Wine was glugged, songs were sung, and things got emotional in what might serve as the final chance to hang out with some of our favourite characters
How do you kill time before the actual time for killing? Perhaps you amuse yourself with wordplay. Episode two of the final season of Game of Thrones was called A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a grand and unusually courtly title for a drama defined by political opportunism and devious backstabbing. But, as a prelude to episode three long trailed as featuring the biggest and most spectacular battle in a show that has never been short on epic ding-dongs it consisted of one long night for a ragtag band from all seven kingdoms, as the forces at Winterfell prepared their bodies, souls and livers for the imminent arrival of the Night King and his undead army.
This was essentially a single-location bottle episode, with Tyrion providing a steady flow of passable northern wine. It is odd to think of Game of Thrones, probably the most lavish show on TV, fretting about budgets in a final season that must have essentially come with a blank cheque attached, but this instalment never left the Starks chilly family stronghold, although with dozens of glum extras milling about in the background preparing siege defences, it was probably the most expensive bottle episode ever made.
What could have been a bloody encounter the cliffhanging arrival of Jaime Lannister, notorious killer of Daeneryss father and longstanding plotter against the Starks was done and dusted in the opening five minutes. He was ready to fight for the living, and that was enough. Even Bran, the child he defenestrated in the very first episode, seemed pretty chill about it, in his weird cryptic Professor X way. After that pseudo-trial concluded, there was the strange but not unpleasant sensation of Game of Thrones turning into a Richard Linklater hangout movie. The camera roamed through the corridors, courtyard and crypt of snowy Winterfell as beloved characters gloomily considered their fate or busied themselves to take their minds off impending doom.