Game of Thrones: The Second Season – BD review
By Brian M. Sammons
Creators: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke
Yes this isn’t strictly horror, although it does have some awesome undead guys in it, but it is the best show on television right now. So if you like fantasy tinged with fright, splattered with violence, and then heaped with lots and lots of steamy sex (not to mention great drama, amazing acting, and good special effects), then this is the show for you. In fact, this is so the show for you, that chances are you’re already watching it. However, it’s my job to talk about such things, so without further ado, let’s get to it.
GAME OF THRONES is based on the A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series of books by George R. R. Martin, and while I have yet to read any of those books, those that I know who have love this HBO TV show. That speaks volumes on the quality and how faithful to the books the show is. And when it does break away from the cannon of the books, it does it so well that no one seems to mind. So with that kind of love for this show, there’s no way I’m going to spoil anything in this review for the few people out there who might not have seen this series yet. Read on without any fear of the dreaded spoiler dragons.
As the title suggests, GAME OF THRONES is more of a political drama than an action packed sword and sorcery epic like Conan, or even the Lord of the Rings films. That doesn’t mean that sword never meets flesh in this show, but the best parts actually come from watching how the characters interact with each other. Imagine that! This season picks up right where the previous one left off, and now there are five people calling themselves king and vying for the recently vacated Iron Throne. Each king is sure of their claim and cause and each has their own army to back them up. As if that wasn’t epic enough, there are whispers of a King Beyond the Wall from the far northern frozen wastes and the Mother of Dragons to the east. The gods of Westeros, the mythical land where all this takes place, play more of a part in this season. A new – god? – enters the fray with the happy title of “Lord of Light” but with a penchant for flames and summoning dark forces to get things done. And if all that wasn’t enough, there’s the ever present promise that “winter is coming” and the deadly, and undead, White Walkers that come with it.
That’s a whole lot of plot threads to keep track of, and if Season Two has any flaw at all, it’s that it gets really complicated really fast. Now, I followed things relatively well, as did many others, but I know friends of mine who were lost a few times as this season progressed. The first season of GoT had a bunch of characters to keep track of and this season seems to almost double that number. With that many people some of your favorite characters from the previous season seem to get a bit shortchanged when it comes to screen time. The lovely and badass Daenerys Targaryen leaps readily to mind as someone I wish there was more of here. So yeah, sometimes more is not better, but if this is how the books went then I really can’t blame the TV show for following them.
While the cast gets stuffed to the gills, the show is still top notch and not a single episode was a disappointment or seemed like filler. I can’t think of another TV show out there that I can say that about. GAME also has all the political intrigue, betrayals, gruesome deaths, and yes; loads of steamy sex scenes that you loved from Season One.
As impressive as this show continues to be, the extras on the new Blu-ray set is equally impressive. “War of the Five Kings” Is an interactive map that acts as a virtual encyclopedia of the war that rages on for the Iron Throne. It covers all the players, their history, armies, battles, tactics, and more. If you’re an armchair general and have got hours and hours to spend with this, you will find a wealth of information in here. “Histories and Legends” is a neat featurette where actors from the show will stay in character and give their opinions and thoughts on a bunch of different subjects while illustrations and animation keep your eyes happy. Such topics as the Greyjoy Rebellion, House Tyrell, The Night’s Watch, The Free Folk and a bunch more are covered. I have no idea how long this goes, as it seems to go on and on. If you want bang for your buck when it comes to Blu-ray collections, this right here seems like a pretty loud bang. There is a more traditional featurette on the Battle of Blackwater Bay that runs just over thirty minutes and a round table that runs just under thirty minutes with the producers and actors discussing their characters and the plot of the show. There is a short (about eight minutes) featurette on the various religions of Westeros narrated by George R. R. Martian himself. There are also a half dozen character profiles, or interviews with actors and creators, about specific people from the series. Additionally each episode has a pop up video kind of guide that plays while the show plays that’s just packed to the gills with info and trivia. And lastly, as if all that wasn’t enough, every episode (except, oddly, episode five) comes with an audio commentary tack, or sometimes two commentary tracks, featuring actors, writers, producers, and directors from the show.
If you liked Season One of GAME OF THRONES then you’ll like Season Two as it is more of the good stuff. If you didn’t like the first season…what is wrong with you? But more to the point, if you didn’t like GAME OF THRONES before, then you won’t like it now. However, as this show is just so damn good, I can’t even fathom who would not love it, so I can easily (and highly) recommend it to everyone.