Sunday, April 1, 2012
Review: Game of Thrones ("The North Remembers")
*my reviews/recaps will not have any spoilers as they relate to future events but will have many explanations or clarifications of events currently happening on the screen so if you want to figure it out for yourself, read with caution.
it's hard to judge the first episode of tv seasons as they spend a lot of time setting up future events or reacquainting the audience to old characters or introducing new characters. although this episode picks up pretty much where we left off at the end of season 1, all the characters find themselves in new circumstances that need to be established for the viewers.
director alan taylor and the writers did a great job connecting the immense world through the visual cue of the red comet in the sky that everyone sees and interprets differently. it was a great technique and was the one stable prop as we moved around to all the different environments. i also loved seeing dragonstone (home of stannis baratheon) in the opening credit sequence and can't wait to see pyke and the riverlands in upcoming episodes.
when we left off last, tyrion was being appointed by his father, tywin lannister, to be the new hand of the king while he is at war. the hand is the king's senior adviser. as this season begins, tyrion arrives in king's landing to both king joffrey's and cersei's surprise. if you learned anything form season 1, tyrion is no fool and it will be fun to see how he interacts with joffrey and cersei as the season progresses. though they share the lannister name, disagreements over who has the real power seem to be forthcoming. jamie is still being held captive by robb stark, cersei is still power-hungry and joffrey is still a little punk who needs to be taught a lesson.
when we left off last, robb was being hailed as the new king of the north, as the decision was made to secede from king's landing. as this season begins, robb has offered terms of peace to king joffrey that includes swapping his sisters for jamie lannister and declaring freedom for the north. at the same time, he is making plans for war, entrusting his friend theon greyjoy, to seek the aid of the greyjoy fleet and the iron islands. catelyn stark is about to ride off to see renly baratheon in order to ally against the lannisters. arya stark is heading north towards the wall. sansa stark, still betrothed to joffrey, is learning that it's not the fairytale she imagined, but at least she's starting to show some smarts. bran, now lord of winterfell, is having more dreams, but instead of 3-eyed crows, he's dreaming that he's a direwolf. hmmm, interesting.
jon snow may not have the stark name but he has their blood. when we left off last, jon was heading north of the wall with lord mormont and a bunch of rangers. they hope to find benjen stark and figure out why crazy shit keeps happening up north (like zombies and shit). they shack up at craster's keep for the time being trying to get all the information they can from craster, who is a wildling informant. they hear word that mance rayder (a former man of the night's watch and self-declared king beyond the wall) has gathered up a huge army with intentions of marching south.
when we left off last, renly rode off from king's landing leaving ned to fend for himself. that didn't work out well for ned. hopefully, renly will do better for himself. as this season begins, we don't see renly in this episode but we hear that he has 100,000 men in his army which is more than anyone else. i guess the people really do love him, as sir loras once said.
this year, we are also introduced to stannis baratheon, renly's older brother and rightful heir to the iron throne. we find him in dragonstone, offering prayers to the lord of light. there are the old gods (those that the starks and the northmen pray to), the seven (the 7 gods the southerners pray to) and now the lord of light. the priestess, melisandre, declares that the lord of light will protect and serve stannis as he claims his kingdom. stannis, as he was described in season 1 by renly, is a harsh fella with a very very strict moral code... he believes his is the only true king and all others are theives (including robb, joffrey and renly). we meet his most trusted adviser, davos seaworth (who will play a big role this year) and see that melisandre is more than meets the eye (as stannis' maester tries to poison her but ends up being the one poisoned - this didn't come across well on the show but in the book it's obvious that he was willing to sacrifice his own life in order to poison melisandre as well).
when we left off last, daenerys had given birth to dragons after being deserted by drogo's khalasar. when this season begins, daenerys and sir jorah mormont are wandering with a small band of followers, trying to figure out which way to go in order to avoid confrontation (since her baby dragons are not yet ready to fight - they are still adorable however).
a couple of great scenes in this episode were not in the book. the scene between cersei and petyr baelish about power was quite powerful, as it were. seeing the city watch murder all of king robert's bastards was quite disturbing (it was barely mentioned in the book). both these scenes show how quickly the rumors of jamie and cersei have spread and the desire to dispel those rumors by force. i fear the lannisters doth protest too much.
there was not much action this episode, but the showrunners promise that it's coming. for anyone who had trouble following all the characters in season 1, it's not going to get any easier and for anyone who read the books, it should be easy to follow along as several minor characters won't be making it into the show (at least not this season).
i'm excited to see renly, which i assume will happen next week because that will introduce us to the rest of the tyrells (we met sir loras, the knight of flowers, last year). i'm also excited to get introduced to the greyjoys, theon's family, as they will play a major role this year. dragons and direwolves will be in full display so that's awesome. potions and spells will play a role as well. the interplay between the lannisters, starks and baratheons will be contrasted with the adventures of jon snow beyond the wall and daenerys across the narrow sea.
i'm excited to guide us through season 2 of game of thrones so would appreciate any comments or feedback to help structure these posts as we move forward. you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via twitter @hyperboleNOT, or on our wall on facebook at facebook.com/nohyperboleallowed, or just write something in the comments section below.
no hyperbole allowed rating: B+