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Apr 09 2012

Review: Game of Thrones Season 2 – The Night Lands

Hit the Jump to read the Review for Game of Thrones Season 2 – The Night Lands

G

Well that’s episode two out-of-the-way.  Honestly there is not much for me to say about this episode. It was good, not great, there were some cool scenes not awesome ones. Set up episodes like this are necessary and I’m not going to sit here and complain about it because GoT’s still does an amazing job with theme and atmosphere and the actors are all top-notch so at least its passable as far as TV goes. This episode just didn’t wow me (neither did the book at this point in the story so there is that)

Tyrion and Cersei stood out again, but for very different reasons, and it’s nice to see some of the stuff that makes them fascinating characters in the book coming into the show. That bit with Craster and Jon at the end while awesome I’m pretty sure never occurs in the book. I’m also pretty sure a certain blood rider’s demise also did not occur in the books. Lor will clear that up I’m sure cause he has better comprehension than me. Littlefinger also continues to demonstrate why he’s in my top three favorite GoT characters which is amazing. and Yoren is a BADASS!

But overall nothing in this episode really got me going! Frankly a horse needs to get its head chopped off soon or I’m going to start watching Grey’s Anatomy.

6.0/10

Mike

For those of you who noticed, Pyke was added to the intro sequence now. I actually like the way this is being done, it’s a small detail, but it really sets up the episode. It appears as thought season 2 has already had two inaugural episodes, which makes for slow TV, however, it is necessary. One hour is not enough to remind, catch-up and introduce new characters.

This week we got a lot more Arya, but it really wasn’t too much. She relieved herself to Gendry, and we met Hotpie, as well as Jaqen H’ghar (the guy in the cage). Although I did not picture him to look the way he is being portrayed in the TV series, he is using his unique mannerisms when talking, and I am thankful for that. You can see a little bit of a ‘friendship’ brewing between Arya and Gendry, and  how Yoren is willing do what it takes to protect his new recruits; which is a nice set up for things to come. Overall, Arya’s scenes were short and sweet, but they got the job done. With new kings, lands and characters popping up everywhere, these episodes may seem boring, but HBO is trying hard to make every scene in the episodes count, so pay attention.

Littlefinger is getting a lot of screen time which I find a bit off, but people expect nudity, and sex in these episode and where better to get it then in a high class brothel? Do not let what I just said undermine the usefulness of those scenes, for the sake of a spoiler free review, “pay attention” is all I will say.

The main focal point of this episode was the visit to Pyke, and the further building on Theon’s character. Remember, he a little guy with a lot to prove. Oh, and it doesn’t help when the father you barely know says your more of a women then your sister. Let’s not forget that he also said you dress like a girl, and you should take your dress off. Talk about a stab in the heart for Theon. To make matters worse, Theon was expecting a grand home coming, he was having sex/molesting every woman he saw thinking it was a ‘fitting’ return to the Heir of the iron islands. Let’s just say he got a little to close with his family. Yara (Asha in the books) his sister, allowed him to do it, just so she could get the upper hand and embarrass him later. It’s like a kick in the crotch, reminding him that he has no understanding of the ‘iron way’, and that she’s more of a man then he is.”Your the one wearing a skirt

If you think about it, Theon’s terms from Robb Stark are not bad at all, Balon helps Robb ‘maybe’ fight the Lannister’s, and in return he gets to be a king again. However, Balon is much too bitter, and finds it hard to ever be associated with the families that put him where he is now; he used to be a king you know! He needs the pay the ‘Iron Price’ for his crown. Before we move on from Pyke, I want to mention that the HBO staff did a fantastic job bringing it to life, from the docks, to the people, to the Kraken mantel over Balon’s fireplace Pyke was a marvel to see.

Dany’s scene this episode was really only there to show how even though she ended off so strong in season 1, she has a long road ahead. Rakharo dying was a bit of a shock to me, having read the book, but the losing of a bloodrider further plummets Dany into her current state of desperation; things are looking bad for the dragon queen.

Tyrion’s encounter with Varys is fantastic, and you just know they are going to be the best of friends! Varys is on the same level as Tyrion, they are both smart, and their battles are fought through words. Tyrion is a smart man, and the perfect Hand of the King, if only Joffery wasn’t such a lunatic. We learn that it was Joffery who gave the order to kill Robert’s bastards, further signifying that Cersei has no control over him. Tyrion proceeds to do some ‘house cleaning’ and even sticks up for Mormont, and the Night’s Watch. He even sent Mormont a new recruits, as he promised in season 1. Naming Bronn the new Captain of the Gold Cloaks was a bit of a surprise, but not a huge story changer in the long run. Overall, he is becoming more and more likeable, just like Ned Stark…

Over on Dragonstone, we see the painted table, which has a nice bit of history, but well leave that for HBO to explain. Added to that history was Stannis mounting Melisandre, as she pretty much seduced him by baring all, and then further playing a nice ace to his king card by saying she will give him a male heir. Although this was implied in the books, actually seeing the way she achieved it kind of makes me lose respect for one of my favorite characters from the book.

Lastly, Jon Snow getting knocked out by Craster was also a bit of a surprise to me, this episode was just full of surprises. before it happens though, we finally see another ‘white walker’ with those shiny blue eyes. We also learn where Craster’s boys go, which further backs Sam’s resolve for Gilly.

It was a place holder episode, full of surprises and new characters, which kept me entertained, well done HBO. There are a lot of new character who will be popping up, and some minor ones you shouldn’t miss, check out my list here

Two other minor things I must mention: 1. Rorge had a nose 2. The other gold cloak that was there when they tried to capture Gendry was doing a duck face the whole scene, anyone else notice?

7.0/10

Lorenzo

As usual I’m late to the review party.

Another episode that hops around quite a bit of necessity in set-up. It’s just the nature of the second book so we can’t really fault the television series for it, but I’m not sure I can take another episode of this. The lack of forward progress or momentum is already starting to grate on me.

For me the high-point of this episode was the time we spent with Arya and Gendry. You can really sense the camaraderie of this odd couple friendship. Yoren, while badass as fuck, perhaps didn’t take the wisest course of action in how he confronted the Goldcloaks sent to look for Gendry. It was also awesome to finally meet Jaqen H’ghar with his speaking mannerisms intact, if not the entirety of his appearance. Without giving any spoilers to those who haven’t read the books, make sure you pay Jagen close attention as the series continues, his story and Arya’s continue to intersect in interesting ways.

I think this episode also did really well in getting across just how delusional Theon really is. He manages to make a complete and utter fool of himself as a result of his childish arrogance and petulance. If just once he could stop trying to act like a big man he might make himself look like slightly less of an idot.

On the other hand, Balon Greyjoy did not at all look like I imagined him based on the descriptions in the novels. While he was appropriately gaunt, the novels describe him as a tough old man, while in this episode he just seemed a bit rickety. On the other hand, Balon’s idiotic obstinacy was captured perfectly: While he may have resented the Stark’s utterly for his defeat when the Iron Islands attempted to gain their independence, rejecting Robb Stark’s offer of an alliance and independence for the Iron Islands in return for assistance in defeating the Lannisters is sheer lunacy from a strategic perspective. It seems that childish petulance runs in the family for the Greyjoys.

To be honest, I can’t really say I see the purpose of having Rakharo die. I hope the series’ writers have a good reason for this change, nor for the time spend with Daenerys here which simply reinforced the point already made in the first episode: The Red Wastes aren’t fun. Okay, we got it already.

The scenes in King’s Landing were again quite entertaining. Conleth Hill was fantastic as Varys this episode: I loved the threatening undercurrent to his scene with Tyrion and Peter Dinklage was similarly great in making you feel the same knot in the pit of your stomach that Tyrion does in that scene. I was surprised at how sympathetic Cersei was in her scene with Tyrion notwithstanding her obvious foolishness. Somehow this season is continuing to make Cersei far more sympathetic than I found her in the books.

And while Littlefinger is awesome, and HBO series are apparently contractually required to show a naked women in every episode, we already managed to cover that in the single least sexy love scene in television history between Melisandre and Stannis. I’m not sure that the interlude with Littlefinger was really necessary given the series time constraints. Also, could Stannis have been any more awkward?

Though I do understand that the scene should be as awkward as it is, because that’s what Stannis would be like, I don’t understand is why the television series producers would seemingly cheapen Melisandre’s character this way. I don’t mean because she’s having sex. This is Game of Thrones and we expect characters to have sex lives, and it’s heavily implied in the novels that there is some sort of sexual relationship between Stannis and Melisandre. It’s just that this scene made it seem like Melisandre was grasping for Stannis’ favour horizontally, which neither seems like her M.O. nor does it seem like it would work on Stannis.

In the end, I found this episode didn’t move things forward enough for my taste so I’ll go with a:

6/10

About the author

G

G has an overactive imagination and lives in a weird hybrid reality.

1 comment

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  1. Anonymous

    I luke this review because you get a few differing opinions. Keep it up. It sounds like u guys know ur stuff.

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