'Game of Thrones' Review: Who Died? Who Lived? Who Killed the Night King?
Just as pop culture fans were done wiping tears away from Avengers: Endgame, HBO staged the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell in Season 8, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones. But who’s dead? And who made it out alive? The answers are actually a lot more complicated than that.
Sunday’s episode, “The Long Night,” did exactly what it set out to do. It delivered big, hard-hitting action and even bigger moments of tension in spades. Whether it was on the battlefield, up in the skies (dragons vs. dragons!) or inside the cold halls of Winterfell, everyone had the fight of their lives. All gave some, and some gave it all.
We know you’ve seen the episode, too, so you needn’t rely on us to tell you what happened. But for those in need of a post-battle “damage report,” here’s a guide to who made it out alive on the Battle of Winterfell — and who didn’t.
Naturally, spoilers for Game of Thrones ahead.
Winner: The Armies of Winterfell
Before we crack down on who lived and who died, it’s important to point out the victor of the battle: Jon Snow’s assembled armies who fought on behalf of Winterfell. The good guys won!
Despite paying a devastating cost (including all the Dothraki wiped out!), their sacrifices were worth it as none other than Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) killed the Night King.
Now, without further adieu, the damage report.
Killed in Action (Dead)
Most of the characters who died in the Battle of Winterfell briefly became wights when the Night King did exactly what the internet thought he would do: raise the dead in Winterfell. While that included the corpses in the crypts underground, they actually seemed incidental. The dead the Night King actually purposefully raised were the dead scattered on the battlefield, which overwhelmed the last standing forces of Winterfell.
The Dothraki: Kicking off the battle were the Dothraki. Thanks to some of Melisandre’s enchantments, the Dothraki started off strong with totally lit hookswords. Unfortunately, their fiery blades only served a dramatic purpose; they all slowly went out as the Night King made his first offense. As confirmed by the showrunners in the post-episode interviews, the Dothraki are now an extinct culture.
Eddison Tollett: One of the first “real” deaths of the episode was poor Eddison, Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, who was killed protecting Samwell Tarly early on. Eddison was also turned into a wight when the Night King did his resurrection spell.
Lyanna Mormont: Squeezed to death by the former wildling giant-turned-wight on the grounds of Winterfell Castle, but not before she heroically, and fatally, stabbed the giant in the eye with dragonglass.
The brave, young Lady of Bear Island famously once said, “We are not a large house, but we are a proud one, and every man from Bear Island fights with the strength of ten mainlanders.”
She briefly became a wight, her dead eyes opening and glowing blue when the Night King did his resurrection, but with the Night King dead, it is safe to assume Lyanna is no longer an ice zombie.
Lord Beric Dondarrion: Overtaken by wights inside Winterfell Castle. Lord Beric was not seen turned, though it’s presumed he was a wight for a short while.
Theon Greyjoy: Theon heroically protected Bran and was the last man standing before the Night King moved in towards the vulnerable Stark. (He also survived long enough to avoid being turned into a wight.) He died in a heroic, if poorly executed, charge against the Night King.
It’s not crazy to say Theon almost won the title of MVP for his insane kill streak until Arya one-upped him with her game-ending kill.
The Night King: Yes, the Night King “dies” in this episode, stabbed by Arya Stark with a Valyrian dagger — the same dagger used by a would-be assassin in Season 1 in an attempt to kill Bran. His/Its destruction results in the explosions of the White Walkers and final rest of the wights.
Jorah Mormont: While he technically lives to see the end of the fight, Jorah incurred far too many wounds to see morning. But he died protecting Daenerys Targaryen, and I have a feeling Jorah wouldn’t have it any other way.
Melisandre: Probably doesn’t count since it wasn’t in battle, but Melisandre told Ser Davos Seaworth early in the episode not to bother executing her since she’d be dead by dawn. She was right. As she walked away from Ser Davos into the snowy wilderness, she removed her magic necklace and reverted to her actual age. From a distance, we see her red hair turn white and her red dress fall off her aged body as she collapses onto the ground, seemingly dead.
They may not be the Avengers, but the greatest soldiers of Winterfell who survived the battle are just as gifted, or as lucky, as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Plain and simple, these are the characters who survived the fight and will live to fight another day. Remember, Cersei awaits on the other side.
Jon Snow: He rides a dragon, faces down the Night King, and dodges wight dragon fire. He also lives. To the King in the North!
Arya Stark: Arya stole much of the episode, demonstrating her best Solid Snake impressions by sneaking around corners and stealth-killing a few wights.
And yes, she kills the Night King. Co-showrunner David Benioff said the moment where Stark kills the Night King had been in the works for about three years, and the final, cathartic move by Stark sets up her even more important role for the remaining episodes in the series.
Daenerys Targaryen: Like Snow, she rides her dragon, Drogon, before it is overtaken by wights, leaving her stranded on the ground outside the castle grounds. She’s heroically saved a few times from the surrounding wights by Ser Jorah Mormont.
Bran: Yes, Bran is alive, and will still be just as weird going forward. As he predicted, he was bait for the Night King, who was distracted and couldn’t anticipate the slickness of Arya “Night Killer” Stark.
Jaime Lannister: Jaimie, along with Ser Brienne of Tarth and her squire, Podrick, were among the unlucky few to be cornered by wights against a castle wall. But through sheer berserker rage and perseverance, they all lived — though they’re definitely going to feel it in the morning.
Ser Brienne of Tarth: See Jaime Lannister.
Podrick: See Brienne of Tarth.
Tormund Giantsbane: Tormund’s screen time waned by the end of the episode, but Tormund was last seen alive. Bloodied and beaten, but alive. He earned his milk tonight.
Gendry: He sort of disappeared by the end of the episode, but the teaser for next week’s episode confirmed that he is very much alive.
Sandor Clegane: His fear of fire crippled him from being of any use throughout the battle, but needing to protect Arya when she was in a pickle got Clegane to face his fears and rise to the occasion. The Hound lives. Cleganebowl, here we come.
Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister: Staring death right in its cold face sure ignited a fire between these two, who wound up sharing longing stares with each other in the crypts. Especially when the dead broke through their coffins and started eating everyone else inside. But these two lived. (Also worth mentioning: Varys and Missandei, two other significant characters in the crypts, also survived.)
Grey Worm: SOMEHOW GREY WORM SURVIVED??? THAT GUY CAN REALLY FIGHT!!!! WHO ELSE LOST MONEY BETTING AGAINST HIM???
Which Dragons Lived and Died?
Viserion: The ice dragon is dead, no thanks to Jon Snow.
Drogon: The dragon ridden by Daenerys appears to have survived an attack by wights and is with Daenerys at the episode’s end.
Rhaegal: The dragon that we saw Jon Snow mount earlier this season also might’ve lived, though its fate is unknown.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.