Game of thrones S2E2 review
|REVIEWS - TV|
Apart from the triangle boobs, The Night Lands set the scene nicely...
“The Night Lands”
Much like the second episode of the first season, “The Kingsroad”, the second episode of season two was another stepping stone setting up events rather than delivering upon them. That may sound like a criticism, but it’s actually a form of praise – not since The Wire (with the exception of Breaking Bad) has a TV show so effectively established build up on build on, before delivering an edge-of-seat climax. While not quite as breakneck busy as last week’s entry, 'The Night Lands' still took us even further into the as yet unseen lands of Westeros, with particular attention on the Iron Isles.
Home of Theon Greyjoy, it was great to see Pyke finally put on the screen, as well as being added to the ever-expanding opening credits (seriously, come season five that thing is gonna be long), and even better to see him taken down a peg or two. Theon manages to be the most unlikable “good” character on the show. He’s arrogant, self-important and has an ego far exceeding his real prowess. How rewarding then to see pretty much everyone look down at him as a green boy. The Northerners are generally considered to be a tough bunch, so when the Greyjoys think of Theon as a pansy for being raised there, that should give you some indication as to how hard and bloody these bastards are.
Theon’s endured a fair share of humiliation in the show so far, taunted by Roz, Tyrion, Osha and even Maester Luwin, but nothing can hold a candle to believing you’re king of the world, riding on a horse and finger-banging a girl you just met only to find out she’s your sister. Yara Greyjoy (Asha in the books) and father Balon, both bringing the appropriate level of craggy ugliness one expects from the Iron Isles, seem a decent fit within the show, though Yara (Asha, damnit!) is a far cry from the warrior vixen I’d imagined. I suppose I was never gonna get Carrie-Ann Moss (too old now, but pretty much how I’d visualized Asha), but I’ll give Gemma Whelan some time to prove her warrior credentials. While I enjoyed the Iron born mantra of “What is dead may never die”, the gesture that went with it had me wincing a bit – it felt like something out of Star Trek. One more thing – Theon’s salt wife is about the ugliest naked lady I’ve ever seen on television. And I’ve seen a lot.
Arya and Gendry got some much needed screen time this week, and I’m certainly hoping for more in the coming future. Joe Dempsie, a million miles away from his role in Skins, is proving to be an engaging actor and a great fit for “the Bull”. Arya’s revelation about her true identity to him was the first step in one of Game of Thrones’ more interesting partnerships, as was her chat with Jaqen H’gar, though I confess myself disappointed by his noticeable lack of a distinctive accent. At least his third-person style of speaking remains intact. Again, this is one of those story-lines that gets a lot more interesting towards the end of the season.
Tyrion’s dismissal of Janos Slynt as Commander of the City Watch came earlier than expected, and giving the job to Bronn instead is a very intriguing development, one that never took place in the books. Some fans might cry havoc at this, but it actually fits in pretty well and gives Jerome Flynn an excuse to have screen time, which can only be a good thing. Tyrion once again refused to mince words, telling Lord Slynt he wasn’t questioning his honour because he had none; he’s once again holding tight onto his spot as everyone’s favourite character.
Meanwhile,Cersei continues to show just how inept a ruler she is, plainly saying she doesn’t care about the people and believing that ruling is ripping out weeds one by one. Cersei’s melodrama is palpable and when Tyrion tries to make a joke of it and alleviate the tension, she turns on him by reminding him that in her eyes and her father’s, Tyrion is responsible for their mother’s death. Tyrion, usually so quick with a witty comeback, was silenced for the first time in history and Cersei reasserts her claim as queen bitch.
Mercifully the horrible triangle boobs of Theon’s salt wife were more than compensated for by Melisandre’s ample bosom and fiery locks. Her seduction of Stannis was hard to argue with – Stannis is an uncompromising man who follows the letter of the law, but even the honourable Ned Stark would have had a hard time resisting The Red Woman’s charms. The imagery of the tumbling soldiers, ships and figurines as the King pumped his mistress over the Painted Table was effective and an interesting commentary on the nature of war, though perhaps somewhat heavy-handed. Davos and Sallador Saan’s conversation was as enjoyable here as it was in the book, though Davos continues to be more outspoken than his literary counterpart and notably less humble. I like what Liam Cunningham is doing with the character, but it’s certainly a different direction to what I was expecting.
Jon and Dany again played guest roles in tonight’s episode, and it feels somewhat as though the writers put them in purely to reassure audiences that they haven’t forgotten about them. Hopefully their characters will get the time they deserve in the weeks to come – Jon’s arc over the coming seasons is one of the best in the series. Judging by the previews, next week will see us meeting up with Renly, the Tyrells and Brienne the Beauty - here’s hoping we don’t have to witness seeing her tits.
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