As the characters’ likely imminent deaths approached (in the form of the Night King and his undead army of White Walkers), there were so many other enjoyable moments: fan-favorite Lady Mormont wishing “good fortune” to her cousin Jorah; Arya deciding she wasn’t going to die without experiencing sex (on her terms); Jamie and Tyrion Lannister sharing a brotherly moment; Tormund’s delightfully outlandish story of how he got the nickname “Giantsbane.”

These scenes worked on two different levels. First, they seemed like actual things people might do if they thought the world were about to end. Second, they were probably the last times that many of these actors got to perform together. They gave these relationships genuine endings. That sense of finality made each interaction truthful, even if they were initially dreamt up by—or concocted to please—the fans.

With just four more episodes left (and a huge, record-breaking battle to come), the remainder of the final season of Game of Thrones will surely gallop past these quieter, tender character moments, into big-budget action and plot twists. But for 60 minutes, at least, the biggest show in the world got really small, put all our favorite characters into rooms together, and reminded us why we liked this story in the first place.

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