New Game of Thrones season delivers greatness

For those poor souls who are unaware, the second season of Game of Thrones premiered last weekend. The show, based on the popular fantasy novel series of the same name by George R. R. Martin, has been stellar so far, so I was excited to see it continue. The new episode was titled “The North Remembers,” and picked up where the finale of last season left off, reminding viewers what was happening with all of the various threads, from the Wall in the far north to Daenerys Targaryen and the remnants of her Dothraki tribe across the sea.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead!)

First, we check up on King’s Landing, where Joffrey, the new king, celebrates his “name day” (presumably birthday) with a jousting tournament, showing again what a spiteful jerk he is by trying to drown a knight in wine for showing up drunk. Sansa, his unwilling queen, manages to persuade him to spare the man’s life. Meanwhile, Tyrion Lannister, “The Imp,” arrives, appointed Hand of the King in his father’s stead, to the great consternation of Cersei, his sister. He proclaims that he may be able to help stop the war with the Starks and possibly get their brother, Jamie, back by trading Sansa and Arya for him. Cersei tells Tyrion that Arya has escaped, and he chastises her.

Back in Winterfell, Bran Stark reigns as lord in his brothers’ stead. He continues to have strange dreams, and in the course of investigating them, it is revealed that a red-tailed comet has appeared in the skies. Osha, his Wildling servant, says that the red comet is the harbinger dragons, but Bran responds that dragons have been dead for centuries.

Across the sea, Daenerys leads the Dothraki through a desert known as the Red Waste, her band too weak to fight off the tribes on the sides of the desert and keep them from stealing her dragon hatchlings. She sends riders out to try and find the edge of the Waste, as the group cannot go on much farther.

Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch travel northward to investigate the vanishing Wildlings, who are apparently gathering an army in preparation to invade southward—the Seven Kingdoms. At its head is a Night’s Watch deserter called Mance Ryder.

Stannis Baratheon, the true heir to the throne, prepares an army of his own, sending word to the corners of the Kingdoms that Joffrey is the bastard of Jamie and Cersei Lannister and thus has no claim to the throne. Backed by a strange priestess who is apparently immune to poison, he refuses to ally with any of Joffrey’s enemies, instead trusting in the priestess’ Lord of Light, a new god.

Robb Stark, meanwhile, taunts his prisoner, Jamie, with the revelation of Joffrey’s true parentage, while also preparing to attack King’s Landing. Theon advises him to get naval support from Baron Greyjoy, but Robb and Catelyn don’t want to. Instead, they seek to ally with Renly Baratheon, whose assistance will give them a two-to-one advantage over the Lannisters’ forces.

Finally, we see Arya riding a cart out of King’s Landing, still with her sword, Needle, and still posing as a boy.

The episode was great, reminding me of all the reasons I loved the first season of the show. Though I haven’t read Martin’s books, I really want to after having seen HBO’s production of them so far. I definitely recommend it to aficionados of the genre.