In S8E4:

Right after the Night King was defeated.

we hear that half of the army died fighting the White Walkers.

However, in S8E3, we could barely count 15 people still fighting. Did the bulk of the army keep fighting somewhere else or how did so many (thousands?) survive?

  • Related - movies.stackexchange.com/questions/100350/…
    – Paulie_D
    May 7, 2019 at 15:50
  • “we could barely count 15 people still fighting” — of course, it was nighttime and there was a snowstorm. Counting was tricky! May 16, 2019 at 9:53
  • 1
    How did Daenerys' army survive that much? Well... it didn't — that is, until the writers needed some of the army back, obviously ;)
    – JNat
    May 16, 2019 at 12:35
  • @JNat FWIW that might not have been all of the Dothraki and we do see some of them retreating. And just because their flame arakhs have gone out doesn't mean they died, they could have survived and just fled away from the immediate battle or kept on fighting alone up there. Either was though it isn't obvious with how they showed it.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 16, 2019 at 14:07
  • 2
    If they hadn't spoken those words in the clip, @TheLethalCarrot, I'd roll my eyes and go "oh, well, I guess half of 'em were able to escape blindly, somehow, ok...." but it's like they're deliberately making it hard for us to find excuses for this wonderfully consistent writing :P
    – JNat
    May 16, 2019 at 14:21

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: It went against to the message the writers were trying to portray and wasn't important to the story at that point in time so they left out showing how many were still alive.

It's worth noting that of the half that are gone this applies to the Northern, Arryn and Unsullied forces. It’s not mentioned how many Dothraki survive, only that some do.

Grey Worm: Half are gone. Grey Worm removes half of the Unsullied markers.

Jon Snow: The Northmen as well. Jon Snow removes half of the Northmen markers.

Yohn Royce removes half of the Arryn markers.

Dothraki soldier removes half of the Dothraki markers.


Tyrion Lannister: So if all are in agreement Jon and Ser Davos will ride down the Kingsroad with the Northern troops and the bulk of the remaining Dothraki and Unsullied. A smaller group of us will ride to White Harbor, and sail from there to Dragonstone with our queen and her dragons accompanying us from above.

Game of Thrones, Season 8 Episode 4, "The Last of the Starks"

Now in universe they were certainly still fighting inside the castle somewhere. We are shown small point of views from the main characters and don't see the majority of the battle and what goes on. It makes sense that we miss a lot of what actually happens. They survived because their battle happened off screen and away from what we were supposed to see, for all we know around the next wall there was still a few thousand vs the wights.

The Unsullied are also "locked out" of Winterfell when Grey Worm pulls the bridge and so it is possible that some of them were still fighting around the castle grounds against wights in pocket groups here and there.

Out of universe this makes sense as well, the writers wanted to convey the message of all hope being lost and so wouldn't show a huge amount of the army left because that moves away from the message they are trying to send.


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