The Long Night
Emotionally, the third episode f the season was very satisfying. There were moments of dark despair and unbridled triumph. There is no denying that I spent the night on the edge of my seat. The much talked about lighting of the episode, dark and full of terrors, ratcheted up the anxiety, which, I believe, was the effect they were going for.
There’s a pretty big “but” that demands attention and that is the intellectual dishonesty that rears its ugly head.
Should we discuss how both sides fought this battle ineptly? Our heroes ignored their defensive advantage by engaging the enemy outside the walls of their castle. Our villains held back their greatest assets, the White Walkers, from the battle altogether, only appearing alongside the Night’s King for his ill-fated attempt to kill Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven.
The writers ignored all of the prophesies so carefully laid out in favor of Arya being the instrument of the Night’s King’s downfall. While emotionally engaging, it was ultimately a disingenuous bait and switch.
But the biggest crime of all was how quickly they wrapped up the Night’s King storyline, something that had been building slowly and methodically for seven seasons. To deliver the climax in what was essentially a single episode of the final was such a misfire.
If anything, we should have been given a full season of the undead’s march against the North, of bitter, soul-crushing battles against their advance. Then, when all seemed lost, a hard-fought victory won.
Then a final ninth season could deal with the aftermath and King’s Landing….
What we are being delivered is a final six episode season, the first reintroducing us to all the characters, the second the calm before the Battle of Winterfell, and the third to finish the Night’s King arc. That leaves three episodes to deal with Cersei, the fight for the Iron Throne, and finally the swan song where we learn the ultimate fates of the heroes and villains of our little passion play.
All too rushed and in the end unsatisfying. The emotional beats in the moment are stirring, but upon refection, it’s all empty.
The Long Night should have been, well, long, at least a truncated season in length. In the end, Cersei was right to not lend her forces to the battle. They didn’t any of them. All they needed was a Faceless girl and the pointy end of a Valyrian dagger.
Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire is the story of the Game of Thrones and how it is just a distraction from the Long Night that is coming, while the Game of Thrones series has given us the Long Night as a distraction from who will sit upon the Iron Throne.
I prefer the former to the later myself.
Did Lady Mormont die for nothing?
Predictions for the rest of the season? Why bother. The writers are not playing fair. They could end up putting Bronn on the Iron Throne just to subvert our expectations.