A Clash of Kings Awesome

The sensation continues to burn like wildfire

7th June 2012

This is a spoiler-filled review of the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. If you haven't watched them, look away now! If you've only watched the first, maybe this will interest you.

Between watching the two seasons so far of The Most Epic TV Series Ever Made, I've read the first three novels in the Song of Ice and Fire. This allowed me to notice an awful lot of differences between A Clash of Kings and Game of Thrones: Season 2. Most of it is relatively minor, but then you come across a ridiculously massive change such as Daenerys' dragons getting nicked. In fact, the whole storyline in Qarth is entirely different to the novel's version.

This in itself isn't a bad thing. It threw me out at first, but it allowed me to watch the game unfold with the same vivid addiction as the first series, as I was never quite sure which way the producers would take it. In fact, it gives Daenerys' chapters more vision and purpose, as in the book she wanders into the House of the Undying of her own free will out of curiosity. Her dragons are never stolen, the thirteen are not brutally murdered by Pyat Pree the freaky-deaky wizard, and the House of the Undying seems even more like some kind of weird Milk of the Poppy trip.

But it's not just the changes that were good. The Battle of the Blackwater couldn't have been done better, in my view - it was the best scene in A Clash of Kings and to dedicate a whole episode to it was absolutely the right thing to do. Stannis, Melisandre and Davos have been perfectly cast, and Jack Gleeson's portrayal of Joffrey as the biggest arsehole in the entire world is sublime. He gets all the subtle nuances just right, from his undeserved smugness and arrogance down to his childish fear when under mild threat. Similar is to be said of Archie Allen's display as Theon Greyjoy, the naive boy who betrayed his friends and de facto family in order to impress his biological family, who turn their back on him. Every expression Allen pulls shows his inner conflict, and he's fantastic.

And of course there's the Lannisters. I can't say anything about Tyrion that everyone else hasn't already said. He is amazing, and Peter Dinklage is just spectacular. Lena Headey also comes into herself as she has a bigger role this time round, playing the increasingly mad Cersei. And then there's Tywin. Tywin plays rather a bit part in the books, he's mentioned lots and seen little. But Greg Spence & co have really developed his character here in interesting back-and-forth scenes with Arya. He's a not entirely unkind man, it would seem - very intelligent, with a bit of love in his heart still... somewhere.

I could go on all day reciting how awesome every character and actor is. I haven't even touched the Starks. I know many were worried that without Ned Stark the whole series would fall apart but on the contrary, although killing off the main protagonist was a very bold move, it provides motivation for nearly all of the other characters and doesn't lack anything for it.

Overall the second season - much like the second book - isn't as consistently gripping as the first, but although its high points are less frequent, they're considerably higher. I could watch the wildfire on the Blackwater for eternity. And the best part is, I know that the next season will be sensational.

Valar Morghulis.