Following years of seemingly ceaseless hype and anticipation, the face-off between the living and the dead came to a head on Game of Thrones in the season 8 episode “The Long Night.”
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS FOR SEASON 8, EPISODE 3 OF ‘GAME OF THRONES’ — “THE LONG NIGHT” — WILL FOLLOW AFTER THE GIFs.
The episode — which was the longest in the series’ history and featured the most complex battle sequence in the history of television — mostly featured the Night King and his Army of the Dead absolutely running riot on Westeros’ Mightiest Heroes and the Forces of the Living.
However, towards the end of the episode, just when our heroes seemed as though they had run out of options and all hope was lost, Arya Stark, AKA The Artist Formerly Known as No One, leaps at the Night King with her catspaw Valyrian Steel dagger, stabbing him in the chest following her patented knife-hand-switch move
And according to the show’s creators, they’ve had this moment planned for quite some time.
During the “Inside The Episode” featurette, series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss revealed that they’ve known that Arya Stark was going to be the one to kill the Night King for “probably three years.”
“She seemed like the best candidate provided we weren’t thinking about her in that moment,” Weiss explains.
“One of the great things about having this many people you care about in a sequence together us that it can kind of pull people’s attention and focus to people they care about a lot, like Jon, Dany, Theon, and Bran, not to mention Tyrion and Sansa in the crypt,” Weiss continues.
“So you’re going all over the place with people who you’re desperately worried for, and hopefully you forget about the fact Arya Stark ran out of that castle with the battle drums playing, going towards some purpose, and we don’t know what until it happens.”
While the logic is understandable from the writers’ point of view, frankly I think Weiss (somewhat condescendingly) underestimates the intelligence of the Game of Thrones writers.
Personally, as soon the Red Woman dropped the “closing blue eyes” and “what do we say to death” lines back-to-back, all I could think about was Arya coming in the clutch.
Now, that’s not to say I knew how it would happen, but as soon as Melisandre gave Arya the inspiration, I thought it was pretty obvious that it was going to be Arya who ends the Great War.
The eighth and final season of HBO’s Emmy Award-winning series ‘Game of Thrones’, which first premiered on April 17, 2011, will conclude on Sunday, May 19.