Spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Game of Thrones Season 8, called "The Long Night" and featuring the Battle of Winterfell.
"The Long Night" is bound to go down as one of the most unforgettable and divisive episodes in Game of Thrones history, as the series-spanning conflict between the living and the dead was ended within the span of one battle. That said, the Battle of Winterfell was an epic event of unprecedented scale on television, and it had so many characters in constant mortal danger that it was all but impossible to predict who would survive the fight.
Of course, most viewers were probably pretty confident that Jon Snow wouldn't die in Episode 3 of a six-episode final season, and he did indeed survive. There was one aspect of the Battle of Winterfell that pissed actor Kit Harington off, though. He shared his thoughts, saying this:
I was slightly pissed off I was on a dragon, it stops me from fighting in a crowd. It’s going to look cool but I wanted, in some ways — just as Jon does — to get back down on the ground. The fact he can fly a dragon means he has to but his place is down there amongst the sword swingers. But that whole episode should be mesmerizing.
The perks of Jon Snow getting to ride a dragon are that he is one of one two characters ever to survive a trip on the back of a living dragon, and the shots of dragon flight in "The Long Night" were absolutely gorgeous (when well-lit). The frustrating part of riding a dragon for Kit Harington was that it kept him from fighting in the thick of the action.
This was the first big battle involving Jon Snow that didn't have him down in the mud and snow for the whole time, desperately swinging Longclaw at any and all enemies. Whether he was fighting wildlings, wights, White Walkers, or Bolton men, Jon was never sitting above the battle and waiting to strike. In the Battle of Winterfell, everybody else was fighting and dying on the ground.
His days of fighting on the ground may be done as long as he's allied with Dany and both dragons are alive. Rhaegal's fate was actually pretty unclear by the end of the Battle of Winterfell, as Viserion had seemingly ripped some chunks out of Rhaegal, and Rhaegal never returned to the action.
The trailer for Episode 4 did confirm that he lived, even if he did take some damage. Assuming there's at least one more big battle -- and it seems guaranteed, considering Cersei's 20,000 Golden Company soldiers -- then Jon could be sitting above most of the action again. That's only if Rhaegal isn't taken down, of course. I'm not convinced he's going to survive.
Who knows? Maybe he has a big moment of his own moving forward, and nobody can argue that he wasn't instrumental in defeating the Night King. Nobody even knew to prepare for the Night King before Jon came down from The Wall with his speeches about the coming doom.
Judging by Kit Harington's comments about Episode 4, there may not be too many big climactic moments until the final two episodes. Here's what he had to say about the next installment:
One of my favorite episodes is 4 because the characters have seemingly got what they needed. The world is safe now. They’re celebrating and saying goodbye to lost friends. But as an audience you’re going, ‘This is only Episode 4, something’s going to happen.’ And that’s the cool thing because I think the characters are aware of this as well. There’s something twisted and uncomfortable about it. It’s so Shakespearian.
The characters will get some time to breathe after their defeat of the Night King and his dead army, but viewers won't be so lucky unless they focus solely on the present. The trailer really only features positive moments: the dragons alive and well, Northerners happily toasting in the great hall of Winterfell, majestic Targaryen ships sailing, Arya and Gendry about to kiss after spending their pre-Battle night together.
As far as they know, maybe The Last War is simply a matter of threatening to roast Cersei in King's Landing, and King's Landing with an army of sellswords must feel very far away for the Northerners who just defeated the dead. Honestly, even Cersei might be in a good mood. Her gamble of holding back her forces and hoping that the fighters in the North manage to defeat the dead paid off. Now, Dany's forces are significantly depleted, and the Golden Company soldiers should be fresh.
Maybe fans should really try to enjoy the celebrations in Episode 4 before dwelling to much about the twisted discomfort of the situation. Until we know any different, we can assume that the rest of the series is Shakespearian like a Shakespeare comedy rather than a tragedy. Let's have everybody get married rather than die horrifying deaths!
Cersei surely won't let that happen, although she does seem to be letting Euron get pretty cozy. Could she agree to marry him with the intention of making her pregnancy somewhat less scandalous? Euron is no prince, but at least he's not her twin brother. Her odds of actually giving birth to a living child aren't great, if Maggy the Frog's prophecy comes true, and a lot of fans are expecting her to bite the dust.
Only time will tell. So much of the hype about Season 8 early on was about the Battle of Winterfell and Night King, so it's difficult to predict much of what will go down in the final three episodes. Episode 4 should be helpful in new theories about who will live, who will die, and what will happen with the Iron Throne. Hey, maybe Kit Harington will get to do some fighting before the end that doesn't involve a dragon. He certainly has more than one reason not to love riding dragons.
Find out what's in store next for the survivors of the Battle of Winterfell when Game of Thrones continues airing its final three episodes Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. The remaining episodes should be supersized, so at least Thrones will be able to pack plenty in to what few episodes are left.