Well, the epic battle happened. The much-anticipated Battle of Winterfell went down and, as expected, tons of people died. But god-level Game of Thrones knowers like me were left holding our predictions (I’m tallying this as 1/2 correct) as uselessly as Sam holding a sword. My take: More people should’ve died, particularly at least ONE main character.
Spoilers follow etc.
First, yes, I know a lot of characters in this fantasy show (who, lest we forget, are not real) did die. The entire Dothraki army—brown people widely coded as heathens and others—were the first to ride into battle with the wights, and their lights were literally and figuratively extinguished in short order. Problematic!!
And for a while there, things weren’t looking good. The alive guys were getting absolutely rocked by the dead guys! These are the fastest zombies ever committed to film. But, most of all, I kept waiting for named main characters to die. This was billed as a battle for the ages, after all! And they did, a bit: by my count of the people whose names I know—a metric that’s improving all the time—we lost Lyanna Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, Jorah, Beric aka the Lightning Lord, Dolorous Edd, sad man, and finally Melisandre, the high priestess of light, whom I’d last seen whispering in Stannis’ ear. (Onto season three!!!)
HOWEVER, I maintain that we needed to lose a big fish, someone you think of when you think “main character.” You don’t think of Jorah, beta orbiter, whose dying lesson to women is that it pays to keep a fighter in your friend zone to some day save your life, or Theon, man who got owned to death. AT LEAST one of these three should’ve died: Jamie Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, or Tyrion. But the writers of this show are clearly petrified that if they challenge viewers at all—say, by killing Sam, who was proved too cowardly even to be killed in this episode—people will stop watching, and what could be worse than that. This show’s making money, baby! Let the good times roll!
Things that didn’t bother me but apparently did everyone else: casting the whole battle at night (making the CGI workload easier) and hand-wringing about how many people are even left? post-battle. Who cares, they can always make more, the final level baddie is a pregnant woman. Having the literal force of darkness emerge from the night was badass, and a real artistic choice on a show sorely lacking in them!
And yet, there was something to keep our blood up. When Arya goes beast mode on the Night King—finally got to see him do the arm thing, nice—my viewing companions chanted “gambo,” like hyenas around a wildebeest carcass. Another became convinced that the cheesy ballad played near the episode’s end was an instrumental version of “When Doves Cry.” It was certainly not, but this is how deranged this television show makes us all.
SUNDRY STRAY TAKES:
- I was right about the crypts. This marks my first Correct Thrones Prediction for those keeping score at home. When the wights breached the supposedly safe area, I was pretty sure Sansa and Tyrion were going to suicide pact their way out. Would’ve been a much bolder choice!
- Bran? Still useless, served only as bait for the Night King, did nothing else to help defeat him. But imagine if, when he finally returned to his body to look the Night King in the eye, if he had opened his mouth to utter the line: “You can’t kill me, I’m baby.” Call me, Thrones producers!!
- Also useless: Daenerys. The dragons are a critical force against the fire-averse creatures, but she and Jon Snow flew around above the clouds until it was time for her to save Jon. Can’t wait for years of fan art of the moment her dragon frames her holding Jorah’s dying form, though. But really: She doesn’t deserve the Iron Throne after this.
- In a battle almost devoid of strategy, Cersei was right not to get involved. We stan a noninterventionist queen!
- I kept wondering out loud how they could possibly win this: They sustained heavy casualties, the foes lived to die again, and THEN, best case scenario, they would still have to battle the White Walkers and the Night King. Luckily the King was dispensed with pretty easily—yeah, yeah, slay queen Arya etc—bringing about a rushed, tidy end to all his creations. This is lazy writing!
- Speaking of Arya, she designed a good weapon! Huge win for women in STEM.
- No boobs in this episodes. If you’re lookin’ for em, you’ll have to look elsewhere!
Thanks for talkin’ throners. Join me in the comments to tell me I’m wrong!