‘Game of Thrones’ is a show with so many characters and storylines that a one-hour season premiere episode can’t possibly set the stage for all of them. Thus, this week’s second episode felt an awful lot like the second half of the premiere, and spent most of its time filling us in on what everyone else has been up to.
The episode, called ‘Dark Wings, Dark Words’, has some overlap of characters we saw last week, but not a whole lot. Here are some of the highlights:
- North of the Wall, Jon Snow is introduced to a “warg,” an empath with the ability to see through the eyes of animals. They really have everything up there, don’t they?
- Young Bran Stark still dreams of the three-eyed raven. In his latest, he also sees and meets an older boy. That boy turns out to be real when Bran, Rickon, Hodor and Osha the slave girl are found by a brother and sister pair called Jojen and Meera Reed, whose father was a friend of Ned Stark. Jojen (Thomas Sangster, the lovesick kid in ‘Love Actually‘, all grown up now) knows all about Bran’s dreams. He tells Bran that he may be part warg, but that isn’t all he is. He also has “The Sight,” a gift of phophetic visions. Jojen also has the Sight, which is how he contacted Bran in the dream and was able to find him.
- Still on the run, Arya Stark and her friends are picked up by a group of bandits called the “Brotherhood without Banners.” Believing them to be simple war refugees, the leader of the Brotherhood almost sets the kids on their merry way until his men drag in The Hound as a prisoner, and he promptly asks them what they’re doing with a Stark child.
- Theon Greyjoy finds himself tortured by inquisitors who demand that he tell them why he took Winterfell. They don’t like any of the answers he gives them, not even the truth. Why anyone would care this much about Theon is an unanswered mystery.
- In King’s Landing, Sansa Stark is invited to lunch by Margaery Tyrell and her sharp-tongued grandmother Olenna Redwyne (the great Diana Rigg, who’s a hoot in the role even if it looks like her face will fall right off if she unwraps her bonnet). They quiz Sansa about King Joffrey, allegedly to confirm whether Margaery’s fiancé is a kind and good man. The dull-witted Sansa stammers a bit before finally breaking down and admitting, “He’s a monster!” The grandmother’s matter-of-fact reply: “That’s a pity.” Neither Margaery nor her grandmother seem particularly put off by this information.
- Later, Margaery arranges for some alone time with Joffrey, who’s awfully preoccupied with questions about her former husband Renly’s “perversions.” Margaery plays him like a fiddle, and quickly deduces Joffrey’s own perversion when she notices his eagerness to show off his fancy new crossbow. The kid practically creams his royal pants when she holds the weapon and asks if he’d like to see her kill something with it.
- In the episode’s best storyline, the knight Brienne continues to drag Jaime Lannister along on their trek to King’s Landing, and he continues to be a smart-mouthed pain in the ass about it. Early on, they’re spotted by a traveler on the road, and Jaime tries to convince Brienne that the man has recognized him and is a threat she must eliminate. Brienne refuses to kill an innocent man. Later, Jaime outwits her and steals a sword. They duel for a bit. Despite the Kingslayer’s reputation as a badass swordsman, she eventually puts him in his place. However, they’re interrupted and captured by a group of Robb Stark’s bannermen, who were led to their position by that earlier man on the road. It looks like Jaime was right about him all along.
A friend of mine described last week’s season premiere as a “What I Did Last Summer” episode. This week has a lot of that as well (not that I disliked the premiere or anything), but the storyline in King’s Landing is a little juicier and the scenes with Brienne and Jaime are really entertaining. On the other hand, I couldn’t care less about Theon (I was ready for this character to be killed off and written out last season), and a storyline where tubby Samwise (errr, excuse me, Samwell) is bullied by another Night’s Watchman doesn’t do much for me.
I’m definitely still enjoying the show and think that it’s off to a good start, but given how short seasons of this series are, I hope we get to the part where things actually start to happen soon.