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Friday, August 26, 2016

Game of Thrones, Season 2

One of these days I'll catch up with Game of Thrones, since it will end at some point (even before George R.R. Martin, who wrote the books, finishes the last book of the series). I just finished Season 2, what could be considered the glory of Peter Dinklage, who, as Tyrion Lannister, further cements himself as one of the greatest actor/character mixtures in TV history. I looked forward to every scene he is in, every line he spoke. In another fifty years when they are ranking TV characters Tyrion, as played by Dinklage, will be near the top.

It had been two years since I watched Season 1, so it took me awhile to get a sense of who everyone was. There are so many young English men with beards! Robb Stark (Richard Madden) led his army against the boy king, Joffrey (Jack Gleason, in one of the most entertainingly over the top performances imaginable). At the same time, Joffrey's uncle Stannis Baraeton (Stephen Dillane) also wants the iron throne, and seeks to attack from the sea. Dinklage is "hand of the king," much to his sister's (Lena Headey) dismay, and outhinks his enemies at almost every turn. Almost.

Up north Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) is with the Night Watch. I forgot what they were doing up there, but he ends up captured by the Wildlings. Across the sea, Danaerys Targaryen (what a great name, but it's her title--Khaleesi--that people are naming their children) played by Emilia Clarke, leads her people across the desert, and stumbles across a city called Qarth, full of great riches. She wants a ship to take her and her baby dragons across the water to Westeros so she can claim the throne.

My favorite storyline involved Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy. He was abducted as a boy and raised by the Starks, but he returns home to the Iron Islands, where he is treated contemptuously by his father and sister. To save face, he returns to Winterfell, the Stark home, and since Robb is gone, takes it with only a few men. He then commits some heinous actions, and is a character both evil and pathetic.

This season seems like a holding place between seasons. The major arc is the battle between Baraethon and Lannister, but once again Clarke and her dragons are the climax of the season. There is also the inclusion of magic in this season, as Qarth has a sorceror who can duplicate himself at will, and a character called Melisandre (Candice van Houten) is the inspiration behind Dillane's march to King's Landing, and she uses some sorcery to dispatch one of his rivals.

The best characters are big--literally. I'm sure everyone got a kick out of Gwendolyn Christie as Brienne of Barth, who can beat in combat most men (she easily dispatches three at one point), and Rory McCann as the "Hound," the Lannister's killing machine, who has a surprising lack of loyalty. On the other hand, another favorite character is very small (and I don't mean Dinklage), and that's Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, who is on the lam and ends up as a serving girl to Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance, who now specializes in playing oily, evil men).

This series deserves all of its accolades. I'll have to try to watch more than one season every two years to catch up.

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