Game of Thrones’ ‘Long Night’ Is Dark and Full of Death: Season 8, Episode 3 Recap

Published on April 29, 2019

Sunday night was dark and full of death for Game of Thrones fans in what proved to be the most gut-wrenching episode to date.

For Season 8, Episode 3, titled, “The Long Night,” the night was long and dark indeed. Despite fans complaints about the lighting of the entire episode, director Miguel Sapochnik delivered what appeared to be his best work yet in the history of film and cinema.

With the Great War finished, the amount of bloodshed from The Long Night left fans in complete and utter shock, with Episode 4 heading back to Westeros and the fate of the Seven Kingdoms.

So, let’s recap what happened during The Long Night:

SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t watched Season 8, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones, this article is dark and full of terrors. Take your sword and run.

Where Is Everyone?

  1. The Sky (Jon/Rhaegal, Dani/Drogon, and Night King/Viserion)
  2. Winterfell Castle (Night’s Watch, Lady Mormont)
  3. Outside the Castle Grounds (Dothraki, The Unsullied, Wildlings, Jorah, Melisandre)
  4. Winterfell’s Crypts (Tyrion, Sansa, Varys, Winterfell’s women and children)

The Return of Melisandre, the Red Priestess

Having returned to Winterfell from banishment, Melisandre returned Sunday night to the doors of Winterfell, ready to help the living, after being exiled from the North in Season 7.

Welcoming her warmly into the fortress, Daenerys allows Melisandre to enter Winterfell.

Now, remember, if it wasn’t for Melisandre’s Lord of the Light worshippers, Daenerys would never have truly become “The Mother of Dragons” and “Breaker of Chains” in Meereen. It was the words of Melisandre that allowed Dani to embrace her destiny, which helped restore piece to Meereen, fulfilling Melisandre’s ancient prophecy.

When the red priestess first came to Daenerys, she told her that “the Long Night was coming” […] and “only the prince who was promised can bring the dawn.” Originally believed to be Stannis Baratheon, we come to find out “the prince who was promised” turned out to be Jon Snow.

But not all were as welcoming, as she was immediately greeted by Sir Davos, who still hated her for what she has previously done. Yet, he lets her into the keep after she tells him that “he need not execute her” because “she’ll be dead before dawn.”

As the battle officially began, the Dothraki and Sir Jorah charged at the Army of the Dead with their flaming spears, thanks to the red priestess and her witchcraft. However, the “Black gate” charge, reminiscent of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, did not last long, as one by one, the flames started to go out.

But, she temporarily saves the day as she begins chanting Valyrian, to help light the trenches, keeping the Army of the Dead at bay.

Unfortunately, the fire trench isn’t enough to keep the wights out, as they begin climbing on top of each other in efforts to create a bridge to cross over the fire, eventually making it up the walls of Winterfell.

A Lady and the Giant

Photo Courtesy of HBO

As Lord Beric confronts the Hound on doing nothing as everyone around him continues to fight (and die), the Hound responds back that you simply “cannot beat death.”

Lord Beric responds by pointing and directing the Hound to the fighting breaths that Lady Mormont and Arya Stark are exhausting, somehow managing to stay alive.

Scared and frozen, Lady Lyanna Mormont prepares as a wight giant breaks through the gates and storms Winterfell’s grounds, smacking her which throws her down to the ground.

Getting up, Lady Mormont charges at him, only to be picked up by the wight giant and feel what it’s like to be crushed (literally) to death.

But cracking bones and spines don’t keep the Lady from stabbing the giant in the eye with her dragon blade, taking it down with her as she dies.

The Devil Within the Walls: Arya and the Wights

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

Inside Winterfell, Arya is living her own horror in what can only be described as the “Winterfell Escape Room.” Young Stark is silently making her away around the castle, hoping to avoid any encounter with the number of wights chasing her and her scent.

What’s noteworthy from this drawn out scene is watching Arya’s training come full circle as she has truly mastered the art of “not being seen,” as she learned from her training and service to the Many-Faced God.

But, the longer she is trapped in the castle, the more tired and weary she grows. When it seems that Arya has run out of options, she was rescued by both Lord Beric and the Hound.

Unfortunately, Lord Beric began to weaken from his wounds and died protecting Arya from the countless wights behind them, succumbing to his inevitable fate of becoming one.

“What Do You Say to the God of Death?” 

Melisandre and Arya in the third episode of Game of Thrones’ eighth season. Helen Sloan/HBO

Ironically distraught having Lord Beric die in her arms, Arya has a short reunion with Melisandre, who she had not seen since she last fled with Gendry, hoping to leech the royal blood out of him.

Arya recalls the conversation she had with the red witch in Season 3, at the hideout of the Brotherhood Without Banners, to take Gendry away:

“I see darkness in you. And in that darkness eyes staring back at me: brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you will shut forever.”

Confirming that Melisandre really does have the power to see the future, Arya fully accepts her fate and destiny as it has played out.

In efforts to comfort Arya, Melisandre tells her that the Lord of the Light brought Lord Beric back continuously for the sole purpose of protecting her on this Long Night.

She also reminded the young Stark of her earlier prophecy that when they would meet again, she would have killed “a great many people.”

She now looks into Arya’s eyes and tells her that she has “closed brown eyes and green eyes,” then pauses before she adds, “blue eyes,” hinting that Arya was destined to kill the Night King.

She then recited Arya’s old swordmaster, Syrio Forel’s mantra—“what do we say to the god of death?

Realizing her destiny and having an epiphany, Arya runs off responding, “not today.”

Godswood: Where It All Matters (Apparently)

Photo Courtesy of HBO

As the wights begin arriving in Godswood, where Bran is, Theon Greyjoy makes a stand, showing off his archery skills, keeping them at bay.

The puzzling question is why the Night King wasn’t there yet. As we come to find out, he has taken to the skies, fighting with Jon/Rhaegal and Daenerys/Drogon, while setting Winterfell on a blue fire.

Blue-Eyes White Dragon vs. Jon and Daenerys

But Viserion and his blue light prove to be too much for Jon as he is knocked off Rhaegal. But, Dani to the rescue, as she managed to somehow knock the Night King off Viserion, cornering him as she sets Drogon’s flames on him.

However, dragonfire seemed to have no effect on the Night King, as Dani learns her lesson from last time, taking Drogon as far away from the Night King’s spear as possible.

Many seemed to miss this quick reference into who the Night King may truly be, but there is only one family known to be able to withstand dragon fire and have the ability to fly a dragon. Food for thought.

Goodbye Reek, Welcome Back Theon Greyjoy

In the final moments of the episode, the Night King finally makes his approach on Bran.

But before the Night King has his chance to move forward any further, Bran calls on Reek/Greyjoy—

Theon, you’re a good man. Thank you.”

Understanding now that the final step for redemption is to die protecting Bran, Theon destroys any last traces of Reek, and returns as the Theon Greyjoy Bran remembered, making his final charge at the Night King with his spear, only to be stopped short, have his spear broken in half, and the Night King stabbing him with it.

Unmaking Death

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) tries to kill the Night King on Game of Thrones. Helen Sloan/HBO

As the Night King makes his final steps towards Bran and goes for his sword, Arya, who we had not seen since she ran off from her encounter with Melisandre, leaps from behind onto the Night King, only to be grabbed by her throat as she appears to drop her Valyrian steel dagger she had from Season 1.

However, fulfilling the prophecy and completing her final transition into the service of the Many-Faced God, Arya catches that blade with her other hand and she plunges the blade into the abdomen of the Night King, watching him shatter instantly. Immediately following, the entire Army of the Dead (Walkers and wights) are no more, ending the Great War.

Photo Credit: HBO

But, what’s important to note here is the significance of this scene. Arya’s exact technique of killing the Night King was exactly how the Night King was born.

Remember back to the Children of the Forest–the exact spot where the Children of the Forest put the dragonglass blade to create the Night King, was the very spot he was just unmade by Valyrian steel at the hands of Arya Stark.

Remembering Those We Lost

If for some reason you still haven’t thrown yourself into a hoard of wights because of the spoilers, this is your last chance to redeem yourself, as below is a complete list of all who perished in the gut-wrenching episode

#1 –The Entire Dothraki Army and The Unsullied

Serving but one purpose on a massive chess board, the entire Dothraki army suffered a horrific fate as the front lines were completely wiped out. Fans grew close with the Dothraki since they were introduced to them back in Season 1—we still miss you Jason Momoa.

However, the Dothraki fulfilled their former leader’s wishes and died protecting their queen.

But don’t forget The Unsullied. They gave their lives on the front lines as well.


House Mormont Is No More

With the end of Episode 3, came the end for House Mormont.

#2 –Lady Lynna Mormont

Briefly returning as a White Walker, Lady Mormont had a few more seconds of air time before her ultimate demise as a result of Arya Stark killing the Night King.

RIP my lady.

#3—Sir Jorah Mormont

True to his word, Sir Jorah Mormont went out protecting Daenerys and the love of his life. The dragon queen was left in tears as he laid motionless before her.

RIP Sir Jorah.

#4 –Edd Tollett (Dolorous Edd)

The former commander of the Night’s Watch upheld his oath until the very end, rescuing Samwell Tarly from what looked like an unescapable fate. Unfortunately, Tollett soon became a wight himself, ending his role on Thrones.

Cheers to the Night’s Watch.


#5—Lord Beric Donarrion

Unfortunately, fans came to understand why the Lord of Light continued to bring Lord Beric Donarrion back from the dead—his ultimate purpose, confirmed by the red priestess, was to die protecting Arya Stark from a band of wights.

Ironically, earlier on in the series, Lord Beric made it onto Arya’s kill list, but fought alongside her and the Hound until the very end. Nicely done Beric.

Congratulations, mate, you escaped death only to face its biting effects later on.


#6 –Theon Greyjoy

The least surprising of deaths, but still equally gut-wrenching, was the death of Theon Greyjoy, who kept his word until his dying breath, to protect Bran in Godswood.

Earning his forgiveness and redeeming himself from his earlier sins during the series, Greyjoy died in peace at the hands and blade of The Night King.


#7The Night King and the Army of the Dead

 As shocking as it is to believe, yes, the Night King is no more, as is his army of wights and Walkers.

But, what people didn’t expect is how his death would come about, let alone the timing of it.


For those who don’t consider Viserion a separate death from the Night King and his Army, shame on you.

Once and for all (and as heartbreaking as possible), Viserion, aka Blue-Eyes-White Dragon is no more.


#9Melisandre (Suicide)

As predicted and hinted at several times by none other than Melisandre herself, she in fact does leave the world of the living, before the dawn. Taking off her amulet that has kept her young, Melisandre walks out into the bitter cold following the end of the Great War, taking off her amulet and stripping herself of clothes, as Sir Davos witnesses her age rapidly and eventually crumble to dust.


Episode 4: The Battle for the Seven Kingdoms

If you want recaps of Episodes 1 and 2, please click here.

Here is the teaser for Episode 4:

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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