Sansa Snark: Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3

Previously, on recapping Game of Thrones… They spent the entire CGI budget on this episode, so by necessity, last week was nothing but an hour of glorious talking. This week, Sansa Snark presents much less talking in:

Season 8, Episode 3: The Long Night

Well. That sure was an episode, huh? An hour-plus of Game of Thrones at its most action-y that was about 39% well lit, 82% coherent, and 100% tense from start-to-finish.

Sam — as always, really — is an audience surrogate here. His face, rife with anxiety that says, “I am not sure if I am going to be emotionally equipped to handle what’s about to happen” speaks for all of us. When we make it to the front lines with Sam, the look is the same. It’s the same later when we see Edd stabbed by a Tommy Wiseau-looking wight right in front of our eyes. The look is definitely the same even later in the episode when Sam is just straight up lying down, crying, yet continuing to fight off the dead. That’s “The Long Night” summed up, if you think about it. An emotionally taxing marathon-sprint (yes, both) where you just want to lay down and cry, only no amount of doing either is going to stop the dead from coming through that door, over that wall, or on the backs of other dead who have sacrificed themselves by laying down on top of a fire.

Photo: HBO

Fortunately, the humans literally only have to do one thing to win the day: defeat The Night King, an ancient un-killable evil that will murder your entire family and then bring your dead family back to life to murder you. Easy.

In charge of that department, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow: incest-crossed lovers, dragon-havers, soon to be supplanted as hottest couple in the Seven Kingdoms. That second thing is overall what makes them most equipped to handle Night King duties, because let me tell you, it sure ain’t their military minds.

Must be a Targaryen thing, to break off from the plan at the first sign of trouble. Back during “Battle of the Bastards,” secret Targaryen Jon Snow completely scuttles a perfectly good plan to run out to the middle of the battlefield to save poor, helpless Rickon. It was a foolish decision that would have lost the battle if not for the ingenuity of a Stark sister. In this battle, one with decidedly even higher stakes, Daenerys does the same.

As everyone waits for the battle to start, Melisandre waltzes in from wherever it is she’s been living to start handing out orders. Classic Melisandre. She tells Jorah to tell the Dothraki to lift their swords, and then she uses Lord of Light magic to ignite every single one of them. Surely an eyebrow or two were singed in the process. Jorah and for some reason Ghost then lead them all on a headlong charge into darkness, and in a very cool-looking series of shots we see those flaming swords be extinguished one-by-one. Soon, Jorah is shown retreating along with some Dothraki, but yeah, it ain’t good. So Dany decides to break from the plan to get on her dragon to start doing dragon things. Like flying in and roasting some wights.

Photo: HBO

Her and Jon fly off to seemingly take out the White Walkers, who are really just hanging out and paying no mind. But of course there’s an ice storm, leading to Dany and Jon flying around in chaos. Truly, it’s the only stuff in the episode that doesn’t work at all. Like it was hard enough to tell what was going on throughout the episode as a result of the lighting. But, add two idiots flapping around on CGI creations in the middle of a storm, and it’s impossible to even know how to react because it’s hard to grasp what is happening. 

What is definitely happening though is that Dany, in abandoning the long-term plan for the short-term goal, is completely unable to see Davos’ signal to light the trenches on fire. The archers try to set if off, but their arrows extinguish on contact. Good thing someone with the power to summon fire waited until the last possible second to show up!

Meanwhile, the Night King is on his dragon, leading to all three dragons getting into it, or something, still very hard to tell what’s going on. Kind of sad really that the undead dragon has now unwittingly been turned against his dragon brothers. Hey, another thing that’s the result of Daenerys making a bad decision! The Night King gets knocked off his dragon, but lives because come on, while Jon crash lands and honestly I’ve got no idea if his dragon is dead or not. It ends up not mattering. But Dany has the Night King where she wants him and goes “Dracarys,” leveling him with a blast of dragon fire. Unfortunately, it has exactly zero effect. You hate to see it. The Night King continues to have a smug-ass look on his face, the prick, while Dany sort of looks like this:

Jon tries to sneak up on the Night King by running directly at him, which obviously does not work, and the Night King retaliates by raising literally all the dead. All the dead around Jon, all the dead within Winterfell, all the dead in the Winterfell crypts that were thought to be safe despite being full of dead people during a battle against a being with the ability to raise the dead. Great stuff all around for humanity!

Daenerys ends up saving Jon — so we now know who owes who in that relationship — before Jon races back to, I guess save Bran, though he never really gets close at all (more on all that to come in the next 1000 words.) Wights start boarding Drogon however, and really go to town. Drogon must get stabbed at least 9000 separate times, something which naturally jostles Dany off.

Thankfully, she’s protected from harm by none other than Jorah by god Mormont. What a character arc for this guy. In the beginning, he only had a single shirt, one that became progressively grosser over the seasons. But look at him now: a full set of badass armor. It’s a change in wardrobe that is definitely a metaphor for how Jorah was meant to spy on Daenerys, then fell in love with her and protected her, then got found out and exiled, then got Greyscale, then saved Daenerys in the Fighting Pits, then got experimental surgery to remove the Greyscale, then was formally welcomed back to the Daenerys fold, then came back to Winterfell where he reconciled with his cousin Lyanna, then sought to honor his father by way of accepting a big sword from Sam, then lost his own life to save Daenerys’. What a journey. Jorah (or Iain Glen, I guess) I’m sorry I referred to you as being played by “holographic Charlton Heston” way back in Season 2. I have no idea what that means.

Photo: HBO

Anyway, things are also going pretty terrible within Winterfell during all of that. Wights start lying down on the flaming trench, extinguishing the fire, and allowing other wights to saunter into Winterfell. The Night King is playing like 6-D Backgammon. This too is a whole chaotic affair where it honestly appears like Brienne or Jamie or Pod or Tormund or Sam or Gendry are dead on several occasions, yet end up being fine.

Arya totally wrecks shop for a bit, deploying her new Gendry-forged weapon to great success. Guess all that physical and emotional abuse in the House of Black and White was worth it after all! You know, for us viewers who had to slog through it, but seemingly for Arya too! Even so, no amount of face-stealing could prepare her for fighting hordes of the undead. They barely have any faces left to steal!

After hanging off a roof, Arya finds herself all alone inside the castle. She’s beat up and weary, and if you hear either Benioff or Weiss tell it in the “let’s explain some scenes after the show is over” things, you can tell she’s both those things because she hit her face against a wall earlier on. Geniuses, those two, I swear.

Photo: HBO

Then, Arya enters into the Metal Gear Solid/Splinter Cell portion of the program, utilizing some clever stealth techniques to avoid detection. Hiding under a table, using the sound of a book to distract easily distractible enemies, just generally sneaking around the shadows to remain unseen. At one point, Arya walks right into and quickly stabs a wight who then vomits blood and collapses onto her shoulder like a drunk friend. Finally, she gets out of the room, but wouldn’t you know it, a bunch of wights with red exclamation points above their heads come through a different nearby door to get her. Gosh darnit, hate when that happens!  

Thankfully, Beric and The Hound are on the scene. Beric throws his always-flaming sword at a dead guy and re-kills him, saving Arya. In the moments following however, Beric is severely wounded. The three of them escape into another room, where Melisandre is waiting, and where Beric dies for the very last time. In sacrificing his life for Arya, Melisandre confirms that Beric’s purpose has been served. Thanks Beric! But immediately moving on, sorry bud, Arya recalls that her and Melisandre have met before, and that Melisandre specifically said that they would meet again. Lo and behold, here they are, meeting again. What a world! Melisandre then mentions she said that Arya would shut many eyes — brown ones, green ones, hell, even some blue ones. Know any poor suckers with some blue eyes?

Photo: HBO

Then there’s the Weirwood Tree where Bran is being used as live bait to entice the Night King, and Theon is on security detail. Not much happens here for a while, though when Theon starts to apologize for previously being a shit head, Bran cuts him off with some wisdom, as is his way. Everything Theon did — every terrible, cowardly, boneheaded, idiotic, heroic thing — brought him back to Winterfell, back home where he belongs. Wow, that cuts so deep it could lead to a meaningful conversation, a fact that is Bran’s cue to get outta there. He needs to go do some bird stuff, wake him up when the Night King shows up.

Yeah, Bran wargs into a bird — or several birds? — to pass some time and amuse himself. In the meantime, Theon and his band of like eight dudes have to hold off several wights with just bows and arrows. Who planned this crap, I need to speak to their manager. Everything has gone completely sideways. Jorah is getting repeatedly stabbed while defending Dany, who also wields a sword for I think the first time and ends up saving Jorah. Sansa and Tyrion take out their daggers, share a moment, and prepare to defend the crypts and die trying. Sam is crying in a heap. Jon is out there shouting at and trying to kill a dragon by himself. It’s madness, like there’s a sense they might all get killed and we’ll all have to take the week to convince ourselves, “Well I guess we love Cersei now.” How are they going to get out of this one?

At last, the Night King shows up, long coke nails and all. Still protecting Bran, Theon is completely exhausted and crying, but willing to keep it up until the day’s end. Bran however, finally snaps out of bird-mode. He absolves Theon of his sins, telling him he’s a good man and thanking him. Full of the kind of adrenaline that can only come with coming full circle as a character, Theon charges the Night King and… gets tragically cut down rather easily. Had to lovingly cradle my large dog like a baby and rub his head for a bit just to cope. No lie. 

Now Bran is face-to-face with the Night King himself. In effect, face-to-face with the god of death. But what do we say to the God of Death?

Photo: HBO

A cool breeze blows, and Arya leaps out of… somewhere with a dagger. She goes to stab the Night King, but he catches her by the throat! Luckily, Arya’s entire training is based around being physically abused, and she deftly drops the dagger from one hand to the other and KILLS THE EM EFFING NIGHT KING. All the White Walkers and wights then die too. Like I said, the humans literally only had to do one thing to win the day. Easy. All thanks to the ingenuity of a Stark sister. Meanwhile, the Night King — the poor blue-eyed sucker — blew about a 3000-1 lead. Straight up bodied.

In the aftermath, Jorah dies from his wounds and Dany is very upset, as per Jorah’s previously covered character arc. Drogon flies in and presses F to pay respects. Melisandre, her purpose served, removes the magical de-aging choker and walks out into the snow to die. 

But, The Long Night prevented, humanity lives to fight another day. Now what?

Spare thoughts that are hiding in a bush or something, waiting for the perfect moment to stab the Night King:

  • The Long Night is what the Night King calls his dick.
  • Also happening in this episode: Sansa, Tyrion, Missandei, Varys, Gilly, Little Sam and a whole bunch of other nameless Northerners get relegated to the crypts because they are worthless in battle. This especially upsets Tyrion who thinks that if he just had a good enough vantage point, he could crack this thing wide open. Sansa informs him he would die, that witty remarks won’t save him up there. Looks like I wouldn’t make it through the battle either! There’s also a moment where they talk about the Dragon Queen coming between any future Sansa-Tyrion re-marriage, but Missandei is quick to remind them that they wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for the Dragon Queen. Clearly, there’s still some issues to work out. Hey, this paragraph was probably long enough to put in the main text.
  • Also also happening in this episode: Jamie lived, Brienne lived, Pod lived, Gendry lived, Tormund lived, Sam lived, most people we care about and have spent a lot of time with lived. If I can be a bloodthirsty mongrel for a sentence or two, more main characters should have died! Sansa should have been forced to kill a re-animated Rickon! We see Edd and Lyanna Mormont turned into wights, but nothing comes of either. Have Sam kill Edd, or Lyanna, or both! Bring back some of that unpredictability that made some people quit watching the show after The Red Wedding! 
  • Speaking of deaths, the Dothraki are like at least 99% dead, right? This must be Benioff and Weiss’ revenge for not getting to make Confederate, the show that speculates “What if black people still slaves?” DAMN THEM!
  • That said, Grey Worm does live to see another day, as does Missandei, so Game of Thrones is still running strong with a whopping TWO minority supporting characters.
  • Lyanna Mormont stabs a giant in the eye and I realized she is the physical (fictional) embodiment of that Fearless Girl statue that became a feminist icon despite being funded by a Wall Street corporation to promote a mutual fund.
  • Really hope we still get some more details about the Night King and his relation to everything, and it’s not just left at “Evil thing does evil things because evil thing is evil.” We deserve to know, we sat through so much Bran junk to get here.
  • Arya and Gendry surely now hold the honor of Hottest Couple in the Seven Kingdoms.
  • I got out of Avengers: Endgame less than two hours before this episode started, so it was quite the emotional Sunday for me.

That just about wraps it up for this episode. We lived bitch. Halfway home. Follow me on Twitter here and on Instagram here. If you want to read more of my work, I write about music for Tiny Mix Tapes and about pro wrestling for Fansided. Check out any and all prior editions of Sansa Snark here. Sorry for any weird ads, I don’t have enough money to pay for a premium WordPress. See you all back here on the Tuesday after next week’s episode where the stakes are going to feel so much lower! 

One thought on “Sansa Snark: Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3

  1. Since Arya has supernatural stealth powers why did she not stab Mr. Ice Balls a long time ago?Why was she not waiting behind the tree with Bran who was the ICE King bait? Why did she not attack as Theon charged?. Were I writing this episode I would have to wonder why Arya is not guilty of dereliction of duty. Maybe wasting the Dothraki cavalry, then the unsullied army, and other characters makes for compelling action but it exposes a gaping hole in the plot. GOT became popular because any of our beloved characters could die at any moment. This episode puts an end to that aspect of the show. I expect that Arya will inherit Westero after she dramatically slice’s Cersei’s head off. Then I expect to see her in the next Avenger movie, and why not. She is every female’s superhero. I want to stick a finger in my mouth and puke.
    In addition to this gaping plot hole there was way too many just in the nick of time scenes for my sensibility. I’m not interested in cliche ways our protagonist escapes. I’m much more effected when the protagonist is killed – and this used to be the GOT trademark. I found myself laughing at one cliche after another and it has left me rooting for Cersei, the one queen who did not waste her army while superwoman Arya was derelicting her duty..


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