Well, I watched A Game of Thrones with a few friends last night. After our usual Sunday get-together was postponed for Easter last week, we had to do a little catching up and watched episodes 2 & 3 of Season 2. Since I haven’t discussed A Game of Thrones much yet, this is going to be a mini-review of Season 2.
My first thought is Season 2 isn’t quite as good as Season 1 (yet), but it’s got a couple of factors working against it. One, the new is bound to wear off.
Two, King Robert and Ned are no longer around and they’re friendship added a few embers of warmth that isn’t there.
I like the fact that George RR Martin has no sacred cows, but the story of their two characters tied the disparate plotlines together better than anything this year. Season 2 is really like a lot of short stories, not one grand epic story. To say A Game of Thrones is a ensemble cast would need “ensemble cast” to be redefined a little bit.
The Books versus HBO Version
By the way, let me say that I’ve read the first book, but I want to watch Season 2 before I read the books. I find the tv show spoils book reading less than reading the books spoil the television. Besides, I don’t want to be one of those people who say, “The book was much better.”
Of course the book was much better. The book is always better. I’ve noticed over the years that people who walk out of movie theaters claiming the film didn’t stack up to the book are really just engaging in a little name-dropping. They might as well say, “I read the book, you know.”
But on to observations.
Episode Three Starts to Shine
We had no Dany and very little of the cripped Stark child. I hate to say it, but these are my least favorite scenes. While I think Dany is hot and I think her story has a lot of potential, I’m getting tired of seeing her and the Dothraki wandering around the desert. We know it’s desperate, so let’s see how she overcomes it. Anyway, she was hardly seen in Episode 3 and that’s a good thing…for now.
Tyrion was in rare form. The trap he set for the various councillors was top notch. I’m sure things won’t go so smoothly for too long, but I’m tired of hearing how cunning all the king’s men are, so I’m glad to see someone new shake things up. Seeing the scenes with the leader of the city guard and the old man was priceless. Tyrion’s right, too–if you can’t trust the city guard not to betray you, they have to be replaced.
Something Is Hard Not to Notice
There’s no way to sugarcoat this, but George R.R. Martin seems to have a lot of incest in Westeros. I’d have to say it’s a defining characteristic. First, there was Jaime and the Queen. Then there was the implications between Viserys and Daenerys and history of it in House Targaryen. In episode 1 this season, there was the fellow across the wall with all his daughters.
Tonight, we saw Theon and Yara Greyjoy have an “interesting” meeting. Then Margaery Tyrell suggests her husband Renly bring her brother, Loras Tyrell, into the bed if that’s what Renly needs to get his blood up for producing an heir. By my count, that’s five and counting. I might be forgetting one somewhere along the way. Anyway, I hate to point this out, but it’s a pretty big booger hanging out there. I suppose these noble lines have a lot of secrets with blood purity and all–and the amount of depravity/perversity in Westeros would put most imperial Romans to shame–but the subject comes up so much that my watch group is starting to count the times.
Other Notes on Episode 3
Natalie Dormer was super-hot in her portrayal of Margaery Tyrell, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of her. Brienne of Tarth makes a memorable first appearance. It looks like the director used similar techniques that Peter Jackson used in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (for making hobbits seem small) to make Brienne appear huge. One would think she’s over 7-foot tall–a virtual giantess.
Also, has anyone noticed how often people want to show off how much power they have? Every episode, there’s at least one scene of power posturing by someone, where they show they have the power and may/may not use it. A couple of episodes ago, it was Cersei showing off to Littlefinger. Tonight, it was Tyrion showing off his newfound authority with Janos Slynt and Grand Maester Pycelle. Maybe it’s just a Lannister thing.
Review of Season Two
While Season 2 isn’t as good as Season 1 yet, this was by far the best episode of the season. This week actually had a plot, where the first couple of weeks seemed more about setup. By the way, that Stannis and his fire priestess sure are pieces of work.