Warning: Spoilers Ahead
The third episode of Game of Thrones season 8 finally heralded the final clash between the living and the dead – the Battle of Winterfell. While Game of Thrones has a mostly male-dominated cast, what the women lack in number, they make up for in fight. And in ‘The Long Night’, the female characters clearly stole the show. As Daenerys said back in the third season, “Yes. All men must die, but we are not men.” While we mourn the sacrifices of Ser Jorah and Theon, here are the real MVPs of the Battle of Winterfell.
5. Brienne of Tarth
Brienne, or Ser Brienne of Tarth as she is now known since being knighted by Jaime in 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms’, has always been a woman of the sword. She fought bravely against the White Walkers and saves Jaime’s life. She fell back to the Wall when the Unsullied attacked and protected the Wall through the Battle of Winterfell with Gendry, Jaime, Jorah and Sam by her side. This highborn lady made a choice to be a knight and more than rose to the occasion.
4. Daenerys Targaryen
Daenerys went from having nothing after the death of Khal Drogo to commanding her own army. Ahead of the Battle of Winterfell, Dany brought excellent resources and a reliable army to join the Starks. During the battle, she lifted a sword to fight bravely amongst the others and also rode her faithful dragon Drogon and rained fire on the White Walkers and their army, slowing them down considerably. Now that’s how the Mother of Dragons works!
3. Lyanna Mormont
She may have appeared in only a handful of episodes, but the young Lady of Bear Island soon became a fan favourite. We’ve seen Lyanna Mormont sass Sansa Stark and boldly call out Jon Snow for his decision to renounce the crown.
In the sixth season, she went on to lead 62 men into war against the enemies of the Starks, including the Night King. And in the Battle of Winterfell, Lyanna – all of 13 years old at the time – managed to fatally wound a giant even as crushed her to death.
The Red Woman, the priestess of R’hllor casually rides into Winterfell and offers her services to the Dothraki army. In earlier seasons, her magic might have failed at times but during the battle she said the Dothraki arakh on fire with ease and also ignited the trenches around Winterfell when the White Walkers attacked.
Melisandre was also the one who reminded Arya of the prophecy she spoke of in season 3. "I see 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,” she had said. When she feels her purpose has been fulfilled, she walks to a dignified death, removing her necklace which aided her magic and presumably prolonged her life.
1. Arya Stark
Arya spends the entire battle fearlessly fighting, almost dying several times. And it was she who finally kills the Night King and ends the Battle of Winterfell. The Night King approaches Bran and is just about to kill him when Arya jumps out of nowhere and stabs him in the heart with a Valyrian blade, the same one that was used by the assassin who tries to kill Bran in season 1. This kills him and turns his entire army into dust effectively saving Bran’s life along with many others.
After the battle, fans are left wondering if the “green eyes” in Melisandre’s prophecy is actually about Cersei who might be Arya’s next victim. One thing is clear, Arya has become the true hero of the show as she continues to “stick ‘em with the pointy end”.