Game of Thrones' "The Long Night" is over. It doesn't matter what your opinion on the Battle of Winterfell was, what matters is it's over and the Night King lost. Some of the cast members were pared down, but a surprising amount survived to see this victory. Make no mistake either, it was a win, and when victories happen, that usually puts everyone in good spirits and forgiving moods, at least for the time being. With that in mind, the next Game Of Thrones episode will be one where the forces assembled in the North will be getting along for the moment, right?
From the looks of the trailer and the photographs from the upcoming episode, the answer seems to be a qualified yes. Everything is good... for now.
This is the last episode ever to be directed by David Nutter, who spent Episodes 1 and 2 of this season giving viewers many quiet, character-based moments. As his swan song, most expect this one will do the same. But as Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, warns, it's not going to stay calm, and the characters know it. For him, it's his favorite episode of the entire final season, because the sense of looming dread to come is positively "Shakespearean."
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Harington explained why he loved this upcoming episode so much.
One of my favorite episodes is 4 because the characters have seemingly got what they needed. The world is safe now. They’re celebrating and saying goodbye to lost friends. But as an audience you’re going, ‘This is only episode 4, something’s going to happen.’ And that’s the cool thing because I think the characters are aware of this as well. There’s something twisted and uncomfortable about it. It’s so Shakespearean.
For the moment, Daenerys is rallying the troops to take everyone south to King's Landing, in an attempt to defeat Cersei Lannister and take the Iron Throne. Her speech gets a rousing cheer from the assembled surviving lords. But how long can that last? How badly does this alliance crack under the strain of a fight against the Golden Company's superior manpower?
How long until talk of his parents causes Daenerys to accuse Jon Snow of trying to take her throne?
And perhaps most importantly, how long until Sansa and Arya learn there's another option that doesn't require the North bending the knee to the Mother of Dragons?
Winterfell may be safe from the Night King and the forces of the dead, but what's left when the ice melts is a tinderbox of secrets, full of competing agendas and egos. Without the threat from beyond the Wall, all these characters have now to focus on is the Great Game of who sits upon the Iron Throne.
It's a game that's killed a lot of people over the last seven seasons, a game that killed the parents of nearly everyone in the room. And yet, it seems like none of them have learned a thing. Most survived the Battle of Winterfell, but when it comes to the battle of the Iron Throne, you win, or you die.