Random Tuesday: Review - A Game of Thrones Season 2

If you've been around here for awhile, you probably realize by now that Fernando really likes Game of Thrones, both the books and the television show. Here are his thoughts on the most recent season and it includes spoilers, so if you haven't seen the last episode, be wary.


When we watched the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, it was over the course of a week. Watching any show in this manner makes the story much easier to digest. For Game of Thrones, it enhanced an already amazing story. The second season we watched patiently over the course of ten weeks. The strain of waiting from week to week became tortuous as the weeks went on. It was not a flawless season; there were episodes that lagged and episodes that were amazing in comparison. Overall the second season continued the brilliance of the first all thanks to the amazing performances of Peter Dinklage and Jack Gleeson.

Watching Dinklage’s portrayal of Tyrion Lannister is pitch perfect. Peter does an amazing job of acting as strategist, schemer, hand of the king, and my favorite, slapper of Joffrey Lannister Baratheon. Dinklege manages to both captivate and entertain. That brings me to the truly vile Joffrey, played by Gleeson. Gleeson is a sweet young Irish born lad, who has been thrust into playing one of the most evil characters in television history. Joffrey has no redeeming qualities, no glimmer of hope, no good side and that’s what made his character so much fun to watch this season.

So often in today’s dramas, the villain is forced to have a “likeable” quality or a moment of humanity; Joffrey has no redemption. Any semblance of good that the audience may have hoped he had has been beaten into submission, and had its head chopped off and put on a spike.  Gleeson does the simplest things masterfully - the loathing in his eyes, the detached tone - are all done like a seasoned pro.

 

If you’re a fan of the show, I dare you not to enjoy watching Tyrion slap Joffrey. That is how you know Gleeson is doing such a great job. I cannot state the sheer joy that comes from watching a character like Joffrey be on the receiving end of one of his uncle Tyrion’s lessons. I could go on recalling the show’s acting actor by actor, but those two were the standouts this season with an honorable mention going to Allfie Allan, because let’s face it, no character has devolved more this season than Theon Greyjoy.

The beauty of Game of Thrones season two was in the depth of story and in the expansion of the mythology.  Season 1 ended with chaos for the main characters. The second season took that mythology and expanded it. Game of Thrones had a dozen plots and juggled them all and with the season finale it capped some, continued others, and created brand new more mythical ones.

The last two episodes of season two, just like season one, are the most compelling and truly encapsulate the Game of Thrones narrative. “Blackwater”, episode 9, is the culmination of Tyrion’s war preparations, Stannis Baratheon’s war strategizing and the audience’s anticipation of an epic battle. “Blackwater” delivered on all counts. It was stunning to behold the battle, captivating to watch Tyrion deliver the heroes’ call to arms, shocking to watch Stannis’ cold calculating nature. My favorite show tweak was when the producers decided to hold the entire battle at night, thus making the sequence ten times more brilliant. The battle had explosions, flaming arrows and fantastic sword fights.  

The finale, “Valar Morghulis”, was an altogether brilliance of another kind. Daenerys Targaryen is finally showing signs of her true strength. She has almost fully evolved into a queen and has become a true mother to her dragons. Dany’s evolution in the first season was from princess to Khaleesi. This season it seems more a metamorphosis from Khaleesi to Warrior Queen. That change coupled with the three dragons made her a joy to watch this episode. All of these characteristics are on display in her final two scenes in the last episode.

The most potent image of the season is undoubtedly the last scene, just like season one! The first season ended with the rebirth of magic and dragons. (SPOILERS AHEAD)

This season one ups that one by giving the Game of Thrones faithful their very first jaw dropping images of an ARMY OF WHITE WALKERS!!  I was floored. I’ve seen the episode a couple of times now and it gives me chills each time. So much of the show’s mystique came from the very first scene of season one - a small group of the Nightswatch are ambushed while on patrol by the ancient white walkers. The scene was a short, tense five minutes and provided only small glimpses of the white walkers, just enough to provide tension to the scene. The final five minutes of season two provide enough tension to last viewers till next season.

 

SERIOUSLY SPOILER IMAGE BEYOND THIS POINT YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!

 

 

What you don't see in this picture is that dude is riding a freakin' zombie HORSE!