The second episode of the second to last season of Game of Thrones signals to me the shift in pacing that we were predicting with the new shortened season format. A lot happened in this episode that is worth discussing, but capping the second episode with a major naval battle scene isn’t something this show is known for. It almost felt like a Hardhome style move to have this battle come out of nowhere in a pretty politics heavy episode. But what it really is a signal of is the condensed season giving each individual episode an expanded budget.
In this episode we got a major, instant payoff for a promise that was given in the previous episode. That’s a far cry from the usual drawn out nature of previous seasons. So when Cersei and Jamie and discussing the wars to come, that could conceivably translate to major sequences mere episodes away. Mirroring my sentiment from last weeks review, now that we have this increased pace, every declaration or idea has so much more weight.
This extends beyond that naval combat seen in this episode. Jon learns of Dany’s existence, gets word of her call to court, and makes the decision to go within a 20 minute period. There is no mincing of words and no dilly dallying. Davos plainly states that Dragons can be a major asset in the war against the frozen dead and Jon agrees. Now some might say that this increased pace loses any poetic artistry or political intrigue you may have gotten in past seasons. Which I can see. I don’t think George R.R. Martin would have written a scene where the Hound makes fun of someone for having a man-bun. To me this is a necessary evil in order to deliver us the show in a somewhat manageable timeframe in an enjoyable way.
Here’s hoping the wars to come aren’t too rushed getting to us and things work out for our heroes. If last night was any indication, it may not be as easy as they thought.
- Jon and Littlefinger’s scene in the tombs below Winterfell felt like a dark mirror to Rob and Ned’s scene in the same location from Season 1. Both Stark patriarchs discussing what their little sister means to them.
- How gnarly was that Jorah/Samwell operation scene?!