Sarah McDuling, Booktopia’s resident Game of Thrones lover and spoiler enthusiast, recaps Episode 3 of the final season… and SEVEN HELLS it’s a big one.
If you’ve missed our previous recaps, you can find them below:
HERE BE SPOILERS! You have been warned…
Holy merciful mother of dragons! After fearing this episode for an entire week, I am somewhat relieved to have survived the ordeal (which is more than can be said for some of the characters)…
The Red Woman Returns.
Winterfell is going to war. We see the Dothraki, The Unsullied, the Wildlings, and the Northern Houses, plus Ser Brienne and her Band of Favourite Characters (Podrick, Jaime, Gendry, Tormund etc.) assembled for battle. In a breathtaking scene, the Red Woman arrives and gives the Dothraki light sabers. She literally lights up all the swords in the Dothraki army in one magnificent flaming wave. The Dothraki ride into battle with their fiery swords held aloft and… get immediately killed. Yep, that’s right! Within the first ten minutes of the episode the entire Dothraki army is wiped out. Watching all those lights go out one by one as the sounds of battle slowly fell into silence was downright chilling.
(Sidebar: Jon’s dire wolf, Ghost, was with The Dothraki. Does this mean Ghost is dead?)
The Battle for Winterfell has begun.
Daenerys springs into action, completely ignoring the battle strategy from last week’s episode. Meanwhile, the army of the dead is coming in fast. Like a wild unstoppable wave of death they smash into Brienne and the other Favourite Characters and suddenly we’re in the midst of a terrifyingly battle. Brienne goes down and it seems like she’s a goner. My head nearly explodes from stress. Luckily Jaime comes to the rescue and miraculously neither of them die. Just in time, Daenerys arrives and blasts the army of the dead with dragon fire.
Up on the battlements, Arya tells Sansa to go down to the Super Safe Crypts. She gives her a dragonglass dagger to protect herself, which seems like a bit of an inadequate arsenal to deal with a crypt full of dead Stark Zombies, but whatever! I’m sure everything will be totally fine. (Arghhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh my God I can’t take this!)
Daenerys and Jon are up in the air riding their dragons again. Only this time it’s much less romantic because the Night King is out there somewhere, and they are caught in a violent ice storm while below them everyone in Winterfell is fighting for their lives…
Brienne and her Band of Favourite Characters are barely managing to survive on the battlefield. Sam (somehow not dead yet?) nearly gets stabbed in the eye but is rescued by Eddison Tollet… who then gets stabbed in the back and dies. Farewell Eddison, your watch is over!
The Unsullied are doing their best to hold back the dead while everyone else retreats to Winterfell. It’s not really working – the dead are simply unstoppable. According to the battle plan (which hardly anyone is following) Daenerys is supposed to wait for a signal before setting the trench alight with dragon fire, but since the ice storm is so thick she can’t see the signal. It seems pretty certain that everyone’s favourite Unsullied Casanova, Greyworm, is going to die…
Instead, the Red Woman appears to perform her second fiery miracle of the episode! As the dead clamour ever closer to the trench, Melisandre sets it ablaze with her ominous chanting powers and everyone is safe (for now).
Meanwhile, back in the Super Safe Crypts…
Sansa and Tyrion are having a chat. The are reminiscing about old times and a joke is made that perhaps they should have stayed married? I don’t find it very funny, considering Sansa’s second husband was a baby murdering, dog mistreating, sadistic psychopath. But I guess they can be forgiven for their black humour, given the dire circumstances?
Bran “I’m the Three Eyed Raven” Stark strikes again
Theon and Bran are chilling together at the Godswood, as per the battle plan. Theon tries to apologise again for having betrayed House Stark. Bran basically says “No worries, it was meant to be!”
And then in yet another moment of infuriating weirdness, Bran stares off into the distance and flatly intones “I’ve got to go now.” He then wargs into a flock of ravens because… why not? Honestly, Bran is beyond logic at this point.
Everyone we love is definitely about to die
Back on the front lines, the dead start throwing themselves into the fire trench until they form a bridge of dead bodies to walk across. And then everything pretty much goes to hell. We see a relentless tide of snarling zombies scaling the walls of Winterfell. Brienne, Jaime, Gendry, Sam, Tormund, The Hound, Beric… basically everyone we have ever loved is doing their best to stay alive.
And then suddenly the Braavos theme music kicks into gear and Arya “No One” Stark flies into action, beheading zombies left and right like a tiny, graceful killing machine. She is hugely outnumbered and yet is somehow still slaying. A girl truly knows how to dismember the dead.
Next we come to arguably the most heartbreaking scene of the episode: the death of little Lyanna Mormont. Fierce and bold right up until the end, Lady Mormont goes out in a blaze of “David and Goliath” style glory. Roaring like a lioness, she attacks a massive zombie giant that is approximately one hundred million times bigger than she is. The giant picks her up in one hand and crushes her body in his fist. She then uses her dying breath to stab him in the eye. It is awesome. And also tragic. An epic death, worthy of a true hero!
Welcome to the torturous, never ending hellscape that is Arya Stark’s journey through the Winterfell Library
Said library is full of zombies and Arya is injured. For what feels like literally twelve million years, we are forced to watch as Arya creeps through the bookshelves, narrowly avoiding zombies at every turn. I felt like seasons changed, centuries passed, and my hair turned completely white while this scene slowly sucked all the life out of me.
Finally, Arya gets out of the library only to find herself trapped in a corridor full of yet more zombies. She runs and runs, and just as it seems she is doomed, Beric and The Hound arrive in time to save her. Unfortunately Beric is mortally wounded in the process. After a tense fight for survival, all three make it to a room full of dead bodies (and also Melisandre). Beric dies. The Red Woman announces that it’s okay he’s dead because he has served his purpose (meaning his purpose was to save Arya!?)
And then things get very awesome as The Red Woman quotes Syrio Forel from way back in Season One. If you have forgotten the moment, please refer to the below gif:
“What do we say to the god of death?” Melisandre asks Arya.
“Not today” replies Arya, and then promptly runs off to do something that will probably be amazing… though her intentions really are not very clear at this point.
Back in the sky, the dragons are still fighting…
After blasting Winterfell with blue fire, the ice dragon is wounded and the Night King falls to the ground, as does Jon’s dragon. Daenerys and Drogon are still airborn. Daenerys summons Dracarys to rain fire down on the Night King… who isn’t much bothered. Once the flames clear he is still just standing there, annoyingly unharmed.
Jon runs at The Night King, sword drawn. The Night King does that terrifying thing he sometimes does where he raises his arms like a maestro and all the dead bodies around him rise up as blue eyed zombies. And oh my God, now everyone is well and truly screwed!!
All throughout Winterfell we see the bodies of the fallen rising up to join the army of the dead. At this point, I am basically weeping from exhaustion and stress. We haven’t had a win since Lyanna Mormont killed that giant about twelve years ago. And speaking of Lyanna… the camera pans over her dead body and we have to watch as she opens a pair of icy blue zombie eyes. Nooooooooooo!
This is TOO MUCH and my heart CANNOT TAKE ANY MORE!
Generations of dead Starks crawl out of their graves (like we all knew they would!)
Meanwhile, down in the Super Safe Crypts, it seems like people have FINALLY identified the one glaring flaw in the otherwise brilliant plan to protect the most vulnerable people in Winterfell by locking them underground with a bunch of dead bodies.
(Sigh. I’m still so confused by the dumbness of this so called plan.)
Generations of dead Starks start clawing their way out of their graves to attack the living. We all saw this coming from miles away and frankly I’m a bit annoyed about it.
The Dragon Queen is grounded
Daenerys arrives with Drogon just in time to save Jon from certain death with a burst of dragon fire. Jon races after the Night King. Unfortunately, Drogon is engulfed by a swarm of climbing zombies. Daenerys is knocked to the ground and left defenceless. Drogon takes flight, trying to shake off dozens of clinging zombies from his wings. This is bad. It seems like Daenerys is doomed. She has no battle skills whatsoever and is now stranded on the ground. Luckily, Jorah arrives in time to save her from getting slaughtered.
Death, death and more death. Everyone we love is in mortal peril. We see Sam surrounded by zombies. Brienne surrounded by Zombies. Jaime. Tormund. Gendry. Literally everyone is completely doomed.
(Full disclosure: I was so terrified in this scene I had my eyes closed for most of it.)
Things are looking grim for everyone (except the Night King)
Back at the magical tree, Bran is still off with the ravens. Theon is fighting hard to protect him. Jorah is fighting hard to protect Daenerys. Cue soft and mournful piano music.
Tyrion and Sansa share a poignant (potentially final?) moment together in the crypts. Zombies are running wild everywhere. There is no hope for anyone. The soft piano music continues as people are savagely torn apart. John is running from the ice dragon, trying desperately to avoid being burned to death. Theon continues to be a complete hero, killing all the zombies until he is the last man standing between Bran and the Night King…
…who is walking with his buddies to the Godswood in Very Slow Motion
Theon stares as the Night King approaches. He looks absolutely devastated (Theon, not the Night King. The Night King just looks straight-up evil). Theon knows the battle is lost. This is the end of the line for him. Bran chooses this moment to stare blankly at Theon and deliver the world’s most monotone compliment.
“Theon, you’re a good man,” he drones flatly, followed by an unconvincing “Thank you.”
Theon has tears rolling down his face and can I just say, Alfie Allen in this moment manages to pull off an expression that is simultaneously heartbroken, thankful, scared, brave, and determined all at once. It is completely shattering and he deserves one million Emmy Awards as far as I’m concerned. In an incredibly emotional final scene, Theon completes his redemption arc. He charges at The Night King, armed only with a spear and a noble heart and it’s not enough to save him. The Night King stabs Theon straight away, and he falls to the ground and dies.
Next, we see Jorah getting repeatedly stabbed and yet somehow still fighting to protect Daenerys. He is dying for his queen, which is pretty much all he ever wanted to do. I can’t help feeling happy for him. All Jorah’s dreams are coming true!
Meanwhile, Jon is seen screaming furiously at the Ice Dragon. It seems like a rather childish strategy and probably will not work. Maybe I’m wrong but I feel like you need to do more than scream in order to kill an ice dragon?
The Night King continues to walk in Very Slow Motion. The piano music is no longer soft and mournful – it is building towards a frantic crescendo…
Bran is sitting perfectly still and staring blankly (his two greatest talents).
And now we come to the greatest moment in the history of Game of Thrones…
Literally moments before The Night King draws his sword to kill Bran, Arya Stark descends from above with a fierce battle cry, Valyrian steel dagger in hand. Just before she can strike The Night King, he grabs her by the neck. It seems like he is going to kill her but she drops her dagger, snatches it with her other hand and stabs the Night King with it.
He then DISINTEGRATES INTO ICE!
Like a morbid game of dominos, the entire army of the dead falls one by one. It is the greatest thing I have ever seen and I cannot stop cheering.
We see Brienne and the Band of Favourite Characters are all still standing. Jorah is definitely dead though. Daenerys is distraught, crying over his fallen body as Drogon flies down and lands beside her.
The Red Woman Exits
In the final scene, we see Melisandre walk out into the snow, remove her magical age-defying necklace, rapidly succumb to extreme old age and fall down dead in the snow.
And that’s a wrap on episode 3!
I may never recover from the trauma of this episode. It might be the best episode ever – it’s definitely my favourite so far. I am amazed that the Night King has been defeated so early in the season.
This means we have three whole episodes left in which to deal with the true villain of this series: Cersei Lannister!
Best Dressed: This is tough because everyone was pretty much covered in blood and gore and mud for most of this episode but I’m going to give this one to Melisandre, because she really knows how to rock a red hooded cloak. Farewell Red Woman!
Best Death: Obviously The Night King! Second best death is tough call between the ferocious Lyanna Mormont and the heartbreaking death of Theon Greyjoy. Jorah also had a very moving death scene. Overall, there were a lot of good deaths!
MVP: Obviously Arya “No One” Stark, the badass assassin and saviour of the seven kingdoms. What a woman!
Golden Moment: “What do we say to the god of death?” NOT. TODAY.
This was such a great moment and an awesome throwback to season one. Also, every time Melisandre set something on fire was pretty cool. And also the dragon fight scenes were amazing. Basically the entire episode is 85 minutes of pure, non-stop golden moments.
Burning question: WHAT ABOUT GHOST? Is Ghost dead? If Ghost isn’t dead then where is he? If Ghost is dead, how come they didn’t show us? I need to know about Ghost, ASAP!
A Game of Thrones - The Story Continues
George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series has set the benchmark for contemporary epic fantasy. Labelled by Time magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world, Martin has conjured a world as complex and vibrant as that of J.R.R. Tolkien, populated by a huge cast of fascinating, complex characters, and boasting a history that stretches back twelve thousand years.
Three great storylines weave through the books, charting the civil war for control of the Seven Kingdoms; the defence of the towering Wall of ice in the uttermost north against the unearthly threat of the Others; and across the Narrow Sea the rise to power of Daenerys Targaryen and the last live dragons in the world...
About the Contributor
Sarah McDuling is Booktopia's Category Manager for Children's and Young Adult Books. She has been in the bookselling game for almost a decade and a dedicated booklover since birth (potentially longer). At her happiest when reading a book, Sarah also enjoys talking/writing/tweeting about books. In her spare time, she often likes to buy a lot of books and take photographs of books. You can follow her on Twitter and Instragram @sarahmcduling
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