Warning: This post contains spoilers for Sunday night’s episode, Season 8, Episode 3, of Game of Thrones.
On Sunday night, HBO aired the long-awaited battle episode of Game of Thrones, which featured the massive battle between the ice zombies known as White Walkers and dozens of remaining human characters on the show.
On the episode, several characters died as the White Walkers began to overrun Winterfell and looked poised to win the battle. But near the end, as the zombie leader known as The Night King was reaching for his ice javelin to kill Bran Stark, his sister Arya Stark lept out of nowhere, and eventually stabbed the Night King. He fell to his death, and therefore all remaining White Walkers and wights immediately fell dead as well, bringing the battle to an end.
It appears that this particular ending to the series-long arc involving the White Walkers had been planned for quite some time.
“For… God I think it’s probably three years or something, we’ve known it’s gonna be Arya who was going to deliver that fatal blow,” David Benioff, the show’s co-creator and co-showrunner, as well as the co-writer of the episode, said as part of a featurette that aired after the episode on HBO’s streaming platforms.
“She seemed like the best candidate, provided we weren’t thinking about her in that moment,” D.B. Weiss, the other co-creator and co-writer, added.
Benioff also said that The Night King died in the very spot where he was created and that it was important that he be killed with a Valerian steel blade.
It’s Arya Stark’s second huge moment in the season’s three episodes, as the character’s having sex for the first time drove a lot of the conversation about Game of Thrones after the second episode, per The Inquisitr.
The episode, which ran for over 90 minutes, was directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the series’ signature director for battle-based episodes, and took 55 days to film, per Variety. The episode has the title “The Long Night,” although like most episodes this season, the title was not released prior to the airing of the episode.
The battle episode drew some complaints from those who had trouble making out what was going on on screen, as the battle, shot at night, was very darkly lit at times.
“Sure we can’t see anything on
#GameofThrones without squinting, but the thing is, it’s DARK at night and the ice dragon show is extremely committed to realism,” Caroline Framke of Variety wrote on Twitter.
“The real Game of Thrones is trying to see what the hell is happening on my pitch dark screen,” Molly Knight wrote on Twitter.