Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3: Was It Ever Going to Please Everyone?
Warning: Contains Spoilers
Usually, I’m a little quicker to the mark with the Game of Thrones episode breakdowns but considering that Episode 3 almost gave me a breakdown of my very own, I decided to hold back, process the trauma, and go through the stages of grief.
The slight feeling of disappointment with some of the plot holes, the plot armour, and the relentless arc filling crept in after I’d had a few hours to process what had happened. The writers seem overly invested in depicting the characters with a singular purpose, aim, and desire. Practically every single death which we saw in Episode 3 was a fulfillment of an arc. Perhaps that made their brutal deaths easier to digest, but in retrospect, something about it felt not quite human and for some of the best character writers in history to make that mistake, it was easy to feel that the ball was slightly dropped.
Take for example the death of Jorah, he was finally given the opportunity to rush in and save the woman he loves again and die in the process. It’s the first time he’s been able to do so since he was cured by Sam of his Greyscale, and that’s sweet and everything, but implausibility was rife in scenes such as these. I mean, he even seemed to develop teleportation skills to help him pull it off. (seriously, how can we ever expect that it was plausible to make his way over to Dany when it took Jon Snow FOREVER to get to the Gods Wood?)
Other arcs were killed by Beric Dondarrion finally realised why the Lord of Light brought him back so many times, and Theon Greyjoy was finally told that he was a good boi for protecting Bran Stark and that was all lovely and touching, but doesn’t it just all feel a bit too neat and tidy?
I’m now imaging the last episode showing Tyrion Lannister in old age dying in his own bed with a belly full of wine and a woman’s mouth around his cock...
Obviously, the show was never going to unfold perfectly for every single viewer. Millions of viewers tuned in to watch the biggest battle in TV history unfold. Everyone has their favourites, and everyone has the characters which they irrationally despise. The biggest disappointment for many was Arya Stark being the one to defeat the Night King after the expectation was set that Jon Snow would be the one to bring the demise and fulfill the Azor Ahai prophecy.
We’re now left with so many questions with Arya, will she be the one who gets to kill Cersei? Has she fulfilled her purpose in the show? Does that mean she’s in danger of getting killed? Will they give Arya any more big moments? I’d anticipate plenty more curveballs to be thrown before Game of Thrones wraps up for good.
The second biggest let down in Episode 3 was the sudden end of the threat of the long night.
Right from the very first scene from the very first episode of Game of Thrones we were set up to fear the Night King. We were told that he was the ultimate threat to the Seven Kingdoms and the rest of the political disparities were pointless, petulant and a waste of time. Naturally, when the Night King was bumped off by Arya at the end of Episode 3 people were pissed, all of the macabre darkness and horror dissipated.
Will Episode 4 Be Any More Appeasing?
Now, we’re left with the threat of Cersei. The Episode 4 trailer portrayed her in a sun-soaked King’s Landing drinking wine in her usual spot smirking maliciously as she watched the Golden Company with Euron Greyjoy lurking in the background as Winterfell celebrated believing that the biggest war has already been won.
...But has it?
Cersei may just be the ultimate threat now that the Dothraki have been practically obliterated thanks to that ridiculous death charge, as are the Unsullied. The North may not have the resources to go to head to head with Cersei. Yes, they have two dragons, but Cersei will have set up plenty of Scorpions all around King’s Landing. Also, don’t be surprised if the whole place is a wildfire landmine. All of that is before we even consider the Golden Company. We haven’t seen them in action yet, but their numbers alone are terrifying when put with the Lannister army.
Before the battle of Winterfell, they may have stood a chance with the 10,000 Northerners, 10,000 Knights of the Vale 8,000 Unsullied, and around 100,000 Dothraki. As you saw by the end of Episode 3, barely anyone was left standing. Yara may have taken a few reserve soldiers to the Iron Islands, but Tyrion is going to have to get incredibly smart if he wants to take away the throne and give it to his own Queen.
But did you notice the look on Tyrion’s face when Sansa stated that it wouldn’t work between them due to his divided loyalties? There was the briefest moment of uncertainty as his quick wit was lost. Maybe we will see his loyalty shift towards Sansa and the North. Daenerys hasn’t been especially kind to him as of late and he’s getting increasingly more concerned about her turning into the Mad King. With so much speculation on who will die and who will sit in the Iron Throne it’s easy to forget the more human connections, experiences and relationships which may ultimately play the biggest role in the outcome of the final episode.
Before I slip further into the void of speculation and criticism for Episode 3, it would be fairly rude not to pay some homage to the characters who died in this episode.
The 6 Most Devastating Deaths in Episode 3
There seems to be a bit of disappointment floating around that none of the A-team characters died in Episode 3, but for me, the devastation of watching these characters die was more than enough.
1. Edd’s Watch Ends
For some, Eddison Tollett may have been somewhat of a background character, but others learned to love Edd watching his interactions with Sam, Jon, and Tormund. He proved himself in plenty of Battles and had some incredible lines in the show. To watch him die as he saved Sam who he was always incredibly frustrated with was a heart-wrenching moment which is pretty much where the ketchup bottle burst for me and then the tears were rolling all the way through. Ed never had some grand arc, he was an ordinary guy, saving a hapless man that has got on his nerves since pretty much day one. He didn’t get to revel in the glory of finding a resolve before he closes his eyes for the final time. So, potentially Ed’s death was the saddest of all. But with the end of the threat of the Long Night there’s no longer a need for a Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch.
2. Beric Goes Out a Hero
Beric Dondarrion has always wondered why the Lord of Light has brought him back so many times, yet, he never seemed to be all that phased, he just went along with it. He breezed through monologues with an airy nonchalance as he pondered on the possibilities. In many ways, he reminded you of the hippies that have an incredible fondness of DMT and they’re not quite all there anymore. Despite his lofty persona, he was a beardy rugged badass with a flaming sword who rocked an eyepatch like no other and it was impossible not to get attached to the character in some way or another. He’s had a heavy hand in turning the Hound into a loveable character as we saw when the Hound got a little bit existential and started to believe that the war was no longer worth fighting. It wasn’t the first time that the Hound has retreated after his PTSD being triggered by fire. But this time – unlike with the Battle of Blackwater he had something left to fight for, and it was Beric who gave him that not so gentle reminder. Together they went on the suicide mission after Arya, the Hound driven by his love for ‘the cold little bitch’, but for Beric, he served his final purpose and he went out an absolute hero.
3. Lyanna’s David vs Goliath Moment
As soon as we heard Lyanna Mormont’s adamance that she would fight amongst her men we knew that the outcome wasn’t going to be great. She’s been a headstrong loveable character from the start. But this was the first time we got to see her in action. No one would have blamed her for bolting and trying to find safety the moment that she saw the Wight giant come towards her, but she stood her ground and despite her small stature she was able to take down the second largest enemy which Winterfell was contending with.
4. The Dragon’s Go into Mourning
Jorah was always going to go out protecting Daenerys. His loyalty – which may or may not have been platonic at this point - was finally proven. After spying on Daenerys for Robert Baratheon he would have stopped at nothing to prove himself to the woman that sparked his character progression. But due to how convenient it was for him to show up at just the right time to save her and stay standing until all of the Wights fell the moment was soured. The most bruising of moments in that scene was undoubtedly watching the dragons mourn his death. I may have been fairly critical on how the screenwriters wanted to show that the dragons had emotion in the scene where Jon & Dany kiss after riding the dragons. But watching the dragons lay their heads around his body felt like an Ice Walker’s javelin through the chest. Jorah was there when they first hatched. There’s no other character that the dragons have spent so much time with aside from Daenerys. While they probably won’t miss him as much as Daenerys, that bit still hurt.
5. Melisandre Reveals Her True Form
Ahh, Melisandre, did you really have to die? We know that you’ve already prophesied your death in foreign lands, but is there any real reason you had to take off your choker before withering and dying in the snow? She already revealed her age just after she brought Jon Snow back from the dead, but this was the first someone she allowed someone to see her. It was none other than Davos who had promised to kill her if she ever steps foot in the North again, I can imagine that wouldn’t sit very well with fans watching a loveable character such as Davos executing Melisandre, so in the process of taking the responsibility of ending her own life, she also proves to Davos the guilt of killing Shireen and all of the other tragic mistakes. Here was yet another arc-fulfilling ending in the episode, I suppose it made sense, but still, it seemed such a pointless death to add to the body pile which we were already mourning at this point.
We all knew that Theon Greyjoy wasn’t going to be the one to end the Night King, didn’t we? As soon as he stood face to face with the Night King it was pretty much inevitable that he wasn’t going to make it. In fact, from the moment that he said he would protect Bran in the God’s Wood we knew it wasn’t really going to end well for Theon. Sadly, yet again, this was another neat finish of the plot after Theon trying to take Winterfell, he’s now fighting to protect it, and protect Bran. Still, it was somewhat harrowing to see him fail. Even if the plot armor was ridiculously thick to leave him as the last Iron Borne standing. He’s never been the best fighter, but somehow, he made it through in an attempt to save the day.
Let's just hope that they throw in some shocking deaths in Episode 4.