‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Episode 3 Recap: Who Survived the Battle at Winterfell?

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3
Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams in ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 episode 3 (Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)

In case you missed last week’s episode of Game of Thrones (Seriously? What are you doing here? Go now!), we spent a relaxing evening at Winterfell sitting around the fire, telling tales, singing songs and waiting for the Night King to arrive to get the party started.

No one died, there was no bloodshed, and nary a dragon in sight. It was quite literally the calm-before-the-storm. That’s not to say that nothing happened. No, quite the contrary. Arya (Maisie Williams) proved to the world (and especially Gendry [Joe Dempsie]) that she’s all grown up now. The interwebz had much to say about that scene, but bottom line, Arya got to reclaim a bit of her humanity and enjoy the warmth of another person for one freakin’ night in her tragic life.

Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) vied for Brienne’s attentions (Jaime totally won when he made her a knight. I will watch that scene over and over again.) Pod showed off yet another hidden skill, Grey Worm and Missendei made plans, Jon spilled the tea all over Dany, and we were told that the crypts beneath Winterfell are the safest place to be during the battle so often that it can’t possibly be true.

As for all those questions to which we need answers, tonight there are really only two that matter. The first concerns those crypts. Are they really safe? Will the Night King raise all of the dead entombed therein? The internet has been buzzing all week and everyone and their brother has a theory. Personally, I think that if, IF, the Stark dead come to life (we don’t even know if they can since most would only be skeletons at this point. The freshest would be Rickon), they won’t be fighting in the Night King’s army. The Starks have known about White Walkers for centuries and have planned for this eventuality. They had to have been buried with their swords for a reason, right? I’m choosing to believe the theory that if the Starks arise, it will be to protect their family.

The second question is, who will die tonight (season eight episode three)? As nice as it was to spend time last week with characters we’ve grown to know and love, it felt like we were saying goodbye to a few of them. I’m no happier about it than you are, unless you’re one of those people who always thought Game of Thrones had too many characters, but we’ve been building to this battle for nearly 10 years and this show has never been shy about “killing its darlings.” I could give a toss about who gets to sit The Big Chair until I know who’s safe after tonight! Who will survive the epic Battle of Winterfell?!

Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) might as well have “dead meat” stamped on his forehead after he dared to make plans with the love of his life. Speaking of whom, if the wights don’t get Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), she’ll probably throw herself on G.W’s pyre.

Pod (Daniel Portman) may be better at “soldiering” than when he left King’s Landing with Brienne, but I think his lovely song in last week’s episode was his finale.

Edd (Ben Crompton) and Beric (Richard Dormer) are both probably goners. They survived the fall of the Wall and got themselves to Winterfell just so they could be targets in the big battle. Beric will have to pass on a trick or two to the other character brought back to life by the Lord of Light first. He’ll need that flaming sword.

I suspect Hannah Murray’s Gilly (but not Sam) gets it too. Unless of course, the crypts really are safe.

Little Alys Karstark (Meghan Parkinson) and fan-favorite Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) are probably goners. Lord Umber was killed in the first episode and he was younger than both of them.

And it pains me to type this, it really does, but I believe Ser Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) is a goner. Last week was such a fitting end to her arc that this battle will be her last. I also think she dies in Jaime’s arms. (Okay, I’m hoping so. If she has to go, that has to happen.)

I’ve also prepared myself to lose Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen). He has the Tarly Valyrian steel sword, which I think will allow him to cut down a lot dead things before he goes, but his redemption is now complete.

I could be completely wrong about any or all of these characters and there are surely more who will be lost. Was Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) really the wisest choice to sit in the open and guard Bran? Oh, the humanity!

As Sansa “Thank u next” Stark (Sophie Turner) so gravelly put it in the episode three preview, “The most heroic thing we can do now, is look the truth in the face.” Buckle up, here we go!

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Recap:

We open on Samwell Tarly’s shaking hands as he’s handed a dragon glass dagger. Continued preparations are happening all around him. We hear Lyanna Mormont yelling commands to her troops.

Sam gives way to Tyrion who prepares to go below to the crypts while Bran is being wheeled by Theon out to the Godswood.

Sansa and Arya are together on the battlements as the dragons fly overhead. The Unsullied march out to the front lines. Pod is next to Brienne. There’s Gendry. Sam joins Edd. We see Jorah and Ghost. All is quiet. Too quiet.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3
Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington in ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8 episode 3 (Photo Credit: HBO)

Jon (Kit Harington) joins Dany (Emilia Clarke) as they overlook the field where their warriors wait. (Why does this show have to use natural light. It’s so damn dark.)

Melisandre (Clarice van Houten) has arrived! Just rides right up to Jorah and tells him to have the Dothraki lift their swords. She takes a weapon from a Dothraki warrior and says some words in a language that may be Dothraki? And then all the swords burst into flame! It becomes a field of fire! (Edd looks impressed.)

Davos (Liam Cunningham) yells for the gates to be opened and Melisandre is admitted to the inner courtyard of Winterfell. She tells him, “There’s no need to execute me, Ser Davos. I’ll be dead before the dawn.” She and Arya exchange a look. (I know they met a long time ago, but I do not remember the circumstances.)

It’s on! The army, led by Dothraki Screamers, is charging forward with their flaming swords! Ghost is running alongside Jorah!

Suddenly a cease fire is called. It’s quiet again. And dark. Very, very dark. We hear the sound of horses. Riders pass by but it’s impossible to make out who they are.

Up on their perch, Jon tells Dany the Night King is coming. She jerks her hand away from his and bites out, “The dead are already here.” Guess she’s still pissed about that whole “last male heir to the Seven Kingdoms” thing.

We see the faces of Tormund, The Hound, Pod, and Grey Worm as they listen to the unholy sounds of the Army of the Dead. The Unsullied are overrun! Their spears are like tooth pics to White Walkers!

Tormund is in the thick of things as Brienne yells, “Stand your ground!” It sounds like the undead are devouring whatever is in their path. It’s chaos but Jaime hears Brienne cry out and runs to find her.

Dany’s on a dragon! Drogon is burning a path through the undead! Jon’s on Rhaegal! They are scorching the earth while Sansa and Arya watch from the walls. The winds of winter, plus the smoke from the fire, are making it difficult for Dany and Jon to see.

Arya tells Sansa to get to the crypt. Sansa says she won’t abandon her people, but Arya insists and hands her the dagger made of dragon glass! (She still has her special Gendry-made weapon.) Sansa says she doesn’t know how to use it. Arya responds with “stick ‘em with the pointy end.” Nice call back!

More chaos. Edd saves Sam from a wight and as soon as Sam gets up, Edd is killed!

Sansa arrives down in the crypt. Missandei is there, along with Tyrion who appears so ashamed that he’s not fighting, he’s drinking heavily. (Or maybe just because he’s smart.)

Jon and Rhaegal and Dany and Drogon are still having trouble. They’re hitting the tops of trees. If these dragons were planes, they’d be crashed by now.

On the ground, Tormund and then Brienne are calling for their troops to “pull back.” Lyanna Mormont is yelling for the gates to be opened. What’s left of the armies rush inside. Grey Worm (who is miraculously still alive at this point) orders the Unsullied to “protect the retreat” and to “stand your ground!” They are all that stands between the undead and the living as they continue to seek shelter behind the walls of the castle.

Jon and Dany are still in the air, but we cut to the Godswood to see Bran waiting patiently. All of our people are still alive and accounted for at this point, but the wights are making progress. Arya shoots a flaming arrow from the battlements and saves The Hound. Lyanna wants the gates protected.

Grey Worm yells, “Light the trench!” and Ser Davos above gives a signal. The trenches are raised and some are set on fire, but there are wights behind the trenches. Melisandre walks out of the gates, grasps the wood and calls to the Lord of Light. The rest of the trenches burst into flame. Oh good, Beric and Jorah are still with us. Sandor Clegane retreats away from the fire.

Down in the crypt, Varys (Conleth Hill) is cracking wise. “At least we’re already in the crypt.” Tyrion says, “If we were up there, I’d see something everyone else is missing. I could make a difference.” Sansa is skeptical. She thinks he’d die. This is where the line from the preview come in. She tells Tyrion that despite what he believes his abilities to be, that’s the truth and it’s heroic to be in the crypts. They discuss what might have been between them, but Sansa tells Tyrion it would never work because of the “Dragon Queen.” “Your divided loyalties would come become a problem.”

Missandei is not pleased with this conversation. “Yes, without the Dragon Queen, there’d be no problem at all. We’d all be dead already.”

Back in the Godswood, Theon is stating the obvious to someone who sees all. He takes the opportunity to apologize to Bran, but All-Seeing Bran stops him with, “Everything you did brought you to where you are now. Home.” Which sounds nice, but he follows that up with, “I’m going to go now.” And he wargs into a raven. Or a bunch of ravens (A murder of ravens?) to look over the battlefield and find the Night King.

The trenches are burning but the wights are starting to defy the flames! They aren’t burning! They’re forging a path for others to get by and then scaling the castle walls. Everyone’s screaming “burn the walls!” but will it do any good? Remember I said most of our favorites were still alive? Well, they’re inside the castle! Are they about to be trapped?

Gendry, Jaime, and Sam are trying to stave off the assault. The castle is completely surrounded and the undead are coming over the walls!

Sandor (Rory McCann) is hiding from the fire as Arya is killing wights left and right.

The giant wight swats Lyanna Mormont like a pesky fly. No! She gets up and runs right at him! He picks her up and we can hear her tough little bones break as he opens his mouth to chomp on her head. But before she dies, she stabs him in the eye with dragon glass and they both fall. The littlest living warrior killed the biggest undead! RIP Lady Lyanna!

Dany and Jon are still flying. Now they’re above the clouds and the smoke and he chaos. It’s quiet for a moment. Holy crap here comes Viserion breathing blue fire! He looks like he’s going to take out one or both of his brothers, but then he doesn’t. He flies away!

Arya (looking a lot worse for wear) is stealthily moving around the castle. She’s down in the forge. Someone’s in there with her. Is it a White Walker? She’s bleeding! There are a lot of them! This is the scene in the trailer! Arya is running! She seems to have lost her weapon! Will she make it to the crypts? Will she bring the undead with her?!

It’s quiet in the crypt and then the sound of wights tearing into people who are trying to get in. Then nothing.

The Hound and Beric (sword still blazing) are searching the castle for wights. Arya is under attack! Beric throws his sword and saves her but now he’s done for. The Hound picks Arya up and gets them out of there. Beric dies. Melisandre is there to tell Arya that he’s served his purpose. She tells Arya that her work is not done.

Theon is still standing guard over warging Bran. He and his men light their arrows to “make every shot count.” They are overrun.

The Night King is riding Viserion who is breathing blue fire on Winterfell. Rhaegal and Viserion are having a mid-air battle with Jon still on board! The Night King is tossed off and falls. He can’t be dead. He’s already dead. Jon is tossed off of Rhaegal. Dany is still on Drogon. She finds the Night King and says, “Dracarys!” The Night King appears to burn. Was it that easy?

Hell NO! He’s still standing! Jon and NK appear to be heading for a show down! Jon has his Valyrian steel sword. Will that do it? He runs toward him as the Night King raises his arms. Suddenly all of the soldiers killed in battle are back and Jon is surrounded!

Jaime, Brienne, Tormund, Sam, and Gendry are still alive. And guess who’s back? Lady Lyanna! Seven Hells! Here come the White Walkers!

Down in the crypt babies are crying and things are trying to get in!

Theon is fighting bravely in the Godswood.

Jon is fighting a losing battle until Dany arrives with fire-breathing Drogon. He tells her to run and she refuses. The undead are attacking her dragon! Dany is down! Holy crap, Ser Jorah saves Dany!

Jon is back inside the walls. Now Sam is under attack! So is Brienne!

Theon is fighting off the undead alone.

Jorah is protecting Dany alone.

The undead are in the crypt. Sansa and Tyrion are hiding. They share a loving, farewell look. Sansa has the dragon glass dagger, but Tyrion has nothing. He leaves her to join the fray anyway. He nods farewell to Varys.

The battle is everywhere. The Night King is inside the walls of Winterfell! How is anyone going to live through this?!

Theon is somehow still standing beside Bran, but then the Night King arrives. Bran tells Theon he’s a good man and thanks him for protecting him. Theon has tears in his eyes. He knows the gig is up. He charges the Night King. And Theon is dead. (For the moment.)

Viserion is still breathing blue fire all over the castle. We see Jon alive. Then Jorah and Dany. Jorah is mortally wounded but refusing to give up.

NK is slowly stalking toward Bran. Bran turns to look at him. Cut to Jon gathering his courage to face Viserion. Back to the Night King as he begins to draw his sword. Suddenly it’s Arya! She’s jumped on NK and is preparing to stab him with the Valyrian dagger (the one Bran gave her that belonged to Petyr Baelish) when he grabs her by the throat. It looks like he knocks the dagger from her hand, but she catches it! Arya stabs the Night King!

Holy crap! Arya has killed the Night King! He shatters into a million shards. Suddenly White Walkers and wights are shattering and/or just dropping like flies everywhere!

Dany and Ser Jorah are saved, but Jorah falls to the ground.

Most of those in the crypt are fine. No undead coming to life there. Arya and Bran are together. But damn it! Jorah is dying in front of Daenerys as her dragon watches over them.

Melisandre walks out of the castle through the sea of truly dead dead as Ser Davos follows her. She removes her necklace as he watches. We know that means she’s now returned to her true form and decided to die.

And then it’s fade to black! This means we need to wait another week to get a true accounting of who’s truly left standing! Jon and Dany and Sansa and Arya and Bran sure, but what about the others?!

According to the preview Missandei and Varys made it, but what about Jaime (likely) and Brienne and Sam (probably) and Tyrion (again, probably)? Is Grey Worm really still alive? (Ghost is glimpsed in the episode four trailer in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him clip.)

Oh well, on to the next war! I cannot believe we’re already at the half-way point of this final season! Gah!

A couple memorable lines from season 8, episode 3 of Game of Thrones (honestly I was too caught up to catch many):

Melisandre: “Valar Morghulis”
Grey Worm: “Valar Dohaeris”

Tyrion: “Maybe we should have stayed married.”
Sansa: “You were the best of them.”
Tyrion: “What a terrifying thought.”

Melisandre: “What do we say to the God of Death?”
Arya: “Not today.”

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