SPOILERS FOR SEASON 8, EPISODE 3 "THE LONG NIGHT"
So The Night King is dead. Long live the king. I guess. After a couple days sitting with the results of this episode I've come to the conclusion that a TV show is going to be eventually a TV show no matter how you dress it up. To me that's what Game of Thrones has become and for the most part that's pretty much what it has been the last 3 seasons. What started out as a great form of entertainment that subverted typical tv tropes of killing your lead actor after 9 episodes in the first season(Ned Stark), killing favorites unexpectedly(Robb Stark, Caitlyn Stark, Joffrey) to putting on magnificent battles(Blackwater, Hardhome, The Long Night) the show is now showing you it's true colors that all it ever was was a TV show at it's heart. And I'm a bit disappointed.
Now before you bring torches to my home and leave disparaging messages on my voicemail(do they even do that anymore?) let me present my case. Full disclosure I'm a big fan of The Night King. Sure the show has done a horrible job with his character motivations and to some there was not enough work done to make you care about him but his presence is total bad ass. For so much build up of him and the White Walkers from the very first scene of the very first episode of the series to me it's really anti-climatic that his arc ends with Arya coming from the back and defeating him in essentially one blow. This to me was very a predictable trope that gave some viewers a sense of satisfaction to those who may have been invested in Arya but not those who have been invested in The Night King. Now granted there is still 3 episodes left and ANYTHING can happen but judging by the track record of how the series has been the last 3 seasons and how rushed it seemed the last season was it seems that now we are at an end of the white walker arc.
What intrigued me most about this series is that it took its time season after season to give us fantastic character development and suspense that wasn't displayed on many other tv shows. Game of Thrones was the show you could depend on to give you characters that weren't black and white and that had so many shades of gray layered onto them. You literally see the Stark family grow from kids to adults in this series and face the harsh realities of living in a pseudo-medieval period that was not kind to them in any way and that is nothing like how we experience society today. You had a show that made us OK with watching INCEST of all things week to week! You had a women in Cersei though despicable in her selfish acts, was very complicated because she loved her children so much! I could go on and on about the great character moments and their growth throughout the series but what fascinated me more than anything is that while every single character had issues they were dealing with on a ground level there was this coming threat that no one but a small few knew about and literally threatened to wipe out the existence of man. The Long Night episode to me was a culmination of everything that came before it. It was man finally facing his demons and putting all his petty personal issues aside and questioning whether he wants to live or die. That to me is facinating. Jon Snow was the only character that took this threat seriously to the point that nothing matter to him but defeating the Night King thus saving all of mankind. In this he finds out who he really is a character when faced with death. I would enjoy if these last 3 episodes dealt with the characters aftermath of the fantastic miracle they just faced than just heading off into another battle against Cersei the "real" big bad and getting some petty throne. In hindsight Cersei looks smart in her tactics in leading Dany and Jon deal with the dead. What was Cersei's plan if the White Walkers descended on King's Landing IF they had defeated the living at Winterfell? She has no dragonglass, no Valarian steel and definitely not enough troops to go up against the Night King. I felt her father Tywin would have had a MUCH better contingency plan in case something like this happened if he was alive. Maybe that's what he meant when he told Cersei that she was too smart for her own good before he died seasons ago. Now the show has made her the BIG BAD which is such a trope thing to do in the golden age of TV that it's not even funny. If you start of the show with the very first scene telling you one thing then the end of the show to me should cap that very thing you built from that very first scene. Cersei in this world that they built can not and will never be a bigger threat than the Night King. For them to take him out with a single blow from Arya is very anti-climatic. To be fair the show as I said before has done a HORRIBLE job with the Night King's motivations. Bran says that all he wants is to erase the memory of man and that he's tried to come after 3 Eyed Ravens many times before him to do the same thing. Why couldn't have this been somehow creatively explained through the Night King himself long ago and built properly throughout the series? Sure he doesn't speak but it's the job of the writers to figure this out and give us layers to this character as much as you did with Arya and the others to build up to the point of his demise.
This episode has become divisive and rightly so. It has turned into what at first started out as a multilayered show to what is ending up looking like a hero meets villain endgame tv trope. It's treatment of the fantasy elements could have been better but for the most part it has done great in its balance with the human drama. Now that it appears the fantasy elements have seemingly been put to rest for now and these final 3 episodes will appear to put the human elements up front instead of doing it the other way around. An ideal story arc would be to end the show with The Long Night battle instead of the battle with Cersei. Game of Thrones didn't start out with tropes and it shouldn't end with them. There are still 3 episodes left so let's hope they stick the landing and give everyone who invested so much time in the show that sense of satisfaction for those that loved the fantasy elements as equally as the human drama and
that it was worth it as hard as it may be. A Stark from another genre said "part of the journey is the ending." Surprise us and give us a good ending, Game of Thrones!