FULL SPOILERS BELOW: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
What do we say to the god of death? Not today.
I know I’ve said this before, but this is the best show on TV and they have proven this yet again, with quite possibly the best episode of the entire run. I saw lots of complaints about the first two episodes of this season being too slow (I felt completely the opposite), so this episode should satisfy those nerds by delivering more action and battle sequences crammed into one episode than they would usually have in an entire season. Out of the 82 minute running time, almost a full 60 minutes in dedicated to the Battle of Winterfell in all of its bloody glory.
"Theon is a character who almost needed to die to fully redeem himself, and yet I think we were all dreading the moment that it finally happens"
So let’s get into what everybody has been talking about for months now; who dies? This is maybe the only area that I feel the show may have fallen a little short. Yes there were characters deaths, but none elicited a feeling like The Red Wedding did for me. I think it’s fair to say that the most emotional death of the episode was Theon. Sorry Jorah lovers, although I will admit that it was fitting to have Jorah die protecting Daenerys, for whom his unrequited love has been the driving force behind his every move for the entirety of the show, it is Theon’s death that holds the most emotional weight. Theon is a character who almost needed to die to fully redeem himself, and yet I think we were all dreading the moment that it finally happens, because we knew that all he ever wanted was to go back to the man he used to be, but it could never happen. I think it was incredibly fitting that he died trying to protect Bran, as if he was finally paying off a life debt to the Stark family, who raised him as one of their own. When Bran says “Theon, you’re a good man. Thank you.” he is saying it for the whole Stark family, who can now accept him back into their family.
The other deaths in the show are definitely lower tier deaths at best. Eddison Tollett has been a solid secondary character for essentially the entire run of the show, always a loyal soldier for Jon, and a voice of reason for Sam. It was sad to see him go, but let’s be honest, how else was he going to go out? Lyanna Mormont is absolutely a fan favorite, and she goes out like a fucking beast, but her death has nowhere near the impact that would have been felt had one of the Stark girls been in her place. Still sucks to see her go though.
Now let’s get into the real shit. Arya Fucking Stark. She has been my favorite character for several seasons now, and this episode should cement her place on the Mount Rushmore of Game of Thrones characters. Hell, just put four pictures of the different stages of Arya, and call it a day. The fact that she comes out of nowhere to kill the Night King, using a move she learned in season one from her “dance instructor” Syrio Forel, brings her character full circle. She is the baddest bitch in Westeros, so Cercei better strap in. By the way, that scene in library is one of the most terrifying sequences they have ever done on this show, and the fact that is was Arya who endured and ultimately survives it adds even more to her badassery. At this point I can’t imagine anyone else sitting on the Iron Throne, which probably means they’re going to kill her off next week.
Speaking of that, where do we go from here? King’s Landing, that’s where. Now that the army of the dead has been dispatched, the battle to take the throne can kick into high gear. This is the real battle we have been building towards, not the Night King (I mean come on, it’s Game of Thrones not Game of White Walkers). I still think Jaime is going to be the one to kill off Cercei and most likely will die doing so. As for who sits on the Iron Throne when all is said and done? Who knows? I would say the field is pretty open right now. The Night King is out. Jon and Dany almost feel too obvious. Maybe it’s somebody we haven’t even thought of yet like Greyworm (I’m kidding). Anyway, I loved this episode. I can’t wait to see what’s next. I wish it wasn’t ending. But all good things must end.