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Home ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 3 ‘The Long Night’ Recap: A Battle of Ice and Fire

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 3 ‘The Long Night’ Recap: A Battle of Ice and Fire

BY David Riley

Published 5 years ago

'Game of Thrones' Season 8, Episode 3 'The Long Night' Recap: A Battle of Ice and Fire

In what is deemed as the longest Game of Thrones episode yet (we still have three to go), season 8, episode 3, titled “The Long Night,” is where everything comes full circle. The most stressful war of the entire show has just breezed through us like a horde of Wights.

This is your warning. If you haven’t seen episode 3 yet, get the hell out of here! But if you want to brave through the storm, you better buckle up.

“The Long Night” finally showed us the long-awaited war between the living and the dead—the fire-wielders and the ice-bearers. We never thought this day would come, but here it is in its horrifying glory. After last week’s calmGame of Thrones hit us with a massive ball of flaming intensity and crippling anxiety tonight as the Night King and his cohorts marched towards Winterfell. The entire episode also features the longest war sequence in TV and Film history, clocking in at 1 hour and 20 minutes. From start to finish, one can never deny the sheer power of the Wights and the determination it cost to fight for those who are alive.

Lives were lost, but the victory was claimed. In the end, we won.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Gwendoline Christie in Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Helen Sloan/HBO

Let’s Take a Moment to Honor our Dearly Departed

We all knew that a lot of people were going to die tonight. Most of our predictions came true, but thank god it didn’t happen to the key people that most fans were rooting for (yes, Ser Brienne of Tarth [Gwendoline Christie] fans, she’s alive).

But despite us knowing the cost of fighting the ice zombies, we had an inkling of hope when Melisandre (Carice van Houten) re-emerged to serve the Lord of Light one last time. She literally came bearing fire in her hands, allowing the Dothraki to have a weapons upgrade ala Beric Dondarrion’s (Richard Dormer) flaming sword. But it wasn’t enough. The first 30 minutes of the episode showed us that we might be wrong after all. The overwhelming amount of Wights took over the initial infantry, killing almost all of them and leaving a few alive to flee.

The Night King advanced, covering Winterfell in a thick blanket of a blizzard, making Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) unable to fly through the snow and offer aerial support. It was a hopeless case.

The first casualty of the Great Wight War was Eddison Tollett (Ben Crompton), who died fighting to his last breath as Samwell Tarly’s (John Bradley) protector. Then, as the Wights breached the trench of fire (courtesy of the Night King sacrificing a few of his zombies) and the walls of Winterfell, Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey), also fell by the hands of a zombified giant. As the giant crushed Lyanna’s body, she was able to stab it with dragonglass before she finally fell. Beric also died an honorable death after helping Arya (Maisie Williams) and the Hound (Rory McCann) escape the horde.

Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) died at the hands of the Night King, after a final attempt to protect Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright)  who’s busy exploring Winterfell while warging as a raven. He was able to find closure from all the wrongs he did to the Stark kids, allowing him to die honorably and at peace. Ser Jorah Mormont also bade goodbye to Dany after succumbing to the multiple stab wounds he got from the Wight army.

There were a number of false deaths, with the literally dark (you can’t see a thing in this episode!) chapter almost killing off Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Ser Brienne, and Sam. I’m not sure, though, if Dany’s dragon, Drogon, is still alive after collapsing from a face-off with a massive horde that clamped their fucking weapons on him. As Dany mourned Jorah, Drogon landed next to her—seemingly resting his head forever.

Melisandre also died today, after making sure that the living won against the Dead. She took off her necklace and allowed herself to succumb to the death that has been long waiting for her.

Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Helen Sloan/HBO

Arya: “Not Today, Satan!”

Lots of moments took our breath away during “The Long Night.” When the Wights were able to breach the trench, the remaining soldiers were forced to fall back. The Unsullied were almost wiped out entirely. Most of the Dothraki weren’t able to make it out alive. The Wights climbed the walls of Winterfell and landed inside, causing more deaths and gaining more zombie allies.

We all thought that Arya might meet her fate tonight, but boy, we were wrong!

There’s an entire sequence where Arya had to fight the wights who made its way inside the castle. At first, she was able to fend them off, but the sheer volume of ice zombies pouring in was too much. That’s when she had to play a little game of hide-and-seek with the horde, only to be seen by a Wight and chased after like it’s the fucking Olympics. Luckily, the Hound and Beric (RIP) were able to carry her to safety. As the two rest it out for round 2, Melisandre comes in to supply Arya with the necessary courage to fight the Wights. The Red Woman stressed her prophecy about Arya “shutting many eyes forever,” to which Melisandre beams and stressed, “brown eyes, green eyes, and blue eyes.” And as the zombies banged on the door, Melisandre asked Arya, “what do we say to the God of Death?” To which Arya replied, “not today,” echoing the words of her former sparring teacher back in season 1.

That’s when Arya knew her ultimate purpose—to kill the Night King himself. We all thought Jon was going to save everyone, but it was a funny scene to see the Night King turn his back on him and reanimate the corpses around them. “I have no time for an insignificant imp like you,” the Night King seems to think.

With all hope lost, and the fighters tired from fending off the Wights, the Night King stomped into the Weirwood Tree garden, where Bran is holed up. As the Night King readies to kill Bran, Arya jumps in for the kill. The head zombie was able to block Arya’s attack, but she was able to stab him with Lord Baelish’s dragonglass knife. ANd here I was thinking he was going to snap her neck off.

The Night King shatters to ice, ending the threat of the Wight Walkers once and for all.

Kit Harington in Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Helen Sloan/HBO

‘Game of Thrones: The Long Night’ Overall Verdict

“The Long Night” is a triumph for Game of Thrones, as it overshadows the show’s biggest war sequences to date—”Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards.” It surpasses all expectations and breaks every record held by war scenes on the small screen and the movies. It trumps the grandest of the grand battle scenes, but certainly not enough to be on par with The Lord of the Rings‘ level. There are a couple of dings and bumps in the plot, especially that of Bran’s warging and Jon and Dany’s failure to execute the plan fully and take advantage of their two dragons.

Director Miguel Sapochnik was able to masterfully execute the Game of Thrones episode of all episodes. With a balance of fear, action, and victory, Sapochnik crafted a chapter that would go on to sear our minds for a long time—one that would definitely hit the history books. Each sequence was shot with precision, maintaining the overarching feeling of dread and defeat in every scene. There were a couple of touching breathers like Sansa and Tyrion’s tender moment at the crypts, and Theon asking for Bran’s forgiveness repeatedly before meeting his own end. But “The Long Night” never stops dragging the viewer across the ice, making sure that we feel the pain and stress every step of the way.

At any rate, “The Long Night” achieves a long-running desire for fans to see the ultimate endgame—how will they survive the Night King? That question was answered fittingly and satisfactorily tonight. Years of foreshadowing from the very first seasons of Game of Thrones culminated in an epic display of valor and defeat, shaming Avengers: Endgame week in the process.

We barely made it out alive, but we’re still standing. We lost good people, but nothing could ever be more exciting than knowing that there is still another war to be won—the Seven Kingdoms will soon have its rightful ruler on the Iron Throne.

Game of Thrones continues next Sunday, May 5, at 9/8c on HBO. Watch the preview below:

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