It was a big battle that the series had been building up to since its opening scene eight years ago. And it was shot over 11 weeks of grueling nights in below freezing temperatures. Winter had finally come as the Night King took on Winterfell. “Not a lot of people died,” reflects Gold Derby’s Riley Chow to Matt Noble and Luca Giliberti. in our 30-minute video recap of “The Long Night,” the third episode of Season 8, which aired on Sunday, April 28.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THIS EPISODE:
There were some casualties, including Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) and Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), who had both been in the series since the opening episode. But all the principle Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens survived. And one of the series’ youngest, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), was able to shock fans and destroy the Night King with a Valyrian steel dagger. The battle was an epic fail for the Night King, but it could prove to assist on an Emmy win for Williams.
One of the surprised viewers was Luca, who says, “I felt like the Night King was going to be there until the end. But Arya’s arc has been building to this moment; all that training, all that fighting.” And even though it was unclear exactly how Arya got to the Night King, Matt adds, “If you had asked me which ‘Game of Thrones’ characters is most stealthy, I would say Arya Stark. She’s had all that training learning to be no one.”
Williams, now 22, has grown up on the series as viewers have seen her character evolve from rambunctious child to silent assassin. It’s a role that she brought her an Emmy nomination in 2016. And in “The Long Night,” she did not just have the big heroic moment; she had lengthy battle sequences; a harrowing walk through a room with the undead, as well as a scene where she reflects on her past to realise her destiny. It’s a performance with range and impact. Can it earn her an Emmy?
Riley believes “she’s on track right now. But we still have three more episodes that are going to be Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) centric who is now officially the big bad of the season.” Headey has also received four past Emmy nominations. And Luca points out the “Game of Thrones” women “may split the vote.” Matt says “Maisie’s in a great spot and it would be one of the most deserving wins in recent years. But there is still a long Emmy season ahead of us.”
Looking forward, Matt thinks the battle “turned out great for Cersei. These guys have taken out the Night King and they now have a depleted army to fight her. If I’m Daenerys and Jon, I’m calling off this war against Cersei. I’m just sending Arya down there.” Riley adds, “I just hope she bakes some more pies.”
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