The Game of Thrones is a deadly one, and like all good games, it has winners and losers. Welcome to Game of Thrones: Winners & Losers, where we take in the latest episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones and determine the top MVP’s as well as those who were handed a healthy dose of defeat.
Below you’ll find the winners and losers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3, “The Long Night.” If you find your favorite character listed as a loser, just remember that the tides on Game of Thrones are always shifting; I swear it by the Old Gods and the New.
*Spoilers for the latest episode of Game of Thrones below*
1. Arya Stark
WHAT DO WE SAY TO THE GAWD OF DEATH? Arya Stark pulled up from half court and hit the game winner, ice in her veins while face to face with some sort of ice boogeyman. After a quick little pep talk from Melisandre that recalled their conversation from Season 3, where the Red Priestess emphasized that Arya would close eyes colored brown, green, and BLUE, Arya totally Batmaned down onto the Night King. Though she was caught by the throat, Arya pulled her neat little dagger trick that we last saw her use on Brienne when they sparred in Season 7 Episode 4. She stuck the Blue Meanie right in the ribs, taking out the entire Army of the Dead with one jab. A girl is triumphant. Everyone expected Dany or Jon, who was busy having a shouting match with a zombie dragon, to be the one to end the threat of the White Walkers, but Arya, on her home court, hit the buzzer beater. Valar Morghulis, bitches; not today, Sata…um, Night King!
Yo, shouts out to the Red Woman for prolonging me from adjusting the brightness on my TV by lighting all of the Dothraki swords on fire. The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors, emphasis on DARK. Seriously, every time some nobody was offed in a shadowy skirmish I let out a “WAIT, NO, WAS THAT POD?!” Winterfell really needs some motion-triggered lighting. Anyway, Melisandre strolled in dramatically at the last possible minute and brought the heat, literally. The sword trick ultimately didn’t help much, but her lighting of the trenches was crucial, buying the heroes of Winterfell a moment to regroup after retreating to the castle’s walls. Then, as mentioned above, she delivered a crucial motivational speech, hyping Arya up to make that swan dive sneak attack on the Night King. When all was said and done, The Lord of Light was victorious and Melisandre’s work was done; the old crone was free to die, dust in the wind-style.
3. Beric Dondarrion
This guy made the eyepatch look WORK, but that’s not why he’s ranked here as a winner. Pour one out for the homie Beric Dondarrion, who repeatedly came back to life to ultimately protect Arya Stark so that she could stick it to the Night King. The Lord of Light had a purpose for Beric, and he served his purpose well, escorting Arya through the halls of Winterfell after her little Raptors in the Kitchen moment with some wights in the library.
This guy was resurrected six times, losing a little piece of himself each time that he came back. Also, he had to live with whatever injuries he sustained each time that he died. By the end, he was patchwork doll of a man who could only recite the key points from a Lord of Light pamphlet, but he fulfilled his destiny and was rewarded with the chance to finally rest for good.
4. Jorah Mormont
We all knew that this was coming. Jorah Mormont, the Lord of the Friendzone, died protecting Daenerys out in front of the trenches, taking stab wounds until he couldn’t stand any longer. This was how Jorah would have wanted to go, protecting the woman he loves from her enemies at any cost. He went down swinging, with Dany at one point using him as a meat shield against the wights. The fact that Jorah made it this far, surviving being outed as a spy and greyscale after being exiled to Essos in the first place, is pretty incredible. Jorah died a hero’s death and surely songs will be sung about the perpetually cuckolded former knight.
5. Lyanna Mormont
My diminutive warrior queen, the Lady of Bear Island, the only character on this show that I would lift a finger to defend, died the most badass death possible. Going full David and Goliath, little Laynna Mormont killed a zombie giant, thrusting dragon glass right into the beast’s eye. Sure, her tiny body was crushed by the giant, but she prevented a lot of added bloodshed and destruction by taking that big son of a bitch down. Bear Island is now left without a Mormont to rule it, but the region will likely always remember the pint-sized ruler who stood up cowards, spoke truth to power, and when it mattered most, put her money where her mouth was on the battlefield.
1. The Night King
This cocky shit lost focus. I mean, look at that smile above; mans was totally feeling himself with that self-satisfied smirk, taking his sweet time strutting toward Bran instead of just getting in and getting out. Also, if your life is key to the success of your entire army, maybe you should just hang back and let your Edgar Winter-looking homies do the dirty work. I thought Jon Snow was a shit strategist, but damn, the Night King totally blew it. This doubly sucks because now we’ll likely never get the in-depth Night King backstory we were all waiting for, or find out why exactly he had such beef with the Three-Eyed Raven. Arya Stark ate your lunch, bro.
2. The Crypts
Oh, you mean the totally safe crypts? The safest place in Winterfell? The crypts, where you’ll be safe? I’m not sure if you all heard, but the crypts are completely safe, don’t even worry about it, dude.
Surprise, surprise, the crypts were in fact NOT safe. If Tyrion Lannister is so goddamn clever, maybe he would have realized that hiding in an underground fortress with THOUSANDS of dead bodies might not be the smartest move if your enemy can raise the dead with a lift of his arms. None of our main players died down in the crypts (a total cop-out, but whatever), but plenty of innocent women and children were fodder for the Army of the Dead as the long deceased Starks escaped their tombs and started wreaking havoc. That being said, I’m not sure where a safer place to hide would have been.
3. The Dothraki
The most fearsome warriors the world has ever seen went out as unceremoniously as possible. However, I’m angrier that we lost the light that their flaming swords provided than I am about their actual demise, cause damn we needed all of the help we could when it came down to making out what was actually happening in this episode. Regardless, the Dothraki were a non-factor in the fight, snuffed out in one fell swoop. The Dothraki forces were one of the major things that Jaime was worried about when he was still fighting alongside Cersei and the Lannister forces. In an open field, he knew that Westeros warriors didn’t stand a chance. Now in one night, the Dothraki are gone; Dany has lost another one of her secret weapons, down to just two dragons and a handful of Unsullied soldiers left. The Dothraki would have given the Dragon Queen a significant advantage, but alas, they’re off to the Great Stable in the Sky.
4. Daenerys Targaryen
As I said above, Dany suffered significant losses in the battle against the White Walkers. Her forces have been more than halved, her most trusted advisor is dead, and both of her remaining dragons took some serious bumps. Now Dothraki-less, Dany has to start mobilizing to defeat Cersei while navigating the tricky line of succession conversation that Jon being a confirmed Targaryen opens up.
Also, Dany could have done more during the battle. Instead of searching for the Night King in the sky, she should have been guarding the castle walls, burning wights en masse as they made it past the trenches. If it wasn’t for Arya Stark, Daenerys and Jon would both be dead, which means Dany won due to luck and not her military strategizing. Doesn’t bode well for the campaign ahead.
5. Bran Stark
His powers are sort of undefined, but I can’t help but think that my guy could have been doing more to help, instead of just casually warging into ravens to do recon or whatever. Warg into a dragon! Warg into Ghost! Maybe speak up and tell people that the crypts aren’t a great idea! Maybe tell Theon to just wait a minute longer, Arya is on her way! I don’t know, I’m not an all-knowing wizard or whatever, I just know that Bran underwhelmed in the Battle of Winterfell as a literal sitting duck. Also, Bran not being the Night King counts as a loss, because that was the most interesting thing his character has been involved in since “The Door,” even if it was just an unfounded internet theory.
Everyone who lived – Ye plot armor be thick! – WINNERS (related: Ghost is alive!)
Jon Snow – Like my parents would tell me when I was three and having a temper tantrum; yelling won’t get you anywhere. – LOSER
The Hound – This fear of fire thing is getting to be a bit much. – LOSER
Theon Greyjoy – I forgive you. – WINNER
Samwell Tarly – Looked like he was just quivering in a pile of bodies the entire episode. – LOSER
Dolorous Edd – Always watch your back. – LOSER
The Lighting Team – “Wait, who was that?” –LOSERS
Cersei Lannister – See last week. – WINNER
Nick Harley is a tortured Cleveland sports fan, thinks Douglas Sirk would have made a killer Batman movie, Spider-Man should be a big-budget HBO series, and Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson should direct a script written by one another. For more thoughts like these, read Nick’s work here at Den of Geek or follow him on Twitter.