No S2 Spoilers
Created and (mostly) written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, and based roughly on A Storm of Swords Book 2 in George R. R. Martin’s best-selling series of novels A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO’s critically acclaimed and award-winning Game of Thrones continues its exploration of power, politics, family obligations, love, and betrayal, in the second season. As the battle for the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms of the civilized world erupts once more, everyone now knows that “Winter is coming.
The surviving members of the three major families — Lannister, Stark, and Targaryen — continue the quest for survival and power, this time amidst rebellions, uprisings, and war. They are joined and betrayed by members of various other Houses.
Now that Cersei’s son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is King, and her twin brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is a hostage of the Starks,
Queen-Regent Cersei (Lena Headey) fights harder than ever to retain her power.
Ostensibly, she is fighting for her son, but Joffrey seems to have no problem “ruling” without her. His actions have caused some of his subjects to rebel, and the family Patriarch, Tywin (Charles Dance) is fighting the War.
Since Tywin is leading the War effort, he cannot serve as The King’s Hand. He appoints his youngest son, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage, in a Golden Globe and Emmy winning role) to act as his proxy.
Now, with political power himself, and protected physically by his sellsword Bronn (Jerome Flynn),
Tyrion becomes a more adequate foil for his sister, Queen Cersei.
Which of the Lannisters will become King of the Hill?
After Lord Eddard’s (Sean Bean, above) death, Bran’s accident, and Jon’s (Kit Harington, below) assignment to the Men of the Night’s Watch on The Wall,
the remaining members of House Stark are fractured in their loyalties.
Sansa (Sophie Turner) is still the betrothed of King Joffrey, though it is clear she is emotionally ravaged and frightened of her fiancé.
Arya (Maisie Williams) was taken into protection at the execution of her father, and is hiding among prisoners and outlaws while both the Starks and the Lannisters search for her.
Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright, below, piggyback), crippled, serves as Lord Stark, and protects his younger brother Rickon (Art Parkinson), with the help of the dim-witted but loyal servant Hodor (Kristian Nairn, below, R),
and the Wildling slave Osha (Natalia Tena).
Their mother, Lady Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley),
supports her eldest son Robb (Richard Madden, below R) in his War against the Lannisters.
Which of the House Stark will survive?
Now the “Mother of Dragons,” Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) leads what remains of her late husband’s Dothroki horse-tribe across the Red Waste, searching for a new homeland from which to launch her return to Westeros, where she plans to reclaim her father’s Iron Throne for herself. Can she become queen?
After the death (murder?) of King Robert, his younger brothers Stannis (Stephen Dillane, above) and Renly (Gethin Anthony, below, center), each raise an army and declare themselves King of Westeros.
Stannis has the help of a sorcerer, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) who scares people by threatening to “offer them to the One God” (i.e., death by fire).
The Baratheons clash with each other as well as with the Starks and the Lannisters. Will magic help the Baratheons win the battle for the Iron Throne?
Despite swearing allegiance to Robb, former Stark hostage and ward Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen) returns to his home in the Iron Islands. Prompted to rebellion by his father and younger sister, Theon must decide who he really is — Stark or Greyjoy — and if he wants to follow a King, or be one in his own right.
The wife of King Renly, Margery (Natalie Dormer) of House Tyrell, and her brother Loras, both want power, whether it is through Renly, or through another King. Margery and Loras have fluid loyalties to others, but strong loyalty to each other. They want power and revenge, and are willing to do anything to get both.
The Men of the Night’s Watch
and The Wall
The Men of the Night’s Watch, among them illegitimate Stark son Jon Snow (Kit Harington, above L) are guarding The Wall that protects the Seven Kingdoms from The Wildlings, who are acting suspiciously. Some of the Rangers go further North, “beyond the Wall,” searching for the missing ranger — Jon’s uncle — Benjen Stark, as well as for an answer to the Wildlings’ strange behavior. What do the Wildlings want? Should the Men of the Night’s Watch fear them?
Initially, Season Two is a little more confusing than Season One, if only because there are more families to learn and characters to remember. Once you figure out the historical and political connections of all the Houses, however, you’ll find yourself caught up in the compelling storyline and complex, fascinating characters.
Game of Thrones Season 2 is available for purchase for $19.99 from Amazon (or free with a 30-day HBO trial), for $28.99 from GooglePlay, and for $38.99 from iTunes. The season is always available free of charge for HBO subscribers.
Rated Very Mature for Graphic Violence, Explicit Sexual Situations, Nudity, Adult Content, and Adult Language.