The biggest battle in Game of Thrones history has aired and it was as huge – and devastating – as fans were expecting.
*Spoilers below – you have been warned*
Death arrived in Westeros quite literally in the HBO show’s latest episode as the Night King’s undead army arrived to do battle at Winterfell. It was the show’s longest episode to date – it clocked in at a feature-length time of 90 minutes – and it refused to relent, killing off several main characters in the process.
It began, though, with an intriguing scene that saw the return of a missing character: the Red Woman, Melisandre (Carice van Houten). Since her arrival in season two, fans knew she had an important part to play in the outcome of the series – and it turns out she was a vital cog in in the Night King’s defeat at the hands of Arya Stark, a plot twist Maisie Williams was convinced fans would detest.
The ancient character, who kept a youthful appearance thanks to a magical necklace, called her own death back in season seven, telling Varys: “Oh, I will return dear, dead Spider. One last time. I have to die in this strange country, just like you.”
Return – and die – she did, but not before reminding Arya of a conversation she had with her all the way back in season three – a conversation in which she essentially foretold that Arya would save the world from the long night: “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes sealed shut forever. We will meet again.”
It’s Melisandre reminding Arya of this encounter that propels her to head to the godswood to protect her brother Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and seal the Night King’s eyes shut forever.
The intense trailer for next week’s episode sees everyone turn their attentions to the Iron Throne and the fate of Cersei Lannister.
The final season of Game of Thrones continues every Sunday.
Our extensive ranking of every character in the series – from worst to best – is below.
The show will be available on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK.
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