Archive for the ‘Game of Thrones Season 2’ Category

It seems to me that episode four of “A Game of Thrones” has been met with either harsh criticism or praise across various forms of social media. In my opinion, I think HBO did an excellent job in choosing the direction in which to proceed with this episode. Most of the criticism comes from the last scene, which ill agree is a total WTF moment for most non-readers, however, I will go more into detail on this later on.

I’m sure that everyone can agree that King Joffrey may have crossed the line this episode. Not only did he have Sansa beaten in the throne room as punishment for her brother Robb’s victories in the field, he also brutally tortured two prostitutes sent to ‘calm him down’ by Tyrion. Many viewers thought this scene was unnecessary, and while I do agree this was very graphic, it was perhaps one of the most direct ways to show Joffrey’s sadistic tendencies and insane mindset. In the books, Joffrey is slowly transformed into an evil monster; however, the show does not have the time to accurately display this. This is why nobody can deny that in that one scene, everyone lost whatever empathy they may have had for the boy king, putting the show right on track with where it needs to be.

Keeping up with the dark theme of this episode, Arya finds herself at Harrenhal, a relatively abandoned mega-fortress that was severely damaged by dragons many years before the events currently taking place. Her and Gendry are both captives of the Lannisters, whom we soon find out are brutally interrogating and torturing prisoners. Gendry is almost killed until Tywin Lannister arrives, putting an end to the torture and personally taking Arya (unbeknownst to her identity) as a personal cupbearer. This should make for some interesting interactions in the future episodes.

Harrenhal in all of its beauty.

On a brighter note, Daenerys finally escapes the harsh elements of the desert when she arrives at Qarth, ‘the greatest city that is or ever will be,’ according to the people that govern it, named “The Thirteen.” While it took some arguing to make “The Thirteen” open the gates to the city, she finally succeeds and it seems that Dany is safe, for now.

The greatest city that is or ever will be.

Now we get to perhaps the most prominent and important interactions of this episode: Renly and Stannis. The two brothers meet, parlay, and bicker at each other until it is decided that nobody will kneel before the other one. Stannis gives Renly until the next morning to surrender and join him, or else Stannis vows to destroy him. We then find ourselves aboard one of Stannis’s ships at night, asking Davos to smuggle Melisandre ashore. Here is where things take a bizarre and disgusting turn. As Davos leads Melisandre through some underground tunnel, they find themselves blocked off by iron bars. Melisandre calmly says not to worry and proceeds to just flat out give birth to some demonic shadow figure, complete with freakish screams and a disfigured body. The episode then cuts to black. I guess most viewers thought that the episode could not get any more dark than it had been, and seeing this probably left a lot of viewers disgusted and violated. However, it is not like HBO made this up out of thin air. It is fully described in the books, and not only once. Speculatively, although the events play out differently in the book, I believe that Davos and Melisandre are under Renly’s camp; meaning things may not go so well for him in the next episode. We will just have to wait and see.

What a handsome child!

By far my favorite episode of the season so far, episode three contains enough action to satisfy the most bloodthirsty viewers while still developing the plot and characters tremendously. Every character is covered in this episode except for Daenerys and Robb, but the exemption of these characters led to stronger scenes with all of the other characters.

Jon Snow survives his run in with Craster and we finally learn what he has been doing with his wives (sisters) male children; giving them to the Others! For the first time since the prologue of the first season, we receive a glimpse of these scary looking dead humanoids hat the Nights Watch is so concerned about.

Renly receives a ton of attention this episode, as Catelyn Stark finally makes her way South to him to try and form an alliance between him and Robb. We are introduced to two more characters during his scenes: Margaery Tyrell and Brienne of Tarth. Both of these characters will play huge roles over the next few seasons, so get to know them now. We also receive that ‘sexpostion’ that I described in my last review, this time between Margaery and Renly. Margaery informs Renly that she is aware of his homosexuality, but also takes a mature role in saying that she does not care, as long as he can put a child in her. Renly is a king, and a king needs an heir.

Bran is plagued by another direwolf vision, but nobody is paying his experiences the attention that it deserves. Maester Luwin, Winterfells resident doctor, basically tells Bran that these are only stupid dreams, and they will pass in time. However, viewers can only imagine that these dreams will become stronger and more pronounced, giving Bran a very unique power that has the potential to cause some very severe disturbances.

Tyrion is up to his old tricks again, and this time he dismantles the small council even more with the removal of Grand Maester Pycelle. The way this was filmed was nothing less than brilliant, as the directors manage to fit three lengthy scenes into one short one while explaining his removal perfectly.

My two favorite scenes in this episode involve Arya and Theon. Beginning with Theon, this episode really confirms his transformation. He burns his letter destined for Robb that explains of an incoming attack, essentially cutting all ties with him. He is also ‘reborn’ in the eyes of the Drowned God as a true Greyjoy, and plans to sail off and attack the coastline in the name of his father.

Along with the letter, Theon burns his ties with Robb.

The show ends with an Arya scene, when the Night’s Watch is confronted and attacked by Queen Cersei’s men. Yoren is killed in an extremely heroic manner, being shot with a crossbow and still managing to kill four or five guards. While I knew about his death from the books, it still sad to see him killed, although I am pleased in the way they did it. Arya is then captured by the Queen’s guards, and through some quick thinking tells them that they have already killed Gendry, pointing to a body aside his iconic helm.

The editing, cinematography, and content all contribute to making this an excellent episode. We are now starting to get close to the halfway mark of the season, and new twists and surprises lie around every corner. Episode four should be even better than this one, as I have heard that it contains a major scene that is very famous form the book, although I am curious to see how it is adapted to the television screen.

Episode two of this season really brings back an element of the show that was not seen all too much in the first episode: sex scenes. There were three of them total in this episode, and while George RR Martin’s books also contain a lot of these scenes, HBO could do without so many. It is hard enough to fit 100 pages of a book into an hour-long episode, so the priority should go to scenes that drive the plot forward rather than catering to a largely male audience. Luckily, a lot of these sex scenes have been coined the term ‘sexposition,’ meaning that during the scene, the conversation between the couple stays relevant and actually adds to the story.

Aside from this, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. We finally get to see Theon Greyjoy on his way back to the Iron Islands to try and arrange an alliance between his father, Balon Greyjoy, and Robb Stark. He also very awkwardly meets his sister Yara (In the book her name is Asha but the directors of the show did not want viewers to confuse her with Osha, another character). Well, it turns out Balon wants nothing to do with him, saying that he betrayed his family. We also get a hint that Balon means to go to war and ‘pay the iron price’ in taking back his crown.

Theon Greyjoy all dressed for his return.

Arya Stark also gets much more airtime in this episode, traveling north with the Night’s Watch. A lot of plot development occurs in her scenes. We learn that the Queen has sent her men searching for Gendry, Robert Baratheon’s trueborn son. Also, Gendry learns Arya’s true identity, and some comical interactions soon follow. As a side note I believe that these two characters have great chemistry together, making their scenes very enjoyable to watch.

Nothing too much happens in the way of Daenerys Targaryen. She is still lost in the desert with little food and water. Viewers are probably beginning to sympathize with her as even with her dragons, she still displays vulnerability, especially when one of her scout’s horses returns carrying his head.

Salladhor Saan, a Lysene pirate, is introduced in this show when Davos successfully hires him and his men in their attack against King’s Landing when the time comes. This causes viewers to begin to realize that there is indeed a war coming, with Stannis at the forefront, and a strike aimed right at the heart of Westeros.

This episode was similar to last weeks in that we do not receive the bloodshed that we have become so accustomed to in the first season. However, watching Tyrion continue to defy the queen and essentially rule King’s Landing makes up for this fact. I assume that a boiling point will be reached very soon with many of these characters, as there are currently five kings, when in theory there can only be one.

Never have I eagerly anticipated the return of a television series as much the critically acclaimed “Game of Thrones.” I had prepared for the premiere starting weeks beforehand, constantly looking at message boards and forums both for new trailers and speculation from fellow enthusiasts. Although it has been about a year since I have read the second book in George RR Martin’s epic series, “A Clash of Kings,” to which the second season of “Game of Thrones” is based off of, as soon as the melodic intro (which I think is the best opening sequence of any television show ever) finished and the first scene began, I immediately felt immersed in this fantasy world that I had tried so hard to envision in my readings.
With that, I believe HBO does an absolutely stellar job in transcribing this series into television. With only 10 hours of airtime and over 1000 pages to cover from Martin’s book, it is clearly impossible to include every detail in the television series, and HBO cuts enough from the book but still leaves viewers with everything they need to follow the storyline closely and feel the emotion from Martin’s famously insane plot twists.
The first episode of the new season, titled, “The North Remembers,” brings a new challenging task to the table; the introduction of even more characters. If you had trouble keeping up with all of the first season’s characters names, than sadly this will be even harder. This is also a reason why “Game of Thrones” is not a ‘one-time’ only show. Personally, I have watched every episode multiple times and there are still times where I notice something or connect something I had never caught the first few times. Also challenging is the amount of sets that are needed this season. With all of the characters splitting up and almost every climate covered, filming needs to be completed in both cold northern forests (Jon Snow), hot deserts (Daenerys Targaryen), and everything in between.

SPOILER ALERT: WHAT FOLLOWS IS A SNYNOPSIS OF THE EPISODE

Summer is over, and so much is happening in Westeros. Tyrion is returning from the field as Hand of the King, and boy is he fun to watch. By now, everyone pretty much despises the Queen Regent Cersei, so having Tyrion shake things up a bit in King’s Landing is quite a relief as well as offers some comedic relief. Without going too much into detail, this episode presents the fact that even though Joffrey is King, Tyrion has all the power.
In the North, Jon Snow is venturing beyond the wall with a group of Nights Watch rangers as well as Lord Commander Mormont in search of wildling encampments. They eventually make their way to Craster, a wildling who is fairly neutral to the Nights Watch. He agrees to house them, but not before we find out that that all of the women milling about his home are his daughters, as well as his wives. Not too much plot development other than this occurs, however, the scary question arises about what he does with his sons.
Daenerys Targaryen is lost in the desert, after being abandoned by most of her khalasaar. However, she does have something that nobody else has: dragons, three of them. Her remaining followers are starting to succumb to the elements, so Dany must find somewhere to go soon, although we do not find out where in this episode.
The remaining Starks are scattered. Bran is the acting Lord of Winterfell, and it seems he does not care much for his duty. After having a particularly frightening dream, Bran straps onto Hodor, and sets out for a walk. Here we receive the omen that the red comet in the sky means one thing: dragons. Robb is still of with his host preparing for war. We receive a glimpse of his captive Jaime as well as his now HUGE direwolf Grey Wind (amazing job again, HBO). It will be interesting to see how their roles develop later in the season.
Stannis and his crew (Davos Seaworth and Melisandre) are also preparing for war against the Lannisters, for Stannis feels he is the rightful heir to the throne. We do not learn much except for the fact that Melisandre is definitely not normal when she sips a poisoned glass of wine and lives as if nothing happened. She worships a strange god, called the Lord of Light, and judging by her actions, she means business.
The show ends with us getting a glimpse of Arya Stark and Gendry, King Robert’s trueborn son, departing for the wall with the nights watch. And then that’s it, a full hour gone in what feels like fifteen minutes. Overall, not much action happened in this episode, however HBO needed an episode where they can shelve the blood and gore and produce a more diplomatic episode, which still did not fail to keep me thoroughly entertained. It is going to be a great ten weeks.