Night King? What Night King? Now that Game of Thrones has permanently iced its greatest villain, what’s next for Westeros in the final three episodes?
Let’s find out together through the magical medium of live-blogging, ramping up from midnight and then following along with every twist and turn of season eight’s fourth episode from 2am BST. Personally, I’m still hoping for elephants.
04.20am: Anyway, on that massive bombshell, I think it’s time to send this live blog gently into the next world, even if I am currently without my metaphorical pyre.
Overall I have mixed feelings about the episode, and by the looks of things online people aren’t too happy with how it ended. Personally? I don’t mind the deaths and heartbreak (if anything, I relish Game of Thrones getting its teeth into things a bit), but hope the final two episodes have slightly better pacing than this one did.
I mean, look, that might be a big ask as there are only two more episodes of this show ever, and they have a lot to pack in, but a man can dream.
And…flawless segway…that’s what I’m off to do know.
As ever thank you for reading the Radio Times Game of Thrones live blog (how did I never come up with a better name for it than that?), and see you next week for a big Thrones tradition – a penultimate episode where things get pretty brutal.
Until then, my watch – like poor Rhaegal and Missandei’s – has ended.
04.14am: As it turns out, this week’s episode was called The Last of the Starks, and increasingly I’m not sure why HBO are bothering to keep these titles a secret until after the episodes air. What would that have given away? What would “Winterfell” or “The Long Night” have given away? It’s just weird.
04.12am: Fun fact – Ned Stark kept Jon’s parentage a secret for 18 years.
Sansa managed about 18 minutes.
Jon: swear to me that you won't tell anyone. Sansa: I swear
I do feel like the deaths in this episode – Rhaegal, Missandei – felt MORE Game of Thrones-y because they seemed to brutal, ugly and unfair. Sad and Jorah and Theon’s deaths were, like Jon said they couldn’t have wished for a better way to go out.
R + M were cut down in their prime, and that’s some proper Red Wedding-y, ned Stark-y stuff that it feels like Thrones hasn’t done in a while. I’m not against it.
04.04am: I do find all the Daenerys=Mad Queen stuff a bit tiresome because it’s not THAT clever an idea but people think it is, HOWEVER it does seem like the series is going that way so hey – here you go.
People liked her though! For a bit! And no-one SUCCESSFULLY murdered her, which is…good?
Look, neither of them are much good, Sansa’s been the best onscreen ruler we’ve seen so far, so either way Westeros is doomed.
03.50am: HBO have also released a new video from the writers going behind-the-scenes of the episode – basically, they’re taking Dany back to her roots (when she was alone in season one) but with more military might. A recipe for good fun times all around!
Missandei’s final words, a signal to “light them up.” Oh dear.
03.38am: Along with the deaths it certainly looks like it could be the final episode for Tormund and Ghost, the latter of whom took more of a mauling in the Battle for Winterfell than we realised.
Hopefully not the end for Sam and Gilly – announcing pregnancies in Game of Thrones tends not to go too well, especially when you name the sprogs after Starks – but who knows? There are only two episodes left and everything is to play for.
03.33am: A trailer has been released for the next episode and one thing’s for sure – Game of Thrones’ penultimate episode will involve a LOT of significant glances.
I mean, are they gonna leave anything for the episode?!? They’re giving everything away in this promo?? There are CHARACTERS in it? They might look a bit WORRIED about things and PREPARE for BATTLE? Where were the spoiler warnings?
In all seriousness though…it looks like next week will be another big one.
03.30am: I mean a LOT happened in that final 20 minutes! Right?
03.28am: Overall, a bit of an episode of two halves there – I really enjoyed the first half but the pacing felt a little strange after Rhaegal’s death, rushing through all sorts of plot points that could have used their own episode to develop.
Poor Missandei. And poor Rhaegal! They both deserve these, which I handily made last week.
May they rest in peace.
03.26am: Ooooh Daenerys is NOT chuffed. And that’s the episode!
03.25am: Missandei’s last words – “Dracarys” – offer better advice than Tyrion has given.
Annnnd now she’s dead.
Which is a rather flippant way of communicating a quite horrible death. Daenerys looks a little unhappy.
03.24am: A lot of emotive eye contact considering how far away from each other they all are.
03.22am: Cersei wouldn’t let the archers kill Tyrion on the spot which is…nice?
Tyrion’s negotiation tactic to just insult Cersei a fair bit may need some work.
“You’re not a monster – I know this, because I’ve seen it.”
Leaning on the old “Cersei loves her children” angle again while the Rains of Castamere plays.
03.20am: Did they forget to CGI in the rest of the Unsullied?
I guess a lot of them drowned, and a lot of them are still travelling with Jon.
Anyway Tyrion is not making much headway with Qyburn. Grey Worm meanwhile is also suffering from constipation.
03.19am: Tyrion and Qyburn approach for a parley.
When two Hands come together, is it officially a clap?
03.18am: Oh God, they’ve got Missandei up on a plinth and loads of anti-dragon machines….
I’m tense and…
03.17am: Jaime is breaking Brienne’s heart! Tormund would never have treated her this way.
Basically he’s saying…I’ll do anything and everything for Cersei because that’s my deal. No character development here, chief.
03.15am: Jaime gets the news about Euron’s attack…do they think he’s responsible? Or is he just getting cold feet about the whole “helping out the people trying to kill my lover/sister” thing?
03.13am: “I will act in their interests, no matter the personal costs.”
Varys, Jon would be a bad King! He’s so stupid!
03.12am: No offense but why does anyone think Jon would be a good King? The only time he led anyone they murdered him like, two weeks in, and since then he has just constantly plunged into battle with no plan.
Daenerys did actually run a city. Give her some credit.
03.10am: I sort of feel like the dragon being shot down should have been the end of this episode…this is a lot.
Varys thinks that because Daenerys said the word “destiny” they should overthrow her. Stop scheming! Stop it!
03.08am: Oh no, she has Missandei!
“So much for the breaker of chains.”
Now Varys is standing up against Daenerys and Grey Worm’s plan to burn up King’s Landing, in his honest way.
03.06am: Washing back onto Dragonstone after the ships were destroyed by Euron (AGAIN, he does this every other episode I swear) and Grey Worm has lost Missandei.
Cersei, meanwhile, is stuffing her castle with civilians for a massive human shield and buttering up Euron.
He’s up for it all though.
Starting to think Bronn might have picked the wrong side…
03.05am: Why do they keep shooting dragons into big pools of water? I call conspiracy.
Also, how did the death of a fake CGI lizard end up more shocking than any of the deaths in the Battle of Winterfell?
03.01am: I can’t believe they killed another dragon…. one minute he was there, one minute…
Also, now all of Daenerys’ ships have been sunk and smashed. Not ideal!
And an ad break to…try and process that.
03.00am: OH NO! RHAEGAL JUST GOT SHOT! WHAT THE HELL
SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, AND YOU’RE TOO LATE.
How dare they interrupt the triumphant dragon music?
And did Euron customise the anti-dragon machine? Is that what he and Cersei have been doing?
02.59am: Varys is here running through every fan theory and dismissing them. No, Jon and Dany won’t rule together, no he won’t just marry his aunt…very fun, casual treason.
02.58am: Also, congrats to Tormund for (presumably) being one of the few people to escape this series alive!
02.54am: Tormund is heading beyond the wall – and for the first time in several years, Jon acknowledges Ghost! He asks Tormund to take him away because direwolves don’t belong in the CGI budget, er, South.
Aw, Gilly is pregnant again! Sam stole books AND loved ladies, what fun he had in Oldtown.
Wait, is Sam leaving too? or is he just hanging out here.
Can’t believe Jon just left Ghost like that though, forget Sam, boo, bad move.
02.52am: Rhaegal seems to be having a better time flying, which is nice.
Tyrion is trying to patch things up between Sansa and Daenerys, to little avail.
“You don’t have to be her friend – why provoke her?”
Sansa astutely points out that her family don’t do well down south, and is clearly about to break her pinky swear to Jon.
“She wants to make the world a better place…I believe in her.”
“Tyrion…what if there’s someone else? Someone better?”
WELL THIS WILL END WELL.
02.49am: We’re back – the Hound is riding off, and Arya has decided to re-enact their season 3-4 road trip, but back towards King’s Landing.
“I’ve got unfinished business” the Hound says. “Get hype,” whispers the audience.
02.45am: Er, Bronn just sort of backed out of the room awkwardly and said he’ll be back in a few episodes…very strange.
Advert break now. I’m feeling very tense about the whole Starks/Daenerys situation.
02.06am: Harsh of them to give little Lyanna to Jon to burn.
Also seems like Daenerys KIND OF blames Jon for the deaths, which…sort of fair enough?
02.04am: Fair play, those are some neat pyres. And is Ghost looking a little injured?
Jon appears to have lost his voice after shouting that dragon to death.
“It is our duty and our honour to keep them alive in memory…especially that Dothraki guy, Qhono.”
02.02am: Man, who knew Jorah had such nice boots?
Not really the point when we’re gazing down at his corpse, but hey. At least he finally got some action from Daenerys, even if it was beyond the grave.
Too mean? it felt too mean.
Sad to see Sansa cry over Theon too. Giving him a Stark pin is a nice touch.
02.01am: oooh look, the Winterfell model is battered in the opening credits! I love how these are evolving week to week.
Also, note the presence of Alfie Allen and Iain Glen in the credits – means we’ll probably see them as corpses.
02.00am: Very strong language! Let’s do it! Here it goes!
01.52am: Like all tragic heroes, the Night King had a fatal flaw – his love of impractical crop tops.
At least he died how he lived, slaying literally AND fashionably.
01.50am: 10 minutes to go! Hope everyone’s been on the giant’s milk this week. I have a feeling we’ll need to be strong physically AND emotionally.
01.47am: At what point am I just live-blogging the episode I already live-blogged? I’ll try to stop, sorry (but still sad about Theon dying, the only human we ever see killed by the Night King incidentally).
01.45am: Got to that bit in episode three where they’re using piano music, you know you’re in trouble in Thrones when Ramin starts tinkling those ivories!!!!
01.42am: Got my moves DOWN, subscribe to my Patreon and maybe you’ll get a look at my moves!
01.27am: No cloak this week but I am still dressed to impress for the Thrones live blog.
Welcome to the main stage of HuwPaul’s Dragon Race – category is Ele-dragon-za extravaganza!
(I can like different strands of pop culture, why shouldn’t I?)
01.22am: You know, I just think Winterfell will seem less HOMEY now that everyone was chased around the hallways by ravenous zombies. Maybe the Stark kids should move somewhere with a little less baggage.
I hear the Dreadfort is lovely this time of year…
01.18am: On the ep 3 repeat we’ve now reached the point where Arya creeps around Hyrule Castle, er, I mean Winterfell’s library while loads of zombies silently shuffle around.
Look, I know they were screaming and running about outside but they’re wights, not savages – they’re hardly going to break the library’s rules are they? Have a little respect.
01.12am: OK, forgot what I said earlier – this tweet is funny enough that I’m now a Night King stan all over again.
Game of Thrones was always very clear that unstoppable death was just a distraction from the one TRUE threat: Cersei's out-of-nowhere army and that pirate guy
I saw someone describe Cersei and Euron as “a drunk lady and a sort-of pirate” and it’s ruined the whole story for me.
01.08am: Just in case regular readers are wondering – yes I AM wearing socks that I hope are somewhat relevant to the plot, as is traditional for any cultural critic watching a piece of art for the first time (you should see what Michael Billington has on his feet when he’s checking out the latest avant-garde production at the Old Vic.
This week, I’ve gone for my Lannister socks as Cersei is making her triumphant return after a restful two weeks off.
Stylish! As ever, I’m available for any or all modelling contracts you can send your way. Please help, my dragons are starving.
01.04am: If the issue with last week’s episode was that it was over-hyped, there’s certainly little danger of that for the rest of the series – because we know next to nothing!
All the trailers and pre-series material focussed on the first three episodes and the Battle for Winterfell, and now those are passed we’re in uncharted territory. Sure, we know this episode sees Dany plan her attack against Cersei, but after that? We’re in the dark.
And not JUST because we forgot to turn up our brightness settings again (sorry, sorry, I’ll stop now).
01.00am:….OK I think that’s enough time thinking about that.
Only one hour to go until we see all our favourite characters bury their friends and mourn thousands of dead before beginning another bloody armed conflict in which yet more will perish. Yayyy?
00.56am: Rewatching Battle of Winterfell (they always repeat the previous episode on Sky Atlantic before, I’m not just obsessed and…OK, yes, when I have the lights on it is pretty dark. I’ll give you that.
You know what else is pretty dark though? The OVERALL TONE and MANY OF THE EVENTS in this show.
Hmmmm…makes you think. I’ll leave you all to chew on that for roughly four minutes.
00.50am: Hey, remember Daario Naharis and the Second Sons? Dany should give them a buzz, get an extra 2,000 men, make Jon jealous. See, Cersei, you’re not the only one with a sellsword army!!
00.47am: To that end, I’ve been asking our loyal readers what THEY think is coming up this week – and as usual, you have not disappointed.
Bran will stare blankly into the middle distance and make a slightly creepy comment Jon Snow will look gloomy and sigh Tyrion will drink wine and make a clever remark Someone will tell someone else how clever Sansa is Drafons will fly about in the background
This one? Possible – I don’t think the Starks do their own cooking, so maybe it just depends if the chef survived the battle.
Please write in with your suggestions! At this stage, your guess is as good as mine.
00.41am: Personally, I enjoyed last week’s episode – while not my favourite battle episode ever it had some really terrific shots, I was on the edge of my seat throughout and I absolutely LOVED the in-air dragon fighting (which I’ve really not seen much chat about since. I feel like we’re getting too blasé about the dragons guys!!!)
And while to start with I was a little surprised to see the White Walkers bow out of the series so early (if indeed they have), I do now think it all makes sense. I’ve seen people complain for ages about how the intriguing, morally grey world of Thrones had devolved into a clichéd good-vs-evil struggle, but as it turns out that wasn’t the endgame (sorry, still on my mind) after all. It’s the bloody Iron Throne all over again, basically, and now that the Devil has been defeated there’s still a less morally secure victory to win.
In other words, getting rid of the Night King is more Thrones-y than it seemed at first, and I’m excited to see where these next episodes go.
00.32am: And the lighting situation wasn’t the only problem people had with last week’s episode.
After all Jon’s careful-ish planning had failed and it turned out the crypts weren’t quite as super safe as everyone said (WHO KNEW) the only thing that managed to save the world from the slippery clutches of the Night King and his lads was Arya Stark, who did a cool dagger flip move to remove him from the board permanently.
This upset a few people online who felt the Night King’s death should have belonged to Jon, or that Arya (a woman who has, lest we forget, spent the entire series training with weapons and hanging out with famous murderers) hadn’t earned the honour, and the whole thing got a bit unpleasant.
Hopefully, this week’s episode can unite us again with a shared interest – the ongoing happiness and safety of Jon’s direwolf Ghost, who apparently survived the fatal Dothraki charge (chasing squirrels, tch!) and now must be protected at all costs.
Who needs dragon CGI budget anyway? With Viserion Viseri-Gone for good, there’s only two to worry about now…
The Long Night was a truly epic, feature-length battle episodes that took TV to new heights – but for many people it was too dark to see, and the backlash inspired the show’s cinematographer to issue a slightly stroppy response to the complaints.
“A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” Fabian Wagner told Wired. “A lot of people also unfortunately watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”
He also suggested that the episode might have looked better had it been viewed in the dark…
“Personally I don’t have to always see what’s going on because it’s more about the emotional impact… Game of Thrones is a cinematic show and therefore you have to watch it like you’re at a cinema: in a darkened room. If you watch a night scene in a brightly-lit room then that won’t help you see the image properly.”
Personally I could see it all quite well, but I’m watching Thrones on a big-ish TV in a very dark room, and I’ve had a lot more trouble trying to rewatch clips on my computer this week. So maybe it’s not just everyone’s fault for not having big fancy TVs?
00.15am: First though, time to check out some older episodes for nostalgia’s sake….OH NO, MY EYES!
00.13am: But BEFORE ALL THAT it’s high time we pay some respects.
From the looks of things, this week’s episode will feature something of a funeral for all the brave characters (and, let’s be honest, mostly extras) who died in the Battle for Winterfell. And while not QUITE as many fan-favourites died as we expected, quite a few familiar faces did meet their maker.
Overall the list of the dead includes Jorah Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, Lyanna Mormont, Beric Dondarrion, Edd Tollett, Melisandre and, er, the Night King (does he count? I’d say he counts), so it wasn’t a COMPLETELY bloodless victory.
How Sam survived (and ended up making a weird sort of sofa out of the bodies by the looks of things?) may be a greater mystery than the Night King’s motives ever were.
Despite the high death rate, though, not everyone was satisfied with episode three…ooohh….tease for the next post in this live blog…who knows what’s coming next…(it’s more of this).
00.05am: You see, after one (pretty unnecessary) cavalry charge from the Dothraki, a great big crush outside the gates of Winterfell and general death and destruction, Daenerys’ army is looking significantly less formidable.
Sure, she still has two dragons – those are pretty handy – but against Cersei’s 20,000 Golden Company it might be a closer fight than we anticipated.
Then again, based on last week, it might be that all they need is Arya sneaking up with a sharp knife and a dream.
00.01am: Hello and welcome back! Now that we’ve all shaken off the terrors of the Battle of Winterfell, re-adjusted our TV brightness settings and stopped arguing with teenagers about the logic of Arya’s Night King killshot, I’d say we’re about ready for another installment of Game of Thrones – and that means another live blog.
My name’s Huw Fullerton (aka Ser Huw of the Vale of Glamorgan for fans of “season one-based Wales puns”), and as usual I’m here from midnight chatting Thrones before getting properly stuck into the new episode at 2am BST.
The (Night) King is dead – long live the Queen! Though whether it’s Cersei, Daenerys or someone else who sits on the throne is much more of an open question after the horrors of the Long Night…