Tag: Lyanna Mormont

‘Game of Thrones’ Review: ‘The Long Night’

The latest episode of Game of Thrones was hyped beyond belief. “The Battle for Winterfell” was possibly the most anticipated episode of the season, showcasing the war between the united characters of Westeros (sans Cersei) vs. the White Walkers in what was thought to be a bloodbath of epic proportions, on par with the Red Wedding. But when the episode came roaring onto screens last night, it had some noticeable issues that, in this author’s opinion, prevented it from reaching the heights of true greatness. We’ll delve more deeply into SPOILERS in this review of “The Long Night” but before we do, here’s your chance to turn back now in case you haven’t seen the episode.

So, turn back now! Last warning?

 

Spoilers Ahead!


 

 

Alright, still here. Then let’s take a look at what worked and what didn’t in last night’s epic battle.

 

Danenyrus and Jon Snow stand on the wall of Winterfell, staring at the army of torches in the distance
IMAGE VIA THE ATLANTIC

The opening moments of the battle start off grinding out the tension. The defenders of Winterfell stand assembled. Grey Worm stands before the gates, standing stalwart with his fellow Unsullied. Jamie Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, Podrick Payne, Tormund Giantsbane, Samwell Tarly, Sandor Clegane, Beric Dondarrion, Jorah Mormont, Davos Seaworth, Ghost, and Lyanna Mormont stand among their ranks. Arya and Sansa Stark stand tall on the walls. Tyrion Lannister and Gilly hide underneath Winterfell in the crypts with the common citizens. The dragons circle overhead. Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen finally stand side by side on the highest point of the keep, staring ahead into the darkness beyond. Its so quiet you can hear a pin drop as the tension is ratcheted up beyond belief, as the characters stare off from the sanctuary of Winterfell, unable to see into the darkness beyond, waiting…waiting…for something to happen.

Melisandre arrives presently (nice to see you again!) and although Davos doesn’t trust her, he allows her inside. Melisandre gifts the soldiers of Winterfell with the blessing of the Lord of Light, making their swords alight with flame similar to Beric’s own. The army then charges off to meet the army of the dead and flaming cannonballs are fired off. They strike something ahead, engulfing the battlefield with pockets of light…showcasing a HUGE tide of wights coming out of the darkness. What follows next is one of the episode’s brilliant moments, as the POV switches back to Winterfell, with the sea of torches visible in the distance. One by one, with no sound, the torches go out. The terror at this situation is boldly felt and captures the horror of the White Walkers without them even being seen. A great artistic choice, well done!

 

 

Arya Stark fights wildly for survival as zombies surround her

Image via Vox

But that’s when the episode takes a sharp left turn towards incomprehensibility. As the wights swarm Winterfell en masse, the defenders rush out to meet them. What should be a great/terrifying action scene is unfortunately marred by one fact: you can’t see what’s happening! Between the very dark lighting, the fast paced editing, and the chaotic style of the melee itself, the action is downright incomprehensible. You can’t see what’s happening onscreen, which is problematic to follow the characters who are in real mortal peril fighting for their lives against the surge of the undead. This is a problem that pervades throughout the entire episode and unfortunately, one that brings it down considerably. Its almost impossible to tell what’s happening onscreen throughout the battle through much of its runtime and considering the sheer scale of the battle itself, this is a huge problem. We want to see what’s happening! We want to see who lives and dies! But whether through design or error, you simply can’t throughout ‘The Long Night’.

Some of these moments were obviously intentional, such as when the Night King arrives and his Walkers conjure an enormous blizzard to blind the dragons as Jon and Daenerys pursue him. This scene captures the frantic pursuit very well, being very hard to see as the dragons race around desperately through the blizzard, getting attacked at points by the Night King atop his zombie dragon and only providing brief moments of relief as the two exit the blizzard. But at other points, you simply can’t tell what’s going on, such as when Grey Worm and the Unsullied defend the gate, Jamie and Brienne fighting desperately on the walls against the endless tide, or when Arya is sneaking around inside Winterfell, trying to avoid lurking wights. The episode is unfortunately undercut by the fact that we can’t see any of it.

 

Bedric wields a flaming sword in the crypt of Winterfell
IMAGE VIA WINTER IS COMING

You could argue it is a stylistic choice in order to capture the chaotic pace of medieval warfare. However, previous episodes such as “Battle of the Bastards” embrace this as well and they weren’t nearly as visually hard to follow. You can blend the chaotic style of medieval warfare with comprehensible cinematography without an issue, as previously shown, but this episode just couldn’t do it for whatever reason.

Still, this episode was full of cool moments when we could see them. Lyanna Mormont’s death scene was a tearjerking highlight, as she faces down an undead giant that smashes its way through the gates. The monster begins butchering soldiers and slaps the little girl aside. But Lyanna gets right back up and with a scream of a warrior, charges back in towards the towering monster. The giant grabs her and begins crushing her but Lyanna, with her last breath, stabs the beast with a dragon glass dagger, killing the giant at the cost of her own life. RIP, Lyanna, you went out like a boss!

 

The Night King stands tall in a towering inferno
IMAGE VIA IGN

Other great moments included Sansa and Tyrion’s heart-to-heart scenes in the crypts as the battle raged overhead, bringing their relationship closer as they spoke of how they were nearly married, the dragon fight as Jon Snow took on the Night King’s undead mount in a midair duel to the death, and Jon Snow attempting to kill the Night King himself only to be stopped by a wall of zombies that the Night King raises from the corpses of the battlefield. The last stand of Theon Greyjoy was also a great moment of the character, as Theon faced down dozens of wights to defend Bran, getting a solemn thank you from Bran as his former brother told him he was a good man. Theon then ran at the Night King himself, only to be gutted and died. A great ending of the character and another badass exit.

Still, despite what viewers thought would be a bloodbath of an episode, there really weren’t that many ‘big’ deaths. Theon Greyjoy, of course, has been a pivotal part of the show but his importance has waned with time and he was much more of a side character in the lead up to his demise. Lyanna Mormont’s death of course was heartbreaking, but she was never a main cast member, just a member of the supporting cast to whom viewers grew attached (for good reason). Beric Dondarrion also perished but his status as a cast member is quite similar to Lyanna. Melisandre walked her last at the episode’s end but she too had been dwindling in importance and the fact that was the first time she showed up in a long while undermined her death scene, as it appeared she appeared out of the blue simply to die. Arguably the ‘biggest’ death was Jorah Mormont, who died defending Daenerys from endless waves of zombies, but even he wasn’t a main cast member either. Everyone who was on the A-list came away relatively scott-free, without even any serious injuries to show for it. Even characters who arguably should have died— i.e: Sansa and Tyrion trapped in the crypts with the undead, Samwell buried in an avalanche of wights, and Jamie and Brienne overrun by wights— survived. Honestly, it’s a little disappointing that not a single main cast member perished, especially considering Game of Thrones’s reputation of killing anyone, everyone, no matter who they are. Perhaps we overhyped ourselves but still…its disappointing nonetheless.

 

IMAGE VIA IGN

Of course, the most controversial moment will be the death of the Night King himself. The big guy perished at the hands of Arya, who shanks him with her dagger, causing the Night King to quite suddenly explode, with his entire army of zombies falling apart with his death. It is a sudden, jarring moment, perhaps somewhat anti-climatic, but one that feels more in line with the show’s desire to subvert audience expectations. One hopes we’ll learn a bit more about the White Walkers now that they’re gone, as the Night King and his troops never showed their motivations nor any real personality traits. They were just evil and while that certainly made them threatening, it would be a disappointment if they didn’t have much else going for them.

It seems now Cersei will become the threat for the reminder of the season. We’ll have to wait to see what happens but it be a bit sour to have the supposedly main threat offed and a smaller, more petty threat take his place. Still, we’re sure the showrunners have something up their sleeves.

The Battle for Winterfell proved to be a rather mixed bag. With the lighting issues, lack of character deaths, and the death of the Night King sorted in with a truly epic scale and great moments this one isn’t bad but perhaps fell short of true greatness. We can only hope Cersei proves herself to be just as a threat as the Night King’s forces but we’ll have to see.

What were your thoughts on the episode?

 

 

Featured Image Via Vox 

Leaf and Tormund

Top 10 Best ‘Game of Thrones’ Supporting Characters

The world of Game of Thrones is one of the richest in television, thanks to the thought and care put into its world. Helping to add to the color of the fantasy kingdom of Westeros are the rich and layered side characters. From one-off wonders to important members of the supporting cast, the side characters are always a joy to watch, no matter how small their roles are. Here are some of the best of them, in our opinion, showcasing the rich characterization that is applied to everyone in Game of Thrones.

 

10. Izembaro 

 

An elderly man sits in a false wig

Image via Entertainment Weekly

Played to hammy perfection by Richard E. Grant, Izembaro is the lead actor and playwright of the Braavosi theater group. Constantly sniping at his actors and dressing them down for so called poor performances, Izembaro is the kind of character who you love to hate, full of hilarious lines while also being a complete diva. Izembaro, appropriately, owns every scene he’s in and his inspired take on Tywin’s death scene has to be seen to be believed.

 

9. Syrio Forel

 

A man raises a sword next to a young lady

Image Via Ign

 

Syrio was a fan-favorite of the viewers in Season 1 and his time in the show is all too short. With a big personality, this Braavosi sword master teaches Arya how to fight, crucially setting her on the road toward becoming the assassin she would be later on. Unfortunately, Syrio meets his end when he defends Arya from getting arrested. Rest in peace, Syrio, you were a memorable player for sure.

8. Leaf

 

A half woman, half tree person glares at the camera

Image via Game of Thrones wiki

 

Leaf is one of the mysterious Children of the Forest, supernatural beings who created the White Walkers long ago. While she’s mostly in the background, she proved an intriguing enigma in her interactions with Bran’s group. She eventually shows her power when she takes down a group of wights that attack but loses her life in the process. Hopefully, more Children will appear before the end of the show.

 

7. Joer Mormont

 

An elderly man stands clad in black robes

Image Via Game of Thrones wiki

Known as ‘the Old Bear’, Joer Mormont was a loyal member of the Night’s Watch who led them for years as a strict, yet ultimately fair commander. Treating Jon Snow with respect despite his status as a bastard, Joer is the kind of man the Night’s Watch should strive to be. Ultimately, he’s betrayed when his own men turn on him at Craster’s Keep, although he still almost drives a sword into his killers before he succumbs to his wounds.

 

6. Wun Wun

 

Image Via IGN

An awesome giant on the side of the wildlings, Wun Wun can’t speak English and doesn’t get more characterization than ‘strong’ but that’s enough for us. Wun Wun proved his worth over and over again, fighting off wights during the massacre of Hardhome and proving instrumental in the Battle of the Bastards where he smashes down the gate into Winterfell. He meets his end there, felled by numerous arrows before Ramsay finishes him off with an arrow to the head but he was a great background character, a towering force that showcased that giants were more complex than they seemed.

 

5. Shireen Baratheon

 

A young girl with a disfigured face

Image via Game of Thrones wiki

A tragic figure, Shireen is a kind young girl who represented a moral compass for Stannis. It seemed she was the only thing he truly cared about, despite keeping her locked up on account of her greyscale infection. She had a great relationship with Davos, and Davos cared  for her immensely and she even taught him how to read. This makes her eventual fate—Stannis burning her alive to appease the Lord of Light— even more tragic and doubtlessly one of the biggest emotional blows of the series, .

 

4. Tormund Giantsbane

 

A big man with a red beard stands at attention

Image via IGN

A boisterous wildling warrior, Tormund’s journey involves him becoming an unlikely ally and an even more unlikely friend to Jon Snow. Bonding over Jon in their mutual love for Ygritte, Tormund’s friendship is broken with him when Jon flees the wildlings to rejoin his comrades. But their friendship is rekindled later on and Tormund becomes a permanent ally to Jon, although still one with wildling roots. Also, he makes eyes at Brienne and that is wonderful.

 

3. Gilly

 

A young girl standing in a snowy forest landscape

Image Via Game of Thrones wiki

One of Caster’s ‘wives’ (ew), Gilly meets Samwell Tarly when he stays at Craster’s Keep and Samwell develops an attraction to her. Her son is destined to be sacrificed to the White Walkers but after the murder of Joer and Craster, Samwell escapes with her into the wilderness. Gilly learns to trust Sam, slowly but surely, and eventually becomes something of his wife. Gilly has endured a lot but so far she’s endured it all with dignity and managed to even get a somewhat happy existence for herself. She may not be well-read but she’s smart, wily, and follows her heart.

 

2. Gregor Clegane

 

A huge man standing with a bloodstained chest

Image Via IGN

Few men are as feared in the world of Westeros as Gregor Clegane, otherwise known as ‘the Mountain’. He shows sporadically throughout the show at first, appearing to cause violence and mayhem, eventually getting into a brutal duel with Oberyn Martell that ends with a mutual kill: Gregor succumbs to wounds inflicted on him but not before he crushes Obeyrn’s skull. Gregor is then raised from the dead, becoming an undead servant of Cersei, faithfully standing behind her like Darth Vader, ready to kill anyone who goes against his Queen. Hopefully, this season will give us what we’ve wanted: Sander and Gregor, in a duel to the death.

 

1. Lyanna Mormont

 

A young girl sitting on a horse and glaring ahead

Image Via Game of Thrones wiki

One of the most awesome concepts, Lyanna Mormont is the young Lady of Bear Island and despite being only ten years old, she quickly proves herself one of the most badass characters for her attitude. She takes no guff from the Starks, standing up to anyone she pleases. She also is instrumental in getting Jon proclaimed King of the North, proving herself a competent and intelligent leader despite her age. Her return in season 8 has elected cheers from fans and we only hope the Night King is ready when her faces this little terror.

Who are some of your favorite supporting characters? Tell us in the comment!

 

 

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