Thinking about it all day here's how I would've liked the last 10 minutes to end(don't know if this would fit with the story but whatever):
Everyone who got trapped inside the castle courtyard (Brienne, Jamie, etc.) should've fallen back to the tree, each of them could've had sword fights with the white walker generals (with some of them dying), Jon could've had a sword fight with night king, and when he was about to get killed Arya, acting as Bran in the chair, takes her mask off ("Bran" died when he became the three-eyed raven, hence being able to wear his mask), gets out of the chair, night king grabs her by the throat, Arya does the same thing as last night, drops the dagger to free hand and kills him.
Night king would probably know it was Arya and not the real three-eyed raven but oh well.
I’m still not happy it resolves with such an anti-climax or so many people survived and I think the problems are related. The feeling of “That’s it” with Arya killing him “so easily” (which is a directorial issue more than a narrative one imo), not to mention the brushing aside of a decade of theorizing and prophecy, and that feeling is compounded by the lack of cost to defeat the NK in general, compared to, say, the red and purple weddings wrapping up the war with the five kings.
There's no major deaths, which is confusing when the direction of the action made it seem as though Jaime, Brienne, Sam, Tormund and so on were goners for sure, OR that the episode teased Jon and Dany dying multiple times each. It plays with our expectations a little too much to the point it ultimately undermines the "That's it" feeling.
As I say, I'm going to have to see how the rest of the season plays out to see how I feel, which is a shame since the rest of the episode was mostly amazing.
PS I don't think any of this is "Fan Service" whatsoever.
Jorah, Mel and Theon are most certainly major character deaths.
And I would have been fine with it if we wouldn't have seen most of the others completely overwhelmed at least ten times each. They pushed the despair feel so much that seeing 95% of the main cast alive at the end felt really wrong
that’s fine and I understand that but I was just making the point major characters did die. Weird to mention Tormund as a major who didn’t die but not consider the ones I mentioned major. That’s just insanely wrong. Theon and Jorah have been with us since day 1 and Theon’s impact in particular has been enormous. I get what they said they didn’t want a montage of deaths, it would start to lose impact.
Tormund isn't major, Brienne isn't either I would argue, but they are both people we see repeatedly nearly die and inexplicably live.
As I say, the lack of cost of the War for the Dawn / Long Night amplifies the "that's it?" feeling of Arya singlehandedly killing the Night King and dispensing with decades of theorizing in the process. It's a blip on the radar of the characters and Westeros as a whole.
Humanity is its own worst enemy, which is something both the books and the show acknowledge. The Iron Throne's the bad guy, distracting people from what matters and tempting them to engage in the worst kinds of human behaviour, the human heart in conflict with itself. Ice zombies are not in and of themselves as interesting as seeing the characters trying to work together despite their different priorities, wants and needs in order to fight the ice zombies.
remember what Miguel said, episode 3, 4 and 5 are like one story.
Dany is too confident in the preview for episode 4. Cersei is going to wipe most of them out. They won this battle, they’re not strong enough to win the next one. They’re exhausted, injured, and not many of them are left tbh. They’re also underestimating WHAT Cersei has when it comes to her army, and wildfire. Dany is a goner as far as I’m concerned.
I wouldn’t be surprised if episode 6 begins with a time jump after Cersei has won. Longer hair, possibly even a child with her (if she hasn’t lost the baby). Yara will kill Euron for sure. The Hound and the Mountain will fight and both die. If Jaime doesn’t kill Cersei, it will be Sansa with her blade that Arya gave her.
@Law yep, Dwajadi's work on Westworld 1x10 and 2x8 is very strong.
@Vader: more thant the addition of things in this episode,
it's also the accumulation of satisfying character moments since season 6: in this last episode, Sam was the only character who didn't have a satisfying arc (I think it was great he survived: it showed how unfair war is).
@Jaws_fan: my fanfiction:
Bran takes control of the two dragons and has them come to the godswood, NK notices one and kills him, which allows the second one to sneak in. Then cut to Bran: "Dracarys" and all the godswood go in flames, including Bran, and all the WW protecting the NK and as the flames fade, Arya can jump on the NK, and kill him.
Also, down in the crypt, when Tyrion says he could notice something the others don't, he suddenly realises the crypt isn't safe, and they evacuate the crypt (the last leaving as the dead rise from their graves, and being slaughtered), and big chase through the castle, in which they meet the survivors from the assault (Brienne, Jaime...), who've been able to leave the courtyard, and barricade themselves in the castle. As the door break and they're all about to die, Arya jumps. The barricade allows more character moments between Jaime and Tyrion, Jaime and Brienne, etc... And of course Tyrion and Sansa run together through the castle, 'cause I think them getting closer is going to play an important part in the next episodes.