SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
Although I was late to the Game of Thrones after hearing raves about it at Comic-Con, I am now officially hooked on HBO’s epic series. I was engulfed in the intrigue and all-encompassing adventure of the seven kingdoms and was counting down for the Season 2 premiere hoping that my expectations after a stellar first season were met. I was not disappointed.
We were promised that “winter is coming” all season long last year and it seems that the chill is now most definitely in the air. The premiere episode titled “The North Remembers” is fashioned into somewhat of an update of what has transpired thus far and the tumultuous future that the season promises to hold. Westeros is on the cusp of erupting into a full scale country wide war with little monster King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) holding court on his name day ceremony at King’s Landing. For a seventeen year old actor, Gleeson is that rare thespian who commands the bravado and cruelty of his character with aplomb. Joffrey relishes his ceremony by watching contestants beat the piss out of each other for his entertainment. When one of the competitors arrives late for his match, King Joffrey commands his men to force a vat of wine down his throat. His childlike sensibility of his entitlement to the throne and that to him, this is indeed all a game is astonishing. Soon after, the “Notorious I-M-P” as I like to call him takes his place as the hand of the king. Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion Lannister as if he were a ten foot tall giant, not the “half-man” he is considered and owns every scene he is in, continually winning us over as the only likable Lannister.
Back in Winterfell, ten year old Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), the catalyst for the series when he was pushed off the wall in last season’s premiere is now the ranking Stark and Lord to which his people must bring their concerns. Although now a “cripple,” the wear on the young Lord’s face is unmistakable and his continued dreams clearly are foreshadowing of something very dark that is to fall upon his house. No doubt, winter is coming. Ironically the loss of the use of his legs has made Bran hardened and tough; far from the little boy who loved to climb last season.
After finally getting to see some dragons, albeit tiny ones last season, we get a brief overview of how Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has fared since losing Khal Drogo. The small dragon hatchlings that debuted late last year have not grown much yet but the recurring comet motif throughout the episode reminds us that there will definitely be some supernatural D&D dragon goodness later this season. And fire. I demand that these little flying Godzilla’s wreak fiery havoc! Fans of the series will remember how Lord Eddard Stark’s son, Robb, rose to become King of the North in last year’s final episodes. Thus far, his spoils include the capture of the sinister Jaime Lannister and three battlefield victories. Played with subdued confidence by Richard Madden, Robb is clearly his father’s son trying to skillfully move his pieces across the board by using action as well as diplomacy. His newfound role as the peoples King of the North has been swift and he is clearly still adjusting to his role as a leader.
Some of the new players include the introduction of Stannis (Stephen Dillane), the late King Baratheon’s brother and true heir to the Iron Throne. Stannis presents us with his own bid for the crown and his inner circle including the witching holy woman Melisandre (Carice van Houten) who clearly has the ear of the rightful heir. The episode concludes with the unseen order by King Joffrey to round up and murder his late father’s bastards of which there are plenty. In a bloody display of power, Joffrey is cleaning house Corleone-style to have a fresh start to his reign. However there is one bastard he missed and that is one that we are sure to hear more from.
The Game of Thrones Season 2 premiere has set the bar high for an epic sophomore season. I think that the die-hard book fans as well as the TV fanboys & girls will be ecstatic at the effort that was made in the opening episode to establish what is set to be a season to remember. Five Kings, one throne-let the Games begin…