~EPISODE 8.4 - THE WINDS OF WINTER~
CERSEI LANNISTER awakes with a scream of pure terror. Both herself and her royal bed is drenched in cold sweat. Whatever she was just dreaming, it wasn't pleasant.
She calls out for her servants, but none answer her call. She decides to get herself dressed rather than waiting, before venturing out into the Red Keep.
It takes her a while to come across the first few fallen. Guards and servants, lying still on the ground. Cersei's eyes widen. Then she sees their chests moving ever so slightly.
They are not dead, just down for the count. She tries to wake some of them up, but to no avail.
Judging from the grimaces on their faces, whatever sights are granted them beneath their eyelids aren't pleasant.
It's a grim day. Snow is descending upon King's Landing from a cold sky that is much darker than it has any right to be at this time of day.
Cersei makes her way along the King's Landing battlements facing the sea. The surface of the water is as chaotic as the sky above.
Alongside the battlements, Lannister soldiers have set up giant Scorpion Crossbows and catapults. Some of those soldiers are still present, physically if not mentally.
They are just lying there, dreaming. Only a few among them have already awakened from their troubled slumber, and these don't seem capable of understanding her commands. She carries on.
Cersei eventually makes her way into the King's Landing Godswood. The dead ground is covered in frosty leaves.
Bowing down in front of one of the heart trees is QYBURN.
Trying to distill a new poison, are we?
No, your grace. ... It's the strangest thing.
The heart trees are dead. All of them, overnight.
It would appear as though this sanctuary is no longer under the protection of the Old Gods.
Cersei stares at him, confused. Then, realization dawns on her.
The North has fallen.
A blood-shot eye opens wide.
JON SNOW is breathing heavily, staring up at us in a shot reminiscent of when he was resurrected.
Has he been resurrected now as well? Or is this the other side?
He gets up. He is as naked as on the day he was born, but still covered in the many scars and wounds he has received through his painful years in Westeros.
The wound he received from the White Walker looks particularly grim. Almost like frost.
He looks around. The world is white. Blank. As though he was caught in the worst blizzard in human history.
Something is dripping down on him. He brings up his right hand in front of his face. Crimson drops drip down on it. He looks up.
There is nowhere to differentiate between blank white ground and blank-white "walls", but the ceiling of this enormous void is quickly filling up with blood. Tons and tons of blood.
Suddenly the blood freezes to crimson ice. No, scratch that. Not ice. Roots. Crimson roots spreading across the ceiling/sky. The roots are moving, searching. Searching for him.
Roots shoot down and grab him, forcing him up towards the pool of crimson. The blood gives way, exposing an enormous turquoise Eye staring back at him.
Jon howls in terror...
...and almost cuts down ARYA as he unsheathes Longclaw and thrusts it into the space in front of him.
Jon. Hush. Jon, it's me. You're safe. ... Well, safe-ish.
Jon tries to find his bearings.
He is alive and dressed.
He is down in the crypts, alongside Arya, THE HOUND, MELISANDRE, SER DAVOS, SER BRIENNE, GREY WORM, PODRICK, GENDRY, perhaps three hundred Unsullied and a hundred Northmen.
They are all alive, though "and well" would be a stretch.
Arya looks uncomfortable. No, more than uncomfortable. She looks... She looks afraid. For the first time in seasons she is well and truly afraid.
She tells him what happened:
* They were all too slow for the NIGHT KING. He got to BRAN first, and slew him.
The moment His blade descended, every human being in Winterfell lost consciousness, and dreamt nightmares not unlike the one Jon just had.
Arya was the first to wake, waking only a minute or so after The Fall. From her vantage point she could see the slumped-over corpse of their fallen brother, and she shed quiet tears.
Down in the Godswood, the Night King communicated with the White Walkers in a tongue impossible for any human to comprehend. Then He raised his arms... and the dead.
All of them, every human corpse in Winterfell that hadn't perished in fire and flame or been cut into tiny pieces. Even Bran and THEON and LYANNA.
All in all, even with the tens of thousands burned to cinders in the battle, the Army of the Dead was now as great as it had been prior to the battle.
The Night King had then begun to walk south, with most of the remaining White Walkers and wights following him.
The Army of the Dead had continued its southward march, Winterfell having been nothing more than a stop on the way.
Remaining was a White Walker commander, seemingly tasked with being a provincial leader for the White Walker. He and a force of a thousand or so wights were still stationed at Winterfell.
* Once the Hound and Melisandre awoke, they and Arya had stealthily moved through the castle, send out ravens, and eventually made their way down into the crypts,
where the first few of the people down there had awoken. And now here they were.
Everyone not down in the crypts were part of the Army of the Dead, either searching for survivors up in Winterfell or charging south with His Excellence the Night King.
Upon receiving the news Jon collapses into sitting position. He looks like a broken man.
They had failed.
The dead had won, and the long night is at hand.
A raven arrives at Castle Cerwyn, bearing dark words from Winterfell (having been dispatched by Arya before she went down into the crypts). Tyrion and Sansa read the short message:
"We failed. The dead are coming. Flee to Riverrun."
They don't need to be told twice.
Tyrion, Sansa and c:o depart from Castle Cerwyn. They all have grim expressions on their faces. They don't look like they're fleeing. They look as though they are part of a lemming run.
Jon, Arya, Brienne & c:o are discreetly looking down at the Winterfell Plaza from their vantage point in one of the towers. The bulk of the survivors are still down in the crypts.
At the Winterfell Plaza, the wights are simply standing there, being gradually covered in snow. But they have not received orders, and as such do nothing.
The provincial White Walker commander stands among them, mounted on an undead horse. He seems to be listening for disturbances. Could he hear them all the way from there?
Grey Worm knocks an arrow on his bow and takes aim. Maybe, just maybe, he could hit the commander all the way from here.
The White Walker stirs, and the wights awake. What did they do?
No. No, they are reacting to something else.
The silence is broken by a deafening roar as Drogon descends upon Winterfell, bathing the Plaza in flames. Jon looks up, and catches a glance of DAENERYS. She is alive!
The fire has killed the majority of the wights, but the White Walker remains unhurt, his gaze locked on Drogon as he prepares a spear. But then he stirs, and turns.
Charging out of the southern woods and through what was once the main gates of Winterfell come the remaining Dothraki, led by JORAH. The White Walker throws its spear.
It whizzes past Jorah and hits one of the Dothraki. The White Walker lifts its ice-sword, but is too slow. Heartsbane cleaves him in two, and the Dothraki mows down the last few wights.
Drogon lands on the plaza and gives out a victorious roar.
Winterfell has been liberated.
Daenerys dismounts. Turning, she sees Jon and the others emerging from one of the towers. She rushes to him and the two embrace.
The survivors ascend from the crypts. They all look shell-shocked, twitching and shaking and shivering.
Fires are made in the Great Hall, the remaining foodstuff and wine is brought up, and the survivors drink their pain away.
Not much is said. This drinking is for grieving, nothing else.
Night falls, and with it the cold. The real, crushing cold of true winter. They are lucky to have cover. It's about all they can feel lucky for.
Jon and Daenerys share a bed. They don't care about recent revelations regarding their shared past. All they know is that the world is filled with death, but their chambers with life.
Arya and Gendry share a bed. Once again, sleep eludes her.
Pod the Rod share a bed with two female Northern warriors. You can't escape human nature.
While the Unsullied sleep, Grey Worm keeps watch. He is looking at a medallion he received from Missandei, and whispers a quiet prayer to whichever God is listening that she may remain safe.
Brienne is still drinking in the Great Hall. Whatever she can do to erase Jaime's dying smile from her retinas. The Hound joins her. They don't speak. They don't have to.
They simply fill each other's cups and keep on drinking, praying for blindness or amnesia or both to set in quickly.