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When surveying the landscape of Game of Thrones episodes, three entries often rise right to the top: “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter.” It’s no coincidence that all three come from Miguel Sapochnik, one of the few directors helming episodes in the forthcoming final season.
While those three installments are the most notable in Sapochnik’s Thrones catalogue, his inaugural outing deserves attention as well: “The Gift,” loaded with iconic moments, chief among them the very first meeting between Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), an event that has yet to transpire in the A Song of Ice and Fire books from George R.R. Martin.
But as far as the continued trajectory of the series at large and Sapochnik’s work specifically, there are two moments in “The Gift” with even greater significance — both of which involve Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey).
First, there’s Cersei’s conversation with her son Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), in which she lists the ways in which she would violate every societal norm in order to protect him: “I would burn cities to the ground.” Indeed, she will go on to do exactly that only 13 episodes from this very moment, in the celebrated “Light of the Seven” sequence from the top of Sapochnik’s “The Winds of Winter.”
Then, there’s the final scene of “The Gift,” taking place mere moments after the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) places Cersei under arrest. In the process, a new character arrives: Septa Unella (Hannah Waddingham), she of “shame-shame-shame” fame. Cersei ends the episode hissing at Unella, promising to be the last face Unella ever sees before her death. We can assume Cersei lived up to that promise, given the final scene of Septa Unella in “The Winds of Winter,” viciously tortured at the hands of the Mountain and, just as importantly, at the command of Cersei.
Those two moments are highlighted in this week’s “Winter Was Here,” the Game of Thrones rewatch podcast collaboration between The Hollywood Reporter and Post Show Recaps. Other topics include:
• How Jon Snow (Kit Harington) caused his own downfall before heading out to Hardhome;
• The final days of Maester Aemon, played by the late Peter Vaughan;
• An argument for “The Gift” containing the worst scene in Thrones history;
• Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) proudly earning the mantle of “most hated man in Westeros”;
• And more!
Listen to the podcast here:
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