ANOTHER DISCLAIMER: If you haven’t seen the entire second season of Game of Thrones, DON’T READ THIS ARTICLE.
I’ve just finished watching the second season of Game of Thrones, which is a series set in an alternate-world Middle Ages setting. In case you’ve been living under a rock, this is a series that people look forward to fervently every season, both new fans and book readers alike.
I was amazed by the scope of season one of the show. It followed the book so, so closely, better than most book adaptations do. I could, of course, point out every single scene that didn’t happen in the book, but such is TV. Too literal an adaptation can also be a bad thing.
I had heard from people who were far ahead of me in the series that this one deviates from the books a little more, and that’s certainly the case. There was never a point in A Clash of Kings where Daenerys had her dragons stolen, nor did Jon Snow side with the wildlings before killing Qhorin Halfhand.
Gripes aside, this was another pretty great retelling of the series. It’s great to finally be able to visualize some of the world’s characters including the super-creepy warlock Pyat Pree, the Lord of Bones himself, Rattleshirt, and the biggest dick in Pyke, Balon Greyjoy. Joffrey continues to be the most hate-able character in the Seven Kingdoms, and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion is an absolute joy.
To expand on Tyrion for a second, I’m glad that the series emphasized him as much as they did. The dude won an Emmy, for god’s sake, and A Clash of Kings truly is the book where Tyrion shines. Seeing him outwit Petyr Baelish and Grand Maester Pycelle is so much fun to watch.
The CGI seems to be a little hit and miss, with the Starks’ direwolves not looking all too realistic or menacing. Daenerys’ dragons are kind of cool-looking, I guess. But the wildfire scene from “Blackwater” was absolutely beautiful to watch, even if it did mean seeing Stannis’ fleet all but obliterated.
The makeup for some of these characters is fantastic as well. The best example is right at the season’s end as Grenn, Edd and Sam hear the three horn blasts, signalling an attack by the Others. Sam is left by himself as a huge horde of white walkers, led by a truly terrifying-looking older guy on a dead horse, charges toward the Wall.
If there’s one trope the show relies on a little too heavily, it’s the monologues. There are several instances per episode where a character reveals his or her character a little more through a speech. After a while I did really tire of hearing all this (especially because I knew most of this stuff already) though I admit the monologue Yara (Asha in the books) gave to Theon before she left Winterfell was actually pretty touching.
No matter how much I might grumble about the show straying away from the books (um, Xaro Xhoan Daxos doesn’t get stuffed in a vault, especially because he actually visits Daenerys in book five) the show is still a huge treat to watch, even if I can’t watch it as it’s premiering.
So whenever I get the chance to watch season three I’ll be pretty happy again.