Previously on GoT: The Night King and his army tore down the Wall and waltzed right on down into Westeros’s Northern lands. Jaime Lannister was allowed to join the Stark-Targaryen forces and knighted Brienne of Tarth for the fun of it. Arya Stark had sex. And all able-bodied men and women were drafted into the army of the living while the rest went to hide in the TOTALLY ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SAFE crypts underneath Winterfell.
We open on an incredibly nervous Samwell Tarly, who is so scared out of his mind he can’t even function. He wanders through Winterfell’s courtyard, in a daze, jumping in terror at the slightest detail.
Finally, everyone is in position. But before the battle can begin, a familiar face makes a fashionably late appearance.
With a prayer to the Lord of Light, Melisandre gets the Dothraki horsemen’s swords to catch fire, equipping them with an extra advantage before battle.
A very pissed-off Ser Davos Seaworth comes to intercept Melisandre as she enters Winterfell, but she assures him she’ll be dying tonight regardless.
With that, the battle commences. The hundreds (thousands?) of Dothraki (and Ser Jorah Mormont) charge forth into the darkness, ready to take on the dead. They last about two minutes. Everyone watches, horrified, as the battle screams fade away and the flaming swords are all extinguished.
Only a few stragglers make it back, including a haggard-looking Jorah.
Watching from an elevated vantage point, Daenerys Targaryen nopes right out of the “wait for the Night King and ambush him” plan. She’s not about to let the rest of her loyal followers die alone.
If the army of the living wasn’t already afraid, they’re now very very terrified at how quickly the Dothraki were silenced. But it’s too late to run. The dead are here. The Unsullied, next in the line of formation, are met with a literal WAVE of wights.
Things get very bloody very quickly. And then the dead reach our faves.
Ser Brienne of Tarth goes down almost immediately and looks like she’s being thoroughly mutilated until dragon fire interrupts the carnage.
Jon Snow got on Rhaegal and followed Drogon and Dany, but he makes a nosedive for the White Walkers as he spots them. Except he’s very quickly interrupted by the approaching fog of doom that accompanies said White Walkers.
Seeing the clouds roll in, Arya Stark urges Sansa to head down to the SUPER COMPLETELY SAFE crypts. When Sansa says she doesn’t know how to use the dragonglass dagger her sister hands her, Arya replies: “Stick them with the pointy end.”
The fog quickly covers all of Winterfell, making things increasingly harder for everyone. Brienne, somehow still alive after her mutilation earlier, is still fighting alongside all the significant characters. Sam is rescued by his Night’s Watch buddy Eddison Tollett… Who is promptly stabbed to death.
And now his watch is ended.
Sansa Stark joins Tyrion Lannister and the other non-fighters in the ULTRA SECURE crypts. When some of the others inside give her inquisitive looks, her facial expression makes it plain that they’re in serious trouble.
With most of the area outside the gates a total mess, the majority of the Winterfell bannermen and assorted soldiers retreat within the city. Grey Worm and the Unsullied remain to protect the retreat.
With most of the major players back on the other side of the trench around Winterfell, Grey Worm included, it’s time to light the trench on fire. Ser Davos Seaworth gives the signal, but Dany is lost somewhere in the fog and can’t see it.
For a moment, it’s looking like they’re super super screwed. But with some last-minute teamwork, Grey Worm, the Unsullied, and a few other warriors escort Melisandre to the trenches.
Mellie, however, has been having some performance issues lately. Her prayers don’t seem to be doing much, and she starts to fear the Lord of Light has ditched her.
Then, finally, the trenches combust. All of Winterfell is surrounded by fire, and Mellie sees the light.
The Hound, seeing all this fire and death and horror, has a panic attack and nopes right out of there.
Down in the ABSOLUTE SAFETY of the crypts, Tyrion and Sansa are discussing their helplessness. Tyrion wonders what it would’ve been like if he and Sansa had stayed married, and Sansa shoots him down—not because of his looks or personality or even anything related to who he is, but because he is loyal to Daenerys and that would be a problem, politically.
Missandei, overhearing the conversation, jumps in to read Sansa to filth, stating everyone would already be dead if not for Dany’s presence.
Out in the Godswood, Theon Greyjoy realizes the fight may be coming their way. He takes this opportunity to apologize for everything he did to Bran. But Bran tells him he’s right where he belongs—home.
Then Bran wargs right out of the conversation to go be a bird somewhere.
The wights, who’ve been standing in front of the burning trenches for a while, start to dive into them, sacrificing themselves. Slowly but surely, a bridge of corpses is created for the others to be able to cross.
Finally, the Night King appears on top of the zombified Viserion.
Finding his target, Jon immediately sets off after him on Rhaegal.
Meanwhile, the wights have crossed the flames and are successfully climbing the walls.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, the wights push past the battlements and enter the city. Eek.
Turns out Arya’s custom weapon is a spear with a lower half that pops off, allowing it to be used more like a sword in close quarters.
Down in the courtyard, Lady Lyanna Mormont is attempting to make sense of the chaos when a ZOMBIE GIANT bursts through the front gates and sends her flying.
Outnumbered, Arya has to resort to running—until she gets her head slammed right into a wall and gets seriously disoriented.
Sandor Clegane is hiding in a corner, still having a panic attack, and Beric Dondarrion tries to pull him out of it. He points to Arya, who’s in serious trouble. That gets Clegane right back to reality.
The giant is destroying everything around it, and everyone is running away from it. But super injured Lyanna Mormont, like the complete badass she is, runs straight toward the giant. It picks her up and squishes her real good, sealing her fate. But instead of giving up, she goes for the kill with her last breath.
Jon and Dany fly high up enough to beat the fog and get some clarity, high above the clouds.
The calm is very quickly interrupted by blue fire as zombie Viserion goes for them.
Arya has taken refuge inside the castle, but lo and behold—the dead are already in here. Arya gets trapped inside the library, which is crawling with monsters.
Being the clever gal she is, she tosses a book to the other side of the library to attract all the wights there. She misses one, though, and barely gets her. Boom! Dragonglass to the throat.
Just when she thinks she’s out of harm’s way, another door bursts open to let a flood of wights in. Run, Arya, run!
Inside the POSITIVELY SAFE crypts, the sounds of the battle (and the zombies) are echoing through the walls and ceiling and giving the people inside a taste of the action outside.
Soldiers bang on the door, begging to be let inside. Screams mesh with the zombie cries to create a beautiful cacophony of creepiness. Then, like with the Dothraki, everything goes quiet again.
Papa Bear, I mean the Hound, is braving the castle hallways with Beric Dondarrion. It’s quiet… until it’s not. Out comes Arya, half-conscious, and the boys get her out of the way. But Beric gets stabbed a couple times. And then a couple more times. And then a lot of times. He gives in, sacrificing himself to buy Arya and Clegane time.
Beric does manage to make it inside the mess hall the other two hide in before the door closes… but then he dies immediately.
Surprise! Good ol’ Mellie is in here. She tells Arya that Dondarrion was kept alive up until this moment for a purpose: to save her. And Arya has a purpose too. To kill lots of people, as she told her that one time years ago. She’d shut “brown eyes… green eyes… and blue eyes.”
With one more throwback—the “what do we say to the God of Death” line—Mellie gets Arya to realize what she must do. Arya runs off in another direction.
The time has come: the army of the dead is reaching the Godswood. Theon and his Ironborn (and Alys Karstark, apparently) now have to protect Bran with some flaming arrows.
The Night King also heads for the Godswood on top of Viserion, but is stopped by Jon Snow, who’s finally decided to be useful. The dragons slam into each other and start ripping each other to shreds. Jon loses his cape… and zombie Viserion loses half of his face.
With an assist from Dany, the Night King is thrown off Viserion. Yay!
Of course, he’s totally fine. But Dany kicks things up a notch and sets the Night King on fire.
Okay so the Night King is fireproof apparently??
Dany peaces out of there to avoid losing another dragon. But Jon draws his sword and chases after the Night King, ready for their final battle. Mr. Coldface isn’t letting that happen, though.
Jon tries to stop him, but it’s too late! The Night King has once again risen the dead—the human, recent dead—to fight for him again.
With the army of the dead renewed and refreshed, the Night King and his fellow stooges waltz into Winterfell unopposed.
So you know how the crypts actually house the remains of Stark kings and stuff? Yeah. NOT AS SAFE AS EVERYONE THOUGHT.
The remains come to life, pop out of their tombs, and attack the helpless women and children! And Varys!
Jon is totally surrounded and super overwhelmed, but once again, Daenerys comes to the rescue by burning them all!
Dany allows Jon to rush back toward Winterfell, but during a moment of inattention, she lets Drogon get snuck up on by hundreds of wights, who climb aboard!
In his panic, Drogon knocks Dany overboard and leaves her behind.
Wights rush toward her, but she’s saved at the last second by… Ser Jorah Mormont!
Inside Winterfell, Jon is fighting his way to the Godswood when he sees Samwell Tarly being pinned down by wights for the seventeenth time. Weighing his priorities, Jon picks Bran over Sam and keeps going.
Theon Greyjoy runs out of arrows (eek) and also, all his fellow Ironborn look very dead. But Theon keeps going like the badass he is.
Outside the gates, Jorah is slashing away at the wights. Dany grabs a sword (gasp!) and fends off a few as well.
Meanwhile in the NO LONGER SAFE crypts, everyone is being murdered horribly because no one thought to keep at least one or two guards inside with the helpless people! Yay!
Sansa and Tyrion are hiding behind a tomb, trying not to freak out. Sansa pulls out the dragonglass dagger Arya gave her and Tyrion pulls out his. They have a beautiful moment together, taking each other in like that’s the last thing they’ll ever see. Tyrion kisses her hand, and they’re off to slay some wights.
Jon is close, but he’s stopped by Viserion, who shows up again to tear the courtyard apart.
Things are looking more and more hopeless for everyone. Jaime, Brienne, Podrick and the others are completely pinned down. Theon is surrounded and exhausted. Jorah takes several hits. Sam is crying in a pile of corpses.
Finally, the Night King and his commanders reach the Godswood. There’s an entire army in front of poor Theon now. Bran wakes up and calls out to him, temporarily breaking out of his robotic lameness: “You’re a good man. Thank you.”
So Theon, having gotten the redemption and acceptance he needed, charges at the Night King. And dies.
Jorah takes two more sword strikes—deep ones this time—but he’s still standing.
With Theon gone, the Night King reaches Bran.
Jon suddenly changes tactics and, instead of running from Viserion, turns around to face him.
The Night King goes to draw his sword… when…
Holy motherforking shirtballs Arya just killed the Night King!!
With the source of everything undead gone, the other White Walkers and wights all immediately die (again). Viserion included.
But it’s too late for Jorah, who’s been stabbed one too many times. Unable to even leave Dany with any parting words, the brave knight dies in her arms.
Melisandre has accomplished her life’s mission. She steps out of Winterfell, ditches her magic necklace, and disintegrates in the snow.
The end. What an insane episode. So much action, so much drama… And surprisingly few deaths. Still, let’s take a peek at the final tally.
R.I.P.: Eddison Tollett. Qhono and basically all the Dothraki. Beric Dondarrion. Theon Greyjoy and some Ironborn (and, presumably, Alys Karstark). Lyanna and Jorah Mormont. The Night King and Viserion (again). Melisandre. And about a million soldiers, innocent women and children, and wights.
MVPs: Arya Stark, Theon Greyjoy, and Lyanna and Jorah Mormont. You shall be missed.
Notably absent: Cersei Lannister, Qyburn, The Mountain, and Bronn. Captain Strickland, Euron, and Yara Greyjoy. Meera Reed!!
Glad that winter drama is over. Now back to political intrigue! See y’all next week.