We return to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and watch as the drama unfolds on another season of Game of Thrones.
We open with the return of Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister to the city of Kings Landing and see’s the tyranny of his nephew the boy-king Joffrey. In a matter of minutes it becomes immediately apparent why Dinklage won the emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion. He has a real commanding presence in both spirit and proportion that embodies the very essence of his character. Watching him go toe to toe with coniving sister Cersei (Lena Headey) will be a rare pleasure which will make their relationship a real power struggle to watch in the coming weeks. The scenes focusing on the rise of Joffrey as King saw surprising acts of madness and ferocity which were as bloody as they were brutal. Being both awful as the are outstanding shows just how high the stakes are in this battle for the Iron Throne.
Season 2 see the introduction of new characters to this sweeping drama. On the Isle of Dragonstone we are introduced to Stannis Baratheon, the ‘legal’ king of Westeros, who is held in the sway of the mysterious red priestess Melisandre. Those who are familiar with the original books can be forgiven for being tentative about their portrayal in this episode, matched against the mark they had left in the imaginations of many. However, in our opinion, performances were pitch perfect, giving flesh to fantasy and containing all the nuance that has so far trademarked the series.
It was the scenes to the North that were less effective. Seeing the harsh conditions of the lands beyond the Great Wall felt a little melodramatic in its portrayal of the wild lawlessness. Seeing Jon Snow as the appalled witness felt more than a little forced and paled in comparison with the other building plot threads. Meanwhile the plight of the Stark children as they battle against the Lannister’s across every possible field of battle felt largely ignored this instalment. Hopefully these will be a greater focus on them in future episodes.
In a premiere episode that was packed with so much story, it would of been easy for Game of Thrones to spend several episodes re-establishing the story thus far. However, season two opens with all guns blazing, providing us with a solid and memorable opener to what is sure to be a great season.
Game of Thrones airs every Monday night at 9pm on Sky Atlantic and Sky Atlantic HD.
Featured image: Kit Harrington as Jon Snow. Photograph: Courtesy of HBO.