The fact that this is the endgame scenario for Game of Thrones has proven controversial in itself, three episodes before we'll find out who sits on the Iron Throne when it's all said and done. "The Long Night" exposed a stark divide in what fans think Game of Thrones is ultimately about. Is it a saga about the battle between the living and the dead? Or is it a political allegory with some fantasy elements, more about the interpersonal relationships between warring clans?
While the series has consistently emphasized the White Walker threat, the most compelling narratives have been the human ones. The creatures beyond the wall were frightening when used to devastate the living in close combat and show their overwhelming power over death, like in "Hardhome," but have long only been as relevant as the allegiances they spurred.
The Battle of Winterfell did elicit an "is that all there is?" reaction from a large portion of the fanbase, in part because the episode on the whole was something of a mess. But the fact that all the blue-eyed baddies have shattered into pieces also feels like something of a relief. The first three installments of the final season chugged along to the big fight with a grim inevitability. Now, for the first time this year, it's hard to predict what's going to happen, and that's genuinely exciting.
And, of course, it's always going to be more complicated than just whether or not Cersei lives or dies. The promo indicates that Daenerys aims to "rip her out root and stem," but the Dragon Queen herself has interpersonal issues to work out in the meantime. Dany and Jon Snow have yet to deal with the revelation that he, in fact, is a Targaryen, and she clearly hasn't won Sansa Stark's unwavering loyalty. Considering neither Daenerys (nor Jon Snow, for that matter) were all that effective in fighting the Night King, their leadership skills may come into question, while Arya's victory could be celebrated. (And what about the youngest Stark's relationship with Gendry? Is he more than just a bastard?)
Meanwhile, Cersei is far more than just a boring, silent, evil force. (Sorry Night King, but you were not very intriguing.) Her motives are self-serving and her tactics are cruel, but she's also a woman who has survived trauma herself. Now she's been all but abandoned by the only person that seemed to love her unequivocally, her brother Jaime. To that point, she's ordered Jaime's onetime pal, Bronn, to murder both him and Tyrion. An infinite number of possibilities can evolve out of these dynamics, and the show will (hopefully) be better for it. Will Cersei's army take down the two remaining dragons? Will her bribe of Bronn result in the complete extinction of all but one Lannister? Is she really going to stay with Euron?
Bran knew exactly where the Night King was heading. Cersei is unpredictable. That's what makes her thrilling.