And to think that when I watched Endgame I thought it was the high point of my weekend!!!

GOT Season 8 Episode 3 might have been a fitting end to the story, if it weren’t titled Game of Thrones. Now we have been reminded that life exists after the Battle of Winterfell.

This was a fitting climax to the preparations for the battle, and while there were fewer deaths than I imagined, I still have some mourning to do for my dear Lyanna, who in an act of extreme bravery took on Wun Wun.

I am not only saying this with hindsight. As the opening sequence started I was asking myself why Clarisse Van Hooten’s name was still there… and shortly thereafter she responded by lighting up the way, even though that light was soon to be extinguished. This was her episode really, and even those who hated her after the murder of Shireen Baratheon will be forced to accord her the honour of having contributed significantly to the resolution of the Night King issue. I also wondered why she stared at Arya. I should have known.

The episode starts with intense trepidation. We see the face of Samwell, Tyrion, Davos, Bran, the stark sisters… everything points to the impending battle, and the certainty of death. Melisandre gives us some hope, lighting up the Dothraki swords, but that hope is extinguished as the flaming swords disappeared into the darkness, and terrified horses ran back. The chills I felt then were not from my air conditioner!

Credit to the Unsullied. Their defence of the retreat was magnificent in its order and courage. Those guys are the best army I have seen in a while. And it appears, Grey Worm survived the battle! I had expected him to be one of those to be lost.

Aegon (sorry, Jon) and Dany were suboptimal, if you ask me. This is not their fault, but rather was a factor of what they had to deal with. Viseron outdid them, in my opinion, even without the Night King to guide it eventually. I also expected them to concentrate more on cremating the wights, rather than looking for the Night King, whom they were eventually practically powerless against. Jon again gets not one, but two miraculous escapes. First Dany and Drogon save him after the Night King performs his latest “raise the dead” trick, then finally when Viserion is about to coldburn him…

Let us at this point give honour to those we lost in this battle – Friendzone Jorah, Lyanna Mormont (there go the Mormonts), Edd of the Night Watch, Beric Dondarrion (who ran out of lives), Theon (Who has finally redeemed himself), and Melisandre, who was most impactful. I shall not also forget the Dothraki, who travelled across the seas out of their comfort zone to their deaths.

There is no need to dwell on the interactions between those who hid in the crypt, so we can focus on the Arya, the star of the show. Arya’s bravery in battle was to be expected, as we watched here develop in skills and character over the years. Being chased through Winterfell by the wights was terrifying and thrilling but it was still no preparation from the final showdown. Her final move was indicative of not just her assassin skills, but her practicality, as she saw what needed to be done and did it. With this action, it will be difficult to dislodge her as the heroine of the entire story. To think that after all these seasons of being a badass, the Night King was defeated not by a dragon or by a resurrected Jon, but by this barely adult girl! Kudos to Arya.

In the end, we are reminded that it was never really about the Night King, but about the Throne. So finally we can focus on Cersei despite the severely depleted army. I think the producers have been really courageous, giving us this spectacle with three more episodes to go. We start to get the feeling that the rest of the show will be somewhat anticlimactic. Where do you go from what we witnessed in the Battle of Winterfell?

Se we wait till next week for the rebuilding of Winterfell and the inevitable shift of focus to King’s Landing, we will ruminate on what the defeat of the Night King will mean for the allies, as it might as easily drive them apart as bind them together. Cersei might eventually not be the only enemy, as our heroes might have to conquers themselves, and first allow honour to triumph over ambition and greed.

Review by Noel Orji @norji

4/5 (1)

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