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    • "Episode three will be phenomenal."

      This is how I ended my discussion on episode two last week. So did the Battle of Winterfell deliver? If you ask me, sadly the answer is no. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of awesome individual moments throughout the episode (which I'll write about below) but as a whole, I feel the Battle of Winterfell didn't live up to the hype. I'm not sure if I can explain it, but I just didn't feel the same intensity or suspense I did while watching other battles from previous seasons.

      Anyway, let's talk about all the awesome moments first.

      The Unsullied

      "Protect the retreat! Stand your ground!"

      Huge props to The Unsullied. When everyone else was retreating in a panic, they stood their ground and gave everyone as much time as they could to allow them to retreat to the castle. Loyal till the very end.

      Lady Lyanna Mormont

      "I don’t plan on knitting by the fire while men fight for me."

      A fan favourite, Lady Mormont is the perfect personification of a Malay proverb - kecil-kecil cili padi. Roughly translated, it means small but packs a punch. And Lady Mormont packed one hell of a punch. Her no-nonsense attitude and fierce loyalty was what we've known her for all this while, and now we'll remember her as a zombie giant slayer. The way she stayed on the battlefield with her man, shouting out orders rather than hiding in the crypt is exactly what we've come to expect from her. Her tenacity and ferocity with which she charged at that giant and stabbed it in the eye with her dying breath was the stuff of legends.

      No words needed

      One of the best things about Game of Thrones has always been the script. Great writing, great dialogue. So it's rather remarkable how good episode three progressed despite the severe lack of dialogue. Other than in the crypt, every other bit of dialogue was basically military commands or talk of prophecies, such as the conversation between Melisandre and Arya. Telling a story without words and dialogue is a remarkable feat, and for that I think episode three did very well.

      Theon's redemption

      "Everything you did brought you where you are now. Where you belong. Home.

      I had hoped that Theon's return would have a huge impact, and it sure did. His redemption is complete. He stood his ground after all his men fell. He defended Bran till the very end. His character development was incredible, one of the best of the series, and he will always be remembered as a hero.

      Arya

      What can I say? Arya being the one who killed the Night King wasn't my most obvious choice, so it was a real surprise to say the least. The writers managed to sneak in some last gasp suspense when he actually caught Arya mid-jump, but that slick dagger drop to her right hand was smooth. Arya's training has paid off, she's grown from a little girl to a fierce warrior who took out a whole bunch of undead and killed the Night King. Legendary status achieved.

      So those were some of the best parts of the episode. Problem was that the episode was long. 80+ mins to be exact. Perhaps I didn't like it as much because of that? If it was a regular episode instead of an episode-long battle scene I think it'd be fine, but being as long as it did could have diminished the overall impact of the battle. Also, there were some really silly moments during the battle. What was the purpose of the Dothraki charging into the darkness right at the beginning? Suicide squad much? And why did it feel like having two dragons was completely pointless? And who's idea was it to hide in the crypt with all the dead bodies when a supervillain with the power to raise the dead was coming?

      Lastly, not related to the actual plot itself, but the production of the episode. I watched it on my laptop and was confused about why it looked so bad. I could barely make out anything for a large duration of the episode. I know it was night and it was snowing heavily, but what's the point of making an episode that viewers can't see? I thought it could've possibly just been a quality problem that stemmed from me watching it on my laptop (though previous episodes have all been fine), but then I saw everyone complaining about it on Twitter. My dad even complained about it, and he was watching on a 4K TV. Clearly, there was some poor editing and production errors in this episode, and it only contributed to my overall feeling of dissatisfaction with it.

      This weekend was supposed to be epic. Avengers: Endgame delivered, but Game of Thrones dropped the ball in my eyes. We have three episodes left and with the Night King dead, the only thing left to settle now is who will sit on the Iron Throne by the end of it all. That itself is a disappointment to some, who expected the Night King to be the final boss battle, not Cersei. I'll reserve judgement about this until the series concludes, but I really hope the final three episodes will be better than the Battle of Winterfell.

    • Thank you for encapsulating so many reactions! WHAT AN EPISODE!

      The symbolism of the dagger used in the final, crucial scene? SO INTENSE.

      The Hound overcoming his PTSD and fear of fire to help Arya in her time of need.

      I wonder if Tyrion would have seen something overlooked if he had been aboveground?

    • Phenomenal synopsis as usual.

      Overall I really enjoyed the episode, as exhausting as it was (about 40 minutes in I thought "surely this is almost over"). My friends and I put together a deathpool which made the whole experience 10x more fun. I was torn on Jorah's death because I love his character but I needed those points to clinch the win...

    • Regarding the battle itself, it was a total SNAFU. Wired posted an article that sums it up beautifully: https://www.wired.com/story/game-of-thrones-winterfell-battle-tactical-analysis/

      Air support was terrible. Use of physical barriers was terrible. Use of cavalry was abysmal. Thank heavens Bran can apparently see the future because he was the only one with any semblance of a plan, not that he bothered to share it. Perhaps he knew the battle needed to be a catastrophe in order to get the Night King to lower his guard?

    • The good news is this episode is going to look amazing on Blu-ray or potentially in future, better streams and downloads. [1]

      The bad news is one word.

      Compression.

      But there are exceptions to that, and one of them has to do with how compression handles color and brightness. Basically, when the image is very dark, it can't display color very well.

      The color of winter. [1]

      We usually don’t notice a loss of film quality from compression during streaming, but night scenes look horrible. That’s why watching it on Blue Ray, without the streaming compression, will look amazing for the five people who didn’t watch it last night.

      [1] TechCrunch. Why did last night's 'Game of Thrones' look so bad? https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/29/why-did-last-nights-game-of-thrones-look-so-bad-here-comes-the-science/

    • Thank heavens Bran can apparently see the future because he was the only one with any semblance of a plan, not that he bothered to share it. Perhaps he knew the battle needed to be a catastrophe in order to get the Night King to lower his guard?

      As a certain somebody said in a certain movie (identities hidden to prevent spoilers), "If I tell you what happens, it won't happen".

    • HBO foreshadowed this issue in a documentary they also produced called "Silicon Valley".

    • Watching it again, I think I understand what went wrong with the plan and it started at the very beginning with the Dothraki. I think they were meant to protect the artillery while the trebuchets thinned the herd. But then the Red Woman comes along and gives them flaming swords. Dothraki are already pretty confident, set their swords on fire and they suddenly feel invincible. So they charge ahead while everyone else is still trying to figure out what's going on.

      Daenerys sees her bloodriders slaughtered and abandons her post (she and Jon were supposed to wait for the Night King). Jon tries to stop her, saying "the Night King is coming." She responds with "the dead are already here!" and mounts her dragon. Once airborne she is unable to see the signals from the castle walls to light the trenches, forcing the Unsullied out into the open to protect the Red Woman as she attempts to ignite the trenches manually. It works, but it seems that the disruption to the plan has stunned the troops and they fail to take advantage of the opportunity before the wights start throwing themselves into the flames. It's not until Davos sees them begin to get through that he gives the order to "man the walls". Had he done this sooner their archers would've been much more effective against the stationary targets.

      Meanwhile, Jon is steadfast in holding his position when he could be strafing the undead army with close air support. Ironically it seems he is the only one sticking to the original plan and it probably cost them dearly. Instead, the undead breach the walls the Soviet way: by throwing bodies at it and an undead giant breaches the poorly defended main gate. Even with Lady Mormont's heroic sacrifice to neutralize the giant, the damage is done and chaos reigns.

      The moral of the story? Never trust a Dothraki Bloodrider with a flaming sword to play defense.

    • I love these BTS videos that Game of Thrones produces for YouTube. Even if this wasn't my favourite episode, it was still fascinating to see how they filmed it and to see the cast's reaction to the story.

      My favourite part was seeing how they filmed Lady Mormont's scene with the giant. Old school, new school, all mixed together to get a great moment on camera.

    • I saw this, and someone responded on Twitter comparing this to how Steve Jobs once said "you're holding it wrong" in response to reports that the iPhone 4 was suffering from dropped signals.

      People just don't want to admit when they made a mistake.

    • Wow, her dying wish was to live long enough to watch the Battle of Winterfell. She died the next evening, but not only did she live long enough to watch the battle, she received video messages from several of the cast.

    • Some people are really annoyed about Arya suddenly becoming one of the best killers in GoT. I don't deny she's a great assassin, but a fighter? She does have finesse and agility unlike any of the others, reminds me of Oberyn Martell's fighting style, but I don't think she'd do well on a battlefield. She's smart and can easily take out a group of guys in closed quarters, but on the battlefield she would probably find it difficult to survive.

    • Not to mention she had a helluva lot more plot armor than most. Grey Worm is #1 in my book because he had plans for retirement and still didn’t die.

    • Last update before this week's episode.

      Looks like the critics over at RT didn't like the Battle of Winterfell either.