(STOP.SPOILERS AHEAD) Last week’s “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” set up this week’s Game of Thrones episode, “The Long Night,” of epic proportions. Showrunners confirmed Sunday’s Battle of Winterfell was the longest, most elaborate battle ever filmed for television. Director Miguel Sapochnick claimed he studied the Battle of Helm’s Deep (Lord of the Rings trilogy) in depth to create the battle. All those claims may have been true, but it would have been nice to have actually seen the battle.
The difference between The Lord of The Ring‘s Battle of Helm’s Deep and Game of Throne‘s Battle of Winterfell- We could actually see what was going on during the Battle of Helm’s Deep. The battle may have been at night, but that’s no excuse for not letting us actually see the battle. Modern technology has done marvels in regards to filming at night. Cameras don’t actually need real light sources today as they may have needed in the past. A wonderful thing called a computers and digital cameras have revolutionized the way we makes movies at night. If Sapochnick had done an in depth study we would have been able to see most of the battle.
Fast moving cameras through a charging army isn’t too much of a battle. Things didn’t improve once the battle moved into Winterfell. There was a lot going on in almost every scene. Unfortunately, a lot of it we couldn’t see. Did Jamie die? Did Brienne? Did Tormund die? They were cornered on the walls of Winterfell surrounded by wights. We can only assume they survived because there wasn’t an isolated scene of their deaths like there were for the other characters who died. The point is we couldn’t see it if it did happen. We hardly saw Eddison Tollet die after saving Sam.
As it was the only time we could see anything if there were fires in the scene. The moments we were fortunate to see incredible. If it weren’t for Beric’s fire sword we wouldn’t have been able to see The Hound carrying Arya to relative safety behind a locked door. We also wouldn’t have been able to see Lyanna Mormont gouge a dead giant’s eye out of its skull. Nor would we have been able to see Jorah Mormont give his life defending Daenerys.
Thankfully Sapochnick saw fit to shoot the death of the Night King with moonlight flooding the area of surrounding Bran’s tree. Even this scene is problematic. Arya somehow knows the exact time when the Night King will be in the clearing. She also manages to make it there without being slowed down by wights or blocked hallways.
Winterfell was pretty much rubble by the time Arya left Melisandre and the Hound. Wights had overrun the castle and had even breached the crypt. Arya getting to the Night King in time to kill him was a cheat. It didn’t feel like a cheat at the time because it was an awesome sight to see the Night King and his minions crumble. However, it is a stretch of the imagination to have Arya cross the castle with enough time to save Bran and Winterfell.
The Night King is dead and his army of the undead is gone. What does this mean for the coming battle with Cersei? Jon and Daenerys armies are shattered. Showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss weren’t lying when they said 96% of the characters wouldn’t survive the battle. They weren’t specific about the characters. 96% of the characters, give or take,were pulled from the armies- the Dothraki, the Unsullied, and the other armies who answered Jon’s call.
For all of its cool, what the hell moments in the series, showrunners have kept things pretty much safe and somewhat predictable. Scenes for episode four show random survivors rebuilding Winterfell and Daenerys giving a speech about winning the last battle, but now it’s time to win the final battle. Odds are their army will be just fine heading into battle against Cersei.
Yara Greyjoy and some of her ships are still on their way to the North. Troops from others in the North who did not commit their forces will rally with Jon. It’s even possible some Dothraki and Unsullied make a quick journey to join up with the main army. Considering Varys did it in a few television minutes it’s not out of the realm of possibility for reinforcements to do the same.
Here’s what we are likely to see in the last three episodes. One episode is going to be about Cersei and events unfolding in King’s Landing. The last two episodes will be the battle and then the final crowning of whomever will sit on the throne. Who will be sitting on the throne after the Battle of Winterfell is anyone’s guess. We know it won’t be Sansa because she is comfortable in the North and it won’t Arya because she’ll want to keep killing things. It could very well end up being Daenerys after Jon convinces her he doesn’t want the throne. As mentioned, the show can be quite predictable. It would be quite a shock if any of the main characters other the Cersei, Jamie, and The Hound or The Mountain die in the final battle.