Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Review: Not Today

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Well, that didn't play out as expected.

Then again, this is Game of Thrones, and it's never been predictable. Why would it start now?

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 featured the battle of Winterfell, and it did not disappoint. There were so many payoffs during this eighty minute spectactular that it's hard to put into words how well it translated to the screen. 

Our Hero - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Let's start with the biggest WTF moment of the night:

Arya Stark defeated the Night King. 

The preview trailer for Game of Thrones Season 8 strongly hinted at Arya dying during the battle, and there were many moments when she could have potentially been wiped out during "Not Today."

The Lord brought him back for a purpose. Now that purpose has been served.


What a perfect name for this episode. HBO's lack of episode titles pre-air has been frustrating, so we at TV Fanatic have decided that this is the name of the episode. "The Long Night" does not have the same ring to it!

A Reunion - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Syrio Forel was the man who taught Arya how to fight way back on Game of Thrones Season 1, and that's when the "not today" comment originated. 

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Melisandre's arrival certainly shook things up, and it was unanticipated how much of a big influence on the battle she would have. 

Arya had fought her way through Winterfell while the battle was underway. Granted, she was given a boost thanks to some of her allies, but the biggest boost was Melisandre's comment. 

Arya Learns the Truth - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

It gave Arya the drive she needed to deliver that killer blow perfectly, taking the Night King and his army down once and for all. 

The way Arya killed the Night King with the dagger that was once used in an attempt to kill Bran was very reminiscent of her play fight with Brienne on Game of Thrones Season 7

Will something happen to Arya now that she's recognized as a savior? It's hard to imagine there not being a supernatural element thrown in here to propel Arya's storyline forward. 

That brings us to Bran. Will the Three-Eyed Raven leave his body behind now that the Night King is defeated, or will he remain there for the long haul? 

Bran Tracks a Raven - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Bran was right about the Night King wanting to get to him above all else. Theon defended his old friend until the icy villain dispatched of him, but he had a pivotal moment before his last breath. 

Bran called him a good man, and it was the fulfillment Theon needed before he died. He knew his actions in the past were heinous, and he's been battling to find a way to repent for his sins. 

Theon, you’re a good man. Thank you.


Defending Bran and dying in battle brought his storyline full circle. I'm willing to forgive the way Theon managed to save Yara with ease on Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 given the way the action played out. 

Related: Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams Opens Up About Arya and Gendry's Sexy Scene

The fight between the three dragons in the sky made for some stunning cinematography with the possibility that one or both of the living dragons were going to die. 

The Blue Dragon - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

It was a breathtaking moment when The Night King lifted the spear, sending it hurling toward Daenerys.

It led to Viserion's brutal death, but it was hard to imagine another dragon joining the army of the undead. 

We witnessed Daenerys at her most vulnerable state, and while it was unlikely she was going to die this soon, it wouldn't have been surprising to find her injured.

Jon: The Night King is coming.
Daenerys: The dead are already here.

But Ser Jorah fought by her side to keep his Queen safe, a quite fulfilling moment for him. Hell, the Mormonts fully deserved their striking moments during this episode, one that put an end to the Mormont name.

There was a possibility that both dragons were dead when they didn't return straight away to save Dany, but Drogon's return to act as a shield for her in the final moments was beautiful. 

Fire Meets Ice - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

But this highlighted the fact that Daenerys should have been trained in case her back was against the wall. Her fight made for harrowing scenes, but at least both of her remaining dragons got to live another day. 

Daenerys remains in a powerful position even though much of her army got obliterated in the battle, but whether there's a future for her and Jon after the reveal about her lover's lineage is still very much up in the air. 

Facing death in such a manner should put things in perspective for them, but it's unclear whether Jon will ever want to sit atop the Iron Throne at the end of this bloody war. 

Any way you look at it, Jon has the most significant claim to the throne unless there's another paternity twist on the way.

She's Back! - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Without Melisandre, it's very likely the battle wouldn't have played out the way it did. She emerged in the dead of night and fell to her death gracefully after she brought some much-needed light. 

Related: Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 1 Review: Get Ready for War

Does that suggest that she was the Lord of Light? There are many different possibilities to take from that scene. 

Melisandre referred to Stannis as Lord of Light on Game of Thrones Season 2 Episode 1, so there's that. 

Melisandre: Valar morghulis.
Greyworm: Valar dohaeris.

It will be interesting to see if any of that will be answered as the show continues, but it seems like an ambiguous ending that might have people questioning it for years after the series concludes. 

It was surprising that Jon didn't have a more significant role in taking down the Night King. But it was exciting when Jon's direwolf, Ghost, ventured into battle at the beginning of the episode. 

Jon Takes a Shot - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Despite Jon's mad dash to attack the Night King, he had no payoff to that sudden burst of energy. That scene could have gone in many different directions, but the subdued approach worked very well in terms of shock value.

Melisandre: Do you speak their tongue?
[Ser Jorah nods.]
Melisandre: Tell them to lift their swords.

Jon knew the Night King was heading for Bran and Theon, and that's what allowed him to push forward. However, I loved that his back was against the wall and he couldn't make it past the blue-charged Viserion. 

The action in the crypt kicked off as expected. Many viewers picked up on the flaw in the logic of sending the weakest individuals to the crypt primarily because the Night King can raise the dead. 

It would have been incredible to meet some of those long-gone characters.

Sansa and Tyrion in the Crypt - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Sansa felt like all eyes were on her the moment she walked in. She's been an instrumental figure of late, making some big decisions. People were looking to her with the expectation she would be doing more during the battle. 

The truth is, she's not trained to fight. Her moment with Tyrion as the wights killed others inside the crypt was crazy.

Melisandre: What do we say to the God of Death?
Arya: Not today.

There was no telling where it was going to go, and I wouldn't have ruled out the pair killing each other to avoid dying at the hands of the undead. It was surprising that Varys, Missandei, and the other survived the crypt. 

That's what was so great about the episode. We were told to expect many deaths, and the people who died did it as heroes. 

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Lyanna's death, in particular, was riveting. It was obvious it was coming when she got picked up by the giant, but her tiny hands delivering a killer blow to the creature was the bravery we'd expect from the willful young girl. 

Lyanna's Big Moment - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Did anyone else LOVE the way the Hound had no qualms with coming face-to-face with fire when he realized that Arya was in danger? 

Given how badly his face was burnt by fire, it was natural for him to be scared shitless about continuing the fight. Arya is likely going to help the Hound get one step closer to taking down his brother, and I'm living for that moment. 

Brienne and Jaime fighting alongside each other were another highlight. They both work so well together, and it would be perfect for them to give in to temptation and get together if they survive the battle at King's Landing. 

As we head into Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 4, many beloved characters are unaccounted for. Killing people off-screen is a bit lazy, but when the entire episode was devoted to the battle, that happens. 

Deadly Consequences - Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3

Samwell was saved by Edd, who went on to die for saving him. Jon could have stopped to save Samwell, but he was too busy trying to get to the Night King. 

There are going to be a lot of pissed off fans if he doesn't somehow eke out another lease on life. 

That's all I got, Game of Thrones Fanatics. 

I'm sure you have many thoughts after that episode, and I want to hear them!

Hit the comments below. 

Remember you can watch Game of Thrones online if you want to relive any of the action. 

It's one of those installments you're probably going to want to watch several times!

Game of Thrones continues next Sunday at 9/8c!

Not Today Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (253 Votes)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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