Game of Thrones Season 2 in Review

 Well, season 2 of Game of Thrones on HBO wrapped up a little while ago and I’ve definitely got a few things to say about it. WARNING, there will be spoilers in here about the books/seasons to come. Also, for everyone who thinks TL;DR when it comes to my posts, sorry, but I’m not a great condenser. Besides, GOT is too complex for just a couple of paragraphs in my opinion.
If you watched season 1 oGame of Thrones and had read the book(s), you were probably pleased to find that they followed the plot quite closely. Sure, they had to cut out some battles, locations, even characters due to budget constraints or simply because the story had to flow in a new medium, but overall it was a pretty accurate portrayal. In fact, many things the characters said on the show were direct quotes from the book. Now if you moved in to season 2 hoping for the same thing, you were probably very disappointed.
To put it kindly, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff took some artistic liberties with this season. Names were changed, stories were added and tweaked, subplots were thrown out, entire characters, battles, and locations were omitted. It would be pointless for me to dissect and debate everything that was different from the books because that would take pages and I fear that I would grow too old and weary to type out “Screw you, Talisa, or whatever your name is,” by then. That’s why I wanted to bring up only the things that really bugged me and some other points that I actually enjoyed. Read on!

Who are you and why should I care? (thank you, tumblr.com)

  • First up is Talisa aka Jeyne Westerling. She and her star-crossed love affair with Robb were my biggest problems with this season. They turned this timid, sweet girl in to this brave crusader who saws off mens’ feet on the battlefield by day and beds would-be kings by night. By changing her name, origin, and personality, they changed the dynamic between her and Robb completely. To be honest, this new salacious affair makes Robb seem more idiotic than he really is in the books. Instead of their “romance” being one night of passion followed shortly by a wedding to protect Jeyne’s sullied virtue, they become two lovers willingly giving the middle finger to Robb’s mother, the Freys, and consequently all of the North.
  • I know that some people were greatly bothered by the whole Tywin Lannister and Arya relationship, because it humanized Tywin on the one hand, and completely cut out involvement of key characters such as Roose Bolton and Vargo Hoat with the other. I actually enjoyed their fun little dynamic. We get to see little bits of Tywin’s softer side in the books (for instance, how he has Eddard’s blade broken down and reforged for Jaime) but we never get to see the real man behind the whiskers. I thought this little back-and-forth he had with Arya made him seem actually sort of charming which was nice.

found on geekenfreude.com

  • Now here is the second biggest grievance I have with the show this season. Just as they changed Jeyne Westerling’s character, they changed Shae. Okay, if you want to say that Shae was made Sansa’s handmaiden long before Sansa and Tyrion marry, fine, I’ll go with that. What’s the harm right? Just don’t make it out like Shae was Tyrion’s loyal and dedicated lover as well as some great friend to Sansa. As I recall, after they marry, Shae offers to screw Tyrion while Sansa is passed out in bed. Yeah, what a sweetheart! She also said that Tyrion was welcome to impregnate Sansa as long as he would come back and screw her for kicks. Yeah, not such a great friend to Sansa I’m thinking. I just wish they wouldn’t make her such an empathetic character because she’s really not. I don’t know if they’re just playing that up so her screwing over Tyrion in the end will be more shocking or if we’re supposed to feel bad for her. Either way I don’t think it is fair to Tyrion in a lot of ways.
  • As for another thing I actually enjoyed, I thought that The White Walkers (aka The Others and Wights) were really great looking. We got to see them a tiny bit with the opening of the first season and then the attack on Mormont in his chambers, but this is the first time we really got to see them in mass. It definitely looks like the battle at the Fist of the First Men is going to be amazing. I wonder if the White Walker on horseback that Sam makes eye contact with  is going to be the one he slays with the dragon glass. I hope they don’t take that kill away from him because that’s really a great scene and makes his character that much more endearing.

found on ibtimes.co.uk

  • I expect that the producers of the show knew that the audience wanted a great battle on the Blackwater. It’s such a huge driving force through two of the books that it wasn’t just another little fight that could be brushed under the rug. The wildfire and Tyrion’s face-slashing had to be included. Well, I think they did a great job working within the show’s budget. This isn’t a major motion picture, you have to remember, so you can only do so much. Though they changed things here and there, the battle itself was sufficiently gory and actually kind of beautiful. The acid green explosions were exactly how I pictured the wildfire scenes to be.
  • I took small issue with Theon killing Rodrick and burning the boys instead of beheading them. I get that they wanted to show his desperation for glory along with his quick descent into shame and self-loathing, but what about Roose Bolton’s bastard? How are they going to play this? Reek was a big part of the slaying of the Miller’s sons, the killing of the north men, and the taking of Theon into captivity. It just seemed odd to have Reek essentially replaced by one of Theon’s Ironmen. I guess we’re going to get to see him in season 3 if the exchange between Robb and Roose Bolton in the tent was any indication though.
  • Hmm…other things we seem to have to forget? Edmure Tully, Hoster Tully, Brynden Blackfish, and Riverrun altogether. Those characters come in to play when the true nature of Lysa and Littlefinger’s relationship is revealed, when the Red Wedding occurs, and the eventual siege on the castle. I guess we’re just going to lose those things or have them altered in some way like everything else. It seems like Edmure is going to have to come in to the picture next season at the very least.

    what no Lil Kim style Qartheen gown? LAME. (found on fanpop.com)

  • Finally, Daenerys’s whole story was out of wack, but I thought for changing the whole House of the Undying and what not, it looked pretty decent. I liked that she got to see Khal Drogo and her unborn son together. That moment really captured the essence of what the Palace of Dust does to a person’s mind. It shows you things that could still happen or could have been and some things completely outside of any reality. Still, why didn’t we get to see the Undying, why didn’t we get to see Rhaegar, and why the hell didn’t we get the prophecy of threes?! I can forget the other stuff but when, how, and from whom is she going to hear the prophecy that becomes so important to her fate? I guess that just leaves a lot of excitement for season 3.

So, to some it all up, if you can really draw anything from my rambling it is that while this season was not an accurate portrayal of the books in the slightest, it did capture the essence of them. It encapsulated the magic and human drama of the books that are really the most important things to hold on to if you’re going to start making your own version of the story. This season ultimately leads the audience in the right direction and I think that is what counts.

My best advice is to try and forget about the books while watching the show. I know it is difficult when you have all of these pre-conceived notions built up about the way things should look or the way characters should act. Really though if you just take the show for what it is, it’s still just as edgy and fantastical as the first season. Just forget what you’ve read if you can and enjoy the show!

For your listening enjoyment, here’s the badass song from the credits that basically foreshadows the Red Wedding in the next season.

Now that Game of Thrones, Madmen, and Hatfields & McCoys are all over, Ricky and I are really just counting down the days until Breaking Bad returns. If you’re a fan of the show, it starts back up July 15th. Be sure to watch because this is the final season!

About EBCorbin

Writer. Reader. Pumpkin Eater.
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4 Responses to Game of Thrones Season 2 in Review

  1. Andrew says:

    Haha, more Lil Kim/Game of Thrones references please!

  2. Marie Erving says:

    Yeah, my assumption with the changes in Talisa was that they were trying to make her a character that the audience should care more about, but it doesn’t really work. She isn’t any more relevant than she was in the books, where she was much more plainly a minor character.

    I actually kind of like the way Shae is being played, but since I know what’s going to happen, I’m watching her with the knowledge that she’s still doing what he paid her to do. I don’t know, I just think she’s more interesting this way when she comes off as a bit charismatic. Of course, if they make her out to be in love with Tyrion in the end, I might change my mind, but as is, I’d be bored watching a character who was more obviously devious.

    • I always like to hear other points-of-view especially when it comes to Game of Thrones.

      Shae is definitely a more dynamic character on the show, that’s for sure. I’m glad you’re not getting irked by her like I am. I’ll try to be more accepting of her character in Season 3, but I’m definitely keeping an eye on that tricky little minx.

      Thanks for the input!

  3. Pingback: Game of Thrones: The Season Three Wrap Up | theyellowranger

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