My great rewatch in anticipation of the final season of Game of Thrones continues! On to season 2!
Season 2 surely falls the farthest short of its source material. Books 4 and 5 are markedly weaker than the first three. Season 1 and seasons 3 and 4 (splitting the adaptation of A Storm of Swords) do their source material considerable justice. It’s easy to forget that A Clash of Kings is just a hair’s breadth below A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords. Especially given the weakness of season 2.
The show writers are more confident, generally not to great effect. We get the start of the interminable, seasons-long Theon torture porn sequence. We get Robb’s unnecessary romantic sequence. A strong book arc for Dany is replaced with Dany yells a lot (“I AM DAENERYS STORMBORN”).
One good change: putting Tywin and Arya together (even if multiple things about it don’t make senses).
As in the book, Tyrion carries the story.
The Battle of Blackwater Bay starts a grand Game of Thrones tradition of eschewing realism and tactics (draw your bows and now hold for the next several minutes is a great pet peeve of mine) in favor of spectacle. I can’t say they’re wrong. It’s one hell of a preview of what we will see as the budget chains slowly come off.
At the end of the day, Dany’s storyline is disappointing and ends on a weak note. Game of Thrones, like A Song of Ice and Fire, needs strong Dany storylines and suffers absent them. But the Battle of the Blackwater builds on what would become a tradition of episode 9 wham episodes, and we are given the big battle set piece we were robbed of in season 1. I’m not sure if it is matched for spectacle, although I am partial to the Battle of the Bastards and I am really partial to Hardhome.
There still aren’t enough ice zombies and dragons.