Game of Thrones Season 1 Episode 2 – The King’s Road

Daenerys, still adjusting to her new life as a married woman, turns to her handmaiden for advice and tips on how to… ahem… satisfy her new husband.

Ned Stark and the King set out on their journey back to the capital – Ned has agreed to become is friend’s right hand man. Ned’s daughters go with him, but he leaves his wife and sons – including the critically injured Bran – behind. The King is aware of Daenerys’s marriage and the implications of the exiled siblings’ alliance with Khal Drogo. He believes that a war is coming.

Catelyn Stark stays behind in Winterfell to tend to the injured Bran and the city. She makes some startling discoveries out about the King’s wife, and rides to intercept her husband and tell him of this new betrayal.

This episode of Game of Thrones is still a little all over the place – plot wise – but it has been divided up into three, perhaps four, distinct groups and storylines. Surely it will not be long before these converge, but for the time being, this separation allows the audience to catch up with the characters and their relationships with one another.

Plot wise, not an awful lot happens in this episode. Daenerys flirts a little with her handmaiden – who used to be a prostitute – and manages to regain some control in the bedroom, which surely is a comment on how she feels in her life at the moment. The King and Stark set out on their journey, but not before Catelyn tells her husband of her fears that he will cheat on her again; he already has two illegitimate sons.

One of these sons – Jon Snow – sets out for the Wall and begins his quest to become part of the Night Watch. Tyrion Lannister goes with him, and again is some welcome comic, and sarcastic, relief in the episode. Stark’s other illegitimate son, Bran, did not die from being pushed off the tower and an assassin is sent to finish the job. Happily, Catelyn and one of the direwolves get in the way, and the assassin is assassinated. Catelyn sets off to intercept her husband and tell him of the Lannister’s treachery. That’s just not going to end well.

Ned’s eldest daughter, who is travelling with him, is being groomed to marry prince Joffrey. This delights her, but Joffrey is a horrible child and – after being emasculated by Tyrion – takes his anger out on someone who cannot attack him back. That is, until a direwolf intervenes and protects those who cannot protect themselves.

The Lannisters just get more and more hateful with every episode. There have already been assassination attempts, lies, incest and now the direwolf is executed for protecting its masters. The problem is, though, that the characters are so well played by Lena Heady, Peter Dinklage and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, that they really are the characters that the audience can’t get enough of. Their involvement in the attempted murder of Bran is going to be a great story to keep an eye on, especially now that Bran is awake.

The inclusion of the Wall and the Night Watch in this episode, though subtle, reminds the audience that there is something more beyond the walls – the Winter Walkers – who probably will not take kindly to either of the parties that are sure to end up battling it out for the throne – the King and Viserys. I can’t wait to see more of them, and this supernatural side of the show.

The pace of the show has improved in this second episode – it does not feel near to it’s 55 minute running time – and while we are gaining a lot more information, it does not feel as though we are being spoon fed. The characters talk amongst themselves, and as they do, we gain a little more insight. The performances are all strong, especially the evil characters – Cersei and Joffrey – and of course Peter Dinklage is a treat to watch, even if his motivations are becoming slightly less clear. Yes, the story is still muddled, but there are so many characters to get to grips with, it is bound to get clearer as time goes on. One small complaint though – the opening credits, while clever, beautifully stylised and set the scene of the divide in this world – are just too darn long. Say what you will about Grey’s Anatomy, but that show sure has the titles down to a fine art – cold start, title card, back to the action. Long opening titles can create dislocation in the show, and Game of Thrones‘ opening sequence is almost 1 minute 20 seconds long.

Overall though, the opening episode of Game of Thrones caught all of our attention, and this follow up episode will ensure that the show keeps us enthralled.

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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