Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3: The Best Highs and the Insane Anxiety
In Episode 3 of Game of Thrones's 8th season, we are in for some very horrible but very satisfying moments too
Warning, spoilers ahead.
If there's one thing Game of Thrones has been adept at doing, it's creating moments out of war scenes. As seen earlier in Battle of the Bastards, one of the most iconic episodes in all the previous seasons of Game of Thrones, the juggernaut between hope and fear is a constant theme in the episodes. The Long Night, the third episode of season 8 was also no different. While there will always be points where the episode may not have delivered - owing to the fact that there had been far too much of a gap between season seven and season eight - the episode was done very well and had multiple redeeming moments that made it for a riveting watch.
The episode begins with Samwell Tarly panicking. That's a sentiment the viewers immediately would connect with. The show's tendency to kill off beloved characters had to lead up to this moment and a big battle in the final season of the show would ultimately mean saying goodbye to these characters. The castle of Winterfell seemed to be armed to its very teeth and the soldiers seemed to know exactly what to do. The numbers were many. Yet there was an imminent feeling of impending doom, regardless of the armed to the end of their braids Dothraki, the thousands of Unsullied soldiers and Dany's Dragons - the impact of the enemy was such that the gnawing feeling at the pit of your stomach just couldn't have been shaken away even for a few moments. In a brief moment where the Red Woman arrives and helps the Dothraki and fires their arakhs, you do feel as if everything just might be okay. But the moment eventually (and quickly, in a horrific sequence) dissipates and from that point onwards, everywhere you looked, flanked with a stunning score by Ramin Djwadi, you could see, feel and hear the signs of fear and anxiety that said exactly this: no matter how prepared you are, no matter how big your army is, you cannot defeat what is about to come at you.
In that, Miguel Sapochnik, the director of the episode, delivered. Writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss craftily stood on the hook. The reality of not being able to truly defeat the White Walkers in the episode does sink in. The death count is massive and the anxiety levels are off the charts. While there were the likely deaths, the likely heroes but the method of creating these moments with the desired impact was much like a sleight of hand. Like a game of poker, the bluff was the distraction. As Benioff revealed in the Inside The Episode, the audience was distracted by the many tense moments building up (Dany and Jorah, Sansa and Tyrion, Lyanna Mormont, Jon and the Night King, Brienne, Jaime all being cornered) they completely forgot about Arya Stark. Arya managed to find her way to Bran. Theoretically, she must have disguised herself and had become one of the many faceless men to hide within Theon's frontmen. The moment is dramatic, impactful and truly one of the most iconic scenes on televisions we've seen. As someone rightly pointed out on Twitter, this week's saviours in pop culture were the Starks: Tony and Arya.
The interspersed moments of laughter, humanity, forgiveness, bravery and hope are what made a war-filled episode memorable and distinct with its own flavour. The stage is now set for a new war between Jon and Dany and Cersei, who waits with Euron Greyjoy from the Iron Islands. It may not be as terror-filled as the war between the living and the dead but if we know anything about Cersei, she’s no less deadly than the Night King.