The quiet before the storm was a bit too quiet in Game Of Thrones.
Not exactly an accusation many people have levelled at it very often before. Or will ever again probably - given that there aren’t actually many episodes left, and next week will see the fireworks really begin.
Like last Monday’s season premiere, A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms was more concerned with moving the chess pieces into position, rather than start attacking the opposition’s King or Queen.
Love Is All Around: Arya & Gendry, Sansa & Theon, and even Jaime Lannister & Brienne got romantic (probably due to the apocalypse) on Game Of Thrones on Sunday
Shock: Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) got intimate with her lifelong friend Gendry (Joe Dempsie) in an unexpected nude scene
It took until the very end for everyone to take their places. The final shot showed a line of White Walkers on horseback, with Winterfell not far away, in their sights.
Cersei had stayed defiantly, duplicitously, in King’s Landing, concentrating on ‘persuading’ Euron Greyjoy to provide her with the means to escape the army of the dead should they arrive (his ships). And Khaleesi’s dragons were noticeable by their absence. (Never mentioned in fact – even in the discussions of tactics.)
Otherwise though, all of the Night King’s opponents were inside Winterfell, waiting for the battle slightly impatiently. They weren’t the only ones...
GoT may be renowned for epic action scenes but prolonged the fans’ anticipation for a second week.
Fair enough. Good things come to those who wait they say, and the show has other attributes too. (The witty dialogue, Machiavellian scheming, family rivalries etc.)
It's all going on: Good things come to those who wait they say, and the show has other attributes too. (The witty dialogue, Machiavellian scheming, family rivalries etc.)
On the other hand, perhaps we could have had one devastating development at least.
There was plenty of tension in the air after all. Jaime and Bran had history of course – back to the very first scene in Game Of Thrones’ debut episode that ended with the young Stark boy Lannister in bed with his sister and thrown from the top of the tower as a result. But only crippled not killed.
Daenerys could barely contain her annoyance with Tyrion, seething at Cersei’s non-arrival/deception and at the failure of Tyrion, to realise that despite pledging to fight with them his sister had been lying all along.
‘He’s made mistakes. Serious mistakes,’ Dany hissed about the man she’d appointed ‘Hand’ - to avoid being out-manoeuvred in precisely this way.
Khaleesi with clashed with Sansa Stark over Tyrion too.
‘I thought he knew his sister,’ she lamented.
‘Families are complicated,’ Sansa shrugged.
In this series? You could say that again.
Unexpected: Viewers have been left conflicted by the raunchy scene - which came after Gendry forged Arya's custom dragon glass weapon
Sansa wasn’t that enamoured about her relationship with Jon either.
‘Men do stupid things for women. They’re easily manipulated.’
Their main issue though was the future – if there was one.
‘We defeat the dead. We destroy Cersei. What happens then?’ Sansa asked, not wasting time on diplomacy.
‘I take the throne,’ the power-crazed Queen stated, clearly shaking Sansa by making it seem as if nothing could be simpler.
Disappointingly, not one of these old tensions boiled over into anything horribly violent or vengeful.
Instead, they settled down and sat around having fairly aimless conversations about various adventure, triumphs, or defeats that sounded much more interesting and amusing than what we were watching now.
Tyrion summed up the atmosphere when he made the mistake of bond/having ‘bantz’ with Bran – or trying to anyway.
‘You’ve had a strange journey,’ Tyrion observed, an understatement if ever there was one.
Dramatic: The episode continued the show's stream of emotional reunions as Theon Greyjoy arrived at Winterfell
When the Stark boy declined to elaborate, implying his journey had been too strange and complicated for him to really go into, Tyrion quipped: ‘Ah, yes, if only we were trapped in a castle, in the middle of winter, with nowhere to go...’
We knew how he felt.
Without anyone to fight, our heroes and heroines had to find other ways to occupy the time and expend their energy.
Having only 24 hours left before the apocalypse descended on them probably concentrated the mind too – and other bits of their anatomy.
Either way the urgent declarations of sentiment that followed several soppy reunions meant ‘...Seven Kingdoms’ was positively romantic - or negatively. Surely the first Game Of Thrones episode that could almost be described as ‘sweet.’ (Ew!)
Greyworm kissing Missandei was actually rather touching, although given that the end of the world was nigh, they could have been allowed to go further.
At least Arya Stark knew exactly what she wanted, who with, and how to get it.
She grilled Gendry about the time the Red Woman tied him, covered him with leeches, and had sex with him although not necessarily in that order.
And why not? Even Jaime Lannister & Brienne got romantic (probably due to the apocalypse)
‘We’re probably going to die soon. I want to know what it’s like before that happens,’ Arya announced, hurling herself at him, having her first snog, then ordering him to take his trousers off.
Other couples brought together were less convincing.
‘I’d be honoured to serve under your command if you’ll have me’, Jaime Lannister cooed to Brienne, looking as if he would rather be with her in the battlefield than anywhere, or doing anything, else.
Jaime’s rival for Brienne’s ‘affections’, Tormund Giantsbane, on the other hand was consumed with lust, walking round Winterfell, staring at her, practically panting.
Unfortunately for Tormund (and us), typically Jaime trumped him when, with great aplomb, he knighted her (no, not a metaphor).
This was something she’d always secretly wanted but Brienne still seemed suspicious, understandably perhaps. It’s hard to trust someone