Game of Thrones: 2.01 Review
The North Remembers (Season 2 | Episode 1)
WARNING – FULL SPOILERS
After what felt like a century away from our screens Game of Thrones finally returned with one amazing, yet hectic, premiere. We saw the introduction of some potentially brilliant new characters as well as a mixture of survivors from season 1 scattered across Westeros.
I hope you were paying attention to the map at the beginning of the episode because there was a few new locations added, most notably the Isle of Dragonstone. For fans of the books it’ll be a little easier to track where the action is taking place, if you haven’t had chance to read George R. R. Martin’s epic saga then you’ll probably need to keep a pen and paper handy because the chronicle has spread to every corner of the land.
For me the idea of having so many characters interacting with a whole range of environments is fantastic, that way the story will also feel like it’s growing and intertwining. My only concern is that it could become too disjointed, especially after three of the pivotal figures in the first season, King Baratheon, Khal Drogo and, alas, poor Ned Stark are no longer around to the focus of each story arc. What was great about this first instalment of the latest season was that it managed to reconnect with all the existing characters and add some new ones pretty much seamlessly. If the series can maintain this intricate narrative then it will surely be another great success, I just hope it doesn’t bite of more than it can chew. Speaking of chew, how big are the dire wolves getting?
Everyone’s favourite dwarf, Tyrion, strutted back into our vision like he’d never been away, whilst at the opposite end of the popularity contest King (ugh, I hate to say it) Joffrey was also back and, well, he’s still a little git. Playing god with the obese drunk, Ser Dontos like that was awful, thankfully the spirit of Ned Stark still lives on his daughter Sansa as she managed to manipulate Joffrey without him even knowing it. Sansa seems to have been drained of all emotion as she suffers a fate worse than death, holding the hand of Joffrey must be torture.
Peter Dinklage was well rewarded for his role in the first season and this time round he seems to have enhanced his charisma in the show even further. Strutting in to King’s Landing was brilliant, especially when he delivered the news to Cersei that Tywin had made him Hand of the King. Now that he’s firmly in the mix with Joffrey should make for excellent viewing as the most hated and beloved characters play off each other.
On the subject of King’s, this series is promoted with the strap line “Five Kings, One Throne”. Obviously Joffrey controls the Iron Throne at present so that’s the one King. Another then is Rob Stark who has declared himself King of the North. Accompanying him on his crusade is the captive “Kingslayer” Jaime. Things are going from bad to worse for him, not only does the whole realm know about him and his sister, he also got a face full of snarl from the beautiful, scary Grey Wind.
The news travels fast amongst the Westerosians, Littlefinger made a crack about it to Cersei and nearly lost his head for his troubles. What’s slightly more disturbing is the fact that Joffrey knows and received a slap across the face (thank you Cersei!) for questioning his mother about it. The truth of the matter is that he probably knows that it’s not a perverse joke, which is probably going to give his chaotic rampage on the Throne more gasoline.
Another King that’s throne his crown into the ring is Stannis Baratheon, brother of former ruler Robert. We don’t find out that much about this man other than the fact that he now follows the extreme Lord of Light religion and that he’s quite pedantic when it comes to dictation. Alongside him is the, possibly manipulative, Red Priestess Melisandre, a supposed vessel for Stannis newfound god. Hmm, I for one don’t trust her and neither do some of Stannis’ men, especially after she consumed that poison like it was a Jack and Coke (I guess the other guy must have ordered the Jack and Choke).
It seems family trees can become very, very twisted, but one character that can put the Lannisters to shame is Craster. Jon Snow and his comrade’s met this sister-mother loving Wildling way beyond the gate at his halfway house, and he had the cheek to call Snow a b******! He should really practice what he preaches. One important bit of information he did offer other than his eccentric love life was that Mance Rayder has proclaimed himself as King Beyond The Wall.
Meanwhile, Daenerys also made a return with her new pet dragon. The animation was great here and although we probably won’t be seeing these creatures every episode, it was important to remind us of their significance in this world. Arya we saw briefly is on her way back north whilst her brother Bran is currently residing over Winter Fell, a task that’s, well, pretty boring.
All in all, this was a brilliant welcome back for one of the best shows of TV. The first season was a new definition of fantasy at it seems that that was just the beginning. Roll on the next 10 weeks.
Scene of the Episode | Joffrey getting slapped – Okay, maybe this wasn’t the most groundbreaking part of the episode but hey, seeing that little git get hit by anything is a bonus. If and when I ever see this horrendous individual get killed I think I’ll punch the air so hard that I’ll suffocate from lack of oxygen.
Reviewed by Rich Jepson, cult TV enthusiast and author of 24: Terrorism Through Television.