HBO/Sky Atlantic, April 1, April 8 2012
With young Joffrey on the throne at King’s Landing, several contenders make ready to strike their claims to kingship…
A clear increase in budget has allowed for an expansion of the worlds of Game of Thrones, with dramatic CGI-extended establishing shots giving more reality to the show’s diverse locations that puts it head-and-shoulders above the rather visually constricted season one.
New characters abound, including Liam Cunningham’s weirdly-Birmingham accented Davos Seaworth and Stephen Dillane’s Stannis Baratheon—much talked about at the end of last season, but not seen until now.
The established characters—and their various plots—are not ignored, but none progress that much as (in the opening episode, especially) the series reminds viewers of the complex set-up across Westeros. It is noticeable, though, that Emmy-winner Peter Dinklage steals every single scene he is in as Tyrion.
Perhaps the only disappointing note is the feeling of treading water in the Daenerys Targaryen storyline, but that is only in comparison with the dramatic and substantive story arc the character enjoyed last season.
Verdict: Things are (slowly) percolating nicely, with the promise that this series could eclipse the first for excellence…
Episode 1 ‘The North Remembers’: 8/10
Episode 2 ‘The Night Lands’: 8/10
Brian J. Robb