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19 April 2013

The Game of Thrones - Series 2 (2012)

Following my recent introduction to series 1 of Game of Thrones, it was only a matter of time before I got a chance to watch series 2.

"War is coming!"
Game of Thrones Season 2

You will remember that I'd bought Mrs Uke a number of George R R Martin's books. She's still working her way through them. Off the back of the first book, she'd coaxed me into getting the Blu-rays of the TV series. I went in with an open mind and in the end I quite enjoyed myself. But I've already told you all about this. Since then I've been quite looking forward to the second series.

I was wondering whether Martin would tie up some of the loose ends he'd left us with. Would he eckers-like!

Jon Snow making bear-skin cloaks look funky

What Mrs Uke didn't tell me until quite a good way into watching this was that she thought that the second book was "boring".

"Not much happens", she revealed with a crazy look in her eyes, "but book 3 is brilliant!"

Right.

Isn't this great! It's the advert that HBO ran in the New York Times
for the airing of the second series of Game of Thrones.
Photo courtesy of adsoftheworld.com

Series 2 follows the story as told in book 2 "A Clash of Kings". I am told by my resident expert that there are a number of puzzling deviations from the plot - probably aimed at easing the flow of the story - but in essence, it's the same tale as in the book. The first series left us on the edge of our seats as the seven Kingdoms of Westeros were slipping into inevitable civil war. Doom, gloom, blood and disaster loomed around every corner. Call me negative, but I couldn't help but think that things were only going to get worse. Could things really get any worse?

Don't worry. I'm not going to reveal too much of what goes on... so stand easy trooper!

All hail Jack Gleeson as King Joffrey
Sat in the Throne... but can he keep it?

I'll lay my cards on the table: There are a number of things about the second series that diminished the fun for me:

Whereas the first series was all fresh and exciting, I'll admit that I was growing increasingly frustrated with the fact that the second series didn't really bring much new to the table. It diligently picks up the tale and whilst it has its moments, they aren't as frequent or as big. I'm sorry to report that although a lot happens, not a huge amount of it is of any real importance to the over-all story. Perhaps I'm missing something?

Bad boy Peter Dinklage larging it up with the beautiful ladies of Playboy.
Photo courtesy of Eric Spitznagel at Playboy.

"I have a pretty big scar that runs from my neck to my eyebrow.
I was in a band called Whizzy for many years in New York.
We were this punk-funk-rap band. We played a show at CBGB,
and I was jumping around onstage and got accidentally kneed in the
temple. I was like Sid Vicious, just bleeding all over the stage.
Blood was going everywhere. I just grabbed a dirty bar napkin
and dabbed my head and went on with the show. We didn't
care much at the time about personal safety. We were smoking
and drinking during our shows, and one time my bass player
fell off the back of his amp because he passed out. It was one of
those bands." ~ Peter Dinklage 2013 

All of our favourites feature in series 2, but without the punch...

What was quite an exciting sub plot of the Dragon Queen Daenerys Targaryen all but fizzles out as attempts to pull together a fleet of ships to storm the Narrow Sea hit hurdle after annoying hurdle. I found myself quietly urging her to throw in the towel. She's never been the same since Khal Drogo passed away IMHO. :-)

Even Robb Stark's rebel-rousing lost its teeth in series 2. Instead of war, Robb gets waylaid in an elaborate game of hunt the sausage. Damn you Stark! You're meant to be kicking butt, not fondling it!

Would Miranda Hart have made a good Brienne of Tarth?

There are some new characters to contend with, but on the whole, they don't have the impact of the original cast. The Amazonian Brienne of Tarth is probably the weakest, or maybe Gwendoline Christie who plays her hasn't had the chance to shine yet? After musing with Mrs Uke over whether there were many statuesque actresses to choose from for the role, I'm beginning to think that Casting might have missed a trick here not signing up Miranda Hart. Maybe not ;-)

The best new character by a huge margin is Jaqen H'Ghar. This enigmatic German actor is fantastic and certain to be starring in Old Spice adverts before long! You mark my words!

"Old H'Ghar for Men - Very Convincing"
Jaqen H'Ghar is played by Tom Wlaschiha

The story doesn't really help matters; We are sidetracked for a good while with off-the-battlefield arm-wrestles between minor characters desperate for a crack at the Throne. These episodes did little more than confuse me as I struggled to remember who was who and how they fitted into the whole story. I guess Martin hasn't heard of KISS... Keep it Simple, Stupid!

"My Poor Life Choices: A Tell-all Memoir
by Theon Greyjoy"
I don't know who is responsible for this image,
but it is too good for me not to reshare! Well done!

I've mentioned previously Martin's penchant for delivering a gruesome death to favourite characters. Expect more of this, and have I hit on something here? Perhaps a little of the surprise has been lost in series 2. Series 1 was always going to be a hard act to follow.

I've also mentioned my fears of magic being woven into the plot. I was pleased to report that series 1 shied away from magic as the answer to everything. Unfortunately wizardry rears its ugly head in series 2. Expelliarmus!

The Red Witch Melisandre played by Carice Van Houten... and her evil son

Series 2's saving grace is once again the Night's Watch - the poor outcasts committed to protecting the south from the evil beyond the Wall. We knew all along that something bad was brewing "up North". The frustrating thing with series 2 is that the story plods along without any sense of urgency. By way of consolation: The ending is absolutely outstanding and well worth the wait! Stick in there!

Who on earth can this handsome gentleman be?

I know that I've been very critical above, but actually, over all, it isn't as dark a picture as you might think. You get the message that series 2 isn't as good as series 1. Get over it! The scene has been set for what could be a cracking third series. Mrs Uke says that book 3 has been split into two to be filmed as series 3 (which aired in the US in March 2013) and 4 (due to be filmed at the end of 2013). She seems to be pretty confident that it's going to be worth the watch! Well okay then... COUNT ME IN!

Is it okay to talk about Series 1 now without spoiling it?
Check this out. This is a shot from the scene where King Joffrey
shows Sansa the head of her father impaled on a spike on the
battlements. Does it look familiar? Yep, it's George W Bush's head!
"It's not a choice, it's not a political statement. We just had to use
whatever head we had around." Yeah right!
Photo courtesy of io9

Here's a heads up for you: Mrs Uke is mid-way through book 4 and she says that it is "rubbish". Hmmm.

I think I might be done! Oh hold on... The music is great. The special effects are great. The acting is great. The Imp is great. Yep... I think that's it!

On the Triple-B, I'm going to claim all 7 Kingdoms of Westeros for myself... or maybe I'll just play hunt the sausage? Buy.


One last thing...

While I remember, here's something that you might like! A little while
ago my eyes were opened up to the wonder that is "The Harp Twins".
Camille and Kennerly Kitt are harp playing... twins! They do a range
of interesting covers, including the theme tune for Game of Thrones.
As much as I love that, I'm going to call out their rendition of The
Walking Dead theme. The acting is simply brilliant! Is he here? Is he
there? Oh, where is that zombie? Brilliant! Ha ha! I love it, and you
will too! Check this out...



I got to wondering whether the lovely ladies would be up for a collaboration 
with yours truly and just what it would be. We can only imagine...

The Harp Twins & King Uke

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