There are, once again, no books to work from on Game of Thrones this season (the final season!) and things could get confusing. To help you out, after every new episode, two resident Thrones experts/dragon enthusiasts, Josh Kurp and Ryan Harkness, will answer your eight most pressing questions.
1. Who was the MVP of the episode?
The obvious answer is Arya Stark, who killed the freaking Night King, and it’s probably the “correct” one, too. But I’m going to pull a Barry Sanders/Brett Favre or Steve McNair/Peyton Manning and split the vote between Arya and Melisandre. The living wouldn’t have, well, lived if hadn’t been for the Red Woman: she lit countless swords (even if they were quickly extinguished in the most chilling scene of the episode…), set fire to the trench around Winterfell, and gave Arya the inspiring words she needed to hear to do what had to be done. And then, like Manning after winning Super Bowl 50, she went out on top.
It was good dramatic timing for Melisandre, who hasn’t been seen since season seven when she told Varys that she would “die in this strange country, just like you.” She was half-right (so far): Melisandre fulfilled the Lord of Light’s purpose, removed her magical necklace that concealed her true age, collapsed in the snow, and turned into dust, which is all the rage these days. The night is still dark and still full of terrors, but it’s a little safer now thanks to our co-MVPs.
As for the LVP: everyone hoping for ice spiders. — Josh Kurp
2. Were you surprised how few characters died?
Let me clarify: a lot of people died. Beric, Theon, Jorah, Lyanna. The Night King, obviously. But Jaime and Brienne, both of whom were expected to perish in the Battle of Winterfell, are still alive. So is Tyrion. And Daenerys. And Jon. And the Starks, Arya, Sansa, and Bran. This is a little surprising, and I’m fine with it. Or maybe I’m trying to convince myself I’m fine with it because I’m more invested in the Cersei stuff, anyway, and I’d rather have Sansa die in King’s Landing than in a battle where half the participants don’t have names and I can’t see a darn thing. But I digress. These characters, many of whom we’ve been following since the first episode of the series, have a bigger purpose than to get stabbed by some random wight: Jaime needs to face his sister, Jon and Daenerys haven’t acknowledged the whole being related thing (is there couples counseling in Winterfell?), and Brienne — I guess Brienne could have died, but I’m happy she didn’t after what happened in the last episode. That would be like choking on the 12th sandwich in a “eat 12 sandwiches, get one free” promotion. As for the Starks, Arya JUST saved the day (by preventing long night), Sansa has more tea to spill, and we’ll get to Bran. Oh, we will get to Bran.
Thrones has rarely delivered a shock even close to the level of the Red Wedding or the Red Viper in the post-George R.R. Martin seasons (maybe Arya as Walder Frey to kick off season seven?). In refraining from the expected cast-trimming ruthlessness, “The Long Night” was a different kind of surprise, but a surprise nonetheless. Of course, this means everyone is going to die next episode. So it goes. But seriously, how did Grey Worm, who’s already talking about going on a beach vacation with his girlfriend, not bite the dust? — JK