Season 8 Episode 2 of Game of Thrones wastes no time into getting stuck in. This episode is very much character driven with Jamie Lannister (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) pledging his case to a rather understandably hostile Daenerys Targaryan (played by Emilia Clarke) and Sansa Stark (played by Sophie Turner), Arya (played by Maisie Williams) pursues a much-wanted weapon from Gendry (played by Joe Dempsie) and there’s a fireside party so great it could be one of the best written for television.

Forgiveness is a significant theme running through the episode as each character contemplates it in their own ways. Whilst they don’t all connect to each other, they all revolve around past betrayals and grave mistakes but they don’t rely on repeated cliches or contrived moments. The dialogue and character development is excellently written and perfectly executed. The writers have considered every scene and created small masterpieces that stay in the memories of the audience after the episode has ended. There are some moments so special and entertaining that the audience could be forgiven for forgetting the impending doom. For me, it’s akin to the party scenes in The Avengers: Age of Ultron where one could feel happy just watching the characters hang out with each other.

The episode does a great job at relieving the tension of the oncoming battle by the comedic moments that inject much needed levity and joy. The character who does this best is everyone’s favourite ginger bearded wildling Tormund Giantsbane (played by Kristofer Hivju) whose simple outlook and lack of shame brings delight to the audience and food for thought for the characters around him. Hivju plays Tormund with such ease but doesn’t take away from the rest of the cast who also shine regardless of how long you see them on screen.

What happens from here? Who will survive? Who will die? There are plenty of theories going around but what is a definite is the quality of this episode. It’s sharp, it’s fun and it’s the perfect calm before the oncoming storm.