Game of Thrones season 8 episode 3 aired last night, and “The Long Night” proved to be one of the biggest episodes in Game of Thrones history, according to ratings. Despite some disappointed fan reactions, the episode featured a handful of some really great callbacks to earlier episodes that brought some of our favorite characters’ arcs full circle.
This article will explore some of last night’s GoT episode in detail, so this is your official MAJOR SPOILER WARNING. Do NOT continue reading if you aren’t caught up on the series or season, and if you don’t want anything ruined before you get to watch “The Long Night.”
With so many great Easter eggs and references to previous episodes sprinkled throughout “The Long Night,” we wanted to roundup some of our favorites in case you might have missed them, or didn’t make the connection during the episode. As you can guess, many of them involve Arya, who had an intrinsic part in last night’s episode.
“Stick Them With The Pointy End”
When it was clear the battle was heating up, Arya sent Sansa to seek shelter in the crypts of Winterfell. Before she sent her away, Arya handed her sister a dragonglass dagger to protect herself in case she ran into any issues in the crypts (spoiler alert: she definitely ran into some issues).
Sansa told Arya that she didn’t know how to use the dagger, and Arya passed on some sisterly advice – “stick them with the pointy end.” For those who don’t remember, Jon gave Arya the same advice all way back in the second episode of season 1, when he gifted her with Needle.
Melisandre’s Prophecy About Arya
Another callback to a much earlier episode, Melisandre predicted Arya would become the ninja-assassin she is today. Back in season 3 when the Brotherhood Without Banners sold Gendry to the Red Woman, Arya confronted her. Mel grabbed young Arya’s face and looked deep into her eyes, saying “I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me: brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.”
At the time, the scene seemed somewhat inconsequential, and as Arya’s storyline progressed, most of us who remembered the quote figured it involved her life as a Faceless Man. However, in last night’s episode she reminded Arya that she would shut many eyes, including blue eyes (and green, but let’s not get into that theory just yet), which emboldened Arya to go after the Night King.
The Dagger That Started & Ended It All
With just three episodes remaining in the final season of the series, and the entire show leading up to this battle, the most powerful and threatening villain of the series was defeated by Arya in the end. In typical Arya-fashion, just as you think she’s about to be killed, she drops her dagger, grabs it with her free hand and plunges the knife into the Night King’s chest, killing him and the entire Army of the Dead in the process.
The dagger that Arya uses to to kill the Night King actually dates all the way back to the very beginning of the series. For those who need a recap, the Valyrian steel dagger was first spotted in season 1, when an assassin snuck into Bran’s room and tried to murder him, which essentially kicked off the War of the Five Kings. During season 7’s “The Spoils of Water,” Bran was given the dagger by Littlefinger, who in turn gave the knife to Arya when they were finally reunited. Little did we all know that the same dagger that started a war was also going to end the Great War.
Right before Arya took off running to assassinate the Night King and save the entire world, she spoke with Melisandre, who reminded her that she was destined to close a pair of blue eyes (see above). During one of the most bittersweet callbacks in the show, Melisandre channels her inner Syrio Forel, who died protecting a young Arya back in season 1.
“What do we say to the God of death?” he asked her during her last dancing lesson, as the Lannister guards surrounded him after Ned Stark was executed. “Not today,” she answered, before leaving Forel to fend off the guards. Mel repeated the same line to Arya during “The Long Night,” which was what inevitably encouraged her to seek out the Night King.
Arya’s Favorite Spot to Surprise People in the Godswood
The long-awaited premiere of season 8 featured a sweet reunion between Arya and Jon in the Godswood. During the scene, Jon was lost in thought, staring at the Weirwood tree, when Arya crept up behind him and stated “you used to be taller.”
Looking back, the scene seemed innocent enough, although it now looks like it was a pretty significant bit of foreshadowing. Not only did Arya very quietly appear behind Jon, he was standing in the exact same spot that the Night King was when she sneak-attacked him from behind and plunged the dagger into his chest.
“No One” Can Kill The Night King
Bran has insisted in previous episodes that “no one can kill the Night King,” and at the time, it sounded as though he was predicting a bleak ending to the show and confirming that it was impossible to kill him. However, looking back, it appears he was actually predicting that Arya would be the one to kill him, especially considering she worked so hard to be “no one” when she was training with the Faceless Men.
This brings us back to question Bran’s intentions of giving Arya the Valyrian steel dagger that she used to kill the Night King. Did Bran already know she’d one day face off against the Night King in the exact same spot and be in need of a weapon forged from one of the few materials that can kill a White Walker? It appears so.
The Hound & The Red Wedding Rescue
One callback that was a bit obscure was the scene where the Hound grabs Arya, who is trying to help a dying Beric Dondarrion, and drags her away shouting “we’ve got to go!” Aside from the fact that Beric’s death scene is tragic (since he was killed for a final time while saving Arya), the scene is just slightly more depressing if you think back to a similar scene involving the Hound rescuing Arya.
Back in season 3, after the Frays unleash hell on the Starks and start slaughtering everyone at the Red Wedding, Arya witness the death of her brother’s wolf, and as she’s about to run into the castle, the Hound tells her it’s “too late” and knocks her out. He then loads her onto a horse and helps her escape from the Red Wedding, knowing she would be killed if they found another Stark in the area.
The scene in “The Long Night” was reminiscent of that Red Wedding rescue, especially since it further shows the Hound’s concern for Arya’s well-being (remember, he was just about to give up during the fight when he saw Arya was in trouble, which made him jump back into action). He even reminded her before the battle that he’d fought for her in the past, another callback to several previous episodes when he went out of his way to protect her.
“When was the last time you fought for anyone but yourself?” she asked him in the second episode of season 8. “I fought for you, didn’t I?”
Did we miss any callbacks or hidden Easter eggs throughout the episode? What were your favorite callback scenes? Let us know in the comments below, and tune in next Sunday for the fourth episode of Game of Thrones.