[Spoiler (click to open)]After all these years, and all the times I nearly died, I am very, very glad I lived long enough to see this episode.
"What do we say when we meet the Lord of Death?"
If anyone cares, there will be episode discussion after the my-favorite-character discussion.
Without further ado,
Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!!!!!
For anyone who doesn't know, Arya has been my favorite character since the first chapters of the first book, long before the television show A Game of Thrones was even contemplated and long before I knew anyone who might read this (hell, before I even had a live journal.
Watching her kill the Night King was a nice payoff. Especially since I thought John or one of the dragons or Bran was going to do kill him, if anyone did, and even more especially since Arya was one of the people I thought most likely to die going in (yeah, I know, she's Paris's favorite character too & she's threatened to leave GRRM if he ever kills Arya, but GRRM isn't writing the TV series, as is sometimes painfully obvious. And after all she's been through during the years, she deserves it. So yay!
My thinking throughout the series was either "dragonglass" or "dragonfire" was going to do in the Others/White Walkers, and Dany got first shot w/the dragonfire, but you could tell from the way they set the scene up this wasn't going to work. And it didn't.
Then John was moving towards the Night King and my SO thought he was going to take him down but I was all like "He's good but I don't think he's good enough; the only ones who might be able to beat the NK in a straight duel are Arya, Brienne, the Hound and maybe Jaime if he can suddenly fight like he used to when he had both hands plus they all know how to fight dirty if they have to" and we argued this until all the newly resurrected dead made it a moot point.
(it should be pointed out that I called it way early, that the only way the NK was going to lose, given the Dany/Jon/best minds of Westeros WORST BATTLE STRATEGY EVER, was if he made the constantly repeated Dany mistake of getting overconfident and putting himself in harm's way before the fight was over. And yup. That is what happened. Tho not before Dany could nearly get another of her dragons killed coz she still thinks they are invulnerable in all circumstances, despite repeatedly being proven wrong,and maybe her & Jon did get one killed coz they absolutely suck at teamwork)
And then I thought my joke for the past week about "we get to see everyone die this episode and it's going to be ALL. UP. TO. CERSEI" was actually going to come true. My SO was convinced Bran was going to pull some bit of magic off at the last instant. I thought probably but didn't have a clue what and was really thinking ALL. UP. TO. CERSEI. was going to be a thing.
Let's just say it's a good thing we didn't wait on Bran, whose "bait" plan turned out to be really horribly executed by all the master strategists.
But after a whole episode where not only all her fighting training but also all her stealth & sneak training paid off in spectacular fashion, my girl Arya came through in the end.
Bye bye, night king. Go Arya.
Other good things: Except for Beric (finally for final), Jorah & Lady Mormont (a bad night for the bear clan, though both went out heroically, and honestly, since Dany was never going to marry him I can't imagine a better ending for Jorah than to successfully defend his lady love and living until the battle was over so he knew he pulled it off), I'm not sure if any of my favorites died. Pleasant surprise. Anyone know what happened to Tormund? He might've died. I can't tell Gendry and Pod apart most of the time, so I'm not sure if one or both made it through.
The ep, as a whole, was really cool, despite the mind-bogglingly stupid strategy & tactics (or complete lack thereof) by whoever was in charge. So many great scenes.
What happened to Ghost? It made no sense that he was part of that cavalry charge. Speaking of . . .
WORST BATTLE STRATEGY EVER. Let's examine this: (1) put most of your best fighters outside the wall, at night, giving up your best advantage against the zombie army.
(2) Put Bran, as bait, in the Godswood, which I think is INSIDE the walls? Where he can only be bait if you are decimated. At the very least, he was bait far from the actual fighting till his side was already decimated, so wherever the
Godswood is, this strategy failed.
(3) Instead of waiting for the sun to come up so you won't be fighting the undead in the dark where they are stronger and you can't see, YOU START THE FIGHT IN THE DARK, to help maximize the time you will be at a disadvantage.
(4) You send your entire cavalry force charging out into the darkness, where neither rider nor horse can see any obstacles that might be set up to stop a cavalry charge.
(5) You support said cavalry charge by catapulting flaming balls into the darkness in the general direction of your cavalry, hoping they cause more damage to the enemy than your side even though you can't see the enemy at all and catapults aren't that precise.
More bad: Why were Jon and Dany completely lacking in teamwork? Why was the night king better at flying his dragon than Dany was at flying hers? Why did Dany set her dragon down on the ground in the middle of a pack of armed killer zombies, who predictably climbed all over the dragon? For someone who says "these are my children", she repeatedly takes damned bad care of her dragons.
Thoughts on future: My preference for a throne, any throne, is Sansa. She seems to get the whole rulership gig and "how to run things" vastly better than anyone else. Make it happen, showrunners!
Will the Hound or Arya or the duo kill Gregor?
Will Arya or Dany or Jon or one of her siblings kill Cersei?
I don't care who kills the Greyjoy jerkboy as long as someone does.
I don't care who gets the Iron Throne as long as Sansa gets Winterfell and Arya survives the whole thing. (also Drogon & all remaining wolves, ideally)
Poor Bran, always.
Jaime and Brienne are so going to be a couple if they both live. Yay.