Episode 2 of the final season of Game of Thrones ended just as the Battle of Winterfell was about to begin. In the final moments of “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen were in mid-conversation about which of them is the true heir to the Iron Throne, when Winterfell’s alarm system announced the arrival of the Night King’s zombie army. The third episode will feature this long-promised battle of ice and fire, and while we don’t know yet how the fight will end, here’s one thing we can say for sure: It will be dark and full of terrors. For proof, just look at Jon’s face in a just-released photo from the still-untitled installment, which will clock in at a feature-length 82 minutes.
The majority of those minutes will be given over to what’s been reported as the longest sustained battle sequence in the history of the small and big screen, surpassing the Helm’s Deep fight that closed out The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Here’s a dragon’s eye view of the size of the army that those inside Winterfell are facing.
You’ll note that the human army’s generals, Jon and Daenerys, are perched on a mountaintop above Winterfell in this particular scene, no doubt plotting when to make an entrance with their winged soldiers, Drogon and Rhaegal. Since the two now know that they’re related, there’s likely to be much less kissing after this particular flight. (Also, all that PDA makes Drogon uncomfortable.)
Leading the troops on the front lines are none other than Jaime Lannister and the newly knighted Ser Brienne of Tarth.
The ragtag army behind them is made up of wildlings, including Tormund Giantsbane, as well as soldiers carrying shields that appear to bear the distinct falcon-and-moon emblem of House Arryn, where Sansa used to dwell. That means the Lady of Winterfell may reunite with the Lord of the Eyrie, Robin Arryn, whom we last saw in Season 6.
More of a strategist than a soldier, Sansa likely won’t pick up a sword during the Battle of Winterfell. But that doesn’t mean she’s just sitting around... and neither is Arya. In this picture, Sansa glances over at her assassin sister, who appears poised to leap into action on Sansa’s command.
You’ll notice that Arya has come armed for battle with the weapon created by her favorite blacksmith (and only lover... so far), Gendry. She’ll presumably get a chance to use it during a sequence that’s already been teased in previously released trailers, in which she’s glimpsed racing through Winterfell’s winding hallways pursued by unseen foes.
Perhaps she’s leading said foes away from the innocent women and children hiding out in the fortress’s subterranean crypts. For the record, that’s where non-innocents Tyrion and Varys also appear to be. Maybe they’re talking about when they’re going to see Melisandre again?
Two people who notably aren’t shown in this batch of photos are Bran and Theon — we know they’ll be used as bait to lure the Night King out into the open. Their working theory is that their enemy is so eager to find and kill Bran/the Three-Eyed Raven, he’ll drop his guard and expose himself to death by dragonglass or dragon fire. Even if that crazy plan works, we’ve already seen that there won’t be a lot of joy in the aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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