This week's episode of Game of Thrones joined a small number of climactic installments that took place in a single location.
Warning! Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 2 lie ahead!
Game of Thrones is known for jumping all over its own fictional map, following different plot lines that sometimes don't connect for years. A couple of times, however, there has been an entire episode dedicated to one setting, and this week made the third.
In Season 2, Game of Thrones dedicated an entire episode to the Battle of Blackwater. The second to last episode of the season took place in King's Landing, never cutting to the Wall or the east or anywhere else. The climactic battle followed Tyrion as an unlikely commander, and occasionally jumped to Cersei, Sansa and the other women locked in a castle tower.
The show made a single-location episode again in Season 4 with "Watchers on the Wall." The episode followed Jon and his brothers of the Night's Watch in the battle against the wildlings, who showed up to try and force entry through the Wall.
In both cases, the single-location installments were centered around a climactic battle in one of Westeros' many wars. This week, the show changed it up a little bit by centering an episode around war prep instead. The episode showed what all of our heroes were doing through the long night before the Night King, the White Walkers and the Army of the Dead arrived at Winterfell.
This was a bit more eclectic than a plain old battle episode, if less action-packed. We got to see Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Podrick, Davos and Tormund all drinking together around a fire, giving us both humorous and tender moments. We also got to see Arya confronting her past and taking a leap into the future with Gendry, while Jon brooded as usual.
Presumably, this will not be the last episode set in a single place. In Game of Thrones' long run, it has traced characters from all over the continent of Westeros, as well as some across the sea in Essos. Now, with the War for the Dawn upon them, most characters are gathered in one place. The only major groups left outside of Winterfell are Yara Greyjoy and her small band of Ironborn in the Iron Islands, and Cersei with her armies in King's Landing.
Fans were surprised that the show did not visit Cersei this week. At the very least, they were likely hoping to see how Bronn was grappling with her offer from last week. We may not see any of them next week either as the battle begins.
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.