The second season of HBO’s fantasy epic series is mainly based on the events in the novel A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. The young Joffrey Baratheon has declared himself king of Westeros, and is proving to be a cruel and merciless leader. However his uncle, Stannis Baratheon, has learned that Joffrey may be the product of an incestuous relationship between his mother Cersei and her brother Jaime, and therefore not the true heir to the throne; he plans to take it for himself. Meanwhile Robb Stark is heading south to rescue his sister Sansa from Joffrey’s hands, and to avenge the death of his father. There are many more sub-plots than this, but it would be impossible to mention them all here.
Season two is in some ways an even larger beast than season one was. There are a lot of new characters, which means both old and new do not get the amount of screen-time they need for the audience to really invest in them, and this also leads to characters not being developed fully. Some, such as Daenerys – whose story seemed to be so significant in season one – takes a back-seat in season two; which can be frustrating for viewers who were left wanting to know more about them. This can also at times be confusing, as plots are picked up several episodes after they first started.
Despite this, Game of Thrones is still a first rate production. The acting is impeccable – notably Peter Dinklage and Lena Headey – and the visual spectacle remains as good as any big-budget blockbuster, and in most cases much greater; with finely crafted costumes and plenty of beautiful landscape scenes, spanning from hot, sandy deserts to freezing, snow covered mountain tops. The creators must be commended at having made a work of fantasy that appeals to mainstream audiences, without looking cheap or false. While season two takes patience, the final episode will leave you excited and with the expectation of much greater things to come.