"Game" On :: The North Remembers
Let’s see; when last we left George R.R. Martin’s depraved little world of Westeros (and beyond), we’d just finished lopping off the scruffy head of Ned Stark (Sean Bean)- which pissed his hottie son Robb (Richard Madden) into rebellion against the Iron Throne, currently being warmed by the fey, but sadistic, little ass of Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) and his mother, the conniving Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey). Ned’s bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington), meanwhile, and his black brothers of the Wall (remember - that big ice wall that separates the nice people of Westeros from the nasty things in the North) have decided to range beyond the wall for whatever reason... and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), having lost her husband and unborn son, throws herself and her fossilized dragon eggs onto the pyre with him (I’d have done the same - Jason Momoa looked like a damn good lay) and miraculously emerges from the flames... with three very-much-alive baby dragons covering her bit parts.
Those who have read all five of Martin’s novels (take me, for example), will appreciate the fact that Season 1 of HBO’s award-winning and critical darling "Game of Thrones" merely toyed with the depths of licentiousness and perversion that this otherwise Santa-esque older man penned. Now that the old king is off the throne and the proverbial (and literal) gloves are off, Season 2 gives us five different kings vying for the extraordinarily pointy seat of power in King’s Landing.
Aside from Joffrey, they are:
Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) - who has a rightful claim to the throne since Joffrey wasn’t born the son of the king, but rather is the misbegotten issue of Cersei and her brother. And while Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is nice to look at, that’s just wrong.
Renly Baratheon (Gethin Anthony) - who is the only character on the show, alas, who’s been boning the boys. I’d vote for him to become king, if only because if he and his lady Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer) would inspire whole new palettes for the land’s rather threadbare wardrobe.
Robb Stark - who technically isn’t really going after the Iron Throne; he’d be content with "King of the North"... although, we suspect if someone threw him into the thrown room at King’s Landing he’d probably hike up his knickers and give it a go.
Daenerys Targaryen - not really a King. More of a queen, really, who, if she can survive the harsh Red Waste across the Narrow Sea, might yet be able to claim Westeros, which is actually her birthright. But we’re thinking she might need those dragons to get a little bigger first. Perhaps she should try feeding them some of her Khalasar?
On to Episode 11! The now-lengendary introduction alerts us that tonight’s action will occur in King’s Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, Dragonstone (Stannis’ lair), and across the Sea in Vaes Dorhrak (sort of). Primarily, we’re in King’s Landing, where Joffrey is having endless fun cutting out tongues, killing peasants indiscriminately, and making his fiancée/captive Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) miserable - and while one would guess that his cruelty has her dress in a twist, we’re betting those it’s her drab congo pink dress that in fact has her clinically depressed. Fortunately, Joffrey’s uncle Tyrion Lannister (Emmy-winning Peter Dinklage) arrives... shortly... and begins his task of ruling Westeros as Joffrey’s "Hand" - his preferred methodologies involving an excess of wine and a few choice words.
Joffrey doesn’t like that one bit.
Meanwhile, in Winterfell, Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) Stark, having been thrown from a window in Episode 1, dreams he runs with wolves and is forced to sit and listen to the whining of Winterfell’s subjects. The sitting part is actually convenient, since he’s a cripple now, but even I couldn’t understand what some of these peasants were complaining about. No doubt something to do with the backsides of sheep, knowing George R.R. Martin.
Across the sea, Daenerys, her people and her dragons and all looking at each other the way you and I would visually devour bacon after Lent. That’s because, of course, Daenerys lost most of her friends when Khal Drogo (that Momoa hunk) fell off his horse (a very significant event) then died (not as important, when it comes to horsey people like the Dothraki). She sends three riders in three different directions to find civilization. Then, apparently, she and her dragons resume staring at each other all day, except for the necessary short breaks when she adjusts what looks to be a knotted rope brassiere.
Beyond the wall, Jon Snow and his brothers camp out in the holdfast of a bad-tempered man who marries his daughters and apparently does away with his sons. More on this later. Actually, maybe not. It’s kind of like watching snow melt - rather boring and emotionally frigid.
Far more invigorating are the new characters evolving on Dragonstone - Dillane has a wonderful intensity as Stannis, and his push-pull relationship with she-witch Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is deliciously dissolute. Not everyone agrees with Melisandre’s burning of the old gods in favor of her one true god; fortunately Melly has a stomach of steel.
More happened, of course, but I’ll let your DVR let you in on the small stuff. Like Arya’s adventures on the King’s Road. She’s small. And Tyrion’s illicit relationship with a whore. Small stuff all around there.
Until next time...