The Long Night Strategy - Why Defending Winterfell Was Unprofitable

We bring to your attention an analysis of the strategy and results of the Battle of Winterfell, which took place in the 3rd series of the 8th season of the Game of Thrones. The battle at some point broke up into many chaotic battles with the dead, but careful analysis suggests that everything happened according to the plan of the King of the Night, who tried not to fall into the trap prepared for him. Moreover, the Stark Castle itself at some point became a trap for its owners.

Where it was best to fight the army of the King of the Night

Who the hell said defending the North should be in Winterfell? The castle, which even managed to take ... Theon. Sorry for the "even." It's just about that weak-willed and spoiled Theon from the past ...

An ideal place to defend against the army of the King of the Night-Eagle's Nest. A well-fortified stronghold high high in the mountains. Just imagine how long the dead would have to climb this slope. But, even if successful, many zombies could be thrown back through the moon door.

You need to try to look at the events of the series through the eyes of the characters themselves. The battle plan was made by Starkey, and their logic is simple. "We took Winterfell back too long to leave him. Better die here!" We will try to prove that it was such tactics that cost too many lives of the soldiers of the Allied army.

The disposition of the Living and their strategy

John decided to place most of the troops in front of the walls. But in the end, their remnants had to retreat in a panic inside the castle. The solution looks absolutely stupid, if not one but.


  • The battle outside the walls of the castle won little time for civilians in the crypt. Once the dead climb a wall, the hours of those who are underground are already numbered. It was necessary at least to try to push the army of the King of the Night from the walls or detain him on the outskirts.
  • The Dothraki cavalry cannot be used effectively in defense. This is the ABC of wars. Hurrying them and turning them into infantry means losing a number of advantages. (But this does not mean that they should be led into a frontal attack)


  • If combat throwing machines are located directly on the battlefield, and not behind the walls, then they can’t do more than one salvo. "Artillery" should be safe. Why did the flawless catapults roll out onto the snow?
  • The Dothraki cavalry could be placed on the flanks. Skip enemy forces to a fortified moat, and then attack with their cavalry. It still would not have saved the Dothraki, but the dead were most vulnerable when they built the stairs from themselves .
  • In battle, the interaction of the combat arms is important. If the Dothraki did not go on a frontal attack, they could have entered the battle along with the impeccable and northerners, and not separately from them. Dragons are also more efficient to use SIMULTANEOUSLY with cavalry, as was the case in the series "Trophies of War "?
  • The allies do not know whether the dragon flame will affect the King of the Night or not, but they know for sure that the dragon glass will act. Why not initially include in the squad of Theon several excellent and experienced fighters with the appropriate weapons? Brienne, Dog, Dandarion ...

Conclusion: It is noble that the soldiers in the field on the walls and the walls extend the lives of women and children in the crypt. But why it was impossible to EVACUATE the entire civilian population from Winterfell even before the battle? If Daenerys values ​​Tyrion so much, then why not send him as well? And with him Varis, Sansu, Misandea ...

Starks love their home very much and send the best fighters to the field and to the wall (and not to the Mother of God), because they naively believe that Winterfell can be kept.

Strategy of the Dead. The king of the night knew everything

After watching episode 3, there is a feeling that the King of the Night knew the plan of his opponents. It was as if he looked into the thoughts of Bran, who was present at the military council.

His right steps:

  • If he immediately flew to Bogoroshcha, then a duel on swords with John Snow would have taken place. But he would be there alone. No white walkers. Without zombies ... He does not do this.
  • The King of the Night intentionally does not reveal himself. And the factor of his absence fetters two dragon riders - John and Daenerys.

It is not entirely fair to say that John and Dani used dragons inefficiently. If you get carried away by dropping napalm on zombies, you can miss the King of the Night. Let's say more. Dani starts flaming the army of the dead only when he loses the Dothraki cavalry. She does not want to lose her impeccable yet, and John is simply forced to fly after her and violate the original plan.

The King of the Night further weakens the enemy dragons using ancient magic. From somewhere over the horizon comes a wall of thick and frosty fog. The battlefield is hidden by darkness. Dragon riders cease to see where their own, and where strangers. Upstairs, it becomes difficult to control dragons due to a strong snowstorm. Apparently the same darkness extinguished the blades of the Dothraki inflamed by Melisandra shortly before.

Why did he hesitate?

Without dragons, the number of troops among the allies does not play any role. But, is it so good that the King of the Night did not participate in the battle from the very beginning? Just imagine what would happen if he lifted his hands up IMMEDIATELY after the attack "doomed cavalry". Dothraki turned into undead would lead a counterattack by the army of the dead. But, obviously, he was not there at that moment!

Why is the King of the Night in no hurry to join the battle? He intends to go to the Theotokos only when the defenders of Winterfell are finally broken. He does this only by connecting with the white walkers. But, with her delay, gives Arya a chance, who manages to meet with Melisandra and understand how to correct the mistakes of friends.

Did not put all the trump cards on the table

In wars there are times when a clear victory suddenly turns into a defeat. White walkers also cherished themselves, mindful of the properties of dragon glass and Valerian steel. They walked somewhere behind the horde of zombies and were in no hurry to climb the walls.

The main mistake of the King of the Night is not to use all the trump cards at once. Giant zombie, zombie dragon, white walkers, spell raising the dead ... Why is all this only at the end of the series?

Once the walkers broke into the fortress at the same time as the undead wave, and not later, then Theon would not have kept Chardrev’s defense. Then Bran could have died before he met with the King of the Night.

And this game of peeping, which the King of the Night started with Bran, is no longer completely logical. She gave Arya time to attack.

Pyrrhic victory

The Allies first sacrificed all their cavalry. And then they didn’t guess to send capable troops to the Bogoroshcha, BEFORE breaking the dead into Winterfell. After all, the King of the Night will come there anyway. He is the main target! Otherwise, it turns out that the Starks were simply doomed to dare Theon instead of helping him.

And if you want to save Winterfell, then you had to do it, as in the movie "Kingdom of heaven". Place marks on the battlefield. As the dead approach, hit at these places with a hail of fiery arrows and fiery catapults. And the troops were initially to be kept behind improvised wooden fortifications, and not in an open field.

Now imagine that Winterfell is intentionally set on fire by his defenders when the dead enter. It turns into one huge bonfire. Just like the burning of Moscow in the history of Russia. And the civilian population leaves the crypt before the breakthrough !!! But are Starks able to burn their own castle?

And here is the question. How monstrous is the price of all these mistakes? Is there anything else to fight with Cersei?

And what do you think of the 3 episodes of the season 8 of the Game of Thrones, its results and analysis of the strategy of the warring parties?

Video: As they shot the 3rd episode of "Long Night" - part 1 and 2 (Russian voice acting).