WARNING: Game of Thrones season eight spoilers will be found below.
Sunday’s Game of Thrones documentary “The Last Watch” revealed Jon Snow actor Kit Harrington’s emotional reaction to discovering that his character would be the one to end Daenerys Targaryen’s life in the series finale. Aside from that particular viral moment, however, HBO’s deep dive into the final season of the incredibly successful show also revealed a previously unknown fact about a very important moment during the Battle for Winterfell in “The Long Night.” Specifically, it answered the question of how Arya Stark was able to kill the villainous Night King.
Viewers may recall that, just as the leader of the Army of the Dead got close enough to end Bran Stark’s life, the latter’s sister seemingly leaped out of nowhere with a dagger made of Valyrian steel. The Night King briefly stopped her, but not before she pulled off an impressive move that resulted in his (and his army’s) death. All of this is fine, of course, but how did she do it? Specifically, how did Arya manage to leap through the air like that? Is she just that good at jumping?
Yes, she is, but as writer Bryan Cogman’s reading of “The Long Night” script during the episode’s table read in Sunday’s documentary reveals, Arya was aided in her efforts:
“The Night King walks with methodical, terrifying calm. He stops before Bran and raises his sword to strike, but something is hurtling towards him out of the darkness. Arya. She vaults off a pile of dead wights, leaps at the Night King and she plunges the dagger through the Night King’s armor. The Night King shatters.”
So, it was wights. Bran and the rest of the people who managed to survive the events of “The Long Night” have Arya and “a pile of dead wights” to thank. Why episode director Miguel Sapochnik chose not to include a shot of this in the final scene is never explained by the documentary, though its absence does make some sense visually. I mean, how less awesome would that shot have been had the audience seen Arya preparing to make her fateful leap?
Her fellow cast members seemed to agree.