Well, it finally happened. After eight seasons of anticipation, the Night King and his Army of the Dead finally squared off against…basically everyone in the Seven Kingdoms except Cersei and the Golden Company. The Battle of Winterfell was one of the most highly anticipated episodes of the series and it did not disappoint.
Aptly titled “The Long Night,” the episode was 82 minutes long and jam-packed with action, symbolism, and a lot of death. There was so much going on (and everything was super dark) that there’s a good chance you might have missed something. WARNING: There are some serious spoilers ahead.
There’s a lot more to the dagger that Arya used than you might think.
Arya’s Advice To Sansa Might Have Sounded Familiar
When Arya and Sansa part ways at the beginning of the battle, Arya hands her a dragonglass dagger. Sansa admits that she doesn’t know what to do with it and Arya simply replies, “Stick ’em with the pointy end.”
Thrones fans might recognize the line from the second episode of the first season. Jon gives Arya her first sword, Needle, and gives her the exact same advice on how to use it. The line is so iconic that the show actually named a season one episode after it.
Edd’s Last Words To Samwell Echoed Season Three
Edd Tollett survived the Fist of the First Men, the Battle of Castle Black, Hardhome, and the Night King’s attack of the Wall, but sadly he died during the Battle of Winterfell. He was eventually killed by a wight after telling Sam that he needed to get up from the ground and keep going.
It might have seemed like a frivolous line but it harkens back to season three when Edd and Grenn stopped fleeing from a White Walker attack and encouraged Sam to get up and continue on.
We’ve Seen Wights Fling Themselves Off Of Walls Before
The Battle of Winterfell became extra intense when the Army of the Dead breached the walls and started flinging themselves into the courtyard of the castle. The move is a nod to Jon Snow’s face-off against the Night King at Hardhome.
At Hardhome, the Night King made thousands of wights fling themselves off a cliff, crack their heads up, and continue running. The move was when Jon decided to retreat from fighting. The wights tried to do it again at Winterfell but for those inside the castle, there was nowhere to retreat.
Next, see how Theon foreshadowed his own death.
Theon’s Death Was Foreshadowed In Season Two
In the final episode of season two, Theon took Winterfell from Bran but the Bolton’s arrive to seize it back. Theon tries to rally his troops for what he called “the Battle of Winterfell” with a rousing speech. He tells his men “We die bleeding from a hundred wounds, with arrows in our necks and spears in our guts.”
In the episode, Theon ends up being betrayed by the men and no battle takes place. Little did he know, in the actual Battle of Winterfell, he would die a heroes death with a spear in his gut.
Arya Got Her Best Fighting Moves From The Faceless Men
Arya made a big deal to Gendry about getting the weapon she wanted and in her first fight scene with the wights, we could see why. The double-ended staff was eerily similar to the weapon she would constantly train and fight the Waif with throughout season six.
The choreography for Arya’s fight against the wights also featured a triumphant moment when she stops a wight by holding her staff above her head. The first time she stopped the Waif’s staff was in the exact same position.
Keep reading to see where Ned Stark made an appearance. Hint: it wasn’t in the crypts.
The Dothraki Wight Was Qhono
When the Night King resurrected all the fallen corpses, some major characters were shown opening their eyes, including a Dothraki soldier. That soldier was Qhono, who was actually the one Dothraki who took Daenerys prisoner at the very end of season six.
Qhono later went on to serve as part of Daenerys’ guard but he was never entirely friendly. You definitely wouldn’t want to end up in a fight with the wight version of Qhono.
Ned Stark Was Secretly There During The Battle
No, we’re not talking about Ned Stark’s dead corpse running around in the crypts — we’re talking about his sword. Ned’s extra large sword was named Ice and was forged with Valyrian steel. After his death, the sword was reforged into two smaller swords. While the swords have changed hands over the series, they are now wielded by Brienne and Jamie.
The two were fighting side-by-side throughout the battle protecting Winterfell. Ned would surely be proud.
Next, there’s so much symbolism around Arya’s dagger that you didn’t even realize.
There’s A Lot Happening With The Dagger Arya Used To Kill The Night King
In the biggest shock that Game of Thrones has served us in a long time, Arya ends up killing the Night King with a Valyrian steel dagger. For devoted viewers, the dagger might look familiar. The dagger first appeared in season one when an assassin tried to use it to kill Bran.
The dagger fell into the hands of Catelyn Stark and it was then taken by Littlefinger. Littlefinger returns the dagger to Bran in season six, who says he doesn’t want it and gifts it to Arya in the exact same spot she’d use it to kill the Night King. Bran clearly knew what he was doing.
There’s more to Arya’s finishing move than where dagger came from though.
Arya Unknowingly Practiced That Move
Arya looked to be dead and gone when the Night King had her by the throat. In the most epic way possible, she drops her dagger from her left hand and catches it in her right hand to deliver the final blow. The ambidextrous move first appeared in season seven when Arya was training with Brienne. The two came to a draw when Arya flipped the same dagger from one hand to the other.
The move is also a nod to actress Maisie WIlliams, who is right-handed but committed to playing the character left-handed as it is in the books.
Not only was Arya’s finishing move symbolic, but where the Night King’s death took place also has meaning.
The Night King’s Death Mirrors His Creation
The show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, knew that the Night King’s death had to be full of symbolism. They also knew for three years that it was Arya who would kill him. In the post-episode breakdown, the creators said the only way to kill the Night King was with Valyrian steel in the “exact spot where the Children of the Forest put the dragonglass blade to create the Night King.”
If you remember the flashback scene that showed the Night King’s recreation, it takes place beside the Weirwood tree.
Melisandre Reminded Arya Of Their First Meeting
After Arya and the Hound escaped the wights inside the castle, Arya comes face to face with Melisandre for the first time since season three. In their first meeting, Melisandre tells Arya that she sees “a darkness” in her. Melisandre also says, “Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.”
The Red Woman repeats the line to Arya, in particular, the “blue eyes” part. Arya picked up on the hint and runs off to defeat the one with blue eyes, the Night King.
Next, the episode title was referenced way before season eight.
The Episode Title Was Referenced In Season One
The episode title “The Long Night” first appeared in Game of Thrones lingo in season one. After Bran’s fall from the tower, a scene is shown where Old Nan is recounting Bran’s favorite “scary story.” In the totally fictional, definitely not real story, Old Nan mentions a time called the Long Night and how it was the first instance where the White Walkers had tried to terrorize Westeros.
Little did Bran know at the time, but he’d be reliving the Long Night for himself in just a few years.
Theon’s Final Moments Connect To The Books
Theon Greyjoy’s character ends his ark during the Battle of Winterfell. Knowing death is certain, Bran calls Theon by his name and tells him that he’s a “good man” which causes him to shed a tear.
In the last published chapter written from Theon’s perspective in George R.R. Martin’s books, he returns to the Weirwood tree and asks it to let him “die as Theon, not as Reek.” It appears that Theon got his wish.
Davos Was Following Jon Snow’s Orders To Kill Melisandre
When Melisandre arrives in Winterfell, Ser Davos goes to meet her and we see him pull out a dagger. Many of us thought that it was simply Davos’ chance to get revenge, but he was actually preparing to follow Jon’s orders.
The last time Melisandre was in Winterfell, she had admitted to burning Princess Shireen alive and Jon subsequently banished her from the North and said if she returned, she would be “hanged as a murderer.” It was Davos who promised Jon that he would carry out the sentence.
Melisandre And Beric Use The Same Spell
Melisandre showed up just in time to light up the blades of the Dothraki in the most epic fashion. Part of her spell included the Valyrian phrase “āeksiō ōños” which translates to “Lord’s light.”
We know that the phrase is the same spell that Beric uses to light up his sword because the actor, Richard Dormer, has confirmed it. The only difference is that Beric doesn’t need to say the spell out loud, probably because he’d been brought back to life so many times that the Lord of Light knows what he’s trying to do.
Why Does Arya Say That To The God Of Death?
One of the most iconic lines to come out of the episode was when Melisandre asked Arya “What do we say to the God of death?” and Arya replies “Not today.” We all collectively went wild after that but Arya had spoken the exact line before.
During her training with Syrio Forel, he asks her the same question and she gives the same response. Arya was just a little baby learning how to fight at the time, but the lesson proved worthwhile years later.
House Karstark Is Gone Forever
You might not have realized it but Alys Karstark was part of the group sent to protect Bran. She was standing alongside Theon as they headed out to the Weirwood tree. Theon and his guard put up a pretty impressive fight against the wights (using exclusively flaming arrows) but we saw them all butchered one by one.
We can assume since Theon was the last one standing, that Alys Karstark died defending Bran and the Karstark House is officially gone.
Arya Might Be The Prince Who Was Promised
Melisandre’s role in the series is being a follower of the Lord of Light and producing a prophecy about “The Prince That Was Promised.” The prince (or princess) is supposed to be a savior who saves everyone from the Long Night and the Night King. Going into the Battle of Winterfell, many thought it was Jon Snow or Daenerys who was the Promised Prince, but now people are questioning that it’s Arya.
As we know, it is Arya who ends the Long Night by defeating the Night King. She was also saved by Beric, who also served the Lord of Light.
Where Is Ghost?
The most important character who returned to Winterfell in season eight was Jon’s direwolf Ghost. Ghost has come in to save the day more than a few times and he was shown on the frontlines of the battle awaiting the Wights. He was at the front of the charge with the Dothraki and since we never saw him again, he was assumed to be dead.
Well, good news! He’s alive and kicking. In the trailer for season eight, episode four, he’s seen once again at the front of the crowd. We’re not sure how he survived but we’re not complaining.
Rhaegal Also Managed To Somehow Survive
The final scene of the episode shows Drogon comforting Daenerys over Jorah’s death, but we didn’t see dragon #2 AKA Rhaegal since it decided to fight its undead brother mid-air. Most viewers assumed since Rhaegal wasn’t in any final shot that he died, but by the looks of the episode four trailer, he’s alive and well.
We’re not sure how Rhaegal managed to survive, so we’ll see if, going forward, Rhaegal remains aligned with Daenerys or if he’s basically turned into Jon’s dragon now.
“No One” Can Kill The Night King
Bran Stark once famously said, “no one can kill the Night King.” Well, in a weird way, Bran was actually right. Arya did manage to kill the Night King, but if you think back to her whole Faceless Men story arc, you’ll remember that Arya is actually “no one.”
It took some intense training (and a few near death experiences) for Arya to become a Faceless Man, but it looks like all of that pain and suffering paid off in a big way.
Read on to find out how Sansa’s line in the crypt is a callback to an earlier season.
The Opening Credits Have Changed
In each episode this season, the opening credits of the show have changed a little bit to reflect the action happening on screen. In Season 8 Episode 3, the ‘blue tiles’ on the map signify the movement of the Night King. We saw the blue tiles flipping last week, but now they extend all the way across Last Hearth.
There are also dragon glass trenches depicted on the map of Winterfell because in the episode, there are trenches around the castle to protect Winterfell from the incoming Whites.
Sansa’s Line Is A Callback To Ramsay Bolton
This season, fans finally got to see Sansa and Tyrion reunite. Once upon a time, Sansa and Tyrion were actually married. It was definitely a political marriage and not a romantic one, but Tyrion treated Sansa pretty well. He never asked Sansa to consummate the marriage, which Sansa appreciated.
In this episode, Tyrion makes a witty remark about how perhaps he and Sansa should have stayed married. Sansa replies, “you were the best of them,” which is very true. This is a callback to Sansa’s horrific experience as Ramsay Bolton’s bride.
That Moment Between Melisandre And Grey Worm
At the beginning of the episode, we get an interesting exchange between Grey Worm and Missandei, The Red Woman. Missandei says, “Valar Morghulis” and Grey Worm answers, “Valar Dohaeris.”
These are phrases that we learned about a few seasons ago from Arya and Jaqen. They mean “All men must die” and “All men must serve.” Luckily, Grey Worm survived this episode, but we still have three episodes left this season. This time he served, but he might not be so lucky in the next battle.
Arya’s First Battle Was An Eventful One
A lot of the characters in this episode are warriors. They’ve fought in many battles and lived to tell the tale. While Arya turned out the be the MVP of the Battle of Winterfell, she’s actually never fought in a real battle before.
Arya is experienced in hand to hand combat, but not in battles like the one we witnessed in Season 8 Episode 3. I guess the lack of experience didn’t hold her back that much…
Read on to find out how the creators of GOT foreshadowed Arya’s sneakiness earlier in the season.
Edd’s Worst Nightmare Came True
A few episodes ago, Dolorous Edd uttered the famous words, “Last man left, burn the rest of us–because when I die, I don’t want to come back.” Well, Edd didn’t exactly get his wish.
Unfortunately, he died in the Battle of Winterfell, and when the Night King resurrected all of the fallen human soldiers, Edd was resurrected too. Thankfully, Edd didn’t have to endure life as a Wight for too long.
Arya Is Super Sneaky
Arya somehow managed to sneak up on one of the most powerful beings in Game of Thrones history, but if we were paying attention in the previous episodes, we already know just how sneaky Arya can be. When Arya first sees Jon this season, Jon says “how did you sneak up on me?” Probably not coincidentally, this line was spoken in the exact spot where Arya killed the Night King.
The show went to great lengths to show just how sneaky Arya can be, even in this episode when she’s sneaking around the library. All of that action was created to set her up for the ultimate showdown with the Night King.
How Melisandre Met Her End
At the end of the episode, we see Melisandre take off her necklace, walk out into the snow, fall down, and die. If you think back to a few seasons ago, you’ll remember that Melisandre is actually hundreds of years old. The necklace she wears keeps her looking young, but without it, she can’t survive.
After the Battle of Winterfell, Melisandre has served her purpose, so she kills herself. She knew that her time in the Game of Thrones realm had come to an end.
The Characters We Lost This Episode
Aside from Easter eggs and callbacks, you might have missed a lot of the actual action in this week’s episode, just because of how poorly lighted the fight scenes were throughout the episode.
In case you missed it, here are all of the characters we lost this week: Lyanna Mormont, Ser Jorah Mormont, Ser Beric Dondarrion, Theon Greyjoy, Dolorous Edd, Qhono and literally all the Dothraki, a lot of the Unsullied and the North, The Night King, all the White Walkers, the army of the Dead, and Melisandre.
Could Arya Be Pregnant With Gendry’s Baby?
Last episode, we saw Arya and Gendry finally consummate their relationship. She wanted to experience physical passion at least once, just in case she died at the Battle of Winterfell. Now we know that Arya survived the battle, but do you think there could be a chance that she’s now pregnant with Gendry’s baby?
At the beginning of the series, Robert Baratheon wanted to create a union between his son and Ned Stark’s daughter, and in the end, that could be exactly what happens, in a very roundabout way.