HBO game of Thrones It is a dense series with a great weight of history behind its history. So in pretty much every episode, something happens that might need a little explanation. Weekly, The edge We will dive into a scene or event from the last episode of the series and explain how we got here. If you are basically a game of Thrones If you need a reminder about past events, we will try to help you keep your history in order.
Oh boy. game of ThronesThe longest episode in history, “The Long Night,” featured a show that was regarded as a battle unlike any other seen on television. (Depending on your TV settings, it may have literally gone unnoticed, seriously, it was about an hour and a half in low light, prompting an endless wave of complaints from viewers struggling to figure out what was going on. ). Television episode that focused primarily on the play-by-play of the war against the undead. So instead of our usual weekly breakdown, this week we’ll look at some of the smaller moments seeded throughout the show’s past that finally paid off here.
Spoilers ahead for game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3, “The Long Night”.
Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes.
Okay, let’s start this episode’s big event here: Arya kills the Night King. But while he seemed to come out of nowhere to stab the feared leader of the White Walkers, his role in this story has been seeded for years, with his Faceless Man training and the foreshadowing of his Valyrian steel dagger giving him all the tools you need. necessary.
But as the episode reminds us, the harbinger of the great slaughter goes back even further, to Season 3, Episode 6, when Melisandre meets Arya for the first time and utters a prophecy: “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, the eyes stare at me: brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes that you will close forever. We will meet again. “
As it would happen, the reunion he promised occurred at the Battle of Winterfell. And the blue eyes that Arya would close forever would be those of the Night King, along with all the other wight and White Walkers, all of whom sprang from him.
The Red Woman and the Onion Knight
But where did Melisandre suddenly come from? The enigmatic Red Priestess of R’hllor (aka The Lord of Light) reappears this week after doing nothing for the past two seasons, once she accomplished her task of resurrecting Jon Snow at the start of Season 6. That was also when we learned Melisandre is far from the young woman she appears to be. Her magic is tied to her jeweled necklace – when she takes it off, she regains her true form as an incredibly old woman.
His magic has also tended to be somewhat erratic in the series, perhaps due to his advanced age: while he was able to retrieve Jon Snow and murder Renly Baratheon with a shadow baby, his other attempts at spells and communication with his god have it has been less successful, as when Stannis killed his only daughter, Shireen, to secure a military victory against the Boltons, which he later failed to obtain. Shireen’s murder (and the lackluster advice Melisandre gave Stannis) are some of the reasons that the normally calm and kind Ser Davos promised to kill Melisandre.
These tendencies also return in this episode: Melisandre is able to ignite the blades of Dothraki warriors easily, but spends crucial seconds trying and failing the trenches around Winterfell to block the warrior’s attack later in battle. And in the end, it seems that his strength has been exhausted, or he feels that his purpose has been fulfilled: he takes off his necklace for the last time and goes out to his death in front of the gate of Winterfell at the end of the battle.
Theon Greyjoy’s apology tour.
While Bran Stark’s overall battle plan is extremely enigmatic, like basically everything Bran does and says at this point in his role as the mystical three-eyed raven, one part of his strategy is clear: he relies on Theon Greyjoy for his self defense as the forces of Winterfell attempt to lure the night king into a trap.
On the surface that may seem like an odd move, given that in season 2, Theon betrays Bran, who was serving as the acting lord of Winterfell in the absence of his brother, Robb Stark, who went to fight as King in the North in the war of the five kings. Theon sells Bran to ingratiate himself with his estranged father, Balon Greyjoy, though that doesn’t work, because Balon is kind of a dick.
Regardless, Theon takes over Winterfell, breaking the trust of the family that raised and raised him. But he saw no joy in his conquest: House Bolton gained control of Winterfell and the North, leading to the season’s abuses of Theon at the hands of Ramsay Bolton.
But at least Theon could say he didn’t kill Bran or his younger brother Rickon, who later died anyway, at the hands of Ramsay. Instead, he secretly released them. And between helping Sansa escape Ramsay, saving her sister Yara, returning to Winterfell to fight the undead, and defending Bran with his life, Theon ultimately earned Bran’s praise and a sense of redemption, even facing the Night King.
The seven lives of the Lord of Lightning.
Beric Dondarrion is not a wight, but perhaps the closest thing: where Jon Snow died and was brought back once, Beric was resurrected by his friend, the Red Priest, Thoros of Myr six times. His final death presumably occurred this episode, given that both Thoros and Melisandre are now dead.
Throughout the show, Beric has assumed that the Lord of Light has been bringing him back to life all this time with great purpose. This week, we found out what that was: Beric managed to save Arya’s life against a group of fights, keeping her fighting so she could kill the Night King, seemingly for the better.
That may seem anticlimactic, given how quickly everything happens, and you don’t even live to see the effect of your sacrifice. But his protection of Arya does speak to something more significant: the coherence between the prophecies that Melisandre had of the Lord of Light and those that Thoros had. Together, they have a dramatic theological impact on the world of Westeros as a whole, implying that there is greater power at work, with some kind of divine plan.
The disappearance of the night king
The Night King is dead, killed not by dragon fire or some other esoteric magic, but by a Valyrian steel blade across his chest. And while it may seem like a mere possibility that Arya succeeded where all other attempts to destroy the Night King failed, there may be more to it than that.
In season 6, episode 5, Bran has a vision in which he experiences the creation of the Night King by the Children of the Forest. It was originally intended as a weapon to destroy humanity, which was trespassing on the Children’s lands and destroying their sacred Weirwood trees. But the children’s plan. spectacularly failed
In that vision, Bran sees a man stabbed in the chest by a dragonglass dagger right next to a Weirwood tree, creating the Night King, the original White Walker who would give birth to all the other White Walkers.
It’s no coincidence that similar conditions were present when Arya killed the Night King: a stab wound to the chest in front of a Weirwood tree. Looking closely at the fatal moment, it appears that Arya even stabs the Night King in the same spot where he was wounded to enact his original transformation.
In fact, given Bran’s seemingly advanced prediction abilities, and the fact that he returned the dagger to Arya in season 7, it’s entirely possible that this entire battle is simply the final move in a long-running plan on his part. to lure the Night King into conditions that could allow Arya to destroy him once and for all.
Why are they the Weirwoods?
But that brings us to the story that never worked: the Weirwood trees themselves. Entire career of game of Thrones has been alluding to greater power in the Weirwood, including the popular theory that Bran could somehow use them to burn the wings to death. But after all the omen and flame spirals, after the reveal that the Weirwoods can destroy fights, after the setups that connect them to both the Westerosi religion and pre-human magic … those clues seem to have gone nowhere. part. It’s easy to imagine an ending where Bran activates the latent magic of the Weirwoods and destroys the Night King once he’s lured to the sacred land. That would be his own way of tying the death of the Night King to his birth. But apparently not. That was a ton of build-up for a surprisingly small reward.