Thoughts on Thrones: Where to from Winterfell?

Warning: Contains spoilers.

Game of Thrones is inching closer to it’s grand conclusion following the third episode and the torrid Battle of Winterfell and with just three episodes remaining, the Herald’s in-house experts give their initial impressions and count the cost of the war against the White Walkers.

The Night King looking smug after withstanding Danenerys's dragon's fiery breath. Photo / Supplied.
The Night King looking smug after withstanding Danenerys’s dragon’s fiery breath. Photo / Supplied.

SIENA YATES:

Well colour me disappointed. After all these years, all this hype and two whole episodes of set up, today’s episode fell a little flat. I was expecting major amounts of bloodshed and to use up an entire box of tissues when all my faves died.

Instead I was just sitting there with my hands in the air asking “what are they doing?” half the time. Jon and Dany sat around with two giant flame-throwers in the form of dragons while the entire Dothraki army got wiped out in five seconds flat.

Could Jon have done more to help? Photo / Supplied.
Could Jon have done more to help? Photo / Supplied.

Then they took off for an evening of flying around pointlessly while everyone else fought, and Bran got over it and bounced to watch some raven-vision TV.

None of our major players died and honestly, when there are zombies and dragons the level of emotional investment just kind of wanes anyway.

That said, highlights obviously include Arya being a goddamned queen, Lyanna Mormont becoming a giant slayer, and Brienne and Jaime’s everlasting love.

I can’t wait to get back to my girl Cersei next week and hopefully get back to the drama that makes Thrones great.

Danaerys had to get her hands dirty after her dragons flew off with their tails between their legs. Photo / Supplied.
Danaerys had to get her hands dirty after her dragons flew off with their tails between their legs. Photo / Supplied.

JOANNA HUNKIN:

Hear that? That is the sound of indifference. That is the sound of millions of Thrones fans the world over processing what just happened. Which was actually not a lot.

Sure, Arya defeated the Night King. She is a bad ass and I’m delighted she was the one to save the day. But with the entire White Walker threat now eliminated, we have just three episodes for the entire story arc to pivot and head back to King’s Landing to take on Cersei.

Do we care? Can it compete with the high stakes drama of a zombie ice dragon and an army of the undead?

If Arya can kill the Night King, surely Cersei doesn’t stand a chance. Dany still has at least one dragon. She just needs to fly down, firebomb the Iron Army and live happily ever after with Jon and his extended fam. Happy days.

Of course that’s not the ending I want or the ending fans deserve. But at this stage, it’s hard to envisage any other outcome. Meh.

Theon finally redeemed himself in defending Bran to the bitter end. Photo / Supplied.
Theon finally redeemed himself in defending Bran to the bitter end. Photo / Supplied.

DAVID SKIPWITH:

There are just three episodes of Game of Thrones left to go but in the wake of the biggest scrap in television history it feels like much of the fire has been taken out of the show’s climatic season.

Initial news reports out of The North have the death toll growing into the thousands, but not even one pivotal character met their demise in the great fight against the walking dead.

However, I pen this summary while mourning the passing of two of my own favourite figures in Melisandre, the Red Woman, and Theon, who both made brave contributions, before Arya arrived to save the day by killing the Night King to defeat the White Walkers and their army.

But, in such a monumental episode, Jon did less than expected, and along with Daenerys’ two dragons, went missing in action right when they were needed most.

In the immediate aftermath it’s unclear just how many of the allies combined forces survived ahead of the looming final showdown against Cersei and Euron’s armies, who lie in wait at Kings Landing.

For all his mystical warging-talents I want to see what Bran, who has been a liability to everyone around him, can offer the group in a meaningful way, in what will be the last great fight for power of the Seven Kingdoms.

I hereby declare my loyalty and support to Arya, and can only pray to the gods in the coming weeks that she can stick Cersei with the pointy end and outlast everyone to claim the Iron Throne.

What happened to both of Daenerys' dragons? Photo / Supplied.
What happened to both of Daenerys’ dragons? Photo / Supplied.

KARL PUSCHMANN:

This long awaited, much hyped, final showdown between the armies of men and the armies of death felt strangely anticlimactic. The bodycount may have been through the roof but the emotional impact was strangely AWOL. Is it possible to be entertained and somewhat disappointed? It appears so.

Before the episode began we knew two things. Firstly, we knew the Battle of Winterfell was going to be a brutal, bloody slog. Secondly, we also knew that when the armies of men finally squared off against the armies of death we’d be saying our final goodbyes to a lot of our favourite characters and that was going to feel very sad. The one thing we didn’t know was how wildly wrong we were.

Despite raging on for over an hour, despite head’s being lobbed off with blood-spilling regularity and despite dragons spewing down fire everywhere, no one of any real consequence fell during the fight – excluding Ol’ Blue Eyes himself of course. But the Night King’s dramatic departure from this world was never gonna leave you feeling bummed out.

Melisandre and Arya did their part, but The Hound took his time to get into the spirit of things in the Battle of Winterfell. Photo / Supplied.
Melisandre and Arya did their part, but The Hound took his time to get into the spirit of things in the Battle of Winterfell. Photo / Supplied.

To justify the episode’s high stakes and for our emotional investment in this show to be paid back we needed someone to die. And not just a secondary at best character like we got. No, we needed a big name to fall. We needed winter to not just come, but to conquer. At least for a little bit anyway. What I’m saying is we needed someone we cared about to die. And that didn’t happen.

Theon’s honourable, redemptive death was clearly supposed to fulfill this role and hit you right in the feels but… meh. I liked the character sure, but he wasn’t top tier and was nowhere near central enough to satisfy the bloodlust we thought we didn’t want before the episode began. Same with Jorah. Kinda sad to see him go but also… not?

That’s not to say the episode wasn’t entertaining. At times it was tense and exciting and it definitely had its share of ‘hell yeah!’ fist pumping moments. But the fact that the Game of Thrones main cast all survived with nary a scratch eliminated all its emotional punch and cheated one of television’s biggest, bloodiest battles from attacking us with the full brutalities of war.