This article is dark and full of spoilers.
Fire and blood.
These are the words of House Targaryen. They are also the best description for the majority of this episode. It is almost entirely action, with hardly any dialogue.
Melisandre walks up and lights the Dothraki arakhs in true Lightbringer fashion. It is an incredible and beautiful effect. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long, as the Dothraki are quickly decimated by the wights. It was a terrifying prospect that the deadliest army in the world was nothing against the army of the dead. The army of the dead is unstoppable. They are a force of nature. They are a swarm of locusts that descends upon our heroes. It’s chaos, and countless characters went down. Daenerys and Jon ride the dragons to try and attack the Night King, but are overcome by a blizzard.
Down in the crypts, Sansa, Tyrion, Missandei, Gilly and Varys are waiting out the battle. Theon and the Ironborn are protecting Bran in the Godswood. Bran has checked out and is basically a tree at this point.The heroes retreat inside Winterfell, Melisandre lights the pyre around the castle. It seems the tides might turn to our favor until the army of the dead make it through the wall of flames.
In a Hellish sequence, Brienne, Samwell, Davos, Jaime, Beric, Tormund, Gendry and others are desepralty fighting for their lives. Lyanna Mormont goes down in a blaze of glory and brings a giant down with her.
Arya is a whirlwind, fighting walkers with her Gendry-forged quarterstaff. The Hound has become pretty paralyzed by his fear of fire until she is in danger. Ser Beric and Sandor save her and barricade the doors behind them. Ser Baric Dondarrion is gone, and Arya is reunited with Melisandre. Melisandre and Arya recount their first encounter, where the Red Woman had predicted Arya would shut many eyes forever. The wights make it inside Winterfell. We have a claustrophobic scene in the library, where Arya hides from wights like they are velociraptors in the kitchen. It is a perfectly executed piece of suspense.
The Night King pulls out his best party trick and the fallen heroes now become a part of the undead army. Including those buried deep in the crypts of Winterfell, where women and children had been tucked away for safekeeping. This confirmed a dark fan theory that had been floating around. The makeup crew outdid themselves on the practical effects, they referenced real mummies to create the dead Stark wights.
Outside Daenerys and Jon engage in dragon arial dogfights with the Night King and Viserion. At one point, the pair collides in mid-air. Viserion descends upon WInterfell and trashes the place.
While on the ground Drogon is overrun by wights, and he flies off, leaving Dany to the mercy of the dead. Jorah Mormont fights for Daenerys until his dying breath. This is honestly the most painful death for Dany, for her war is something that takes place far from her, seeing it up close and losing the person who has helped to get her this far was intense.
Theon’s character arc comes full circle, as he is vindicated and forgiven by Bran. He dies facing the Night King head on, cumulating in a masterful character journey.
Just when we think all is lost, Arya attacks and stabs the Night King with Catspaw. The Night King shatters and just like the that, the battle is done.
We still have one more demon left to kill; Cersei Lannister. Honestly, Cersei and Euron Greyjoy look pretty tame compared to what we just witnessed.
Confirmed major deaths are Ser Jorah Mormont, Lyanna Mormont, Melisandre, Ser Beric Dondarin, Theon Greyjoy, Dolorous Edd, undead Viserion and the Night King. This is in addition to a large amount of the Dothraki, the unsullied and the other fighters of Winterfell. Ghost and both dragons are confirmed in the preview for next week.
We have 3 episodes left, there’s still a lot of story left to tell. While we wait for the next episode, watch this behind the scenes look behind this episode, and appreciate all of the details and work that went into this battle.