Since the first episode, we knew winter was coming, and the moment finally arrived. Here’s our recap of “The Long Night”!
Throughout the series, we’ve been told “The Long Night” was coming. Game of Thrones has built the entire universe around this for some characters. Even the audience realized that this battle was huge and, potentially, world ending.
It’s hard to recap the episode because of its sheer epicness in terms of fighting, so it feels more natural to let you know where the characters started and where they ended up by the time “The Long Night” ended.
The episode begins with everyone in position to start fighting the Army of the Dead. We have Dothraki along with Jorah and Ghost. The Knights of the Vale, the Northern armies, the Free Folk, the Night’s Watch. Everyone is there in Winterfell.
The last member of the team shows up just in time. Melisandre arrives back in Winterfell after being banished by Jon for what she did to Shireen Baratheon. She asks Jorah if he can speak Dothraki and tells him to have them raise their swords.
She goes to the first Dothraki soldier and mutters an incantation several times, and his sword lights up, courtesy of the Lord of Light. Soon after, the spell makes it way through the rest of the Dothraki ranks and all of them have flaming swords.
After Melisandre is safely behind the gates of Winterfell, the Dothraki, Jorah, and Ghost rush forward to fight. The rest of the army waits with bated breath as they disappear into the darkness, and then in horror as every sword loses its light.
Surviving Dothraki soldiers and Jorah retreat, but it’s obvious that Dany’s army of Dothraki Screamers is decimated.
The Unsullied don’t fare much better. After the dead rush everyone who is waiting outside the gates of Winterfell, they act as the shield that protects everyone who retreats.
In a move that has to devastate Grey Worm, he rushes back across the trench and pulls the ropes to drop the spikes and cut off access to the rest of his soldiers fighting on the other side. He yells for them to light the trench, but the signal isn’t seen by Dany or Jon, who are flying Rhaegal and Drogon.
Melisandre comes forward and lays her hands on the wood stakes, speaking the same incantation. She gets more and more desperate as the dead get closer and kill more Unsullied troops.
Finally, the trench lights up and kills a wight before it hits her.
In the end, Daenery’s army is destroyed, and she’ll be more reliant on the North and Westeros that she actually wanted to. She had gained already gained the loyalty of Dothraki and Unsullied, so she didn’t need to play nice.
After “The Long Night”, Dany will need to reevaluate her position on things.
Jon and Daenerys
Honestly, Jon and Dany weren’t the MVPs of this episode. They made some really amateur mistakes and spent most of the episode caught in a blizzard caused by the Night King.
There were some cool dragon fight scenes, and a nod to “Hardhome” when the Night King raised up the dead, and a question about Rhaegal being alive.
After they realize that dragon fire doesn’t kill the Night King, and he raises up all of Daenery’s own fallen soldiers, Dany saves Jon, and then he runs off to protect Bran. This leaves Dany undefended, and she doesn’t fly away quick enough. Soon, Drogon is overrun with wights and flies off, leaving Dany on the ground. This is when Jorah comes in.
In Winterfell, Jon runs through the courtyard, seeing everyone fighting and Sam being attacked. He runs past all this and ends up stopped by Viserion, who’s breathing ice fire all over the place. It seems like Jon makes the decision to possibly sacrifice himself to stop Viserion, but he doesn’t need to because someone already took care of things in the Godswood.
Daenery’s saving Jon from wights is important. Jon rushing into a situation with no real plan is pure Stark.
How these two will fair after this is over, and Daenery’s realizes the full implications of Jon Snow being Aegon Targaryen are beyond me, but I don’t think she’ll be pleased.
Jorah rode with the Dothraki and survived the initial run at the Army of the Dead. He fought bravely behind the walls of Winterfell. When his Khaleesi was in danger later in the episode, he ran out into field of battle again to save her.
Dany had landed Drogon after seeing the Night King raise up the fallen soldiers. She saved Jon Snow, which tells you she cares a little about him, or she’s hedging her bets since she realizes she has no army anymore. Drogon is overrun with wights and flies off, leaving Dany unprotected.
As wights run toward her, Jorah shows up and fights them. Daenery’s eventually picks up a sword as well, but Jorah takes several lethal blows.
In the end, Jorah dies in Dany’s arms. She sobs, and Drogon flies back and lands behind her. He provides protection with his wings and even seems to mourn Jorah’s loss as well.
During all of this, Lyanna Mormont is giving orders inside the gates of Winterfell. When the soldiers retreat, she and the others from Bear Island stand guard at the gate. A giant wight busts through the gate and knocks the Lyanna out of the way and destroys her bannermen. She grabs a piece of dragon glass, screams a battle cry, and runs toward him.
The giant grabs her and picks her up, squeezing her and breaking her bones. Before she dies, she manages to take the dragon glass and stab the giant in the eye, killing it.
The littlest fighter in the battle took out of the biggest threat to those inside the walls. It was perfect.
This does mean that House Mormont is no more. Another spoke in the wheel, broken.
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
Last episode, we saw Brienne and Jaime have a very emotional moment when he knighted her. In that room was also Pod, Davos, Tormund, and Tyrion. We’ll get to Tyrion when we move to the crypts, so for now, we’re focusing on the other five, plus Gendry.
These characters are giving it their all throughout the fight, and it looks really bad for Jaime at one point. Brienne rushes across the rampart and kills the wights attacking him. They fight side-by-side, just like Brienne said she’d do in the previous episode when Sansa questioned her about Jaime.
In the end, all five survive the Battle of Winterfell.
I’m happy about this, of course, but with last week’s episode, it feels like these storylines have been wrapped up for some of these characters. I do have a theory about why they didn’t die now, thought.
Brienne, Pod, Jaime, Davos, and Tormund have always had issues with the ruler of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. The Free Folk, while scared of the Night King, didn’t like being ruled over by the southern kings so they went beyond the Wall.
Brienne pledged their loyalty to Sansa and Arya at the request of Catelyn Stark, to protect them against the Lannisters. With Brienne comes Pod, of course.
Jaime has his own issues with Cersei right now, and even more so when Bronn shows up.
Davos fought for Stannis Baratheon, so he obviously isn’t a fan of Cersei’s. His fight was also with Melisandre, but after she tells him that she’ll be dead before the night is over, he backs off. This statement does come true.
Their fight was never truly directed at the Night King until Jon intervened in their lives and showed them the devastation they faced. Now that this battle is over, a battle that was never theirs to start with, they’ll face the one that was always coming for them.
A battle for who sits on the Iron Throne.
The civilians have hidden inside the crypts of Winterfell, and while we all knew what was eventually going to happen, nothing prepared us for the emotional moments between Tyrion and Sansa.
After Arya tells Sansa to go to the crypts for protection, she even hands her a dagger of dragon glass. Sansa tells her she doesn’t know how to use it, and Arya echoes a line from Jon in season one.
“Stick them with the pointy end.”
In the crypts, everyone waits while hearing the battle rage above them. During this, we see Varys and Missandei have taken shelter here as well. Sansa tells Tyrion that he was her best husband, and he says that’s awful.
Being the best of Sansa’s husband isn’t really much of a compliment since the bar was so damn low considering she was engaged to Joffrey and married to Ramsay Bolton. When Tyrion tells her that they could have worked, she tells him that his loyalties would always be divided between her and Daenerys.
Missandei hears this, and she rightfully offended. Daenery’s has been good to her, and to hear them speak of her like she’s an intruder would set her off. She tells them both that with Daenery’s none of them would be alive right now then walks off.
When they Night King does his favorite party trick later, the dead in the crypts of Winterfell break free and begin chasing and killing the townspeople. Sansa and Tyrion hide behind a crypt, and I really like to think it’s Ned’s.
While there is no dialogue in this scene, the expressions that play on Sansa and Tyrion’s faces are enough for us to get the message. There is love and trust here. They’re sorry for what’s about to happen, but as Sansa said earlier, it’s about looking the truth in the face and accepting it. That’s what they’re doing.
They ready their knives and rush out to save people. This heroic moment is incredible, but ultimately it’s not their time, and the wights are stopped another way.
I guarantee Missandei won’t forget that interaction before, and with Jorah gone, who will be there to tell her that Tyrion should remain her hand?
The Brotherhood Without Banners
Beric and the Hound fight on the front lines before retreating back into the gates of Winterfell. During this, though, Clegane has a horrible panic attack because of all the fire and wights attacking.
Beric tries to get him to snap out of it, but Sandor tells him that they can’t fight and win against death.
“Tell her that!”
When Beric says this, Sandor looks up and sees Arya running from wights, and that kicks him into gear. Over the course of the next few minutes, Arya escapes wights several times before she gets overrun by them.
Thankfully, the Hound and Beric are there. Beric throws his flaming sword and kills a wight while the Hound grabs Arya, and they run away. Beric repeatedly saves Arya’s life by putting himself between her and the wights chasing them.
One scene in particular has Beric with his feet together and his arms outstretched, mimicking a Christ pose as he blocks wights from the hallway.
In the end, he’s fatally stabbed by wights, but the Hound and Arya carry him into another room. He dies before he can say any final words, and Melisandre appears from behind them.
“The Lord brought him back for a purpose. Now that purpose has been served.”
“I know you.”
“And I know you.”
“You said we’d meet again.”
“And here we are. At the end of the world.”
“You said I’d shut many eyes forever. You were right about that too.”
“Brown eyes green eyes and blue eyes. What do we say to the God of Death?”
And with that, Arya runs out the room with a mission in mind.
At the beginning of “The Long Night”, Bran is escorted to the Godswood by Theon and the rest of the Ironborn. Throughout the episode, the Ironborn protect him from the wights after they breach the walls of Winterfell.
Before the fighting gets started, though, Theon beings to apologize to Bran for what he did, but Bran stops him. The message he gives him is heartbreaking, but Theon desperately need to hear it.
“Everything you did brought you where you are now. Where you belong. Home.”
Then Bran peaces out for the entire battle.
The Ironborn are all killed by wights except for Theon, and all of the sudden, the wights stop running forward and make an opening for the Night King.
At that point, Bran is back and not warging, and he tells Theon something else:
“Theon. You’re a good man. Thank you.”
Theon nods and then turns toward the Night King. He runs forward with his spear ready, but the Night King catches it, breaks it in half and stabs Theon with it. He falls to the ground but maintains eye contact with the Night King until he walks past him toward Bran.
The Night King and Bran get into an awkward stare off, and I have to wonder if they are communicating some other way. Bran’s got the good stare, and the Night King is also magical, so who knows, right?
The stare down give Arya enough time to sneak past the White Walkers and jump toward the Night King with her Valyrian steel dagger.
He turns and catches her by the throat as her dagger is raised. In a move we save in season seven, Arya drops the blade, never taking her eyes away from the Night King and catches the dagger in her right hand. Before he realizes what’s happening, Arya has stabbed him in the stomach.
The Night King explodes in a shower of ice, and this triggers all the White Walkers and wights he’s created to burst into ice, as well as all the wights created by his generals.
“The Long Night” ends with all the wights being destroyed and one battle down for this group in the North.
Now it’s time to turn our sights on King’s Landing. With Daenery’s army decimated, Cersei looks like she has a shot now.
A couple of quick takeaways from this episode:
We’ve always seen the designs that the Night King and the Children of the Forest make, but what if this symbol is a lot simpler than previously believed. Most of these designs start from a common point, much like all the wights and White Walkers stem from the Night King. What if this designed foreshadowed how to destroy the Night King all this time, and if so, why would the Night King do that?
Back to the last episode again, Tyrion has a conversation with Bran that gets cut off for the audience, but what did he tell Tyrion? I feel like the writers keep the audience in the dark as to not spoil the plot, but I feel like he told Tyrion something important. Much like we were kept in the dark about Sansa, Arya, and Bran working against Littlefinger last season.
How did you like “The Long Night”? Let us know what you think in the comments and read our other recaps HERE!