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AGame Of Thrones approaches its final two episodes, director David Nutter looks back on directing the final season after being away due to back surgery. Returning following a two-year hiatus, Nutter directed three of the last six episodes of the series (“Winterfell”, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, and “The Last of the Starks”) with Sunday’s previous episode being the final one he was involved in.

“It was a great way to come back and do the show,” Nutter tells Deadline in an interview. “It was a wonderful challenge and something that, after being away from the show for as long as I had been, I missed it so much. I missed everyone I worked with so much. I missed the family.”

The Emmy award winner took time to revel in what he called “the best year of his life,” directing for the HBO hit series. For his approach, he wanted to make sure the audience had the time to “watch their characters breathe” in the season opener and “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

“For instance, Episode 2 [“A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”] was really all about making us remember that besides these inner squabbles that they, the characters, are having, that the White Walkers are coming still,” Nutter explains to Deadline. “That made it really feel like an episode that actually could make us realize that we have all these little arguments about our own little this, but we have to remember that the White Walkers, the big battle, is to come, and we need to stick together.”

While Nutter is finished with his portion of directing the season, totaling in nine episodes he has worked on for the series, Miguel Sapochnik will direct penultimate episode while show EPs D.B. Weiss and David Benioff will cap off 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.”

When asked about the “coffee cup fiasco” in the last episode, Nutter’s guess was as good as anyone’s:

“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.”

HBO, in fact, did respond, followed by a tweet from the show account as well.