Monday, 2 April 2012

Game of Thrones: Season Two

The second season of Game of Thrones has arrived! Based on the best selling book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin it encompasses the tale of the many families and characters in the land of Westeros. We are being thrust into one of the most dynamic moments in the series, the War of the Five Kings and great multi-sided civil war that is engulfing the land following the untimely death of King Robert Baratheon and the chilling revelations that come from it. Both a cracking good read and television show to watch!

Finally the best part of summer entertainment has come! I am thrilled to have seen episode one of what promises to be one of the best shows on TV soon. Though the former is my personal opinion I hope many others share it. Just watching the first episode has left me craving yet more and I'm hoping that I will be able to watch them all over the summer! I loved the first series and have watched it three times in a row, while having read all the books thus far as well I do know most of the plot but in each season thus far they have thrown a number of pleasant surprises by either showing some well done original scenes and showing scenes which were only mentioned by dialogue in the book.

The first season after many previous viewings I noticed seemed to lack a sense of scale, something that is easily forgiven considering the actors and directors are getting used to putting in on, but in some scenes (such as the Hand's Tourney) this was rather unforgivable as I had seen lower budget films and shows do better. I was especially displeased by the lack of a battle onscreen during the first season. There were some wonderful duels and one neat little skirmish but otherwise they seemed trivial and IMO could have been better choreographed. The acting was top notch though and all the actors carried their roles stunningly well.

Now for the little bit we have seen of the second season the directors and writers have certainly done a good job of making things feel more epic in scale. There are large panning shots of the Army of the North's camp and we see a full shot of Kings Landing and the dark and ominous fortress of Dragonstone is well shown off, I was especially impressed with the directors doing the Westeros shaped table in Stannis's hall (something I was genuinely taken with in the books). Relating to fights, in the opening sequence there is a short duel between the Hound and an unknown knight in the first few seconds that was wonderfully done! So it seems scale and battles will be no problem in this season. This is especially important as the most epic battle of the novels is supposed to happen this season. I am interested in seeing how the writers and directors pull this one off.

As for acting, none of the actors have disapointed. One character I was very worried wouldn't be played correctly was Melisandre, the Red Priestess from the East who is a mysterious and very knight templar like character. But in her opening appearance my fears were disuaded as the actress did a phenominal job of portraying her knowing, mysterious, and aloof nature quite well. And in Bran's brief appearance we see things in Winterfell portrayed just as I would like them to be. He was another character I was worried wouldn't come out properly. And once again the magnificent bastard Tyrion is played up very well.

If there is anything I can criticize about the opening episode it is two things. One is the comet, a major plot device from the books, is simply shoved in our faces which I found slightly disconcerting as it made me feel as though I had missed an episode already. The other was that we didn't get enough time with each character and it felt rather rushed throughout and as though it was trying to do too much in too little time. I felt the episode could have been longer to allow for more characterization to be played out properly, but as long as this doesn't become an issue as the series progresses I don't see much point in complaining.

I eagerly await more episodes and I am tingling with excitement for the upcoming season.

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