Snow's best friend, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), also made an appearance, and within seconds of his return on screen he's torn between loyalty to his former Night's Watch mate and his late family. Blacksmith Gendry (Joe Dempsie), the bastard son of the late King Robert Baratheon, also threatened a fissure between Snow and Arya.
Meanwhile at King's Landing, Queen Cersei was also focused on the approaching zombie storm, but she's not lifting a finger to stop the Night King. She's hoping his decomposing troops wipe out the dragon queen, Snow and her "traitor" brother Tyrion. She wishes the same fate for her recently estranged brother, Ser Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a.k.a. the father of her children and unborn baby. Let the ghouls eat him too.
Psychopath Euron (Pilou Asbaek) also had conquest on his mind, and his target was Cersei. He wanted to bed her (he used decidedly saltier language). She was both repulsed and amused by the cocky foreigner, even after she had sex with him.
Wildling Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) was also set up for a potentially pivotal role in the forthcoming season, as was mercenary Bronn (Jerome Flynn) in a fast-moving collection of shifting alliances and narratives.
Show creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' attention to detail, and the way they stack and seamlessly connect those specifics, is largely what pushed the drama from a fantasy series for George R.R. Martin fans to the cultural touchstone it is today.
A huge budget, stellar cast and the gravitas of HBO certainly didn't hurt either, and it all came together in this long-awaited return of the show.
"Game of Thrones" is still playing with dozens of potential outcomes, despite what little time there is to spare. The night is still dark and still filled with infinite possibilities.
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