'Game of Thrones', we take our hat off to you. Of all the many, many predictions we had for how the all-important Battle of Winterfell would go down, Arya Stark being the hero of the piece was not one of them. We always envisioned her faceless assassin skills coming in handy when it came to taking down Cersei (which they could yet) but being the one to kill the Night King? That was a master stroke and a twist that actually makes so much sense we are kicking ourselves for not thinking of it sooner.
This momentous kill was actually foreshadowed many seasons ago, while showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have admitted they knew for three years now that Arya would be the one to take down the Night King. As you will have seen in the episode, Melisandre reminded Arya of their meeting all the way back in season three where she told her, "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. We will meet again." In her mid-episode pep talk with Arya she emphasised the blue eyes, adding Syrio Forel's line from all the way back in season one: "What do we say to the God of Death?"
Arya replies: "Not today."
A girl knew what she needed to do at that moment but the episode spent so much time after this with Jon, Daenerys and the like, that we forgot that Arya Tom-Cruised out of that Winterfell Grand Hall on a mission.
Arya also killed the Night King using the catspaw dagger - the weapon that was used back in season one in Bran's assassination attempt and what essentially kicked off The War of the Five Kings. In season seven Littlefinger returned it to Bran, who in turn gave it to Arya.
It's also worth noting that Arya killed the Night King at a Weirwood tree, stabbing him right in the spot where the Children of the Forest would have when creating the first White Walker way back when.
So much delicious foreshadowing. Shall we watch that glorious moment again? Oh go on then.
The music, the hair wisping. Phenomenal.
There are questions now over whether Arya Stark may indeed be the Prince that was Promised aka Azor Ahai. Melisandre said that Beiric had "served his purpose" after he died saving Arya's life and that lingering look she gave Arya when she arrived at Winterfell - how did we not know then and there?! Although Melisande thought that Azor Ahai was also Stannis Baratheon, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen at various points.
Arya Stark doesn't fill out a lot of credentials for the job - she has never "drawn from the fire a burning sword" nor was she born "amidst smoke and salt", but perhaps these are just minor details?
Either way, Melisandre is dead now and with her likely any more mentions of Azor Ahai, so perhaps this whole prophecy was only meant to be a loose guideline. In the end, Melisandre knew exactly who was needed to save the day, as did Bran, it seems. The pair of them are great at not giving spoilers away in fairness to them.
Okay, we've (deservedly) given a lot of time to Arya but we should probably talk about the rest of the episode and some important fallen soldiers we haven't mentioned. Although the death toll was a lot lower than expected, we should still pour one out for our girl Lyanna Mormont, a badass until her dying breath. And Ser Jorah Mormont, for dying exactly the way he would have wanted to - protecting Daenerys. Spare a thought too for Theon Greyjoy who undoubtedly had one of the best character arcs of the show and got to go out a redeemed man. A raise of our glass too to Dolorous Edd and what looked to be the entire Dothraki army. How Sam survived we will never know.
Actually, how so many of them survived is a little hard to believe. And Brienne and Jaime are still alive! Look at them there, fighting side by side giving it socks. This pair are a force to be reckoned with.
There has been a lot of criticism online about the lighting of this 'Game of Thrones' episode, and unfortunately, it was its major failing. We get that it had to be a battle at night but it was seriously hard to decipher just what the hell was going on at times. But let's not let that take away from what an incredible accomplishment this episode was. Filmed over 55 straight nights, all of the cast have spoken about how gruelling it was. This was the biggest battle scene ever filmed and an enormous achievement for director Miguel Sapochnik, who was also behind 'The Battle of the Bastards' and 'Hardhome'.
There were close to 20 main characters to film in this battle and each were given their time to shine. From Sansa and Tyrion's lingering moment in the crypts, believing death to be inevitable, to Greyworm's commanding post near the frontline. There was hardly a moment to catch your breath and we haven't even mentioned an actual dragon fight!
Daenerys and Jon certainly were a firm helping hand in taking down some of the army of the dead but really weren't as pivotal as we thought. As the Night King was about to wield his sword on Bran, I was cursing Jon Snow for exasperatingly roaring at the zombie dragon in Winterfell. If it wasn't for Ser Jorah, Daenerys would definitely have been a goner although it was gas seeing her using a sword for the first time. She wasn't half bad either.
Daenerys heartbreaking tears at losing Jorah was also a moment of unfettered vulnerability from a character we have all started to fear was becoming too hard. Although what will become of her now without one of her pivotal right-hand men?
The big question, what in the god damn hell is going to happen in the final three episodes? Who would have thought this whole Night King threat would be wrapped up halfway through the final season? Jon Snow won't know what to be doing with himself. He will have to think fast though, as Daenerys is still out for blood with Cersei. Jon will have to honour his word to fight alongside her but what will Sansa have to say about this? And honestly, is any of Daenerys or Jon's depleted army going to be up for yet another battle? We were worn out just looking at them.
Also, kind of annoying that Cersei got off scot-free from the Night King, but her comeuppance will undoubtedly come another way.
Cersei has green eyes, in case you were wondering.
Don't miss 'The Thrones Show', our new weekly 'Game of Thrones' review show where we give our reaction and analysis after each episode of the final season.