So not to be harsh, but after spending hours sifting through unwatchable footage I’ve come to the conclusion that I hated this episode with every fiber of my being and wish it was as good as the first and last few minutes.
(here’s a link for anyone having a problem with the embed)
-Let’s start off with what I loved. Arya killing Death was extremely sweet. Arya killing Death before he killed her brother and using the knife that had been sent to kill Bran was even sweeter. The knife that plunged the Seven Kingdoms into war, is plunged into the body of the very evil bent on destroying them. As the meme goes: poetic cinema. Plus, it’s kinda hilarious that Joffrey and Littlefinger contributed to the end of the Night King. As Bran would say, they had their parts to play.
-For book readers of course, this narrative makes no sense, since the walking dead have always been Jon’s story, Jon’s prophecy. Even on the show, Jon has been harping on about the NIght King for years. He’s the only one who seemed to see past differences and recognise the Others as an extinction level event that should make people band together. I get the feeling the writers only made Arya do it for shock value (that just happened to pay off).
-Weirdly enough, cutting off Jon from his storyline gave us a significant character choice. He saw Sam dying, overrun by wights (he later somehow escaped), and yet he didn’t help. He prioritized killing the Night King. He wasn’t not wrong. The Night King was a danger to everyone. His sacrifice didn’t pay off however. He was pinned down by a dragon and couldn’t do anything. Here he makes a great counterpart to Daenerys, someone who tried to fix the problem in front of her creating more problems for herself down the line. I wish this hadn’t happened by what I’m sure is an accident.
– I don’t know why I keep expecting Game of Thrones to be the Song of Ice and Fire. The battle for Winterfell should have been the last episode. For me it has never been about the politics, it’s been about how the politics were distracting from the world-ending danger. Now I’m supposed to believe that Cersei and Euron of all people are the final bosses?
-Sure, I was stress-sweating like a pig through the entire event, but it was the third episode of the season; I knew most of the characters would make it out alive. Sansa has unfinished business in claiming Northern Independence. Jaime and Tyrion need to face off against Bronn and Cersei. Jon can’t die until Aegon’s paraded around. After losing the entire Dothraki horde and most of the Unsullied, Grey Worm had to stick around. Davos could only die after Melisandre. I could go on forever. You can’t tease death and destruction and not deliver.
-That being said the deaths that happened made narrative sense, and with the exception of Edd were actually fulfilling.
-Jorah’s death while painful, was the best death his character could hope for. Glenn and Clarke’s chemistry has always been off the charts, making me like Jorah a lot more than I do in the books, and giving this death the gravity this episode mostly lacked.
-Theon’s death was heroic. He stood his ground, protected Bran like he’d promised Robb all those years ago. He found a place for himself and got absolution by Bran. I wish he could have lived to see his sacrifice count for something, though this was a good end.
-The one death that actually impacts the story is Lyanna’s. She went out fighting, but her voice at the council will be missed. Her death was probably the hardest one I’ve ever had to recap.
-It was a major mistake to market this as the successor of the battle at Helm’s Deep. Helm’s Deep successfully bridged two movies, made you wonder how the heroes could survive, and presented a triumphant dawn in the image of Gandalf and Eomer charging down to battle. Imagine that, a cavalry that flanks the enemy and can actually see where it’s going.
-I don’t know who is responsible for writing the strategy behind the troop movement, but I’d like to have some words with them. Yes, the Dothraki lights going out was chilling. It was still a complete waste of human lives and a cheap way to significantly weaken Dany. The dragons barely used their fire. (Even Viserion, who melts down the walls of Winterfell, can’t touch Jon who’s hiding behind a wall and lots of plot armor?) The siege weapons were barely touched. The crypts happened. The living can never truly plan for the undead, however, all things considered this was weak.
-Photography on this show has been a problem for a while. It was only as I started the episode that I realised I was in for a squinting-induced headache. This isn’t an indie film by a young director wanting to experiment with natural light. It’s a pop culture event that cost millions, and the time and effort of hundreds of people was obscured by poor lighting. After looking at 100k and more stills, I’m surprised the editors who had to look at that for weeks didn’t stage a revolt.
-All in all, I dislike zombie stories and this is a perfect example of why. The villains have no real purpose or character and anyone that survives does so by sheer luck or more accurately authorial intent.
-I have so much more to say, but it’s past 4am here and I need to post before I rock myself back and forth into a state. (I’m actually doing that.)