As always, I should mention that I have not read the books (yet) and often rely on your further insights in the comments section. To me, every episode is like a newborn lamb.
I also wanted to make special note of the fact that this was directed by Alan Taylor who is at the helm of Thor 2. I’m hoping that this means that Thor will take a colossal shit before entering the great hall.
Our episode begins all up in demon-monkey/imp Tyrion’s grill. Spirited away in a cluttered chamber, his slashed face is bandaged and he is watched over by smug coffin-dodger Pycelle. Oh how the tables have turned! Tyrion looks and feels wretched, but a far more sympathetic Varys butts in and reveals that Tyrion was attacked by his own doods at the bequest of his sister and is no longer Hand of the King. The plucky little bugger appears to have lost everything, but he is granted a private moment with Shae. She wants him to escape with her, but he needs to stay. So she stays too and they have a genuinely touching moment. I really feel for these two and I’m eager to find out what Tyrion’s trajectory will be now he appears to be without a purpose.
In the Iron Throne room, Granddaddy Lannister Tywin, the newly appointed Hand of the King, is so goddamn intimidating that his horse can’t stop shitting. King Joff is being a total pimp on the throne and thanks the Tyrells for having his back. In return, Margaery of the Ever-Plunging Cleavage is actually masochistic enough to want to marry The Joff. It certainly appears to be a trade-up from Sansa so, while Joff does some faux deliberating, Pycelle gives him the thumbs up to “tap that”.
Sansa is thrilled that she’ll no longer have Joff’s evil, inbred babies in her, but Little Finger intercepts to take a piss in her cornflakes. Like the weasel he is, he warns her that Joff will continue to abuse and threaten her, but he will try to find a way to keep her safe - mostly because he’s still hot for her mother.
Now I have no idea how surly Stannis escaped from his defeat at King’s Landing but he’s back brooding at Dragonstone, furious at Melisandre for promising him a win. Not satisfied with her answers, he chokes her for a bit, until she assures him that his guaranteed win will just take some time and shares a vision of this in the flames. You know, I’m still kind of disappointed that Shadow Man Baby didn’t cause more of a ruckus this season. I really thought he was the game changer. I guess the fact that Stannis was given a beatdown for trying things the traditional way will (hopefully) be his justification for going full supernatural in the future. Then it’s going to be a Shadow Man Baby rampage!
Elsewhere, weak-willed Robb Stark marries battle surgeon Talisa against his mother’s wishes. Robb’s still pissed at her for releasing the King Slayer so Robb doesn’t give a damn. I know Robb’s a major player but he’s still such a non-entity for me. If you need to duck out for a minute or too, do it during Robb’s scenes.
Speaking of the Kingslayer, Jamie seems to be developing some unlikely respect for mighty woman-mountain Brienne when she hacks up three of Stark’s men who recognise him. If these two end up getting it on I will do an actual backflip.
In Winterfell, scurvy chav Theon Greyjoy is under siege and starting to have a sob about how unfair his filthy life has been. Luckily Maester Luwin is there to dry those fried-egg eyes and suggests that he pisses off down an escape tunnel and join the Night Watch with faux-bro Jon Snow. (The bastard). I honestly thought that Theon would go for it, but no, later he is seen rallying his measly 20 men for a final charge against the 500 angry Northerners that wait beyond the walls. He seems prepared to die but I thought he was going to send them all outside, close the door behind them and then scurry like a rat-man down a tunnel, but I was wrong! His own guys knock him unconscious, put a bag over his filthy face and drag him out of there. But not before impaling poor old Luwin with a spear. Is this the closest to a “major” death we’re going to get this episode?
Poor old Luwin starts to cark it under the smiley tree and Bran, Osha and co. come out of their hiding place to say their goodbyes to him. It all takes far too long so Luwin gets Osha to stab him to death. Bran is back on the run. Quite a task for a child with no legs.
Also on the run is Bran’s sister Arya who is traversing the countryside with the legendary Hotpie and that bastard Gendry. Master Assassin Jaqen appears out of nowhere and tries to convince Arya to go to Braavos with him and become a superfly ninja assassin wizard. Arya totally wants to but, unlike those other pussy Starks, she sticks to her duty and must continue to find her family. Jaqens all, “Okay be that way” but he gives her a coin and a secret phrase - “Valar Morghulis” - which she can use to find him. Then just as he’s about to leave he CHANGES HIS FACE. He’s a shapeshifter too!? And Arya’s all, “Damn! I could have been a superfly ninja assassin wizard shapeshifter. But instead I have to save Sansa’s stupid arse.”
Okay... now is Daenerys finally going to get to do something? After about four episodes of thinking about entering the House of the Undying is she actually going to do it? YES.
Although the tower doesn’t have a door, Daenerys somehow manages to enter, leaving Ser Jorah trapped outside. After navigating through the dark, she enters a dreamworld where she sees the Iron Throne room crushed by snow (a vision of the long-promised winter?) and discovers a tent containing the recently dead Khal Drogo and her would-be infant son.
It amused me because back when the character died at the end of season one I read an interview with actor Jason Momoa who said something along the lines of, “Look, just because he’s dead doesn’t mean he couldn’t come back. It’s a fantasy world. I have some ideas.” And I was all like, “Lol, STFU noob.” But he was right! And it was really good to see him, even if he only was a figment.
So Daenerys slips back into reality and finds her three baby dragons chained up on a pedestal. Creepy-as-all-hell warlock Pyat Pree shows up and magically chains her too, finally revealing his true intentions. His proximity to the dragons is responsible for making his magic so strong so he intends to keep her, and the dragons, imprisoned for a very long time. It’s resolved in about three seconds, though, when Daenerys issues a command and all three dragons roast the unsuspecting Warlock with hearty blasts of dragon fire! The chains disintegrate and Daenerys has finally done something badass!
She and Jorah storm Xaro’s room only to find him in bed with her BFF. So she marches them all down to the big vault to steal all the cash but it turns out it’s empty. The only thing the coffers of Qarth are filled with is bullshit. She looks Xaro and the BFF in the vault to die and then they start stripping the palace of all the gold fittings. It should be enough to buy a small ship and then they can hopefully head straight to King’s Landing and set Joff’s crotch alight.
And last of all we head into the snowy lands beyond the Wall where that bastard Jon Snow is still a prisoner of the evil Lord Skeletor. Fellow captive Qhorin enacts the final part of his plan, starting a fight with Jon and forcing him to ram a sword through him. Now fully convinced that Jon is not just a bastard, but a traitorous bastard, Skeletor frees Jon of his bonds and takes him to meet King Mance Rayder (not appearing in this episode).
Meanwhile Sam and his pals are making snow forts when they hear three horn blasts, signifying the dreaded zombie white-walkers. Sam’s friends hightail it but he is too rotund to keep pace and is forced to hide his girth behind a nearby boulder. Then holy crap, a huge undead army, led by raisin-esque leaders on crumbling horses comes marching past. It’s the big special effects shot of the season and looks like something out of a film. The steamy, blue-eyed zombies look like they kick all sorts of arse, but we’re going to have to wait a year, because the credits roll.
So that was a pretty great episode and a thoroughly engaging and entertaining season as a whole. But here’s my little gripe...
I still don’t think we advanced things that much!
At the end of season one Jon was about to breach the Wall and we anticipated all sorts of crazy whitewalker action! Well, instead he judged trudged around a lot, got bashed on the head a few times, stifled an erection, and became a prisoner. NOW we’re being promised the whitewalker stuff but I kind of feel that’s almost where we were at the end of last one.
Similarly, we started with Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie hunted and on the run. Well, that’s exactly the same place they are now, except they’re no longer with the Night’s Watch. But it took us a long time to get there.
Daenerys ended series one as a goddess who commanded dragons. We thought we’d see her devastate her enemies with fire. Instead she trudged around the desert and whined, and then she wined and dined. Finally she got to shoot off some flames but right at the end, which means she’s almost in the same place as she was at the beginning, except now she can afford a ship.
Stannis began on the fringes, plotting his attack. He ended on the fringes, plotting his attack.
Tyrion’s got nothing going for him now at all.
The Lannisters are still in control, it’s just that their internal structure has changed.
And Theon is still a chav.
Sure, we now have Shadow Man Babies, and shapeshifter assassins, and characters have certainly undergone ordeals which will shape their future decision-making, but it doesn’t feel as chaotic as season one. And we had no major deaths that I can recall, except for
It’s still one of my all time favourite shows and an absolute blast to watch - I guess ultimately I just want MORE of it. I’m so invested in these fictional goings-on that I’m always desperate to know what happens next and that means that certain storylines feel more drawn out than they need to be. Maybe it’s the universe’s subtle way of telling me that I need to pick up a book?
I love you Game of Thrones.