Season Review: Game of Thrones Season 2
I’d like to thank Teylen, a loyal commenter here on I Just Hate Everything, for giving me the motivation to finally put this up.
I actually watched season 2 over a couple of days back in March, but have been putting off posting about it because my post about season 1 was such a piece of shit.
See, even I can be self-aware sometimes.
Whatever. The point is: I’m going to try to be less offensive this time ’round, but if you do have any complaints, I’m offloading all responsibility to Teylen.
Because the Internet allows me to spout my opinions and blame someone else for my ignorance. If tumblr feminism has taught me anything, it’s that.
TL;DR It’s still HBO-level pretentious and self-important, but the pace is better. Surprisingly (and in a surprisingly good way), Game of Thrones seems to be doing the Downton Abbey thing and transforming into a comfortable soap opera.
With blood and tits.
The plot brings the whole “Game of Thrones” aspect into focus, with several factions scrambling for their claim to the throne. Joffrey keeps that shit locked, down though. Ew. Subplots include Stannis and Renly Baratheon being li’l bitches to each other for the throne; Robb Stark doing absolutely nothing; Theon being a brat/child murderer; Daenerys doing absolutely nothing (except intermittently showing off/losing her dragons); Joffrey being a cunt; some bitch with red hair having a magic demon baby; Jon Snow doing absolutely nothing; Jaime being captured then set free by Mama Stark; Arya and Sanza doing absolutely nothing; Tyrion being undervalued; and Cersei being a fabulous bitch.
I just miss Sean Bean.
Like I said in the TL;DR, Game of Thrones seems to have fully embraced the soap opera format: have a fucking shit-tonne of characters, then you only have to incrementally increase their progress per episode to give the illusion of action. This is both a strength, and the show’s greatest weakness.
To its credit, this makes the scope of the narrative and the possibilities for stories impressively wide.
On the downside, nothing really gets going each episode. I binge watched the whole season over 2 days, and it still felt like nothing much actually happened. Game of Thrones slavishly devotes itself to telling every detail of everyone’s story, but is slowed down terribly as a result.
At least it’s more consistent than last season.
Why I hate this season:
Still, consistently slow is, well, slow.
My “chopped up movie” complaint still holds true, as well. I understand that the show is doing what it can to stay true to the books, but this is an adaptation. The key word there, for those of you who might have missed it, is “adaptation.” The writers should be doing more to make each episode feel like its own contained and relevant story, while adding to a season (or even series) long arc.
Maybe I’ll just never get used to HBO?
Daenerys, who is my favourite character because she is cute and blonde (#shallow #sorrynotsorry), finds herself completely wasting yet another season. All she does is roll around a different foreign wasteland while having zero effect on any other plot threads. Tyrion even says it himself: “The girl at the edge of the world is the least of our problems.” Get in amongst it, woman.
The nudity and sexual content seems even more irrelevant this season. It’s just there for titillation. It doesn’t serve the plot in any meaningful way. And where are all the dicks at? We get vag and tits in the face very 5 seconds. This isn’t equality.
Tyrion is obviously the creator’s pet (whether that be the books’ author of the show’s writers). He’s a fucking saint. He does nothing wrong and is totally sympathetic. He’s too flawless.
Bran is left in charge of Winterfell. You know, the crippled 12 year old. What the fuck? It doesn’t help that he’s bland (like bran. Burn) and pointless.
Theon is a little, daddy issues bitch.
Mama Stark is a self-righteous bitch.
Sanza is essentially a time sponge.
Robb marries some nurse chick, which will definitely fuck up that important deal he made last season. I think Game of Thrones just found its Serena Van Der Woodsen.
Oh, and the White Walkers are pushed out of focus again. They were in the very first scene of the very first episode of the series, and they only properly show up in the final shot of this season. To recap: although they were given the highest priority at the series’ outset, they haven’t done anything for 2 whole seasons.
Reasons to watch:
Much like the first season, the main draw of Game of Thrones is its fantastic production value. Call this show anything you want (I do!), but it sure as fuck isn’t cheap. It really does look constantly incredible. It’s HBO’s greatest strength.
Despite slowing the pace, the opening of the scope is exactly what Game of Thrones needed. I started to get a bit cramped with all the action in King’s Landing in season 1. And with more locations being fleshed out, Westeros is starting to feel like a proper world. As opposed to just a couple of disconnected set pieces that the Starks are rolling around in.
The introduction of legit, yes-this-is-happening magic opens up a lot of possiblities, too. Red Bitch even douches out a smoke monster assassin. If that’s not good television, I don’t want to know what is.
Daenerys is now able to use her dragons to kill people, too.
And Tyrion authorises the use of Wildfire, a green-flamed alchemical thing, to decimate Stannis’ siege fleet. And the CGI doesn’t suck. Good god.
Joffrey is starting to rival Kurt as the most love-to-hate character ever. He’s horrible. And great to watch.
Cersei isn’t far behind, but at least she gets to show the occasional glimmer of humanity. Joffrey ain’t got time for dat.
Arya’s one exciting contribution to the season is her befriending of a shapeshifting assassin. She’s a clever girl when she isn’t wasting time.
Gwen from the first series of Downton Abbey turns up as some chick from beyond The Wall.
Best line of the season goes to Tyrion’s guard dude, in reference to Joffrey: “There’s no cure for being a cunt.” I do love me some c-bomb.
A close runner up is this advice to Arya from some guy about alcohol: “You don’t drink it for the flavour, to be honest.” Yes.
Theon totally orders the murder of 2 random kids, whose bodies he burns and strings up, to stand in for Bran and Baby Stark. I lol’d.
Tywin Lannister is a pretty reasonable authority figure.
Oh, and Cersei has a moment of sympathy when she despairs about how her incest with Jaime is probably the reason why Joffrey is so fucked in the head. Don’t worry, love. I’m sure he’ll get better next season.