Spoilers for all of Game of Thrones follow, but it’s been two years so…that’s on you.
Last week I posted an article which said that Game of Thrones season one is the best season, but now allow me to slightly revise that statement: Game of Thrones season two is the best season. I have been continuing my watch of Game of Thrones (for the first time in 4K) and having just finished the second season I now believe it to be the best one for these five reasons I want to talk about this week.
The final point I raised last week so I felt like I had to bring it up first this time, Tyrion is at his best when handed the reins of real power at any time throughout Game of Thrones. Bestowed the title of Acting Hand of the King by his father, Tywin Lannister, at the end of season one Tyrion immediately sets to work upon arriving in the capital, scheming and plotting with the best of them for ‘the good of the realm’.
He’s effective too, immediately deducing that Grand Maester Pycelle is a spy for his sister and Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, throwing the former into a prison cell.
Planning the defence of Kings Landing and making his own allies at court is all second nature to Tyrion, and he does so in such a captivating manner that his scenes are often the highlights of certain episodes. (A point I am aware I also made last week)
Tywin & Arya
These two have some of the best chemistry considering how unlikely a pairing they would be if they both knew the other’s true identity. Rescued by Tywin from the pen of prisoners about to be tortured and executed by the Mountain’s men at Harrenhal, Arya finds herself put to work as Lord Tywin’s cupbearer, meaning she is present for all plans made by the head of the Lannister house for the war effort against the Starks and the late King Robert Baratheon’s younger brothers, who are also vying for the throne.
They share several interesting and humorous interactions throughout the season, with a clear highlight being Arya proving she can read during a war council, resulting in Tywin mocking one of his lieutenants that his cupbearer is more capable of reading than a highborn lord. It’s a shame they never meet again after Tywin leaves Harrenhal to ride to battle at Kings Landing, but as Arya leaves to continue her story immediately after it wouldn’t make sense for them to see each other afterwards.
Beyond The Wall
Even now that I know how Game of Thrones ends, the only thing that still truly bothers me is that we never see what is truly north of the Wall. Yes there’s lots of snow, rocks and dead bodies, but I feel the show had previously set up some big reveal that never truly comes. I got the impression from reading the books that there’s going to be some great mystery at the top of Westeros, with my favourite being that Westeros and Essos are the same continent, forming a strip of land around the planet only broken by the Narrow Sea.
The fact that the entire Night’s Watch segments of the season comprise entirely of adventures beyond the Wall is tremendously exciting for me. Skirmishes with the Wildlings and glimpses of the ghoulish and terrifying White Walkers bring the supernatural elements of Game of Thrones right into the foreground, and reminds viewers that (apart from the dragons and blood magic) this show isn’t just about medieval families battling for an iron chair.
The scene in the final episode of the season where Daenerys finds herself trapped and alone in the House of the Undying in Qarth is easily her best performance in any episode thus far. Haunted by visions which show her the roof of the throne room in Kings Landing smashed in with snow (‘snow’) gently falling onto the Iron Throne, as well as an alternate future where she had a healthy baby with her late husband Khal Drogo, give viewers an insight into how her story will eventually unfold years later.
Being rescued by her dragons who finally learn how to breathe fire upon command was a satisfying ending to her arc this season, and paves the way for her into season three very well.
Holy. Shit. I love Blackwater so much. Even some of the most minor details such as Lancel Lannister answering back at Cersei, and Bronn singing ‘The Rains of Castamere’ with the Lannister soldiers at the beginning, help make this episode the absolute stand-out achievement that it is, even considering the strength of the rest of he season. From Tyrion’s plan with the Wildfire coming to explosive fruition among Stannis’ fleet, to the Hound leading men to face the invading force on the beach, the cinematography in Blackwater is a truly tremendous feat.
That’s about it for this week! I won’t be convinced otherwise on the fact that season two is the best of Game of Thrones, that is, until I start season three which I am going to do now. Thanks for reading and I’ll speak to you again next week.