All things considered, the Battle of Winterfell went pretty well for humanity on this week's Game of Thrones, though some characters were last seen in mortal danger.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3 lie ahead!
Game of Thrones gave us the most breathtaking, cinematic battle episode of its long run on Sunday, and yet some fans were disappointed. After a week of speculating about who would die and what would happen next, humanity held up pretty well against the White Walkers.
That is not to say that there weren't devastating losses. Several beloved characters left us this weekend, and unfortunately, they did not close their eyes forever. Among them were Edd Tollett, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Lyanna Mormont, the Lady of Bear Isle and Theon Greyjoy, the Ironborn-turned-Stark. We also lost Ser Jorah Mormont in a tragic scene where he defended his chosen queen until the end.
Thankfully, Arya Stark managed to put a stop to the fighting with a well-timed dagger trick. The White Walkers and wights all instantly shattered when their leader did, but some of our heroes were still in tough spots when we last saw them. In the confusion of the battle, some fighters were swallowed up by hordes of the dead or buried under falling debris, leaving their fates uncertain.
Many will argue that the characters in the list below are too important to get off-screen deaths. That may not be the case, however, as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss explained in their post-show interview, they could not interrupt the action for every single death scene.
"We knew that you can't give a big death to everybody who dies in the battle," Weiss said. "Because it just would've been too much."
Bearing that in mind, and knowing how brutal Game of Thrones can be, it is not safe to assume that any of the characters who were last seen in danger are safe. Here is a look at some o the characters fans will have to wonder about until next weekend.
The Night Watch's self-described coward, "Sam the Slayer," put up a hell of a fight on Sunday night, but he didn't bother hiding his fear. Sam spent half of the battle trembling and falling down, although he stabbed more than a few wights along the way with big dragonglass daggers in each hand.
At the end of the episode, Sam was actually last seen before the night king was defeated, so his fate remains unclear. Sam was seen lying in a pile of bodies, some of which were still writhing behind him and underneath him. He was crying, but gripping his daggers tightly, ready to fight again.
Many of the other fighters were shown standing when the bodies of the wights dropped, but Sam was not. He was also not shown in the teaser for next week, so we can't assume that he's safe.
After getting backed into the castle, Grey Worm stood alone for the climactic ending of the battle. The last time we saw a clear shot of him, he was backed into a corner between a wall and a pile of bodies, holding a shield in one hand and swinging his spear with skill that even Arya would have envied in the other.
It is worth noting that when the bodies all drop, there is a shadowy figure holding a spear and a shield not far from where Tormund and Gendry are standing. Still, there were thousands of Unsullied in the battle, so we can't just assume it was Grey Worm.
Grey Worm was also not shown in the teaser for next week, and let's not forget his emotional moment with Missandei in the last episode. After a heartfelt conversation like that, many fans think it's just a matter of time before Grey Worm meets a tragic end.
Maybe Jon Snow's direwolf, Ghost, is not a character casual fans are worried about, but many have grown attached to the strange snow-white beast. We last saw Ghost charging into battle alongside Ser Jorah Mormont and the Dothraki in the ill-fated first clash, and he never appeared again.
Perhaps Ghost was trying to prove himself now that Jon has become close with Rhaegal. If so, he may have taken it too far. Ghost did not show up in the teaser or the end of the battle.
The Hound and Beric Dondarrion
Sandor "The Hound" Clegane gave up not long into the battle. Slumped against a wall, he declared that they "can't defeat death." He did spring back into action to help Beric Dondarrion save Arya inside the castle, but he still seemed about as hopeless as ever.
Arya left the Hound standing with Melisandre, the Red Woman inside the castle as she ran off on her solo mission. After the wights were defeated, we did see the Hound limp out of the castle with Melisandre, though he seemed to be in bad shape. He stopped outside the door, leaning against the wall and supporting himself with his axe, apparently unable to move.
This scene should not be overlooked, as it could come back into play later. We know that Melisandre has the power to bring people back to life with fire magic, and we know Beric has been brought back before, so anything could have happened in that room after Arya left. Meanwhile, did The Hound hurt himself defending Melisandre? If so, why? Will he be up for a fight when he next encounters his brother, The Mountain?
You might not know Yohn Royce by name, but you would certainly recognize him as the finely armored, scowling leader of the Knights of the Vale. Royce has stood by Sansa's side since Season 6, when he led his forces north to aid her in the Battle of the Bastards.
While fans may not have much love for Royce, his death would be significant. He was one of Sansa's closest and most loyal followers, and if things are about to heat up between her and Daenerys, she will want him to have her back. However, Royce did not seem to make any appearance throughout Sunday night's episode.
Jon Snow's first battle as a dragon rider went pretty badly for both him and Rhaegal, the dragon named after his father. Rhaegal's belly was raked by the undead dragon Viserion's claws as they battled in mid-air. He seemed to take some serious bites and slashes before Daenerys and Drogon saved him, and he fell to the ground.
Jon fell off of Rhaegal's back and jumped into the battle on the ground without looking back. The smaller living dragon was not seen again for the rest of the episode, leaving many fans wondering if there is only one left.
Thankfully, we seem to see Rhaegal alive in the teaser for next week's episode, where Daenerys approaches him and touches his outstretched nose. This shot raises more questions, however. For one thing, how badly is Rhaegal injured? Is he now bound to the ground until he can heal?
Another important question going forward is where Rhaegal's loyalty lies. Dragons only bond to one rider at a time in the Game of Thrones universe, and only those with the blood of old Valyria. Will Rhaegal stay with Jon, or travel south with Daenerys to help her take back the Iron Throne?
Lastly, as decisive as Sunday night's battle looked, many fans are not ready to count the Night King out just yet. The icy monarch's body shattered when Arya stabbed him with Valyrian steel, and his entire army crumbled. Still, given that we are only halfway through Season 8, many fans expect the villain that has been teased all season to have a few more tricks up his sleeve.
There are countless fan theories on how the Night King could come back around in the next week or two. Some believe his power is tied to the Wierwood in the far north where he was created, the one where he left his mark on Bran. Others suspect he will simply re-materialize further south, raising the dead from the battlefield and continuing on in his mission.
The mechanics of the Night King's powers and the details behind his motives have not been fully explored just yet, although they have been teased. Therefore, many fans think that before this is all over, we will learn why the Night King wanted Bran so badly, and we will see him make another attempt.
After all, Beric Dondarrion told us last season that death can never be defeated, but we must fight on anyway.
Finally, let's ease our nerves by taking a look at the characters who were confirmed to have survived the Battle of Winterfell. After the White Walkers dropped, a few quick shots flashed around the castle to give us an idea of who is still standing.
By the looks of it, Tormund and Gendry made it out alive, finishing the battle standing back to back on top of a huge pile of bodies. As noted above, a silhouette that may be Grey Worm stood nearby them, but we can't be sure.
Meanwhile, it looked like Brienne of Tarth, Jaime Lannister and Podrick Payne were in trouble for a minute, but all three were still standing when the wights around them dropped. They look bloodied and exhausted, but it seems we can expect them all to survive.
Down in the crypts, we got a brief shot confirming that Tyrion, Sansa and Varys all survived even after the dead Starks broke out of their coffins and attacked. Many others didn't, but a small crowd stood when the battle was done. If you pause and turn the brightness up, you can see Missandei alive and well with them, and Gilly holding her son, Sam by the shoulders as well.0comments
Of course, more clear shots showed us that Daenerys, Jon, Arya and Bran are all alive as well. These survivors will have a lot of rebuilding to do now that they are safe, and judging by the teaser, Daenerys is back in recruitment mode. Even if the White Walker threat is truly gone, next week's episode may be the most tense one yet.
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.