And she's here! The episode in which we had the opportunity to see the event announced as the "battle of all the battles", an event that the spectators of the Game Throne series have been waiting for almost ten years, and readers of "The Song of Ice and Fire" even longer. The events in which our heroes finally greeted Winter and confronted the legions of the Night King. Indeed, this was an episodic no-one ever seen, probably the most spectacular event ever seen on small screens, an episode that reached the movie standard, at least as far as visuals are concerned. Expectations were great, especially after last week's episode that impressed us and reminded us of the best moments of the series; episodes in which the roles are further elevated. Unfortunately, as for the complex narrative, as well as the performance of the action after eight seasons, the episodes have subsided. Because Winter, which was supposed to threaten Westeros and its inhabitants, ended as a snowball, while the chaotic battle ended with a whisper.
The battle of all the battles ...
And so it started well. The Long Night began preparations for the battle, dominated by the tensions of the upcoming apocalypse. Instead of looking at this preparation through the eyes of experienced warriors, viewers are placed in the skin of a person who is at least ready for such an event - Samwella Tarly. So at the meta-level, we could experience all the horror of conflict for which both Sam and the viewers are unprepared. This prospect also enabled us to gain insights into the defense strategies of the Shrinking, the settled regiments of the North Army and the Targaryen, through the trenches filled to the stairs, up to the ramparts of the fort. Ironically, because of this perspective, viewers only had a brief opportunity to see all the weaknesses of this strategy ... the weakness that will be felt in the next few minutes of the episode. As warriors build up, those who can not fight, including Tyrion, are sent to the "security" crypt. And this decision is ironic, which we will soon see. Tensing has also contributed to the darkness, which will become a trademark of the episodes, in which both Sam and spectators can hardly have a chance to figure out what's happening around them. At the last moment, before the Legion of the Night King goes into their attack, the Lives of the Living gets so much hope for the arrival of the Red Woman. Melisandre was somehow broken through the ranks of the Dead, and he came to "bless" the Drakes of Dothraki.
Unfortunately, no matter how good and tense the episode was the first scene, and as promised, this is the moment in which the action moves downhill, and in which spectacle goes beyond logic. Because the battle that follows is not only chaos but also a confirmation that scriptwriters David Benioff and Dan Weiss without a literary script are unable to grasp the grandeur and complexity of the original narrative. The first point is the breakdown of the strategy. If there was any hope that we would see a meaningful battle, the Dothraki cavalry was safely denied. Juriš is a visually spectacular scene, which we have to thank for the excellent directing of veteran Miguel Sapochinik. It is a frightening and effective way to see how the flames burn in the darkness - while the legions of the Dead literally eradicate Dothraki from the face of the earth. It is commonly understood that such a decision, the elimination of the horsemen, has been helped by the budget concern, which is, though large, still limited, and should not be overlooked by the complications of horses in the dark. But it is impossible to ignore the fact that every man with a sense of reason would see this tactic as something pointless. Even if Dany and Jon were not capable of war planners, it would have been expected that someone, perhaps Ser Jorah Mormont (who was running an assault!), Would object to such a decision. Scene simplicity does not help you to follow the launch by launching a missile catapult located in the first row (!). Not only is the scene unimaginable, but such an inexpensive elimination of the best horsemen that Essos and Westeros have had a chance to see irretrievably harmed all that we have learned in past seasons. A and eliminate one of the two elements on which Dany based his power. Can Dany still call Khaleesi?
Loss (all?) Dothraque disrupted the whole strategy since Daenerys was shocked by this loss (though, the question arises, what did he expect?) Decided to leave the command post and join the Battle of Dragon. Poor Jon (who, as he will show, still knows nothing), there was nothing left to join his ally. As the dragons get into the air, the warriors, demoralized by the loss of the cavalry, are saved for a fight with the legions of the Dead.
And this would be a fatal crash, it is shown after Drogon ignited the first line of the striker. The dragons and their fire are indeed a strong trump for the Living, as recognized by the White Walkers, who call for a snowstorm. The storm brings low visibility, which additionally strengthens tensions, and brings chaos to battle. Also, such conditions allow the Night King an individual attack on Dany and Jon, denying their numerical advantage. This is also a problem for viewers because of poor visibility we are unable to understand what is actually going on, and where it happens, which weakens the impression of the scene itself.
The same applies to events on earth. After being left without air support, the Hierarchs of war retreat behind the trenches, while the Dead unhurriedly advance. The loss of dragons, prevented the execution of the next phase of the battle, because without the dragons the trenches cannot be burned, which allows the unhindered passage of the enemy. There is once again a question of the meaningfulness of the strategy because relying on only one element in such a fateful battle is very questionable. Luckily, Melisandra is not in vain, and after a few attempts, she manages to invoke R'hallor's help, and the huge flame wall stops the Dead at last. Well, not for long. The dead are, um, dead, so they do not need long before their numbers show that any strategy is superfluous. Once again, the Living is forced to pull, this time behind the walls of the fort, while the Dead cross the flame and tighten the ring. Even the Gray Worm, a tried warrior, loses his balance and orders the withdrawal of the Unholy. So in a very short period of time, we ended up with the Lives practically pushed against the wall, because there is no room for rest anymore. This provides an opportunity for another spectacular scene, while we see that the flanges of the Neo-Shapes break into the unstoppable River of the Dead, which now descends along the ramparts, and arrive at the fort. However, once again the question of defense arises, because the defenders on the ramparts are relatively small, and it seems that the potential of the obsidian, ie, Dragon glass, neglected.
In any case, the breakthrough within the walls of Ostrozimlja means the end to the security of his defenders, and the battle turns into uncontrollable chaos. This gives us the opportunity to see the scenes of heroism, as well as the first serious losses on the part of the Living, such as the sacrifice of the Grievous Eddie to save Himself. Although a strong scene, the question remains why Sam, who has been portrayed as a person who was unable to fight from his first appearance, was not sent into the crypt, and thus became a danger to the people around him, as confirmed by the fate of the unfortunate Black brother. A much more suitable end is the small Lyanna Mormont, who showed that the size was not everything, and sacrificed to eliminate one of the greatest nuances of the Night King, the undead diva, and thus left us as a hero. Unfortunately, the sense of mortal danger essential to enriching the scene was missed in the case of other characters such as Jamie, Brienne or Tormund, who thus became background characters protected by a landmark armor surrounded by hundreds of Dead.
A rare exception was Arya, who turned the episode into the main character of the episode, as the action progressed. If Arya, Nobody, an experienced and cold-blooded warrior without a face, we could see her fighting with the Dead, as well as in the acrobatics. But her best scene and one of the best scenes of the episode begins after Arya is hurt, and she is forced to retreat from the upcoming hordes. Taken into the corridors of the fort, Arya turns from the hunter to prey, and the spectacle and action of the battle are replaced by the anger of survival horror. This is an interesting and unexpected, and certainly a welcome subversion, since the well-known huts of Ostrozimlje, which we had the opportunity to watch over the past seasons, now get a new perspective. Instead of the favorite characters, the Dead are wandering in the corridors, and the library becomes a zone of mortal danger, while Arya sneaks with shadows. After the injury, she is no longer an unstoppable killer, but a frightened little girl who is aware that the danger is everywhere around her. Her only way out of this high-risk situation is an escape.
If Death was to be ruled by Ozroziml, we can see it at another closed location, wherein the crypts of Sansa and Tyrion we hear the screams of unfortunate defenders on the other side of the massive door. This is also an opportunity for a rare contemplative moment of the episode, where two characters recall past, agreed marriage, and some calmer times. The question arises as to whether this is an honest conversation, or does Sansa, even in this situation, think of a post-battle period, and is trying to get the Queen's Emperor to his side?
Trapped in the crypts of Ostrozimlja, Sansa is powerless to help her sister. Fortunately for Aryu, in her help, Beric and Dog arrive in the last minute. After Beric is sacrificed to save Arya, she encounters Melisandra. The red woman, who presided over this meeting, now explains Aryi, that Berisha's resurrection had one goal - this moment - rescue Arye. Melisandre is a Nobody in Arya reminding her of the words of her old fencing instructor, Sylvia Forella ("What do we say to the god of death?" "Not today"), while Arya goes to sprint.
... and Winter came and passed ...
No less drama is happening in the sky above Ozrrozimlja. The snowstorm separated Jon and Dany, which the Night King used. Viserion attacks Rhaegala, and there is a fierce battle in the air. Finally, Jonah rescues Dany, who throws out the Night King from Viserion, and he falls to the ground. Of course, the fall from high altitude does not strike the Night King but leaves it in a vulnerable position to Dany finally complete the plan. Namely, the whole plan is reduced to the dragon's flame, since the Night King is one of the White Walkers (who are vulnerable to fire). But as Dany's shocking revelation reveals, this is not a common White Walker, and after the fall of Drogon (who is forced to escape in the midst of the attack of the Dead), Dany also ends on the ground, while the Night King moves smoothly toward Ozrozimil and his goal: Without a dragon, Jon remains, after he unsuccessfully attempts to stop the leader of the Dead, and he and the viewers watch powerlessly from the worst situation to a pure horror. Because the Night King raises dead defenders to join his legions, outside and in the middle of Ozrozimlja (!) This leads to an even greater massacre, because there are already many legions, now unpredictable, and the defender is getting smaller.
And this time, no one is sure what Tyrion and Sansa reveal after the dead is in the crypt (logically). But there is no time to question the "ingenious" choice of shelter because the Dead immediately turn to attack. Unfortunately, the potential of this situation has been weakened since all the main characters are safe, while the unfortunate ones get redshirted. As Jon hides from the wounded but angry Viseryon, the Night King, surrounded by the White Walkers, enters Godswood, and after a brave but at the peril of the condemned resistance of Theon and his Iron, it shows that he who is dead can still die. Although Theon's suicide assault was unnecessary, the last forgiveness with Bran was a powerful scene, as well as the much-desired forgiveness of Prince Ostrozlim. The Theon's loss was not the only major loss in the last moments of the battle, since the end of a brave and faithful Ser-Jorah, who sacrificed himself for Dany, after eliminating the hordes of the Dead. Despite the heroic resistance of all our heroes, the Night King has won, to the point of a helpless Trooke crow. But despite his superhuman power and supernatural powers, the Night King did not count on one weakness. And this weakness is no less than Arya, who at the last moment saved her with a leap to the Vrana and thus Live, and drew the dagger into the Night King. This act did not eliminate only the leader of the Dead but sent the White Walkers, Viserion, and Legions of the Dead into the debris. And thus the battle was brought to an end, the great losses of the Living, yet with their victory, while the Winter ended, and before it started. We do not know if this really was R'hallor's will, but it seems that it is, since Melisandra, after this victory, decided to go to the snow, and before the shocked Ser Davos, removed her magic necklace, and joined the dead.
We do not know if this really was the will of R'hallor, but it seems that, since Melisandra, after this victory, decided to go to the snow, and before the shocked Ser Davos, removed her magic necklace, and joined the dead.
The battles that follow
"The Long Night" was a really impressive episode as far as visuals are concerned. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the narrative, nor for the decisions of the episode, which directed the "Throne Game" to what might be a weaker end. What is the damage, because the series had the potential, which in the last episodes was increasingly unused, that now in what was a monumental moment, it remained unused. The response of some viewers to these reviews will be a different nature and narrative of a series than the one from books. It would be true that the series itself has been countless times emphasized and announced the conflict with the Dead as a central conflict. This great and important event, which was expected for years and earned the whole season, began and ended in just one episode, and the idea of fighting for the fortune, the Iron Throne, the shallow and ego-centric clashes of the cease, and that both sides unite in an attempt to stop the danger of the greater of everything seen so far, it has been subverted in the worst possible way. The night king, the mysterious villain, and the biggest threat to Westeros, and to the Living, remained a flat figure, with poor motivation. White walkers did not have the opportunity to do anything except to look silly. Bran, i.e. The crowd of crows is now only a paralyzed boy since his main role is fulfilled. The "battle of all battles" that ended before it started, and the Army of the dead, as long as it was portrayed as a dangerous enemy, caused relatively small losses, if we do not count on a few minor, and a lot of unnamed characters. All the main heroes, survived the battle, ready for the battles that will follow. There is an additional problem since the upcoming conflicts will have much less impressive. And the question is whether there is a Starkov-Targaryen alliance of forces for a new battle, at least if we think about it. Because the battle against the Dead ended with huge losses for the defenders. The cavalry of Dothraki was lost, like most of the Neoclassified, and we had the opportunity to see the vast majority of other warriors.
After this battle, we have three episodes until the end of the season, and the entire saga. What is the end of us waiting for? And can the series continue to maintain the momentum after the central conflict is resolved? Will the "real" end be good enough and satisfactory, after this spectacle? And what will be the future of Westeros, now that the focus is returned to the "Game of Thrones"? It's hard to say. What is certain is that the "battle of all battles" (and thus the "central" conflict) ended ... by the whip.
As far as it was wrong, you burn the flames (cavalry) at night, and their quenching was one of the best visual scenes of the episode.
The visual dragon was also the flight of dragons under the light of the moonlight. Unfortunately, this was one of the few visible moments in this really dark episode.
The dark episodes were probably the result of a budget constraint. At the same time, poor visibility gave the impression of chaos and opacity of the battle, and thus strengthened the feeling of uncertainty, chaos, and disorientation during the battle. It is possible that this was precisely the intention.
The crowd/crowd was mostly passive during the battle, as he wrung into crows. The question is, what was the purpose of this practice, apart from invoking the Night King. Did Bran know that Arya would save him at the last minute?
The arrival of Melisandra was expected. Unfortunately, it was not answered that the Red Woman worked during her stay in Volantis. And did she even go over the Usky Sea? Or was she wandering Westeros?
Where was Davos all the time? After an unsuccessful attempt at signaling at the beginning of the episode, Davos did not show up to the end. What did he do during the battle?
We had a rare and short chance to see the Spirit during the cavalry attack. But what happened to the scary man after the assailant collapsed. We know he's alive since we can see him in the trailer for the next episode.
Varys was also sent to the crypts of Ostrozimlje. This is an expected decision, but also a worrying one. Because it seems that one of the most interesting and rare surviving side characters has now become powerless. We hope to see his role in the next episodes. Although, judging by the way in which ancillary minor characters are eliminated, Varys could leave us soon. By Mel's departure, it seems that we will not reveal what R'hallor intended for his purpose.
Arya killed the Night King with a Valery steel dagger. This is a dagger by which Malopsty originally attempted to eliminate Brana, an act initiated by the war between Starck and Lannister. The dagger returned Malopsts to Bran, who later gave him Sansa. She gave it to Aryi. This is a small but interesting detail, which reinforces the scene, and highlights the important role of the Trooke Crow in resolving the conflict.
Although the scene was striking, it remains unclear whether Melisandra and her decision to take off the necklace and die as a consequence of the elimination of the Night King or Rhallor's decision.
After the elimination of the Night King, is it possible that Arya, Azor Ahai, (Prince) is the promised promise? The whole deal with Melisandra was related to this prophecy, and (after a mistake with Stannis) she was convinced that they were Jon or Dany who were promised. Or did the scriptwriters forget about this?
A small but interesting detail was Missandei who stood in defense of Dany. This was a great opportunity for another powerful scene, between the adviser of the Queen of Zmaj and Sanse, which was missed. At the same time, this is a reminder that whatever the dead are victorious, the old arguments have not stopped.