February 10, 2019
Arya rides for Winterfell.
EXT. LONELY HILLS COUNTRYSIDE - day
The bedraggled Dothraki khalasar moves south through the Lonely Hills. The horses move at a loose, ground-covering jog, pacing themselves for the long journey back to Winterfell.
Some of the rescued villagers sob quietly as they're carried along. Others are shell-shocked and silent. The small girl that Hadorro had rescued has been moved to Jorah's horse. She sways in the saddle between his arms, a thousand-yard stare in her reddened eyes, too exhausted now to cry.
Arya rides with GHOST jogging alongside her horse. The Hound follows close behind.
Ghost suddenly growls low in his throat. Arya's horse whickers nervously at the sound and skitters sideways, shying away from him. Arya shushes the horse, stroking its neck, reining its head back under control.
Arya looks down at Ghost. He is looking back over his shoulder as he moves, rumbling darkly, his ears tucked flat, his hackles raised in a furry crest down his neck and back. He stops suddenly, glowering into the trees behind them.
Stay with me, Ghost. Come on.
He obeys, loping up alongside her again. The horse tosses its head nervously, but Arya murmurs reassuring words, and they keep moving, pressing forward through the snow. A few quiet moments pass.
Then Ghost stops again, turning once more to stare into the trees. He stands there a moment, as motionless as a hound pointing game. Then suddenly he takes off, dashing back the way they came.
Ghost, no! Come back here!
Dothraki horses shy and rear up as Ghost charges through their midst, dodging away from him as their riders curse and wrestle with their mounts.
Arya reins up, turning around to pursue the errant direwolf, but the Hound cuts her off.
Keep moving, girl.
Where is he going?
The wrong way. Keep moving, he'll catch up.
Arya watches Ghost disappear into the trees. With a grimace of frustration, she turns her horse southward once more. She and the Hound ride alongside each other. The Hound spurs his horse to a quicker trot, and Arya keeps pace with him, casting anxious glances over her shoulder in search of Ghost.
Around them, the horses of the khalasar are showing their unease. They whicker and toss their heads, eyes wide and rimmed with white. Their ears twitch and swivel, and their tails lash nervously.
The Dothraki are picking up on their horses' disquiet. Hands tighten on reins and arakhs. Hadorro takes a handful of arrows from his quiver and stages them in his bow hand, his dark eyes scanning the trees. A flock of geese flies overhead, honking as they overtake the khalasar. Nobody shoots at them this time.
Suddenly, a wolf's howl rings out, a chilling and urgent sound. Horses whinny in fear.
Ghost comes charging back out of the trees. Snarling, he snaps viciously at horses' flanks as he passes. They spook and bolt, their riders fighting futilely to control them. The herd begins to stampede. A rider swings angrily at Ghost with his arakh. Ghost dodges it, dancing nimbly away.
No, don't! Ghost! Ghost, to me!
Still snarling, Ghost lowers his head and charges at her. Arya's horse screams in terror and breaks into a hard gallop. Arya tries in vain to bring it under control. She looks over her shoulder.
Arya's POV: Ghost is running at us like a demon from hell, his eyes red as blood. Then suddenly, behind him, a pack of wolves materializes silently out of the trees.
There's something wrong with these wolves. Their movements are off somehow, and some of them are missing chunks of fur and flesh. Their eyes burn bright and blue as they slowly emerge -- dozens of them, scores of them, with more still coming.
Arya stares at them from atop her fleeing mount. Then she turns her gaze forward and puts her heels to its flanks, no longer attempting to curb its flight.
As one, the WOLF WIGHTS charge the khalasar.
An unlucky rider near the back goes down as the wolves overwhelm his horse, so thick that we quickly cannot see him or his horse or his passenger. The sounds of tearing flesh and screaming fill the air.
Dothraki archers twist in their saddles and shoot at the pursuing monsters. Hadorro nocks a dragonglass-tipped arrow and fires. A wolf wight catches it in its throat and collapses, somersaulting forward and skidding a trench into the snow before finally coming to rest. Another wolf snaps at his horse's belly, running directly alongside him. He reaches his drawing arm behind his head and takes it out with a jarmakee -- a totally awesome Turkish trick shot that you should definitely google.
More wolves fall -- the Dothraki are great shots, and their arrows find their marks one after the other. But the wolves just keep coming, materializing out of the trees, faster than the riders can shoot them down.
Ghost is sprinting flat out, his red eyes locked on Arya galloping ahead. A wolf wight leaps at him from behind. He ducks, it sails over him, and he dodges away. Another wolf leaps at him from the side. He catches it by the neck and tears out its throat, pinning the smaller canine beneath him in the snow. The wolf wight continues snapping at him, completely unfazed, blue eyes blazing. He tears off its lower jaw as well.
More wolf wights emerge from alongside their flanks, attacking riders near the front of the stampede. Arya draws her Valyrian steel dagger as they come at her. The Hound screams a furious curse and catches a wolf mid-leap with his sword, cutting it cleanly in two. Arya dodges one wolf and dispatches another with her dagger as it leaps at her horse's neck.
As she wrenches her dagger free, a horrible sound makes her turn. A hulking black DIREWOLF WIGHT stares at her with terrible, impassive blue eyes, standing nearly as tall as her horse. Its entrails hang out of its ripped abdomen, dark with old blood.
Arya reflexively brings her dagger up as its leaps at her.
There's a snarl and a blur of white fur, and Ghost collides with the monster mid-air. The two direwolves go down in a tangle of fur and teeth and claws. They tear at each other, wrestling in the snow, evenly matched. Then a pack of ordinary wolf wights descends on them, and Ghost's snarls turn into cries of pain. They swarm over him, thick as ants.
Another direwolf leaps into her path. Arya reins up hard. Her horse rears, screaming in fear. The direwolf stares up at her--
There's a beat of shocked silence.
NYMERIA bares her teeth and leaps. Arya gasps, raising her dagger--
--as Nymeria takes down a wolf wight leaping for the flank of her horse. She tears it limb from limb as Arya watches, stunned. Then something catches Arya's eye. She looks up.
Nymeria's wolf pack is on the scene. No, not a pack. A veritable ARMY OF WOLVES. Dozens of them, scores of them, hundreds of them, rushing up from the south and into the fray, their golden eyes bright with life.
The living wolves sweep into the dead wolves like two waves crashing together, turning the tide in an epic aerial battle shot to end all epic aerial battle shots.
Down on the ground, it's a brutal chaotic fog of war, all fur and fangs and the horrible canine sounds of hundreds of wolves tearing each other to pieces.
When it's finally over, the quiet is deep and sudden and unsettling. The disembodied head of a wolf wight lies twitching in the snow, blue eyes staring, jaws snapping ineffectually.
We pan up and see the aftermath of the wolf battle, full of twitchy wight parts and freshly-killed wolves staining the snow bright red with their blood. A few dead horses lie amongst them, their bellies ripped open, entrails spilling out in slippery ropes, with the remains of their Dothraki and Northern riders alongside them.
But even so, the battle is a victory for the living. Most of the khalasar has escaped alive, and Nymeria's surviving wolves roam through the battle-torn snow, sniffing at the carcasses.
Arya rides through the aftermath, eyes scanning and searching. She finds Nymeria and stops, staring. She dismounts and steps slowly through the snow, reaching out with one hand.
Nymeria watches her approach, holding Arya in an alert golden gaze. She holds still as Arya comes right up to her. Arya reaches out, her fingers trembling. Nymeria does not move away. They touch.
There are tears in Arya's eyes. Nymeria is covered in wight blood, but she doesn't care. She puts her arms around her direwolf's neck and buries her face in the thick fur, overcome with emotion. Nymeria sits there, quietly letting Arya hold her.
Arya finally pulls away, blinking away tears as she gazes at her long-lost friend.
Nymeria returns her gaze. Then stands up and moves past Arya. Arya blinks, puzzled, and turns to watch Nymeria as she walks away, heading toward--
Ghost's body, lying crumpled in the bloodied snow. Nymeria goes to him, sniffing, a thin whine in her throat. She noses at his wounds, licks his face. Ghost's features are motionless under her soft tongue, red eyes half-lidded and dull.
Grief comes slowly over Arya's face as she comprehends. She stands up, begins to stumble toward them. Then the Hound cuts in front of her on his horse, blocking her path.
Back on your horse, girl.
(choking on grief)
I need to bring him back to Jon.
Jon wants you home alive. If he were here, he'd tell you to leave him.
Arya stares past the Hound at Ghost. Nymeria lifts her head, shares another gaze with Arya. Then turns and moves off into the forest. Her wolf army follows, melting quietly back into the trees as though they were never there.
We can't spare a horse to carry him, and we can't risk him waking up with blue eyes. It's time to go.
Jorah has dismounted, and is pouring oil over Ghost's corpse. It runs in sluggish rivulets, darkening his coat as it seeps into the white fur. In the background, other bodies are already alight -- wolf, horse, and human.
Arya stares a moment longer. Then finally tears her gaze away, fighting with her grief. She mounts up and turns her horse's head south, toward Winterfell. The Hound follows close behind her.
At the top of a ridge, Arya looks back one last time. Ghost's body is wreathed in flames now, engulfing him but not yet consuming him. The riders give him a wide berth, flowing past on either side like a stream diverting around a rock.
Tears run quietly down Arya's face as she watches her brother's wolf burn. Then she nudges her horse forward and disappears over the ridge.
We stay with Ghost, pushing in close as the flames burn higher and brighter, crackling and hissing. Flickering light goes dancing across his face, and for a moment, his red eye is alive with fire.
END OF EPISODE 806
Annotated S08E06 commentary available on Patreon <3