TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Long Night

TL;DR – The storm is here, the storm is coming for you, the storm bites.  

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Game of Thrones: The Long Night. Image Credit: HBO.

Review

Have you ever watched a show where over seven seasons of story led to one moment, thinking back for me only maybe Deep Space Nine, or possibly Fringe funnelled everything into one moment. Well, today we have another example to add to the mix, with just about every single person left alive in Game of Thrones all in the same location waiting for the oncoming storm.

So to set the scene, during last week’s A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms we got a chance to sit back and revisit all the characters that we had gotten to know over the last few seasons, which would have been great if this didn’t have the feel of one last happy moment before the end. Jon (Kit Harington) told Danni (Emilia Clarke) about who he was which yep shocker did not go down well. Arya (Maisie Williams) made it with Gendry (Joe Dempsie), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) plan out their post-conflict lives and we get drunk by the fire. However, at every moment there is the threat of death that will be with them before the morning. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that time is here, and oh wow, just wow. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Game of Thrones: The Long Night. Image Credit: HBO.
The night is long and full of terrors. Image Credit: HBO.

There are moments that you won’t forget, moments where you realise that you have just spent an hour and a half sitting on the edge of your chair holding your breath. This, this is one of those moments. Tension is such a difficult thing to pull off, especially over 90 minutes. You have to have highs and lows, you have to put people in peril and have us believe it, and you need to work on the ebbs and flow of the combat and the narrative. If any single one of these factors fall short, you will have an experience that falls flat, and here we get it all.   

How does something like this work? Well, you have to have thousands of professionals working their hearts out to make it a visual spectacle, but also a safe one. One area that is sorely underrated in modern cinema is the role of stunt coordinators. It is their job to keep people safe, and when there are hundreds of extras, stunt people, cast, explosions, and fire all happening at the same time, then you have a recipe for disaster if you are not completely in control. This is a skill that few people have and my hats off to Rowley Irlam and the team for what is a moment in cinematic history. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when you have Miguel Sapochnik directing who showed in Battle of the Bastards (and his other extensive directing credits) that he has an incredible ability to capture the heart of a battle and put it on screen. Add to this Fabian Wagner’s cinematography, and the work of thousands of professionals and you get what we saw today.  

Game of Thrones: The Long Night. Image Credit: HBO.
Valar morghulis. Image Credit: HBO.

When it came to the story, I honestly had this weird moment where I know what I was going to expect, even had some good choices as to who would not make it through, but then also I had no idea what to expect. Well, I was expecting carnage, and there was a lot of it, but also not as much I was expecting, which all being said was a perfect surprise. There were the moments that had me gasping like when the Giant crashed into Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey), every time we cut to an insert character shot I felt like this could be the end. What I was not expecting was when I actually teared up, at Theon’s (Alfie Allen) last stand. It was the perfect combination of framing, of the story leading him to there, the paired back score from Ramin Djawadi, and the march into the abyss even though he knew what was about to happen.

There were a lot of big moments throughout the episode, but for me, there were a number of small moments that really made it. There was the slaughter of the Dothraki in the distance, the moment that Arya was trapped in the library, and the sound of death above as those in the crypts waited. There is a real look of horror in Arya’s eyes that made me really feel like all is lost, even if there was part of me that knew that it wasn’t. I have a feeling there will be some people that will lament that not more people died, but I have to say, really, and also there are still three episodes to go.

Game of Thrones: The Long Night. Image Credit: HBO.
The oncoming storm. Image Credit: HBO.

All of this brings us to two big moments in the show, both of them showing that in Game of Thrones it is the women that have to get stuff done. The first of these is the moment that a giant burst through the gates at Winterfell (not for the first time) right in front of Lyanna. She is thrown aside, but didn’t run away, when it picked her up and was killing her, she did not give up, and stabbed that giant right in the eye, probably saving the day. Then there was Arya, after watching people sacrificing themselves for her, literally being told that they had been kept alive to save here, thanks Melisandre (Carice van Houten). Knowing her purpose she runs, getting to the Night King (Vladimir ‘Furdo’ Furdik) just before he kills Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). It was a moment I had not expected at all, and just when I thought I was about to see two Stark siblings die, one of the most badass moments in TV happened. If there was a weakness, it was honestly with the Dragons, and Daenerys’ role in it all, but that felt more like showing that she was more out of her depth than she thought.

In the end, do we recommend The Long Night? Yes, yes we do. From doing a little reading online it looks like this is a very polarising episode, so if it didn’t click with you I would love to know why. But for me, this felt like a culmination of so much more of the story, but also a launching point for the final march south.           

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen Game of Thrones?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Game of Thrones
Directed by
– Miguel Sapochnik
Written by – David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Based offA Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin
Created for TV by – David Benioff & D.B. Weiss
Music by – Ramin Djawadi
Production/Disruption Companies – Home Box Office (HBO)
Starring in Season 8 – Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Liam Cunningham, Carice Van Houten, Nathalie Emmanuel, Alfie Allen, Joe Dempsie, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, John Bradley, Hannah Murray, Gwendoline Christie, Conleth Hill, Rory McCann, Jerome Flynn, Kristofer Hivju, Jacob Anderson & Iain Glen with Pilou Asbæk, Anton Lesser, Richard Dormer, Vladimir Furdik, Gemma Whelan, Ben Crompton, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, Daniel Portman, Bella Ramsey, Rupert Vansittart, Marc Rissmann, Richard Rycroft, Megan Parkinson, Ian Whyte and Staz Nair, Javier Botet, Seamus O’Hara, Bea Glancy, Lucy McConnell, Bronte Carmichael, Elieen McCloskey, Robbie Beggs, Roma Tomelty, Claire Connor, Logan Watson & Finn Watson.      

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5 thoughts on “TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Long Night

  1. Yeah, while it was cinematographically very good, as a whole I can’t rate it well. It had no substance, nothing below the surface.

    First there was the idiotic battle plan, hatched out in about 2 minutes in the previous episode, which about as well as you’d expect a 2 minute plan to go.

    Then there was the plot armour. Scene after scene showed characters in impossible positions, only for everyone with a name to survive except Beric, Lyanna, Jorah and Theon. (All secondary characters at this point.) This is really inexcusable.

    Despite most of the Valyrian steel weapons being brought together by the writers, so that so many of the surviving characters could wield one, none of them fought a White Walker except Theon (one of the few without) and Arya (deus ex machina). What was the point? Why have the weapons? Why have the WWs?

    Bran is meant to have all these amazing powers and with them he… helped us transition the camera to the NK. The rest of the episode he did nothing. Didn’t even say anything weird to the NK at the end. Also inconsequential: Dany and Jon.

    Arya killing the NK is cool. Not unexpected. Arya being able to get to the NK when he was surrounded in every direction by wights and WWs is dumb. I guess she climbed a tree? Would’ve been more meaningful if she’d used any of her Faceless Men abilities.

    All the prophecies and foreshadowing, the visions of winter come to King’s Landing, all presumably forgotten in the writers room. So now somehow, after saving the entirety of the human race from a terrifying alien threat in one episode, we now have three episodes to deal with two one-dimensional cartoon villains who aren’t worthy of the names they inherited from their book inspirations.

    If there’s any consolation, it’s that (if they ever come out) the books won’t have been spoiled. There’s no Night King in the books. And for all his flaws, GRRM can at least write with substance. He doesn’t think themes are just for eighth grade book reports.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also Ghost is totally an afterthought. He’s been in every episode this season I think, but no characters have ever interacted with him. Ghost running next to Jorah makes absolutely no sense. They have no connection whatsoever.

    Like

  3. Pingback: TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Last of the Starks | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

  4. Pingback: TV Review – Game of Thrones: The Bells | TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis

  5. i hope D+D die in a fire in front of their children, but it is too dark for them to see; so they only hear the screams. i hope that isnt out of line? i would describe my reaction to what they have done, somewhat euphemistically, as: ‘mixed’. i appreciate your writing though. & again, a fine entry. ☼

    Like

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