“The night is dark and full of terrors.”
~Melisandre, priestess of the Lord of Light
After that delightfully tense, hard-hitting juggernaut of a first season that left millions of people thirsting for more, HBO began their second season of Game of Thrones tonight. Once again, they demonstrate their dedication to the solid storytelling and almost Shakespearean characters that earned George R.R. Martin’s original novels their acclaim.
[Warning: Spoilers of season one follow]
I won’t summarize the situation or world the novels take place in. I did that last year, and you can read it here if you need a crash course on the setup to this series, which is the finest cinematic fantasy since Peter Jackson immersed us in Middle Earth.
So, the war that Robert Baratheon warned us about is cracking wide open. Robert’s dead, Ned Stark has been beheaded, the Lannisters now seem to have a tight grip on the Iron Throne, and self-professing kings have been popping up like dandelions to challenge their claim to said throne. Whether or not you have read the novel season two is based on (A Clash of Kings), you are in for a real treat. Again, HBO is more than willing to adhere faithfully to the beginning of Martin’s novel, while adding some truly awe-inspiring new scenes. I won’t tell you what happens, but if you see the episode, look for the scene where Queen Cersei and four of her guards meet with Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish in a courtyard. By far, that is the strongest scene in the season premiere, brimming and humming with tension. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.
I will tell you only that the last scene might be hard for some people to watch, if you are very uncomfortable with the portrayal of children’s deaths. Otherwise, I’m not going to spoil anything more for you. If you haven’t caught the Game of Thrones bug yet, then what the heck are you doing reading my blog? Go get your hands on the DVDs and watch the first season. Now. Then catch up with the expertly crafted, high-quality premiere I just experienced.
Tonight, HBO has kicked the door back open to the treacherous world of Westeros, and what a reintroduction it is.