SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
This one’s for the girls! The women get highlighted in the second episode of the HBO series. Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) learns the fate of her father; the men of the North (loyal to Robb) travel to Riverrun for the funeral. Bran and Rickon could be in great danger (or worse). Catelyn reveals more of her story (and character) by recalling Jon Snow’s illness as a child. (I loved the piece of music that accompanied the scene!)
We meet the tough, straight-talking grandmother of Margaery (Natalie Dormer), Lady Olenna (veteran British actress Diana Rigg) who asks for a chat with Sansa. With some coaxing from the ladies, the innocent and sensitive Sansa reveals her true feelings for Joffrey. To sum it up: “He’s a monster.”
Margaery, who’s a clever young woman, listens to Sansa very carefully as she talks about the king. (The wheels are spinning in her head, no doubt.) Recall how she tried to make things work with Renly (who preferred her brother, Loras)? Later, we get the scene with Margaery, Joffrey, and a very fancy crossbow. Yes, she really wants to be “the queen.”
Arya (Maisie Williams), Gendry (Joe Dempsie), and Hot Pie (Ben Hawkey) meet some of the men from the Brotherhood without Banners in the woods not far from Riverrun (the ancestral home of House Tully). Their leader says that they don’t fight for any lord, but want to protect the forest. In the tavern, Arya’s true identity is revealed by The Hound, who left the royal court during the Battle of Blackwater Bay.
Another new character is Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick from The Diary of Anne Frank), who protects her brother Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster from Love Actually) on the quest to find Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright). They are the children of the man who saved Ned Stark’s life during the Targaryen rebellion.
Let’s not forget Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Jaime’s (exciting) fight on the bridge! They are getting to know each other (a little) and have good chemistry. They are both knights, but have very different values.
SPOILERS: Don’t read this review if you have not yet seen or don’t want to know details from the season premiere of Game of Thrones.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) has left his “brothers” of the Night’s Watch and traveled a long way with Ygritte (Rose Leslie) and her fellow Wildlings. He meets the much-discussed Mance Rayder (Ciaran Hinds), who was once a ranger, but is now “the King Beyond The Wall.” (It’s great to see Hinds on a weekly series; many of my regular readers will know him from Persuasion, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Rome, and more recently- Political Animals).
In Kings Landing, the recovered Lord Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) still has the loyalty of his (newly knighted) sellsword, Ser Bronn of the Backwater (Jerome Flynn), and young valet Pod. Too bad that his older sister and father still hate him, There is a great scene between Lord Tywin, the new Hand of the King (Charles Dance) and Tyrion, where both actors get to shine and reveal more about their characters. The son is rejected (once again) in a cruel manner.
We see that Ser Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham) is alive after the terrible battle which claimed his son Mattos. (I was especially waiting to see this fine actor return!) He’s picked up by his old smuggler friend, Salladhor Sam (Lucian Msamati), who advises him to stay away from Dragonstone. (Recall what Davos said to his son in Season 2? “You want me to have a god? Fine. Stannis is my god. He raised me up and blessed me with his trust. He gave you a future I could never have imagined.”) The very depressed Lord Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) sees no one but the “the red woman,” Melisandre (Clarice Van Houten). We get the impression that she’s running things, even burning prisoners who reject her god (“the Lord of Light”). Unfortunately, “The Onion Knight” is unable to persuade Stannis that Melisandre is evil, so is placed in the dungeon.
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) is worried about finding an army. Her dragons are growing up. Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen) is still by her side, though he’s skeptical about the future. (Glen doesn’t get to do much in this episode, but it’s great to see him, as usual. Let’s see him in some new/snazzy outfits!) The Dothraki are very uneasy at sea (“the poison water”). Jorah thinks that the eunuch/slave army, the Unsullied, are worth a look.
Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aiden Gillen) brings Lady Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner, now 17) a bit of news about her mother and little sister, Arya. He says that he can help her escape- soon. The disenchanted Sansa is still part of the royal court, though King Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) has chosen Lady Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer from The Tudors) as his future wife/queen. The Tyrells of Highgarden joined with Lord Tywin’s army to defeat Lord Stannis’ army (end of Season 2.)
I especially liked the dinner scene where we see Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) being supplanted by Margaery in the eyes of Joffrey. (Choosing an experienced actress like Dormer, aged 31, was a smart move after all!) Cersei can no longer control Joffrey, but perhaps Margaery is up to the task?