Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Episode 2 'The Night Lands'

It didn't seem like it, but a lot of stuff happened this week on 'Game of Thrones'. The show at this point is still keeping the slower pace of the previous episode, but that is only adding to the build of tension towards the inevitable conflicts.We met a few more new characters and started to get into some of the stories that were introduced last week.

What struck me most about this episode is how it diverges more than any episode i remember from the book. Nothing really game changing, but still pretty substantial changes. I wont spoil anything, but a secondary character that's still around in the 5th book got whacked, and a couple minor characters are either eliminated or replaced by familiar faces and they have renamed another. Like i said, nothing big at this point but it will be interesting to see the repercussions of these decisions as G. R. R. Martin Finishes the series.

This Episode focused on two storylines for most of the Episode, Tyrion getting to work as Hand of the King, and Theon Greyjoy's homecoming. As i said a week ago, all the tyrion scenes are great, and we even got to see a more serious side of him on a couple of occasions which is nice. Theon's homecoming, while altered slightly, still plays as i had imagined from the books. The residents of the iron islands are portrayed perfectly. And Balon Greyjoy's complete lack of compassion for Theon really makes you care about somone who is generally a douchbag the rest of the time. This is one of the great strengths of this story, how from scene to scene, you can love or loath any particular character, well, except Joffery. He has no redeeming qualities. This aspect really comes into play later with Jamie Lannister, ya know, the guy who tried to kill a little kid. Yeah, he becomes a likeable guy.

Elsewhere in westeros, we  got to meet Arry and more of his unsavory companions,  find out more about Craster and his twisted ways, and hear Stannis express some of his concerns about fighting this war. I really enjoyed Arya's scenes. The interactions between the characters were great and didn't feel like they were shoehorned in like other dialogue heavy sequences (Ros+Littlefinger). The Night's watch scenes worked well too, and diehard fans will be happy to hear the new CG Ghost is as silent as the one in the book. I'm still not too keen on the look of the white walkers though.

It's possible that because i know what's coming, I'm getting more excited than i should about this season so far. As illustrated on Stannis' map-like Council table, the pieces are moving into place and everyone is simply getting ready for the Fight. That makes all the scheming and plotting feel a little more important in these early episodes.

I give "The Night Lands" 5 out of 7 stars. 

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