Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3: Analysis and Review
The longest battle ever...(disclaimer: this review is filled with spoilers)
Seriously though. While the previous two episodes didn't really have any real spoilers, this one probably has more spoilers than even the final episode of Game of Thrones.
Finally the moment has come for which every Game of Thrones fan has been waiting for ever since the very first episode of the show. The fabled battle between the dead and the living was hinted back in the first season. It is probably the most anticipated GOT episode of all time. Even more so than the finale of the series.
In the previous episode, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," the stage was all set. While some people were getting cozy inside the castle, the army of the dead was making slow but sure progress to besiege the fortress. Even the horns of battle were sounded and Jon and Dany were headed off to the dragons.
This episode was the final showdown between the dead and the living and dubbed as 'The Long Night.'
An interesting trend started off in the past seasons. Characters would no longer die easily. Even when attempting live threatening situations, the characters found a way through. In fact, this was the very thing that got people so attracted to the show in the first place. It seemed that all that had become irrelevant. Sure there were a few insignificant deaths and a very few important deaths. But more or less, characters were unharmed. Almost as if they were destined to die at the Battle of Winterfell. Even so, the death count was far less than we expected.
Moving Before we delve into this episode know this, this episode was deeply flawed with a few good moments. Before we talk about the bad, lets talk about the good.
The episode was fantastically choreographed. There were a lot of amazing and epic scenes. The Dothraki riding out with their flaming aracks with fireballs flying along above was my favorite. Moreover, the dragon fight scenes, and any dragon scene
in general was top notch. My favorite was when the dragons fly far above into the moonlight and a few moments to gather themselves.
Moreover, the balance between the action, the horror, the suspense and the tension was very well made. All of this and more is generally enough for a die-hard fan to be satisfied with this episode. Most fans have whole heartedly enjoyed the episode.
Theon's heroic sacrifice was his final redemption. It was Theon who besieged and captured Winterfell. Forcing Bran and Rickon to flee. And now it was the Ironborn who paid the ultimate price. It is an interesting parallel and a satisfying conclusion to his character ark. His sacrifice was required in order for him to be complete.
However, its biggest and only failing comes in the story. The threat of the White Walkers and the Night King was dismissed so easily. It was almost as if it were not even Game of Thrones. GOT is infamous for having the audiences believe that their favorite characters are succeeding only to have them getting killed.We all remember how Robb Stark, having won every single battle, lost his life and others in the Red Wedding. It is almost as if GOT has forgotten its identity.
The biggest flaw is in the story of Azhor Azhai. The prophecy goes that a hero will forge lightbringer and end the long night. The show mentions this prophecy consitently over several seasons, however, when the time comes for the culmination of the prophecy, it is forgotten as if it never existed. I mean what's the point?
I think the show runners have massively 'dumbed down' the show for the audiences. Where there used to be twists and turns, over the past few seasons, GOT has become very linear and predictable.
Although there is one positive thing here, at least for the book readers. The book readers, and even dedicated fans of the show have long been theorising about the identity of Azhor Azhai. Some say its going to be Jon who sacrifices Dany and forges
Lightbringer, while others say the opposite. Even more think Jaime is Azhor Azhai who will kill Cersei and still others think Jorah will kill Dany and forge the flaming sword. All this goes to the bin as far as the show is concerned, but the books will follow a completely different story line. The one positive thing here is that the identity of Azhor Azhai is not spoiled by the show.
Instead of the vastly speculated fan theories on Azhor Azhai, we get treated Arya magically sneaking her way past all the white walkers in existence and the ice zombies and assassinate the Night King. Now i don't have any beef with the show trying to do things differently, I just want it make at least a little sense. But make no mistake, Arya is in no way Azhor Azhai. She is just made into a heroine and the very idea of a lgendary warrior is altogether scraped and forgotten.
The battle strategy was just terrible. Specially, the very beginning. Wasting away all the Dothraki in a a single ill conceived charge was terrible. Instead they should have split the horsemen in two and hit the zombies from the sides when they engaged with the unsullied.
Moreover, the dragons were underused. There were several periods of time when they were just flying about.
Even after overwhelming odds, only a handful of the characters met their end. At one place we are shown huge zombie hordes and characters getting absolutely surrounded, but after a few scenes we see the same characters holding off the enemy just fine.
On the other hand, concerning the army of the dead. Their strategy was not all that impressive either. The Night King could have had made a feint on Winterfell and instead flown off to King's Landing and take everyone there by surprise. He did have access to possibly unending army. But no, he just had to get to Bran, and hire terrible lieutenants who can't even detect a grown woman.
In a way the very title of the episode mocks the Night King. The objective of the White Walkers is told to bring forth an endless night. But the battle turned out to be a quick end to their goal.