The episode’s director, Neil Marshall, received praise from the author after the episode aired. “The biggest seal of approval was that I got an email from George R. R. Martin last night,” Neil tells Time. “He’d just watched it as well for the first time and he loved it. That’s the best one to get. If George is happy, all right.”
There were a lot of shocking moments in the action-packed episode, but we wonder if George was particularly moved by anything. According to Neil, George wasn’t specific, but he was impressed. “[The email] was kind of brief but he was saying that ‘Blackwater’ was a tough act to follow and he was saying that I’d done a great job with it,” Neil reveals. “That was just amazing, to hear that.”
We imagine George was even a little surprised at some of the deaths in the episode, since Pyp and Grenn were both killed off, even though they survive in George’s books. If he was broken up about it, it doesn’t sound like he let it damper his enthusiasm for the episode!