There was even less bloodshed in Sunday night's episode of Game of Thrones than in the previous week's (meaning there was zero), with the second installment of Season 8 serving more as a setup to the epic battle that promises to bring together all of the major characters. Vox depicts the relationship-focused episode as "a bunch of beloved characters spending one last, long night together, before the White Walkers arrive to possibly turn them into ice zombies," with a reminder that what has really captivated GoT fans hasn't been "the spectacle or the battles," or "even the crazy twists or the political intrigue." Instead, it's been "how the show's collection of characters felt just a little like real people living through massive, life-changing events." More on the recap front:
- A touch of sadness. At the Guardian, Sarah Hughes describes the episode as a "melancholy curtain raiser to the coming mayhem next week." A central theme: forgiveness, redemption, and acceptance, with Jaime Lannister offering a mea culpa to Bran Stark for pushing him out a window, Arya Stark making her peace with the Hound, and Daenerys Targaryen trying to smooth things over with Sansa Stark—though that may have been unsuccessful.
- Not 'perfect,' but 'quietly wonderful.' It's exactly these "intimate character moments" that made this episode so special, Kelly Lawler writes for USA Today, adding an ominous caveat that this is all the "calm before the (undead) storm," and that any characters seen talking too much about their future plans may be a poignant foreshadowing that they're not making it out of the season alive. "In order to truly appreciate all the people we are about to lose, the show is cleverly (and maybe just a little bit cruelly) reminding us how wonderful they are," Lawler writes.
- A big moment for Arya. The show shocker that perhaps had fans buzzing the most: Arya losing her virginity to Gendry, with Arya making the first move. "We're going to die soon. I'd like to know what [sex is] like before that happens," Arya announced to her "longtime crush," per People, before pouncing on him. Maisie Williams, who plays the young Stark, tells EW.com that when she first saw the script for this scene, "I thought it was a prank."
- And one for Dany. Eliana Dockterman dishes in Time on Jon Snow's revelation to Daenerys that he apparently ranks above her in the quest for the Iron Throne, and how Dany's reaction may be a "telling" one. Frighteningly, Dockterman notes, the Khaleesi "is beginning to show shades of the Mad Queen," which may not bode well for what happens after the big battle is over.
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