Against all predictions, the living won.
Myself and my fellow GOT fans suspected that ‘The Battle of Winterfell’ would not end well for our favourite Game of Thrones heroes – especially when they decided to hide their nearest and dearest in the crypts (everyone seemed to have momentarily forgotten that the Night King can raise the dead with a snap of his blue-grey fingers).
And yet, despite the fact that the odds were overwhelmingly stacked against them, the living didn’t just keep the White Walkers from storming Winterfell: they – well, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) – also seemed to put an end to the Night King once and for all, taking out the biggest threat to everyone in Westeros. ‘Seemed’ being the operative word in that sentence…
Of course, their victory didn’t come cheaply. Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) may have valiantly stabbed an ice giant in the eye, but she was crushed to death in its hands in the process. Likewise, her cousin Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) fell protecting the love of his life Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) from an undead foe, going on to die in her arms as she and Drogon sobbed over his body. Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) finally completed his redemption arc – and proved himself to be a true Stark at heart – as he sacrificed himself to protect Bran ‘The Three Eyed Raven’ Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright). Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) gave his life for the final time to keep Arya alive. Daenerys’ two surviving dragons survived, but they took a pretty big hit in the process. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) made good on her promise to die in this strange land, fading to dust as she wandered out into the snowy battlefields.
Worst of all? Well, from a commander’s POV, at least? Pretty much every single Dothraki warrior was wiped out in the first wave of battle, along with countless Unsullied soldiers. Which means that Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and co have another unfair fight on their hands when they turn southwards to face Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) and their well-equipped Golden Company.
It doesn’t look good, does it?
However, there will be plenty of time to worry about what’s to come next in Game of Thrones. For now, it’s time to mourn the fallen – and how better to do that than by trawling the Instagram accounts of our favourite GOT stars, to see how they reacted to the events of the 86-minute long ‘Battle of Winterfell’?
Alfie Allen – Theon
Determined to make us all cry until we’re dangerously dehydrated, Alfie Allen shared an image of Theon’s damaged armour on Instagram shortly after the episode finished airing, captioned only with a broken heart emoji.
Maisie Williams – Arya
Our hero of the hour, Maisie Williams referenced her character’s catchphrase when staring face in the death.
“Not today, baby!”
Sophie Turner – Sansa Stark
Sophie Turner, our beloved Sansa Stark, paid homage to Theon Greyjoy and Alfie Allen in a single swoop.
“You’re a good man,” she said, alongside a photo of the fallen soldier.
Emilia Clarke – Daenerys Targaryen
“YOU’RE SIMPLY THE BEST, BETTER THAN ALL THE REST, BETTER THAN ANYONE, ANYONE I’VE EVER MET…” wrote Emilia Clarke, alongside a photo of her (in costume as Daenerys) and Iain Glen (in costume as sweet, sweet Ser Jorah Mormont).
In a series of hashtags, she added: “#serjorahforlyfe #thronesthrowsapunchandahalf #heartbreakhotel #bestthingiveverseenonscreenEVER”
Lena Headey – Cersei Lannister
Clearly much more into the idea of GoT’s heroes surviving the Battle of Winterfell than her character, Cersei Lannister actor Lena Headey shared a photo of Maisie Williams in costume as Arya Stark.
“That’s my girl,” she captioned the shot proudly, noting that “Arya Stark ain’t fucking about”.
John Bradley West – Samwell Tarly
Samwell Tarly did his very best in battle, and came through the end of it unscathed… a fact which Samwell Bradley West, who plays the character, is very grateful for.
“The spirit was willing,” he noted sardonically, alongside a photo of Sam in grips with a White Walker.
Gwendoline Christie – Brienne of Tarth
Gwendoline Christie’s character was fighting White Walkers tooth and nail throughout the episode, so it makes sense that she decided to share a photo of herself all bloodied up as a battle-worn Brienne on Instagram.
Bella Ramsey – Lyanna Mormont
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the history books, it’s that child soldiers leading armies are always a recipe for tragedy. While we hoped Lyanna Mormont might prove this theory wrong, our favourite pint-sized feminist met her maker in last night’s episode – but she used her last breath to strike a blow for her beloved “Norf”.
Celebrating the moment on Instagram, actress Bella Ramsey shared a photo of herself in full armour and captioned it: “Here we stand.”
Carice van Houten – Melisandre
Carice van Houten – aka the red woman – kept things cryptic on Instagram, sharing a behind-the-scenes photo of herself on set as Melisandre.
“One of my favourite scenes to shoot,” she noted.
Dan Portman – Podrick Peyne
We all assumed, wrongly, that Pod would die in ‘The Battle of Winterfell’. However, it seems as if Daniel Portman’s character has been well taught in the skills of war by his mentor, Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and will live to fight – or sing prophetic songs – another day.
That didn’t stop him teasing us with this bloodied and battle-worn selfie, though.
Joe Dempsie – Gendry
Gendry, likewise, was another who seemed sure to die in last night’s Battle of Winterfell. After all, according to horror movie rules, anyone who has sex before the Big Bad enters the building is guaranteed to meet his maker.
Thankfully, Joe Dempsie’s character survived the night – which hopefully means Arya will have someone to celebrate her victory with come morning, eh?
Gemma Whelan – Yara Greyjoy
Yara Greyjoy may not have appeared in ‘The Battle of Winterfell’, but Gemma Whelan couldn’t resist sharing her own teaser for the all-important episode…
We will continue to update this article as actors post their reactions. In the meantime, though, valar morghulis, folks!