Game of Thrones’ epic Battle of Winterfell has become the most-tweeted-about scripted TV episode of all time. This is because the episode title The Long Night not just gave us a mid-season climax, but also had Arya Stark stabbing the Night King with her Valyrian steel dagger to protect her brother Bran. Twitter itself confirmed that the 82-minute-long episode delivered over 7.8 million tweets.
No one saw pint-sized Arya’s unexpected final blow coming. That’s because most of the viewers expected a duel between Jon Snow and the Night King.
According to Entertainment Weekly, actor Kit Harington was equally surprised at the creators’ decision to pick Arya to finish off the leader of the Army of Dead. “I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be me! But I like it. It gives Arya’s training a purpose to have an end goal. It’s much better how she does it the way she does it. I think it will frustrate some in the audience that Jon’s hunting the Night King and you’re expecting this epic fight and it never happens — that’s kind of Thrones.,” Kit said in the interview.
Pointing out her little chat with Melisandre where she reminds Arya of “brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes… eyes you’ll shut forever” prophecy from GoT’ season 3, Maisie Williams shared that it made sense as to why killing the Night King was Arya’s destiny.
“I’ve never been in a battle before. Episode 9, I skip every year. Which is bizarre since Arya’s the one that’s been training the most… But the sense of achievement after a day on set is unlike anything else. One of those really tough days, you know it’s going to be part of something so iconic and it will look amazing.”
“When we did the whole bit with Melisandre, I realized the whole scene with [the Red Woman] brings it back to everything I’ve been working for over these past 6 seasons. It all comes down to this one very moment. It’s also unexpected and that’s what this show does,” Maisie said in the Entertainment Weekly interview.
The Long Night episode, however, saw some major characters from the show falling. While Ser Jorah Mormont died protecting his Queen and in the arms of Daenerys Targaryen, the fierce lady of Bear Island Lyanna Mormont was killed fighting a giant. Theon Greyjoy, Melisandre, Beric Dondarrion, Dolorous Edd and the Dothrakis were those who died fighting the undead.
Actor Iain Glen, who played Ser Jorah Mormont also told Entertainment Weekly, “When I read the nature of his demise it felt right. It was the right conclusion. For eight years in a row, you go, “Please, please…” You just want to stay in the party. You just want to stay on board. Then this season comes and this is the season to go, if you’re going to go. It’s a heroic and satisfying demise.”
Post the thrilling episode, the cast and actors took to social media to write farewell posts to the dead characters. Emilia Clarke shared a click with actor Iain Glen, and wrote, “YOURE SIMPLY THE BEST, BETTER THAN ALL THE REST, BETTER THAN ANYONE, ANYONE IVE EVER MET……😭” #serjorahforlyfe”
Bella Ramsey aka Lyanna Mormont, who became probably the youngest and bravest hero on the show, posted a series of images from the sets of the show and wrote, “I had a song in my head during the filming of episode three… Every Giant Will Fall by @rendcollective 👊🏻 it basically sums it all up. I’m overwhelmed by the response, thank you so so much 🙏🏻 “I will not hide underground. I pledged to fight for the North, and I will fight” RIP Lyanna 👊🏻 #gameofthrones #everygiantwillfall #lyannamormont”
Sansa Stark had an emotional reunion with Theon Greyjoy in episode 2 of season 8. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa, shared an image of actor Alfie Allen and wrote, “To Alfie and to Theon…. “You’re a good man”” Alfie also shared a thank you note that read, “Its been so touching to read how Theon has affected fans of GoT. To be given the opportunity to challenge and question people’s emotions through a characters journey that was given to me by D&D and George R Martin… is something I am extremely thankful for. What an honour it has been. Thank you x”
After defeating the wights, it is Cersei Lannister who seems to be the next pit-stop for Daenerys Targaryen before she takes the Iron Throne. Cersie awaits the arrival of Daenerys, Jon Snow, Jaime Lannister, Tyrion and others in King’s Landing in the show’s next episode.