battle stations, most including some of our most ferocious warriors looking terrified. Some of our favorite characters are on the front line, and our two generals Jon and Dany overlooking the scene from above. The army massed outside Winterfell looks impressive and in fact is. But we know there’s a much bigger Undead army coming our way. There is no dialogue until Lord Commander Edd takes a poke at Samwell Tarly, who in spite of his own tremendous fear still made his way to the front.
Sansa, Tyrion, Missandei, Gilly and co. head to the crypts. (This is one of those moments I have a hard time with…….guy raises the dead, hiding with the dead wise much? And no one questioned this?) and we see our beloved Ser Jorah at the front of the Dothraki hoard with their dragon glass Arkh’s looking scared. As one of Joss Whedon’s character’s once said,
“When scary things get scared: not good.”
All you can see is darkness ahead, even from Dany and Jon’s vantage point. Many thought Melisandre would come with an army of the Priests of R’holler. There was no army, just the red lady, but she wasn’t without some aid.
It is here we experience the struggle of the battle from the perspective of our protagonists which is both disorienting and terrifying. I believe was the intention. Here, Melisandre does some bad ass fire stuff and our Dothraki give us a smidgen of hope with their burning swords, but as they charge into the darkness with Jorah and Ghost along with, we can see nothing. Our point of view is from the front line and from Dany and Jon’s vantage. Slowly, each light is snuffed out until there is none left and there is silence which is deafening. We see a few horses and surviving Dothraki returning with Ser Jorah who looks worse for wear.
This sets the tone for the next 65 minutes and they are pure tension. As the wights charge it seems what most of us felt was inevitable: everyone will die. And many do in this onslaught, most notably Lord Commander Edd saving Sam. However, he was the only sacrificial main in this initial attack. Even so, that doesn’t lighten the mood.
All of the defenses hold for a time, but with each bit of footing lost the sense of dread becomes even heavier. For the first time in 8 seasons you really feel like everyone is fighting to their deaths. Except this time you believe they will meet them.
Big Character Moments in The Battle of Winterfell
- Little Bear Lyanna Mormont who has one of the greatest death’s of all the seasons. She takes down a wight giant as he is crushing her tiny body in his hand. It’s horrifying.
- Jon Snow– Jon is suffering backlash from last night’s episode, but I think the real problem is everyone thought this was going to be Jon’s big moment. Even I thought he would die saving Bran. But Jon did what Jon does. He fought the good fight and was willing to die for it. He was ready to face the Night King who wanted none of it, and instead had to face off with his undead dragon blocking his way to Bran. Jon’s heart is bigger than his brain. That is easily his weakness, but it certainly doesn’t make him a weak player. I’ve never been a big Jon fan, but over the years I’ve grown to appreciate his character. He’s never wanted to lead or rule, he has always just wanted to do what’s right. Most importantly, there would have been no army to defend the realm if it weren’t for Jon and maybe THAT’S why he was resurrected.
- Dany, Dragons and Jorah– Dany kinda just did her thing here. She was also lost in the confusion of the blizzard and she did her best to aid the army, (she was lighting those fields up with Drogon regularly) not to mention having Jon’s back. Twice. She also knocked the Night King off Viserion and grounded him, making him a more manageable target. The dragon fighting and all of the scenes with the dragons were some of the best effects I’ve seen on small or big screen. I still want to punch her for letting Drogon linger and allowed the wights to hurt him and put herself in danger, exactly what Jorah and Tyrion had warned her not to do, and ultimately led to the death of our loyal knight Ser Jorah of House Mormont. He died in the arms of his Queen serving with honor and valor. It was a good death for one of the best character’s in the entire series.
- The Two Old Shits and Arya – Over the last few seasons I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie between Beric and The Hound. Arya popping in the last couple episodes was also a nice little caveat. It was with these two that everything became clear to me. Leading up to the show I had been focusing on the dagger and how important it had been throughout the series. It was even in one of the books Gilly was reading at the Citadel and passed over. I thought (mistakenly) that Jon would die fighting the Night King here and leave it up to Arya to take him out. When Melisandre asked her “And what do we say to the god of death?” I knew I was right. Beric had lived to save her. He also brought the Hound to her so they could ensure she lived to end things. I had no doubt it would be Arya after that moment.
- Bran and Theon – Bran is working hard at being Google in the Godswood being guarded by Theon like a damn boss. When Bran told him he was “home” it was nothing short of perfection. I felt my eyes well, for Theon Greyjoy. When the Night King came with his Walkers, Theon unleashed hell with his bow and arrow and was only halted by a lack of arrows, but he fought admirably till his last breath. It was the second time in the series Theon had saved Bran with his bow and arrow.
Highlights of The Battle of Winterfell
- Whenever the focus shifts to Greyworm’s POV leading the Unsullied. He’s a character that gets lost in the mix for me, but here he was a hardened general making the tough decisions. We were as close as were going to get to realizing what it was to be Greyworm. It was a tough watch, but a great one.
- Dragon FIRE!
- Everything the Hound says or does.
- Theon going all Legolas on the wights.
- Arya in Winterfell’s library. It was a great change-up from the chaos of battle, but equally terrifying.
- Sansa and Tyrion holding hands in the crypt.
- Davos getting to see the Red Woman die.
- Everything Dragon, they LOOKED AMAZING.
What I Got Right and Wrong
WAY more people survived than I expected. Either because they are waiting for the battle of the realm or they are just losing some of their nerve with the bigger audience. I was convinced Jon wouldn’t survive and I was dead wrong. HA! Jorah, Edd, and Beric were all on my list and Lyanna was a maybe. I am in utter disbelief that Tormund and Greyworm are still alive. I thought Rhaegal was dead, but people are saying that both dragons survived. Our death count is minimal though each sacrifice was tremendous.
I was right about Arya, the Night King, and the Dagger. If only I had guessed the Godswood I would have been the Game of Thrones Clue champion. I was half right about Melisandre, because neither Arya or Davos killed her. I was correct about Theon, but I think we all saw that coming.
What I’ve learned is the answers to everything have always been right in front of us. Perhaps not in neon lights, but they have been there. This is what sends us big nerds into conspiracy theory mode and start looking like Charlie from “It’s Always Sunny” in the mail room. Whenever I’ve come back to my core instincts and simplify the story based on what’s happened and the characters it becomes much clearer. I’m not the most clever person, but either way it’s a ton of fun to make predictions, right or wrong.
- A lot of people still think Arya is going to kill Cersei. Even without the Prophecy or if she wore a damn mask Arya has already killed ALL the Frey’s, Littlefinger, and essentially the entire Undead army by proxy of Night King. She may even stay and protect Winterfell and her siblings.
- Cleganebowl. The Hound will kill his brother, but ultimately meet his end also in said fight.
- Cersei is going to either blow up Kings Landing with wildfire or she’s going to try to. Jaime will either kill her saving everyone, or be too late and blow up with her. Either way I believe Jaime will die in this exchange and it will bring both their stories full circle.
- Iron Throne…..now that Jon’s alive and the Night King didn’t destroy Winterfell (partially disappointed with this) I’m really going to have to reconsider my thoughts. I thought Gendry was a solid wildcard, but not so sure anymore. Perhaps it will be Jon or Dany or both. Maybe Dany will realize their’s no one left ot rule and will break the wheel and start a democratic government.
- I also predict Arya will stay in Winterfell with Sansa and Bran now that her role has been fulfilled.
- Kinda hoping for a sword fight between either Jon and Euron, or at this point Tormund.