Still reeling from the biting winds of “The Long Night” and everything that transpired? We wouldn’t blame you.
Game of Thrones season 8 reached its mid-season climax this past Sunday. Winterfell burned, Rhaegal fell, and the Night King met a swift, satisfying end at the hands of Arya Stark. And that’s just it; few predicted a scenario in which Maisie Williams’ pint-sized hero would be the one to slay the Night King and effectively bring peace to the Northern Kingdoms… for now.
Turns out series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss chose Arya months ago, ultimately spilling ice-cold water over hopes for a duel involving
Jon Snow Aegon Targaryen and the Night King – much to the surprise of Kit Harington himself, who reflected on Sunday’s big moment during a candid chat with Entertainment Weekly.
I was surprised, I thought it was gonna be me! But I like it. It gives Arya’s training a purpose to have an end goal. It’s much better how she does it the way she does it. I think it will frustrate some in the audience that Jon’s hunting the Night King and you’re expecting this epic fight and it never happens — that’s kind of Thrones. But it’s the right thing for the characters. There’s also something about it not being the person you expect. The young lady sticks it to the man.
So, while Game of Thrones has foreshadowed the ‘prince that was promised’ for what feels like an eternity, Arya Stark was ultimately the one who stepped up to the plate. There’s every chance that she’s inherited some good fortune from the Lord of Light, given the seemingly unkillable Beric Dondarrion laid down his life to protect the young Stark.
As for Benioff and Weiss, during this week’s Inside the Episode, the creative duo took a moment to reflect on Arya’s big moment:
Benioff: “For, god, I think it’s three years now we’ve known that it was gonna be Arya who delivers that fatal blow.
Weiss: “She seemed like the best candidate, provided we weren’t thinking about her in that moment.”
And what do we say to the god of death? Not today. Game of Thrones returns this coming Sunday with the so-far untitled 8×04. Only three episodes remain, so batten down the hatches in preparation for the Last War.