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Apr 02 2012

Review: Game of Thrones Season 2 – The North Remembers

TYG Breaks down what we thought of the season 2 premiere of Game of Thrones, Hit the Jump to Read it

G

Well that was a bit of a let down. Obviously I’m not expecting anything in the first episode of a season to be earth shattering, but that one really went down with a whimper for me. After finishing the episode my first thought was what channel Mad Men was on. Which considering I’m a fan of the series and the books is a bit disheartening. I feel like the first episode of Season 2 covered a lot of ground but it failed to really draw me in and get me 100% invested.

The whole Stannis/Melisandre thing kind of fell flat with me and that’s disappointing as I love me some Melisandre. While the scene was short and to the point there wasn’t really enough there for me. So far I have no interest in these new characters yet. Though I’m sure based on what I know of the books that will change.

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) Smashed an amazing amount of face in this episode. That man is a champion. Also what happened to Lena Headly (Cersei), she jumped like 90 points on the I’m so hot I’m a damn fire hazard scale. In Season 1 she didn’t really do it for me, she was good,  just not omgwtf great. That all changed after her scenes with Tyrion, Littlefinger and Joffery. If Lena Headly makes me like Cersei I will “Shit Gold”.

Also Greywind almost getting his Jamie-chop on was amazing and it was awesome that Richard Madden (Robb) was able to come across almost as menacing as the Dire Wolf. I went into this Season worried about the actor’s ability to convey Robb Stark, and he’s just one more actor in this show who proved me wrong.

As for what went on North of the Wall and across the Narrow Sea… it was all right I guess. Basically just a lot of setup for events that will happen later in the season. and nothing really awesome transpired. Again though the caliber of the acting carried these scenes on its back.

Overall I give this episode 7/10

Mike

This was a very ‘everywhere’ episode, and well it had to be. Right from the opening title screen (which now includes Dragonstone) you had to realize that this episode was going to be quite busy. As a reader of the series, we have a nice bunch of new characters to meet, some of which are my favorite. (i.e. The Stannis crew). We’ll start with Melisandre, it’s all about the redheads. We do not know how she exactly made her way into the court of Stannis, but she introduces the Lord of Light, and in her grand opening scene, she set up all the statues of the seven and burned them as a sacrifice to her god. If that doesn’t make you noteworthy right out of the block, then the fact that your immune to poison will. The scene overall felt rushed, but we learned that not all the men like her, but Stannis likes him some redhead.

Let’s also not forget that Stannis has a letter made and sent out to the realm questioning the legitimacy of Joffery, and stating that he is an “abomination of incest.” As viewers we know it to be true, but let us see how the realms acts towards this claim. On the Lannister front, Cersei continues to have insecurity, and channels it through her inherited power, there is a lot to be read in her actions, and this episode give us a larger understanding of her character. Tyrion is still awesome, he is fantastic at getting under Cersei’s skin, but we see that old habits die hard. He has brought his ‘whore’ with him to Kings Landing, leaving him with a weak point. I have to mention this because the conversation between Cersei and Tyrion in the book was much interesting, “I don’t know what you see in Jamie other than your own reflection, It hurts that you would favor one brother, and not the other.” This allows Tyrion an entry into slap feast ’99, and makes for a fantastic scene. Lastly, Joffery is still a menacing psychotic, and even threatens to kill his mother, yup he’s the most likeable character in the show.

Jamie Lannister is with the Stark’s, and boy are they doing a great amount of awesome with the portrayal of Robb Stark. The wolf CG is amazing, the scene with Jamie in the cage where the wolf acknowledges that Robb has placed his hand on his back, but never breaks focus on Jamie left me with goose bumps. Robb has grown into his role as King in the North quite well, and has a 3-0 battle record on the field.

We left the Nights Watch last season travelling north beyond the wall to find their lost brothers, and to find out what exactly is going on with the wildlings. They passed five other empty wilding camps before making it to Craster’s. If you didn’t catch on, he is a wildling who lives alone with all his wives, which are also his daughters. “but what about his sons?” Jon Snow asks the tough questions, and he will continue too. Once again it was short, but the right amount of tension was added for things to come.

Daenerys small but sweet scene was to act as a reminder to where we left her last season. Although she ended on an elevated note, her situation was all but good. She has a weak group of left over peasants with her, she has enemies all around her who want to steal her dragons, and her dragons are acting like spoiled children and not eating. Her opening scene did not give her fans a lot of forward momentum in the form of things to come. However, there is only so much you can do in an hour.

Although not much happened in this episode there are a few important takeaways: 1. We are reminded that Theon is not a Stark, but a Greyjoy and his father was against the Stark’s in the last uprising; Theon was taken as a squire(hostage) for their defeat. 2. Mance Rayder is the King beyond the wall 3. Kings have popped up in every corner. 4. The Stark’s are scattered everywhere. 5. Catelyn Stark is going to talk with Renly 6. The acting on this show is more than I can explain with mere words. 7. The production quality is fantastic, and even slow episodes still pull you into the world of Westeros.

7/10

Lorenzo

Watching the first episode of season 2 is a very different experience for me than the first season. I went into the first season having never read the books and was drawn in immediately. So much so, that after the conclusion of the first season I ran out to buy the books and I devoured them.

While the this episode was of necessity all over the place, this didn’t bother me as much as it seems to have annoyed G. I think they did an fairly admirable job in trying to set up the wildly diverse storylines that thread themselves through the second book. With that said, I was also quite underwhelmed by the introductions of Melisandre, Davos and Stannis. It felt quite rushed and I don’t think they did a very good job of communicating the importance of the Lightbringer myth nor what Lightbringer is supposed to look like. Overall the scene left me fairly flat, but I also have to cut them some slack given the enormous time constraints 13 episode seasons place on them.

Another nod from me to Peter Dinklage for his continuing excellence in portraying Tyrion Lannister, but also kudos also for excellent acting by Lena Headey and Jack Gleeson as Cersei and Joffrey respectively. The three of them all worked wonderfully in this episode in setting up the incredibly acidic (and entertaining) sparring between Tyrion and Cersei this season, Cersei’s phenomenal pettiness and short sightedness, and Joffery’s monstrosity.

The goings on in the North were essentially purely set-up for events that come later, and I don’t really have much to say about them. They did what they had to, but talking to some asshole that marries his own daughters hardly makes for spellbinding television viewing.

I think the absolute standout this episode was Richard Madden as Robb Stark. I would never have expected him to be able to communicate such menace underlaid by such thoughtfulness as he did in this episode. The scene between Robb, his direwolf, and Jamie more or less stole the episode for me. One thing I will point out here is that this episode makes Robb’s decision to allow Theon to try and gain Balon Greyjoy as an ally much more of a calculated gamble than the short sighted foolishness it’s portrayed as in the book.

Finally, I actually quite liked how they handled Daenerys’ storyline in this episode. They quickly and effectively communicated a point that George RR Martin repeatedly rams home in the books: This may be fantasy and you may have risen from the ashes of a funeral pyre as the Mother of Dragons(TM) but that isn’t going to absolve you from having to deal with the practical realities of having to cross the Red Wastes nearly dying of starvation to avoid being murdered by the first band of armed men you come across.

Also Bran was around but frankly I give no fucks.

Overall an 8/10 from me.

About the author

Mike

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  1. costadesantos

    I dunno I kind of liked it. You cant expect every episode to have you on the edge of your seat.

  2. allieharch

    Nice write up!

  3. wefans

    I look forward to reading your reviews weekly, keep up the good work That’s Yo Garbage

  4. Loredo84

    I’m simply not excited for this Season – I hope to be proven wrong, but. . . we’ll see as it unfolds. In the mean time, I’m gonna go watch whatever Sean Bean’s going to die in next, ;)

  5. G

    Remember Kids.. Winter is Coming, and thanks for all the comments!

  6. Mike

    Sean Bean has mastered the art of death! He will live forever.

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