Apr 3, 2012

Game of Thrones S2: Ep1 Recap

I've decided I can no longer resist the siren call of that brave literary form that eventually entices all internet participants to crack their knuckles, knuckle down, and have a crack at:

Writing episode-by-episode fan-service recaps on epic genre television productions.

My love of the political-fantasy series Game of Thrones was born last year, when I ravenously devoured all 10 episodes over just a few days.

I haven't been obsessing over Series 2 - mostly because I was too busy on the state election trail to look up sneak previews and trailers. But I tell you what, the thought of another bloody serve of political machinations and brutal campaign life was sometimes the only thing that kept me going through another bloody serve of political machinations and brutal campaign life.

Now THAT's a visual metaphor.

And given my predilection for being slack with blog posts, I thought perhaps having a regular content feeder might be a good incentive to, you know, write.

The only thing left was to decide on a name. I needed something that reflected a recognisable element of Game of Thrones, and also one that underscored the communicative nature not just of recap posts, but of my role as a writer in general. A nod to potentially obsessive fandom craziness was a must, but above all, the title had to be suitably punny.

And I think you'll agree, the following hits all those points in just two striking words.

Dan once again answers my Photoshop help signal

Yes, the raven, the iPhone of Westeros, faster than 3G in a valley and more responsive to capacitive touch.

Now, whenever you do anything on the internet that will contain MASSIVE SPOILERS, it is imperative that you point out very boldly that your post will contain MASSIVE SPOILERS.

But I should also point out the perspective on how I view this series, so you understand my context.

I have NOT read the books. I came to Series 1 a complete n00b. I have seen all of Series 1 (several times over), and am watching Series 2 without any knowledge of what is to come.

So the rules of the recaps are:

*You don't need to have read the books; but you should have seen all of Series 1. There are some spoilers that I really don't want to ruin. Go get it on DVD, devour it, then come back and join us for the fun.

*I will always use a jump cut to hide the spoilers, and will be as obvious as I can to prevent you from accidentally finding out things. But at the end of the day, it's the internet. You have to use your own discretion. And I will be mentioning spoilers. Just in case you thought I was just saying that to be extra careful. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers.

*If you HAVE read the books - awesome. Love your work. I haven't yet decided if I want to, and I'm quite happy at this point having the story revealed to me in the televisual medium. So please feel free to comment (I'd love a discussion!), but don't list any future spoilers in the comments. If I see them, I will delete them immediately - but of course that won't stop me from seeing them. So play nice!

Now, below is the jump cut. If you click on that and expand the post, there will be MASSIVE SPOILERS.

Winter is coming. Enjoy!

RAVEN ON 1: This Shit Just Got (More) Real

Re-introducing multiple narrative threats was always going to be an epic task in itself, but a vital one to establishing the scope of the series, and to elicit the required "Oh yeah, THAT guy!" memory re-engaging moments from the audience.

And so we saw King Joffrey (boo!) getting his douchebag on in the Red Keep; Tyrion returning home to become Hand of the King; Robb Stark's growing confidence in battle (due in no small part to his now-massive-f***ing-direwolf); and Daenerys' troubles in the Red Waste (which kind of sounds like a time of the month thing; I'm really sad I thought that now because I can't un-think it).

We also met Stannis Baratheon, who appears a) f***ing nuts, b) easily led by spooky red-headed Kate Bush lookalikes and c) completely anally retentive. Which for this show means FUN TIMES AHEAD, WA-HAY.

"Stannis, it's me, Melisandre, I've come ho-o-o-o-ome,
so cold, let me poison some old du-u-u-ude..."

We even had a brief bit of sexposition, as Ros - evidently moving higher in Littlefinger's whorish ranks - instructed a newcomer to the den in the gentle art of bouncing up and down on a client's fundamental protuberance.

It was all topped off by an action of PURE. F***ING. EVIL. Way to go big early, GoT. Ain't much that tops discriminate baby-killing, but I'm confident you'll find a way.

With the exception of Tywin Lannister (probably off skinning a deer somewhere) and Renly Baratheon (probably off skinning the Knight of the Flowers somewhere), every main character had a moment, and no one outstayed their welcome. The only one I would have liked to seen more of was Arya, but her split second appearance at the very end of the episode left a delicious taste of "ominous" on the palate. Bring on next week.

Yay! (Best moments)

*Littlefinger throwing down to Queen Cersei, only to be given a colossally awesome lesson in what actually constitutes power in her world.

*Robb's direwolf. Damn.

*The sweeping shots of gorgeous rooftops and divine coastline of Dubrovnik, the Croatian city that doubles as King's Landing. Makes me want to return!

Zing (Best Line)

Tyrion: "You love your children. That's always been your redeeming quality. That, and your cheekbones."

Ewww, gross (a skin-crawl moment)

Captain Incest north of the wall. What was that about? Marries his daughters, who give him more daughters, who he then marries, to beget more daughters. Leaves Lord Frey for dead in the dirty old man department. I assume the heavy-handed "Don't mess with my daughters!" warnings to Jon Snow foreshadow him falling madly in love with one of them. Presumably the one with teeth.

Boo, sucks (a downside)

Oliver Ford Davies made a brief appearance as an adviser to Stannis Baratheon, who bravely swallowed poison, in an effort to get Kate Bush to follow suit. Sadly, he died. I've seen Oliver Ford Davies live, in a production of Hamlet at Stratford-upon-Avon. He was the best thing in the whole show - and his co-stars were David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, so that's saying something about the guy's acting chops. I'm really disappointed he couldn't be given a slightly longer-lasting role.


  1. It was a pretty awesome reintroduction to this world and these characters, but as I've said in the past, I would happily watch a show consisting entirely of Tyrion and Bronn having adventures in Westeros. Even so, the rest of the episode was pretty good too, I guess.

  2. "Writing episode-by-episode fan-service recaps on epic genre television productions..."

    me with great scream of "YAH"

    Excellent, and am looking forward to the future reviews. BTW have you read the review by Neil Genzlinger in the New York times http://tv.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/arts/television/game-of-thrones-on-hbo.html. WOW almost as crappy an analysis of GoT as last seasons review by Ginia Bellafante's NYTs review where she called it "boy fiction".

    Seriously why do these people get gigs as writers for the NYTs when your work is better researched, more enjoyable to read and to put it succinctly way awesomer.

    The whole of season 2 has been tied around this theme of 'what is power' over at IO9 they have a great reflection on how this theme plays out in the first episode http://io9.com/5898234/on-game-of-thrones-knowledge-is-power-and-truth-is-slavery

    Great idea the Raven On, can't wait for your episode two review.

  3. Hey guys, thanks for your comments!

    Stu - I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the Tyrion/Bronn bromance.

    Barnesm - I'm going to have to pick up my game. I just read that i09 recap. Holy moly. That's like, all literary and shit. Talking about great broad themes and stuff. Mine was mostly jokes. Hmm...

  4. Was anyone else waiting for him to put the flaming sword down and go "Owwwwwwwwww!" and blow on his hands?

  5. Look forward to it GC,great show.
    You'll like http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/magazine/peter-dinklage-was-smart-to-say-no.html?_r=1&ref=television

  6. Finally got to watch this ep. They do such a good job getting you back up to speed. I always have so much trouble keeping all these ludicrous names straight in my head but they put everything in context so it doesn't take much to join the dots.