‘Game of Thrones’: Have We Seen The Last of Winter?

This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3.

Coming in at about an hour and a half, “The Long Night” is certainly long and certainly dark. Much of the episode takes place on the battlefield in the dead of night or the depths of the crypt. Save for Melisandre lighting the weapons of the Dothraki army, there were few light-filled (and few other hopeful) moments of the episode.

Many Game of Thrones fans are complaining about how dark the episode is.   

It’s definitely an episode better watched in utter darkness (hope your home is White Walker-proof!), utter silence, and close to the TV.  

But if you can make out everything that’s going on (again, not a terribly easy feat), it’s worth the strain on the eyes. Watching such a dark episode allows the viewer to more easily put themselves on the battlefield, in the depths of the crypt with the characters. The night is long, dark, cold, confusing, terrifying. An episode working to convey such characteristics can’t be well lit.

Throughout the episode, we get to watch several of our key characters look death in the eyes and react according to their truest selves. Exposed, we learn who they are. We see Jon Snow ride a dragon as if it’s in his blood or something, we watch Lyanna Mormont, filled with the bravery of five grown members of the Night’s Watch, take down a literal giant walker in exchange for her life, Jorah dies exactly how he’s always envisioned himself dying–protecting Daenerys, Bran gives the Night King his signature dead-in-the-eyes stare, Melisandre poofs into a cloud of old lady dust, and Arya fulfills her destiny (with an assist from the just barely redeemed Theon).    

Have we seen the last of the Night King and the Army of the Dead?

We’ve been building up to this battle since the first episode when we were first introduced to White Walkers. From the moment that little undead girl flashed her piercing blue eyes we realized, throughout the remainder of the show, no matter what other kingdoms were quarreling, there was always a bigger, scarier battle to be won.

Season 8 Episode 3 wrapped up the battle in one long, dark night. Because we’ve been building up to it for so long and because there are three remaining episodes, “Is it really over?” is a natural question to have. In terms of which battle seemed more impossible to survive, the battle against the undead won over the war against Cersei.

Additionally, did the visions of Kings Landing covered in snow and ice mean nothing?

The writers and producers suggest the end of the Night King

But during the look inside the episode that takes place after the show, Executive Producer and Writer David Benioff used pretty definitive language about the battle we just witnessed, suggesting that this really is the end of the Night King.

“This is the culmination of one of the key storylines in the whole show. And this is for everything. We’ve been talking for a long time how Night King’s forces have been growing in power and most of the living have been kind of openly disdainful of the threat, and now there’s no choice but to fight it.”

The Game of Thrones Cast | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO
The Game of Thrones Cast | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

He talks about the death of the Night King. How it had to be Arya, how she had to use Valyrian steel, and how it had to take place where the child of the forest put the dragonglass blade to create the Night King in the first place.

“It’s a victory for the living, but at great cost because some of our favorite characters fall along the way.”

If this is really it for the Night King and the Army of the Dead, the upcoming battle against Cersei must be earth-shattering.

Here’s to the three remaining episodes, and a happy spring.