Major spoilers from episode three, season eight of Game of Thrones ahead. Last night's episode of Game of Thrones is up there in my personal top five episodes of television ever. From start to beginning, the Battle of Winterfell was utterly terrifying—at least, from the little I was able to see in the dark. The Night King and his seemingly inexhaustible army pulled up to Winterfell, and they were not playing around with the North. The ice zombies quickly laid waste to the soldiers, including a few of our faves. Lyanna Mormont, we speak your name.
In the biggest WTF moment of the third episode, the Night King was slain by none other than the girl with no name, Miss Arya "Hands Rated E for Everybody" Stark. After narrowly escaping death-by-wight with a little help from Beric Dondarrion (RIP to a real one), Arya found herself locked in a chamber with Melisandre, the priestess of the Lord of Light. The red witch gave Arya a much needed pep talk, fully aware that she would be personally responsible for putting a stop to the Night King's terror and saving all of Winterfell. Melisandre reminded Arya of her destiny ("Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes—eyes you’ll shut forever"), sparking the faceless girl's courage.
Arya snuck up on the Night King and his squad of White Walkers without them noticing, stabbing the super villain in the stomach with the dagger of Valyrian steel that Bran had gifted her earlier this season. We watched in pure shock and elation as the Night King and his homeboys burst into thousand-year-old ice shards. The endless zombie army fell dead where they stood, and even ice-breathing Viserion was out cold (can we talk about how Jon really thought he was about to fight a whole DRAGON—come on, my guy!). Winterfell may be a few hundred thousand men short, but at least some of our faves are still alive, thanks to Arya.
However, as the credits credits rolled, and we watched the previews for the next episode, we realized the gravity of what we'd just seen. The Night King is dead. Like, dead to the bed. Now what?
It's an old TV/film plot device, the old bait and switch, but this particular plot twist is...weird, to say the least. We've been watching the Night King march towards the North for seasons now, coming up with every frenzied theory in the book about his real identity and his motives for wanting to bring about a Long Night in Westeros.
We hypothesized that he was a Targaryen (which may not be entirely ruled out, seeing that he could ride Viserion), that he became the Night King after Bran warged into his mind, that he would kill Daenerys and make her his Night Queen. We were really out here thinking that the Night King was the big bad of Westeros, the Thanos of the Seven Kingdoms, when it's actually Cersei. Wow.
Is it possible that the Night King's story isn't quite done yet? Game of Thrones is notorious for killing major characters and leaving them for dead (Ned and Robb Stark, anyone?), but the series has also resurrected several people from the grave; Beric Dondarrion and Jon Snow were brought back to life through the power of the Lord of Light. It's hard to believe that the biggest conflict in Game of Thrones is the actual quest for the Iron Throne when an entire battalion of undead ice zombies was afoot, especially since the show's main antagonist had been shrouded in mystery for so long. We have yet to uncover the most important details about his existence, so there's no way that the Night King is no longer a threat...right?
Between the imminent battle between Cersei's giant army (and the latest addition of the Golden Company) and the last ten soldiers left standing in Daenerys' crew, Dany's looming descent into madness, and a possible Brienne-Jaime love connection, we've still got a lot of ground to cover in the remaining three episodes. Still, there are too many loose ends surrounding the Night King to ignore. Here's hoping we get the tea before the season finale.
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