Nangbaby (nangbaby) wrote,
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Game of Thrones - Episode by Episode #70

The undead have arrived and it is time for a battle.  This is the episode that everything falls apart for Game of Thrones....or so they say. I'm going to give my take on this pivotal episode.

Episode 70: "The Long Night"


So it seems that the undead are not only ferocious but they are early for the battle at Winterfell.  They were supposed to be here tomorrow, but they are here now, in the cover of night.  All the non-combatants, including Tyrion, Sansa, and Missandei, are locked in the Stark Crypt. Tyrion laments being cooped up, insisting that he could help or see something that no one else would see, and then starts to drink. Lady Mormont insists on fighting, and Sam gathers his courage.  It doesn't matter, because this is a literal army of darkness, with Winterfell the only light in the land.

But out of nowhere there is hope...it's Madame Red!  She comes riding in to help. She tells the Dothraki riders, who are at the front of the troops, to raise their swords.  She casts "Instill Fire" and their swords light on fire.  They charge into the night, with fireballs catapulted into the dark.  The darkness swallows them whole.

The problem is the undead take the assault of those lighted swords and send back riderless horses.

Unlike other episodes where sometimes the chaos of battle can muddy what's going on, here is only serves to further the theme that this isn't the madness of war, but the inevitability of death.  We have already seen the horror of the undead, so now cloaking them in darkness makes it clear what is happening.  We don't need to keep going over the top visually with the undead at first.  We know what they're doing out there, and when they charge into the light to be seen, it makes it all the more chilling.  Our heroes are fighting off death itself.

Not all out heroes are in the same place.  Bran and Waterboy are near that tree, while Crab Man is on the wall.  Jon Snow and Daenerys are on a cliff with a dragon apiece, which they climb.  They fly around Winterfell, providing literal support fire that drives back the waves of zombies.

But the undead have a plan.

They summon another infamous snowstorm, tossing Daenerys and Jon Snow's dragons into a windstorm where neither can see Winterfell and both get entangled in each other.  As a result, the undead are able to advance,  The Unsullied, now the front line, are forced to cover the members of the army as they retreat into Winterfell.  They also call for their secret method of defense, a trench around the fortress. Jon Snow and Daenerys can't see how to light the fence on fire.

So Madame Red shows up again, prays, and affter what seems like ages, the Lord of Light lets her cast Firaga to set the sticks on fire to repel the undead..  Scarface sees the flames, but gets scared.  But there is a break, right?

No.

The problem is the undead have near-infinite numbers.  So while the flames slow the march...the undead do like in Dragonball: Evolution and "make a bridge" -- except here they voluntarily throw themselves into the pit of fire to provide a footbridge to allow their comrades to step over to advance.  And with that opening, they start to climb the wall with the aid of their numbers..

This treats us to nice shots like Incest Charming and Sergeant Calhoun fighting back to back.  However, during this rush, Sam is fighting then falls. The Crowmander that Jon Snow appointed tries to help Sam, only to be killed by an undead warrior.  Scarface gets really scared.

There is this awesome "dance of dragons" that makes the entire previous 69 episodes of this series worth it.  I really can't describe it as it is an aerial combat where the dragons are clawing at each other and digging at each other.  Ol' Blue Eyes, though, gets knocked off his dragon. So Daenerys, having Ol' Blue Eyes alone on the ground and vulnerable has her dragon spew a stream of fire to consume him.

And O' Blue Eyes no sells it to her dismay.  It turns out that while his undead army is vulnerable to fire, he himself is not.    Daenerys realizes that he actually baited her into being vulnerable to a spear chuck, and she and her dragon narrowly avoid being added to the undead army.

Still, humanity has a will. One of my favorite moments of this episode comes with the young Lady Mormont, who after retreating to the Winterfell tall square, fights against the undead..  Much like other child leaders, she dies, but not before stabbing the monster in the eye,

However, this sacrifice is pointless thanks to the actions of Jon Snow.  Jon Snow, after Daenery's failure, thinks that he has to go it along and take Ol' Blue Eyes out because he's the Chosen One.  He closes in on Ol' Blue Eyes to give him a taste of his sword.  Ol' Blue Eyes simply stops him by raising more corpses, those of the recently fallen warriors.  Lady Mormont and the Crowmander are revived as part of the army of the undead.

There is no choice for Jon.  Although he must fight his way, he can't outpower Ol' Blue Eyes, and as he retreats toward the area where Bran is in.  Unfortunately, the Zombie dragon blocks his path and stars spewing dragonfire.

Unfortunately Daenerys isn't fariing much better.  The only protection she has is Mormont, who has rushed to the battle to be by her side to pro.  He is wounded several times, mortally so, but he manages to protect his queen, who finally picks up a weapon to defend herself.

Oh, and to make things worse...the undead are now climbing through the sides of the crypt.

Meanwhile, above ground, Arya is fighting and makes her way alone to the library, which is crawling with undead looking for the living to kill.  She knows she can't take them all, so she uses stealth to avoid the walking dead.  Unfortunately, she is discovered after running out the door and a whole hall of corpses charge her through her home.  She is only saved through the actions of Patch and Scarface, who has stopped being a cowardly lion.  And Patch uses himself as a human shield to protect Arya and Scarface, and dies for his efforts.  However, Madame Red is able to meet up with Arya and reminds of her what she told her ages ago.

Ol' Blue Eyes and his general Walkers close in on Waterboy and Bran.  Bran tells the Waterboy he's a good man, and the Waterboy rushes forward in a futile attempt to save the boy he once pretended he killed.

But, like Star Wars there is another.  A figure zips by the undead in a way that only "No One" could, and that figure is Arya Stark.  She tries to stab Ol' Blue Eyes, but he catches her and she drops the blade she planned to kill him with...only for her to catch the blade with her other hand and stab him, shattering him into a million pieces of ice.

All of the undead fall, again just like the Chitauri from the Avengers.  The undead are puppets.  They lack conviction.

And Madame Red goes out into the dawn.  Her purpose finished, she removed first her cloak and then her magic necklace, then collapses into the snow an old woman, dying at last.

This was the best episode of this show. Period.

Notes:

  1. With Lady Mormont and Jorah Mormont gone, the house of Mormont is no more.  That was one of the few good houses, too.

  2. Also, I worry about Daenerys' well being now that Mormont has died.  Yes, she still has Tyrion, Grey Worm, and Missandei, but Mormont was her real "ride or die" buddy, who was there with her even when she didn't want him there.  I'm going to miss him terribly, but at least he go the out he wanted, dying in his woman's arms.

  3. What I love is the redemption of Madame Red.  Madame Red's prophecy that was interpreted horribly wrong led to the death of Shireen.  This time, Madame Red now realized her error and helped do the right thing.  I still am salty at her...but at least she tried to do the right thing in the end.  Unlike Incest Queen.

  4. This episode also puts a cap onto Arya's storyline and actually completes her arc.  Yes, she has been driven by revenge and survival, but much like Scarface, she has had to learn that the world isn't about what she wants or taking power for its own sake, but learning how things are not so black and white.  She made herself into a weapon, but she learned that what it meant to be a hero and to save her family.  Given how much I hated her at the beginning of the show, this is an incredible transformation.

Tags: game of thrones
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