Last week on Game Of Thrones, Tormund explained the origins of his last name, Jaime caught up with everyone, and Brienne got a new title. This week, the army of the dead marched on Winterfell. GOT is all about how people jockey for power, so click through for our SPOILER-FILLED season eight, episode three Game of Thrones Power Rankings.

1. Arya Morghulis: It just goes to show: never underestimate the power of good sex! In an episode that, for the most part, went about how we expected (the good guys were hopelessly overwhelmed by the bad guys, a bunch of good guys die), Arya Ex Machina was a total shocker at the end. It was such a go-for-broke moment, it really can only be discussed in sports terms. This was basically the GOT equivalent of a game-winning dunk. It was the fantasy TV show equivalent of a three point buzzer beater. Arya Stark is Damian Lillard, that is canon now.

Actress Maisie Williams told EW that she was shocked by the twist—and she had her doubts whether fans would accept it. "It was so unbelievably exciting," she said. "But I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it. The hardest thing is in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them. It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, 'Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.' You gotta make it cool. And then I told my boyfriend and he was like, 'Mmm, should be Jon though really, shouldn’t it?'" I'm sure that boyfriend is very nice and you love him very much, but fuck that dude!!! T-Pain gets it!!!

Everyone had their guesses as to how the battle was going to go wrong, or who was going to die, but I don't think anybody reasonably saw that ending coming. Director Miguel Sapochnik told EW he wanted to throw people off by making them think Jon Snow would be the one to stop the Night King: "I thought, 'Hmm, if I see Arya running then I know she’s going to do something.'" Sapochnik said. "So it’s about almost losing her from the story and then have her come in as a surprise and pinning all our hopes on Jon being the guy going to do it — because Jon’s always the guy. So we follow Jon in a continuous shot I want the audience to think: 'Jon’s gonna do it, Jon’s gonna do it…' and then he fails. He fails at the very last minute. So I’m hoping that’s a nice switch that no one sees coming." (For what it's worth, showrunner David Benioff says in the video up above they've known for three years now that Arya would be the one to kill the Night King.)

The scene of Arya hiding out from the wights in the library took on extra meaning as a result. At the time, I thought it was an unnecessarily long B-movie horror scene meant to ratchet up the tension in Winterfell's close quarters (à la the kitchen scene in Jurassic Park), but upon reflection, it was also a decent way of reminding the audience just how good Arya is at sneaking around undetected, even when she's in a daze after hitting her head earlier in the episode. You'd have to be Ezra Klein not to get that Arya has spent the last four seasons training for this exact moment. She turned out to be The Pointy End Who Was Promised.

Just think about what a great day Arya just had: she lost her virginity and saves all of humanity in under 24 hours (what are the ethics around wight genocide?). She got to tell death "not today" one more time—none of her best friends or family died! Just a couple frenemies! I think she can live with that result.

2. The Night Is Dark And Very, Very Hard To See: So...did you have to turn all the lights off in your home in order to see what was going on? And even if you did, was it still hard to make out certain things, like when the dragons were flying through the snowstorm or Arya was running around Winterfell? I think Ser Davos was breaking the fourth wall when he noted, "She can't see us."

Many people felt that it was difficult to see everything going on during this episode. For some, the literally dark screen made it visually unintelligible to follow and frustrating; for others, the naturalistic cinematography made it even more daring than previous GOT battle episodes. It mostly worked for me, though I did wonder at one point: couldn't they have staged the battle in the morning, and still used all the smoke and fire and snowstorm CGI effects to produce a similar disorientation?

But there were lots of times where the dimly-lit camerawork added to the chaos in a thrilling way. The onset of the battle, with the wights stampeding into the first lines of defense, was chaotically framed in the best sense. Throughout the episode, you were almost certainly at the edge of your seat, both because it was intense as hell and also because you were squinting extra hard. It also didn't stay in just one mood for too long: it was a horror movie, then a thriller, then a war film, then a tense standoff. When the zombies started to climb the Winterfell walls, it started to look like something out of David Fincher's World War Z—I'm not sure if that's good or bad, but it was striking.

With a distinct lack of dialogue, the soundtrack and sound design throughout the episode really elevated things, especially during the operatic last third. It may not have been the Red Wedding, but Arya gutting the Night King probably will be remembered among the iconic GOT moments. This seems like it was a particularly r good episode for watch parties:

I didn't expect that everything with the White Walkers would all be so over this soon, but assuming there are more emotionally-gripping episodes like "A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms" coming up, I'm glad that the endgame for the show will focus on the human conflicts (whether it's Cersei vs the North or Jon vs Dany), and the difficulty of picking up the pieces and rebuilding society after disaster (George R.R. Martin has cited certain Tolkien texts as inspiration for that aspect). It may not have been a very long night, but it was still very enjoyable one.

3. A Song Of Incinerated Bodies & Flaming Swords: Director Miguel Sapochnik is no stranger to epic GOT episodes. He has previously helmed some of the most unforgettable, iconic outings of the show, including "Hardhome," "Battle of the Bastards," and "The Winds of Winter." He skipped out on directing in season seven in order to focus on season eight, where he helmed tonight's episode (plus the upcoming, penultimate episode five). He spoke to EW about just how much insane work went into making both episodes, which he started shooting in June 2017.

"I’m shooting for seven and a half months, which is like 130 days, which is longer than most of the big movies that get made. So in terms of the amount of work, it’s been six- and seven-day weeks, 16-to-18 hour days and, yeah, it’s a lot," he said. "The thing I’ve put the most hours into was is how, in episode 3, how to not have an audience feel battle fatigue. After 20 minutes of watching a battle, you’re over it. So how do you stop it from being a battle in that sense?"

Among the influences on the episode were Assault On Precinct 13 and, as you might have guessed, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, because of its long battle scene: "I was trying to get a sense of when do you tire out," he explained. "It feels like the only way to really approach it properly is take every sequence and ask yourself: 'Why would I care to keep watching?' One thing I found is the less action — the less fighting — you can have in a sequence, the better. We also switch genres. There’s suspense and horror and action and drama and we’re not stuck in killing upon killing because then everybody gets desensitized and it doesn’t mean anything."

Altogether, the battle took 55 days to film, included 750 people in it, is the longest episode of GOT ever, and is the longest battle sequence in film or TV history. Whether or not the purposefully hazy lighting worked for you, your mileage may vary.

4. And Now Their Watch Has Ended: Let's not mince words here: a lot of people died during this episode. Just about all the Dothraki were wiped out, most of the Unsullied didn't turn out too well, and a shit ton of Northerners all bit the dust (and then were resurrected by the Night King, only to turn to dust once again). But the vast majority of deaths during The Battle Of Winterfell were those of random Red Shirts who never had a chance— their only purpose in the narrative was to die, and to make bloody entertaining cannon fodder.

It was easy to lose track of a lot of main characters as this episode went on—Where'd Tormund go? Is Pod still fighting? How did Brienne survive being swarmed by approximately a million dead people multiple times? Did Grey Worm skip town at some point?—but the episode painstakingly went out of its way to make it abundantly clear any time a named character was about to bite the dust. And we ended up with six such (mostly) beloved characters who met their ends here: Lyanna Mormont, Ser Jorah, Theon Greyjoy, Melisandre, Beric Dondarrion, and...[squints]...[am I reading this right?]...Dollarbill Ed? Delirious Eddie? Oh right, good old Dolorous Edd.

But considering this was the be-all, end-all battle with the ultimate evil dude and his army of "Thriller" enthusiasts, we got off pretty easy. Perhaps too easy: the show that used to shock audiences into hyperventilating stupors by murdering its main characters left and right has now laid the plot armor pretty, pretty thick over Samwell and Brienne and Jaime and Tormund and Pod and anyone else who was on the frontlines of that fight. Jon and Dany both fell off their dragons right into the middle of zombie jamborees, and neither were scratched, or seriously wounded, let alone stabbed to death, even though they both deserved it!

5. Write-In Campaign To Posthumously Elect Lord Lyanna Mormont King Of The Seven Kingdoms: She wasn't interested in small talk, she took her responsibilities very seriously, she was smarter than any other ruler we'd encountered, she was a bit of a hard ass, and she was an expert at delivering a rousing speech. The Lady of Bear Island was only supposed to be in one scene initially, but actress Bella Ramsey was way too good for that. She stole every scene she was in. And she went out a hero, taking out the reanimated corpse of Wun-Wun the giant even as he squeezed the life out of her.

6. Ser Deadzone: After years of being the ultimate also-ran, pining for his queen while going on the occasional side quest to cure greyscale or become a gladiator or something, Ser Jorah Mormont (formerly Ser Friendzone, Ser Friendstone, Ser IJustReallyStronglyFeelLikeWeShouldBeMoreThanFriends, and Ser SayAnything) didn't get his happy ending with Dany. But he got the next best thing: to die in her arms after valiantly defending her from the undead.

7. What Is Theon May Never Die: "Everything you did brought you where you are now, where you belong: home," Bran tells Theon before warging off for the rest of the episode. Last week, it was clear Theon was a goner after saving his sister, coming to fight on the Stark's behalf, and basically volunteering to be White Walker fodder by guarding Bran.

His character arc came full circle with three moments here: first, he heroically fends off about 700 wights. Second: Bran tells him the thing he's wanted to hear his whole life. "Theon. You're a good man," The Tree Wizard Formerly Known As Bran robotically intoned. "Thank you." Lastly: he did the most season one Theon thing imaginable. He yelled (hollered?) and charged at the Night King, only to be immediately disarmed and stabbed. It was brave and pathetic and totally boneheaded—did he really need to shout? Shouldn't he have stuck by Bran instead of suicidally charging and ensuring Bran would be left defenseless?

8. The Lightbulb Who Was Promised: Melisandre, who sauntered her way into Winterfell just in time to start the episode, may have done a lot of bad things in her life—killing Renly with a shadow baby, lusting after Gendry's blood, generally being a bad advisor to Stannis, and especially, sacrificing sweet innocent Shireen for nothing—but she lived this long for a pretty compelling reason: to try to provide better lighting for the audience to see what was going on in this episode.

Whether she was lighting up Dothraki swords, or lighting up trenches, or standing next to well-lit fires, Melisandre really was the Lightbulb Who Was Promised this episode. Also, she gave Arya an important pep talk, and she committed suicide-by-necklace after the battle was won without a peep. Now she is forever meme, always pure.

9. I'm Here To Kick Ass And Have A Flaming Sword, And I'm All Out Of Flaming Sword: Beric Dondarrion is the perfect example of a character who always seemed more important than he actually was. He had a cool flaming sword, he wore an eye patch, he spoke vaguely of a higher purpose, he palled around with the Hound, what was not to like!

In the books, it's a totally different story ("Lady Stoneheart"), but in the show, his many incredible resurrections were more like red herrings. Their main purpose: laying the groundwork and serving as foreshadowing for Jon's resurrection in season six, preparing the audience for deus ex magicspells three seasons before Melisandre brought Jon back to sulk his way across the Seven Kingdoms. "The Lord brought him back for a purpose," Melisandre said of Beric. That purpose, I guess, was to be Poor Man's Hodor. Or maybe it was this:

10. Dollarbill Ed: If this show were still interested in "realism," in so far as a show about magical dragons and wholesome incestuous relationships could be considered realistic, Samwell would have been killed in the first 15 minutes of the episode, and not Edd. Instead, Sam got to spend the rest of the episode reclining on a pile of bodies as though it were a futon, while Edd—the only person left who gives a shit about his Night's Watch vows—got stabbed through the heart by a red shirt zombie before they even make it back to Winterfell. And then he had to suffer the indignity of becoming a zombie when the Night King decided to bring everyone back to life for a third act trick. Edd was done dirty...then again, considering the fact that half the audience probably has no idea what his name was, kudos to him for making it this far at all.

11. Skeleton Army: A wise man once said, "if your grave doesn't say 'rest in peace' on it you are automatically drafted into the skeleton war." So it went for all the fallen Northerners, Dothraki, Unsullied, and other good guys who died in this episode. For the first 78 minutes or so, the combined undead forces looked truly unstoppable. Thankfully for the living, once the Night King went down, so too went everyone else. Overall, despite taking a lot of people down, it was a mixed week for mindless zombies.

12. A Few Lingering Questions We Were Left With At The End Of The Episode:


  • What the fuck was Bran doing the entire episode?


  • Is Rhaegal dead, or did he just go take a snooze in the middle of the battle? (He's probably alive.)


  • Who the hell is left alive to cleanup all the dead bodies?


  • Speaking of which: how do you get rid of that smell?


  • Does Dany still have enough of an army to fight Cersei?


  • Uh, is Ghost okay? (Update: Ghost is okay!)


  • Where's Tormund?!?!


13. It'll Be Safe Down In The Crypts, They Said, Just Put All The Most Defenseless People There With No Guards, It'll Be Fine, They Said: "At least we're already in a crypt," Varys says early in the episode (he really hasn't gotten much else to do or say this season, so let's really appreciate what we get). There were two very nice Tyrion/Sansa scenes in the crypts, including one where they talked about their marriage (and maybe flirted a little?). Then once all the bad shit started going down, they exchanged loaded looks and Tyrion kissed her hand. I'll take it!

But although Tyrion did his best to bring that Lannister team spirit to things here by liberally chugging wine and bemoaning his own helplessness, this wasn't like the well-drawn Maegor's Holdfast scenes from the Battle of the Blackwater. To the surprise of absolutely no one who watches this show, the crypts—where the Starks have buried their dead for centuries—aren't actually the safest place to be when a guy who can raise the dead comes by. Instead, they quickly turned into a horrorshow. Was this another bad Tyrion idea?

14. Dany and Jon Aimlessly Flying Around The Sky While Everyone Below Is Dying: Jon Snow has spent every goddamn moment since "Hardhome" telling everyone who'll listen that nothing mattered but the great battle between the living and the dead. And yet, his "plan" to stop the Night King amounted to...what exactly? At best, he and Dany were going to wait for the signal to set the trenches on fire and then hope the Night King came for Bran and...something something something? Was it supposed to be a sneak attack? I guess this explains why we didn't really hear any strategy being laid out last episode—there was none. You can't just scream at a dragon Jon Snow. How much do you wanna bet Jon Snow took a moment to consider whether he killed the dragon with his yell?

In addition, despite looking super expensive, the big dragon fight in the sky was the part of the episode that really didn't work for me—while I could appreciate the fog of war down below (even during the times when I couldn't see what was happening so clearly), the dragon riding and air battles were not doing it for me this week.

And as bad as Jon was, at least he eventually got on the ground and made a half-hearted attempt at fighting the Night King one-on-one. Dany was even less useful—and she almost got Drogon killed by idling so long outside Winterfell.

15. Jesus Fucking Christ WTF Are You Even Doing Bran: Speaking of no plan: so Bran just peaces out on Theon five minutes into the episode, and decides to fly around doing raven stuff...for no particular reason? And when the Night King arrives, he just stares at him? Was your plan just to let yourself die? Why are you like this Bran??? I thought we had turned a corner with the whole comic relief thing in the premiere.

I guess the best case scenario here is that the writers decided that because Bran is a three-eyed raven magic tree creature with a really good memory who likes to stare at people a little too intensely, he already knew his sister was going to pop up at the last second and save him (maybe he could have told Theon so he could go hide somewhere instead of committing suicide-by-White Walker). But even so...why not discuss this beforehand with anyone? "Hey Arya, I know we haven't spent much time together since I became a three-eyed raven magic tree creature with a really good memory who likes to stare at people a little too intensely, but I had a vision of you stabbing the Night King, so maybe you should like, prep for that, IDK."

16. Bye Bye Mr. Night King, We Hardly Knew Ye: The Night King died where he was born, by the same tree where the Children of the Forest turned him into their weapon against the humans. Over the course of this episode, he became a Hellmo meme come to life—but we never really got that big a-ha moment where his motivations, beyond killing everyone and enlisting them into his skeleton army, became clear. In the end, he was just more a metaphor than a character. He was death incarnate, and even his signature power move (raising the recently-deceased so they would be part of his army) wasn't enough to stop a badass teenager from stabbing him in the gut.

Also, his fingernails were creepy. Good riddance.

The Viserys Targaryen Memorial Least Powerful Person Of The Week Award: Did we learn nothing from the Battle Of The Bastards? The Dothraki horde never stood a chance, even with their flaming swords, and now they've been mostly wiped off this planet. Why didn't they fire the trebuchets first to at least light the path? Why didn't they just have the dragons burn the front of the zombie lines? This may have been the quickest "cease fire" in the history of Westeros.

The Ser Pounce Memorial Most Powerful Pet Of The Week Award: I want to give this award to Ghost for showing up, but all he did was run—we didn't even get to see him kill any zombies! The dragons were kind of a bummer to be honest—their aerial fight cost about $1 billion and looked like garbage, and two of them just disappeared mid-way through battles. Jon Snow literally shouted the ice dragon to death, so fuck that. Nope, I'm giving this one to The Dothraki Horsies Who Ran The Fuck Away From The Battle After The Initial Attack, because that is the only sensible thing to do in that situation whether you're a horse or person.

Okay, and honorable mention to Drogon, who cuddled with Dany as she mourned Jorah. You are a very good dragon, yes you are, you are very special, such a good dragon boy.

The Hodoriffic Honorary Minor Character Of The Week Award: I'm tempted to reward The Hound: he didn't do a lot this episode, but he did have a panic attack only to snap out of it to help Arya. It was sweet! Cleganebowl 2019 is still on! But I'm going to give it to Ser Davos—because instead of being down in the crypts where, let's be honest, he probably should have been (he's no good as a fighter, what with his lack of fingertips), he instead just kind of...hid?...around Winterfell while it was overrun with the undead. My favorite moment is when Arya kills like 2,000 zombies and looks behind her and Davos is...standing there...by an archway...just chillin'. He doesn't even get the satisfaction of murdering Melisandre! Hopefully next week, we'll get back to the far more compelling Davos soup storyline.

The Olenna Tyrell Smartest Character Still Alive Award: In the season seven finale, Cersei had herself a laugh after "promising" to send her army to Winterfell to help with the battle against the dead. Why should she waste all her soldiers and resources on a war that could either decimate her enemies? Now, she's got the Golden Company, Psychotic Pirate Joshua Jackson, and the walls of King's Landing to help her against whatever's left of Dany's army. She earned herself a goblet or two of wine.

Hey, Remember That Thing That Happened? Of The Week: We have a bunch of things to go through this week, starting with three important Arya callbacks. She gives Sansa a blade and tells her to "stick them with the pointy end," just like Jon Snow told her way back in season one. Then she reunites with Melisandre, and the two basically have a flashback to their conversation in season three about Arya's murder-happy future—her mention of "blue eyes" in particular is one of the things that spurs Arya into action against the Night King here. And best of all, Melisandre quotes Arya's old teacher, Sylvio Forel: "What do we say to the god of death?" "Not today." And off she went.

Here's another deep cut: remember that time in season one when Theon pledged to stand behind the Starks in the Godswood?

And this is just one of those photos you have to see to believe:

The Leslie Jones Award For Outstanding Celebrity Contributions To GOT Fandom: Tons of great options this week. T-Pain and Gendry were tweeting at each other about their love for Arya and "I'm On A Boat." CNN anchor Jake Tapper was tweeting at various cast members (including Samwell and Sansa) and just generally being a supportive fan. Japanese Breakfast had this great tweet:

Sarah Paulson had the time of her life, please don't rain on her parade:

But the queen remains the queen: no one can top Leslie Jones, who live-tweeted the entire episode as only she can. "This is some fucking fight to the death shit, what!!!" I've put but a few highlights below:

BOATSEX WATCH 2019: How Much Pro-Incest Propaganda Was In The Episode? This may have been the least amount of pro-incest propaganda ever in an episode of GOT. Based exclusively on their one line of dialogue to each other at the start of the episode ("The Night King's coming," Jon said staring deeply into Dany's eyes. "The army of the dead is already here," she tersely responded), I'd reckon there's trouble in paradincest.

Instead, let's focus on the equally-controversial, but non incestuous coupling of Arya and Gendry which got so many people hot and/or bothered last week. Actresses Maise Williams and Sophie Turner had pretty great reactions to Forgesexgate:

Tormund & Brienne Didn't Get Enough To Do This Week So I Am Putting This Here:

Way Beyond The Wall: What with all our heroes focused on the battle at hand at Winterfell, we obviously did not have time to visit King's Landing for the second week in a row, so no sign of Cersei, Psychotic Pirate Joshua Jackson, Qyburn, Bronn or Zombie Mountain. Yara is still off re-taking the Iron Islands, and thanks the gods that The Ghost Of Ned Stark's Man Bun did not rise from the dead to murder everyone in the crypts.

Melisandre made her final bow, but otherwise the rest of the minor randos remain MIA: Robyn Arryn (aka Prepubescent Julian Casablancas), Salladhor Saan, Daario Naharis 2.0, Meera Reed, Edmure Tully (?), The Children Of The Forest (maybe some of them are still kicking?), The Faceless Men (I guess they count?), and of course, the mighty Hot Pie, who I guarantee will appear one more time before this whole thing is over (now THAT is fan service, baby).

On next week's episode of GOT, they've won the great war—now they've got to win the last war. Until then, here's my favorite GOT musical drop from last week: