Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 3 recap: Carnage

Game of Thrones Season 8 -- photo: Helen Sloan/HBO -- Acquired via HBO Media Relations Site
Game of Thrones Season 8 -- photo: Helen Sloan/HBO -- Acquired via HBO Media Relations Site /

All the hugging and goodbyes are done on Game of Thrones. The saccharine is now replaced by the metallic taste of blood and carnage.

The Game of Thrones setup is done. The reunions are complete. There was even a knighting and a deflowering. What else could happen?

Based upon expectations, there is going to be a ton of death. The Red Wedding could end up looking like a rehearsal dinner by the time this bad boy is over. Prepare for war, and break out your tissue.


Sam shivering like a cold, fat baby is the intro we all want. It sets the tone, and the obsidian daggers he gets may as well be baby rattles. Everyone is scrambling for war. Women and children depart down to the crypts alongside Varys. Sam is so terrified he looks like he’s got all the symptoms of a Pepto Bismol commercial. Tyrion is stewing after being told to sit down stairs with the weaklings. Daenerys appears to have gained roughly 5,000 Unsullied. The entire formation is standing outside the castle, ready for battle.

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Distant whinnying gets everyone quieter. Even the horses are antsy and attentive. Jon Snow and Dany rode the two dragons to the a mountain bluff in order to plan strategy. One horse slowly approaches Winterfell, and it’s Melisandre. She’s not welcome, but she’s got a trick to help. A quick incantation later, and the entire Dothraki army has flaming sickles.

Beric Dondarrion looks on impressed. Everyone on the field – or watching – is strangely aroused. Except Davos Seaworth, who’s thinking about fitting one of the flaming sickles sideways into one of Melisandre’s orifices. He doesn’t kill her, however, because she promises to be dead by nightfall.


The Dothraki charge the field, with Ghost and Jorah Mormont leading the way. They haven’t even seen the enemy. Off into darkness. The uncertainty of it is reminiscent of the wolf standoff in The Grey.  A tidal wave of fire rushes forward, like a single angle wing flapping through the snow. Trebuchets fire flaming balls of obsidian over their heads. It’s beautifully terrifying. Suddenly, the entire Dothraki horde escapes from the darkness, and the wall of undead is waiting. Seconds later the flame is extinguished. Here’s a reenactment from a news helicopter.

Then the horde advances. Thousands upon thousands of them. Unseen until it’s too late. Their sheer numbers are too much, and they tidal wave into the human barrier like a an extra scene from World War Z. The death toll is staggering immediately. Battle of the Bastards is a playground scuffle.

Jon tries to stop her, but Dany can’t watch all her Dothraki die. The pair fly their dragons into the fold, unleashing line upon line of crashing, exploding fire. Each wave is just a stream between the next wave of ants moving forward. The tides have turned! But keep in mind, Winter is coming.

And it comes viciously. A blinding blizzard hampers the dragons’ assault, almost negating their impact. In fact, the dragons are so blinded by the obviously-altered-by-the-Night-King-weather that Dany and Jon smash into each other midair. The resulting losses are too much. A retreat is sounded by Jaime and Ser Brienne, as the Unsullied defend the retreat. The undead never stop coming, and the winter air is too much.


Grey Worm pulls behind his troops to survey. Recognizing the damage and inevitability of death, he realizes his troops only have the choice to fall back or die. Then he pulls the trench up to no avail. It’s a last line of defense for the castle. It needs to be set afire to stop the horde, but the dragons can’t see. Luckily, Grey Worm is a tactician.

He sees Melisandre in the castle and realizes she’s the dragon now. A few tense moments and several more waves of death later, with wight hands reaching for her throat, she finally lights the trench. A literal last-ditch effort.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 — photo: Helen Sloan/HBO — Acquired via HBO Media Relations Site /

The non-combatants

There’s small talk in the crypt between Tyrion and Sansa. The former wishes he could help, especially since he did damage at the Battle of the Blackwater, and the latter says it’s pointless death. Sansa says they’re all helpless.

Meanwhile, Bran sends the ravens out to find the Night King, who is patiently hovering nearby on Viserion and commanding his troops. He’s tired of the waiting game behind the trenches, and commands his troops to self-immolate, eventually forming a corpse-bridge. Like tossing a coat over barbed wire, there’s suddenly a path forward.


It becomes immediately clear the castle defenses are inadequate. The undead climb the walls through sheer numbers, and all the living can do is wait to guard single points of entry. The thing is, defending single points of entry works if the invaders only come through the single points. Unfortunately, the enemy does not.

The numbers eventually overwhelm, flow becomes too great, and Winterfell starts to get overrun.  A few buckets of wildfire and a couple oil-filled sacks would have helped.

The living defend valiantly, but the dead advance. Lyanna Mormont gets pimp slapped by an undead giant. Little Arya shows off her skills and racks up ten or so kills before getting in trouble and retreating into the castle. There seems to be no hope; even The Hound is cowering in fear.

Nearly dead, Lady Mormont charges the giant who picks her up in one hand with ease. He raises her to his face, peering at her with a single, undead blue eye. She shoves a dagger through his eye. It’s probably the second best blinding scene in cinema history behind Kill Bill.

RIP Lady Mormont. She was a giant in her own right, and it took one to kill her.

Meanwhile, Arya is surrounded on all sides by the undead inside a library. Zombies slowly encircle her, and the sound from a single drop of blood hitting the floor alerts them to her presence. It’s a cat and mouse game as she tip toes around. She turns the corner and comes face to face with a female wight, who receives a dagger through the face for surprising Arya. The body is laid prostrate as Arya attempts to sneak out. Eventually, however, there are far too many, and they swarm her. In comes the Hound and Beric Dondarrion to the rescue! Dondarrion is mortally wounded during the escape, sacrificing himself for Arya.

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The trio escape behind a large door, in what looks like a great eating hall of sorts. Melisandre’s in the shadows and approaches Arya. They talk about death and the killing Arya has done. There is talk about the different eye colors of the people she’s killed. She even asks Arya, “What do we say to the god of death?” Arya replies coolly, “Not today,” before rushing out.

Apparently, that’s what Theon says as well. He and a handful or red-shirt nobodies circle Bran and the tree. Flaming arrows fly as they prepare for death.


The Night King flies in with a blue flame to open a hole in yet another wall. This time, however, there are other dragons. Jon Snow comes out of nowhere to steer his dragon into a mid-air collision. Claws, teeth, biting, gnashing, all the while, The Night King steadies himself to throw a spear into Jon Snow’s face, but he can’t get an angle

Enter Dany as the third bumper car! The Night King is sent tumbling off his dragon, as its throat gets ripped to shreds. Rhaegal and Jon Snow also come plummeting to the snowy ground as well. Only Drogon survives.


Suddenly, Dany sees The Night King on the ground! Everyone watching screams “Dracarys” a second before she utters her famous phrase. Tons of fire consume the field around him, but TNK is still alive! (Does that mean he’s a Targaryen?) He smirks at her. Jon Snow rushes TNK, but he turns around to prepare. Then he raises his hands in a familiar fashion, the same “Come at me, bro” as Hardhome.

TNK is actually raising the undead from EVERYWHERE. Dothraki, Unsullied, and even little Lady Mormont. With the new troops to clear the path, TNK walks to the castle nonchalantly, his generals following. Guess what else? He can raise ALL the dead, even those in the crypt. Massive panic and chaos ensues as women and children scramble.

grieve the loss of fictional characters, Game of Thrones
Vladimir courtesy of HBO. Acquired via HBO Media Relations site. /

Jon is surrounded, flailing to survive. In swoops Dany with another Dracarys! The temporary path to Bran is clear, but the wights are never-ending. He gets to rush to help Bran.

Dany makes a massive tactical error and stays on the ground too long. Like a cellphone wielding teen behind the wheel, she’s preoccupied and doesn’t see the impending danger. Suddenly the zombies use a similar strategy as the Sons of the Harpy, attacking Drogon with numbers. Hundreds climb aboard Drogon, stabbing as they climb. Drogon dumps Dany and flies, tossing off zombies with each flap. Dany is in now in massive danger. Just as she’s about to die, Jorah Mormont to the rescue! Jorah takes injuries defending his Queen.

Chaos reigns below in the crypts, but there is still a sentimental scene between Tyrion and Sansa who found the best hiding spot. He kisses her hand.

Game of Thrones Season 8 — photo: Helen Sloan/HBO — Acquired via HBO Media Relations Site
Game of Thrones Season 8 — photo: Helen Sloan/HBO — Acquired via HBO Media Relations Site /

Viserion reemerges with blue flame shooting out of the new throat orifice. Ultimately, however, he’s still an undead dragon shooting blue flame. Everyone you know and love is dying or under insurmountable odds. Brienne taks a hit and Sam cries. The night king and his generals calmly walk in.


Theon kills roughly 40 zombies to save Bran, but it doesn’t matter. He’s exhausted, and surrounded by hundreds. TNK parts his undead red sea, and stares down Bran like Ramsay Bolton’s dogs stared him down. Bran tells Theon “You’re a good man. Thank you,” which is basically his way of saying “You’re about to die, but thanks.”

Somber music plays, and Theon charges fruitlessly. TNK side steps the spear thrust, snaps it like a twig, and absolutely guts Theon worse than the Waif butchered Arya.

Additionall, Jorah takes a stab to save Khaleesi. She thrusts and shows herself pretty capable with the sword as he takes another hit. His destiny nearly fulfilled.

Coup de grâce

TNK comes in for one final kill. He stands over Bran. Coup de grâce incoming. Out of nowhere Arya flies in! She’s caught mid air by TNK, which causes her to drop her dagger. A moment of despair follows, until Arya catches the dagger with her other hand. She proceeds to shove it elbow-deep into his rib cage and carve her initials into TNKs spleen! BAM! He’s down! AND EVERYTHING UNDEAD FOLLOWS. Generals. Wights. Undead Viserion. Humanity appears to be saved.

Melisandre was right . Arya is capable of killing someone with blue eyes.

Jorah drops. His final words, “I’m hurt.” Dany pours tears as Drogon returns, enveloping the pair with a comforting wing.

Next. Refresh your GOT S8E2 Memory!. dark

Ultimately we only lost four major players in the battle: Lady Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, Jorah Mormont, and Beric Dondarrion. Of course, the Dothraki are basically extinct, and the Unsullied have been massively sullied.

Game of Thrones airs next Sunday on HBO.