In Episode 3 (titled “The Long Night”) of the final season of “Game of Thrones”, the long-awaited battle between the living and the dead took place at Winterfell with the good guys prevailing after Arya Stark killed the Night King to destroy the entire Army of the Dead.
Just a friendly reminder that there are major plot spoilers mentioned in this article. If you are not caught up with “Game of Thrones”, you should stop reading and come back as soon as you’re up to speed.
As the ice dragon pinned down Jon Snow, Arya Stark killed the Night King after using Bran Stark, aka the Three-Eye Raven, as bait to lure in the Night King and then incinerate him with dragon fire.
Leading up to the Battle of Winterfell, fans expected to see a huge mortality rate. The two biggest surprises during “The Long Night” were the fact that Arya murked the Night King and so many characters survived the onslaught.
WHO DIED AT WINTERFELL?
Ser Jorah Mormont
Lord Beric Dondarrion
Nearly the entire Dothraki army and their horses died during the initial wave of fighting at the Battle of Winterfell. It wasn’t even close. That’s like sending out the Golden State Warriors and seeing them lose by 100 points.
The zombie-resurrected ice dragon, Viserion, also died at Winterfell.
Many of the main characters are still alive, including two dragons, the battle-fatigued remaining Unsullied army led by Grey Worm and what little is remaining of the Stark forces. Even with two dragons, the next battle against Cersei and Golden Army of 20,000 mercenaries is almost too close to call.
Lyanna Mormont, the tough-as-nails head of the House of Mormont from the Bear Islands, emerged as one of the fiercest characters on the show. The youngest and smallest combatant in the Battle of Winterfell died after being crushed by a zombie giant. Before her tragic death, she killed the zombie giant with a dragon glass sword to the eye.
Ser Jorah Mormont spent most of the series secretly in love with Daenerys Targaryen, while constantly watching her back. Ser Jorah Mormont died trying to protect his Queen on the battlefield.
Dolorous Edd, the former Night’s Watch Commander and longtime friend to Jon Snow and Sam Tarly, was one of the first to die on the battlefield.
Theon Greyjoy died protecting Bran Stark. His kamikaze mission against the Night King seemed futile, but it set up the surprise attack by Arya. If anything, Theon gets an assist on the big kill.
The Lord of Light kept reviving Lord Beric Dondarrion because he was supposed to protect Arya at Winterfell. In this instance, both Lord Beric and Clegane the Hound were unheralded offensive linemen whose job is to protect the blind side of the star quarterback. They were valuable blockers for Arya and kept her out of harm’s way from the zombie blitz. Without Beric’s ultimate sacrifice, Arya never would have stay alive long enough to kill the Night King.
Melisandre’s Pep Talk with Arya
Melisandre knew she was going to die at Winterfell. The Red Witch served as GOT’s “deus ex machina” by showing up at the last minute.
Melisandre gave the defenders hope by lighting all of the Dothraki’s swords. She also lit the perimeter trenches with her magic. In one of the most powerful scenes in the episode, Melisandre reminded Arya about the earliest days of her training. Melisandre essentially tipped the outcome of the battle when she casually goaded Arya to finish off the Night King.
“You said I would shut many eyes forever,” said Arya.
“Brown eyes, green eyes… and blue eyes,” responded Melisandre.
It felt like a coach giving their star QB a pep talk in the locker room before going out to win the Super Bowl.
On Deck: Final Battle at Kings Landing
The next episode seems like it will be setting up the final battle sequence for control of King’s Landing. The biggest questions remaining are: 1) Who will kill Cersei? and 2) Who will still be alive to rule the Iron Throne?
Meanwhile, fans of the book have been wondering if Clegane the Hound and his brother, the Mountain, will finally meet in one final battle scene.
Cersei has been haunted by a prophecy that her younger brother will kill her. She assumed it meant Tyrion. Although she and Jamie are twins, she was born first. Technically, Jamie is a younger brother. Will Jamie kill his sister and former lover? The Lannisters always pay their debts, but which one will end up killing Cersei?
ODDS TO RULE WESTEROS
Jon Snow +135
Bran Stark +450
Sansa Stark +650
Jon and Daenerys’ Child +1200
Arya Stark +1200
Even if Jon Snow is alive at the end, will he even want to be the King of the Seven Kingdoms? He will always be the King of the North, but will he retire back to Winterfell and let Dany rule by herself?
Will both Dany and Jon die, leaving Sansa to sit on the Iron Throne? How about Robert Baratheon’s bastard Gendry the blacksmith? Arya’s new boyfriend has a right to the throne as the sole male heir remaining from House Baratheon.
According to Bovada’s “Game of Thrones” betting markets, Jon Snow continues to be the favorite to sit on the Iron Throne at +135 on the moneyline. Even though Bran Stark is now the Three-Eyed Raven, he’s the second favorite on the board. Dany is third at +550, while Sansa Stark is +650 odds to sit on the throne. Cersei is a longshot at +1400.