Game of Thrones' Battle of Winterfell had some surprising and weird parallels to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The 90-minute third episode of Game of Thrones season 8, "The Long Night", was entirely about the Great War with the Army of the Dead and it resolved one of the central Game of Thrones stories that began in the series premiere.
Even on paper, "The Long Night" and The Last Jedi have storytelling parallels. They're both climactic entries of their respective series but not quite the end; Game of Thrones still has to deal with Cersei, while J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will close out the saga. But some of the moments and twists are oddly specific.
Perhaps the biggest is the death of the Night King. The big bad of Game of Thrones was shockingly killed by Arya Stark before any of the fan theories - such as the Night King being Bran Stark - could be confirmed. This shock defeat and realignment of the story is a similar narrative trick to what Rian Johnson pulled in Star Wars: The Last Jedi with Kylo Ren's shock murder of Snoke. Johnson even observed this on Twitter, joking about his "amazing night king theory" in a send up of the backlash against Episode VIII's subverting of expectations.
The parallels to The Night King and The Last Jedi don't stop with Snoke, either. One of the pivotal moments of the Battle of Winterfell resolved the question of whether dragon fire can slay the ice zombie leader, something Jon Snow debated with the other leaders of the army of the living debated during their war council in the previous episode, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms". In "The Long Night", Daenerys Targaryen went for the kill after she and Jon managed to knock the Night King off his ice dragon Viserion and get him on the ground; the Dragon Queen gave the command "Dracarys!" and had her beast Drogon roast the Night King with a fearsome barrage of dragon fire. But when the flames cleared, the Night King was unharmed and he just looked up and smiled.
The Night King imperviousness to dragon fire was reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's most-gifable moment in Star Wars: The Last Jedi when the Jedi Master confronted the First Order on Crait and Kylo Ren gave the order to have all of the AT-M6s open fire on Skywalker. When the smoke cleared from the blaster barrage, Luke stood in the middle of the smoking crater completely unharmed. And just like how the Night King smiled, Skywalker cooly brushed his shoulder to taunt his enemies and flaunt his invincibility. Of course, Luke wasn't really on Crait; he was Force projecting an image of himself from Ahch-To.
The way Arya killed the Night King also echoed Rey in the fight with the Praetorian Guard. When the Night King had Arya by the throat, she dropped Littlefinger's Valyrian steel dagger from her left hand and caught it with her right before she plunged it into the Night King's torso. Rey did virtually the same move against the last Guard who she was struggling with; dropping her lightsaber from her right hand, catching it with her left, and delivering the killing stroke.
A further accidental nod to Star Wars was after the Night King collapsed into particles of ice; with their leader's magic broken, the thousands of undead Wights reverted back to corpses and simply fell over. This looked a lot like how the Trade Federation battle droids all keeled over and stopped functioning after Anakin Skywalker destroyed their control ship during the climactic battle in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
The Star Wars influence on Game of Thrones season 8 should come as no surprise considering showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will direct their own Star Wars trilogy once they complete their years in Westeros. In fact, Benioff and Weiss are working with Rian Johnson as they all develop their separate new corners of the Star Wars galaxy, so it may be that these moments actually are winks to Johnson's The Last Jedi in "The Long Night". Furthermore, George Lucas himself was on set during the filming of the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere, strengthening the connection between the world of Westeros and the galaxy far, far away. Fans may want to keep their eyes peeled for more possible nods to Star Wars in the final three Game of Thrones episodes ever.
Game of Thrones Season 8 airs Sundays @ 9pm on HBO.