You did it! You survived the Battle of Winterfell. And man, it was dark. Yes, it was "little girls being liquefied by dark giants", but it was just … Dingy Dingy. I could barely see one thing. Half of these epic war scenes ended up looking like a bunch of rats struggling in a shoebox.
Fortunately, the Lord of Light deposited Melisandre, his first eccentric girl, at the door of Winterfell's house just in time. In the tense minutes before the battle, she provides one of the best visuals of the episode, lighting the Drakraki army's arakhs, who raise their guns in flames and … are promptly swallowed by the Army of the Dead 20 seconds later. When it comes to disturbing battle sounds, the screams of men dying and the clatter of cold metal against armor are nothing compared to the chilling silence that spread as AotD clutched a new group of unsuspecting future recruits.
At some point, Jon and Dany realize that dragons are a much more efficient way to eliminate maximum weights with the least effort. However, once in the air, their flying weapons of mass destruction quickly encounter a new and confusing opponent: clouds and, among them, the Night King, ready to make his dramatic entrance.
With the dragons disconnected from ground control and the Night King falling to the ground, the rest of Winterfell's forces realize the serious error of their strategy and retreat into the castle, but not before losing dear Dolorous Edd. Nominative determinism (and an opportunistic power) finally got the better of him.
The following is just a bunch of chiaroscuro carnage specifically designed to make you feel every single bad emotion at once: The Army of the Dead breaks the winter fortifications of Winterfell. Lyanna Mormont, Lady of Scowls, descends like a real one in the hands – or rather, in the hands – of a giant wight. Beric dies protecting Arya, which is, to say the least, FREAKED. OUT. Yes, she said she was eager to see this face of death, but something tells us she did not expect so many faces.
Meanwhile, in the graveyard, Theon and the Ironborn are ready to defend Bran from the next King of the Night. Bran, always grateful for so many being willing to lay down their lives for him, even though he is never super clear about why or to what end, he quits the game to weaken himself in some crows.
However, the approach of the Night King is paralyzed when Jon, riding Rhaegal, confronts him and the undead Viserion. Watching the two dragons get entangled in the air under the moonlight is a magical scene, partly because it is actually visible and not shot through ten pairs of sunglasses. Eventually, the Night King worsens and a number of extremely frightening and significant things happen: First, Dany tries to bake him, literally, but when the flames disappear, he stands. Then, as Jon approaches, Longclaw in hand, he actually smiles. The king of the night smiles! Please scrape that image from the top of our brains right away.
Of course, you would also be smiling if you were about to create a new army of dead people, which is what makes the Night King, "Hardhome" style. This particular move plays poorly for Tyrion, Sansa, Varys, Missandei, Gilly and the group of red shirts hidden in the very safe crypts. Do you know what crypts have in them? Dead people! And Game of Thrones is not afraid to have those dead people punching stone straight for the sole purpose of making you wet your pants in shock.
By this point, everything literally went to hell. The dead are running around, cutting off the living. Everything is on fire. Jorah Mormont dies fighting beside Dany, and Drogon's vision curled up beside his corpse has stolen the last tear his body can produce. The King of Night and the White Walkers finally attain the deity and sweet Theon Leeroy Jenkinses himself in an inevitable death at the hands of the Night King.
This one. Is happening. Everything is terrible. Bran, having returned from his journey in the Crow Flight Simulator, has a significant regard for his mortal enemy. Do they know what the other is thinking? Do they know how it ends? The Night King takes his weapon. Death is here to claim life. And still…
Surprise! The Night King does not even lay his hand on his piece before Arya is in it like a cat falling from a tree. For a brief second, it looks like he's going to suffocate her life, but she takes a hand-strike and stabs him with her valiriana steel dagger.
Poof! The King of the Night is shattered. Poof! So make your guards and your dragon. The dead fall by the thousands. Arya, to Thanos de Winterfell, saved the day.
As the sun rises in the ravaged castle, there remains one death to fulfill. Melisandre, running critically low in lighter fluid, leaves between the bodies for the snow-covered field in addition, removes his magic necklace and falls dead. Whatever you thought of the Red Woman, she was right: the night was very dark and full of terrors.
Why did not they keep all the armies near or inside Winterfell and let Dany and Jon overthrow the majority of AotD, saving tens of thousands of lives? Oh, it was cloudy? Sorry excuses.
On the other hand, why did Bran have to relax in God's blood? He did not use wood tree magic as far as we know, so they could have done it all in an open field instead of putting Winterfell through the undead wringer.
Will Davos and the Dog split custody of Arya Stark? She now has two foster parents?
Will we ever discover what Melisandre's magic necklace is?
Will the dragons eat all the dead? Some of these meats are kind of old …
Are we really finished with the Army of the Dead? That's it?
Burning questions, but with all the letters
Is GHOST OK?
ARE THE DRAGONS OK?
Is the BRANDA THAT GOES TO EXPLAIN ANYTHING?!
WHY IS NIGHT IMPERATIVE TO FIRE?!
Melisandre: "What do we say to the God of Death?"
Arya: "Not today"
The last time these two dangerous women turned, Melisandre was taking Arya's boy, Gendry, and promising they would meet again. Arya is no longer the thorny and aggressive little girl she was, and she instantly seems to recognize and appreciate the significance of the Red Woman's appearance. What strange people. What a satisfying interaction.
They were all bad. These were all bad scenes and none of them were enjoyable. Maybe the Dog finally overcoming his fear of fire to fight alongside Arya, and Arya felt a power that was about to attack him. It is always good when their killer tendencies prove mutually beneficial.
Let's make some generous assumptions:
10,000 Dothraki (the entire army) +
8,000 Unsullied (more than half of their full number) +
7,000 knights and infantry of Westerosi (more than half of their total number) +
200 assorted other unhappy people in the crypts and battle +
1 Edd Tollett +
1 Lyanna Mormont +
1 Dondarrion Beric +
1 Jorah Mormont +
1 Theon Greyjoy +
1 Melisandre of Asshai +
0 wights (what is dead can never die, remember?)
25.206 very expensive souls. REST IN PEACE.
Melisandre really relied on her final prediction when she repeated her original season 3 prophecy about which eyes Arya will forever remain silent: "Brown eyes, green eyes, BLUE EYES, ARRANGING BLUE. ASSUMPTION "
Thanks to Sete the scene of the resurrection of the crypt did not include dead Starks we know of. Our frail beings could not have dealt with a headless Ned.
Here's the big guys: Think of the dagger Arya used to turn off The Night King. It was the dagger used in the initial assassination attempt on Bran in Season 1. The dagger that eventually reaches Little Pink. Littlefinger's dagger returns to Bran and Bran to Arya in Season 7, Episode 4. It was a strange gift at the time, especially since Bran is strange. But now, it seems the dagger's journey was far more intentional than originally suspected.
A bold prediction
We have not seen the last winter – or your soldiers
The King of the Night and the Army of the Dead are one of the greatest mysteries of the series. Do you really think they wrapped this in a bow in a single confrontation? So what about all the views of a Kings Landing covered in snow and ice? What about all the new tantalizing information about the Night King and his abilities? No, it's not over … is that it?
FIX: This story has been updated to give the correct character name to Lyanna Mormont.