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KatG
June 4th, 2012, 10:17 PM
I enjoyed it. I was impressed that they used so much CGI after the Blackwater episode. There was a lot of dragon time.

Arya: I don't see that Jaquen changing his face is anticlimatic. Given that they significantly changed her Harrenhal experiences, the next step is for her to meet the Brotherhood without Banners, which isn't going to happen this season, so that just left Jaquen giving her the coin. I thought they did a lovely conversation between them. He gives her the coin and then he takes the third life she demanded -- his. Arya's whole storyline this season has been her relationships with men who are teaching her about different philosophies -- Yoren, Tywin, and mainly Jaquen. Yoren died, Tywin left (and as it happens, Arya doesn't have to go warn Rob since Tywin went instead to King's Landing,) and so it's an ending with Jaquen. With all the other big bangs, there wasn't a point to giving each story a big bang, and so Arya's ends not with a battle, but with a new beginning for her -- she's lost all her protectors -- her father, Syrio, Yoren, Jaquen. Now she's on her own, (well, except for Gendry.) So I liked that one.

Tyrion: The scene with Tyrion and Pycelle was precious. As Tyrion knows from when he arrested Pycellle in bed with the prostitute who Joffrey would later have tortured, Grand Maester Pycelle is not as decrepit as he pretends, Pycelle knows poisons and Pycelle wants revenge against Tyrion. So Tyrion was pretty freaked to wake and find Pycelle watching him with a grin, offering to get him a painkiller. Enjoyed that, enjoyed the conversation with Varys as well (though perhaps they are making Varys too sympathetic now.) However, the scar is just silly. It actually makes Dinklage look cuter. We knew they weren't going to take off half his nose, but seriously, that's an even more Hollywood scar than I was expecting. It was poignant to see Tyrion making the tragedy mistake and why he makes it.

Roz: Now we're finally getting some good use out of Roz. :) Great scene and now Roz has a decent protector since Cersei still thinks she's Tyrion's love monkey. It will be interesting to see how they have her be a double agent.

Sansa: After last episode, they didn't have much time to spend further on Sansa, but the scene with Littlefinger was wonderfully creepy. Sansa is faced with men she can't trust wanting to take her off and playing the hostage game. She's banking on still being a valuable hostage, since her Stannis gamble did not pay off. Margaery's cut down dress again -- no, we do not buy that this is the style for virginal maids in Highgarden -- was highly annoying. I don't mind the boobs -- they've turned them into a sort of punchline gambit for the drinking game -- but it just completely didn't make any sense. Even if it is the style in Highgarden, it's not in King's Landing and the Martell's aren't dumb enough to make that sort of mistake. Also, why would Tywin leave and let Cersei handle the negotiation? She's already proven she's lousy at managing Joffrey. So the scene didn't quite work for me, though the horse pooping -- cute for the drinking game, guys.

Jon: I thought that went fairly well, but was rather rushed. A lot of viewers are not paying attention to details, so have probably forgotten Halfhand's whispers to Jon that he needs to become a spy with the wildings in the last episode. I thought the actor playing Jon did a nice job of trying to pretend that he was furious and so killed Halfhand while being torn up about doing it. That hesitation before he turns and lunges was very good. But I think a lot of people may not have picked up on it. They probably shouldn't have been quite so subtle on it. But Ygritte hitting Jon on the head repeatedly? Great fun. It is a problem that they've had to spend less time with the Night's Watch community stuff, but they are following the main storyline.

Sam: Very much liked this, was surprised that we got to see the zombie army this season, nice and scary. The Other looked a bit different than presented in beginning Season 1, I think, though I'd have to go back and look. A little bit Crypt Keeperish, true, but still very unsettling. I'm interested in how they are going to do this next season, as the actual battle is not really entirely shown in the book and they've changed the circumstances. I thought it made a good ending to the season. I get a little bit tired of folk pretending that the Others and the zombies are not the most important thing in the story. So it was nice to have them end on the note that yes, here's what's really coming for everyone.

Brienne and Jaime: Sorry, but I loved this. The very complicated relationship between Brienne and Jaime is one of my favorites. With just Brienne and Jaime traveling to save cast costs, there are going to be some adjustments, but this one with his heckling, then them working as a team, then Brienne avenging the hanged women and Jaime perplexed, I think nicely encapsulated how their relationship develops. I hope they shave his head next season.

Stannis: A scene highly cribbed from Macbeth. I liked the strangling; it was appropriate to series Stannis. Melissandre comes off as way more of a con artist so far, but she actually believes what she's telling Stannis, so it would be nice in future if they somehow get that across. No mention of Davos at all, as they don't want new viewers to know till next season. So that one was okay, but Stannis is being turned a bit too much into a madman maybe.

Rob: This just gets worse and worse, although again, I like the actors. If they were playing other characters in another story, I'd enjoy it. But mostly I'm just going what, they're getting married already? Now where are they going? Who exactly is this woman, still? So while the conversation between Rob and Catelyn was nice, I think most agree that this added storyline has been very weak and mostly annoying.

Theon: This was another what the hell are they doing, for me. I had wondered if they were going to do anymore Theon storyline, since they were saving the burning of Winterfell and all the Ramsey stuff for later, we thought. Instead, we got another stuff is happening that we're not showing you because we're out of money bit, one that didn't make a great deal of sense. Instead of the incidents with Reek, the Beth Cassel incident; the betrayal in the siege, and Ramsey knocking out Theon, releasing Frey prisoners, and ordering Winterfell burnt, the Reek stuff was junked; Theon is knocked out -- and possibly carried off -- by his own men, not Ramsey; we never see any of the besiegers, much less civil war between them; and Winterfell is indeed burned and the besiegers all disappeared along with everyone at Winterfell, since their burnt corpses were not sitting around the wreckage. So the viewing audience who hasn't read the book were left wondering what exactly had happened and being totally confused. If they have it that Bolton only sent Ramsey's force, which makes streamlining sense, then that explains a lack of soldiers' bodies outside Winterfell from a civil war betrayal. But is the explanation then that Ramsey came into Winterfell that Theon's men had deserted, herded all the people out of it and then burned it and left? Why? So it was just strange. However, the bookends of Theon and Maester Luwin talking and Maester Luwin in the gods' wood with the boys and Osha were very nice scenes. Though Luwin didn't tell Osha to separate the boys, presumably because we have no Reeds as yet.

Danys: We learn that fewer of Danys' troupe were killed than we had thought, yay! The opening with her getting into the tower I enjoyed. I was not really surprised that they junked most of the visions and changed the ones they used. They don't want to give anything away, nor could afford it, so the feast of corpses, the slaves crying out, etc., were logically gone. And they didn't want to bring up Aegon either. In the show, it's been asserted in Season 1 that Lyssa was Robert's love and Ned's sister, Lyssa was taken by Rhaegar and later died, Rhaeger died in the war and his infant son, Aegon, was killed. And that's all that's really needed until much later. Instead, in each instance, Danys is presented with an option/vision -- the throne trapped in winter, the dangers awaiting at the Wall, and Drogo and her son in death, and she goes on from each because of the crying of her dragons. (And that makes three -- the (ruler) of the Iron Throne (possibly Aegon,) Jon, and herself.) There is the issue of the prophecies that Danys gets -- these will now need to come in other ways. I was not sorry to see the Undying hall and the giant heart go, though -- I thought they were kind of hokey. I liked having the three dragons now shooting fire, and it fit with their new idea -- the wizards want to feed off of Dany and her dragons and so steal the dragons and trap her, with the help of the merchant who gets to be king, underestimating Danys' own magic. But the wizards were then rather oddly surprised that they could get burned and went down too easy. So it could have been better designed. But the dragons are cute. The after results with them locking Xho and the betrayer Doreah in the empty vault, and looting his palace, was a lot of fun. I liked when she asked Jorah if the loot could buy them a ship, in a "see, I know what I'm doing" tone. We get to see another transition for Danys, and overall, while it was uneven, I think it pretty much worked.

So I didn't like how the Winterfell stuff was mostly handled, I'm tired of the muddied Robb storyline, but overall I liked the episode. I'm assuming they'll get the Bolton stuff together next season, which will let them continue on with various characters who are less present in Storm of Swords otherwise. I'm glad that they are apparently keeping a number of minor but important characters in. And they closed out with a ratings record. Second seasons are hard, but while this one was more uneven, I think they succeeded more than they failed, especially in the second half.

Evil Agent
June 5th, 2012, 03:05 AM
Well, it did get better on the re-watch. A few positive thoughts from my 2nd viewing:

-Stannis/Melisandre scene… is AMAZING.
-On the first watch, I totally missed Sansa’s little moment of joy, after being put aside by Joffrey. Loved it.
-Final Jaqen scene… sooo good!
-Theon and Luwin… perfect.
-Against all odds, the show made me like Shae. Biggest surprise of the season, to me.
-White Walker = mind meltingly awesome.
-and, well, House of the Undying was actually… kinda awesome.
-Daenerys at the Wall is the hottest Emilia Clarke has ever looked.

Still kinda bummed about the Jon/Qhorin resolution; it really feels like there is one crucial missing scene. But it wasn’t as disappointing the second time. It usually takes me more than one viewing, to be able to appreciate the show on its own merits (i.e. without as much comparison to the book).

4.75/5

Palfrey
June 5th, 2012, 10:39 AM
Everybody seems to be disappointed with the Jon/Qhorin arc. Many are worried that non-readers may not have absorbed the fact that Qhorin wanted Jon to kill him. I wonder if they will follow that up next season (filming has already begun, hasn't it?)

Ornery Wyvern
June 7th, 2012, 12:58 PM
One thing I am happy with about the series is that it is a work that rewards rewatching. Yes someone who dips there feet in will have trouble following, but that is only because it is so deep. Ultimately I think they have made a good call in leaving some things a little vague and forcing the viewer to recall events from previous episodes without spoonfeeding.

algernoninc
June 7th, 2012, 09:23 PM
Looking back now to the whole season two, I think it works better as a companion to the books rather than a standalone. Viewers who have not read the books are probably getting less from the experience and are missing some of the finer points of character decision making.

For awards, like last year, I would nominate the casting department as a whole instead of individual actors - they did a great job picking the right person for the job, and season 2 gave great opportunities to secondary characters instead of being a vehicle for Sean Bean or Peter Dinklage.

Luya Sevrein
June 8th, 2012, 09:07 AM
I think my real problem with the book-to-TV adaption is the actual story. The way George writes is very realistic - two people have an amazing relasionship or dynamic? So what? One could die like snap, or move away, and no more story for them. Someone deserves revenge against a specific other? So what? It's war, that 'other' probably died in a random battle. It's very... disjointed, and not continuous, but this is on purpose, I think.

However, I don't know how well it translates for people who haven't read the books and just see this as a piece of television. Stories seem to come and go all without point. I think many people were expecting Blackwater to change something more. Stories do not get resolved instantly, or at all for that matter, and it seems as if the Starks are just getting ruthlessly screwed over.

KatG
June 8th, 2012, 01:29 PM
Well, definitely the t.v. series is not going to provide as much back story and connection material as the books. Most of the prophecy material, for instance, that gives the events in the books a lot of richness as you hook things together, has been jettisoned by the t.v. series which doesn't want to give viewers clues about things that will be happening or might be happening, and doesn't want viewers having to remember all these different prophecies, which in the book are in writing, often get repeated and can be re-looked up easily. Additions to round out main character pov's have been largely more standard conversations, although I think they've kept to the spirit of Martin's work.

But I do think at this point viewers are getting used to the show's dynamic. The sexposition stuff went over very well and Ned's death let them know that main characters may unexpectedly die. And the main point of the story -- that everything is returning -- war, dragons, zombies and Others, winter and endless night, wilding invasions on a large scale, Targaryens, various types of magics, eventually the First Folk and such -- is fairly clear, I think. I think for the book folk, it can actually be harder, because we know when the story is changing, when characters have been altered, etc., and we tend to judge scenes based on what we think of those changes (or at least I find myself doing this.) Non-book viewers have to keep track of more stuff, but they also just get to enjoy all the surprises and get caught up in what happens on screen maybe more fully.

TooNice
June 10th, 2012, 03:11 AM
I watched all of season 2 again. Loved it. The show works so much better that way, rather than waiting every week for the next episode.

kged
June 11th, 2012, 05:50 AM
As this especially dreary Monday drags on, I feel it weighing on me more and more heavily; there is no Game of Thrones episode to look forward to tonight.

Tonight is dull, and full of tedium.

AuntiePam
June 11th, 2012, 12:38 PM
Tonight is dull, and full of tedium.

:D

I feel your pain. I'm re-reading. It helps, but it won't keep me going until season three.