However, Game of Thrones isn't just big bucks effects, blazing fire battles and sword-slashing wars. The beauty of HBO's fantasy drama is that it packs an emotional punch to match its visual treats and tricks.
Watch the trailer for 'Blackwater':
Of course, when it came to the crunch Tyrion and Cersei stole the show once again. If Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage don't scoop up their fair share of awards this year, there's something afoot and very wrong, because the duo add heart (or cold heart in the case of Cersei) and gravitas and not a single line or look is wasted by either.
Tyrion proved to be the hero of the hour when the Lannisters needed him most. Heading up the defence of King's Landing ("Those are brave men knocking at our door... Let's go kill them!"), Tyrion stood tall while Joffrey ran off to his mother and even the usually fearless The Hound was left having some sort of emotional breakdown over the destruction and devastation occurring around him.
Meanwhile, Cersei briefly took a break from mocking Sansa, Shae and anyone else who got in her path to reveal her emotional core. Shaken by the prospect of being captured, raped and killed by Stannis's men, she decided to take not only her own but also her son Tommem's life. Headey's steely performance brought genuine conviction to the character's dark intentions, but also managed to flicker with touches of humanity.
The protective mother was willing to murder her own to save them from a far worse death. It was cold and tough to watch, but perhaps stole the show from all the dramatics and head-slashing going on outside King's Landing.
Cersei and Tommen were saved at the very last moment by the return of her father and his men, who cleared up Stannis's forces. Tywin Lannister looks likely to be named the victor and hero in the Battle of Blackwater, so will Tyrion ever be given credit for his heroic battle cry when the chips were down?
Where does this leave Game of Thrones heading into the season two finale? Stannis is captured and looks to be in all sorts of bother. Tyrion has taken a nasty slash to the face, The Hound has gone AWOL and Joffrey remains King. Shudder.
Next week's extended episode will surely deal more heavily with the storylines that didn't feature this week. What will become of Jon Snow with the wildings? What on earth is going on with Danaerys? How horrible can the petulant Theon Greyjoy become? And when will we see some bloody dragons?
How did you rate the season's penultimate episode? Share your verdict below!
Watch the trailer for 'Valar Morghulis', the season two finale of Game of Thrones: