While many fan-favorite characters died in the Battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones, one became the true MVP of the story


The final season of Game of Thrones kicked into high gear this week. High. Bloody. Gear.

Sunday’s episode, the third of the last six installments, was the longest episode of the series to date — 82 minutes! — and featured the Battle of Winterfell. After two weeks of reunions and (ahem!) unions, this was the inevitable bloodbath that fans have been both expecting and dreading for more than a year.

So, as the Starks, Targaryens, and many others faced off with the Night King and his Army of the Dead, who lived, who died, and who remains to tell their story? Spoilers ahead, obviously.

First, let’s all take a moment of silence for those who died: Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey), Eddison Tollett (Ben Crompton), Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), and Melisandre (Carice van Houten).

Oh, and one more: Arya (Maisie Williams) killed the Night King!

Season 8, episode 3 (debut 4/28/19): Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams.
Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

As Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) watched the Night King creep towards him, the situation looked dire — until Arya came from behind to attack him. But, oh no, did you really think it would be that easy?

The Night King catches Arya — gasp! — and she drops her weapon — gasp again! — but then she catches it in the other hand drives it into him. He shatters, dies, and takes all his horrors along with him. The entire Army of the Dead is dust, thanks to Arya Stark.

What does she say to death? “NOT TODAY!”

Not surprisingly, the internet has declared her the MVP of the episode.

Of course, the giant battle also saw some casualties that didn’t exactly have us cheering.

Ser Jorah Mormont seemed to be in harm’s way for the entire episode, but he managed to stay alive just long enough to see the Army of the Dead vanquished. Bloodied and beaten after having saved his unrequited love, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), one last time, he collapses.

Daenerys and Drogon weep — and fans are doing the same.

Theon, too, was given a hero’s death.

Tasked with protecting the Three-Eyed Raven himself, Bran, he managed to stave off the Army of the Dead just long enough for Bran to warg back into his body and the Night King could show up.

“Theon, you’re a good man,” Bran says as tears well in Theon’s eyes. They both know it’s the end. “Thank you.”

Though he is a Greyjoy, Theon was raised with the Starks — and had returned to Winterfell to fight alongside them rather than retreat to his home in the Iron Islands.

Like Bran, fans are thanking Theon for his valiant effort and declaring him officially a Stark.

Theon actor Alfie Allen shared an image of his armor on Instagram shortly after the episode finished airing, captioned only with a broken heart emoji.

Lyanna Mormont died taking out a zombie-fied giant; Edd was saving Samwell Tarly (John Bradley); Beric was helping Arya and The Hound (Rory McCann); and Melisandre, who used her powers to help the armies, met her maker when she walked off at the battle’s conclusion, removed her magical choker necklace, and collapsed and died, an old woman.

It’s worth taking a moment amid our grief to recognize the accomplishment of the cast and crew in pulling this episode together, especially Emmy-winning (and worthy) director Miguel Sapochnik. The battle took 55 nights in frigid temps to film in Northern Ireland and weeks more in a studio.

Following the episode, we got a little taste of what’s to come as Daenerys declares, “We have won the great war. Now we will win the last war.”

Get ready, Cersei.

Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.