Game of Thrones S8 E3 Review: The Most Epic Battle Scene in the History of TV
Episode 3 is an effective portrayal of people who are constantly struggling to save themselves from the inescapable threat of death in a dramatic battle. Here's our spoiler-free review.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3: The Long Night
Showrunners: David Benioff & DB Weiss
Cast: Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Peter Dinklage, Sophie Turner
The Night King is here!
Finally, the army of the dead and our favourite characters are put into action. Miguel Sapochnik, the director behind iconic Game of Thrones moments like Battle of Hardhome and Battle of the Bastards, is ready to show the viewers once more that he just might be one of the finest helmers GoT has.
Unlike previous battles in the show, the Battle of Winterfell does not stick to killing upon killing, rather, it seems even more intense, entwining the flavours of suspense, horror, drama and bits of hope. Sapochnik pulls it off brilliantly, considering there are too many elements to be handled, multiple characters to be juggled and hundreds of fighters to be directed.
Episode three opens with various characters getting ready for the final battle against the terrifying, thousands-strong army of the dead led by White Walkers and wights that seem unstoppable.
After two back-to-back predictable seasons, the latest episode of Game of Thrones proves that the show still has the capacity to surprise. And surprise in a way that is devastatingly and unforgivingly cruel. When a horde of white walkers, an army of the dead including giants and a scary ice dragon converge on Winterfell, it is the kind of bone-chilling thrill that all GoT fans have been waiting to witness ever since the season finale premiere.
The Battle of Winterfell begins with the trebuchets firing a number of fireballs towards the Night King's Army as Ser Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) run into battle to split White Walkers into four parts.
One of the most crucial moments is when Arya Stark is trampled on and trapped by a bunch of White Walkers as she gasps for life. Although there is a moment when you think she won't make it, Beric Dondarrion comes to her rescue, in a moment that signifies that all hope is not lost. Many old acquaintances find them together at this hour of uncertainty, drawing strength from each other. That's one of the most significant takeaways from the episode.
The way the battle progresses, with a steady rumble of hoof beats and humans gasping in horror, any sound at normal volume becomes a jump scare. The scene involving the undead battering at the gates of Winterfell and then hacking their way through the walls to siege the Stark stronghold makes for another hair-raising moment in the episode.
The battle is outstandingly done and perfectly executed. Clearly, the visual impact is the result of a collaboration between Sapochnik and Fabian Wagner, who has served as the director of photography on some of the best episodes of Thrones, including Battle of the Bastards and The Winds of Winter. His work in the latest episode is spectacularly instinctual and rich, ensuring that the setting is just as much a character as the beings in it.
There are too many details to take in, understandably, which are sometimes lost in the battle among the dark and the icy winds. You might find yourself squinting into the screens to make out exactly what's going on. The long night is extremely dark, too, and you'll be grateful for the small glimmers of fire that pop up occasionally. This episode is the epitome of the song of ice and fire.
It is also effective as a portrait of people who are constantly struggling to save themselves from the inescapable threat of death. Also, the battle of Winterfell is a brilliant reminder that it's not what it looks like in Game of Thrones. One surprising character pops up, too.
Moreover, the battle of Winterfell is survival horror, shown from the perspective of every person present in Winterfell. It's dramatic, visually stunning and imaginatively directed episode with some terrific performances put forth by Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Iain Glen and Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy).
All that said, the action has finally begun in the final season of Thrones and will, hopefully, continue through the next two episodes. So, brace yourself as several fan favourites will surely be taken off the playing field.
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