Arya Stark emerged as the real queen of “Game of Thrones” in the Season 8, episode 3 “Battle of Winterfell.”
While Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) wept openly over the loss of her poor Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) on the battlefield, Arya scored the biggest feat of all: she killed the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) as he was about to smite Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright).
The kill acquired added significance as she did it with the same Valerian steel dagger that was used to try to assassinate Bran. Littlefinger’s dagger.
Their final confrontation was the most emotionally satisfying moment of a bloated, uneven episode. Some scenes were so dark you could not see who was fighting, living or dying. Why spend so much to show so little?
Given the 82-minute length of the episode, directed by “GoT” mainstay Miguel Sapochnik, it was shocking that the body count wasn’t higher.
Ser Friendzone needed to go. And why are Grey Worm, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Podrick and Davos (Liam Cunningham) still with us? Their logical narrative arcs concluded last Sunday night in Ep. 2.
Amid the smoke and clouds and flying dragon fights there were several dramatic highpoints. The return of Melisandre (Carice van Houten) to work her dark magic one last time was reliably spooky and surreal.
Her spell casting to fire up the dragon-glass swords was a thrilling scene. The dramatic rescue of Arya by the Hound (Rory McCann) as the wights were closing in on her was another.
These two brave soldiers tried to rescue a gravely wounded Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) but it was too late and Dormer was given a silent, moving close-up as he left the show.
Another fantastic scene happened when Daenerys thought she could wipe out the Night King by having her dragon, Drogon, scorch him with a fiery blast. While she apprehensively waited for the smoke to clear, her face went black as she saw him still standing, smirking at her.
Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) getting lifted off the ground by the undead giant and then killing him just before he squeezed her guts out made you gasp and squirm simultaneously. Theon’s (Alfie Allen) braved but doomed defense of Bran in the Godswood elevated him to hero level.
Miraculously, Winterfell did not fall and many of the main players are still alive. What’s next, after they clean up the bodies? Dany is down to one dragon, no Dothraki and a decimated Unsullied. So it’s more of an even playing field with Cersei and Euron Greyjoy and his army.
The Night King has been on posters in subway stations and we’ve been told winter has been coming for years. After all the oceans of hype, we expected more.
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