The Game of Thrones Death Watch is a weekly roundup of who died and who looks like they might be headed for death, written by me, a person who has not read the books and will go a long, long way to make a very stupid joke. This is what we’re doing here. This is not science. Please do not yell at me.
Season 8, Episode 3 – “The Long Night”
WHO DIED THIS WEEK?
The Night King
You know, it didn’t have to end this way for the Night King. He had the battle won. He had a clean shot at Bran and his goons were in control at the castle and Jon was cornered by an undead ice dragon that breathes blue laserflames. All he had to do was not take so much time admiring his work and maybe break into a light jog at literally any point on his way to the tree. That’s it. He just needed to buy himself 5-10 seconds to finish the job and not allow a petite assassin to track him down and gut him with a dagger. That’s all he had to do.
Absolutely no hustle. Shameful. Deserved what he got.
It’s even worse when you realize he doesn’t talk. At least a Bond villain gets in a good speech while he’s wasting enough time for Bond to escape whatever death machine he’s semi-trapped in. Maybe the villain explains the whole plan, maybe there’s some personal history that needs airing out, maybe — usually — there’s a “We’re not so different, you and I” either stated explicitly or strongly implied. The Night King didn’t even have that as an excuse. He just wasted entire minutes staring at people and admiring his handiwork and walking in a deliberate but menacing manner.
To use a sports metaphor, this was like a batter hitting a ball to deep left, flipping his bat, staring at the ball from the batter’s box, making a stink eye at the pitcher, and then somehow getting thrown out at first when the ball hit the wall and the left fielder rifled a throw into the infield. Such a tremendous error. I am usually very much of the belief that showboating rules and everyone should do it, but maybe not in this one instance. Come on, guy. Run it out. You did this to yourself.
Lyanna Mormont and the ice giant
This is going to sound weird. I need you to stick with me. I need you to really hear me out on this one. Don’t just yell at me. Let me finish. Okay, here goes.
I’m glad that Lyanna Mormont got the heck killed out of her. Not because I wanted her to die. (You promised you’d listen!) I liked her as much as anyone. She was a tiny badass and grown men were terrified of her and it ruled. I just liked that, after years of building her up into this forceful and intimidating figure, they gave her a real Game of Thrones death, not some watered-down “but she’s just a little girl” death. I mean, they really killed her, a lot, with an ice giant zombie crushing her bones with his bare hands. It’s weird to be in a position where I’m applauding the brutal death of a child. I respect that. I don’t feel great about it. But in the context of the show, it felt… I don’t know, right?
It helped that she took him down on her way out. That did ease the mental burden of a monster crushing all of her small bones. Not a great season for child warriors so far, between her and Ned Umber.
Quite a redemption for Theon. He started out as a little snot, became a world-class goon, got his dinger cut off, returned home, made amends, and then died valiantly while trying to protect Bran. That’s a full life right there, man. If you had told me back in season two or three that Theon would get gutted by the Night King, I might have cheered. I hated him so much.
Part of that, admittedly, was the thing where he also played the little snot Russian goon who killed John Wick’s dog around the same time. I know that’s not fair. I shouldn’t hold other roles against him. But life, like death, is often unfair, and he really shouldn’t have killed that puppy. Oh great, now I’m angry again.
Screw It. I’m glad he’s dead. There, I said it.
Viserion the Ice Dragon
All the Night King’s minions — please do pause here to picture an army of undead, blue-eyed cartoon Minions — crumbled to dust when Arya stabbed him. Thousands of them, all over, all at once. None of them are worth mentioning because almost all of them were nameless and mostly faceless and not one of them gave the Night King even the slightest “yoooo look out, there’s a dagger-wielding girl coming up behind you” heads-up at the end. The dragon, though. We will mention the dragon.
I feel bad for Viserion. He got taken out with a damn magic javelin last season, then resurrected and turned evil, then he had to dogfight with his brothers and mom in the sky, then he turned to frozen dust. Kid got a raw deal, especially when you consider it was Jon’s dumb “let’s go kidnap a wight” plan that got him killed the first time. And then, there he was, with a chance to get revenge on Jon and toast him into oblivion and poof, it’s all gone. Again. Good night, my sweet frozen beast. The world is cruel sometimes. You deserved better.
Beric, Edd, various other dudes who probably also have names like Beric or Edd
All apologies to Beric and Edd and all the other Night’s Watch and/or mercenaries and/or wildling types, but I will happily trade all of their lives for Tormund’s. Do you understand? I was fully prepared for Tormund to die this week. I was sure he was a goner. I figured that speech about drinking giant’s milk was his last big moment, a disturbing and hilarious goodbye for the ages. So when the episode played itself out and your various Berics and Edds went down while Tormund kept swinging his mighty doom axe, I was totally fine. I’m sure they were all decent dudes. Priorities, though.
A gaggle of Dothraki
The horde of Dothraki soldiers were the episode’s first casualties, as their flaming swords became extinguished one-by-one off in the distance. It’s a shame and a bummer and probably not an ideal development now that everyone has to turn around and fight Cersei and Euron and their thousands of purchased soldiers. That’s an issue for later, though. Mostly, I’m just mentioning this so I can show you this screencap of one of the Dothraki horses retreating.
I don’t know who you are, person who makes the captions for this show for HBO, but I am going to find you one day and kiss you on the damn mouth.
Melisandre, recently seen sacrificing a child at the stake for reasons I would classify as dubious at best, showed up on horseback to help at the last minute. Let’s go ahead and throw “help” in sarcasm quotes, though. Look at what she did:
- Lit the Dothraki swords on fire, which did no good because they all got slaughtered anyway
- Lit the trench when the literal fog of war prevented Dany from getting a visual, which was nice and brave and also zero long-term help because the wights just extinguished the flames with their own bodies
- Took off her necklace and walked off to die
Really, the only thing she did that you could categorize as useful was giving Arya that little pep talk. But even then, I think Arya had it under control. I’m not giving Mellie too much credit for getting a trained assassin to go assassinate someone. Weak effort.
I’ve never felt any great affection for Jorah. Maybe that’s on me. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Whatever it is, his death registered as something close to a zero for me, below even Viserion. I do think this was the perfect way for him to go out, though, playing human shield for Dany. I’ll miss you, kind of, you big lovestruck lug.
WHO MIGHT DIE?
Honestly, big shoutout to Cersei, who played this all better than anyone else on the show. While all of her enemies were out there slaughtering each other with swords and fire, she was sitting in a nice warm castle and drinking wine. That’s a solid piece of strategy right there. Pretty much flawless. It’s devious and awful and borderline cowardly, but that’s another discussion. Arya may have killed the Night King and Jon and Dany may have led their loyal troops to a victory in a battle for the ages but make no mistake: Cersei won the Battle of Winterfell.
The celebration won’t last too long, though. Everyone’s coming for her now. What’s left of “everyone,” at least. Three episodes should give them plenty of time to figure out how to get to her. My money is on Jaime killing her because that would be perfect.
Truly unbelievable to me that Grey Worm survived after giving Missandei that whole “once I pull off this one last job, you and I are leaving all of this behind and moving to the beach to live a simple life together” speech. I’m kind of mad about it. You can just go around breaking the clearly defined rules of action movies, Game of Thrones. That’s your problem. You have no respect for authority, you and your loose cannon shenanigans. That’s why the mayor’s always on my ass. Because you think you’re above the law. It pains me to do this, but I’m taking you off the case. Leave your badge and gun on the desk. Go cool your heels for a week and think about if you wanna be stuck on desk duty for the rest of your career.
Other people and maybe another dragon
A surprising number of people made it out of this episode alive. Main people, at least. I figured we were losing at least one or two major characters in the battle. I really thought Sansa or Tyrion might go down when they had that tender moment in the crypts. But no. None of the major human characters died. Yet. I’ve got to believe a few are goners before we close the curtain for good, though. I have no idea who it will be. You are welcome for this helpful analysis.
Also, while the Death Watch is usually very against watching the previews for the next episode to include future information in the analysis (it’s a matter of integrity), I will note here that Ghost and both remaining dragons showed up in the teaser for the next episode, which means they survived. Thank God. Kill 1000 Jorahs and Berics but leave the puppy alone. All I ask.
Euron is extremely going to die before this all ends. That is the easiest call of all. I have no proof or theory or prophecy took back it up. I just know it. You can’t be that much of a dirtbag for that long without getting your comeuppance. I hope the Mountain pops his head like a grape.
Although, please think about this for a few minutes this week: How funny would it be if this whole huge show ends with freaking Euron on the Iron Throne? You know he’s thinking about it. You know he has at least half a plan, too.
My vote: Very, very funny.