This article contains spoilers about Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones.
Our hearts are shattered like the icy lake from last night's Game of Thrones episode, "Beyond The Wall." Not only did we have to witness the death of Thoros of Myr (Paul Kaye), and yet another Stark, Uncle Benjen (Joseph Mawle), but we also lost a dragon. Viserion was felled by a giant ice spear that the Night King threw at him, and was later fished out of the frozen water to become a zombie ice dragon. As we noted earlier, Vanity Fair describes that an ice dragon can "breathe cold, a chill so terrible that it can freeze a man solid in half a heartbeat." Um, totally terrifying! Viserion's death reminds us that Daenerys' (Emilia Clarke) dragons are not a deus ex machina — they can be killed just like any other living thing, and can even be used as a weapon against the saviours of Westeros.
While Daenerys (and the rest of us) mourns the death of one of her dragons, she doesn't know that her child has been turned into the Dragon Formerly Known As Viserion. Now that the army of the dead has a dragon of their own, the stakes are immeasurably higher — and it's been revealed that the White Walkers can turn any living creature into a wight. The implication of this reveal are troubling. There's no living creature in Westeros more fearsome than a dragon, but armies still need horses, and if the White Walkers have a herd of undead polar bears, that presents a formidable challenge to Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Co.
A dragon is essentially a weapon of mass destruction, as we saw during the Loot Train Attack battle. But last night, we also learned how to stop the zombie army, and that includes the undead Viserion: Kill a White Walker, and the undead that it raised will crumble along with it. The Night King is presumably responsible for most, if not all, of the dead army, and is certainly responsible for creating Ice Viserion. So it follows: In order to stop the ice dragon from destroying everything in its path, the Night King must be killed, explains a Reddit theorist. Of course, the Night King always needed to be killed, but there is significantly more at stake now. And considering the Night King seems to have some kind of superhuman strength to launch that ice spear at the dragons, his destruction is probably not over yet.
With just one episode left in this season, it looks like the army of the dead is gaining the upper hand. The Wall doesn't present much of a challenge to the White Walkers anymore — and Westeros is not even close to being prepared for it to become much, much colder. But the death of Viserion is not in vain, as Jon Snow believes as he recovers on the boat. Dany may have lost one of her children, but they gained a priceless piece of information, and hopefully can strategize well enough to stop the tide of zombies.