Home > Game of Thrones, TV > Game of Thrones s2 ep 1

Game of Thrones s2 ep 1

“The North remembers.”

As do we, so the season 2 opener of Thrones doesn’t mess about with previouslies or people who haven’t seen season 1 – it’s every viewer for himself as straight back into the thick of the Game we go.

First up is a visit to Kings Landing where appalling little psychopath Joffrey has “blossomed” into the lovechild of Caligula and Herod, with all the tender sensibilities of that bloke from The Human Centipede.  He’s a keeper, that one. 

Joffrey’s lady Sansa, blessed with this particular prize of a life-partner, is almost-broken but not quite; she still has the Stark wits and decency about her, as well as some pretty solid allies in The Hound and The Imp – yes, Tyrion’s back in town!  And thank goodness for that.  Nothing about Game of Thrones is particularly cheery, but Tyrion is funny and clever and, in a canny move by the showrunners, taking centre- stage now Sean Bean’s much-mourned Ned is gone; somebody has to and Peter Dinklage’s accent may be a bit ropey, but his performance is anything but.  His irritating girlfriend aside, it’s a delight to watch Tyrion put Cersei, Joffrey and everyone else in their places effortlessly, while giving the bereaved Sansa some kind words and understanding to leaven her personal hell.  If Team Lannister are to make it out of the war with anything at all, it will be thanks to Tyrion, not his blinkered father, psychotic nephew or sister who can’t control her lunatic son any more.

Meanwhile, on Team Stark, a very different mother and son march towards Kings Landing as Robb, his mum and his army advance on the South, while Bran is left to govern Winterfell in their absence.  (Those Stark kids start young.)  Robb is his father’s son, but blessed with the shrewdness Ned lacked, which is just as well, considering how that worked out for him.  (Sorry, Ned.)  Anyway, apparently Robb is kicking ass all over the place and although we don’t actually see him fighting as such, we do see him winning a crucial battle nonetheless: his coolly authoritative confrontation with Jaime is nothing short of fantastic, and Richard Madden is magnificent in every scene he’s in.

Elsewhere, the Watch are heading north, and Jon – he’s so earnest, bless him – is doing his usual smouldering in the snow.  Aw, Jon.  Significantly less fetching, however, is the unspeakably vile fellow they meet, but thankfully we don’t linger in the House of Incest (Yes, I know that’s not their family name) too long: unspeakably vile fellow fills the Lord Commander in on an additional plotline, everyone threatens Jon a bit, and then we head off to hang out with Team Stannis instead.  Hello Team Stannis!  Not sure I’m all that pleased to meet you, though.  If the Watch represent the Ice side of the song, Team Stannis are all about the Fire: Stannis’s main squeeze seems to be a mad woman (lovely hair, though) partial to a) chanting and burning things and b) openly poisoning folk.  Because what the kingdom needs is another psycho, natch.

Or another prostitute practice session?  In fairness, we made it till the last few minutes before the random yet obligatory whorehouse scene and just a quick press of the mute button later (I don’t need to hear the moans, thanks), it turned from an excuse to shoehorn in some T & A to something far more shocking and horrible, and a clear indication that - in case we didn’t already know -  neither Cersei nor Littlefinger, no matter who wins their squabbles, are in any position to stop Joffrey from doing anything any more.  Better hope somebody else can, then, or life in Westeros is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better.

For the moment, though - apart from a mercifully brief visit to the desert with Daenerys, dragons and Dothraki – that is essentially it.  A sprawling cast of characters, wrangled into a marvellously tightly-written scene-setter for the season – not much actually happened, but absolutely loads of stuff went on, with each scene and each storyline compellingly and breathtakingly interwoven.  I loved it and, as far as I’m concerned, episode 2 really can’t come fast enough.

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Categories: Game of Thrones, TV
  1. Tim
    April 3, 2012 at 9:32 am | #1

    Magnificent stuff, despite the lack of battlefield action. As I’ve probably said before, this is Tolkein for grown-ups, although it’s clear the fantasy elements will be more prominent this season than last. But the series is all about politics and people, really, notwithstanding the odd dragon or dire-wolf.

    Don’t you just want to clip Joffrey around the ear every time he opens his mouth (or indeed every time he just appears on screen)? I can’t believe that the usually canny Cersei was so naive as to think she could place her wayward, psychotic son on the throne and then hope to control him.

    But you’ve got to love Tyrion, who let again gets the best line of the entire episode: “You love your children. It’s your one redeeming feature – that and your cheekbones.” :-)

    Having still not read the second book, it will be interesting to see how these varying plot threads are slowly brought together over the coming weeks. In particular, I’m scratching my head to work out how Daenerys’ plot-line will intersect the others, given that she is heading east away from all the action.

    Welcome back, GoT. You have been missed, but after one episode it’s almost like you never went away.

  2. Tim
    April 3, 2012 at 10:30 am | #2

    There’s a great in-depth behind the scenes feature on the Telegraph website here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/game-of-thrones/9160274/Behind-the-scenes-on-Game-of-Thrones.html

    Apparently they have filmed one epic battle scene for this season – which took them an entire MONTH to shoot. Epic, indeed.

  3. April 3, 2012 at 1:26 pm | #3

    For anyone who read my post earlier and wondered who “Andrew” Madden was – Richard, I meant RICHARD. It was late, I was tired…duly changed now, apologies to all Richards and Andrews for mixing them up.

    Back to the show: I don’t actually mind the lack of battle scenes, to be honest. I remember really struggling with the endless Battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers – it was dark, I couldn’t work out who was battering who… I’m not sure how I’ll cope with a mega-battle which took a month (wow!) to shoot, but we’ll see…

    I do indeed want to slap Joffrey about the head, though, and agree completely that Tyrion’s lines are great. I smiled at the cheekbones comment too :-) Am I the only one who’s not really bothered about Daenerys or her dragons though? Ian Glen is the only interesting part of that storyline for me. I like that he’s that weird combination of noble and shifty at the same time.

    • Tim
      April 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm | #4

      At least you didn’t say ‘John’ Madden …

      Agree you can definitely have too many battle scenes – you just get desensitised to them after a while anyway. And I much prefer the smaller moments when, say, someone gets beheaded in Kings Landing – much more visceral.

      I still can’t get my head around the logistics of shooting a battle scene over the couse of a month – so much continuity, so many extras, so difficult to follow, all for what will probably only be a handful of minutes on-screen. No wonder they’re not showing a battle every week!

      The Daenerys storyline (I’m assuming, I don’t know) is a slow-burning one. I’m intrigued, but it’s certainly not one that really reaches out and grabs you – although the ‘coronation’ of her brother was THE jaw-dropping moment of the first season for me. Iain Glen’s character Ser Jorah is definitely one of the most interesting of the lot.

      You can really tell that Peter Dinklage is having a ball with Tyrion’s character and dialogue, can’t you? I first saw him in The Station Agent (an odd but weirdly charming little film), via his role in Nip/Tuck and others – I’ve loved everything he’s been in.

      Incidentally, was I the only person in the world who didn’t know that Theon Greyjoy is played by Lily Allen’s kid brother Alfie?

      • April 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm | #5

        I did know about Alfie Allen, Tim, but I had no idea Dinklage was in Nip/Tuck if that makes you feel any better. Maybe I gave up on it before he turned up!

        Incidentally – a commenter on another forum pointed out that Tyrion’s accent sounds exactly like Victor Meldrew. Heh.

        • Tim
          April 5, 2012 at 8:34 am | #6

          I don’t belieeeeeeve it! :-)

          Dinklage’s role in Nip/Tuck was just a recurring one over the course of one season (four, possibly three). He was a creepy nanny looking after Sean and Julia’s baby. A baby slightly less prone to toddler tantrums than Joffrey …

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