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NOT with a whim­per, but with a royal bang and a handy big zom­bie dragon, the penul­ti­mate sea­son of Game Of Thrones wib­bled to its for­mi­da­ble cliffhanger – well, wall-crum­bler – con­clu­sion.

Not be­ing a diehard Song Of Ice And Fire fa­natic, it was pos­si­bly a mis­take to put off watch­ing the last three episodes of this patchy lat­est se­ries for one long, rum­bling late-night binge ses­sion. It was past mid­night when King Of The North Jon Snow and Mother Of Dragons Daen­erys Tar­garyen fi­nally ful­filled their destiny as the two most bor­ing char­ac­ters in the en­tire saga by fall­ing into the sack to­gether, and by that time I’d con­sumed sig­nif­i­cant quan­ti­ties of Ritz and cheese.

As a re­sult, the rev­e­la­tion of their hid­den kin­ship got a lit­tle blurry, par­tic­u­larly as the Who Do You Think You Are-style fam­ily tree was be­ing nar­rated by Bran Stark, AKA The Three-Eyed Raven, who hasn’t fea­tured enough for me to (A) un­der­stand what he’s on about half the time, (B) even know what he even is, or, (C) care much. When­ever Bran starts talk­ing my mind fol­lows the ex­am­ple of his mys­te­ri­ous eye­balls, and glazes over.

Far as I could tell, though, un­be­knownst to them as they set to quan­ti­fy­ing each other’s re­gal booty, Jon and Daen­erys are ac­tu­ally both Tar­garyens. But there were so many names and flash­backs be­ing tossed around I’m still un­clear as to their pre­cise re­la­tion­ship. Brother and sis­ter seemed too obvious, and cousins seemed too bor­ing even for them, so … aunt and nephew? Or maybe they’re the same per­son? Fur­ther spec­u­la­tion was de­railed by the gen­uinely sur­pris­ing se­quence fea­tur­ing Nerys Hughes and Jan Ravens taunt­ing each other with dag­gers, al­though, on rewind­ing to check, it seems I’d nod­ded off again, and that was a dream.

Thank­fully, there was a big zom­bie dragon busy knock­ing down the Wall with its un­dead hal­i­to­sis ray to wake things up. The dragon’s abil­ity to de­stroy the 8,000-year-old, fa­mously im­preg­nable Wall with a sin­gle blue burp was a wel­come de­vel­op­ment as, to judge by the pace of Thrones past, it would oth­er­wise have taken the army of the dead an­other 20 years to get through, and the writ­ers would have solved it in the end by hav­ing them dis­cover a wee se­cret door no­body knew about.

De­tails of ge­og­ra­phy and land­scape have grown fuzzy re­cently. Where, in pre­vi­ous years, trav­el­ling from one city to an­other re­quired epic and per­ilous jour­neys that might last months – in­deed, it some­times felt like it took char­ac­ters 400 years just to cross a room – this sea­son they’ve all been whip­ping about from place to place in five min­utes. At this rate, the Night King will be sun­ning him­self in Win­ter­fell in no time. But we mor­tals must wait. The news is that it might be an­other 16 months be­fore the fever­ishly an­tic­i­pated fi­nal sea­son ar­rives. Or, in Game Of Thrones time, later this af­ter­noon.

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