In Depth

Game of Thrones season 8: three questions for episode four

After the battle of Winterfell and the defeat of the Knight King, what next?

The first two episodes of Season eight of Game of Thrones were a slow burning affair, with reunions aplenty as friends and enemies came together ahead of a make-or-break battle against the Army of the Dead.

The much-hyped third episode drew record viewing figures for the series, and saw 78 minutes of brutal fighting culminate in the final defeat of the Night King.

For those who had trouble keeping up or navigating the pitch black action, the Independent has broken down who survived and how each character fought in the Battle of Winterfell.

But with The Long Night averted, attention now turns to the final battle for the Iron Throne.

Who’s left to fight Cersei?

They may have defeated the Night King, but IndieWire describes it as “a pyrrhic victory” for Jon, Dany and co.

The near-annihilation of the Dothraki and Unsullied, not mention many Northerners (as well as Army of the Dead) appears to have vindicated Cersei’s decision to stay put in Kings Landing and let her enemies wipe each other out.

“However, there’s not much time for the survivors to pick up the pieces since another threat still sits on the Iron Thrones down south” says Indiewire, especially as Cersei has the entire Golden Company of Braavos at her back, as well as the support of Euron Greyjoy’s Iron Fleet, and is “eyeing an apparently incoming army that’s been seriously depleted”.

Deadline says pre-released photos for episode four shows Cersei looking pretty satisfied with herself, “patiently waiting for the war to come to her with a face that says, ‘Bring it on’.”

Nevertheless, Gamespot says the teaser trailer “hints at yet another battle to come… this time between Dany and Jon's forces and Cersei's” so hold on to your hats, as Deadline says “it is clear that the war is far from over”.

Will Jon and Daenerys have it out/off?

Episode two concluded with Jon revealing to Dany his true lineage. However, she has had little time to ponder the implications of the fact that she is no longer the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, or in love with her own nephew.

Now the Night King has been defeated there could be some awkward questions as the fight for the Iron Throne comes to a climax. Jon had previously shown he was willing to give up his crown in the North to defeat the white walkers, but now they have been vanquished and his claim to rule Westeros revealed, will he really still stand aside for his aunt?

Is Arya the true Prince That Was Promised?

The undeniable climax of the episode three (if not the entire season) was the death of the Night King at the hands of Arya, who turned him and his army to dust after stabbing him with a Valyrian steel dagger.

Jack Shepherd in The Independent says “this seemingly positions Arya as the Prince That Was Promised, also known as Azor Ahai, who The Lord of Light follower Melisandre foretold would defeat the undead”.

The prophecy reads: “There will come a day after a long summer when the stars bleed and the cold breath of darkness falls heavy on the world. In this dread hour a warrior shall draw from the fire a burning sword. And that sword shall be Lightbringer, the Red Sword of Heroes, and he who clasps it shall be Azor Ahai come again, and the darkness shall flee before him.”

There have been several hints throughout the series that Arya could be the Prince that was Promised. However, the Red Woman has over the course of eight seasons also named Stannis, Jon Snow and Daenerys as the prophesied hero who would “lead the people against a darkness”.

“Perhaps, though, the prophecy has not been completed” says Shepheard. “We know that another threat awaits the North: Cersei and the Golden Army. Could the evil Lannister be the ultimate darkness that Azor Ahai needs to defeat?”

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