Created by: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Cast: Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Lena Heady, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Iain Glen, Harry Lloyd, Jason Momoa, Kit Harrington
Synopsis: The intrigue in this interesting series deepens. Bran, Stark’s son, remains unconscious after Jamie Lannister’s attack. His mother Catelyn remains by his bedside, while the Lannisters plot to confirm his death, fearing that he will reveal what he knows if he wakes. Meanwhile, Stark leaves with Baratheon on the way to Kings Landing, to take up his new post. Stark’s bastard son Jon Snow leaves with them to join the Night’s Watch. Meanwhile, the Targaryen’s begin on their way to declare war against Baratheon.
I queried whether this series could step up and on the promise that was made by the intrigue of the opening episode. It is with delight that I feel it is already to do so in only its second episode. Some of the links between story lines that I only guessed at previously were clarified, and by the episode’s end I could not believe that the episode was already over. As it turns out, it is shorter by about 6 minutes, but the difference I perceived can more likely be concluded to be due to being drawn much more deeply into the plot.
We learn how involved the Lannisters have been in establishing and manipulating the current monarchy, Jaime himself having disposed of the previous king (Targaryen’s father), and how his sister is now married to the man who replaced him. We learn her son Joffrey (whom suspiciously to me looks all Lannister without a hint of Baratheon now) is just as corrupt of spirit as his mother appears to be in seeking retribution for an insult which he brought upon himself. Overall, this is a family that is very well-played, and very easy to dislike, which in this case is perfect for dramatic purposes.
The Lannister to count as an exception is dwarf Tyrion. He travels to the wall with Snow as he goes to join the Night’s Watch. Tyrion’s motives are as yet cloudy. The interplay between these two characters is brilliant, building upon seeds that were established in the previous episode. Tyrion is clearly a character of great intellect, and it is unclear how well his personal goals move in parallel to that of the rest of his family. Peter Dinklage almost steals every single scene he is in.
The as yet separate storyline of the Targaryens does not get much screen time in this episode, and most of what there is features Daenerys, wonderfully played by Clarke. The character last episode and at the beginning of this one seems a creature that has no control over her own fate, subject to the ambition of her brother and the lust of her new husband. In her own way however, she takes the hand she is dealt and plays it with a quiet courage, and in her own way takes back some ownership of her own life, and to a degree also gains some control in her marriage. It is a subtle storyline, despite being filled with the ubiquitous HBO sex scenes, however I use the term subtle given that great character moments are established in these scenes.
As with the last episode, this one ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. Next Sunday cannot come quickly enough.
4 stars out of 5
Game of Thrones – The Kingsroad advertisement [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1WjL7YWL14]