Television has been a little bleak lately, except for the exception of “The Walking Dead”, but we are finally getting back around to one of my favorite times of the year: HBO Season. Up first is the lovely Game of Thrones (you have been off for way too long), and I am overly excited for it’s season premiere. We left off on such scandalous terms: Robb Stark was married, Tyrion is now on the outs with the Kingdom, Joffrey is betrothed to Renly’s widow but Sansa is still not free from his grasps, Bran is on the road after Theon Greyjoy went cray cray, Daenerys reunited with her dragons, and Jon Snow joined the wildlings. Of course the cliffhanger was the huge army of whitewalkers reassuring us that winter was coming. This season entails a lot if they decide to continue following certain paths of the book, and we will see the demise of many beloved characters (unfortunately). On the bright side we may also see the death of a truly hated character, so it balances out; I respect that. The previews so far have been tantalizing, one thing I am hoping for in particular is a showdown between Cersei and Tyrion and to see growth of Daenerys’s dragons. If you have not seen the trailer, here is the link: http://youtu.be/wBtkdje5OfY The song in the trailer is “Bones” by MS MR, and it is hauntingly beautiful (a recommended buy if you do not have it). Game of Thrones returns March 31 at 9/8 central on HBO. I hope you all are as excited for this season as I am. Also, Entertainment Weekly has the cast on their March 22nd issue, inside is some insight into season 3. If you need something to get you through these next two weeks (like I do), you should definitely pick up a copy.
Let’s talk some Game of Thrones; many critics loved the second season but felt that the finale itself lacked a little luster. I loved every single minute of it. (Disclaimer: I have not read any of the books, but I am in the process of reading them currently. I also know many things that occur in the books that did not happen with HBO). First and foremost lets discuss Tyrion, I absolutely loved every scene with him in it this season. Him becoming the king’s hand was one of the best roles for him, and in the season finale he agreed that the kingdom was where he belonged. Every trick he assembled played out perfectly, from shipping off Cersei’s daughter to the Tully’s and discovering who betrayed him, to playing along with Cersei when she told him she found his whore. The last two episodes were beautifully played out for Tyrion, to lead a group of soldiers into war with a speech that didn’t make them fight for glory and honor, but instead to save the lives of others and their selves. He was left with a scar across his face given to him by his own men, and then was denied the glory he deserved, and pushed to the slumps of the kingdom where he vowed to stay and keep the kingdom honest. For me, he was the most interesting character to watch this season, and maybe it is just because I love the way he plays the game. On the bright side, his relationship with Shae seems to be in check, and she has proved herself more than once this season. Shae told her lion that she was not some waste of space, and then we saw her become the hand maiden to Sansa. Through out that trial we watched a friendship develop, and with Tyrion we saw her become more protective and her love for him grow. In the last two episode we left with her standing up to Cersei when she commented on her curtsey, and we watched her beg Tyrion to leave with her and return to a normal society without all the cutthroatness that lied in the castle. Sansa finally grew a pair and started to despise Joffrey, which I was beginning to worry would never happen. She also sprouted as a women, and no one was as happy about that as Cersei. The longing she carries to be with her family, and the troubles she has to deal with being stuck with the Lannister’s. She dealt with almost being raped, and even made a connection with The Hound. Character wise, she grew up the most and the development I saw from her I enjoyed. It honestly killed me to watch any scenes from her last year, but this year I did enjoy watching her growth; her hate for Joffrey, the way she played the game of the castle. Tyrion put it best when he said she might survive this after all. Next character on my list is the hideously gorgeous Cersei, it seems like the longer Jamie is missing from her side the bitchier she gets with those around her. But don’t worry too much, her sexual pleasures were met with her young cousin, and Tyrion made sure he milked him of information to keep the secret. Cersei not only slaps Joffrey, but also admits later that she is starting to hate her son (Is it sad that I sympathized with her?), she constantly torturing Sansa with the idea of childbirth and let her know that she doesn’t have to love Joffrey she just has to bare his children and look glorious while they reigned over the lands. But nothing compares to damage she did to Tyrion, not only did she do as I mentioned earlier but in the second to last episode she hired one of the soldiers to kill him after the battle. Since his is stated earlier, you can safely assume he is alive, for now. Nothing is ever promised in this game. In the last two episode with Cersei she was telling Sansa that the guard that was protecting them was sent to kill them if intruders came in, and in the last episode she convinced Joffrey to rid Sansa’s hand in marriage and get with Margaery Tyrell. Short tidbit on Joffrey, the one everyone loves to hate, and this season the hatred for him grew. He went through a journey of violent rampages, for example he was sent a gift of two whores and while he hand them he made one of them beat the other till he was satisfied and then he sent them back. With his new engagement to Margaery, we can only hope that what happened in the books is soon applied to the TV series. Now lets transfer over to Renly Baratheon, in which there is also not much to report on because he died within the first few episodes. The sad fact of the matter? He was killed by his brother Stannis, kind of. More like he was killed by his brother’s witch (in more ways than one if you catch my drift) and her newborn black shadow demon. Speaking of that cute monster, will we ever get to be graced with his presences again? Renly was also married to Margaery, Loras’s sister. Next up, Catelyn Stark. Catelyn was interestingly played out this season, after Renly’s death she gained a new ally by the name of Brienne. In her scenes with Robb she warns him about sending Theon to forge an alliance with his father, and then later “betrays” him by releasing Jamie Lannister in hopes to exchange him for her daughters. And although her relationship with Robb has suffered a few setbacks this season, I feel like the cliffhanger we received in the finale will only make matters worse. Which brings us to Robb Stark, he is my favorite character in the series mostly due to the fact that he is a lot like Ned, and he follows his heart. We left him last season in which Catelyn made a deal for him to marry a Frey girl in exchange for use of the bridge. And this season we are blessed with Talisa Maegyr (Books readers, do you have any conspiracy theories on the name change?) and we see “the boy who can transform into a wolf” fall in love. And so far, he has been quite successful in his battles. The major turning point for him comes when he invites Talisa to come with him for supplies, and due to his recent upset with mommy dearest he claims manhood and admits he does not want to marry the Frey girl. Well, there goes the bridge. In the season finale he marries Talisa (Once again book readers, any conspiracy theories on what is next?). He also loses a “friend” this season when he sends Theon Greyjoy to get his father’s alliance against the Lannister’s. He is left to believe that Theon has killed both his brothers, Bran and Rickon, and took Winterfell as his own. Of course, Bran is very much alive, as is Rickon thanks to Osha. On a side note, Osha (Natalia Tena) has been wonderful this year, her character is thriving in this new season. I cannot wait for what lies in store for her next, since Martin has noted that he wants to expand her role in the series due to her performance. Bran has tried very hard this season to live up to the Stark name. Although he is crippled, he does not let that slow him down, and the dreams are fascinating, such as the dream of Winterfell being captured by the Sea (hence Greyjoy taking over). And now after hiding, he is on the move again for shelter since Winterfell was destroyed in the season finale. Arya’s story this season was one to keep up with. She started off on the road with the night watch’s recruits, befriending Robert Baratheon’s bastard son, Gendry, she also lets him know her secret (reminder: she is disguised as a boy). After the Castle’s Soldier come for Gendry’s head, Cersei wants to be rid of all the bastards left by Robert, they take all that’s left as prisoners when Arya sells off a boy they killed as Gendry. Next stop, torture island where the game is to give secrets or die a horrible death. Gendry is soon on the list before Tywin Lannister swoops in and saves Arya claiming her as his hand maiden and taking the prisoners for his new recruits are soldiers to fight off Stark. Arya, now in the hands of Tywin, learns the traits of a hand maiden while slowly trying to keep her identity hidden; this is quite hard when you are met with such a intelligent captor. Soon after she arrives there she is reunited with Jaqen H’ghar (Quick backtrack, when the soldiers attacked, Arya released three prisoners and he happened to be one of them), he lets her know that he is in debt to her and owes her three deaths. Arya takes this power very seriously, arranging the death of two men, before asking him to take his own life. He responds quickly, and for exchange of one death she ask him to get her, Gendry, and Hot Pie out of there so they can go back home. Upon their leaving she and her friends notice that he has killed also those guarding the night, and they soon flee knowing that they will be searching for the killer when morning has come. While on their way Arya runs back into Jaqen, and he gives her a coin telling her two recite “Valar Morghulis” and that Jaqen is dead. When she repeats the words, like he asks, his face changes revealing that he is a part of the assassin group, Faceless Men. And finally we are met with Jon Snow, I was disappointed with his storyline this season but I do enjoy him as a character. Although the first few episode with him escape my mind, as soon as he goes beyond the wall is a different story. He is split from the Night’s Watch when he forced to stay behind a kill Ygritte, a wildling with whom he seems to harbor sexual feelings for since he does not kill her like he was ordered to. Shortly they are met with Ygritte’s people, and he is taken hostage and meets Qhorin and learns all the other men were killed. Qhorin then tries to fight with Jon, which John does not oblige to until he insults his family. Qhorin was not smart to pick a fight with Jon because Jon does kill him which impresses the wildlings. The last scene with Jon is Ygritte showing him the wildling encampment. The last scene of the season was a cliffhanger I was excited to watch: Trumpets begin to play as the a few of the Night Watch is talking, as soon as the sound is heard the scurry off. Unfortunately Sam trips and is stuck, causing him to hide behind a rock and witness White Walkers and Wights all armed and looking prepared for battle. The Head Honcho glances at Sam and release a terrible scream, but ignores him and marches one. All I can say is, Winter is Coming. This Season was spectacular, this yearlong wait will be the death of mean. Game of Thrones Season Two Grade: A++