Season 8 episode 3 is going to live on as a classic Game of Thrones battleground of philosophies between the Marvel-lover, big battle scenes, and non-stop fighting crowd, and the wider-cannon, history of Valyria, what type of granite was used to build The Citadel nerds. Everybody has heard the numbers already… it was the most expensive and biggest battle scene in TV history, and besides not being able to see what was going on for the first thirty minutes, it did not disappoint. Quickly, the vantage point shot of the Dothraki hoard with flaming swords getting absolutely extinguished by a wall of the completely unknown was an all-timer. But for the fans that have truly immersed themselves in the history and lore of this unique world George RR Martin crafted, this episode leaves a hole and a yearning for more. While nobody is arguing the Night King is the shows primary villain, except for the Men’s Health article I saw on Facebook, the show-runners have been building up this mystical figure for the better part of four seasons. They gave us very little concrete information, which brilliantly enabled the creation of thousands of fan-theories, message-board discussions, and an unprecedented amount of speculation surrounding the Night King’s identity, motives, character arc, and more. The issue is Winter seemingly came and went before any of those loose ends were tied up or even explored. Most likely, Bran will give some sort of explanation or history lesson into the Night King later on this season, but even then that will just foster additional disappointment. What I mean is that if the Night King is this extremely interesting and complex person (and that is even excluding the possibility of a relationship to the history of the current houses) with a relevant past intertwined with the history of the realm, then the story did us a disservice by killing him off so abruptly. And if he is nothing more than the leader of a zombie hoard with a sick javelin throw, the story did us a disservice building him up to be something he never was intended to be. The background threat of a zombie apocalypse is still very real and can be used to drive a story without building up their leader to be something more. It is going to be interesting to see how the conversation plays out these next couple of days, and whether people are able to separate their feelings of the composition of the story from a cool battle.
I don’t want to explore the idea, but there is also a sentiment out there of the possibility the Night King is not actually dead, but that stab felt final.
Did Bran know the exact outcome of the battle and the fate of the Night King beforehand? The show still hasn’t explained the powers or the purpose of the Three-Eyed Raven, but there is certainly evidence that he can see glimpses of the future. Also he was totally chill watching the battle and seemingly contributing nothing. In season 8 episode 2, Tyrion was night and day more optimistic that the humans would win the Battle for Winterfell after his talk with Bran. What secrets could Bran have divulged? With that said, in my opinion the interesting question that comes from this is whether or not Bran had any influence on Ayra’s story to help “enable” or guide her to eventually kill the Night King. Just like Hodor’s destiny was ultimately determined by Bran, could Arya’s have been influenced as well to a lesser extent? I’m going to put the research department on going back through her story to gather evidence. It is interesting to think that the story we watch unfold before us was ultimately predetermined and not a product of the free will of the characters .My new theory is that the job of the Three-Eyed Raven is to run thousands of iterations of different timelines (with subtle tweaks) of the history of the world in his mind, until an outcome where the Night King is defeated comes true, and it was his job to ensure that the correct timeline of events happened in order to save humanity. Don’t dissect that one too hard though because it probably doesn’t make sense.
Lets pour one out for the Dothraki. The first hoard in the history of the Dothraki to cross the poison water and set foot in Westeros. The first Khalasar to be open-minded enough to be led by a female. Paved the way for legends like Secretariat and Man O’War who went on the dominate centuries later. Somehow drew the short stick and were served up as an appetizer for the White Walkers. If I was the Night King I would’ve raised those dudes up to fight for me the second they went down. Legends.
One thing that has been happening for awhile now, and I didn’t totally realize until I saw the look on his face last night in the crypt was the increasing irrelevance of Varys. Obviously Varys’ value in wartime is completely diminished, but in a more Macro-sense after playing puppeteer of the seven kingdoms for the first couple of seasons and arguably the most important small council member, Varys’ has been demoted to a punching bag for Tyrion dick jokes and not much more. Since bringing Tyrion to Daenerys (kind of, Jorah did a lot of the heavy lifting there) the only thing Varys has contributed is the early deaths of the Martells and Tyrells. A quarterback isn’t good without an offensive line and it turns out the Spider is nothing without his little birds. Maybe the value will return if Daenerys can secure the Throne (big if), but until then the Master of Whisperers might want to go scout the local Winterfell Elementary.
I thought about leading with this one because I am rarely this disappointed in somebody I trust. Grey Worm pulled an all-time Judas when he chose to close the gate-bridge thing and left his Unsullied brothers to get overrun by wights. I am not saying it was wasn’t necessary or a smart strategy, but the Grey Worm I used to know and love would’ve had somebody else close to gate so he could die with his brothers. This is a classic example seen many times before, one of your boys gets a girlfriend and stops going out Thursday Nights, quits the fantasy football league, and gets a membership card to HomeGoods. Grey Worm was thinking about the butterflies of Naath with Missandei and second guessed his natural instinct. Grey Worm’s resume is incontestable, but this was a fall from grace that nobody saw coming. It is better to die a hero, then see yourself become whipped.
Lets end with a few more nuggets:
- I have never quite seen patience like that of the Night King, he glides through battle completely unfazed in every respect. There is nobody I would want more down seven with the ball on their own ten having to go the length of the field. With that said, when you have the chance to end Bran and ensure a long winter or forever winter or whatever it is called, you have to bring back the ice-spear javelin throw.
- With the deaths of Jorah and Lyanna Mormont, is the Mormont house going to cease to exist? I could’ve just looked this up.
- The Tyrion allegiance is going to be played up in the Westeros media all week, but I don’t think it will come to matter. The events of these nexts episodes will determine that for him and he will never be at a true crossroads between Dany and Sansa.
- I initially thought Rhaegal died during the Battle for Winterfell, but apparently he was in next weeks preview. If this is the case, was he taking a nap the whole second half of the battle?