Yes, it’s a rarity, a popular culture phenomenon that I am actually clued into. But there have been So Many Articles on the Big Reveal of how the Battle of Winterfell ends and it’s driving me batty, because they’re starting to speak as if these are real characters and as if there was a real prophesy that exists, out there, somewhere, that the writers of this episode’s script failed to hew to, and, arrgh!
Maybe this all just boils down to the fact that I don’t get much absorbed into fiction, and I don’t have much patience for overthinking it.
But to indulge in the overthinking for a moment, the three complaints that I’m heard regularly are these:
- Bran spends the battle warging rather than doing anything useful.
- Arya coming out of nowhere to defeat the Night King is unrealistic and/or Arya coming out of nowhere to defeat the NK is completely realistic because she’s a badass trained assassin.
- Jon Snow was, by virtue of prophesy and because, after all, he was resurrected, was supposed to have played a bigger role.
But I don’t know that the writers necessarily intended for Bran to have just been slacking off. And Melisandre the Lord of Light priestess comes to fulfill her final mission and — sets on fire the swords of the doomed Dothraki and lights the trenches and, we’re meant to believe, inspires Arya to go off on her mission and that’s it? It makes more sense to me that the writers intended for Arya to have been aided mystically in her mission by Bran’s warging, or Melisandre’s magic, or both. Perhaps they intend to have some incidental explanation in a future episode, or perhaps they intended for the viewers to see this but were too cryptic about it but given that they are clear that there is magic in this world, and that Melisandre is on a mission from a supernatural being, and that Bran, however much he is weirdly detached from everything, also has supernatural powers, why is everyone now getting hung up on whether Arya could have accomplished this by herself? Maybe we’re too influenced by Marvel’s Black Widow and her abilities to keep pace with characters with super-powers even though her story is merely that she has had extensive training?
Besides which, for all the complaints about poor battlefield strategy and the like, I would guess, though I’m no expert, that the Battle of Winterfell, scripted as a real battle at the time might have been, would not have been a very interesting piece of television/moviemaking. Readers who know a thing or two about military history and the particulars of the way the great battles of history played out are invited to chime in, in the comments, but it’s a common method, isn’t it, for writers to script a battle in which killing off the commander (the Night King, the Mothership, or whatever) causes the opposition which was otherwise about to completely vanquish our heroes, to vanish, and I would assume that in the real world, there simply aren’t similar instances in which all seems lost and the tide suddenly turns, for a victory that can be scripted to be complete in the last few minutes of the screenplay.
So that’s what I have to say about my foray into pop culture. Up next, maybe I’ll have a few words about The Avengers.