Greetings my Throne Geeks!
Beware of Spoilers!
Game of Thrones released an 82 minute long episode. Titled ‘The Long Night’, my, oh my, was it long, and dark! This action-packed episode comes after two very thoughtful bottle episodes. If the series was split into two, episode 1, 2 and 3 could be viewed as a long feature length 190 minute movie.
An opening long-tracking shot that follows Sam, and Tyrion and leads to the ramparts of Winterfell. This tells the audience that this episode is going to be shot beautifully. We begin at the front of the defence. The Dothraki Horde stare into the blackness. There are ominous noises coming from the shadows and then Melisandre appears and flames all their Arakhs. This leads to one of the best shots of the episode, as they accompanied by Jorah charge forward to the undead.
Jon and Dany watch from a high vantage point as the light moves away from Winterfell. Then we see what the Brienne, Jaime, Pod and the Unsullied see. The Holy Flame given from the Lord of Light slowly diminishes by the Cold and Dark. It is a brilliant, breath-taking shot as the light and life goes out from the Dothraki. Only a few horses and men, including Jorah return and it’s fast. The dead are like a wave, overtaking and overrunning the last defence of Westeros.
The audience is set on edge by the camera movement, making it impossible to differentiate between the dead and the living. We see some of the major characters in the thick of it, and several times become overrun. Sam seems to be impervious to everything, being saved by everyone, and it seems as though he is not given his hero moment, which the character deserves.
The episode is fast, and yet at several intervals takes time to catch its breath. As the moment Melisandre ignites the Holy Fire in the trench surrounding Winterfell, there is slight respite for the defending characters. The face of the dead look through the flames at their intended prey, and again this show proves why it’s one of the biggest and best made shows on TV.
But death can’t be stopped and as it closes in we see the calculated approach it takes to sacrifice its ranks over the fire to make body bridges. Then the defenders need to protect the walls, but the waves upon waves of dead keep on coming.
It’s not all just hand to hand combat. We also get an aerial battle between Drogon, Rhaegal and the undead Viserion. Jon and Dany ride their dragons burning the advancing dead until the Night King attacks on Viserion. Splitting the fight, it takes the safety net of the dragons as a last line of defence for Winterfell.
Dragons are lost, injured and disappear, and all the main characters become grounded. It becomes a last stand battle with the major characters separated and cut off trying to survive. Dany is being protected by Jorah. Brienne, Jaime, and Pod are backed up to a wall, whilst Sam seems to lie down for the entire episode. Tyrion along with Sansa and Verys are holed up in the crypts with the rest of the women and children. Beric, Hound and Arya are fighting inside the castle. Their plan was to draw out the Night King to Bran in the Godswood, and it works.
The Long Night
But this is where the episode falters. Not the stunning cinematography or the action set pieces. Not even the brightness of the episode, but the way the episode quickly culminates. As mentioned we are talking spoilers, and as such the biggest one of the series so far is the death of the Night King. Arya is told that she will kill people with brown, green and blue eyes and realises, she can kill the Night King. She does and luckily it’s at the moment he is about to kill Bran. Once he’s gone the whole army of the dead just collapse akin to the Star Wars Droid army, or the Avengers Chitauri fleet. That’s it, done. The story thread that opened the show has been concluded with this episode.
Another problem with the episode is the lack of death. As a show that went out of its way to make you like a character and then kill them off in the most horrific way possible, it seems to have lost its teeth. At the beginning of the episode we had Jon, Dany, Jorah, Tyrion, Sansa, Arya, Greyworm, Sam, Brienne, Jaime, Pod, Hound, Davos, Beric, Bran and Theon to name the few that are considered major characters. But at the end and from that list we have lost three, Jorah, Beric and Theon.
There are more deaths than this, and it seems like they tried to hit the shock factor with the death of Lyanna Mormont and Eddison Tollet, but other than that it seems to have been slightly soft. Problems come from when you see how the dead move. They seem to overtake the Dothraki quickly, and then they fly through the defence lines at a pace that overpowers the defence. But then you have Sam lying on the floor openly being attacked by a wight nut surviving. Brienne, Jaime and Pod (Possibly Davos too) are backed against a wall, a wall that the dead can scale and they all survive.
Jon seems to be the luckiest and yet worst battle planner, as he finds himself yet again surrounded as hi was in the battle of the Bastards, and close to death. Yet a moment later he has a lot of room to move and is killing wights left right and centre. It is just hard to believe that all those major characters survived.
However, overall the episode was an epic display of what the show can do with 82 minutes and a budget reportedly being upwards of $10 million for the episode. It was action packed and atmospheric. It made you feel on edge and nervous. You worried for the characters and felt uneasy throughout, but the survival rate seemed a little high for the long awaited ‘Long Night’.
Did you enjoy the episode? Do you think I’m wrong and all the survivors should have survived? Let me know @Movieultimate on Twitter or in the comments below. Thank you for reading and please share these articles.