When we left off with Game of Thrones in the season 1 finale last June, we were left with numerous pressing questions heading into season 2. With a now significant fan base, all of which have surely read the novels at this point, would season 2 be able to live up to a new-found hype developed from the first season’s popularity? How would the introduction of Daenerys’ dragons be portrayed on television? Would there even be a season 2 at all? Thankfully the latter question was answered in the affirmative, thus allowing us to return back to Westeros for a second season, which promises to be just as dramatic as the first.
Season 2 wastes little time getting the ball rolling. We’re instantly returned to current reign of Joffrey, who at this point has seemingly brainwashed Sansa with absolute fear. It isn’t long, however, before the spotlight is stolen by Tyrion Lannister’s grand return to King’s Landing with the announcement that he has been granted temporary Hand of the King. Peter Dinklage, who took home an Emmy for his portrayal of Tyrion in season 1, is once again phenomenal in his dialogue with Joffrey and Queen Cersei. We then catch up with Daenerys, baby dragon on shoulder, as she leads her team through a desert known as the Red Waste. The one downside was that there was not more of her in the episode; Daenerys’ character development from timid dowry to bold leader was without a doubt one of the high points of season 1.
We then check in on Robb Stark, who has a very intense confrontation with the captured Jaime Lannister. Robb’s role in the episode, along with intimidating Jaime with his dire wolf, is centered upon his plan of attack as his army prepares to move South. He and his mother intend to find his sisters and extract revenge on Joffrey in the name of the fallen Ned Stark. Bran, another of the Stark sons, is still in Winterfell acting as Lord of the keep, and there is an emphasis in the episode on his reoccurring dreams and an ominous comet that flies overhead.
It has also become apparent that somewhere between the finale of season 1 and the premiere of season 2, the secret of Joffrey being siblings Cersei and Jaime’s love child has spread from Ned’s mouth to his son Robb’s ears. Littlefinger also implies to Cersei that he knows her dark secret and almost gets his throat slit by doing so. Things really pick up when Joffrey details to his mother that he has caught wind of the secret as well, and after Cersei slaps him when he shames the former King’s name, Joffrey reveals himself to be just as evil as ever when he threatens to kill her if she ever lay a hand on him again.
Of the many new characters lined up for season 2, one of them is Stannis Baratheon. Other than Stannis being the next Baratheon in line after the deceased King Robert, we don’t learn too much about him other than having taken up a religion that worships the Lord of Light, a fire god that supposedly speaks to the Red Priestess, Melisandre, another new addition to season 2. With the secret of Joffrey’s illegitimacy to the Iron Throne spreading like wildfire, however, expect a prominent role from Stannis this season. Melisandre adds a supernatural intrigue to the new season, as even though Stannis’ men have doubts about the Red Priestess, she survives a poisoned glass of wine while killing a doubter of her religious prominence.
“The North Remembers” is a fantastic start to season 2. We’re instantly reminded of the insufferable rule of Joffrey and the awesome wit of Tyrion right off the bat, and updates on characters such as Robb and Jon Snow don’t seem hurried or disjointed. It would have been nice to have more Daenerys in the episode, or to even have allotted more time for introducing new characters, but it’s understandable that only so much can be accomplished in an hour’s span. Nevertheless, the season 2 premiere is as intense as ever and wastes no time putting us back on the edge of our seats.
9 out of 10