Entering Game of Thrones season 8, we were certainly already that we were going to get one of the largest battles in television history courtesy of the Battle of Winterfell. However, there were certainly questions about when it would fall in the season.
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If you were to ask us entering this spring, we would’ve guessed that the Battle of Winterfell was episode 5 — not the very end of the series, but close to the end. Given that the White Walkers were set up all the way back in the pilot as one of the show’s larger threats, we firmly anticipated that they would be the final battle. What we underestimated here is simply this: The ability of Cersei to duck and cover most of the battle so that she can just swoop in and pick off whoever is left.
All of a sudden, what we’re now looking at here is a situation in which the final boss for Game of Thrones is now Cersei, with potentially Euron thrown in there somewhere, as well. Is that satisfying? In some ways sure, given that Cersei has also been around since the pilot and there a rather powerful narrative there of someone who started off in a position of lesser power before eventually rising the ranks through a series of circumstances. (Euron, however, we could care less about — but we do like that there’s still a chance to see The Hound vs. The Mountain, and we would totally watch about thirty minutes of just this. We actually feel like The Hound’s one of the most likely to survive just so we can get to that point.)
So with all of this in mind, we expect the White Walkers to be dealt with at least in some partial form by the end of episode 4 — maybe the Night King is still out there after that and you have to wait until later for him to be gone, but we anticipate the focus to shift to Cersei at some point. The only other possibility, horrific as it may be, is that the Battle of Winterfell is lost, and really from there we see a small handful of characters retreat to wherever they have to go next to survive. We do have to think of that as a possibility, mostly because Game of Thrones is that show to give you one or two victories and then follow that up with around four or five devastating moments. We’ve been trained in that at this point.
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