If you haven’t already, be sure to read last week’s review of Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 2 here.
To start, I would just like to say that even with the brightness turned up on my TV – I couldn’t see much. Therefore despite asking questions on the whereabouts of certain characters on Twitter and message boards after the show, I have no clue if Ghost, Gilly, and a few others are still alive. I am assuming because D & D have made Game of Thrones into a Hollywood-like production, the main cast is still alive.
I do know that Ser Jorah Mormont, Lady Lyanna Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, Melisandre from Asshai and Lord Beric Dondarrion are deceased.
In season 4, Melisandre met with Arya while she was traveling with the Brotherhood without Banners. She gave the young girl a cryptic “prophecy” concerning a darkness swirling inside the girl, and whom she would kill. To paraphrase, Arya would shut “brown, blue and green eyes” forever. We all know how season 5 went, what with Arya joining a death cult in Braavos and forgoing her training to simply waltz back to Westeros. She even became a changed woman on the journey home, as she displayed characteristics previously not had while away in Essos. Then again, that could just be poor writing.
Either way, I saw many people mentioning Arya killing Walder Frey, The Night King and foretelling her murder of Queen Cersei. I would like to remind those people that Meryn Trant also had eyes, as did the stable boy Arya killed and most likely the guards while escaping Harrenhal with Hot Pie and Gendry. I understand the hype train, but fans seem to be forgetting that Arya has killed, and the “important” characters are not the only ones that count.
That being said, is all prophecy simply folly? Arya went on to exploit a cleverly placed chink in the NK’s armour, immediately killing him and ending the eight years of buildup surrounding the long night in one swoop.
So the Azor Ahai prophecy (in the show at least) was nonsense, but what about the valonqar prophecy? I’d be hard pressed if the cast survived the Battle of Winterfell against literal death in their best plot armour, but couldn’t take on Cersei, Euron Greyjoy and his measly little ironborn fleet. I forgot to mention this last review, but I still don’t understand how Queen Cersei found money to pay for the Golden Company. I distinctly remember Daenerys burning all of the money and grain looted from Highgarden during the Field of Fire 2.0. Unless of course, it somehow got through and safely to Kingslanding in the time it took Dany to roast anything within her peripheral on Drogon’s back.
The A Song of Ice and Fire book series seems to be leaning towards all prophecy being folly, but maybe prophecies are self-fulfilling? I know the show is not the books, but Rhaegar Targaryen did not take up a sword until he read something that changed it all for him. It could be argued that Rhaegar himself decided his own fate, along with the strife caused by his (canon) wedding to Lyanna Stark that started Robert’s Rebellion.
Or, I am just looking too far into things.
Bran handed Arya the catspaw valyrian steel dagger last season and in reference to murdering the NK mentions that “no one has done it before”. I surely hope the show isn’t trying to say Arya is no one, when she quite literally says “a girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell” and that she was going home.
The NK decided not to protect his one vulnerability, after all. Waltzing into the Winterfell Godswood with his posse without a care in the world. If Arya killed one person that episode, I was sure it would have been Mel as she was on her list at one point.
Moving on from Arya and her superhuman feats, I’d like to discuss Melisandre. Last season, she decreed that she herself, as well as Varys the Spider were “destined to die in this strange land” of Westeros. Mel took death into her own hands.
After waning faith in the Lord of Light R’hllor, his power allowed her to bring Jon Snow back. After Mel’s banishment by said bastard turned king, she retreated to Volantis before giving Varys the aforementioned cryptic warning. She felt her death near, which is why we were shown her taking her necklace off that glamour’s a youthful appearance. Did she go to Volantis and study ancient texts? or remain in communion with the fire god in order to perform the amazing feats of The Battle of Winterfell? Because without her, the world would have been lost.
Beric Dondarrion also served a final role, his spirit finally allowed to rest. In the books, there are hints at the Lord of Light and The Others fighting an eternal battle – the living vs the dead. Hell, George RR Martin even hinted that Jon is a fire wight as opposed to Coldhands/Uncle Benjen.
I didn’t enjoy that Beric was shanked in a doorway by a bunch of ornery wights, but at least he finally found peace.
Which reminds me, what level of sentience do wights have? If memory serves correct, at Hard Home they simply ran at Jon, wildlings & company. But in this battle, some wielded swords, others daggers, others acting as if this were a horror film and dragging victims to their death off-screen. In the crypt sequence, one woman was straight up eaten as a zombie would. In the after the show interviews with D & D one of them even calls the wights “zombies” – which they weren’t in the books.
Again, I know the show is not the books but the Others had their own language that sounded like icicles and a society. They were not just these undead monsters who wanted a long night for the sake of being evil. As a matter of fact, one of the Stark descendants is believed to have taken an Other woman for his wife and sacrificed babies along the wall. Another Stark, Bran the Builder, built the wall.
It’s a shame we never got an answer or concise conclusion to why Craster was sacrificing his sons to the Others, and what the Others were using the children for. Yes, Craster didn’t want any competition for his incestuous relationships with his daughters, but he also made a deal with these creatures in exchange for safety while living beyond the wall.
If they were just mindless beings, how would they fully understand the babies were offerings? And does his crow blood contribute to the knowledge of offering acceptance?
I digress, I don’t need to wrack my brain for answers that will never come. At least in visual form.
Okay, so let me be real with all of you. It is currently 5:55 pm on Tuesday afternoon. At this point in time, I’ve already tried to write this article four separate times. It is NOT that I am lacking content to speak of, simply I’m not sure what to say.
This Sunday, I attended a Cherry Blossom festival and thankfully got back home before the episode aired but despite this, I didn’t begin watching it until maybe an hour or two later around 11 pm. I haven’t mentioned this yet here, but I have another website. I decided to do review two seasonal shows, which are currently late because I can’t get this Game of Thrones episode 3 review together.
In my excitement this past weekend to watch the show, I didn’t realize it was an hour plus until forty minutes later when I got curious of the slow pace and paused to check the episode timer. Decidedly tired from the days activities along with my brain swimming from the Long Night, I wrote two pages of notes of topics to discuss.
I started my review, but each time I brought up one point I would reflect upon a point earlier in the story seasons ago and discover a plot hole. The first being Gilly and the babe, then Arya’s meeting with the red woman. I would then fall down a rabbit hole, scouring Wiki pages and fan websites to make sure my facts were intact. Then I would write out paragraphs only for it to sound like I was ranting, and proceed to strike the whole argument.
I hated that I couldn’t get the effortless stream of thought flow my last two reviews had achieved.
So I took a break and decided to watch YouTubers and other reviewers – something I usually don’t do until my own is finished as to not influence my thoughts. Luckily they felt the same way, but their arguments brought to mind additional arguments.
The Dance of Dragons had happened? I couldn’t see anything on my tv. I wasn’t even sure if certain characters died, and I hoped others would. Don’t get me wrong, I am attached to these characters but the plot armor bothers me.
Jaime should have drowned when he fell into a lake in full plate armour during the field of fire last season. Brienne should have died earlier this episode when the first wave of wights mobbed her. GreyWorm should have died on the front lines. Jon Snow should have died as per usual, but his plot armor is made of valyrian steel. Tyrion should have died in the crypts. Samwell was literally just chilling in a mountain of wights, no one decided to shank him as they did Beric in Winterfell’s halls.
The more I thought about it, the more it started to piss me off.
This brings us to the current: me washing dishes while listening to a Jenny of Oldstones hour loop on YouTube, slowly getting annoyed at the slap in the face that ending to a focal plot point in the series had been.
I hopped on a forum I frequent to get away from the story – it is one of the trending threads. People arguing over how rushed the ending was, and pointing out plotlines seemingly erased in D & D’s haste to make things look cool, rather than remembering the existing core story of A Song of Ice and Fire. I pop into Reddit and in the writing sub of all things, Game of Thrones is being discussed and techniques on writing successful cause and effect scenarios. I decided to sit down and watch the news with my mom, and even they are running a story (again) on how some fans couldn’t make out the action due to the lack of lighting.
I’ve decided to re-watch the episode again, gather my thoughts, and post a proper episode review later. Think of this as version 1.0 of the intended article, where I am just venting at my frustration of the story’s direction. It’s not that the episode wasn’t cinematically beautiful and the character portrayals unbelievable – the actors have been knocking it out of the park thus far.
When at the core of it, what bothers me is that this may very well be the only conclusion we get to this story. If George never finishes the books, we are left with the imagery of Arya Stark – a girl who failed her faceless man training, became a completely different character off-screen between seasons – falconing her way past a wall of others to assassinate the big baddie of the series when she struggled to get past a Resident Evil-esque library full of wights.
The NK had been this methodical planner, strategically killing Viserion, amassing an army of the dead, utilizing Crastor’s sacrifices only to get one-shotted by a little girl who had spent the episode in mortal peril to the Night King’s lesser.
Just please, somebody make that make sense to me.
I like Arya, considerably less since season 5, but I like her all the same. What I don’t like is the Azor Ahai prophecy being completely thrown out the window just to achieve an edgy shot of Arya tricking a primordial being with a dagger sleight of hand.
The more I think, the less enthused I am about that conclusion.
So again, I will be back with a concise, elaboration of my thoughts concerning this episode. I don’t think it was bad in the context of D & D’s GOT world, but it was bad in conjunction with past season’s buildup. I have time this weekend, hopefully Saturday night I can write out the review I imagined and not get stuck in plot hole paradoxes.
Did you enjoy the Battle of Winterfell? What would you have changed about this episode? Which characters do you think should have perished?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to bookmark this page and come back next Sunday for another Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode recap and review!
⊙ Remember, This World is a Shadow of the Real One.