Not A Review Of “Game of Thrones” S8 E3: “The Long Night”


Those who have been following this blog for a while (i.e., my parents — hi Mom & Dad!) may remember how, a few years back, my wife and I spent about six months getting caught up on HBO’s Game of Thrones series. Because we didn’t have HBO, we did this by getting the discs from Netflix, and because, the seasons were spread across a lot of discs, we temporarily upped our plan to the “two discs at a time” level. (Otherwise it would have taken us like a year.) Around when we were finishing up Season 7, HBO announced that there would be no Game of Thrones in 2018, and so once the last disc went back to Netflix, we had to wait. And wait. And wait.

Now, of course, the wait is over.

This time, we decided to just bite the bullet and subscribe to HBO’s streaming service, HBO Now, because, to quote Paula Cole:

After all, the Internet is awash in spoilers (just try to avoid random people trolls leaving spoilery Endgame comments in totally non-Endgame related posts on, say, Ars Technica); and with no Happy Valley, Jessica Jones, or Mrs. Maisel airing right now, my wife has to have something to watch, right?

We don’t typically traffic in spoilers here with these Not-A-Reviews, but since we are actually caught up on a show for once, they are kind of unavoidable. So be warned:


Now of course it’s been widely known for some time that episode three of season eight was going to be the battle of Winterfell, taking place at night, between the Starks and their various allies, associates, and hangers-on, and the Army of the Dead. Known by almost everyone, anyway.

Wife: “There sure is a lot of fighting in this episode.”
Me: “Well, it is a battle episode …”

Since my wife actually watches GoT for the, like, character interactions and stuff, she tends to sort of tune out the fighting. Which in the case of this episode, which by some measures contains the biggest battle scene ever filmed, quickly became problematic.

Wife: “They’re still fighting.”
Me: “Yeah, I think they’re pretty much going to be fighting for 80 minutes.”
Wife: “Welp, time to get out the laptop.”
(wife gets out the laptop and starts surfing the Internet)

This is not to say that she stopped paying any attention to the show. She still found time to look up now and then, particularly when the fighting slowed down to focus on Arya or the Hound, or on characters talking to each other, like scenes with Tyrion and Sansa, down in the crypt. Although my wife was mostly focused on the “down in the crypt” part.

Wife: “Hiding in a crypt full of dead bodies when the Night King is coming to raise the dead seems like a bad idea.”*

She also had plenty of ideas about who might save the day.

Wife: “Okay here’s what’s going to happen. Sam is going to find a spell and save the day.”
Me: “Sam’s a scholar, not a wizard.”
Wife: “But he has lots of books.”
Me: “Well, yes.”
Wife: “They must have spells in them and stuff, right?”


Wife: “Okay okay, here’s what’s going to happen. Arya is going to assassinate the Night King and save the day.”


Wife: “Dany is going to incinerate the Night King and save the day.”

Or … Well, you get the idea.

Now then, in case I didn’t mention it before:


No, really, I mean it.


Still here? Okay.

Now, what actually happened, over the course of the episode, is that just about everything Our Heroes threw at the Night King and his minions was ineffective. Flaming swords? Nope. Burning trench? Nope. Dragon breath? Nope. Jon Snow? Nope. Theon charging at the Night King with a spear? Hard nope. But then, when all hope seemed lost, who should come flying out of the night but The Best Assassin In Westeros? Now I don’t normally react verbally and/or physically to things on television, but in this case I may have done something very much like what these folks did at the Burlington Bar:

Actual footage of me when Arya kills the Night King. If I were a bar full of millennials.

In fact, I may have clapped and cheered so loudly that I scared our cat, Chaplin, who ran away across the living room and wouldn’t come back until I enticed him with a nice helping of bonita flakes.

Wife: “See? I predicted Arya would save the day!” (pause) “Well, I mean, I predicted everybody would save the day, but …”
Me: “If you make enough predictions, one of them is bound to be right.” (beat) “I’m watching that scene again.”
Me: (rewinds and watches the scene again)
Me: (rewinds and watches the scene again)
Me: (rewinds and watches the scene again)
Wife: “Okay, let’s finish the episode. Then you can put that scene on a loop and watch it all day.”

A few days later, my wife sent me a link to an article about how Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, was concerned that fans would be upset that she, rather than Jon or Dany, was the one to kill the Night King. This concern was not unfounded, as the Internet is currently awash in complaining posts from disgruntled commentators who are apparently personally offended at the show** for making Arya the hero in this way, saying it how “easy” it was to defeat the Night King — as if she hadn’t, you know, spent years learning, training, and being tortured on her way to becoming the assassin she was, and as if the Forces of Darkness had not just finished curb-stomping the combined forces of the Starks and Daenerys Targaryen. Including the dragons.

Me: “It makes narrative sense. Nobody like Jon or Jorah would ever have gotten close enough to the Night King to finish him off***, and Dany couldn’t do it because the dragon fire was ineffective. It had to be someone like Arya, who could get close enough to stab him with a short blade.”
Wife: “If I were single, I would be using this scene as a litmus test for dates. ‘What did you think about Arya killing Night King? Oh, you don’t think she could do it? You’re outta here. Next.'”

So there you go, single ladies: An easy one-question date-elimination questionnaire, courtesy of my wife.

 * It was.

** In other words, the Internet is the Internet.

*** This has been more than amply demonstrated, multiple times.

7 thoughts on “Not A Review Of “Game of Thrones” S8 E3: “The Long Night”

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