I have not read GRRM’s books, and probably won’t; I’ve got too impatient for big fat fantasy novels that aren’t finished yet. I wasn’t sure that I would watch the TV show either, but look at me now… we’ve just finished season 2. Yes, season 2; if anyone reveals any spoilers for season 3 of the TV show or anything from the books in the comments, so help me I will hunt you down and CRY AT YOU.
These are just some random thoughts about the show so far; there’s so much amazing criticism out there that another commentary almost feels pointless (not that I’ve read most of it because yo, SPOILERS). There are, of course, spoilers below for s1 and 2, in case there’s anyone who cares and is even further behind than me.
Someone – maybe Sean? – at last year’s Continuum warned me about something nasty in the first couple of episodes of this season, and thought that it would put me off. It’s one reason why, although we’ve owned this for a while, I’d been reluctant to dive in (the other reason being, um Downton Abbey). But… maybe I blinked? Or was distracted? Because there wasn’t anything that shocked me; certainly not after season 1. I would go so far as to say that this season is relatively restrained, in GoT terms: there’s not that much sex, relatively speaking; there’s a fair bit of (female) nudity, but again not as much as s1 I thought; and the violence, while gory and gruesome, seemed less frequent. Or perhaps I am cold-hearted and inured to it all from the first season. Anyway, I thought that was an interesting change – I had half expected that they would ramp it up to keep people shocked and watching. (You can tell me whether season 3 is more shocking or not, just no details.)
Like I said, I have no knowledge of this story, and from the first season I thought the focus would just be on the Iron Throne itself. At the end of this season, though, I’m quite impressed to realise just how many thrones are being played for: King beyond the wall, King of the North, King of the Iron Isles, King of Qarth, and King of Westros. I’m not going to be at all surprised to discover that the end – or at least the mid-point – is the seven kingdoms utterly splintering. That would actually make a lot of sense.
Deaths: Renli’s I was saddened by; I presume that was the point. The betrayal of the so-called King of Qarth was a neat twist and he so deserved that end. The Winterfell maister dying was very sad; I presume the Onion Lord is dead too, after the way he went flying when the ship exploded, and that’s sad too.
Near-deaths: I admit to having panicked when I thought Tyrion had been killed, even though I’ve accidentally seen enough stuff to know that he’s at least in the next season.
Characters: I think the most interesting thing, overall, is the fact that with the exception of Joffrey (soon may he be bumped off), pretty much all the evil characters have been shown to have some redeeming feature. I was unconvinced by Tyrion last season; my long-suffering husband can testify to how much hand-flapping there was when I realised he had organised a fire-boat OMG I WAS SO IMPRESSED (partly that I guessed correctly); Tyrion for king, I say. Cersei is redeemed by her maternal love; Jaime by Cersei’s love. Sansa is finally starting to have a backbone (and menstruate, poor dove; glad to see that aspect of life portrayed as brutally realistically as the rest of it); Tywin Lannister is rapidly becoming
quite a favourite, despite his often despicable actions (this is a problem for my brain). Daenerys is redeemed also by her love for her dragons – that scene where she’s being tempted to forget them is awesome (and I’m always happy with a Jason Momoa cameo). Iain Glen – Jorah – is pretty convincing as a good guy at the moment, but I won’t ever be convinced of his fidelity, given his previous roles in dooming my beloveds (Spooks, Downton Abbey… oh Lucas…).
Predictions – for the amusement of those who know better and so I can see how badly I go wrong: John Snow becomes king north of the wall; something terrible happens to Bran; Tyrion ends up aligning with the Starks; Sansa runs away with the Hound and… I dunno; becomes a nun? Do they have nuns? Stanis comes to a very grisly end, Cersei gets away scot-free, and Jaime clearly falls in love with Brienne, but she SPURNS HIM, maybe in favour of one of Baelish’s prostitutes? (yeh that’s never happening.) Everyone ends up as allies against the dragons who try to take over the woooooorld. I would so watch that.