Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3, ‘The Long Night’
“Game of Thrones” has several outstanding battles under its belt, and the director Miguel Sapochnik delivered some of the best, with “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards.” But even with that impressive track record, I was a little afraid that Sunday night’s enormous (and enormously hyped) Battle of Winterfell might finally be the clash that was too epic for its own good, in terms of stakes (life vs. death), personnel (everyone we like) and length (the episode clocked in at 1:22).
Would we finally, in the grandest episode the show has ever attempted, get a fight that was just too large to render in a way that would both do justice to the conflict and also land with sufficient emotional impact?
Sunday’s final clash was a masterpiece of tension and release, goose bumps and heartbreak, grandiosity and intimacy. It deftly mixed genres (horror, action, melodrama), shots and planes of action as it shifted from the chaos of the fighting in and around Winterfell, to the claustrophobic terror of the crypts, to the dragon dogfighting in the winter sky.
Since C.G.I. became Hollywood’s default mode for depicting combat, onscreen battles have become progressively bigger, longer, more elaborate and, consequently, ever more fatiguing. Think of the hectic, numbing, city-destroying sequences that end every superhero movie.
“Game of Thrones” has mostly avoided this convention by making its battles collections of memorable, revealing moments rather than epic clashes that overwhelm with chaotic slashing, crashing and spurting. There is plenty of that, of course, but what you remember is Ygritte dying in Jon’s arms in the Battle of Castle Black, the Night King raising the dead at Hardhome, Bronn’s incredible sprint for the Scorpion during the Loot Train Attack (still a super dumb name).
Similarly, when I look back on the Battle of Winterfell, I’ll think of the stirring scene when the Dothraki swords ignited in a wave of fire, only to extinguish one by one in the distance. I’ll remember Theon getting absolution, and Lyanna sacrificing herself to kill a zombie giant in a deeply symbolic if very sad moment, the smallest warrior felling the largest foe. (Wun-Wun, is that you?) Arya’s climactic dispatching of the Night King — saving Bran with the same dagger once intended to kill him — was genuinely surprising and thrillingly rendered.
The death toll included demises predictable (Theon, Jorah) and less so (Melisandre!), but each was deeply felt and in service of individual purposes, one of the episode’s big themes. Jorah died the way he would have wanted, protecting his beloved Khaleesi. Beric saved Arya so she could save everyone else. And Edd bought it by becoming the first of several people to rescue Sam, who spent most of the episode on his back, screaming.
It wasn’t flawless. I thought Rhaegal might have died, too, until he showed up in the trailer for next week’s episode. Over all, the dragon scenes were pretty hard to track, especially the air war. Thanks to the fact that the action was very dark, per usual, and the dragons hard to tell apart — some contrasting saddles would have been nice — I frequently couldn’t tell who was who and what exactly was going on.
There was also a surprising abundance of heroes still standing at the end. I figured folks like Brienne, Podrick, Grey Worm, Tormund and maybe even Gilly, or some other notable person in the crypt, would have gone down this week. Considering the scale and relentlessness of the swarm — especially after the Night King did his signature reanimation move — they probably should have.
(A certain amount of suspended disbelief is called for in epic battle scenes, but is the show just saving them for the next war? Or is its “no one is safe” edge truly gone for good?)
But over all, despite the scale of the clash and the endless hype we’ve been hearing about the 55 nights of shoots that went into filming it, et cetera, the Battle of Winterfell actually exceeded expectations.
It began with a lengthy tracking shot through the castle’s courtyard, following Sam and then Lyanna and finally Tyrion as people like Bran and Theon passed through, reinforcing the human connections before it all went off. It was a sign that the episode was going to 1.) embrace creative shotmaking, and 2.) be about people, not opposing sides.
Throughout, Sapochnik and the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who wrote the episode, skipped from character to character to shrink the churning battle down to human scale. The chaotic fog of war was well represented but so was fear and desperation — the Hound’s terror, Grey Worm’s heavy breathing — as the dead poured through and over every obstacle.
Sapochnik reportedly watched “Lord of the Rings” war scenes to gauge when battle fatigue kicks in and looked for opportunities to pare away action so that the moments of violence and loss would feel more meaningful.
That was evident in the episode’s pacing, which followed intense fighting sequences with quieter moments and clever transitions that illustrated the scope of the battle, as when the view shot upward after Lyanna’s death to join a dragon clash.
Once the action moved inside, the episode turned into a horror movie, with Arya dodging the more bookish wights in the library before joining Beric and the Hound in the zombie-plagued hallways of Winterfell. The mechanics of horror and suspense picked up where the implacable battlefield onslaught left off, a sort of second-stage narrative rocket infusing the survival story with a new visceral kick.
As for how Arya made it through said zombie-plagued hallways in order to save the day, er, night … your guess is as good as mine. I’ll also leave it to others to theorize about what the Night King’s flame retardancy might suggest about his lineage and whatnot, though I guess it doesn’t matter anymore anyway.
But I’ll take the occasional loose end in exchange for a big, audacious episode that sticks the landing. From the beginning, “Game of Thrones” has promised a clash of ice and fire, and on Sunday that’s what we got — a story of life overcoming the forces of annihilation told at a scale and level of execution rarely seen on television or anywhere else.
There have been plenty of times over the years that the show has left me cold. But not today.
A Few Thoughts While We Withhold Our Vote
- Daenerys and Jon continue to suggest that neither is ready to rule anything, from a brainpower standpoint. She just sat there on a grounded Drogon until the wights swarmed him like undead fleas. Later Jon stood up and squared off against an actual zombie dragon, only to be saved by Arya. Nice job, Targaryens.
- “Maybe we should have stayed married,” Tyrion told Sansa. “You were the best of them,” she said. Their reunion has been one of my favorite things about this season.
- I know Sansa has been jerked around by plenty of royals in her day, but it seems petty when she can’t resist a Dragon Queen dig even in the bunker of death. She would have split up our marriage anyway, she quipped. Without the Dragon Queen we’d all be dead, Missandei clapped back.
- Melisandre’s like a Zippo with a balky flint, but eventually she does the job.
- R.I.P. Viserion, for real this time.
- What happened to Ghost? He also shows up in next week’s trailer but where did he go on Sunday?
- What did you think? Did enough people die? Will you miss the Night King? Where all did Bran’s ravens go anyway? (He was gone forever.) Please share your theories in the comments
Reason Why Game of Thrones Season 8 has Failed According to Reddit
Reason Why Game of Thrones Season 8 has Failed According to Reddit: The TV series was founded on George RR Martin’s hugely successful A Song of Fire and Ice literary saga – and also its first few seasons were adaptations.
But as the series progressed, it started to overtake Martin’s job – and really, even now, the writer nevertheless has just two books left to write.
After the series began treading its path concerning storylines and character growth, that is when some enthusiasts have contended that it started to lose its way – and today Reddit consumer StillFlyingHalfAShip has submitted a well-received suggestion regarding how and why.
They explained: “It’s been pointed out by Youtuber ‘The Dragon Demands’ that D&D [showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss] seem to be fixated on close ups of the main actors emoting without dialogue.
“As the series progressed from GRRM’s material to their own this became more and more prevalent, with the absolute extreme scenario occurring in the final episode (which they directed). We see Tyrion looking at things, crying, shocked and saddened, all with barely any talking whatsoever.
“In ‘The Bells’ there was meant to be a 7-minute long take just following Arya and her reactions as the city is destroyed. The scenes will be full of Cersei smirks, Jon Snow brooding, Arya stares, Tyrion worried faces – so much time dedicated to moments with barely any dialogue at all.
“Why do you think everyone was raving about the acting this season? Don’t get me wrong, they’re all incredibly talented, but so much of the focus is on non-verbal emoting that all we have to talk about is the performances.”
They added: “So we come to the strange irony of the last few seasons… they would actually work better as a book than as a show.
“We can’t always figure out what’s going on in the character’s heads from performance alone. Sometimes we need dialogue and actions to help us out.
“If the internal monologue was written on a page it would be simple, but often it was impossible to tell what was going on.
“I point to season 7 episode 7 as an example. Jaime has just informed Cersei that he wishes to desert and ride to Winterfell. She looks at The Mountain as some sort of threat that she’ll unleash him against her brother(?).
“Jaime looks back at her horrified. Then she gives a kind of evil stare, he walks towards the mountain (I legit thought he was gonna die at this point) and then just walks past him and out the courtyard, with no consequence.
“If Cersei had said something I would better understand just what the hell Cersei & Ser Gregor were playing at.
“Despite not being adapted from book material, the later seasons are full of non-dialogue scenes where only a written internal monologue would let us know what the characters were thinking.”
Do you agree? Read the full discussion on Reddit here.
Game of Thrones: We Can’t Discount Drogon Eating Daenerys Says Forensic Anthropologist
Game of Thrones: We Can’t Discount Drogon Eating Daenerys Says Forensic Anthropologist: While audiences are expecting Drogon was shooting Daenerys straight back to her ancestral home, a forensic specialist considers the dragon might have simply consumed her.
While it looks like everything was examined and rehashed concerning the Season 8 finale of HBO’s epic fantasy series, Game of Thrones, a forensic specialist has now entered the ring concerning the destiny of Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke).
SPOILER ALERT: This Report discusses the Last season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Please proceed with caution when you haven’t yet seen each the episodes in Season 8 and also want to prevent spoilers.
In the last installment of Game of Thrones, Daenerys maintained the iron throne but was murdered by her nephew and buff, Jon Snow (Kit Harington). He melted the iron cop with his passion prior to picking her up in his claws and flying off with her dead body.
It was shown near the end of the last incident that Daenerys had led east towards Volantis and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) said he’d attempt to find the dragon.
Since that time, fans have speculated about why Drogon has been led in that way.
As mentioned previously by us, among those theories sees Drogon carrying Daenerys into Volantis to be able to possess her vaccinated with a reddish priestess. But, based on a meeting a forensic anthropologist did together with all the Huffington Post, there can be a more mundane ending for Daenerys’ body: Drogon could have eaten her.
“Might he eat her? Possibly, yes,” Dr. Carolyn Rando, a forensic anthropologist at the UCL Institute of Archaeology said.
“I don’t think we can discount that he was going off to eat her.”
But, how did Rando come to this conclusion?
There’s proof in the actual world that under certain conditions, creatures might be direct to eating their own owners. But a number of these situations arise from a pet being not able to depart a place after their owner dies and there are not any other food except to their proprietor.
Another motive sees creatures occasionally unintentionally getting mixed up into eating following licking or nudging their deceased owner as they attempt to work out exactly what’s happening — something which has been evidenced by Drogon at the last episode of Game of Thrones if he nudged Daenerys later Jon stabbed.
“So [the animal] tends to lick, and there’s a lot of blood and then eating might happen, but more out of just stress or something like that.”
Moreover, Rando also indicates that malnutrition may factor into this concept. In Season 8 Game of Thrones, Daenerys had said her dragons weren’t eating well. This was set down to the simple fact that dragons don’t deal well in the colder weather of the North. Therefore, after shooting Daenerys away, as Drogon attained a warmer place, it might have triggered an insatiable desire to eat .
But although it’s likely that Drogon ate Daenerys, Rando isn’t convinced that really occurred. Rather, she would rather believe that Drogon did not consume the Mother of Dragons and, rather, only flew off into the sunset together with Daenerys and had been only grieving the loss of his own mother.
Season 8 was the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. HBO is currently in production on a prequel series set in the same universe as Game of Thrones. However, no release date has yet been announced for this new series.
Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams wants to Write a Story on the Friendship
Everybody knows that Game of Thrones stars Sophie Turner (played Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (played Arya Stark) has a strong bond from the beginning.
In a new video from Vogue Paris, in which Turner eats dinner with her Dark Phoenix costar Jessica Chastain, the 23-year-old actress shared her future career ambitions, saying that one day she’d like to produce and direct.
“As an actor, you can only have so much creative control,” Turner told Chastain. “I want to be able to have full creative control and create my own vision and that’s something I’m quite passionate about.”
Sophie mentioned that she would like to work again with her Game of Thrones costar and BFF Maisie Williams in future. Both played as a sisters Sansa and Arya Stark respectively, throughout the all eight seasons of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
“My best friend Maisie, she and I have a very intense friendship, a friendship that I haven’t had with any of my other girlfriends before,” Turner shared. “We felt like we wanted to write a movie about a friendship where it’s kind of like you’re soulmates, but you’re friends and it’s like this beautiful connection but it can also be quite destructive.”
Though Turner said the duo hasn’t started writing the movie just yet, she revealed she’s begun preparing for the moment they do.
“I bought a screenplay writing book!” Turner told Chastain. “To teach myself. Because I can’t write well, but I want to. But I’m just not talented enough.”
“You are talented enough!” Chastain replied supportively.
Turner and Williams’ friendship has been well-documented over the years, as the two grew up together on the set of Game of Thrones. The pair even has matching tattoos commemorating the date they were both cast on the show.
In April, Turner — who recently tied the knot with Joe Jonas in a Vegas wedding — shared that Williams will be her maid of honor at the couple’s larger ceremony this summer. “I don’t know why she’s thinking about [what she’s wearing to my wedding]. I’m giving her the bridesmaid dress!” Turner said to Entertainment Tonight after she found out Williams had told the outlet she was trying to pick out a dress.
“She’s my maid of honor! One of two,” Turner added.
“Maisie is definitely my protector and I’m hers, too,” Turner previously told Glamour UK. “I know if anything happened — especially if it was on Game of Thrones, which it never, ever would — she’d go crazy and protect me… Maisie is my strong home.”
In the same interview, Williams shared a similar sentiment about her costar.
“Sophie knows too much about me to not be my friend,” she shared. “I can’t tell you the amount of times Sophie said, ‘Go to therapy’ before I actually did. She really helped me through some messy break-ups and some friend break-ups. Whenever I’m like, ‘I need help! This is bigger than anything I can sort out on my own,’ Sophie is my point of call.”
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