Game of Thrones "The Battle of Winterfell" Everything They Did Wrong

Let me start by saying that this is an opinion piece. I am not claiming to be any kind of medieval warfare expert. Everything that I am about to say is based on my personal opinion as a viewer and as a fan of A Song of Ice and Fire. Feel free  to share your own thoughts in the comments. This piece is meant to enumerate all the cringe-worthy moments that I experienced while watching The Battle of Winterfell (Game of Thrones S08E03).

the dothraki massacre

While Melisandre’s trick might have given the Dothraki extra confidence, there was no real reason for them to charge. Jorah Mormont appeared to be in command of  the Dothraki contingent and as a knight, he should have known better than to charge wildly at your opponent. They eliminated any kind of advantage they had when they broke formation and decided to go blindly into the darkness.

Game of Thrones Dothraki

If they were going to do this anyway, it would have made more sense if one of the Dothraki was shown uttering a battlecry and calling on his companions to charge. That would emphasize the fact that while they are great fighters, the Dothraki are wild and not accustomed to the strategies and nuances of organized warfare.

useless trebuchets

Because the Dothraki charged mindless into the dark, only one wave of fireballs made it into the air. No one could see the enemy so they could not fire blindly and risk hitting the Dothraki. Instead of taking advantage of their long range weapons first, they decided to sacrifice most of their cavalry instead. Again, they should have waited until the dead were within firing range and used their trebuchets before engaging in man-to-dead combat.

Game of Thrones Battle of Winterfell
Daenerys and Jon watch as the Dothraki charge and end up in the line of fire from the trebuchets.

where the hell are the archers?

Speaking of advantage, Winterfell is completely enclosed. The army of the living was not able to take complete advantage of this fact. When the dead were momentarily delayed by the fiery trench, all they did was stare at each other. Very few archers (Arya included) were seen manning the walls during the retreat. If archers had been firing at them, the dead would have had less time to figure out a way to douse the flames (with their bodies) to get over the trench.

When the wights started climbing the walls, they were not met with much resistance except for some of the main characters holding swords on top of the walls. No burning oil or any other deterrent was used to stop the wights from climbing the walls.

actually, the archers were at the wrong place

Game of Thrones s08e03
Theon and the rest of the Iron Born prepare for combat

Why the hell did Theon and the rest of the Iron Born have most of the dragonglass arrows? This group was in the Godswood guarding Bran. If the wights and the Night King made it that far, close combat is expected. These men should have been armed with swords and spears instead of bows and arrows!


It was great to see Ghost in the opening sequences of the battle. However, it didn’t make sense for him to be at Jorah’s side. He should have been protecting Sansa while Jon was too busy flying with his new pet.

Game of Thrones Ghost
Ghost joined Jorah Mormont and the Dothraki in the first charge against the wights

Since they put Ghost in the front lines of the battle anyway, it would have been better if he had some action scenes thrown in. Instead, everyone was left guessing and assuming that he died an uneventful death alongside the ill-fated Dothraki horde. The Starks and their Direwolves need better exposure in this series. Granted that the dragons are taking up much of the CGI budget, the utter neglect shown towards the direwolves is very disappointing. (P.S. I’m happy to learn that Ghost survived as evidenced by the Episode 4 preview).

the conclusion didn’t tie in to the rest of the series

So many things that were built up for the past seven seasons were left senseless at the end of THE BATTLE OF WINTERFELL. Where was Azor Ahai and the Lightbringer? If the “Prince” that was promised ended up being Arya, then Lightbringer should have been brought into the equation. If this still turns out to be Jon Snow in the end, it doesn’t make sense anymore because it was Arya who defeated the Night King and thee long darkness that comes with him.

Now, if the story is to be twisted to turn Cersei into the final enemy, it’s very anti-climactic. She can’t possibly be more formidable than the Night King. If she is, then that twist doesn’t really do anything for me. This is THE SONG OF ICE AND FIRE after all. It shouldn’t be focused on some silly power-grabbing lions.

It looks like they are gearing the final battle to be about the Iron Throne. While the series adopted the title “GAME OF THRONES”, it should never have been about that Iron Chair. It was always about the bigger and more sinister threat coming from beyond the wall. The throne was meant to appear almost irrelevant and menial compared to the fight for survival against the Night King and his army of the dead.

Instead, all the Night King did in this episode was fall awkwardly off his dragon and look cool while arrogantly facing dragon fire and raising the dead. He didn’t even get to show off any fighting skills. The on-air duel was nice, but the Night King deserved a better platform to show off just how powerful he is.

Game of Thrones Night King
The underwhelming scenes featuring the Night King

no shock factor

The only thing shocking here is the underwhelming way the Night King’s charge has ended. I don’t know what will happen in the next episodes and the series might still bring in a shocking twist. Theories have already come out regarding Bran and where exactly he was warging to during the battle. Who knows, I may still get the final more epic battle between the living and  the dead.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

*All photos grabbed from the Official Game of Thrones You Tube Channel.