Game of Thrones Season 7 ended with the worst finally happening. No, not Robin Arryn becoming King of Westeros (ok, so second worst), but the Wall being brought crashing down and the Night King and his army marching into the land of the living.
With undead men, women, giants, horses, and a dragon at his disposal (and perhaps more polar bears and even ice spiders too), the Night King is going to be a formidable opponent for the still-alive inhabitants of Westeros, and Season 8 is largely going to be structured around the battles between the army of the dead and the army of the living, but just how big is his army?
With the Emmy awards fast approaching, the script for the Season 7 finale, The Dragon and the Wolf, has been released online, complete with stage directions and other interesting tidbits. But aside from the line of Jorah thinking of Jon Snow as a "punkass little sh*tburger" - yes, that's a real thing - the biggest reveal comes at the very end, when detailing the destruction of the Wall.
"Emerging from the frozen coastal forest, the ARMY OF THE DEAD comes in force. All of them, 100,000 strong, with hundreds of WHITE WALKER officer corps on their dead horses."
While we knew the army was big, this is the first proper confirmation we've had of its size, and it's pretty huge. It's not even the 100,000 strong part that's the most attention-grabbing - although that bad enough for the heroes - but that there are "hundreds" of White Walkers, when previously we've seen only a handful. Given they're harder to kill than wights, that makes things even more difficult for the living.
To put things into context, Jon's Northern army has an estimated strength of around 10,000 men, plus a few thousand from the Vale (although many more could be called upon, with an estimated strength of up to 45,000). Daenerys, meanwhile, has a few thousand Unsullied left - she had 8,000, but lost some at Casterly Rock - and around 100,000 Dothraki riders.
Add in her own two dragons, and before factoring in the armies to the South or those who haven't committed to any sort of fight yet, the Jon/Daenerys alliance already has strength in numbers. But then, not all of them will be great fighters, and the numerical advantage shifts when you consider the magical properties of at least the Night King, if not other White Walkers - and these powers are still vague enough to be changed or enhanced further in Season 8.
Furthermore, the numbers of the living can only go down, even if all the other armies were to come into play, while there's an almost limitless supply for the Night King's army. It almost doesn't matter how many wights he loses, because there will be fresh recruits at the exact same time. They'll also be making their way through the North, before the first true battle is fought (presumably at Winterfell), so their numbers will only swell further before then.
It leaves things nicely poised, then, for an epic, brutal battle or two, which should see the living die and the dead die again.
The script also refers to Viserion as an ice dragon and, interestingly, says the Night King did to him what he did to Craster's children, signifying it's a proper White Walker dragon rather than a wight dragon, which again makes it a much more difficult proposition to face.
100,000 wights. Hundreds of White Walkers. An ice dragon. Season 8 really can't come soon enough.
NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far.
A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.