Just the episode before on this final season of Game Of Thones, Podrick sang a song, Arya got it on with Gendry, Jaime knighted Brienne of Tarth and Jon Snow told Daenerys his true name and birthright. That all had to lead to something.
So when the horn sounded and the Night King's army descended on season eight, episode three's Battle Of Winterfell, hordes of wights, Unsullied, Dothraki and Northern fighters all started getting slaughtered. And then, it got personal.
SPOILER ALERT (and/or grab the tissues!)
First, we were worried most for Sam Tarly. Sure, he's killed a wight before, but not an army of them. And just when he think he's toast, his pal Dolorous Edd Tollett comes to the rescue. But, of course, you can't save one without a sacrifice to the TV gods, so the acting Commander of the Night's Watch gets it. Poor Edd!
A wight giant then has the gall to hit our favourite badass, Lyanna Mormont. But our little Lady gets up and charges back. Before she gets her life literally squeezed out of her, Lyanna spears the wight giant's eye with dragonglass. She's a hero, through and through.
Just as Edd protected his friend Sam, the rest of the battle hinges on essential pairs, tales of redemption, and heart-pounding chase scenes in the dark, if we're honest.
We see moments of Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister slashing foes side by side, Daenerys and Jon in dragon battle mode, and Sansa and Tyrion huddled up in the crypt. Simultaneously, the world's worst game of hide and seek is played (run, Arya, run!)
Melisandre, who has long told us that the night is dark and full of terrors, redeems herself by conjuring flames and reminding us, and Arya, that she had foretold Arya's fate in this fight earlier in the series. To get her kickstarted on her destiny, the guy with more lives than a cat, Beric Dondarrion, finally dies via a mass wight stabbing when saving Arya.
As the Night King, to Jon Snow's shock (and ours), starts raising our fallen good guys to fight again, we're all beginning to despair. Then Theon Greyjoy, the once cocky (so to speak) ward of the Starks whose whole arc on Game Of Thrones has been one of failure, degradation and emasculation, gets to hear Bran thank him for his bravery before taking what he knows is a suicide run.
Theon charges the Night King with a spear. Theon dies. But Theon's sacrifice is not in vain. It gives us just enough time to worry about Bran before Arya, harnessing all of her stealth Faceless-Man-assassin skills, leaps at the Night King. In his clutches, Arya switches hands and takes the Valyrian steel dagger Littlefinger originally meant to kill Bran with and plunges it into the Night King.
When she does that, he and all the wights around him begin to crack open and really die, including ice Viserion.
But the emotional battle isn't over. Jorah Mormont, whose devotion to Daenerys held fast even when she had rejected him several times over, dies defending his queen. When she sobs, we sob with her.
And for the Red Woman, who sacrificed many, including Shireen Baratheon, in service to the Lord of Light, she continued to redeem herself by finally abandoning the ruby necklace that kept her young, walking away as her old, true self before collapsing and dying. In battles like this, a death by choice is a rare thing.
What will the morning bring when the full accounting of the night's devastation is made? Oh, just another battle – this one for the Iron Throne. Surely the Night King has nothing on Cersei!
Game of Thrones airs Monday, 11:30am, on Showcase on Foxtel.
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