They weren’t kidding about the night being dark and full of terrors.
The much-anticipated, almost-apocalytpic Battle of Winterfell unfolded entirely in the post-sundown, pre-sunrise hours, certifying that it will go down in the Westerosi history books as “The Long Night.”
Not coincidentally, that’s also the title of the third episode of Game of Thrones’s final season, and it’s a plus-sized installment — the total running time was 82 minutes, over an hour of which was battle footage — that took the word “dark” a little too literally.
Complaints about not being able to see who was doing the killing — and, more importantly, who was doing the dying — were rampant on Twitter.
Dear people making TV shows,
THE VIEWERS AT HOME WOULD PREFER IF THEY COULD SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING ON SCREEN STOP MAKING EVERYTHING SO DARK.
Everyone watching tonight’s #GameOfThrones #GoT #BattleOfWinterfell
— With Courteous Passion, Nic (@CloneNic) April 29, 2019
— Kayla Schmidt (@get_schmidty) April 29, 2019
Article says GOT is dark because the show’s creators wanted it to be realistic.. ITS A SHOW ABOUT FLYING DRAGONS AND ZOMBIES, NO ONE IS HERE FOR REALISM - GIMME SOME LIGHT https://t.co/nPPGOUYL2b
— Casey Neistat (@CaseyNeistat) April 29, 2019
— Atrox13 (@_atrox13_) April 29, 2019
Let’s thank R’hllor that there was enough light for everyone to see the moment that clinched the Battle of Winterfell for the good guys: Arya’s finishing move that reduced the Night King to so many ice particles.
With his White Walkers overwhelming the army of the living, the undead general strode confidently towards his true prey: Bran Stark, aka the Three-Eyed Raven, aka the living memory of Westeros.
Just before he could skewer the seemingly helpless Bran, Arya leapt out of the shadows with her Valyrian steel dagger at the ready.
She wasn’t fast enough to take him by surprise, though; he caught her in midair and she dropped her weapon ... but not very far.
Her other hand shot out, grabbed the falling dagger and ran it through the Night King’s body — a finishing move that but will now forever be known as the “Stark Special.”
Although, as some fans noted, Arya’s not the first person to employ that particular trick.
ARYA WITH THE HAND SWITCH!!! pic.twitter.com/Ahxbpn6mJh
— MICHAEL ARMSTEAD (@rmstead_) April 29, 2019
— Nancy (@slightecho_) April 29, 2019
— Lights, Camera, Pod (@LightsCameraPod) April 29, 2019
— Bail E-A (@Bail_Skywalker) April 29, 2019
— Hodor Rewards (@HodorRewards) April 29, 2019
— gab ARYA STARK ☭ (@barb13lle) April 29, 2019
— León (@imsebastianleon) April 29, 2019
Arya’s bold gambit ensured that “The Long Night” ended with most of the major players still living and breathing as the focus of the battle shifts from the Night King to Queen Cersei.
The survivor list includes everyone from Jon and Daenerys to Brienne and Jaime to Grey Worm and Missandei. (Animal lovers take heart: even if you didn’t see them in the battle’s immediate aftermath, the previews for next week’s episode confirm that both Rhaegal and Ghost are alive as well.)
And yet, there are some popular personalities who won’t live to see who gets to sit on the Iron Throne. Here’s our ranking of the episode’s big deaths in terms of emotional impact, along with some fond words of farewell.
6. Dolorous Edd
And now his watch has ended. Jon and Sam’s buddy from their Night Watch days died so that young Tarly could live. It’s a shame he’s gone, but dying for a brother-in-arms is probably a better end than freezing to death alone on the Wall.
RIP Dolorous Edd. Your incomparable pessimism will be missed pic.twitter.com/Y9CswEzIlo
— Kaleigh Guthrie (@kguthrie30) April 29, 2019
Its an awful thing to find a brother dead, Lord Snow~Dolorous Edd, ACOK
and now his watch ends RIP pic.twitter.com/88XaUYMWDs
— dina (@jonsarya) April 29, 2019
Not for nothing, but she told us upfront that she wasn’t going to survive the long night. Reappearing just in time to light a literal fire under the Winterfell army for the fight ahead, she took her leave of this world at the exact moment the sun came up, removing the necklace that kept her young and falling to the frozen ground. Her former nemesis, Ser Davos, watched her as she died, his expression not one of grief or anger ... just sadness
Well damn. Melisandre keeps her promises. Jon Snow never saw her in the North again, and she died at dawn. That's integrity for you @MBuhari
— Leto I Atreides (@zvko_) April 29, 2019
— Mr McC 👌🏻 (@_mikeymccarthy_) April 29, 2019
4. Theon Greyjoy
Despite Bran’s proclamation that the former Reek is a “good man,” we’re not ready to forgive Theon for his many transgressions over the course of the show. That said, he did race towards certain death with admirable bravery. Call it a draw.
— sing me my dunce's tune (@catharted) April 29, 2019
Alfie Allen really brought #TheonGreyjoy to life
Over the course of the show, he’s had this ability to make us feel so many emotions towards Theon
Alife is an absolutely brilliant actor and it’s been a privilege watching him on #GameOfThrones
What Is Dead May Never Die. pic.twitter.com/hNojs7jqn6
— Nas (@TheSunCameOut) April 29, 2019
3. Beric Dondarrion
Armed with Westeros’s equivalent of a lightsaber — as well as a 1-Up mushroom — Ser Beric was always one of our favorite supporting players in the game for the Iron Throne. And we only liked him more after he lost his immortality: with permanent death suddenly around every corner, he became a better fighter and a braver man.
THE LORD OF LIGHT KEPT BRINGING BACK BERIC DONDARRION BECAUSE HIS ROLE WAS TO SAVE ARYA — THE GIRL WHO WOULD DELIVER THE FINAL BLOW.
MELISANDRE KNEW IT. BRAN KNEW IT. BERIC KNEW IT. RIP TO A REAL ONE.#GameofThrones #DemThrones pic.twitter.com/0biqY9iNtm
— Denizcan James (@MrFilmkritik) April 29, 2019
— Henry Riles (@HenryPRiles) April 29, 2019
2. Jorah Mormont
He’s survived Dothraki challengers, the Siege of Meereen and Greyscale, but brave Ser Jorah fell at last before the sun came up on the ruins of Winterfell. You can’t say he didn’t go down fighting, though, swinging his sword to protect his queen and one true love, Daenerys, until the very end.
— Michel Hovel (@michelhovel) April 29, 2019
1. Lyanna Mormont
Like it could have been anyone else. Despite her young age, Lyanna proved herself every bit the knight that her first cousin, Jorah, was by single-handedly taking on the zombie giant rampaging through Winterfell. Even as he crushed her body, he couldn’t crush her fighting spirit — with her final breaths, she stabbed him through the eye with dragonglass. True, she later rose and died again courtesy of the Night King, but that first death is one for the history books.
— MOVIEDEATHS (@MOVIEDEATHBLOWS) April 29, 2019
Build Lyanna Mormont a statue in the courtyard of Winterfell 😤
— Braden Sullivan (@SullivanBraden) April 29, 2019