Following a two-season hiatus where he needed several back surgeries, director David Nutter returned to Game of Thrones for its final season. The premiere of last night’s "The Last of the Starks" marks his ninth and final time directing an episode for the Emmy Award-winning series and finds Nutter at a place of reflection as he looks back at "the best year of his life."

Nutter, who was tasked with directing Season 8 opener "Winterfell," and the second episode "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," in addition to "Last of the Starks," told Deadline that one of his primary goals was to stress the importance of realizing that "the audience just wants to watch and see their characters breathe."

It's a welcome approach by Nutter following Season 7 where it seemed as though the show was workng against its formula, and essentially racing to the finish line. "I'm also a big believer in getting as much coverage as possible so that you can actually give each of the characters their due," he added. 

With just two episodes remaining, Nutter is now handing the director's chair back to Miguel Sapochnik, the man behind the third episode "The Long Night," before the show's EPs David Benioff and D.B. Weiss handle the series finale. "I think Dave and Dan did a tremendous job in writing it, and I think the audience will be appreciative of the hard work went into making these eight seasons in the series," Nutter said. "It will not stop until the final beat of the show."

"I’ll say that surprises are plenty in all of Dave and Dan’s episodes and all the stuff that they do," Nutter continues. "That’s a given, but I think it’s quite powerful how they end the show, and it’s fantastic." 

As for that damn coffee cup fiasco from "The Last of the Starks," Nutter responded, "Well, I think that HBO I’m sure will come up with a response to that more appropriate than anything I can throw at you." And they have.