TV REVIEW: Game of Thrones Season 2, Episode 1 – The North Remembers

When last we entered the world of Westeros, the kingdom was divided by the death of king Robert Baratheon, the appointment of young Joffrey to the throne and the execution of Ned Stark.Season 2 of Game of Thrones picks up pretty much where season 1 left off, and a complex tale is woven in this first episode.

War is coming, it is inevitable. The Starks wish revenge for the death of their patriarch, Daenerys wants the Iron Throne for herself, the Lannisters are conspiring to keep one of their own on the throne, but Stannis Baratheon is a new threat that has joined the story. The battle lines that remain from season one are still there, and as political and magical games are played, the pieces are falling into place.

There is a lot going on this week, but fans of Game of Thrones will already know that there is nothing simple about this show. The creators and writers of Game of Thrones presume a level of cleverness within the audience and do very little to make things simple. That said, however, this is an especially dense episode. Let’s try and see what’s really going on.

The comet that hangs over the sky of Westeros has each of the factions in this brewing war questioning it’s meaning. To some it is a good omen, to others, ill and to still others; dragons. Bran Stark, who is now Lord of Winterfell since his father is dead and his brother away, is feeling the pressure on his young shoulders and dreams of a wolf; the symbol of his household. Jon Snow has gone north of The Wall in order to learn what it is to be a leader, but he hears of yet another army stirring in Westeros. Robb Stark still has Jamie Lannister in his custody and hopes to trade him in order to get his sister Sansa back.

Sansa is in King’s Landing and still betrothed to Joffrey. She is highly uncomfortable but sees no way out of the situation. Joffrey has become even more horrible – if this is even possible – since assuming the throne. Joffrey quickly butts heads with his mother Cersei and she realises that she may not be able to control her son as she would like. Cersei then enlists Baelish (who knows everything about her incestuous and murderous family) to help find the youngest Stark – Arya – who has been missing from King’s Landing since her father’s execution. The Lannisters do not yet know that Stannis Baratheon, brother of the late king, intends to stake his claim to the throne, and he has more than just might on his side.

Daenerys Targaryen finds herself in a weakened position for the first time; her husband is dead and she has sworn to lead his people, but they are lost in the wastelands and slowly starving. That said, she has her dragons and while they may be weak now, they will not always be.

Oh also, Tyrion Lannister reappears in King’s Landing with the news that he is to be King’s Hand in his father’s absence. This does not make Cersei very happy especially when Tyrion asks her how it feels to have fallen so far out of favour with their father. This acceptance is a new feeling for Tyrion; he has always been the outcast of the family and now he finds himself in one of the most powerful positions in the land. It should be interesting to see how the relationship between Joffrey and his new ‘hand’ play out.

In all, a jam packed episode of Game of Thrones. Plots are still being plotted and everyone seems to have their eye on the throne. Game of Thrones season one was a many layered and slow burning season, and it looks as though season two will be the same. As always, fantastic performances from the cast keep the show from sliding off into silly territory, Peter Dinklage steals every scene he is in and tensions are rising… fast. On a side point, great to see magic being finally used in the land of Westeros, and Liam Cunningham making an appearance as Davos Seaworth.

Robb Stark may be trying to broker peace in Westeros, but it seems he is going to fail. Game of Thrones is gearing up to be as dense and complex as season one and we can’t wait!

GS Reviewer: Brogen Hayes

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