Game of Thrones Aired its most anticipated episode of season 8 which had 82 minutes of an epic battle between the living and the dead. Fans were stunned when Arya Stark killed the Night King, shattering all White Walkers and wights as well as our understanding of what arc the final season will follow.
The Battle of Winterfell has come and gone, and with it were some interesting moments of symbolism and callbacks to the past.
Keep reading for the 15 most significant details you might have missed on Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones.”
The black tiles representing the army of the dead reached all the way to Winterfell in the opening credits.
When Melisandre arrives at Winterfell, she stares at Arya for a moment – which of course turns out to be much more meaningful than it first appears.
I guess all that time away finally let her figure out who the real chosen one was.
Alys Karstark was with Bran and Theon Greyjoy, which means she’s most likely dead.
We can pretty confidently add Lady Alys Karstark to the list of characters who were killed during the battle, since Theon was left standing alone in front of Bran by the time the Night King showed up.
The spell Melisandre used to light the Dothraki’s arakhs on fire is similar to the one used by Beric Dondarrion.
Melisandre showed up just before the war against the Army of the Dead got started, and she used a Valyrian spell to ignite the blades of all the Dothraki horseriders.
Part of her spell included the phrase “āeksiō ōños,” which means “lord’s light” (as in the Red God or Lord of Light himself: R’hllor).
Dormer has said Beric uses that same Valyrian spell to ignite his sword, but he doesn’t even have to say the words.
Here’s what she was saying in Valyrian: “Āeksios Ōño, aōhos ōñoso ilōn jehikās! Āeksios Ōño, ilōn misās! Kesrio syt bantis zābrie issa se ossȳngnoti lēdys!”
And the English translation: “Lord of Light, cast your light upon us! Lord of Light, defend us! For the night is dark and full of terrors!”
Some of the last words Edd Tollett said to Sam Tarly was an echo of their season-three encounter with the Army of the Dead.
Just before he was killed by a wight, Edd told Sam he needed to get up from the ground.
Early on season three, Sam, Edd, and the rest of the Night’s Watch were fleeing from a White Walker attack when Sam collapsed to his knees, unable to go on anymore.
Ser Beric Dondarrion’s words to the Hound about Arya are more significant than they first seem too.
And after all the mentions of Ser Beric and the Hound’s great purpose, how fitting that it ended up being keeping Arya Stark alive – especially considering where the three of them started together in Season 3, with the Hound and Beric fighting to the death in front of Arya.
There are a lot of callbacks relating to Arya in this episode, reminding us of the fact her path has been leading her to this very role the whole time. Starting with her first lesson in killing:
Everything Syrio Forel taught her:
And, of course, Melisandre’s very accurate prediction from Season 3.
It’s a wonderful full circle moment that the dagger intended to kill Bran in Season 1 was used by his sister to save him in Season 8 – and in the same act, the dagger that started the War of the Five Kings ended the Great War.
Arya’s first encounter with the wight army led to a throwback fight move she used on the sixth season with the Waif.
When Arya first fought a group of wights on the ramparts of Winterfell, she was using her new dragonglass-tipped spear in fight choreography that mimicked her season-six training with the Faceless Men.
Back when she was training, Arya had a triumphant moment when she stopped the Waif’s staff in this same position.
To highlight this callback on Sunday’s episode, a variant of Arya’s theme music (a track called “Needle”) by Ramin Djawadi played as she used the same move on a wight.
Circling back to the Night King, and it was a surprise to Daenerys when he survived her dragon fire – but we saw back in Season 7 that he was resistant to it. He walked straight through it.
Meanwhile, Jon’s interactions with the Night King in this episode called back to his terrifying confrontation with him at Hardhome.
Theon’s final moments in the godswood had a poignant connection to a key chapter in the book series.
Martin has so far published only five of his planned seven books in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. In the last published chapters told from Theon’s perspective, he’s only just barely breaking out of his tormented “Reek” persona.
Theon ponders death as “the sweetest deliverance he could hope for” and also thinks about Winterfell as his home. “Not a true home, but the best I ever knew,” he says to himself.
Theon wanders around Winterfell and finds himself in the godswood, where he speaks with the weirwood tree there.
“Please. A sword, that’s all I ask,” he says. “Let me die as Theon, not as Reek.”
In the books at this same time, Bran is still beyond the Wall and learning to use his powers.
Theon in the books thinks he sees Bran’s face in the weirwood tree and hears whispers on the wind. This was most likely Bran using his greensight powers through the weirwood tree.
Though the events that lead Theon to the godswood are very different from his arc in Martin’s book, the moment when Bran tells Theon that Winterfell is his “home” too had extra meaning for people familiar with the book series.
Theon’s manner of death is a callback to the rousing speech he once gave at Winterfell.
After seeing how outnumbered he was, Theon opted for a hero’s death as he charged at the Night King with a spear.
The Night King easily deflected the blow and in turn stabbed Theon right through the belly.
Back on the second season finale, Theon delivered a rallying speech to the Iron Born about the “Battle of Winterfell.”
After Theon took Winterfell from Bran, the Boltons came to reclaim the castle in the name of Robb Stark. Seeing he was surrounded, Theon thought they’d make a stand against the army outside Winterfell’s walls.
“We die today brothers,” Theon said to his men. “We die bleeding from a hundred wounds, with arrows in our necks and spears in our guts. But our war cries will echo through eternity. They will sing about the Battle of Winterfell until the Iron Islands have slipped beneath the waves. Every man, woman, and child will know who we were and how long we stood.”
Theon was promptly knocked out and betrayed by those men, but his speech takes on more weight now that we know how Theon will be a legendary part of the real Battle of Winterfell.
The moment of Brienne and Jaime fighting together wasn’t just visually cool, it also represented the two parts of Ice – Ned Stark’s sword – coming together to defend his family and his home.
(In case you forgot, Brienne and Jaime each carry a sword that was reforged from Ned’s melted down sword after his death.)
Shout out to our girl Lyanna Mormont, who proved her promise that a Bear Island soldier is worth at least 10 mainlanders. She took down the largest enemy, in a scene that echoed Wun Wun’s death at Winterfell during the Battle of the Bastards.
Arya stabbed the Night King in the exact spot where dragonglass was shoved into his chest by the Children of the Forest.
Arya was fast on the draw and found weakness in the Night King’s armor right where it mattered the most.
The showrunners said only Valyrian steel stabbed in that exact spot could have killed the Night King.
“We knew it had to be Valyrian steel, to the exact spot where the Child of the Forest put the blade to create the Night King,” David Benioff said in HBO’s “Inside the Episode” segment. “And he’s uncreated by the Valyrian steel.”
Arya’s Valyrian steel dagger was given to her by Bran in that same godswood location last season. That scene itself was loaded with foreshadowing of Arya’s fated Night King encounter.
Davos was drawing a dagger so he could kill Melisandre before she allowed herself to die.
When they last saw each other, Davos had just discovered the truth about Melisandre burning Princess Shireen alive. Jon Snow banished her from the North with the caveat that she would be “hanged as murderer” if she ever returned, and Davos promised to carry out the sentence himself.
He allowed her to stay and help their army, but by the time dawn was breaking Davos was clearly ready to kill Melisandre before he saw what she was doing.
She walked into the rising sun, removed her magical necklace (which concealed her real, hundreds-year-old body), and succumbed to her fated death.
Last but not least, the episode title “The Long Night” is linked to an early season-one scene and the developing “Game of Thrones” prequel series.
When Old Nan was telling Bran his favorite “scary story,” she mentioned “the Long Night” and how the White Walkers had first come to terrorize Westeros.
HBO has four “Game of Thrones” spin-off series in the works, with the first of these in the pilot stage. That prequel would take place around the Age of Heroes, which just so happens to be the lead-in point to the legendary Long Night.