Warning: Contains Spoilers
First up, apologies for the headline. I didn’t want to put the spoiler right there, I have a conscience after all, but my editor doesn’t and they overruled me.
However, the fact that you’re reading this means it’s likely you’ve seen the The Long Night and know what happens in the Battle of Winterfell, so you know how incredible the episode was and we’re safe to continue.
Those reading this who haven’t seen it yet, but intend on doing so, well – you’ve come this far, so it’s your call. But, as it goes, there are major spoilers after this video…
So – how about that ending?! After all the tension, all the build up, all the dragons, all the White Walkers dying and coming back to life, the fighting, the hiding, the running, the few quiet moments, and the gratuitous use of slow motion, who’d have thought it would have been Arya to kill the Night King, setting off a chain reaction that wiped out his whole army.
Well, it turns out quite a few people thought it would be Arya to do the deed, with clues being dropped since season one that she would end up confronting Death itself.
Cast your mind back, if you can, to season one Arya – the young Stark learning to fight with Needle, the sword given to her by half-brother (or rather cousin, as we’d later find out). Showing potential, her dad Eddard hired Syrio Forel to train her properly.
During their time together, Forel imparts this piece of wisdom to Arya:
There is only one god, and His name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: ‘not today’.
This quote was alluded to in The Long Night during Arya’s conversation with Melisandre, who also subtly convinces her that she will be the one to kill the Night King, by referencing the conversation they had when the pair first met.
Melisandre tells Arya she would kill ‘a great many people’, and has closed, or will close, ‘brown eyes, green eyes, and blue eyes’.
Check it out:
By the way, what colour are Cersei’s eyes? Just out of interest…
While many of us – the Night King included – almost didn’t see Arya coming, it seems showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss have held that card close to their chests for three years, they revealed in the post-episode breakdown, as per TIME.
As they said:
We knew it had to be Valyrian steel in the exact spot where the Children of the Forest put the dragonglass blade to create the Night King. And he’s uncreated by Valyrian steel.
The dagger Arya uses has a long history in GoT – it’s been around since season one, when an assassin, sent by Littlefinger, tries to kill Bran with it. In the end, the Valyrian Steel weapon ended up saving his life – which I’m sure he knew was meant to happen all along, as Bran himself gave the dagger to Arya back in season seven.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.