Game of thrones season 8 episode 3 recap: the ice man cometh

Discussing “The Long Night,” from Arya lớn the living’s battle tactics khổng lồ the Night King’s surprising usage of James Bond villain slo-mo

HBO/Ringer illustration
After every episode of the eighth và final season of trò chơi of Thrones, staff members at The Ringer will gather at the nearest weirwood khổng lồ discuss the most interesting moments, developments, & theories. Without further avì chưng, here’s the exit survey for the third episode, “The Long Night.”

1. What is your tweet-length Reviews of “The Long Night”?

Danny Heifetz: “And what bởi vì we say to the god of death?”

Kate Knibbs: Winter finished awfully quickly for something allegedly coming for so long.

Miles Surrey: The Night King blew a 3-1 lead.

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Andrew Gruttadaro: Do you know how it feels to fear a bad guy và anticipate a battle for more than seven years và then he dies & it ends because his bodyguards fell asleep at the wheel?

Alyssa Bereznak:

Dragons Are A Waste of Time & Eat Too Much: My Column

— alyssa bereznak (
alyssabereznak) April 29, 2019

Ben Lindbergh: We want trò chơi of Thrones to surprise us, and on Sunday it did—just not always in welcome ways. Disappointment is also a sort of surprise.

Katie Baker: The great news is that climate change is a hoax!!!

2. What was the best moment of the episode?

Gruttadaro: Each & every moment involving Arya, from taking down wights with ease khổng lồ the brief, high-tension horror movie scene to lớn when she Air Jordan’ed & did the Rey knife drop from The Last Jedi & ended the Night King. That last one feels a little deflating in hindsight, but it was awesome in the moment.

Knibbs: Tyrion’s gripping Sansa’s hand. A compelling, coherent human moment in an episode heavy on nonsense spectacle.

Lindbergh: The moment we learned that the series will over with three Theon-less episodes was up there, but it can’t top the charge of the Dothraki light brigade. I didn’t mô tả the common complaint that the battle scenes were too dark or chaotic—they were just dark enough lớn remind me that the night was full of terrors, & chaotic only when the characters they featured were supposed to be bewildered, which was partly a hàng hóa of the White Walkers’ literal fog of war. But no other sequence combined the clarity, suspense, and stunning visuals of the doomed Dothraki attack.

The battle we waited nearly a decade for is over. So where does the show go from here?#TalkTheThrones: Breaking down the Battle of Winterfell and Episode 3 of the final season of #GameOfThrones.

— The Ringer (
ringer) April 29, 2019

Heifetz: When the Red Woman lit the Dothraki swords on fire, my jaw dropped và I drooled on the person next khổng lồ me so hard that you would’ve thought Arya had stabbed me in the face lượt thích she did that wight in the library.

Bereznak: Arya psyching out the Night King and stabbing him in his ice gut was an MVP move sầu for the ages, & would’ve sầu made Syrio Forel weep with pride. Not only did she rid Westeros of its one true existential threat, but she also succeeded where Dany failed. That seems relevant given the forthcoming power struggle between the North and the Dragon Queen with the serious dragon mismanagement problem.

Baker: Melisandre making all the Dothraki swords burst into flames before the fight was a genuinely moving scene that had me ready to lớn bust through a crypt wall! (We’ll just phối aside that it basically led khổng lồ an ill-fated Winterfell version of the Charge of the Light Brigade. And let’s hope there are no Dothraki left over to lớn seek everlasting revenge on their Khaleesi?!)


3. What was the most frustrating part of the episode?

Bereznak: Whether purposeful or not, the general darkness of the episode—like, quite literally the pitch-blackness of it—was occasionally disorienting! I frequently felt lượt thích I was in a low-visibility snow storm of death, and it made me very anxious.

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Knibbs: The battle logistics made no sense. If the dead could take the entire Dothraki people out nearly instantaneously, why were they attempting to lớn breach the walls of Winterfell for like 45 minutes? Why were some of the wights just bumbling around the library while others were lượt thích rapacious hell beasts? How in the fuông chồng are Brienne, Pod, Tormund, Jaime, Sam, Gilly, BABY SAM, Missandei, & Grey Worm all still alive?

Gruttadaro: It was just so easy. The living ended “The Long Night” (extremely sarcastic air quotes here) in … less than one night. And no one who’s spoken more than 50 lines on the show died. I’m not bloodthirsty, I’m just realistic.

Lindbergh: See questions 7 & 8! Also, the crypt scene was sort of a dud. I would have sầu liked to lớn have seen Sansa stichồng some reanimated ancestors with the pointy end. And where was zombie Rickon?

Surrey: That the way the battle was structured (to lớn say nothing of the awful lighting) gave us little indication as to where important characters were for huge chunks of time. I wouldn’t give sầu up Arya killing the Night King for anything in the world, but I have sầu no idea how she got from the halls of Winterfell khổng lồ the godswood—let alone how she snuông chồng by all the wights & White Walkers to deliver the humanity-saving blow.

Heifetz: Jon huffing và puffing at this ice rồng lượt thích he was the big bad white wolf:


Baker: I hate lớn say it, but I was kind of bummed that more important characters didn’t die! For such a big, bonkers battle it just didn’t feel lượt thích it had the sort of agonizing stakes that make those sorts of scenes so effective sầu. The Lyanna Mormont death was too perfect to lớn feel truly sad, & the dead-rising-in-the-crypt scene didn’t scare me as much as it should have because no one major seemed to actually be in peril. There should have been a scene where a character was forced to lớn vày one-on-one battle with the undead version of a loved one, you know? (Clearly this show has created quite the sociopath, và I’m not talking Ramsay.)

4. Before anything else, let’s talk about that ending, shall we?

Gruttadaro: Putting aside all of my gripes, I’m really just so happy for Arya. What a crowning achievement.

Lindbergh: I’ll say this for the ending: While I didn’t want the Night King to bow out so soon or so unceremoniously, I’m glad that Arya got to be both a badass & a anh hùng, & I appreciated the history embedded in the maneuver (which she debuted against Brienne in Season 7) và the murder weapon (which goes all the way back to the second attempt to lớn kill Bran in Season 1). What’s more, I didn’t see it coming any more than the Night King did. That’s the most impressive sầu part of the climax: As obsessively as we speculated about what would happen Sunday, I didn’t suspect that the big bad would be beaten và that the threat that’s been building for seven-plus seasons would be wiped away with three supersized episodes lớn go.

Surrey: Arya smashed with a hot blacksmith and hours later destroyed the embodiment of death. What did you bởi vì at 18?


Bereznak: Theon’s death was extremely on brand. First, it appears that he brought only a single bucket of arrows khổng lồ the battle against the Night King. What? Second, the moment before he charges the Night King, Bran returns from wherever it is that he warged to say some generic words of encouragement that nonetheless inspire Theon. This guy is so broken that “You’re a good man” is enough lớn get hyên ổn feeling all weepy và sacrificial. Finally, Theon charges at the Night King & is dead within seconds. He did his best, và his best was absolutely terrible. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t remind me of a few of my high school soccer games.

As for Arya’s tricking the Night King, I’m still shocked it was that easy. This dude was supposed lớn be the living embodiment of death! Yet, for some reason, he takes the same flawed approach of a Bond villain in eliminating his one true obstacle khổng lồ victory. The guy is a magical ice lord who commands a zombie army of millions. I was never under the impression that he had feelings, let alone the capađô thị to preemptively savor a moment of triumph. And it’s still wild that, despite being an Olympic-màn chơi javelin thrower, the Night King did not anticipate a little knife trickery. Obviously I was glad khổng lồ see that while Jon & Dany fucked around in Dragontown, Arya kept her eye on the prize. I just never expected his death lớn be so humanly dumb.

Anyway, in conclusion, the Night King is a fraud, Arya remains a nimble và capable assassin, & Theon probably could’ve sầu survived if he had just stood his ground for five more minutes.

Heifetz: The ending was great. The people who didn’t love sầu it have sầu dragonglass in their chests instead of hearts.

Knibbs: I can’t even talk about the ending because I am still hung up on the fact that a widdle baby toddler somehow survived the alleged battle to lớn over all battles.