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04th May 2019

The Long Night episode in Game of Thrones received the second-worst reviews in the show’s history

Paul Moore

The Battle of Winterfell has really divided opinion

Much like the inevitability of The Last War, you know what’s coming.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way, plenty of Game of Thrones fans were extremely disappointed with the lighting in the most recent episode but as Melisandre has frequently warned, the night is dark and full of terrors.

John Bradley has previously stated that the confusion, darkness, and panic helped the actors with their performances, but cinematographer Fabian Wagner has been the most vocal person with regards to the lighting issues.

However, when you discount the darkness of the episode and look at things strictly from a storytelling perspective, certain grievances are understandable.

Again, we’re very aware that this is a show that has dragons, an army of the dead, resurrection, and a rather liberal attitude to incest – remember how we were all shocked at Jaime and Cersei in Season 1 and now we’re like ‘yeah, well, it’s sort of normal and he’s a good guy now?’ – so any deep dive on the ‘logic’ of the episode is somewhat redundant, but compared to other battles and episodes, The Long Night did have some fairly big plot holes.

You know exactly what we’re talking about.

If you were to ask JOE’s own opinion, the episode had some outstanding moments and shots, but compared to other battles and action set-pieces that we saw in episodes like Blackwater, Hardhome, Battle of the Bastards, and Watchers On The Wall, The Long Night lacked a certain degree of drama, character moments, and clarity.

Then again, even when a Game of Thrones episode isn’t firing on all cylinders, it’s still better than 99% of anything else that’s out there.

Anyway, with only three episodes left, The Long Night currently stands on 73% on Rotten Tomatoes and that score is based from 98 reviews.

To put this into comparison, every episode in the show has an average score of 93%. With regards to one of highest individual episodes, Hardhome, that has an 100% score from 50 reviews.

In terms of the negative reviews about the most recent Game of Thrones episode, The Boston Globe said: “I do love Game of Thrones, but in the middle of ‘The Long Night,’ my love was tested. The effort to pepper the battle with human set pieces lost out to shadowy bluster.”

The Ringer note that it was “a strangely unsatisfying conclusion to a story line that has sustained the show from the very beginning” while Rolling Stone said: “If the war with the army of the dead was just meant as misdirection for the real final fight, then the least it could have given us was better spectacle than most of what The Long Night had to offer.”

It should also be noted that the show’s growing profile, along with the fact that Rotten Tomatoes are allowing more sites to review episodes, can impact the overall score – for good and bad.

Unsurprisingly, the episode with the worst reviews is Season 5’s sixth episode, Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken on 54%.

That episode is infamous for the scene where Sansa Stark was raped by Ramsay Bolton on their wedding night.

Other episodes that didn’t fare too well – relative to the higher-performing ones – are The Bear and the Maiden Fair (77%) and The Climb (83%).

Looking to the remaining three episodes in Season 8, Emilia Clarke has said that “episode 5 is bigger” than the Battle of Winterfell and the next episode promises to be an extremely interesting one for Cersei Lannister.