Warning: The most major spoilers ahead forGame Of Thrones' “The Long Night.”
What’s dead may never die — unless you’re the Night King (Vladimir Furdik) that is. Because, the Night King is dead. After a battle that suggested all was lost, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) appeared at the very last second to kill the Night King, stabbing him with the Valyrian steel dagger that once almost murdered her brother, Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright). In an instant, the Night King, his generals, his ice dragon, and every wight in Winterfell died. Some shattered into shards of ice. Some simply collapsed. Either way, the threat of the chilly undead is over.
While humanity is saved, the quest for the Iron Throne continues. But, what does that optimistic resolution mean for the final three episodes of Game Of Thrones? The answer is that Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) final battle, “The Last War,” as she calls it in previews for “Game of Thrones 71,” against Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) may be even harder than Team Targaryen-Stark’s confrontation with pure evil. Just look at the evidence.
What does Game of Thrones do with Winterfell next?
Most Game of Thrones theorists going into “Long Night” expected to see Winterfell burn and fall, as leading fan site Watchersonthewall.com predicted with on-set images. The Starks would be forced to abandon their ancestral home and flee South, possibly going to Targaryen holdfast Dragonstone or the Iron Islands, as Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) pointed out was a smart idea in season 8 premiere, “Winterfell.”
None of that needs to happen anymore. Instead, as previews for “Thrones 71” confirm, the winning side will be forced to burn their dead out of respect following the Night King’s attack. Dany, Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), and many more leading Targaryen-Stark loyalists can be spotted in the scene, confirming they all survive. Dany is also toasted by the surviving fighters of the Great War.
However, a prior conversation between Dany and Sansa confirms all is not settled in Winterfell. In “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Sansa asks Dany what will happen to the North if she wins against the Night King and Cersei. After Robert’s Rebellion and Robb’s Rebellion, the North is done kneeling to Southern kings — Sansa wants to know if Dany can accept that. Rather than answer that question, Dany pulls her hand away from Sansa, ending the conversation. Now, Daenerys has accomplished half of her goal. That means she will be forced to seriously answer Sansa’s inquiry, rather than skirt the massive political issue.
A compromise is certainly possible. Remember, Dany accepted Yara’s request for Iron Islands independence way back in season 6’s “Battle of the Bastards” with a few stipulations.
Who is the Last War between?
Once Dany, Jon, and Sansa figure out what to do with the North, they’re going to have to take their depleted army to fight Cersei for the Iron Throne. The war will be between Team Targaryen-Stark and Cersei Lannister, who has Euron Greyjoy’s (Pilou Asbæk) portion of the Iron Islands fleet on his side. The trailer for “Thrones 71” suggests Euron will be proposing to Cersei, further strengthening their strategic unions. It’s likely he believes the baby Cersei is carrying belongs to him (it’s Jaime ’s).
This means Cersei was right in season 7 finale “The Dragon and the Wolf” to tell her twin Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), “Let the Stark boy and his new queen defend the North … Let the monsters kill each other, and while they battle in the North, we take back the lands that belong to us.” Now, the Night King has eliminated all the Dothraki, injured both of Dany’s remaining dragons, and left Team Targaryen-Stark with minimal soldiers.
To make matters worse, Cersei has an even more massive army than usual. She bought the Golden Company, led by Harry Strickland (Marc Rissmann), giving her thousands of healthy new mercenaries. This is what Dany and Jon will be fighting. They should enjoy their Winterfell feasts while they can.
Team Targaryen-Stark is inevitably heading to conquer King’s Landing. To quote Cersei and Jaime’s “Dragon and the Wolf” Night King-related conversation again, the latter says, “If the living win, and we’ve betrayed them, they march South and kill us all.” We are now at that point in Game of Thrones.
The mystery that remains is: How much of that wildfire underneath King’s Landing still exists? And, who will be the one to use it? Cersei may have been the one to employ it to blow up the sept in “Winds of Winter,” but Dany’s dad Aeyrs (David Rintoul) is the one who commissioned the cache of explosives in the first place.
Where do Jon Snow & Daenerys Targaryen stand now?
Dany ends “Knight” upset that Jon/Aegon, trueborn son of Rhaegar Targaryen (Wilf Scolding) and Lyanna Stark (Aisling Franciosi), has a better claim to the Iron Throne than she does. However the last of the Targaryens are going to have to get over that family squabble if they want to lead Westeros (and beat Cersei). Despite Jon’s apparent disinterest in a relationship with a family member, a marriage may still be in the cards, as Tyrion, Varys (Conleth Hill), and Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) consider in “Winterfell.”
Such a union would immediately unite the Southern realm and the North, which is already in contention. Then, there’s the continued speculation of a Dany pregnancy ahead. There’s no way Jon Snow — a man who grew up ashamed of his status as a bastard — will let his prospective child grow up with the same stigma.
Where do the other Thrones couples stand?
“Long Night” proves former spouses Sansa and Tyrion may be two of the best matched individuals in Westeros. The back half of season 8 will reveal if that connection is platonic or has the possibility of romance. Sansa’s sister Arya can be seen smooching recent hookup Gendry (Joe Dempsie) in previews for “Thrones 71,” proving the blacksmith survives the Battle for Winterfell. Tyrion’s brother Jaime will continue to be trapped in a love triangle between himself, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), and Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), whose survival appears to be confirmed by this sliver of the “71” trailer.
Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) are also spotted in that same scene. That means their beach retirement to Naath is still on the table — and, likely doomed with three hours of tragic television left on Thrones.
Okay, but are there elephants?
Nope, sorry Cersei.
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