Last season ended with fire. This season we ended with ice. With Game of Thrones season 2 over it’s time to set the countdown clock for next April. In the meantime I’ll be fighting with myself on whether to read A Storm of Swords or not. In the meantime here are some thoughts.
I Love You. I Love You Not.
Season 2 was hard to sit through at times. Not because I had a bloodthirsty need for a “Battle of the Blackwater” every other episode, but that some of the characters I loved(or loved to hate) became boring and nothing really seemed to be happening.
At the top of that list is Daenerys “STORMBORN” Targaryen. I understand why her character bored me and the bind series writers and George R.R. Martin are in. Hopefully they just give her something fun to do now. Have her show off some power lead her people and not give a fuck. She is the Mother of Dragons time to be the shepherd.Her adventure in Qarth was ok. Daenerys herself just seemed so weak after having an awesome finale moment. This is a character who had been literally fucked her whole life and we saw her mount it, taking control of it all in season 1. Now in season 2 she is unwilling to play ball with the powers of Qarth? Confused as to why the Spice King says she is bad business decision. She should know how politics work. This weakness does fall into the theme:of power doesn't come easily. I just wanted more confidence and less bellowing about how “"I am Daenerys Stormborn and I will take what is mine with fire and blood”. Of all the characters in the show she is one of the only ones I’d call “good”. Her scene with possibly the spirit of Khal Drogo reminded me why I loved this character in season 1. She will be a major player later on in the series I’m sure of it. We all just have to wait for that to happen which is the problem. It would be really interesting if they just cut her out of season 3 or 4 and come back a season later and see what has changed.
Joffery fell into the I love to hate you column in season 1. He wasn’t a major player until "Baelor", chopping of Lord Eddard Starks head. His limited use made him a good character you loved to hate. He was there to be an impudent brat prince that you wanted Tyrion to slap all the time. The dislike was born more out of him being a douchebag than any idea of him being cruel. In season 2 however he clearly crosses the line into cruel territory and is now just annoying to see on screen. This is some fan boyish rage on my part but Jack Gleesons acting post “Garden of Bones” has became more overt and embellished, constantly licking his lips while looking smug.
The inverse of Joffery in many ways was his betrothed Queen Sansa Stark. I didn’t love to hate her, I just hated her. Especially when the younger Arya Stark was doing things like learning swordplay. Sansa just wanted the idyllic life as the Queen of the 7 realms. How boring is that? Than her dad lost his head and she became a prisoner to the Lannisters. Her situation sucked in season 2. No friends, constantly forced to say how “Joffrey was her one true love” even though he had her beaten and publicly shamed. It made me feel sad for her character.She is the stereotypical princess learning that it’s not as pretty as she thought. She has started to fight back a bit, as much as she can anyway. Sophie Turner has mastered looking like a beat up unwanted doll.
Theon Greyjoy, you were untrustworthy when I first saw you and I was proven right. Seeing the fall of Theon Greyjoy was one of my favorite parts of the season. It’s tragic all the dude wants is to be loved and accepted. This causes him to do bad bad things all in an attempt to get his father's,his men, and his sisters respect. Robb would understand right? Nope. Nobody loves him. Despite his final scene with Yara I don’t think she loves him, she seems more committed to protecting him out of his last name than a true want to see her brother live. Love makes you do crazy things, like take over Winterfell and murder two small children and pass them off as he Stark boys. Crazy things aren’t thought through and he finds himself surrounded by northerners blowing horns at him. He isn’t really that bad, Maester Luwin rightly calls him out on his bullshit while offering him a chance at redemption only to be rebutted with “I’ve gone too far to pretend to be anything else,”. Theon was to in love with the idea that he is a badass Iron Islander to realize he was a solid northerner.
The characters that really made this show fun to watch was Charles Dance and Maisie Williams in Harrenhall. They just worked really well together. You had the tension of Arya trying to hide her identity while having to entertain her enemy Tywin. Luckily she dose entertain him and she gets another mentor figure. Tywin is a lion and plays with Arya much like a lion would some lesser pray. This did give Dance plenty of screen time and show that while Tywin might be a bad person he has his own somewhat honorable reasons. This whole season has made the Lannisters not as easy to blindly hate. Yea Joffery and Cerci are evil but could you say the same for Tyrion,Tywin and Jamie?
Central Character Needed?
I know there isn’t 1 central character in Game of Throne books. In the show the thing that helped glue everything together was Ned Starks quest to figure out why former Hand of the King,Jon Arryn died. This drove everything forward and gave you a reason to watch every week with solid sub-plots involving his bastard and Daenerys . Well Season 2 didn’t have that. Peter Dinklage now receives top billing in the show and his character has taken up that role. Only he doesn't have a mystery to solve. This whole season has been spread out with hardly any of the camps coming together. Later on there was the defense of Kings Landing to connect everything but for the most part Tyrion just played the game and beat people with his wits. It was entertaining to watch but lacked the intrigue Ned’s story had.Now Tyrion is on the outside looking in. I’m sure he will play a big role in season 3 but it won’t be the big role. Going into season 3 it will be interesting to see if the writers try to make another character the main one. Does this show really need one? Jumping across Westeros does make everything disconnected but that is how the books are. This is going to be the hardest part for the show. Accurately juggling all the characters needs and making the show entertaining. I love the acting but awesome acting in a room isn’t always entertaining.
Game of Thrones season 2 was entertaining and at times frustrating 10 weeks. I wonder what HBO’s subscriber numbers are like for the 10 weeks it is on compared to after it goes off.