Keep in mind that the rating of this episode could alter depending on the plot developments in the next 3 episodes. That being said, I was horribly disappointed in the Battle of Winterfell. This has been built up for over a year as the culmination of everything that has been teased, and what do we get? A battle that we can barely see, and a bunch of missed opportunities.
I know that the lighting issue has been a subject of controversy since Sunday night, and I commend cinematographer Fabian Wagner for doing this to the best of his ability, but I still couldn’t see what was happening half the time. My basement TV’s brightness has never had any issues, but I was struggling to tell who was who in many sequences. The idea is that it would be realistic for the battle to look this way, as torches and dragon’s breath are the only light sources, but that doesn’t make for an engaging scene. If you can’t tell what is going on, then what is the point?
My lighting rant aside, the biggest missed opportunity was the resolution of the Night King. Now, I have no problem with Arya being as badass as she was. She has definitely earned that over the years. I just have two issues: that it was such a quick blow to finish the job, and that the Night King was built up to be so much more. If he is supposed to be the greatest villain of all the seven kingdoms, then why does he never say anything, or even draw his sword on anyone? He makes mistakes that a monster of his reputation wouldn’t. Not to mention, why was Jon Snow even brought back from the dead, if he’s just going to get his ass kicked from the very start? Isn’t he supposed to be the Prince who was promised?
That isn’t to say there was nothing to like. What I could see of the vfx and fight staging, was fantastic. I’m sure a lot of work went into it, and there were great moments, like the slow piano track playing over everyone about to meet their demise. The character deaths that did resonate, were Jorah, and especially Theon. Theon had the best redemption arc in the show, and it was really sad to see him go out the way he did. I also enjoyed The Hound’s cowardice, which has been a theme dating back to the Battle of Blackwater. Sansa and Tyrion making a final stand was a nice moment as well. Also, I guess Melisandre’s purpose is finished, since she killed herself when all was said and done.
If somehow, the last 3 episodes have a revelation that explains all of this, then it will make this episode much better. Until then, however this was an anticlimactic payoff to the build up of the Long Night.
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