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Wake for the Winterfallen: Remembering those lost in Sunday's epic Game of Thrones battle
The highly anticipated Battle of Winterfell in the final season of Game of Thrones has come and gone, and some of our favorite characters, unfortunately, went with it. The body count in Season 8's "The Long Night" may not have been the all-out bloodbath many were expecting, but the episode still took an icy toll.
We feel it only appropriate to give a final farewell to those who bravely sacrificed themselves to protect Westeros, as well as some others that may not have. Join us as we hold a wake to remember the Winterfallen.
**SPOILER WARNING: This article is a giant spoiler. If you are not caught up, then ride south of this article faster than a Dothraki screamer.**
Please take your seats, and let us begin the memorial.
Eddison 'Dolorous Edd' Tollett
Edd Tollett was a brave member of the Night's Watch, and likely the final Lord Commander that the organization will ever have. We don't know if he received that promotion officially, but there wasn't really anyone else left to take the job.
Since we got to know him in the second season, Dolorous Edd was always there with a sarcastic comment to lighten the otherwise dark mood that permeated all things related to the Night's Watch. He never participated in any of the mutinies and stood against Ser Alliser Thorne and the rest of his ingrate gang after they stabbed Jon Snow to death.
Dolorous Edd never expected to become Lord Commander, that power wasn't sought — it was thrust upon him. He did what little he could with it. He died a hero's death in the early stages of the Battle of Winterfell, saving Samwell Tarly and perishing at the hands of a wight.
He was certainly dolorous, but he was also brave and loyal. He was everything that a member of the Night's Watch should be but hardly ever is… and now his watch has ended.
HIGHLIGHTS: Quips on the Fist of the First Men, countless heroic efforts when the wildlings attacked the wall, defending Jon Snow's dead body, the look on his face when he realized that he was the new Lord Commander.
LOWLIGHTS: None. He was always great to have around.
The Red Priestess of Asshai certainly had her ups and downs since she arrived on the scene in Season 2. Now that we think about it, she had way more downs than ups, but the ups were pretty high.
Though she changed alliances with actual humans constantly, her one true alliance to the Lord of Light never changed. Because of that alliance, she burned through characters on the show (sometimes literally) like they didn't matter. She was nothing but bad news for House Baratheon — one of her most memorable moments was an early one, and it involved her giving birth to a shadow demon that murdered Would-not-have-been-so-bad-King Renly.
Though she did convince Stannis "Father of the Year" Baratheon to assist the Night's Watch, she also convinced him to burn his only daughter alive. The death of Shireen accomplished nothing, except for the suicide of Selyse Baratheon and the final defeat of Stannis himself. Well done.
Needing a new mark, the Red Woman found her way back to Castle Black just in time to bring Jon Snow back to life. She revealed her true form in the process (that of an aged, withered woman made out of dusty crepe paper), but the Lord of Light did answer her call and give Jon life again.
She once showed Selyse Baratheon her vast array of tricks and fakery while sitting in the bath, but Melisandre undoubtedly had some real magic about her. She was nice enough to give the Dothraki some lovely lights to die with, and seemed to know more about Arya than Arya knew about herself. When the battle was over, Melisandre walked out into the snow, took off her necklace, and blew away in the wind.
HIGHLIGHTS: Her chilling delivery of "you know nothing, Jon Snow" after Jon rejects her sexual advances, trying to help during the Battle of Winterfell, and her final words to Arya Stark.
LOWLIGHTS: Almost everything else. From the death of Maester Sio Bibble onward, this person was trouble. The burning of Shireen stands out, though. Stannis gave the order, but it was the Red Woman's idea. This doesn't excuse Stannis, but Melisandre was certainly not blameless.
The Dothraki Army
Here's hoping that not every member of the Dothraki culture crossed the Narrow Sea with Daenerys Stormborn — surely some of them stayed behind with Daario Cutestory in Meereen, or are possibly guarding Dragonstone, right? But any way you look at it, a giant swath of the Dothraki culture is dead.
These misogynist horse-lovers have been with us since the pilot, and Dany had to prove her fiery worth to them not once, but twice. After the burning of Khal Brogo (and every other Khal) in Season 6, they bent the knee to her for good. We'd say that they died heroically at Winterfell, but they kind of didn't? They got their lights snuffed out one by one. A lot of them were turned into wights after that, which did nothing to help the situation. Lots of braids got cut in the wind here.
HIGHLIGHTS: Their giant charge at the Lannisters in Season 7, which was assisted by Dany and Drogon. We finally got to see how the knights of Westeros fared against a horde of Dothraki after hearing about it seasons before. The knights didn't fare very well at all.
LOWLIGHTS: Tons of misogyny, rape, murder, you name it.
Ser Beric Dondarrion
This gallant knight's life changed forever when Eddard Stark ordered him and a gaggle of other knights to hunt down Gregor Clegane in Season 1. Because they were gone from King's Landing, they missed the mass slaughter/exodus of anyone anti-Lannister.
Ser Beric found a new life with some other stragglers (including Thoros of Myr) in the forests of Westeros, and they became known as the Brotherhood Without Banners. They fought against the Lannisters as Robin Hood fought against Prince John, except they made some stupid decisions. Arya and Gendry came upon them in Season 3, and Ser Beric not only showed himself able to come back to life countless times thanks to Thoros and the Lord of Light, he also showed himself to be kind of an a**hole when he allowed Melisandre to take off with Gendry.
He lasted longer on the show than we thought he would, especially after he joined Jon's dirty dozen expedition to capture an "evidence wight." He eventually made up for his Gendry slip, especially after making up with (and pretty much befriending) the Hound, with whom he once dueled. He also somewhat makes peace with Arya, and ends up saving her from endless wights during his final fight. According to Melisandre, the Lord of Light kept him alive so he could do just that.
HIGHLIGHTS: His duel with the Hound, which he (cheaply) performs with a flaming sword. He loves that thing, and we do too.
LOWLIGHTS: The Gendry mistake. That kid was rowing for years because of it.
The former ward of Eddard Stark has also been with us since the pilot episode. His arc on the series was a long and winding one — he betrayed all of the Starks in favor of his own worthless family and captured Winterfell in Season 2. He left the gates wide open for the Boltons, and Ramsey (Snow) Bolton then tortured Theon for what felt like 84 years. When Ramsey was done, Theon wasn't Theon anymore. He was Reek.
Reek found redemption in rescuing Sansa Stark from Ramsey, even though it was a little too late. He did the right thing when supporting his sister Asha (we refuse to use the name Yara, it's dumb) at the Kingsmoot, but then he did the wrong thing when he let nobody's favorite character, Euron Greyjoy, capture his sister in the following season. Ultimately, Reek/Theon redeemed himself fully by bravely defending Bran in the Godswood — the last place that Maester Luwin ever thought would see a battle.
We tolerated him, and then we hated him. We felt bad for him, and then we hated him again. We kind of liked him, we were disappointed by him, and then, finally, we cheered for him. Bran said it best — Theon died "a good man."
HIGHLIGHTS: Breaking through Ramsey's mind control to save Sansa, his choice to fight for Winterfell, his defense of Bran, and his final sacrifice.
LOWLIGHTS: Everything else.
The Night King
Ice Cube Voldemort was a living weapon created by the Children of the Forest, and wow did that weapon backfire. He ended up creating the White Walkers, the wights, and the entire army of the dead. His true motivations aren't really known — some think that his goal was to wipe out the history, which just so happened to rest in the mind of Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven. The Night King was almost beyond motivations, though — he wasn't so much a villain as he was a force of nature. He was climate change with a built-in crown.
He had a decent run of icy terror, building an army of horrors that included wildlings, a giant, and a dragon. One may have thought that after he survived a huge stream of dragon fire that no one could defeat him. In the end, "no one" did. Arya Stark took him out with one blow, and closed his blue eyes for good. When last seen, he was exploding into shards of ice along with his followers. He never spoke and no one will miss him.
HIGHLIGHTS: Raising the dead at Hardhome was very cool, but it was also evil and completely over the top. It doesn't count.
LOWLIGHTS: Everything he ever did. This guy sucked.
SER JORAH MORMONT
First lieutenant to Daenerys Stormborn since the pilot episode, the son of Jeor Mormomt of Bear Island (RIP) was an exile in Essos because of really bad choices related to slavery (not a good start). Though he began his tenure with Dany by feeding information on her to Varys, he soon fell in love with her and quit that noise.
His love was never reciprocated, and eventually, he got over it. When Dany found out about his betrayal, she tossed him, but he didn't give up so easily. He brought Tyrion Lannister into her life, and then fought his way back into her good graces in the fighting pits of Meereen.
He overcame grayscale thanks to the efforts of Samwell Tarly, and then went right back into Dany's service. Whatever lust or love that he once had for her soon turned into something purer, as he became her most loyal and selfless servant.
That was how he died, which is probably appropriate. Wielding House Tarly's Valyrian Steel greatsword (Heartsbane), Ser Jorah valiantly fought off wave after wave of wights, before personally defending Dany for what could have been hours on end. Even after being stabbed around 55 times, he was still defending his queen. When the battle was won, he died in her arms, and Drogon encircled his wings around them both. We only wish that his father had lived to see this because he would have been very proud indeed.
HIGHLIGHTS: Pretty much everything? His can't stop/won't stop attitude in the fighting pits stand out to us, but we loved him from moment one.
LOWLIGHTS: His betrayal of Dany, but that was early days and he barely knew her. Sure, he should've confessed the treachery to her much earlier, but he more than made up for it both before and after the truth was exposed.
Lady Lyanna Mormont
This was a hard battle for House Mormont, as Ser Jorah's relative, the Lady Lyanna Mormont, also went down during the battle. She was so much more than Jorah's relative, or the head of House Mormont, though — Lyanna Mormont was the fiery, ever-beating heart of the North itself.
From the moment Sansa Stark first asked her and her house for assistance, all the way through to her final moments, there was no beating Lyanna Mormont. She may have been young, but she could stare down anyone or anything. She had no problem whatsoever putting room after room of old white men in their place. If she hadn't fallen during the battle, then she should have ended up on the Iron Throne.
The fact that she died during the battle at all is a testament to her strength — she was supposed to be huddled away in the crypts with the rest of the children. She refused to do that. She was going to fight for the North, nobody could tell her otherwise, and that was that.
She fearlessly directed her troops inside the courtyard of the castle, even when wights began storming over the battlements. In the end, she faced off with an undead giant… and the giant wasn't prepared. She was knocked aside by a massive blow from the giant's club, but that didn't stop her. Screaming bloody murder, Lyanna charged this undead heap with blinding fury. The giant crushed her tiny body, but not her un-crushable heart. She managed to stab the giant in the eye with dragonglass before making her unfortunate departure.
A true hero of the North to the very end, Lady Lyanna Mormont gave new life to the words of her own house — "Here We Stand."
HIGHLIGHTS: Every scene she was in.
LOWLIGHTS: Don't you even dare.
OTHER MEMORIALS CURRENTLY BEING PRE-WRITTEN:
Cersei Lannister, Euron Greyjoy, Gregor Clegane, Sandor Clegane, Jon and Dany's romance, the show itself.