Game of Thrones S02E01: Recap & Review-Season 2 Premiere Spoilers
Game of Thrones S02E01 Recap & Review: The North Remembers (Spoiler Alert)
Welcome back to Westeros, Dire Wolf fans! We're back with a spoiler-laden recap of Game of Thrones Season 2 Premiere… which contains spoilers.
Okay, I'll lay down the basic recap of Game of Thrones S02E01 for you right away, and then add more depth, snark, and, cheap shots at Joffrey later.
Speaking of Joffrey, after the Inception-clockwork-cities opening theme, we open the new season with King Joffrey Baratheon's
Bar Mitzvah Name Day, which he celebrates by upping the asshole ante substantially. Pretty sure that Commodus from Gladiator was the special event consultant. Sansa Stark is still at his side: she's still slated to marry Joffrey. Meanwhile, she has to watch drunk Captain America nearly get drowned with wine. (Actually, a Joffrey party is pretty insane: bumfights meets A Knight's Tale meets Comic Con.)
Sansa has spent so long as a deer in the headlights, surely her eyes should have adjusted by now. Either way, at least her deference is keeping her alive as Joffrey's hubris outgrows his fear of his mom. At least in this case, The Hound has Sansa's back. That's how you know how big a dick Joffrey is: if The Hound thinks you're too much of a bully... you're too much of a bully.
Tyrion Lannister, aka The Imp, is now serving as the Hand of the King. This is the most dangerous job of all time, and it's noteworthy that Tyrion didn't meet an unnatural end between the Season 1 finale and now, even though he's just arriving in King's Landing to start the new gig. Tyrion gets things started by establishing social dominance, making Joffrey squirm like the child that he is.
Winter Is Coming
Tyra-Mail! A raven confirms that winter is, indeed, coomin'. While Cersei is having a "let them eat cake" moment, she's interrupted by Tyrion, who's still on his Return of the Mack kick.
There's a scene between Tyrion "Impin' Ain't Easy" Lannister and Cersei "Shagging My Brother" Lannister that rules this whole episode: Tyrion spells out exactly how badly Cersei and her dumbshit son have been fucking up the kingdom. The more she realizes it, the more Tyrion enjoys their little chat. This scene is really about how, after a lifetime of being treated like garbage by his family, Tyrion is now the only one who can keep them from getting wiped out: Tywin can wage war, but not well as he thinks. Cersei can play at intrigue, but not as well as she thinks. Tyrion, on the other hand, is precisely as game-forward as he thinks he is.
It's Rough Up North
Bran Stark is left in charge of Winterfell, basically minding the household while the rest of his family is waging war. Who's even left in Winterfell, besides extras? At least Bran isn't making a dog's breakfast of this whole "little boy ruler" thing. Well, he has badass Dire-Wolf dreams, so there's that.
What's up with that comet? Is it an omen in favor or Robb Stark, or House Lannister? Or the return of the dragons? Or is it just a comet?
Daenerys in the Desert
Seeing the same comet (which is reminding me of that song in An American Tail for some reason), Daenerys Targaryan, the new leader of the Dothraki and the newly-adoptive mom of some dragons, has found some clothes since last we saw her. The bad news is that she and her crew are stuck in the deserts of the Red Waste, like Captain Jack Sparrow in the third Pirates of the Caribbean flick. Should she survive the Red Waste, Daenerys has to figure out a way to get the Dothraki to be less afraid of water, or their invasion of Westeros will fail spectacularly.
The dragons look fantastic, by the way. Too bad nobody knows how to properly care for them. There are no pet stores in the Red Waste. It ain't easy being Khaleesi.
Beyond the Wall: 'Don't Touch My Daughters/Wives'
Even further oop north, Jon Snow and Jeor Mormont are on their Wilding hunt, which may also be a zombie hunt, if memory from S01 serves; and they are deep into freeze-your-ass-off territory north of The Wall. Once you take The Black, you rarely, if ever, come back. Actually, it looks like the Night's Watch may have found Whistler Blackcomb.
They make it to Craster's Keep, home of Craster, a sort of Night's Watch frenemy whose own intra-familial freaklivities should earn him a spot on House Lannister's Christmas Card list.
Craster says he hasn't seen the still-missing Benjen Stark, but, then again, he's paying attention to other things, nudge, nudge, wink, wink... shudder. He's like, "I'm banging my daughters, and then banging their daughters. See? I'm not gaaaaay!"
It looks like the Wildings are fleeing even further north, rallying to a guy called the King Beyond the Wall. I'm sure this won't lead to any complications at all in the near future.
Melisandre's Beach Party
We get to meet Melisandre, a priestess from
Netherlands Essos. (Essos is the continent the Dothraki call home, on the other side of the Narrow Sea, as far as I understand. No doubt I'll get set right in the comments in about six seconds if I'm mistaken.)
Melisandre and Stannis are followers of the God of Flame and Shadow, which may or may not be depicted on the cover of Dio's "Holy Diver". Stannis pulls a burning sword from a burning idol, fulfilling, what, some sort of spurious prophecy?
Melisandre may be a religious minority here in Westeros, but she has big, big plans for Stannis, no matter how much it freaks out Stannis' other advisors. Say what you want about Melisandre, her hair is great, and she's immune to poison.
Oh, and Stannis is sending out a Raven email blast that Joffrey isn't a real Baratheon, but the bastard son of Cersei and Jaime Lannister. Snap. Speaking of Jaime...
Jaime Lannister: Somehow Still Alive
Well, Jaime Lannister has 99 problems, and Cersei ain't one… he's still a captive of Robb Stark (King of the Noooorth) and Catelyn Stark ("you fucking killed my husband Ned, you Prince-Charming douchebag!"). Jaime is alive (but somehow less blond) because he's still useful to House Stark as a bargaining chip, but Dire Wolves don't really give a shit about politics, as Robb reminds him. It would be awesome to have a vicious lupine assistant to back you up during meetings.
Robb Stark has actually been pretty good at this whole "beat the shit out of the Lannisters" thing, having won several battles already. On the administrative side, he let Theon Greyjoy, a ward (or captive/slave) of the late, great Ned Stark, return to his Iron Islands home, in order to get the help of House Greyjoy. Robb might even form an alliance with Renly and Stannis Baratheon; though we're advised that Stannis is basically the Martin Riggs of Westeros, only slighty more prone to violently flying off the handle.
Robb Stark isn't just about deposing the Lannisters: he wants a free and independent Winterfell.
Tyrion Lannister: Establishing Dominance, Cont'd
How pimpin' is Tyrion? Well, he's pimpin' enough to shag his secret concubine from Season 1 on Ned Stark's bed. Too soon? Not for The Imp. He tells his chica that he's crushed beneath the weight of truth, and, you know what, he's kind of right. Tyrion lies the least of any light-haired character in the show... because he uses the truth better as a weapon. At least, when he's not laying pipe like a pro.
Meanwhile, Petyr Baelish reminds Cersei that she is indeed part of the food chain... and she returns the favor. Joffrey must have gotten Tyra-Mail that he's not really Robert Baratheon's son. Clearly his blatant family resemblance didn't clue him in. However, he still thinks he's clever enough to be king.
There are a lot of the late Robert Baratheon's bastards knocking around King's Landing... and they're getting wiped out. We're talking everything from infants to teens. Robert kept busy. This is surely linked to that smug little motherfucker finding out that his mom is a brotherfucker. Does Joffrey really think he can control the city, never mind the country?
When push comes to shove/stab, will Cersei be able to kill her own kid?
Arya Stark Heads North
We barely get to see Arya Stark (oh, right, we're calling her Ary now) in S02E01. She's rocking a dude's haircut and hanging out with Yaron and the blacksmith's son; the internet told me his name is Gendry... oh, that would be the ex-king's bastard son.
Review of Game of Thrones S02E01:'The North Remembers'
I was so happy to see our old friends, frenemies, and enemies (except for Joffrey- seriously, fuck Joffrey) that I didn't mind that so relatively little happened, in terms of overt action, in this episode. (For those new to the series, Game of Thrones isn't about massive set-pieces, but small, world-changing moments.) Still, it sets up the chess pieces for further episodes, or, to mix metaphors, sets in motion the supertankers whose courses are awfully hard to change.
So, lack of action isn't the problem, but something else was missing... hmmm...
Ah, that's it: S02E01 missed the perfect opportunity for Game of Thrones' famed sexposition. I was surprised by the glaring absence of HBO sex during the Season 2 premiere, prostitute masterclass scene notwithstanding. This better not be the shape of things to come... The costume department spent a lot of time and effort on the characters' boots: surely they were made to knock.
Dire wolves... we are going to need more dire wolves in Season 2. Not that Robb Stark's wolf wasn't welcome, I mean, I'm just saying. More Dire Wolves. We now know that the production team solved the problem of how to bring the wolf badness, so what's the problem? Wolves in every scene with a Stark, please.
I'll update the review section as well as the recap as soon as I can, but I'm giving S02E01 four menacing glares out of a possible five. In terms of the budding season's faith to the source material, I have no idea: I'm approaching this series with no prior knowledge of George R.R. Martin's books.
This means that I don't know if Ned Stark will return mid-season as some kind of medieval RoboCop ("Thenk you fer ye co-opereeeishen"). If you've read the book, don't tell me one way or the other.
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